At Escape Pod: "Transcendence Express" read by Jack Mangan -- the deadpan himself!
First, I must admit that I didn't listen to podcast at all until a few weeks ago. But because Steve Eley had bought my story, I checked out a few Escape Pod episodes. And when Jack emailed me that he was going to read it, I checked out a few deadpan episodes. I quite enjoyed them, and -- despite the fact that I go to my work on a bike, and have no MP3 player -- they are becoming a weekly habit. I play them during dinner, when I can give them my attention, as I find them too distracting when I am working on something.
Second, listening to Jack reading my story was quite weird. (And not because of the quality of Jack's reading: he did a great job.) Hearing somebody else read your words is a bit uncanny, like a warped mirror reflecting your own images in a slightly distorted way.
I actually read the story to my sister and her friends a few months back in Melbourne on the impromptu birthday party she arranged for me (OK: it was on May 24). There, it went over well, and the fact that some friends did voice a few critical remarks told me they weren't just being friendly to me on my birthday. Reading it aloud yourself is different: then you're in control (or think you are), while listening to someone else reading your stuff is a bit distancing: it is your piece, but its presentation is not in your hand. Also, I caught myself at having the tendency to accept the very good and excellent parts of Jack's reading as normal, and pay too much attention at the parts that I thought could have been done a bit better.
Vanity, vanity: all is vanity...
Third, the story was never intended as a podcast. This might sound like stating the obvious -- and some of you might wonder why I submitted it to Escape Pod in the first place, but that's easy: always let the editor decide -- but I envisioned it as words on a page that stimulate a reader's fantasy. Of course, a reading can also incite a listener's imagination, but it's different.
I think the shifts between the present tense story in Zambia (from David's viewpoint) and the flashbacks in Holland (from Liona's viewpoint) come across better on the page. Also the invented song lyrics stand out more on the page, I believe.
Of course, I might be wrong and it will be very interesting to read the listener's comments on the Escape Pod forum.
In any case, I'm quite chuffed to have a story appear in Escape Pod.