Category Archives: Podcasts

Escape Pod #252: Billion-Dollar View

A story I read for Escape Pod, Billion-Dollar View by Ray Tabler, is now up for your auditory delight. It’s a classic story of hot love and cold space.

Perhaps I shall not only be known as SNACKY CAKE.

“But my name is Simon.”

Molly shook her head and chuckled. “With a head of hair like that? Nope, from now on your name is Red.”

Simon felt his young face flushing with embarrassment, which would further cement his new nickname. “What if I don’t want to be called Red?”

“Too late, should have shaved your head before I bought your contract.” Molly winked at him, executed a back flip in mid-air and launched herself out of the Labor Mart. “Come on, Red. We ain’t got all day.”

the Kessel Run nominees for 2010

parsec, a cc by-nc-nd image from kurt_eh on Flickr
parsec, a cc by-nc-nd image from kurt_eh on Flickr

It is of interest that the shortlist nominees for the 2010 Parsec Awards were released today:

Best Speculative Fiction Story (Short Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Story (Novella Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Story (Long Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Video Story

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific)

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (General)

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

Best Fact Behind the Fiction Podcast

Best Speculative Fiction Comedy/Parody Podcast

Hearty congratulations to all the nominees, and much luck! While my jaunt to Worldcon means I’ll be unable to reprise my emcee duties from years previous, I have it on good authority that things will be in good hands. And I’ll be watching… oh, yes, I shall.

Escape Pod #242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake

The story I read for Escape Pod, The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snake Cake by Robert T. Jeshonek, is now up for your auditory delight. It contains innuendo as thick and heavy as cream pie flesh with a drizzle of sociopathy on top, but no actual naughtiness.

From now on, I shall be known as SNACKY CAKE.

For her entire adolescent and adult life up until three weeks ago, Lynda had been the queen of junk food. Aside from the briefest blips of non-junk spending due to occasional failed diets, she had purchased only the most fattening, high-cholesterol, chemical-soaked foods available from grocery stores, restaurants, vending machines, and mail order websites.

In short, she was the perfect woman. Though she was on a diet that day, she had eaten non-nutritious foods in great quantities all her life. Though her last purchases had been salad greens and bottled water, her 250-pound body told the true story.

I knew she was just waiting for someone like me to come along.

The Secret Lair #35, and other machinations

The Secret Lair

The latest episode of The Secret Lair is up, in which Overlords Johnson and Miller discuss the recently-exacerbated philosophical conundrum of what, exactly, is art? Let’s just say that the extensive discussion goes into some… interesting… places.

Also, therein lies my latest report as the Lair’s CMO, in which I address three burning questions, one of which may also have something to do with art. It bears noting that Overlord Johnson appears not to be aware that we have established two speculum farms in New Zealand, only one of which is what he thinks it is.

Go here and listen, else when the Overlords’ time comes, you will be the first into servitude.


It has been awhile since I’ve mentioned the goings-on at the Lair, so it is only proper that I remind you of the excellent articles that the Overlords have been churning out of late.

As to recent audio emanations, topics have included the utility of content creators giving their work away for free, an examination of Charlie Stross’s The Atrocity Archives, reminiscences of programs of years gone by, and various and sundry geekery.

Recent illustrative transmissions have included an examination of the process behind the creation of The Secret Lair comic, as well as Episode 022: The Sparring.

The Secret Lair #30

The Secret Lair

The latest episode of The Secret Lair is up, in which Overlords Johnson and Miller discuss the recent Amazon and Macmillan debacle (that I noted here), as well as Valentine’s Day myths… two topics that may, in fact, have more in common than one might think.

Or not.

Also, therein lies my latest report as the Lair’s CMO, in which I discuss the the reality behind the movie District 9, and take the Overlords to task for their plan to to turn said reality into a seafood feast… and also see Minister Lynn reap his due reward for suggesting such a scheme to them. Additionally, the new Ask the Overlords segment addresses bargain refurbished space shuttle purchases, and there’s a promo for Natalie‘s new webcomic All Write! on Mur‘s I Should Be Writing site.

