Podcast Review #39: Brave Men Run

Title: Brave Men Run
Author: Matthew Wayne Selznick
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: 10 December 2005 – 25 March 2006
Located: iTunes, Podiobooks, Author’s Site
Formats Available: Podcast, Dead Tree version, electronic versions
Rating: PG for violence and some adult situations and content

Brave Men Run is another of what I refer to as a “legacy review”, simply meaning that it is one that finished quite a while back and one that I listened to long ago. I generally review podcasts that I’ve either been subscribed to during their duration and have just ended or ones that have been completed for a bit but that I’ve still just finished listening to. I listened to Brave Men Run fairly early on in my listening of podcast fiction and now I believe is a very good time to share my thoughts on it.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: April 18, 1985 — Into a world already wound tight with the desperate tensions of the Cold War comes a man with a startling Declaration: Metahumans exist, they demand autonomy, and Dr. William Karl Donner has the reality-bending power to enforce their status. The balance of power is thrown askew by the addition of not one more Superpower, butsix thousand.

Before the Donner Declaration, high school sophomore Nate Charters was just an outsider and self-proclaimed freak. His unusual appearance, hair-trigger reflexes, and overactive metabolism should have made him something special, but his differences and low self-esteem have long since marked him as a target for the jocks and popular kids.

Now, just as his unique nature brings him the attention of a self-assured older girl, Nate must find his place in the world. Why is he the way he is? Where did he come from? Is he part of a remarkable, powerful new minority… or just a misfit among misfits?

He’d better find out fast… others want the truth, and they’re closing in…

(minor accolade – now THAT is a synopsis!)

Production: Brave Men Run is an older podcast, and relistening to it now, that age shows a bit in comparison with some of the newest and best. However, it is still better produced than a majority of the podcasts out there. Mr. Selznick should be proud of this production and of the work that he put into it.

Cast: Mr. Selznick did all of the voicework on this podcast and he did quite a good job. This was one of the first solo read podcasts I’d listened to and in at least some small part, it is one of the reason’s that I enjoy this style of casting so much.

Story: Brave Men Run is a very interesting amalgamation of story types. It is a science fiction project at heart that through it’s science borders on fantasy and gives many and varied nods to the world of comics. I will say that throughout the story I felt like someone was reading a multipart comic story arch to me. Although I don’t have the budget to be an avid comic collector any longer, at one time I was, and I still greatly enjoy this style of storytelling. This is not a story I would call great literature or great writing. If it were ever optioned into a movie, I would anticipate it would be a summer popcorn flick, and I would not begrudge the price of the ticket.

Verdict: If you click on the Podiobook link I provided above, you will see that Mr. Selznick has garnered rave review statements from some of the premiere names in podcasting. Hutchins, Lafferty, Jeffrey, Terra, Wilson and more. I’ve always wondered if author’s read or listen to the writings that they’re commenting on, or if they listen to the whole story at least. I still don’t know and I don’t claim to, however, I do believe that Mr. Selznick’s story deserves to be heard. Do I think everyone will like it? No. Of course not. There is never anything that everyone can agree on. I am not even claiming this is one of the very best stories I’ve heard. I will say it is a good one though and if you like a good story and have ever enjoyed comics, you should give it a listen.

Disclosure: I don’t follow Mr. Selznick on Twitter. To my knowledge, he doesn’t follow me either and I don’t remember every exchanging Tweets with him.

Comment Pages

There are 14 Comments to "Podcast Review #39: Brave Men Run"

  • BMR was one of the first podiobooks I listened to as well. It was instrumental in my choosing the “solo read” format for my own works when I started. I find something uniquely compelling about a long form piece being told by a single voice and Matt’s use of it in BMR is a classic.

    Thanks, Odin, and thank you, Matt, for inspiring a generation of podiobook producers.

  • Scott Roche says:

    Excellent review. This is one of the first podcast novels where I actually bought the novel and was glad I did.

    • odin1eye says:

      I still say that the “free” model can work and buying a novel you’ve all ready heard is a great way to show your appreciation for the author’s work. Thanks Scott!

  • RAsplundJr says:

    Brave Men Run definitely one of my faves… hmmm might need to relisten to that one it’s been too long.

  • Bryan says:

    I agree with this review pretty much word for word. It is a book I shouldn’t have liked (super heroes and high school settings are two subjects I usually avoid) but found that the delivery kept me hooked right through to the end. It was one of my first podiobooks listens as well.

  • Thomas says:

    Well done, my friend.
    i agree with your review. It was also one of my first podcast novels to listen to and purchase the book (which my daughter read and loved). it is also one of my early bitstrip lampoon targets (i am a bit embarrassed by it)

  • Thanks very much for the review, Odin! It’s nice to see that the podcast edition of “Brave Men Run – A Novel of the Sovereign Era” still has some legs. I agree that it sounds a bit dated in terms of sound quality and recording technique — it was one of the first twenty podcast novels ever, and we were still defining the medium, if such a thing can be said to have been done. I’m happy to hear that the experience and story still hold up!

    I can assure you that everyone who wrote blurbs for “Brave Men Run – A Novel of the Sovereign Era” read the book or listened to the podcast edition, starting with Evo Terra, the co-founder of Podiobooks.com, who called it “…the finest podcast novel I’ve listened to.” Authors and editors don’t praise stuff they haven’t read — there’s too much potential for future embarrassment!

    If folks want more of the Sovereign Era setting, “The Sovereign Era: Year One” anthology, featuring authors J.C. Hutchins, Matt Wallace, Mur Lafferty, Nathan Lowell, P.G. Holyfield, J.R. Blackwell and Jared Axelrod, is available, as well as the ongoing serial fiction project “Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights.” A second Sovereign Era novel is in progress, but there’s no release date on that yet.

    By the way, I’d be very grateful to you if you could go back through your post and correct the spelling of my name — it’s Selznick, with a “ck.”

    Also, I’d be happy to follow you on Twitter and Facebook and I look forward to connecting with you there.

    Many thanks,

    Matthew Wayne Selznick

    • odin1eye says:

      Yep… egg on my face… it isn’t every day you can misspell the author’s name. I am sorry about that. I really appreciate your taking the time to stop by and read the post as well as leaving a comment. I’ve got Year One on my radar and will be checking out “Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights” soon.

      Really was a fun story, and I sincerely thank you for the entertainment you have provided to so many of us.

  • Dan says:

    Agreed on all counts.

    I really enjoyed this book, even though the teen-movie/teen-hero mashup isn’t exactly my favourite. The reality of the characters won out and hooked me through right to the end. I don’t remember even noticing if the audio quality was less than pristine.

    BMR is an easy and satisfying story to immerse yourself in. Great review Odin, and thanks Matt for putting it out there for us.

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