Podcast Review #50: Nocturnal

Title: Nocturnal
Author: Scott Sigler
Genre: Horror
Released: 15 August 2008 – 19 December 2008
Located: iTunesPodiobooksAuthor’s Site
Formats Available: Podcast
Rating: R for violence, gore and sexual situations

Continuing with our month of October reviews of the strange, the scary, the podcasts that go bump in the night, we bring you Scott Sigler’s Nocturnal.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Something lives deep beneath the streets of San Francsico. Something that has been there for centuries, something that comes out at night … to feed on the dregs of society. A sub-culture, with its own myths, its own legends of leader named The King that will lead them out of bondage, and their own demon, a hunting shadow known only as Savior.

But the legends of Savior’s brutality have faded, the fear passed into stories told to frighten the young ones. When The King finally appears, just as foretold, the Nocturnals know their time has come — the time to come out from under the streets and hunt humanity in the open. (stolen from the author’s site)

Production: By the time Mr. Sigler began podcasting Nocturnal, he was far from a noobie in the podcasting field. With Nocturnal, however, Mr. Sigler decided to try something a bit different and began with adding a few sound effect elements into the production. Most of the time, I’m all for spicing up audio. In this case though, the effects seemed somewhat forced (although, a bone breaking snap early on really did make me wince). I’ve a feeling Mr. Sigler felt similarly, because as the production continued, the effects diminished. I haven’t mentioned The Story so Far in quite a while. I still hate them. I am noticing fewer and fewer podcasts using this device though. Although I definitely don’t take credit for this, I wouldn’t be being truthful if I suggested I wasn’t thrilled by the fact. However, the reason I mention TSSF now, is that Mr. Sigler was able to get some really interesting guests to read for TSSF for him. No particular favorites… oh who am I kidding… Tee’s reading was absolutely priceless.

Cast: Calling any of Mr. Sigler’s stories a straight read would be like saying the cast of Ben Hur was limited to one. However, he is the only voice telling the story. If you haven’t heard any of Mr. Sigler’s other stories, you only need give one a listen to know what I mean.

Story: Nocturnal is a bit different from Mr. Sigler’s previous stories in that it is more of a story of a group of people with a unique genetic trait than it is a pure creature feature. The creatures in this story are also sentient, making it possible for Mr. Sigler to give us points of view from both sides of the table.

Verdict: Mr. Sigler knows how to tell a good story. Some of course are better than others. In my hierarchy of Sigler stories, this fits in somewhere between Earthcore and his Contagious series. My favorite of his books continue to be his Rookie series followed by Ancestor. As in all Sigler stories, no character is safe. Nocturnal had a lot of things that going for it, but it failed to deliver in a few others. Disagree? Tell me why.

Disclosure: I have purchased several of Mr. Sigler’s books and I have listened to all his podcasts. I follow him on Twitter though I’m pretty sure he doesn’t follow me (truthfully, I don’t know for sure and I haven’t checked). I’ve never met him, and I wasn’t offered a dang thing in return for this review, not even a ride in a plaid tank. Though, now that I think about it, I probably better be keeping a look out for them, starting……now.

Comment Pages

There are 12 Comments to "Podcast Review #50: Nocturnal"

  • Scott Roche says:

    Not my favorite SIgler story but a good one. The ending is rough and as I recall he was writing this one as he went. Once he got to the meat of the story it was a ripper.

    • odin1eye says:

      Agree and yes, I remember the same… While writing the review, I noticed a “after story” ep that I don’t think I’ve ever heard… I’ll have to check that one out.

  • O.K. Nocturnal may not be top of the list for Scott Sigler, but I definitely enjoyed it, a lot. I do think that if/when he publishes a print version, it will dramatically improve in the editing process.

    My absolute favorite part of the story is the character of Pookie Chang. I can’t properly explain how much I enjoyed each and every line written for him (and Scott’s performance of his voice). More story protagonists need a “sidekick” this darn good. 🙂

    I don’t know what it is about Scott’s writing, because I’m not big on horror/gore/etc.; but I can’t help but be a fan.

