Friday, 18 March 2016

listening to podcasts

I spend so much time listening to podcasts, so I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you today. What podcasts do you like?

Imaginary Worlds

I've only recently started listening to Imaginary Worlds, which is an amazing podcast about science fiction and fantasy, which are two(+) of my favourite genres. It's beautifully and imaginatively put together by Eric Molinsky, and I am enjoying catching up on the back episodes at the moment.

Back in July 2015, one of my favourite episodes came out. All about Heroines, and the issues around their portrayal in Action films. It is so worth a listen. My favourite moment? "I don't need Wonder Woman in it; just don't offend me." Love it, and it's full of truth which should be spoken. It's also helped me to think about what I'm writing, because if everything we watch has these problems (and I love an Action movie), it's easy to think they're normal.

Another great episode talks about the sci-fi writer James Tiptree Jr. A fascinating tale which made me wonder what name I'll put on my books when they're finally published (fingers, toes and ears crossed). You can find out all about her here.

And the last specific post I'm going to link to is this one on Wonder Woman - an absolutely fascinating look at where she came from, and why she's a bit troublesome.

A History of Britain in Numbers

Is it weird that I love statistics?

I do though. I studied Sociology and Women's Studies, and at school I was good at Maths, and so when I went into social research (which is what I did before I did this), I was that rare thing (surprisingly rare I'm afraid), a Sociologist who understands statistics. That meant I got to work on amazing datasets, and help craft questions for really big surveys, like the census.

Statistics do of course get used and abused all over the place, and they get flung about in the news in a way that renders them unintelligible, but this series takes some big themes and looks at them through the ages using large datasets. It's a fascinating way of looking at what was going on, and you can find the whole series as podcasts here. If you fancy just dipping your toe though, I highly recommend the programme on Women.

The History of English

I am currently binge listening to this podcast which covers lots of history (in chronological order, which is fantastic for me because I learned history in topics and this gives me a much better grasp on things), with etymology too! Such a winner! It is a little bit dry to tell the truth, but there's so very much to learn. If you're the kind of person who loves to inform people that the word satellite actually originated in a word that referred to a bodyguard (Satellus), and I'm afraid I am (I know, avoid me at parties), then this is the podcast for you. It's got a website for all the episodes here, but my particular favourites so far (and I'm only half way through) are Episode 27 on Broken Empire and Fractured Languages because of the interesting lessons it gives us about the current imigration crisis, and episodes 37 (Seafarers, Poets, and Travelling Minstrels) and 38 (Nobles, Nuptials, and a Cowherd Poet) on the first writings in English, which were mainly poems (because that's how you remember a story in an oral tradition). My kids are begging me to listen to something else because they cannot take any more random facts. Thanks History of English!


I love the way that Aaron Mahnke tells a story - the structure of the telling of it is fascinating to listen to, and he's a great gateway to folklore (which I play with lots in my favourite stories to write). This podcast has been a remarkable success, for good reason. There's a great Lore website here, and you might want to start listening from episode one, but the Christmas episode, telling about the strangers, other than Santa who folklore tells us sneak into our homes at night. It's called A Stranger Among Us.

The Infinite Monkey Cage

This Radio 4 programme is also available as a podcast, and gloriously, you get more stuff in the podcast. It's a funny science programme which makes you smile as you're getting smarter. Plus it helps keep a steady drip of Brian Cox so you don't get withdrawal symptoms. You can find all the programmes here. My favourite programme recently is this one on Climate Change (which sucks because that's what causing all the chuffing rain).