Podcast Review #1: Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword

Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword 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

Comment Pages

There are 16 Comments to "Podcast Review #1: Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword"

  • Orion says:

    Great Review! Loved how you gave us your personal story on how you came to listen to this podcast in the first place. I agree with the nice touch showed in the style used in bringing the listener up to speed.

    My favorite portion of the review was your comments on the cast. I leave it to you to learn why.

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks for the comment Orion.. sincerely appreciate it when cast stops by… and by the way.. Tee is wrong… the gray adds a touch of dignity. 😀

  • Scott says:

    Definitely a good review. BB is my favorite Morris podcast.

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks Scott! There will be plenty more reviews along the way. Eventually maybe even one about a messed up Christian assassin (sniper, whatever). Nah, nobody would ever write/record something like that.

  • I am sure Morris would like you to mention his Parsec Award for this… but I wouldn’t if I were you. 😀

  • Jill Estabrooks says:

    I didn’t know Tee did a podcast.(I know I should be more aware of who does what on my twitter stream) Definitely looking it up. I just finished Natania Barron’s pod cast The Aldersgate Cycle. I enjoyed listening to the story as I worked at the studio.

    • odin1eye says:

      Tee is an award winning podcaster (as noted in the review). Billibub is a hilarious story that I know you will greatly enjoy. He has also released Morevi: Remastered that I HIGHLY recommend (will be reviewed later) and is a major voice actor in Philippa Ballantine’s Chasing the Bard, Weather Child and now being released, Digital Magic. He has actually voiced more characters than I can name at the moment. Give Billi a listen, and let me know what you think.

  • Yep, Tee doesn’t much mention it, but he was in fact the 1st person to podcast a novel, shortly followed by Scott Sigler and Mark Jeffrey. Oh yes, and he wrote Podcasting for Dummies with Evo Terra, and was one of the founders of podiobooks.com
    I should be paid to pimp him this much. :p

    • odin1eye says:

      I guess I should have mentioned that for those unfamiliar with Tee’s work. I forget there might be some. Don’t forget, he worked on Expert Podcasting Practices For Dummies with Evo as well. The man is a podcasting force to be reckoned with. (I keep hearing a promotion bell going off… “ding”!)

  • Mick Bordet says:

    Thanks for the well-considered review. I’m not a great lover of either noir or fantasy genres, but this glowing report has convinced me to give it a try. Another podcast to add to my already growing list to follow!

    • odin1eye says:

      Excellent! I really hope you enjoy it. Tee write’s Billi very tongue in cheek that I think will appeal to you. Think Razor, without the rhyming, 4 foot 1 inches tall, from another universe, being a hard drinker and womanizer. Okay so they’re not at all similar. Oh well. Hope you enjoy anyway. 😀

  • Tee Morris says:

    Oh yeah, I podcast quite a bit. The thing about my podcasting habits is they are widespread and cover a lot of ground. Lately, my podcasts have been experiments on keeping it brief (less than ten minutes) but you can have a listen to my podcasts here:

    http://teemorris.com/podcasts/

    One thing I will say about this podcast: I truly underestimated its staying power. *LOL*

    When I launched it back in 2007 I had no idea people would take to it. I didn’t even have anything to promote this time around. It had been a few years since I’d podcast any fiction and I wanted to get back into it after hearing Scott Sigler and J.C. Hutchins talking smack to one another. That inspired the promos (that people STILL rave about) and then came the production itself. With all the up’s and downs, I have to say that it was a real delight.

    But truly humbling is how people are digging the dwarf.

    Many have asked if/when I will be podcasting The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant. The answer I can give now is “I don’t know.” As you can guess with everything from Singing Sword to the recent preview of Books & Braun, I love to do things in a certain style. (That’s the actor in me.) Right now, though, I need to focus on the writing, stay in my Social Media groove at the day job, and make time for my daughter.

    But stay tuned. The Books & Braun preview (at my website and also at Pip Ballantine’s) reminded me just how much I enjoy podcasting fiction.

    Thanks for listening, and for commenting.

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks for visiting Tee! You have no idea how jacked up I am about Brooks and Braun. The link for Tee’s mentioned preview can be located here.

      The one thing I can honestly say to all the rest of you is, be careful. You’re going to get addicted, and the worst thing about Tee’s stories/podcasts: they end.

  • I had heard about Billy for a long time, and I finally gave it a shot. Man, what an amazing production. The old time radio TSSF where great, all the character’s and sound effects blew me away. I’m a huge fan of the straight read, but listening to this podcast was so much fun. Really entertaining, great production, and also great writing and story. Great review.

    • odin1eye says:

      You are the second one that I have spoken with that had put off listening to Billy. The first was Richard Asplund Jr. of Random Pimpage fame. He loved it as well. Tee is a master of his craft and the lavish treatment that Billy received is a testimony to the efforts that he puts into his productions. Glad you enjoyed the story!

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