I’ve never been much for audio formats, mostly because I’m never sure when to listen to them. For a long time I’ve known there are good literature podcasts out there (regular shows featuring audio performances of fiction). I spend a lot of time reading on paper or on a screen during my commute and at home, however, and so, while I like podcasts, I’ve never found a good way to incorporate them into my routine. I like to listen to something while cleaning, but a podcast takes more attention than I can usually afford while doing something else.
And so, I’m proud to announce that I’ve finally found the way into podcasts: I’ve started listening to them while playing Legends of Zork. My character in this browser-based dungeon crawler, Nehana, is upwards of level 40 at this point, and, to maintain my position on the leaderboard, I must do a fair amount of grinding (For the uninitiated, “the grind” is time spent in an online roleplaying game mechanically killing monsters or collecting treasure. Think of it as a synonym for “paying your dues”). At this level, I don’t make decisions very often. I have long periods of grinding before I can buy the next super-awesome spell I want.
I’ve found some good ones, and I thought I would share the list with you. I’m sure this will be too basic for anyone who’s already into the form, but I think these are good starting places for any n00b. (And, speaking of n00bs, if you’re new to LOZ and want help getting started, feel free to friend me on the site–I’m happy to do what I can).
Escape Pod — science fiction short stories, both full-length and flash fiction
PodCastle — fantasy short stories, both full-length and flash fiction
PseudoPod — horror short stories, both full-length and flash fiction
The Drabblecast — weird fiction (each episode includes a 100-word drabble and a full-length story)
New Yorker: Fiction — I don’t always listen to or read genre fiction, and this podcast is interesting because one New Yorker author selects and reads a short story by another New Yorker author and then discusses it. It’s good for those interested in hearing about how stories get crafted.
If you don’t know how this works, there are good descriptions on most of these sites. The short version, however, is that in most cases you can listen straight from the sites, download stories to your computer and then to an mp3 player, or subscribe through iTunes.
I’m interested in any suggestions you might have for good literature podcasts, too — feel free to leave them in the comments.