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I listen to a number of podcasts on books and writing in the science fiction and fantasy genre. I find them interesting and valuable as a fan, as the editor of Prometheus Unbound, and as an aspiring author myself. I think you will as well, so I’ve created a curated list of my favorites and what I’m listening to now. Do you listen to any of these? Are there any I haven’t listed that you would recommend? Let us know in the comments.

General SF&F Book Podcasts

These are mostly general science fiction and fantasy podcasts about books, although movies and tv shows do come up on some of them as well. If you’re interested in the craft and business of writing, it would be worthwhile to subscribe to these not only to keep up with the state of the field but also because they often feature authors, editors, publishers, and agents as interviewees or guests.

The SF Signal Podcast — The Hugo-nominated podcast of the indispensable Hugo-winning SF Signal website. Hosted by Patrick Hester. The schedule is one interview episode and one discussion episode per week. The podcast features a wide range of interviewees, guests, and panelists, including a core group of regulars, from the science fiction, fantasy, and horror community. I haven’t listened to the new, separate Crossing the Gulf podcast hosted by Karen Burnham (a NASA engineer) and Karen Lord yet.

Adventures in Scifi Publishing — Hosted by Shaun Farrell, Moses Siregar (The Black God’s War), and Brent Bowen. A long-running podcast featuring discussion and interviews with the biggest and hottest names in the genre community as well as newer authors. The experienced hosts are self-published or aspiring authors themselves. Update: Founder Shaun Farrell has had to step down from hosting AISFP, but he relinquished the reins to new host Tim Ward so the show will go on.

The Coode Street Podcast — A rather informal and, as they say, rambly conversation between editor Jonathan Strahan (Life on Mars) and academic and reviewer Gary K. Wolfe (Evaporating Genres). There is the occasional guest, but mostly it’s just the two hosts. You can learn a lot about the current state of the genre, and especially its rich history, from these widely read veterans.

Speculate! — Hosted by authors Gregory A. Wilson (The Third Sign) and Bradley P. Beaulieu (The Winds of Khalakovo), this podcast is unusual in that it features three types of episodes aired as a series: fiction reviews, author interviews, and writing technique. The hosts will review a book in one episode, interview the author in another, and discuss writing technique using that book as an example in a third. There are other types of episodes that don’t fit neatly into this three-episode series: interviews with artists and editors, and other stuff.

The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy — Hosted by editor John Joseph Adams (Brave New Worlds) and author David Barr Kirtley. This podcast is unusual in that the hosts seek to partner with a company to host their posts and files; they started out at Tor.com (season 1), moved to io9.com (season 2), and are now at Wired.com (season 3). “Each episode features an interview with a leading figure in the world of science and science fiction, followed by a discussion of science fiction books, movies, video games, and more.” The delivery is a bit wooden and abrupt, but the content is well worth listening for. Adams is one of the leading magazine and anthology editors in SF&F today.

The Functional Nerds — Hosted by Patrick Hester and John Anealio. Patrick is an author and, as noted above, a Hugo-nominated podcast producer and host. John Anealio is a singer/songwriter who specializes in geeky and SF&F-themed music, famous for his song “George R.R. Martin Is Not Your Bitch.” This podcast recently changed format and I’m not sure I like it as much as I used to. It was originally a traditional discussion-and-interview podcast heavily focused on SF&F books, but the new format brings the podcast more in line with the website built around it. It’s now more of a general geek show covering topics that interest the hosts from week to week. The website, for example, features different columns written by guest authors such as booze nerd, food nerd, fitness nerd, and tech nerd. They still interview authors and others in the publishing industry, but they also seem to be interviewing other types of guests more than the used to. I still listen.

SF Squeecast — Hosted by Elizabeth Bear (The Chains That You Refuse), Paul Cornell (London Falling), Seanan McGuire (Rosemary and Rue), Lynne M. Thomas (Whedonistas), and Catherine M. Valente (Deathless). SF Squeecast is a monthly podcast with a panel discussion show-and-tell format in which the hosts, and often a guest, each pick something they want to talk about on each episode. SF Squeecast won the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Fancast. Personally, I think Patrick Hester’s SF Signal Podcast should have won, but hey, as they say, it’s an honor just to be nominated.

SF&F Podcasts on Writing, Publishing, and Book Marketing

writing tips

Some of these feature interviews with or guest appearances by authors, editors, publishers, and agents as well.

