Happy New Year! A little belatedly, I know. The first of the year is busy busy busy, and not just for me. I hear tell of changes in editorial staff at at least two major SFF magazines. And award season is upon us! More on that next week. This week it's all about the podcasts.

Because the beginning of the year has been so busy for me I've listened to more podcasts lately and have several recs for you.

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Drabblecast 347 – Why I Hate Zombie Unicorns
Story by Laura Pearlman | Read by Renee Chambliss

I first talked about how I liked this story last summer and I'm glad to come across it again in podcast form. I don't mind listening to stories I've already read as long as the reading itself adds some other layer or nuance. The inflection or emphasis, where the pauses go, the tone and tenor the narrator chooses, all of this can change the way you see a story, or at least enrich your existing vision.

Art Credit: David Flett

PodCastle 345: Makeisha In Time
Story by Rachel K Jones | Read by K. Tempest Bradford

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Yes, you saw that right. I'm the narrator for this one. The folks at PodCastle asked me to do so because I had such praise for this story back in August. And, as you saw, I named it one of my favorite stories of 2014. I won't claim to have added any special nuance to this story—this is my first time narrating anything but my own stuff. I hope I did the story justice, because I still love it.

On a sad note, PodCastle editors Dave Thompson and Anna Schwind are stepping down. Someone new will be along to take over the podcast, and I'm sure they will be awesome. But I'll miss hearing Dave's voice. He and Anna made many excellent selections during their time and PodCastle remains a favorite because of that.

EscapePod EP475: Homegrown Tomatoes
Story by Lara Elena Donnelley | Read by David Levine

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When I pick Louisa up from school, All Things Considered is on the radio, playing a round table discussion about the virus. One person believes that the disease ravaging the corn belt is a government experiment gone awry. The reporter reminds the audience: botanists speculate it was brought to the U.S. by an invasive species of beetle. I recognize a few of the interviewees—I studied their research back when I was still pursuing my doctorate. Before I met Ann, before we had Louisa. It's strange, thinking I could have been on NPR some day, if I had finished my degree.

Not only do I dig this story, David Levine is an excellent narrator. If you haven't heard him read his own stuff you're really missing out — he's amazing. And he's just as good with someone else's fiction.

Far Fetched Fables No. 39
The Dream Eaters by A.M. Dellamonica | Read by Heidi Hotz Nourse
The Flying Woman by Meghan McCarron | Read by Sarah Frederickson

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For those of you who like really long podcasts because you don't just listen during your commute (or your commute is lengthy), this hour plus episode should satisfy you. It contains two stories, one long and one short. I was especially impressed with Heidi Hotz Nourse's reading. Her command of different voices is impressive and feels effortless. It really enhances the story.

Far Fetched Fables is a new podcast to me and I'm glad I discovered it. And I'm up for discovering more. Drop your favorite fiction podcasts in the comments, if you please. My podplayer is ready for more subscriptions!

K. Tempest Bradford is a speculative fiction author and media critic. Follow her on Twitter, G+, Tumblr, or her blog.

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