#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.

“The Darkness of Evil” by Alan Jacobson (Open Road Media, 2017)


Alan Jacobson has delighted us readers for a number of years now with his gripping Karen Vail books, and in the latest installment, the sinisterly titled Darkness of Evil, Vail comes up against what could be her greatest foe yet: a convicted serial killer.

Senior profiler at the Behavioral Analysis Unit, Karen Vail, is juggling lots of projects and problems at once; but that’s just her modus operandi, in addition to dealing with a new boss who she doesn’t really get along with. She’s also keeping her eye on Jasmine Marcks, who has just published a book about her life as the daughter of a serial killer, which she had no idea about until she was a teenager and was crucial in having Roscoe Lee Marcks brought to justice and put away for a very long time. Roscoe killed fourteen people and Vail took over the case in the early days of her career, helping the guy get put away.

Jasmine receives a note from her father. He knows about the book. He knows what she said about him in the book. He wants revenge. Vail lets Jasmine know the man is locked behind bars and everything will be okay. She is finally granted access to begin interviewing Roscoe to find out what he is up to, and then before she knows it, the serial killer escapes with help from a number of people on the inside.

The rules have changed; the stakes are through the roof. It’s a whole new ball game.

Bodies begin turning up, including a cop who was protecting Jasmine. The daughter decides to go it alone, keeping hidden and quiet, only getting in contact with Vail occasionally. Meanwhile, the ace profiler joins a crack team of US Marshals and other experts to chase down Roscoe and put him back in prison where he belongs.

The Darkness of Evil kicks it into high gear right from the start, as the reader immediately gets drawn into the book. Jacobson continues to make Vail a complex and complete character, as she juggles personal life problems, other cases, and the nail-biting terror of a serial killer on the loose who seems to have no limits to whose life he may take. He could be coming around the next corner with his sights on her. But Vail is a professional. She is experienced; a veteran. She knows what has to be done, and the reader is thrilled to be along for the ride.

Originally written on March 15, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Darkness of Evil from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

OSTIUM EPISODE 6 – DIALOGUES

In Episode 6, Jake and Monica sit down over a good meal and some hot tea and have a heart to heart chat about Ostium, life in Ostium, and all things . . . Ostium.

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 at www.patreon.com/ostiumpodcast. 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.

“Powers of Darkness” by Bram Stoker, Valdimar Ásmundsson, translated by Hans de Roos (Overlook Press, 2016)


In 1901, an Icelandic edition of Dracula was translated and published by Valdimar Ásmundsson, which he titled Makt Myrkranna or Powers of Darkness, for the Icelandic readers. It included an original preface by one Bram Stoker but remained unknown for a long time. In 1986 this Icelandic edition was discovered, and Bram Stoker’s preface was translated and studied, while the rest of the book was largely ignored.

In 2014, independent researcher Hans de Roos took a look at the rest of the Icelandic text and discovered something unique: a whole new, never before seen story of a vampire named Dracula. Apparently, when Valdimar Ásmundsson translated Stoker’s bestseller, he made some character and plot changes. The result is a shorter novel that runs a lot faster, is a little more erotic and suspenseful. Makt Myrkranna focuses more on Jonathan Harkness’s stay at Castle Dracula and the strange and terrifying things that go on there.

This edition of this new and unique text features an introduction and margin annotations by Hans de Roos, as well as a foreword by Dacre Stoker, and an afterword by John Edgar Browning. Powers of Darkness is a completely new look at this classic text that fans of the book and genre won’t want to miss.

Originally written on November 18, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Powers of Darkness from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.