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Erin Listens: the Magic Tavern and other podcasts March 28, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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Hello From The Magic Tavern just got so intense. There was an epic battle in episode 100…then a bunch of interludes, including one from the Cowboy Dimension that had me dying of muffled laughter at work…and now it’s officially designated Season 2, and, yowza.

If you’re not already listening (and if you’re not allergic to shows with a whole lot of butt jokes), you should start.


Deep into the backlog of Love and Justice. It’s kind of…uplifting?…to hear about how much they love Crystal. Like, I can listen to them gush about the things that were emotionally affecting, and don’t have to see the actual animation, so I can imagine they’re podcasting from an alternate dimension where it didn’t make me sad.

They’re too hard on the ’92 anime — by which I mean, they complain about things it objectively can’t help. Of course the first season doesn’t have much sense of “shared past” between the senshi and the Dark Kingdom. The animators didn’t know about it! Naoko hadn’t written it yet!

On the other hand, I regularly feel like Sailor Business (which I’m all caught up with now) is too easy on the ’92 anime. So it kinda balances out nicely.


I’m listening to both of those at 1.2x speed, because the hosts tend to meander. Same with Yo, Is This Racist? — it’s just too slow otherwise.

…also, it talks a lot about the awfulness of current politics. I kinda have to psych myself up before listening. And/or say something like “once I get through one of these, I’ll reward myself with the next Magic Tavern episode.”

More-polished and better-edited regulars on my MP3 player: the Savage Lovecast, and The West Wing Weekly. Those get played at regular speed. Both make references to the political awfulness — it’s an inherent side effect of their premises — but in measured and relatively-contained doses.


Still listening to Illusionoid, and Kakos Industries, although I stopped saving the episodes afterward. Neither one is so absorbing that I’d want to do a re-listen.

…in fact, the only series on this list where I’m holding onto the episodes is Magic Tavern. Did a re-listen just a few months ago, in preparation for Yuletide fic. It’s highly re-listenable.

Related, a couple anons on FFA were talking about Republic of Heaven Community Radio, and one mentioned the weaknesses in book 2. I stepped in with this:

Honestly, I’d go back and give it a full-body rewrite if canon hadn’t been such a painful kick in the teeth.

I can see the soft spots, can feel when the pacing sputters, I know there are ways it could have more consistency and stronger throughlines. I just…don’t have the stomach to go near it.

That’s not an empty promise — anyone who knew me from fake-news fandom might remember that I did a full-body rewrite on a longfic there. But, yeah. Not in the cards, not this time.


Erin Listens: Magic Tavern, SAYER, Black Tapes, Wolf 359, Kakos Industries, and more October 24, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches, Meta.
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Because in between all this old-time radio, I’ve been filling my ears with new-time podcasts. Mostly fiction, although I’ve been keeping up with the Savage Lovecast for years, and would rec that to anyone who has trouble with subtle emotional/relationship stuff and finds it helpful to have the subtext articulated. Or, y’know, who likes hearing about weird sex problems.

Hello From The Magic Tavern: Fantasy/comedy. Your host is a real-world human stuck in not!Narnia, trying to get messages back to Earth in the form of a podcast (sent over the wifi connection through a tiny portal, the other end of which is a Burger King with a finicky firewall). Co-hosts are not!Gandalf, a wizard who enjoins all their guests to join his quest to defeat the Dark Lord, and a shapeshifter (usually badger-shaped) who has a lot of weird sex.

The wizard, Usidore, is my favorite character. Ridiculously entertaining. I didn’t realize just how much of a Gandalf fan I was until this retroactively illuminated it. He’s on Twitter; I’m a fan.

Lots of pop culture puns, sendups of various fantasy series (lots of Narnia and LotR, some Harry Potter, a touch of Neverending Story, etc), and fun worldbuilding. It’s improv, but with some planning and forethought, so it comes out more fluid and less random than ILLUSIONOID. The credits are read by a mysterious voice who fervently reminds you how not-real it all is.

Follow: Magic Tavern feed (and ILLUSIONOID feed) on DW.

SAYER: Sci-fi/horror/comedy. In the dystopian future, on the space station created by an evil megacorp, the AI — the eponymous SAYER — guides you through your day. The first season follows a single You…who starts off with total amnesia, no description, and no lines, so I was a little disappointed when they started giving him identifying traits (and they included “male, attracted to women, Anglo-Saxon name,” etc). But a Q&A bonus revealed that the writers are admirably self-aware about this, and later episodes branch out into SAYER’s addresses to other characters.

Doesn’t skimp on the horror aspect, so if you’re going to be squicked out by a pleasant voice informing “you” of your impending grisly death/dismemberment/other horrible fate, approach with caution. And it’s often gratuitous even by in-universe standards. Sure, the evil megacorp sees employees as disposable, but it’s more than that — SAYER will direct “you” into serious physical peril even when there are easier, cheaper, and more-effective ways to accomplish the same job.

(The horror feeds back into the humor aspect, because it’s extra-absurd when the same calm voice describes things like “the scientists’ funeral for their experimental pufferfish, Captain Squiddlesquirt.”)

One early episode lifts the premise of “The Jaunt” wholesale, so any time they have a really cool single-episode premise, I get suspicious that they copied it from some earlier piece of SF. That said, I’m really into the overall plot, especially since it amped up at the end of the last season.

Follow: SAYER feed on DW.

