Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

December 28, 2007

Podcasting with a purpose

Award-winning site shows work of local authors

Science fiction fans had something to cheer about when a new podcast devoted to sci-fi, fantasy and horror made the scene last year.

Variant Frequencies, which features a monthly podcast of original fiction, is produced by Traverse City's Rick Stringer. He created the site as a way to get the writing of his wife Anne and friend Matt Wallace noticed.

It worked.

Variant Frequencies won a Parsec award in the best short story category this year for "No World Warriors," written by Wallace and produced by Stringer. They won in the best short story category in 2006 as well. The Parsec awards, which began in 2006, are dedicated to rewarding excellence in various aspects of Speculative Fiction Podcasting. They are presented at Dragon*con, a popular culture convention with a focus that includes science fiction, fantasy and gaming that is held on Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, GA.

Stringer, who is technology savvy, came up with the idea of starting his own podcast a couple of years ago. A podcast is an audio program distributed over the Internet that can be downloaded to portable media players like an iPod or to a personal computer.

Variant Frequencies features stories "blending gothic horror with space adventure, dark fantasy with sci-fi, recalling the reality-bending vibes of 'The Twilight Zone' and offering something wholly unique that fits in between and outside," reads the site.

Stringer's original plan was to feature just one monthly short story, then Wallace decided he wanted to run a series between the monthly features called "The Failed City Monologues." Stringer liked the idea.

"What came out was a novel-length story with each chapter told from the perspective of different characters," he explained.

The site, which Stringer produces and maintains as a hobby, is taking on a life of its own. He couldn't be happier.

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