(Three Bodies at Mitanni) Production Notes

People who follow my blog may recognize Seth Dickinson’s name, because I often gush about him over there. He’s one of my favorite short story writers, and so I was super-chuffed when he agreed to let me podcast Three Bodies At Mitanni. If you’d like to see more of his writing, most of it is available at his website.

I’ve posted my thoughts on this story on a discussion thread at the /rational subreddit. They do contain spoilers for the story!

Due to a number of technical screw-ups on my part, this was one of the most frustrating and time-consuming episodes I’ve put out. I’m still not entirely happy with it, but I believe the strength of Dickinson’s writing will carry the day.  And also the help of my fantastic voice actresses, who helped to save this with their talents as well.

An interesting difference between print and audio – when there’s a reveal of “That’s it!” in print you can quickly jump back to the end of the previous paragraph to refresh yourself as to what the “it” is. This is especially handy when the reveal is at the end of a list of neurological phenomena. In audio form, long lists of technical terms tend to get tuned out. In fact, in print it isn’t even that necessary to scan back, since in print you can see that the paragraph is at its end. You know the thing at the end is the big thing you need to pay attention to.

In audio you can’t see the end approaching, you don’t have that signal that the thing you need to pay attention to is here now. The list just ends suddenly, and you realize too late that the last bit was the important part, and it’s a lot harder to rewind a few seconds in audio than it is to scan back in print. I tried to ameliorate that by putting a wee pause before the “smoking gun” item, and upping the volume a bit, and slowing down & lowering the pitch of the typing. Hopefully these cues helped to draw some attention to that last item as it was being said. If not, at least it was repeated soon after.

In unrelated news, my second published story is now available. It’s just a little flash piece, 600 words, but I’m still super happy someone liked it enough to pay money for it! It’s available at Evil Girlfriend Media for those who are interested.

Finally, regarding the Afterwards episode, some listeners from outside the USA expressed confusion as to what the heck Voldemort was talking about. It’s a tribute to an old song, which is simultaneously quite popular and also a long-running joke. One can hear it here.

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