Review – Flashpulp (Podcast)

flashpulpicon This week I’m interviewing something a little different. Up until now I’ve reviewed mostly long form fiction podcasts. Flash Pulp isn’t that. It’s an anthology podcast, but it’s no Escape Pod or Every Photo Tells. All of the stories (except for the occasional guest episode) are written by JRD Skinner. As the carnival barker says though, “But wait there’s more!”.

With the help of audio wrangler, Jessica May, and artist and voice actor, Opopanax, he brings three stories a week to your ears. And that’s not all! They’re serialized. He has ten regular story lines and the occasional one off. While the story lines are all “separate” there’s more than one peek into the other strands, letting us see the interconnectedness.

Synopsis: It’s difficult to give you a synopsis given the aforementioned nature of the podcast. I’ll just crib from the show’s about page:

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

While Flash Pulp is obviously in the tradition of classic radio and magazine stories of the 1930s and ’40s, there exists a trinity of specific modern inspirations for this creation: Warren Ellis, and his constant pushing of format boundaries; Kris Straub, for Ichor Falls, and the persistence of his ideas when he should be focusing on things that actually make him money; and Michael Buonauro, for his work on Marvelous Bob – arguably the seed of this entire mess.

Production: The audio production is solid and reliable. Sometimes Jessica May incorporates sound effects, but overall she ensures a clean, consistent sound.

Grade: B+

Cast: Opopanax provides the voices and narration for every story. If you think writing and interconnecting ten story lines is tough, imagine having to bring these characters to life. She manages to do just that. My particular favorite when it comes to her voices, is that of the narrator from The Murder Plague. That particular storyline is a world I can see Hitchcock dreaming up. Imagine a disease that turns you into a paranoid psycopath. Now imagine that most people have it, but you can’t be sure who does until they come at you with garden shears.

Grade: A-

Story: The writing is generally very good. I’ve run across a few that didn’t work for me. When you’re talking about three hundred plus episodes, I guess that’s going to happen. My favorite part about the entire thing is the arcs JRD has built into the fabric of the universe. Most episodes are stand alone tales that fit within their own arc. Occasionally he throws a two or three parter at us.

I have my favorites. The Murder Plague is up there. I also enjoy Ruby Departed, his take on the zombie apocalypse told through the diary entries of a but kicking young women with an assegai (the Zulu spear). I also like Kar’wick. What isn’t there to like about an immense spider god bent on destroying the world?

Grade: A

Verdict: This is definitely one you need to add to your list. I recommend you start with episode one. While it’s not necessary, it’s certainly the nest option in my opinion. You could listen to each arc on their own as I do believe that there are helpful links to do that from the site.

Grade: A

Sidenote: In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve written one of the guest episodes. I also occasionally contribute audio versions of these reviews for their weekly cast/crew/fan show. That’s right, they have a podcast about their podcast (and their hobbies and a lot of fan generated content).

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