    I do think that objectively, Odin’s review is right on target. If he were any better at this review thing, I’m not sure I could handle it 😉 *… but I’d find a way to deal with it* 🙂

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks Richard! I definitely agree with you that my favorite part of the story was the characters. A couple of them, even for a (maybe) first draft, were done very well. Being a Sigler story though, you better not get too attached to any of them, because as sure as the sun is going to rise (um… in the real world, in Sigler’s, that ain’t no promise) some of them are going to die.

      And, LOL, I’ll do my best to see if I can’t kick this review thing up a notch. Thanks!

  • Thomas says:

    It’s Sigler, i HAVE to comment. Siggie can scare you and gross you out all with one stroke of the pen (click of the keyboard). This is from what i have hear (including the crypt stories) his grossest to date. I enjoyed this one, not as much as his other stories (even though iI am a character name in Nocturnal). He has discussed doing rewrites, edits, etc. of this book. To be truthful, he could improve this one greatly if he did that (oops, there goes my character). But Scott does know how to tell/read a good story. He does know how to get you into the story and keep you there. even Sigler at his worst is a good read, and this was NOT his worst.

    Um, Odin, what did you like/not like about this one?

    My major issue with this one is he got distracted with the side stories and there where a couple of loose ends. I believe that was a result of him writing it as he podcasted it without much time for edits and rewrites.

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks Thomas! I never am unimpressed with any of Scott’s work. The thing is, when you are as successful and prolific as Mr. Sigler, you can’t help but have your one work compared to other volumes.

      I guess I should have placed the order a bit more out there. For me, this is my favorite of Scott’s.. Ancestor, Earthcore, Nocturnal (now this doesn’t take into account The Rookie and The Starter… they are just… wow). Now, when Nocturnal is your third favorite, it might seem bad, but only if you take into account how much I truly enjoyed the first two.

      What I liked: Nocturnal is a buddy cop story meets the (evil) X-men.

      What I disliked: Nocturnal is a buddy cop story meets (evil) X-men.

      Okay. Yes. They’re the same. The characterizations here were awesome and made the story that much more enjoyable. However, I really like the level of malevolent awesomeness that the creatures in the other two exuded. Once you personify the baddies, and even create a bit of empathy, it isn’t quite as easy to pull off that same level of malevolence.

      Whew.. and I think I still did it without including spoilers! Thanks for the comment and the question Thomas!

      • Thomas says:

        I concede to your points. it’s just this one could have been MUCH better if he had taken the time to do edits and rewrites, rather than putting himself under the gun as he did.

        Scott is an awesome writer, he is the reason i listen to horror now (never used to til i heard him on Psuedopod.org & Escapepod.org)

  • I did forget one thing. There is one really gross scene that really gave me the shivers and a big … I can not believe he went there moment. If this were a movie, I would have had to have hid my eyes, covered my ears, and gone “la-la-la-la-la-la-la …” until it was over. And keep in mind, if I know it’s fiction I can take a LOT without being phased.

    Depending on who you are, this might be a selling point.

    Just to be clear … this is NOT one for the kiddies!! (and perhaps some college students out there … and a few old fogies my age) 😉

  • JC says:

    Scott Sigler sits on the Mount Olympus of podcast novelists. He is a shining example of the best the medium has to offer. His stories have typically been revised and perfected before podcasting. They’re just not like anything else on the internet, or in the bookstore.
    His characters, whether we’re supposed to be rooting for or against them, are well fleshed out. It’s a hard thing for a writer to do, to write bad guys with the same complexity as the good guys. Sometimes, it’s the opposite. But Scott Sigler writes bad guys so well, you might have to actively force your brain to remember whom you’re supposed to be rooting for.
    This is not a perfect podcast. The main cop character, going through the change (Brian? Been a while for me on this one) is a little thinly developed, as is Savior. But Pookie, the other cops, the humans, the metahumans are so full of description and are so vivid, you start thinking this is a world that might actually exist. Can’t think of a better compliment for a story.

    • odin1eye says:

      Nocturnal definitely had it strong and week points. I liked the idea and concept a bit more than the execution, but still, Sigler never fails to be, at the very least, entertaining.

      Thanks!

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