88 Names season 2, episode 4: Dr. Todd P. Chang

On this week’s episode of the 88 Names podcast, Blake and I talk with Dr. Todd P. Chang, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. Chang has done extensive research into the use of VR and other immersive technologies in medical training, particularly as it relates to his specialty. This was a great discussion, and as I mention at one point, prepping for the interview led me down some fascinating internet rabbit holes.

On our next episode, we’ll be talking to Locusium founder Drew Stone.

88 Names podcast season 2, episode 3: the Dungeon Dudes

On the latest episode of the 88 Names podcast, we speak to Kelly McLaughlin and Montgomery Martin, aka the Dungeon Dudes, whose YouTube channel offers advice and role-playing tips for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. They also have a weekly Twitch stream on which they broadcast live sessions from their Dungeons of Drakkenheim campaign. If you like their work and want to support them, you can do so through their Patreon, or through their forthcoming Dungeons of Drakkenheim Kickstarter.

On our next episode, we talk to pediatric emergency physician Dr. Todd Chang about his research into the use of VR in medical training.

88 Names podcast season 2, episode 2: Sasha Samochina

On this week’s episode of the 88 Names podcast, we talk to Sasha Samochina, an award-winning technologist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

You can learn more about Sasha’s work at her website. This YouTube playlist contains 360 and VR videos that Sasha has produced for NASA JPL. This video gives a brief overview of the OnSight mixed-reality software, developed by JPL, that lets scientists take virtual walks on Mars. And the Access Mars WebVR experience lets you use your browser to make your own virtual visit to Mars.

On our next episode, we talk to the Dungeon Dudes, Montgomery Martin and Kelly McLaughlin.

The Return of the 88 Names podcast: Mike Pondsmith

The trade paperback edition of 88 Names will be published next Tuesday, March 16, and to celebrate, my friend Blake Collier and I have recorded some new episodes of the 88 Names podcast.

To kick off this second season of the pod, we talk to legendary game designer Mike Pondsmith, founder of R. Talisorian Games and the creator of the Cyberpunk roleplaying franchise, which includes the recently released Cyberpunk RED and the video game Cyberpunk 2077. You can listen to our conversation here.

On our next episode, we talk to Sasha Samochina, an award-winning creative technologist from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In one month…

The trade paperback edition of 88 Names will be published on March 16. The paperback is available for preorder, but if you’d rather not wait, you can get the hardcover, ebook, audiobook, or large print editions right now.

To celebrate the trade paperback release, we’re putting the pod back together. The 88 Names podcast will drop new episodes starting on March 9. Confirmed guests include role-playing game design legend Mike Pondsmith (aka “the guy who killed your Cyberpunk character”), NASA/JPL star Sasha Samochina, medical education technology researcher Dr. Todd Chang, and the “Dungeon Dudes,” Montgomery Martin and Kelly McLaughlin.

And speaking of the Dungeon Dudes, I will be a guest on their Twitch channel, making a two-part run through the Dungeons of Drakenheim, on March 23 and March 30, starting at 3 PM Pacific/6 PM Eastern. This will be my first time playing a live D&D session since Ronald Reagan was president, so I’ll be boning up on the new 5th edition rules before the show (I’m told negative armor classes are bad, now).

One other bit of news: the Blu-ray edition of the first season of HBO’s Lovecraft Country is out today.

For All Nerds

Last week I was a guest on the For All Nerds podcast with Tatiana King and DJ Benhameen, talking about Lovecraft Country (my appearance starts at the 33:30 mark). This was my second visit to the ‘cast—I was previously a guest back in 2017, when they were known as the Fan Bros Show—and just like last time, I really enjoyed myself. For more Lovecraft Country conversation, be sure and check out the weekly “Safe Negro Podcast” editions of For All Nerds, where they go in-depth on each episode of the HBO series (starting with “Sundown,” here).

In other news:

* I am still answering reader questions over at Goodreads.

* On October 2 at 5 PM Pacific Time, I’ll be making a remote appearance as part of Novel Nights, a fundraiser to support Seattle’s Hugo House. If you’d like to contribute, you can buy tickets to individual events—other featured authors are Erik Larsen, Pramila Jayapal, Jess Walter, Sharyn Skeeter, and Neal Bascomb—or get a full series pass to all six Novel Nights.

* As of today, Lovecraft Country is on the New York Times bestseller list for the fourth week in a row!

The Fear of God podcast

This week I am a guest on the Fear of God podcast, talking horror and Lovecraft Country with hosts Reed Lackey and Nathan Rouse. This was originally supposed to be a ninety-minute conversation, but we were having so much fun I ended up chatting more than two hours. You can listen here.

FYI, we focus on the novel—and there are spoilers—but I’ll be back on the podcast to talk about the Lovecraft Country TV series after it airs.

Also, a reminder that tomorrow, July 1, starting at noon Pacific, I’ll be a guest on the Second Life Book Club. Hope to see some of you there!

88 Names podcast: last words

Today we officially wrap up the 88 Names podcast. My co-host Blake Collier and I both have some final thoughts to share. You can read Blake’s sign-off essay here; you’ll find mine here.

I had a blast doing this. I owe a big thank you to Blake and to our heroic producer, Darryl A. Armstrong of the Threaded Zebra Agency. Many thanks also to our wonderful guests; to Tyler Huckabee; to our host site, Rise Up Daily; and last but not least to our sponsors. Stay safe, everyone!

88 Names podcast: reading and Q&A in AltspaceVR

In conjunction with the 88 Names podcast, I did a live reading from the novel in virtual reality last month, on Microsoft’s AltspaceVR platform. The video, courtesy of our floating cameraman Shahab Zargari and producer Darryl Armstrong, is now available to share. (There’s also an audio-only version, which you can find here.)

Like my other virtual events, this was a lot of fun. As I told Suzanne Lee, who did a write-up about the reading, what I especially love is the degree of spontaneity this allows for. In the real world, setting up a bookstore appearance or an author panel can take weeks of advance planning, but on Altspace or Second Life, you can throw an event together in a matter of hours and have people logging in from all over the world. And this will only get easier as the hardware and software improve.

88 Names podcast: COVID-19 follow up + Troy Heard Q&A

Most of our podcast episodes were recorded before the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic. We wanted to follow up with some of our interview subjects, see how they were handling the economic shutdown, and ask if they had any predictions about how this might affect the future of VR and other immersive technologies. Brandon Oldenburg, Joanna Popper, and Noah Nelson share their thoughts here.

We also have one more written interview to share, this one with Troy Heard, Founding Artistic Director of Majestic Repertory Theatre in Las Vegas. The theater scene has been hard hit by the pandemic, and it’s especially difficult for practitioners of immersive theater like Troy. But he has some interesting ideas for adapting to the crisis, like drive-through performances. You can read the interview here.