Writing Excuses — Hosted by Mary Robinette Kowal (Shades of Milk and Honey), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, The Way of Kings), Howard Taylor (Schlock Mercenary), and Dan Wells (I Am Not A Serial Killer). As the tagline says: “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” This is a weekly podcast that you can consume quickly on breaks or commutes. You’ll learn about the nuts and bolts of writing. There are a lot of episodes to get caught up on. I’d recommend subscribing and listening to each new episode, while at the same time going back to the beginning and working your way forward. You’ll have to download older episodes one at a time from the website, but it’s worth it.

The Secrets Podcast for Writers — Hosted by Michael A. Stackpole (Talion: Revenant, Rogue Squadron). This podcast has unfortunately run its course, but you can still get caught up on all of its fantastic content. For some reason Stackpole only has a few episodes available on the website, but you can grab every single episode from the rss feed (just add it to your favorite podcatcher and start downloading). Highly recommended.

The Self-Publishing Podcast — Hosted by Johnny B. Truant (The Bialy Pimps), and Sean Platt and David Wright (Yesterday’s Gone: Season One). As the name suggests, this podcast is all about being a self-publishing author. This podcast is not for the easily offended, however, and the guys engage in a lot of locker-room humor and cursing.

The Creative Penn — Hosted by Joanna Penn (get it?). This podcast has a heavier emphasis on self-publishing and marketing than the others. A valuable resource for indie authors.

I Should Be Writing — The podcast for wanna-be fiction writers. While there is some discussion of the craft and business of writing, the focus is on the trials-and-tribulations of being an aspiring author: how to deal with doubts, self-motivate, get more organized and productive, and so on. If you’re just starting out or find yourself plagued by uncertainty, this might be the podcast for you. I don’t need this aspect of the podcast myself, but Lafferty does interview notable authors, editors, publishers, and agents, and I find these interviews valuable.

Odyssey SF/F Writing Workshop Podcast — Not updated regularly. Episodes are excerpts from lectures given by guest writers, editors, and agents at the Odyssey Writing Workshop.

Bonus: Geek and Sundry Webcasts

I include these as bonuses because they’re not podcasts.  Geek and Sundry is Felicia Day’s webtv network with a number of good shows. Episodes are hosted on Geek and Sundry’s YouTube channel.

Sword and Laser — Hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. A science fiction and fantasy book club that also features interviews and other segments. Sword and Laser is one of the core shows on Geek and Sundry. You can check out their page on the Geek and Sundry website and subscribe to the YouTube playlist of their episodes. New episodes are uploaded every other Friday.

The Story Board — Hosted by Patrick Rothfuss. Rothfuss is the author of award-winning fantasy novel The Name of the Wind. This show is more about the craft of writing. Every episode Rothfuss and a few guests discuss a different topic, such as urban fantasy or characters. Guests so far have been Emma Bull (War for the Oaks), Diana Rowland (Mark of the Demon), Jim Butcher (Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1), Terry Brooks (The Sword of Shannara), Amber Benson (Buffy, Death’s Daughter), Bradley Beaulieu, and Mary Robinette Kowal. Episodes air on the 1st Tuesday of every month at 8pm PDT and are broadcast and recorded in a Google+ Hangout on Air.  The show has its own section of the Geek and Sundry forums.

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About the Author

Geoffrey Allan Plauché Executive Editor

Geoffrey is an Aristotelian-Liberal political philosopher, an adjunct instructor for Buena Vista University, the founder and executive editor of Prometheus Unbound, and the webmaster of The Libertarian Standard. His work has appeared in Libertarian Papers, the Journal of Libertarian Studies, the Journal of Value Inquiry, and Transformers and Philosophy. He lives in Edgewood, KY with his wife and two children.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tim Ward July 17, 2013 @ 1:24 pm | Link

    Nice list, and thanks for the AISFP mention. I’m running the show now that Shaun has stepped down.

    I’d include: Hide and Create, The Skiffy and Fanty Show, Dead Robots’ Society, and The Roundtable Podcast.

    The Secrets and Dragon Page Cover to Cover were my first podcasts and were responsible for me getting serious about writing. I love how much they inspired me to believe I could be a writer.

    AudioTim is my old podcast. There are some good interviews on there.

    Thanks again for promoting spec fic podcasting!

    Reply
    • Geoffrey Allan Plauché July 18, 2013 @ 3:49 pm | Link

      Thanks, Tim! I was sad to hear that Shaun will no longer be hosting AISFP, but pleased that he relinquished the reins to you and the show will go on. I updated the post to reflect the change.

      Reply

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