Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On Air

There’s been a blog hiatus for Speak Coffee. It’s only been about five days so … so maybe you haven’t noticed. A girl can only hope. It’s been partially due to deadlines, partially due to some sort of sinus bug that I first thought was just a tidal wave of allergies. Anyway, thanks to some finished submissions, some naps, and some colossal decongestants I’m back. Lit Magazine Giveaway, still going!

So. I was watching TV and a preview for the new Robin Hood with Russel Crow came on. I didn't get a good look at the woman's face in the movie but her voice really struck me. Looking it up I found the voice belonged to Cate Blanchett. That woman could read a software user agreement to me and I'd listen to the whole damn thing.

That's when I decided that if I had my choice of anyone in the world to read my stories aloud, I would choose Cate Blanchett.

This is something that’s been on the brain lately because a friend of mine told me that I read my stories well. I –- like everyone else alive –- prefer a celebrity's voice over my own. Or maybe I’ve been thinking about it because I discovered PodCastle and I’ve been listening to short stories online.

I’ve been a long time NPR lover … an NPR junkie? Maybe. I was at one point. Point being that I adore their audio essays. (And if I someday write/perform one I would be so excited. Life goal excited. Talk about it in my Christmas cards excited.)

So when I discovered PodCastle I was really happy. PodCastle produces audio recordings of actors reading fantasy stories which you can listen to on demand online or download to a portable device. There was something about PodCastle story 101 "Kristen, with Caprice," that put me in mind of the kind of fiction I'd hear on NPR.

I'm sure there has to be at least one person out there scratching his head about how I got from NPR to fantasy fiction. The answer to the head scratching is that this fantasy isn't swords and dwarves. PodCastle -- and just about every other respected fantasy venue -- produces some really amazing fantasy fiction that's best described as "realism gone astray."

I point this out because there's a feeling out there (particularly one I've picked up in the academic world) that all things fantasy or science fiction are elves and space opera. And -- while I occasionally enjoy a good elf or space opera -- that's just not how the genre, or the market is right now. Of course, this would be better known if everyone just listened to PodCastle.

PodCastle also has sister sites, the science fiction Escape Pod and the horror PseudoPod.

So, if you could choose anyone to read your stories aloud who would it be? The obvious choices are the most memorable voices known to man: Sean Connery and James Earl Jones. Obviously, Cate Blanchett ranks at the top of my dream-recording list. In my mind, while I’m writing, she’s already narrating almost everything I write. So, who would it be for you?

Highly Recommended