Title: Digital Magic
Author: Philippa Ballantine
Genre: Science Fiction and Fantasy
Released: 10 November 2009 – 13 March 2011
Located: Podiobooks, iTunes, Author’s Site
Formats Available: podcast, ebook and dead tree (dead tree is no longer being published, so you might have to search)
Rating: R for violence and sexual situations
Thank God it’s over. I’ve been waiting to review this since November of 2009. For those of you keeping score, yes, that is when Podcast Review #1 dropped. And, yes, it is also when the first ep of Digital Magic was released. I purchased the book a year before that and had been waiting for the podcast so that I could review it!
So, on to the review.
Synopsis: Penherem is a quaint, sleepy English village where people go to escape the 21st Century. Hiding from the world of laptop computers, the Internet, and wireless communication, is Ella. A writer, now barren of ideas and drive, she resigns herself to a quiet life of solitude. Everything changes with the arrival of a shapeshifting thief. Suddenly, everyone begins to change–from the local librarian to the lady of the manor–revealing their true natures and dangerous secrets. Something in this sleepy English village is awakening… something that might be better left alone. (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)
Production: It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that has ever heard Ms. Ballantine’s work that the production is superb. She is well known as a voice actress in the podcast fiction community and I’ve rarely (never?) heard any of her audio that was less than excellent. Hmmm.. well maybe her first work of podcast fiction Weaver’s Web, but truthfully I don’t recall and would have to listen again. Suffice it to say, I heard nothing in Digital Magic that needs pointed out in a negative way.
However, the production schedule might make some take notice. Yes, it really did take over a year for this podcast to be completed. It is strange listening to early eps now and hearing advertisements (that word really is/should be pronounced Ad-ver-tis-ments… no long vowels, it’s just nicer that way) for The Boom Effect. Ms. Ballantine has been a very busy person during the course of this podcast and has consistently shared with us the deadlines and issues she has faced and the delays these have caused. If you’re podcasting, and you face delays, share that with your listeners. Perhaps even in the feed without an ep attached. Let us know. We’ll stay loyal when we know you haven’t left us.
Cast: Ms. Ballantine has moved a bit more into the full fledged cast with Digital Magic. She has regularly used multiple cast members, but I “think” this might be the largest she has utilized. The full cast can be found here.
Story: Digital Magic was written as a sequel to Chasing the Bard. However, two more different stories linked by the same content would be hard to find. I submit you would easily be able to listen to or read either story without having any knowledge of the other and have little to no issues arise from that fact. The story does continue with Puck as a main figure, but transverses the globe from Britain to New Zealand to the virtual worlds of the future internet. Digital Magic is Shakespeare as envisioned by William Gibson and written as only Ms. Ballantine could write it.
Verdict: I loved Chasing the Bard, but I adored Digital Magic both in its print form and this podcast version. I will also say, as long as there was between eps, I still had no problem following the story without a TSSF. If you like Science Fiction without spaceships and still want a bit of magic thrown in, you’re not going to find a better story than Digital Magic. Go, subscribe now.
Disclosure: Ms. Ballantine is one of my best friends. Pip is generous to a fault and one of the most talented people I know. I suspect she figured I’d review this podcast eventually, but she never asked or promised anything in return.