Podcast Review #48: Galaxybillies

Title: Galaxybillies
Author: Michell Plested
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: 9 January 2010 – 26 September 2010
Located: iTunes, Author’s Site
Formats Available: Podcast only
Rating: PG for violence and adult situations

I’ve been following Michell Plested on twitter for quite some time. I don’t know why he started following me, but he did. Soon after, he started interacting with me. This is the only sure fire way to get me to return your follow. I did just that and have enjoyed his feed ever since. Near the end of last year, Michell began talking about a new project he was contemplating. It was going to be a podionovel, but with the distinction of being written, edited and recorded every two weeks. I thought at the time this was an ambitious goal but quietly wished him well. He started the story in January and has just completed this project.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: The adventures of five hillbillies in space taking the universe by surprise. (Stolen from iTunes) Okay. Simply stated, that is the worst synopsis I’ve yet come across. However, I’ll give him a bit of a pass in that he probably didn’t know where the story was going to lead him when he began and he needed some kind of a synopsis to post on iTunes. However, the story is complete now, and a better synopsis is in order. Please.

Production/Cast: For this review it was necessary to combine the production and the cast. Read on. You’ll understand why.

The production of Galaxybillies is astounding. Mr. Plested did something for this story I have never heard done before. He had made the decision to record it as a straight read. He then used his computer (specifically Garageband on his Mac, if I remember his interview with Richard Green (@Mainframe) on Geek Out with Mainframe correctly) to modulate his voice for each character. I am a geek. Further I am a Mac geek, and I still have wouldn’t attempt this challenge. Mr. Plested voiced 3 human males and 2 human females as well as a variety of human sounding aliens and a plethora of robots and not a single voice sounded the same. That is huge and commendable. Unfortunately, I would have preferred a simple straight read without the tech. Even though his characters voices were so completely different I would have never guessed they were all the same man (by the way, how DID Mel Blanc do it????) the limits of the tech show through quite often with a voice ending with a bit of electronic white out or static. Some of you (many of you?) might disagree with this, and yes I am being picky, but after my initial amazement at what he was doing and how well he was doing it wore off, those technological short comings of the software annoyed me. Not enough not to finish the story. But enough that I found myself wishing for a more traditional straight read.

Story: Galaxybillies is one of the strangest mashups I’ve ever heard or read. Mr. Plested has worked in almost every scifi movie reference of the last several decades. He has everything from Star Wars to Predators making cameo appearances and working them into the story in a way that they actually work. The story itself is a thinly veiled (and readily admitted) update on the Beverly Hillbillies and once again (what IS IT with this chain of stories lately???) that picks a group out of their element and then watches their responses.

Verdict: Galaxybillies is goofy fun. If you liked the old black and white Beverly Hillbillies show, and you’re a fan of scifi, and you have a tolerance for silliness, go ahead and subscribe, you’ve found your story. Fans of J.R. Murdock will enjoy Mr. Plested’s story. It is mostly family friendly and takes enough turns and twists to keep it from being predictable.

Oh, and for the record, yes, he did keep to his two week writing, editing, recording schedule. Good show!

Disclosure: As stated before, I follow Mr. Plested on Twitter and have subscribed to both his writing podcast “Get Published” and this novel. We chat often on Twitter, though by no means would I want to imply we are regular correspondents. I respect what he is trying to do and wish him luck. He has never tried to bribe or threaten a review out of me (What am I doing wrong?? Still not a single bribe or threat to date. *sigh*) though I expect he has his hands busy trying to milk all of those lamas.

Comment Pages

There are 10 Comments to "Podcast Review #48: Galaxybillies"

  • Thanks for the review, Sir. Yes, as you have discovered, writing synopsis is one of my (many???) Achilles heals. 🙂

    It was a learning process for me for sure and while I’m happy with the results, I’m still going to try and improve things on the next one.


    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks for the speedy comment! I always love to hear from the authors! Thanks for the fun story. It really was entertaining. As far as the synopsis goes, I think they are the bane of all writers. Now that the story is complete, maybe you could get someone you trust to provide one for you?

  • Another great review. I have really enjoyed Galaxybillies and I look forward to listening to the final chapter (thanks for spoiler-free reviews!).

    Trust me, it’s only because Odin put out his review as soon as the last episode dropped, and I’ve been very busy that I haven’t listened yet, because I really enjoy Galaxybillies. (I know what I’m listening to at lunch).

    It’s not high literature, but it’s a lot of fun. If someone doesn’t have problems with the voices after listening to the first episode, I’d say they are in for a treat. Galaxybillies is definitely on my “recommend” list 🙂

    This was a kind of an experiment by the author. One of the great things about podcast novels is that we get to experience these kinds of things without waiting on a book publisher. I think more authors should do their own writing experiments and send them our way 🙂 (Not that I don’t really appreciate those wonderful people who do. Thank you, thank you, thank you!)

    I usually don’t do shameless plugs for my own podcast, but since Odin brought it up … The “Geek Out! with Mainframe” interview with the author is in 2 parts at http://gowmainframe.blogspot.com/2010/04/gowm-episode-1-interview-with-michell.html and http://gowmainframe.blogspot.com/2010/04/gowm-episode-2-interview-with-michell.html . More of my interviews can be found at http://geekoutwithmainframe.com .

    • odin1eye says:

      I agree. More experimentation is always welcome!

      As far as shamelessly plugging, let me help. Gang, if you haven’t been listening to Richard Green’s (Aka mainframe) Geek Out With Mainframe, you really should. He has all ready had some A list guests and it’s always a good listen.

  • Thomas says:

    I agree with you on the production, specifically the multitudes of voices created. It was a nice trick. it made the read a little stilted and a little over produced. But beyond that, it was a fun romp into the galatic highways with the clampetts (See my bitstrip prmoting this podnovel: Up, Up, & Away it is pure fun, enjoyable, hands you a laugh or two,and an easy read.

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks Thomas! Sorry it took so long to moderate your comment. You were mistakenly identified as spam (hmm, see a bitstrip of a can of potted meat being mistaken as that other product….)

      It was a fun story and there is definitely room in the podiobook pantheon for funsters.

  • Doc Coleman says:

    Now let me get this straight… So far the only person who has paid a bribe to get a review on here is me? And I paid a five-year-old girl in order to get your review, not you.

    Is that correct?


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