Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Zombies Zombies Zombies - Podcast Reviews

Tallahassee: [discovers Hostess truck filled with Podcasts] Podcasts? Podcasts? Podcasts? Where's the fucking Twinkies?
Columbus: I love Podcasts.
Tallahassee: I hate Pod-stuff. Not the Podcasts themselves, just the lack of consistency.
Columbus: [Turns on ‘Dead Mech’ Podcast] Fresh.
Tallahassee: Oh, this Twinkie thing, it ain't over yet!

So, If YOU happen to know where the moist podcasts are, or you have a good idea or suggestion for a Podcast you would like us to review, dig it up and we’ll nudge it with our boot-toes to see if it tries to bite us. However…if you DO know where there is a good Podcast and we find out you didn’t tell us….well, Bill Murray’s shooting was accidental…And that’s just what we’ll tell people when they ask what happened to you!

Zombies, Zombies, Zombies….Unfeeling, infectious, relentlessly hungry biting machines. What’s not to like? (Apart from when they swarm over your garden and trample on the Begonias, the little scamps!)

Yes, today we’re all about Zombies. Once upon a time they were regarded by popular culture as the lethargic, dim-witted lesser bedfellows to the Vampire and the Werewolf. Slow-thinking, slow-moving and, when they were allowed to have speech at all, slow-talking.

Of course, as every good horror fan knows, the Zombie has come a long way from it’s positively shambolic beginnings. They have grown and adapted in a way that the Vampire and the Werewolf never could. (And, thankfully, they certainly don’t EVER end up in preposterous complex romantic entanglements with members of other species or even, for that matter, their own)

Nowadays we have slow Zombies…Fast Zombies…Smart Zombies…Mutated Zombies…Comedy Zombies and, perhaps most surprisingly, Mechanised Zombies.

HUM 282 - Zombies in Contemporary Culture: (5 Episodes - 4hrs - 103MB)

It sounds so stale. It sounds so tedious. Why, when there are so many good films, books and podcasts out there, would you want to listen to a boring lecture like this? Why? Because it is a highly enjoyable, well written and fun podcast, that’s why. 

Released in five clear episodes this podcast take us through all things Zombie and why people have such a fascination for them. The first episode is only seventeen minutes long and frankly I wish it was longer. It is the philosophy behind the Zombie scenario and asks questions such as “Is killing a Zombie murder?”, “Who should I try to gather around me after an apocalypse” and “Should I treat members of my family who have turned, any different to any other Zombie?” 

The rest of the podcast takes us through Comics, Games, Romero’s effect on the genre and finally, to my joy, Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland.

Even though it has been released by iTunesU (The academic arm of iTunes) it is funny, honest and wide reaching. I advise you to pick it up if you want an extremely interesting, amusing and thought provoking four hours of fun. Rating:- 4/5

HUM 282 - Zombies in Contemporary Culture is released and is free on iTunesU.

The Zombie Chronicles - Escape: By James Melzer (27 Episodes - 8hrs 20mins - 455MB)

Within ten minutes of listening to this podcast certain things become evident about Mr James Melzer. He is a very good writer. He is an extremely good narrator. He is Canadian. He swears like a trooper and he takes a positive joy in describing extremely gory and horrific incidents.

The Chronicles start with a brief explanation as to how the current post-Zombie world has become the way it has. In this case, how, 25 years ago, an asteroid passed close to Earth trailing a tail of green mist behind it. How the first woman effected by it, went insane, clawed her own eyes out before toppling from a ledge to lie twitching on the floor far below. Three days after the mist (Dubbed Green-Goblin) has descended, one quarter of the population of the planet have gone screaming, mewling and gnashing to their respective deaths. It is then that the dead begin to rise.

These dead, unlike your average shambler, have a rudimentary intelligence and, it appears, they can be trained. So it is that 25 years later, when the dust has settled and the majority of the non-Zombie population are enclosed in great walled cities, the various governments decide upon a new course of action. They will work out how to harness the Undead and use them as a rudimentary workforce. Such a workforce would be unlike any other. They do not eat. They do not sleep. They do not stop for any reason. They do, however, need to be fed. Bring on the clones!

It is from this point on that we are catapulted into a strange new world of clones, secret societies and social manipulation, all coloured with a liberal dash of our rotting chomping friends. It shows just how well this podcast is crafted that, just like the protagonist, I found myself veering between who to believe and, at many points along the way, wondering who’s side I was actually on.

This podcast is an absolute MUST for those who like their horror with a definite tongue in cheek attitude. Rating:- 5/5

The Zombie Chronicles - Escape is part one of a projected serial of novels and podcasts. The Podcast can be downloaded from all of the usual sources (Podiobooks.com and can be located on iTunes, Zune and most podcast downloaders.) Also available as an Audiobook from http://www.viaway.com or can be located directly from source at http://podiobooks.com/ . James Melzer has his own site containing both free and material to buy at http://jamesmelzer.net/

Sanctuary - Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: By Joshua Jared Scott (27 Episodes - 12hrs 20mins - 695mb)

I will warn you now - Joshua Jared Scott is a very good, very vivid, extremely thoughtful writer. He is NOT, however, a good narrator. His voice is slow and rarely varies in intonation . He reads his own tale with the same (almost monotone) voice whether he is discussing his love for a fellow survivor, a desperate situation where his group is completely surrounded or the groups sharing of tins of beans. Later in this story he points out how he becomes less and less connected with the world around him and, as this story is told almost exclusively in the past tense, perhaps he is attempting to reflect this altered emotional state. If this IS the case then it may have been a mistake as I very nearly switched off this podcast after half an hour. (Mainly to protect myself from the tedium of what is, as I say, an otherwise well written tale.)

The story itself, as is usual with most Zombie horror situations, is based around the story of one man, who joins a group of people, and their battle for survival. Where this particular tale diverges from the norm is the side-steps it takes every other chapter as we discover the back-stories of the various people they meet along the way. This is done well and adds to the over-all podcast considerably - making this a very special tale indeed. However…that voice.

I have come to a strange (and perhaps very personal to me) conclusion. Listen to the first episode of this podcast. Decide if you find it interesting enough to listen to the author drone all the way through it. If you are fine with it then go ahead, it is, after all, a good story. If not? I strongly suggest you buy the book instead.

If it were not for how tediously read it is then its mark would be a lot higher. Rating:- 2/5

Sanctuary - Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse Podcast can be downloaded from all of the usual sources (Podiobooks.com and can be located on iTunes, Zune and most podcast downloaders.) or can be located directly from source at http://podiobooks.com/

These audio-books are free, but each one WILL ask you if you fancy making a donation. If you can, please do so, it keeps this industry alive and, with the majority of these audio-books, at least 75% of the cash donated goes to the author or the producer of the podcast. 

Peter G Staff (Pod-Master General)

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