Go here and listen, else when the Overlords’ time comes, you will be the first into servitude.

weekly rounds

  • At the risk of inducing a recursive weekly roundup loop, it seems that Overlords Johnson and Miller are starting up a Friday Minion Roundup feature on the retooled Secret Lair site. Everyone involved is stupefyingly talented, which makes this an imperative thing for you to check out.
  • Jim has threatened to hit us with a weekly dose of critical gaming links on The Vintage Gamer, and he is making good on said threat. The only thing more interesting and awesome than the information he’s corralling together is Jim himself (which sets said bar orbitally high), so I command you to go and read.

The Secret Lair Comic 0020: Deck The Lair

The Secret Lair Comic 0020: Deck The Lair
The Secret Lair Comic 0020: Deck The Lair

The Secret Lair has been silent for the last month or so, but that doesn’t mean that the Overlords haven’t been engaging in plans most nefarious. The website has a spiffy new design, for one. As for the rest, well… let’s just say that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Miller’s concept of what makes the season festive may not entirely line up with your own.

Fortunately, Natalie has managed to document the holiday insanity in the latest edition of The Secret Lair Comic series, the full version of which is here.

weekly rounds

  • Laura and I had a blast going to see Jonathan Coulton and Paul and Storm on Friday night at the Ram’s head On Stage. While we’ve caught a show of theirs before, this one was notably better, mostly due to a hotter crowd. Paul and Storm are incredibly funny, and Coulton’s songwriting has an emotional depth that I think is often (unfortunately) overshadowed by his geeky topics and humor. Absolutely brilliant stuff.
  • Columbia saw it’s first snow of the season yesterday, which was relatively minor, and still resulted in the usual extremely inappropriate freakouts about driving dangers in the local populous. Sadly, grossly inefficient local plowing did cause me to miss a much-anticipated hospital holiday party, but roads aside, it made for quite the picturesque scene:

first snow of the season
first snow of the season, photo by John Cmar
  • Over on the GLF, I had the chance to try Clipper City’s Yule Tide Belgian Tripel, which ended up being a perfectly acceptable beer… and since they were aiming for a result much higher than that, it was a significant disappointment.

John Cmar 360

I was recently interviewed by Philip and Lisa Mulford for this week’s episode of their audio show, Communication 360. From the episode description:

Every day [swine flu] is in the news, often with conflicting information. Even the medical community is inconsistent. So what do you do? And more importantly what is the best decision for your child? Having already experienced the H1N1 with both their boys, Philip & Lisa are joined by infectious disease specialist Dr. John Cmar to identify the fact from the myth and put the H1N1 back in perspective.

Communication 360 in general focuses on the different roles that communication has in relationships, understanding how it can break down, and ways to mediate it after it has. Given how much of the recent “swine flu” hysteria has been due to often poor communication from news media and medical authorities to the general public, I was eager to explore influenza from this perspective.

Our hour chat was fun, and ended up covering a lot of ground. We had a good discussion of how many aspects of talking about influenza – such as basic questions like “is this a bad flu season?” or “is there more than one H1N1?” – are not straightforward, and require a nuanced discussion that is often difficult to communicate to laypersons in limited time. There were many questions raised that I didn’t have a chance to discuss in detail, including some aspects of influenza vaccines and overhyped side effect possibilities. Now that some of the reactionary influenza coverage has died down a bit in the media at large, I’ll be taking a closer look at some of these issues in future posts.

Go here to listen to the program, and remember: wash your hands, people.

(Please note that I was accidentally credited as being an “infectious diseases specialist at Johns Hopkins” early in the episode, but this was corrected later on in the program to reflect my infectious diseases and clinical work at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, and my teaching appointments through Johns Hopkins University.)