OSTIUM EPISODE 9 – AVALON

Jake and Monica are ready to venture through Door #5 and find out what’s on the other side. Will Jake know where they are? Will he have some intrinsic link to this location in time? And will they be able to find out something before the blackness comes . . ?

Written and produced by Alex C. Telander.
Performed by Chris Fletcher and Georgia McKenzie.

Warning, this episode contains explicit language.

Please help and support Team Ostium by rating and reviewing on iTunes, as well as checking out our Patreon page. Perks include mini episodes, all the music to Season 1, transcripts featuring full-color covers and illustrations, outtakes, and access to new episodes a week before regular release.

And don’t forget to subscribe and tell your friends.

And finally from Team Ostium to you: Thanks for listening.

“Change Agent” by Daniel Suarez (Dutton, 2017)


What if you could take a medication that could cause your body to go into reactive shutdown, altering your DNA, and when you recovered enough to regain consciousness and look in the mirror, you see a completely different face attached to a completely different body? And what if some truly despicable people were able to manufacture this medication? Welcome to Daniel Suarez’s chilling new novel, Change Agent.

It’s the year 2045, and Kenneth Durand is one of the top agents at Interpol fighting genetic crime. He specializes in tracking down hidden and very illegal labs performing “vanity edits” to an embryo’s DNA to make the future child smarter, or taller, or stronger, or all of the above . . . all for a nominal, or not so nominal fee. Because while the science and ability may exist, these mad scientists cut corners and don’t always comprehend what they’re really doing.

But the man behind one of the biggest cartels in the world known as the Huli jing, who is rumored to have this ability to edit an adult’s DNA, one Marcus Wyckes, is the biggest threat to be taken down. Any members of the cartel that are discovered always turn up dead, while Wyckes seems unable to be found. Durand gets full support to track down the Huli jing with whatever resources he needs.

Apparently this is one step too far for the cartel and they capture Durand, applying their secret supposedly nonexistent medication. The man wakes up days later to find himself in a hospital sore and tender in many ways. He looks in the mirror and Durand finds the face of Marcus Wyckes staring back at him. He has now become the most wanted man on the planet, and the police are on their way to the hospital.

Daniel Suarez has an uncanny ability with his science fiction thrillers to tell a story that not only seems vaguely plausible but makes the reader wonder if all this horrible stuff might be happening right now. Change Agent makes you wonder and think and hope, from the bottom of your heart, that this will never come to fruition, even if there’s a small part of your brain telling you it certainly will. The ending of the book unravels a little with the somewhat over the top action, but overall Change Agent is both a fascinating and gripping book that will keep you glued to every page.

Originally written on March 16, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Change Agent from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

OSTIUM EPISODE 8 – BACK TO THE FUTURE

In the beginning of Episode 8 – Back to the Future, Monica goes on a solo mission to try out something with a door in Ostium, and things don’t go according to plan. Later on, after a heart-to-heart discussion, Jake and Monica realize they need to visit an old haunt and sort some things out.

Written and produced by Alex C. Telander.

Performed by Chris Fletcher and Georgia McKenzie.

Warning, this episode contains explicit language.

Please help and support Team Ostium by rating and reviewing on iTunes, as well as checking out our Patreon page. Perks include mini episodes, all the music to Season 1, transcripts featuring full-color covers and illustrations, outtakes, and access to new episodes a week before regular release.

And don’t forget to subscribe and tell your friends.

And finally from Team Ostium to you: Thanks for listening.

“Apes and Angels” by Ben Bova (Tor, 2016)


In the second installment of the Star Quest Trilogy, Bova follows the same trajectory he left off in Death Wave. A wave of death is spreading through the Milky Way galaxy, wiping out entire planets whether there’s intelligent life on them or not. A vastly superior alien race contacted Earth to let them know they know how to help these alien worlds who have no clue of what is coming at them.

Apes and Angels is the story of an Earth mission, the crew of the Odysseus, traveling across many light years to Mithra Gamma where they begin studying the beings that live on the planet, with the goal of ascertaining how to contact them and protect them from this oncoming death. It becomes a bit of a Star Trek episode with the “Prime Directive” coming into play, as they grapple with how best to approach the alien race. Meanwhile on a neighboring planet is a primitive aquatic species that has been deemed too simple and primitive to be worth saving, and yet one scientist on the mission believes they are intelligent.

Apes and Angels, while an interesting experiment in what it is attempting to do, has a number of failings. The quick-moving scenes from Death Watch feel like an overly dramatic soap opera in this novel, with relationships and emotions between characters that lead to petty jealousy, making everything pretty heavy handed.

Originally written on February 23, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Apes and Angels from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

#Trypod: What is a podcast and why should I try it?

Today is the last day of March and the last day of the #trypod campaign, encouraging people who’ve never listened to a podcast before to give it a try.

What is a podcast?

Now, for those who don’t know, a podcast is essentially a serialized audio recording that you can download and/or stream online for free. Podcasts harken back to the days when radio dramas were popular and people would be glued to their radio each night, waiting to hear the next installment. The highpoint of these radio dramas was of course Orson Welles’s adaptation of War of the Worlds.