The Black Tapes Podcast: X-files-type docudrama. There’s one season so far, and I’m about halfway through.

It’s…listenable? Unlike the actual X-Files, it’s ambiguous so far about whether there’s any real paranormal activity in-universe, which is a lot less interesting. “Hey, here’s a weird thing that’s cloaked in superstition, and maybe there’s a cause we don’t understand, or maybe it’s all just coincidence” — that’s intriguing IRL because of the possibility that someone might, one day, figure out the weird thing. If you’re a fiction writer who deliberately leaves it unexplained, then there isn’t any possibility someone will figure it out.

Also, the reporter protagonist is annoyingly credulous. Maybe she’ll get better by the end of the season? (Nobody spoil me, I’m getting there.)

Wolf 359: Sci-fi comedy/drama. Three people and an AI on a space station orbiting a distant star (the eponymous Wolf 359). It’s got a very Red Dwarf feel sometimes.

The first ten episodes are Shenanigan-Of-The-Week, comedy bits like “we accidentally created a plant monster in the greenhouse” or “someone is holding hostage the only tube of toothpaste left in supplies.” After that, it takes a sharp turn into High-Tension Drama, which is more tiring and less engaging. Still has its moments, but it’s bumped down to “…listenable.”

Follow: Wolf 359 feed on DW.

Kakos Industries: SF/horror/weird/satire comedy. The shareholder announcements of an evil megacorp, by its CEO. With occasional interruptions from the CEO of Kakos’ rival company, [chainsaw noise]. There’s not much of an overall plot, but there are recurring elements (like updates on the evil toddler whom Kakos claimed a share of at birth), and it’s consistently sharp and funny and enjoyable.

It also comes with its own transcriptions! Which makes it easy for me to pull a bunch of favorite quotes from last year’s episode-before-Halloween:

Halloween is approaching. For those of you who are new shareholders, you are probably wondering what we, Kakos Industries, the industry experts in Evil, are going to do on a holiday that is so dedicated to mischief, horror, and mayhem already? The answer is simple: we take the day off. Everyone else has it covered, so what do we really have to gain from putting out any effort at all…I’m just kidding! Our Halloween party is going to blow your fucking mind, son! It’s gonna bundle up all that scary, sexy, dark, and evil, wrap it in a cosmic mind-tortilla, and blast it off into goddamn space.

No one gets diseases or pregnancies at the Kakos Industries Halloween party. Are you already pregnant and afraid of how it will make your costume look or that you might not be able to enjoy all of the fun booze? We have machines that will take that thing out of you and keep it safe while you party your fucking ass off. Do you need to be pregnant for your costume to work? Borrow someone else’s fetus. We got that machine too! We can do it to dudes, too! You wanna be Zeus? We’ll put a baby in your fucking thigh!

Everyone gets their own Japanese woman dressed as a schoolgirl! That goes for men, women, people who opted not to check a box on our surveys, and even the Japanese women dressed as schoolgirls. We’ll figure out how to make that work!

(The company might be my favorite representation of how to have a modern, non-terrible sensibility on gender, sexuality, and various other social justice issues, while still being evil.)

Follow: Kakos Industries feed on DW.

Monday Works Roundup, 7/13 July 13, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in But I'm A Cat Person, Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Reseda, Showing Off (wallpaper | Reseda | worksafe)
Buttons and Bows (art | Cybele | worksafe)

The Last Man in the Universe (art | the Last Man, his clone | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Tiernan, v2 (art | the cat | worksafe)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica(/Utena, Precure, Shugo Chara)
Walpurgis Necking (art | Madoka/Walpurgisnacht | worksafe)
Mahou Shoujo Miki (art | Aono Miki, Kaoru Miki, Miki, Miki Sayaka | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Grumpy Fan (art | Connie, Steven | worksafe)

Welcome to Night Vale
Revelation, Part B (4koma | Man in the Tan Jacket, Cecil/Carlos | G)
Welcome To The New Age (art | Dana, Cecil/Carlos, Tamika, daemons | worksafe)
Soundtrack: Welcome To The New Age (OST | Republic of Heaven Community Radio | G)
August Bodies, part 1 (fic | Cecil/Earl | NC-17)

Painted Milky Way (stock/resource, worksafe)
The Spire (Oslo photo, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Patrick accidentally let something slip, poor puppy. Meanwhile: go to bed, Cohen.

Monday Works Roundup, 4/20 April 20, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in Works Roundup.
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Scarlet Integra (art | Integra | worksafe)

ILLUSIONOID(/Kakos Industries/Thrilling Adventure Hour/WtNV)
The Last Name in the Universe (fic | the last man in the universe | G)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
A Blinking Light Up On The Clouded Mountain, chapter 50 (fic | Cecil/Carlos, HDM crossover characters, WtNV ensemble | T)
Man in the Tan Jacket 4koma part 12 (comic | TJ, Carlos | G)
Desert Bluffs Tamika Flynn (art | DB!Tamika | worksafe)
Every Time You’re On (comic | Cecil/Carlos, others | G)
Coloring Page – Witches and Sons (lineart | Cecil, Janice, TJ, Josie, Serafina, Cecil’s mom | worksafe)
Steve Carlsberg Appreciation Chibis (art | Steve/Delphine, Renée, Janice, Glow Cloud, Cecil | worksafe)
Recommended Reading (art | Tamika | worksafe)

Ripped Jeans (commissioned chibi, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Curse your sudden yet inevitable betrayal.