At the gym today I listened to Steve Ely’s farewell podcast at EscapePod. It’s story titled “The Last McDouglas by David D. Levine that had appeared at Asimov’s earlier. The story is good and memorable enough for it’s futuristic look at fast food alone. But the story isn’t what made this podcast special.
I have never met Steve Ely, but I have to say the guy seems to be a class individual. I really enjoyed his commentary about his time with Escape Pod, and I enjoyed his final outro a lot. He sends a really nice message about being fearless, about loving SF, about doing your best, and about having fun being a responsible part of the bigger world.
Honestly, though, he sent that message with each one of his podcasts.
I’ve been grabbing Escape Pod stories for several months now, and can say without doubt that Steve Ely’s enthusiasm for his work came out in his commentary as well as his interpretation of each work. He has helped me pass many an hour on the treadmill. I cannot say this last bit about several other podcasts, and here’s why: production quality.
Yes, production quality.
Steve Ely’s podcasts are put together well, but also clearly presented. The tone is good, and he kept background noise away. He ready at a good pace and with a clear tone of voice that made it easy to follow the tales he presented. This is all important in a podcast, because as far as I can tell the most likely situation a consumer is going to be in while listening to them is “on the move.” This is true in my case. I listen in the car, and I listen on the treadmill.
In both of these cases, the environment around me can be quite noisy so poor production quality can be a kiss of death.
For example, inn addition to Escape Pod, I attempted to listen to Jay Lake’s A Water Matter from TOR.com. The story is great, pure Jay Lake. But I could only listen to it while I was over in the free weight section because it’s volume doesn’t scale up well on my nano, and because Jay’s vocal approach tends to run words together. It wasn’t clear enough for me to be able to follow while on the noisy treadmill. Truthfully, if the gym’s music had been turned up as loud as it usually was I couldn’t have listened to it at all while working out–which is my prime podcast consumption time.
You get the idea.
Steve Ely was really good at what he did. Congratulations to him for his successful 5-year run.