Podcast Review Special Edition 2: Tales from the Archives – Volume 2 Preview

Title: Tales from the Archives
Author: Various
Producers: Imagine That Studios
Genre: Steampunk
Released: Ongoing
Located: Authors Site
Formats Available: Podcast only

Rating: R for violence and adult content

A week or so ago, Tee Morris offered me the chance to listen to a couple of eps of the new volume of Tales from the Archives, Volume 2, a podcast devoted to the world of Eliza Braun and Wellington Books from The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. If you’re unfamiliar with the ministry, you might want to run to your local Barnes and Nobles or head on line to check out the first book in the series, Phoenix Rising written by Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine. Why hurry? Because the second book in the series, The Janus Affair, will be released in May, and believe me, you’re going to want to be ready for it.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds. (Stolen from the authors’ site.)

Background: The Tales from the Archives series is a companion podcast to the aforementioned Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. Several of the stories have been written by Mr. Morris and Ms. Ballantine, but most are written by authors that have chosen to submit a short story placed in this universe.

Production: The production of Tales is two fold. Each story is introduced and closed by Mr. Morris and Ms. Ballantine in the characters of Eliza and Wellington. This portion of the podcast always receives an A. The story itself is always a self read by the guest author with effects supplied by Imagine That Studios. The effects are always well done and have to date always added to the feel of the story. The reading itself however is a sliding scale as each author has a different background with the mic. With only the two stories I’ve heard of the current volume, I will allude to volume one in the grading of the production as well. Some of the readings are by authors that have podcast their own material and are podstars in their own rights. Others may never have been in front of a mic before and you can obviously hear the difference. However, the good news is, I don’t think any of the stories would receive below a C in the area of production (remember, I grade by my own scale, and give myself a C) and many are in the A range.

Grade: A-C

Cast: As mentioned above, each author does their own reading. The first story of the new volume is Tee Morris’s Sin’s of the Father. Tee, of course does a remarkable job and this episode was a lot of fun to listen too. The second story in Volume 2 is A Swan in Siam by P.J. Schnyder. Ms. Schnyder is unknown to me, but her reading of her story was well done and I had no issues with it.

Amalgam Grade: A-

Stories: Mr. Morris’ Sins of the Father, is (for lack of a better term) Wellington’s origin story – or at least the story of how he chose to join the ministry. This story surprised me and gives the reader a much better understanding of Wellington Books. I greatly enjoyed it and have found it to be a must listen before reading The Janus Affair. Ms. Schnyder’s A Swan in Siam, takes one of the characters introduced in Pheonix Rising, and places him in Siam where he meets a fascinating and incredible young lady in the court of the king. While not part of the main line of continuity in the series, it is an extremely enjoyable story and it left me hoping Eliza and Welly will eventually make their way to Siam to follow up where this story left off.

Grade: A

Verdict: Books are expensive. For some, book purchases might fall into the luxury category now. If you know of someone that is a book lover and hasn’t been able to purchase (or check out at their local library) a copy of Pheonix Rising, I definitely recommend that you introduce them to The Tales from the Archives. This podcast does more than simply introduce you to the characters in the book series, it goes beyond that series to flesh out a universe that is remarkable fleshed out. Furthermore, I will go on record as saying this is one of the few collections written in a shared universe that doesn’t feel like a loose collection. Instead if feels more like a patchwork quilt with each story forming a beautiful patch that compliments the whole. Listen. You’ll be glad you did.

Shameless plug: Don’t forget, if you send an audio comment to me at Odin1eye at viewfromvalhalla dot com, I’ll include it in the podcast version of this episode next weekend (or when I receive it). You can also leave voicemail, for this or any other story, at the Valhalla Hotline simply by calling 956-307-ODIN (6346)

Disclosure: Mr. Morris and Ms. Ballantine are both dear friends. I’ve followed both of their careers and have reviewed most of their works released under their own names. I have been provided with an ARC of The Janus Affair which will receive its own review in the upcoming days. However, none of this would “buy” them a positive review. I have reviewed this series as I would any other, of that you can be sure.

Comment Pages

There are 2 Comments to "Podcast Review Special Edition 2: Tales from the Archives – Volume 2 Preview"

  • Jeanette Marsh says:

    I love the way you describe the collection as a patchwork rather than a loose collection. That’s what I was feeling, but hadn’t verbalised.

    • odin1eye says:

      Excellent! I like knowing that I’m not the only one that feels that way. I’m sure that a large part is that Tee and Pip are choosing who and which stories get to play, and that is great. I would hate to have that loose collection feeling.

      Thanks for the comment!

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