Variant Frequencies was a fiction podcast that ran from 2006-2010. It was run by Rick Stringer, Ann Stringer, and Matt Wallace, and was originally created as a way to help promote Ann’s and Matt’s writing. Their archives are still up on their website for all to download. First some thoughts on the podcast as a whole. The production is very good quality, often with full cast recordings, and a good group of voice actors. Because of the fact that its original focus was promote the work of the founders, its not too surprising that the quality is sometimes… uneven. One advantage of having an impartial third party for an editor is that their purpose is to select stories of the highest quality. In self-published collections (which this kind of is) you get everything as judged by the author, which isn’t quite the same thing.
And here is the final of my “Best of” lists covering the year 2011. Escape Pod published steadily over the year, publishing 59 short stories. Among their usual fare, they also published winners and runners-up from their 2010 Flash Contest, whose winners were decided by forumite polling.
Well, StarShipSofa is still StarShipSofa. I said what I thought last year, and nothing much has changed, so I’ll just say “ditto”. I do have one thing to add: they’re not great at taking criticism.
Forty-nine episodes this year, with (by my count) 58 stories. On to the list!
And, here’s the list for one of my favorite publications–the Drabblecast. It’s great for my weekly fix of weird. They’ve been of consistently high quality, and I look forward especially to Lovecraft Month in which they solicit original cosmic horror from recent popular authors.
Podcastle’s going strong under the continued editorship of Dave Thompson and Anna Schwind. In 2011, they published 52 feature length episodes (from episodes 138-189), and 9 flash episodes (flash episodes 58-66), as well as 4 special feature stories from the Alphabet Quartet.
Another year has passed, which brings us to another year’s worth of “Best of” lists. First up, is Pseudopod, the horror branch of the Escape Artists podcast tree. Pseudopod was on hiatus for the first few months of 2011, but they have been publishing stories at a steady rate again since March, and there are plenty of stories to make a list from.
I highly recommend listening to this podcast for your fiction fix. Not since the Drabblecast has any publication given me a stream of stories that I so consistently enjoyed. Their choice in style does remind me somewhat of the Drabblecast, though they take longer stories, but Rish and Big have instilled the podcast with their own brand. This Best Of list covers the episodes from Episode 0 all the way to the current Episode 114.
Clarkesworld has published some amazing stories. Like all markets, I don’t like every one of their stories, but when they do publish a story that I like, the story’s not just good, it’s great. It was not hard to fill this list. It was so hard that the entire top 5 are equally worthy of 1st place in my opinion. But ranking them a 5-way tie for first place would be rather wishy-washy and would sort of undermine the point of having a list. So I thought about it long and hard to decide on particular aspects of each story that I liked more than the others to come up with this final ranking.
If you’re looking for a new magazine to read, and you’re a fan of some quality worldbuilding, you’ve got to check out Beneath Ceaseless Skies. They have a neat little niche market, focusing on worlds that are “other” in some way, either a past time period (with speculative elements added in) or an alternate world; no contemporary, no futuristic.
And here’s the last of my Best of 2010 lists. This’ll be another short one, covering a bit more than half a year (the rest of 2010 after the last Best of Drabblecast) covering episodes 169-193. Big news for Drabblecast this year: they won a Parsec award!