Rocket Talk, the Tor.com podcast, launches today and we couldn’t be more excited! (Thanks to Tim Paul for the awesome banner!)
To be released weekly, Rocket Talk will blend discussion style talk-radio with audio narrations of Tor.com’s award winning short fiction. The podcast will take the vast landscape of Tor.com and beam it straight into your ear holes. It will capture the tremendous dialogue on the website and take it to the digital airwaves like a Viking horde beaching a seaside village with more group dancing and less pillaging.
You’re probably wondering who will be on the Tor.com podcast. The answer is everyone, but one voice will be there every week—Justin Landon. You may know him from the First Law Trilogy reread, Under the Radar, or his Twitter feed. You will soon know him as the host of Rocket Talk. You know, if you listen to the podcast. Otherwise you’ll probably continue to know him as that other guy, or not at all. Which is really a shame for him, but only a problem for you if your life lacks absurd pop culture analogies to describe science fiction and fantasy. Regardless, we very much hope you’ll get to know him and the dozens of brilliant guests that will be on the show in the coming weeks and months.
We all know what a podcast is inherently, but what is it really? The term “podcast” was first mentioned by Ben Hammersley in The Guardian newspaper in 2004. An amalgamation of “pod” from the Apple iPod and “cast” from broadcast, the term became commonplace despite the fact that podcasting as we know it now was still years away. A decade later we use the word as a matter of course. Podcasts can be heard in cars, on trains, at the gym, or, for brave souls, even in the shower.
At its basic level, the podcast is a horizontal media platform. Meaning it’s a form of media that’s shared between peers as opposed to top down from a traditional media outlet. In other words, it is to television and radio as blogging is to print media. It’s a medium that blurs the line between creator and consumer, which, to anyone familiar with the science fiction and fantasy community, will sound like a familiar paradigm.
See, Tor.com is built around community. It’s a community of enthusiasm and criticism, a blending that celebrates science fiction and fantasy, while moving it toward an even brighter tomorrow. Unfortunately, one of the limiting factors of print, even electronic print, is that the evolving discussions at the heart of a community are all but impossible. We have social media, and comments, and responding blog posts, but isn’t there something far more organic about a live argument? While Rocket Talk won’t bring hundreds of users together for a conversation, it will allow us to converse, to talk with our audience instead of at them.
The line between creator and consumer is already fuzzy here. We have posts from Jo Walton and stories from Pat Cadigan right alongside reviews from Niall Alexander and columns from Liz Bourke. It’s that fuzziness which is at the core of Tor.com’s sense of community, bridging a gap that exists less and less with every new technological leap. Rocket Talk is the next step in that evolution for Tor.com. We invite you to come along for the ride… erm… listen.
(Also! If you have an idea for an episode of Rocket Talk or would like to come on as a guest, reach out to Justin Landon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Obviously, we can’t accommodate everyone, but we’re always looking for new ideas and fresh perspectives.)