Podcasts these days come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. There are many that are works of entertaining fiction covering just about every genre. And there are also many nonfiction podcasts featuring interviews and biographies and news discussions, also covering all the nonfiction categories.

How do you listen to a podcast?

The great thing about podcasts right now is that they’re really popular, which is good news, because it means they’re really easy to get access to and listen to, whether it’s on your laptop/desktop or your phone. Also they’re all free .

If you have an iPhone or use iTunes a lot, there’s a specific podcasts section where you can find pretty much every podcast in existence just by searching for it in the search bar. Click on the podcast logo and you’ll see the page with info about the podcast and all the episodes available so far. Click on “Get” with each episode and they’ll all be downloaded for you, and you’ll want to make sure you start with the first episode. Also, if you like the podcast be sure to click on “Follow” and that way new episodes will automatically be downloaded for you.

If you’re an Android user or don’t use iTunes, the best free program to go with is Podbean. There are a number of other podcast programs that people like including SoundCloud, Google Play, Overcast, Player FM and Otto Radio to name a few. Podbean is simple to use and definitely very user friendly. You can download the app for free on your phone or go to the Podbean site on your computer. Just plug in the name of the podcast and just like with iTunes, you can click to download specific episodes, and again be sure to follow to get new episodes automatically downloaded for you.

What do I listen to?

I got really into podcasts about a year and a half ago. I read a ton of audiobooks with my job, and decided to branch out to podcasts. I started with the wacky podcast which has become a massive international success called Welcome to Night Vale.  I am currently subscribed to 12 podcasts: Welcome to Night Vale, Tanis, Black Tapes, Rabbits, A Scottish Podcast, The Bridge, The Bright Sessions, Small Town Horror, The Box, Mabel, ars Paradoxica, and my own podcast, Ostium.

I’ve also recently gotten way into science podcasts and enjoy: Science Friday, The Guardian’s Science Weekly, Anthropod, StarTalk, Orbital Path, BBC World Service Space, Audio News from Archaeologica, Nature Podcast, BBC Inside Science, Science Talk, and because I’m a San Francisco Giants fan, The Giants Insider Podcast.

What I really like about the Podbean app is that it automatically downloads all the new episodes to all the podcasts I’m subscribed to and I can listen to them all in a row without having to do anything other than hit play. You can even create your own playlists of specific episodes if you want.

Why should I listen to a podcast?

So to sum up: why a podcast? If you like audiobooks and find you have lots of time when you’re driving or could be listening to something, the sheer variety of podcasts out there now is just staggering. The subjects that are covered practically guarantee you’ll find something interesting. Also there’s some incredible fictional writing out there and some great drama being recorded that’s just really entertaining, like an addictive book or engrossing movie.

What is Ostium?

Ostium is a podcast I write and create and record with some friends. It’s about a man who discovers a hidden town in Northern California where there are many doors leading to different worlds. You can find out more about it on the Ostium website, or by searching for Ostium on iTunes, Podbean, or any of those other podcast apps I mentioned.

OSTIUM EPISODE 7 – VISITORS

In Episode 7, Jake and Monica face off with some visitors entering Ostium. Later on, Jake takes his last trip to his home and meets an old friend.

Written and produced by Alex C. Telander.
Performed by Chris Fletcher, Georgia McKenzie and Alex C. Telander.

Warning, this episode contains explicit language.

Please help and support Team Ostium by rating and reviewing on iTunes, as well as checking out our Patreon page. Perks include mini episodes, all the music to Season 1, transcripts featuring full-color covers and illustrations, outtakes, and access to new episodes a week before regular release.

And don’t forget to subscribe and tell your friends.

And finally from Team Ostium to you: Thanks for listening.

“Ocean of Storms” by Christopher Mari and Jeremy K. Brown (47North, 2016)


Ocean of Storms is the type of science fiction that not only piques your interest, but grabs your imagination and sucks you right into the story.

It is the near future, and much like now, the world isn’t doing so great. Tensions are reaching a pinnacle as the US and China stand on the brink of possible nuclear war over Taiwan. Then there is what seems like a worldwide electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that shuts down everything electronic planet wide and causes a lot of trouble. Days pass and governments around the world start getting everything up and running again and it is then they discover the origin of this mysterious pulse: a catastrophic explosion has struck the moon and now there is a massive gash in its surface. The answer to all this seems pretty obvious: we are most certainly not alone in the universe.

And then the race is on to find out just what is happening on the moon and what might possibly be inside that recently created chasm. China gets an unmanned probe into space first and gets some closeups of the giant black hole in the lunar surface. The US wants to get a manned mission out to the moon pronto, the only problem is no one’s been to the moon since the 1970s and the technology just really isn’t there. Nevertheless, NASA is given carte blanche to do what needs to be done, but still can’t make it happen. Eventually a joint mission between the US and China is formed and finally launched.

The book is essentially divided into two parts: the first putting together the mission to the moon and then finding out what exactly is there, and the reveal is somewhat predictable; while the second part focuses and dealing with what has been discovered back on Earth. The momentum and drive of the first part definitely slows and gets a little lost in the second part, as the book turns more into an action thriller. Overall, Ocean of Storms is an interesting and catchy read that fulfills all the important buttons to be pushed when reading speculative fiction.

Originally written on January 5, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Ocean of Storms from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.