Over the past couple of weeks, I ran two unusual episodes of the After On Podcast, both of them connected to … After On!
The novel, that is. The podcast began as a DVD-extras-like supplement to it -- eight episodes diving deep into science, tech, and sociological issues that I could only explore so much without completely derailing the book’s storyline (I’ll make no claims about partial derailments). I later decided to continue making the podcast because it’s too much fun to give up.
Most of my episodes are based upon in-depth interviews with world-class experts. But these last two are built around excerpts from the audiobook. This may sound like a lazy man’s response to the holidays (because of course it is). Still, I rank them among my finest episodes, as they feature magnificent performances from seven brilliant people -- some of whom will be familiar to a decent chunk of Boing Boing readers.
Both episodes are designed to be spoiler-free, and also perfectly standalone -- in that you don’t have to know anything about the novel to fully parse and enjoy them. You may want to start with the second episode, as it includes the most voices (six of the seven):
Although most of the novel is in a traditional narrative form, about a quarter of it is built from unusual media types. For instance, part of the story unfolds via 20 Amazon reviews. Part is told via excerpts from a mysterious second novel (a truly dreadful one. Hopefully hilariously so). There are also posts from multiple bloggers; tweets, texts and emails; and articles that I attribute to various sources.
In this episode, the brilliant actor, comedian, and podcaster John Hodgman reads three of the Amazon reviews. Creator and star of The Guild (and all-around geek heroine) Felicia Day reads a post by an anonymous blogger named NetGrrrl. And podcasting stalwart Tom Merritt is the voice the New York Times.
You’ll also hear the single most odious press release in tech history (read by Broadway actress January LaVoy), as well as pieces attributed to the Wall Street Journal and Ars Technica (both read by voice actor Sean Kenin), and the demonically paranoid WhistleBlowings blog (read by YouTuber Jesse Cox). It’s a cavalcade of both creepiness and comedy, and I believe every snippet will provoke a laugh, a shudder, or both.
The other episode is easier to explain – it’s the first 70-ish minutes of the book, and it’s right here:
It’s mostly read by January LaVoy, but there are also three excerpts from that ghastly external novel. These are read with true comedic brilliance by Patrick Rothfuss. Yes, that Patrick Rothfuss - the fantasy writer and author of The Name of the Wind, among other brilliant works. Patrick has a wickedly stentorian voice which he dusts off from time to time, and I knew it would be perfect for my novel-within-a-novel (which, if I wrote the whole of it, rather than just the excerpts, would be the single worst science fiction novel of all time. I’m fully convinced of that).
I hope you enjoy these!