Fancast Spotlight: Hugos There Podcast

It’s time for the next entry in my Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project. For more about the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project, go here. You can also check out the other great fanzines and fancasts featured by clicking here.

I have decided to expand the scope of the project to also cover fancasts, because the fancast category could also use a boost. And besides, the borders between fanzine and fancast are porous anyway.

So today, I’m pleased to feature the Hugos There Podcast, which has the mission to read all the Hugo winners with varying guests.

Therefore, I’m happy to welcome Seth Heasley of the Hugos There Podcast to my blog today:

Hugos_There image

Tell us about your podcast or channel.

My podcast is called Hugos There, and my tagline is “reading the Hugo-winners, one guest at a time.”

On each episode, I host a guest, and we discuss their choice of the winners of the Hugo Award for Best Novel. My guests have included authors, journalists, podcasters, sports writers, athletes, academics, theologians, and just ordinary SF fans like me. I love the randomness of having my guest choose the topic, so that in one episode we’ll be covering something from the 1950s, and in the next it could be the 2010s.

In 2020 I also started doing more general episodes under the title Comfort Reads, where the topic wasn’t limited to Hugo-winners or even genre fiction. Instead, the discussions revolved around what kind of books my guests looked to for comfort in troubling times. It seemed appropriate to do that kind of thing in 2020, and I intend to continue those episodes until I run out of guests.

Who are the people behind your podcast or channel?

Hugos There is a one-man show behind the scenes, but as I mentioned, each episode features a guest.

I also have a podcast focusing on adapted SF, called Take Me To Your Reader, that I co-host with my friends James and Colin.

Why did you decide to start your podcast or channel?

I’d been doing Take Me To Your Reader for a few years and enjoying a lot of the stuff I was reading and covering, but I wanted to challenge myself to read a lot of SF books I’d heard about but just hadn’t gotten around to reading. Surprisingly, not every well-regarded SF book has been turned into a movie. 🙂

After looking at lists of “SF Books You Should Have Read,” I settled on the list of Hugo-winners. I didn’t find any other podcasts doing the same project, so I dove in, hitting up many of my favorite podcasters and asking them to guest on the early episodes.

What format do you use for your podcast or channel and why did you choose this format?

I chose audio, mostly because audio editing is pretty straightforward and I didn’t feel video would add much to the project. Audio also pairs quite well with a book discussion format due to the prevalence of audiobooks. Listen to the book, listen to a discussion of the book. It’s a match made in Heaven.

The fan categories at the Hugos were there at the very beginning, but also the category which consistently gets the lowest number of votes and nominations. So why do you think fanzines, fancasts and other fan projects are important?

If science fiction is worth anything, and I think we agree it is, it’s worth discussing and analyzing, and that analysis doesn’t have to be the sole province of professionals. Fanzines and fancasts are just so democratic, and the barriers to entry today are so low that literally anyone can carve out a niche and start producing great content.

The great thing about fan projects is that there’s a snowball effect to them. Often all it takes to encourage someone to create is to see that other people are doing it.

In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online and fancasts have sprung up. What do you think the future of fan media looks like?

I guess I envision fancasts of the future being like the Parlor Walls from Fahrenheit 451. I jest, but I do see them getting more interactive. Especially coming out of 2020, the year of Zoom, it’s easy to envision the future being more and more collaborative as technology allows us into each others’ spaces. Which sounds creepy. But I mean in a good way.

The four fan categories of the Hugos (best fanzine, fan writer, fan artist and fancast) tend to get less attention than the fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Are there any awesome fanzines, fancasts, fan writers and fan artists you’d like to recommend?

I confess I don’t follow as many fanzines as I should, but I hope I get a pass because of the amount of reading I have to do for my podcasts. But I do have podcast recommendations. Some of my favorites include:

The other members (that I’ve discovered at this point) of the Hugo podcast collective, including Hugo, Girl, and the Hugo & Nebula Readership Podcast.

I also love Spectology for intelligent discussions generally of newer SF, and Sci-Fi Onscreen for fantastic SF movie reviews.

I’ve been enormously influenced by Jason Snell and The Incomparable over the years, and it’s no coincidence I mined his podcast for guests, having at this point hosted episodes with six people who are either regular contributors or people I met through their listener community. I’ll get the rest of them eventually!

The Sci-Fi Christian is another podcast I’ve followed for years and always look forward to their episodes, even if they put them out at a rate I have trouble keeping up with!

Where can people find you?

My podcasts sites:

Mostly you’ll find me on Twitter @hugospodcast, tweeting about grammar pet peeves, cooking adventures, and occasionally actually about SF.

Thank you, Seth, for stopping by and answering my questions.

Do check out Hugos There, cause it’s a great fancast.

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Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.

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