Monday, August 16, 2010

Whisperers in Darkness: Lovecraftian Podcasters

There now seem to be a fair number of podcasts relating to H.P. Lovecraft now, as some new ones have started to supplement the existing ones. Broadly these can be divided into two categories - Literary and Gaming, though there is a strong cross over as many readers came to reading HPL from the game. My own path was actually from reading HPL as a youngster and starting with D&D long before the Call of Cthulhu game came out, though it was a natural choice to play as an RPG for me once it appeared in 1981.

All of the following podcasts can be found either from their own sites (links provided) or on iTunes.

Literary podcasts

H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast
This series of podcasts is a discussion of Lovecraft's stories in roughly chronological order with excerpts of the stories being read to illustrate the discussion. The two regular hosts are Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey, but there are frequent guest presenters such as Andrew Leman and Ken Hite.This is a pretty light hearted podcast which can highlight the absurdity in some of HPL's stories. I do find it entertaining to listen to and recommend it strongly.The average episode is around 30 minutes long.

FNH's Cthulhu podcast contains readings of horror and supernatural fiction, primarily by HPL, but with other authors featured. There are also archive recordings of music from the 1920s and 30s and short factual pieces either discussing events in the period or readings from other books, such as Teddy Roosevelt's Through the Brazililan Wilderness. There are full stories read or serialised in the normal podcast releases with a variety of readers or actors involved meaning that it is possible to get away from the monotony of a single voice that can happen with some podcasts.An average episode is around 1 hour in duration.
FNH has several other podcasts that feature readings of literary material from other genres though I am not sure how active all of these are now, these are linked from the Cthulhu podcast site. 

Lovecraftian Obsession
Rick Dakan's podcast is new and has been started after publication of his novel,  The Cthulhu Cult. He is interviewing well known writers about Lovecraft, with the first four subjects being Kenneth Hite, S.T. Joshi,
and Chris Lackey & Chad Fifer. The usual episode length is around 1 hour depending on how talkative the interviewees are.The topics usually covered are the subjects relationship to Lovecraft's fiction (YSDC)
There are a number of recorded lectures at Yog-sothoth dot com about H.P. Lovecraft and related topics, examples being "H.P.Lovecraft as shaman" or the Necronomicon in culture. These are by academic writers such as Dr Justin Woodman or Dan Harms and often recorded at Treadwell's bookshop in London. These have reasonable sound quality given that they are recorded live in a lecture theatre and are reasonable size files. YSDC also has recorded readings of some Lovecraftian stories, though I haven't seen many of these being added in recent times.

Gaming podcasts
These can again be divided into actual play, with recordings of gaming sessions or gaming discussions, of which Yog-Radio is an early and notable example. Apologies to anyone I've missed on the actual plays particularly, if you add a comment I'll update the list to include it.

There are a number of audio games that have been released by the Bradford Players, with only the most recently completed and current in-progress game being freely available. The past games can be downloaded by media patrons of the site or bought on CD. Currently the in-progress game is Tatters of the King with the recently completed game being Walker in the Waste. The audio quality is very good on these with surround sound used which really is noticable if listening on headphones as you can hear who is sitting where. There is not a great deal of swearing in the group, but like any Call of Cthulhu campaign the themes are dark and horrific. The usual length of an episode is between 2 and 3 hours.

YSDC also has a lot of links to actual play sessions so is probably the best starting point if you are looking for these on Lovecraftian roleplaying.

Role Playing Public Radio
RPPR has a number of actual play recordings of Call of Cthulhu games, including some with Adam Scott Glancey as the Keeper. These are pretty entertaining, but probably need a explicit language tag as the RPPR crew are not as circumspect as some gaming podcasts with language. The audio quality is good on these, but does not have Yog-Radio's surround sound. In the general RPPR recordings there is quite a lot of mention of Call of Cthulhu as it is one of the favoured systems of the people that produce the podcast in the general role playing games advice and discussion.

There are a large number of other actual play recordings that I either haven't a chance to listen to or maybe haven't heard of. If you've got one that has been missed please add a comment to let me know about it.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Sky gives up plan to remake Blake's 7

As a fan of the original BBC series from the late 1970s I'm glad to see that Sky has given up its plan to reimagine Blake's 7, though it seems like there is potential for it to be picked up by another producer. I'd not be keen on a remake of the original with the lead characters like Blake, Vila or Avon recast given how definitive Paul Darrow was as Avon.

A series set after the original could be viable, e.g. "Blake Lives!" with new rebels against the Federation inspired by the memory of Blake and maybe led by survivors from the shootout at the end of the fourth series. Potentially if the setting is not too long after the events of the series the Federation could still be led by Servalan, but it might be better to make it a longer gap and create a clear break in the way the Time War was used in Doctor Who by Russell Davies.

Monday, August 02, 2010

F1 2010 at midseason

So the 2010 Formula 1 season has managed to stay interesting with the drivers and constructors championships still being able to be won by more than one team and its drivers. The 5 drivers still in the frame for the championship may not have been who'd I've have predicted after Bahrain where it looked like Red Bull would be the biggest challengers to Ferrari.

The big question is whether anyone can catch up on Red Bull's technical superiority over the next few races, I think Button would be best served by a few more wet races where his smoother style helps him keep control. I think if I'm going to make a prediction now it would be Webber to win the drivers title and Red Bull the constructors championship.

Personally I hope Williams can have a bit of an improvement which looks possible with both cars getting into the points and I think that Schumacher needs to retire again as he's not really showing his best side and really showed his worst side when Barrichello overtook him in Hungary.