Title: Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword
Author: Tee Morris
Genre: Fantasy/Detective Noir
Released: February 13, 2007 – June 29, 2007
Located: Podiobooks, iTunes, Author’s site
Tagline: “Chicago, 1929. There are a thousand stories in the naked city; and when you’re a dwarf at four-foot-one, they all look that much taller.”
A.K.A. : The Case of the Singing Sword: A Billibub Baddings Mystery
Formats available: iPhone App, Traditional Print, Podcast
AWARDS: WINNER 2008 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form including Independents)
Back in late 2006, early 2007 I was personally in a very bad place and had LOTS of time on my hands. I had been listening to podcasts since late 2005, but had limited myself to educational, mac and old time radio. By March, I had exhausted all of my backlogue and needed more entertainment. At the time, I retrieved all of my podcasts through iTunes store and began looking for new content there first. That is when I stumbled upon Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword.
My life will never be the same.
I now search out and listen to many podcast novels. And it is all Tee Morris’ fault.
So, on to the review.
Production: Having listened to other podcasts, I was pleasently surprised at how beautiful the production quality of The Case of the Singing Sword was. Having never listened to any other serialized podcast, I was unaware of how unusually good it was. All audio levels were quite nicely balanced, the base level of all audio was sufficient without being too “hot”. The sound effects and music added to, and never interfered, with the story.
I especially liked the recap of each episode being done in the style of a period radio newscap.
Cast: I have a preference for minimal casting. I don’t know why. Maybe it is due to the poor mixing most authors achieve. I realize this is only my preference, but this is my review. However, when the production is of such a high quality, multiple cast members often provide a quite enjoyable experience. Such was the case with The Case of the Singing Sword. Each member of the cast did a simply stellar job. While not a huge cast, there were still enough members that coordinating the parts and mixing it down would have required talent and time. Mr. Morris has plenty of the former and must have set aside sufficient amounts of the latter. The cast and the casting were excellent.
Story: Regardless of how strong the production and cast of a podcast might be, if the story doesn’t interest me, I will either not finish the story, or will quickly forget it once it has been completed. Simply put, The Case of the Singing Sword was excellent. As soon as I read the above tagline, I knew the story had potential. In these reviews I am going to keep the reprise to a minimum. I will also say that for me, characters make or break a story. Action is fine. Descriptive passages are wonderful. However, without great characters I quickly become bored and lose interest. Billibub Baddings is a character that I could read about for a very long time and never become bored. Tee has an amazing way with banter and this is one of the things that endears all of his characters to me.
Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword set the bar very high for all future podcast fiction that I’ve listened to. I honestly cannot in good faith say that I would change a single thing about it. Whenever I am asked for recommendations concerning podcasts, I always ask if the questioner enjoys either fantasy or noir fiction. If they say yes to either, I am confident they will enjoy Billi. And to this date, I’ve never had anyone I’ve recommended it to report differently.
VERDICT: Must listen, unequivocally
For those of you that follow me (@odin1eye) on Twitter, you know that I converse regularly with Tee Morris (@teemonster and @itstudios). This is due solely to Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword (later retitled The Case of the Singing Sword: A Billibub Baddings Mystery). This story is also responsible for me venturing onto Twitter in the first place. The reason was to see if Tee really would respond to the random fan (he does). I say this because I don’t want to be accused of “sucking up”. As I stated at the outset, this story is responsible for my love of podcast fiction. Of course it is going to be extremely positive. Not all reviews will be this positive, but I am also not out to flame any author. As I stated in the previous post, I will be (at least at the beginning) reviewing podcasts that I personally listen to. If you agree or disagree, I would love to hear what you think by posting in the comments below.
At this point I would like to state that on all reviews, feel free to flame me if you disagree. I will post those. However, don’t flame the author of the podcast. I will not post those. Constructive criticism is always welcome.
*updated to include 2008 Parsec Award information… Don’t know how I forgot that.. Thanks Philippa Ballantine for the heads up!
NEXT REVIEW: Tumber by Brand Gamblin