I’ve really taken to podcasts recently – they’re perfect for the hour before I go to bed when I’m too tired to focus on reading a book but not tired enough to actually go to sleep. And of course, with reading as one of my hobbies, I’ve been drawn to this particular category of listening material. So here, in no particular order, are some of my favourites.
Sword and Laser
Focused on sci-fi, fantasy and other speculative fiction, this podcast covers author interviews, book news and other literary features. Two of the recent episodes I’ve enjoyed include #299 NK Jemisin Says FanFic Makes Good Practice and #291 Falling Backwards Into Screenwriting Success, which is in interview with MR Carey, author of The Girl with All the Gifts.
London Review Podcasts
I know literary review sites have something of a pretentious reputation, but there are a number of discussions that caught my interest, particularly in terms of the intersection with political issues, one of my study majors. Let Them Drown is an interview with writer Naomi Klein, focusing on climate change; while Dacre’s Paper is a fabulously scathing take-down of that cesspool of filth, the Daily Mail. Meanwhile, Long-form Essays in the Digital Age is pretty much an incredibly insightful panel discussion on the title topic.
This science fiction and fantasy magazine has its own podcast, consisting of short stories written by authors who write in these genres. I recently listened to the delightful Afrofuturist 419, written by Nnedi Okorafor. It’s a take on the typical Nigerian scam letter – with a twist.
Lightspeed is another science fiction and fantasy magazine, who also podcast short stories by authors. As a Seanan McGuire fan, I listened to Each to Each, a tale about military mermaids, women adapted and working for the USA, as well as Homecoming, detailing a football game where all is not as it seems. There are also stories by other well-known names, including Tristina Wright and Maria Dahvana Headley.
The Guardian Books podcast
I find that I recognise a lot more of the authors featured on UK podcasts, as opposed to US ones. Two that I recently enjoyed on The Guardian Books podcast were both politically-orientated: firstly, an interview with Arundhati Roy on her latest book, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness which also touched on her political activism, and the second with the same Naomi Klein mentioned earlier, on her new book No is Not Enough, written as a pushback to the Trump administration.
A relatively new podcast from Book Riot, each episode focuses on a particular theme: from an examination of George Orwell’s 1984 and its relevance today, to the plucky staying-power of independent bookstores and the 17-year old female inventor of science fiction. I found myself really enjoying the wide range of topics, and episodes are just the right length.
Another science fiction and fantasy-focused magazine with regular podcasts featuring news, poetry, interviews and short stories from some fantastic authors. I recently listened to podcast 17A, which contained “How the Maine Coon Cat Learned to Love the Sea” by Seanan McGuire, and 16A, where I enjoyed “Sun, Moon, Dust” by Ursula Vernon and the poem “Dancing Princesses” by Roshani Chockshi.
I’m sure I’ll discover many more to add to this collection. Are there any book podcasts in particular that you’d recommend? Let me know!