podcasting

88 Names podcast: season 2 wrap-up

On this week’s special finale episode, Blake Collier and I close out the 88 Names podcast with a freewheeling conversation about virtual reality, what we learned from our guests on the ‘cast, and the very strange pandemic year we’ve all just lived through. Although this is the end of the road for this particular project, Blake and I will be teaming up again in a couple of weeks for an appearance on the No Proscenium podcast, hosted by Noah Nelson.

Big thanks once again to Blake, to our producer Darryl A. Armstrong of the Threaded Zebra Agency, to our host site, Rise Up Daily, to our sponsors, and to the many smart and creative people who agreed to talk to us. Take care, everybody!

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88 Names podcast bonus interview: Johanna Pirker

Today on the 88 Names podcast site, we have a written interview with Johanna Pirker, a professor and researcher for games and VR experiences at the Graz University of Technology in Austria. Johanna is also the director of the Game Lab Graz. In 2018, she was selected by Forbes for their 30 Under 30 list in Science. You can read the interview here.

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88 Names podcast bonus interview: Keram Malicki-Sanchez

photo by Tim Layes

Today on the 88 Names podcast site, we have a written interview with actor, filmmaker, composer, and “VR evangelist” Keram Malicki-Sanchez. As the founder of the VRTO Virtual & Augmented Reality World Conference and the founder and executive producer of FIVARS, the Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories, Keram knows a lot about recent and forthcoming developments in VR technology, and his answers to our questions cover a wide range of topics. You can check out the interview here.

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88 Names season 2, episode 5: Drew Stone

On this week’s episode of the 88 Names podcast, we talk with Drew Stone, the founder of Locusium, a company that helps organize and facilitate events in virtual reality. Drew is also an old friend of the pod — last year, he helped set up my author appearance on AltspaceVR.

This will be our last regular podcast episode. Next week, I’ll be returning to AltspaceVR for another live reading and Q&A (details here). And the week after that, Blake Collier and I will be doing a special wrap-up episode where we talk about this very strange year we’ve just lived through.

We also have a couple of bonus written interviews that will be posting soon. Stay tuned!

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Changed my Mind

This week I was a guest on the Changed my Mind podcast, hosted by Luke T. Harrington, the award-winning author of Ophelia, Alive: A Ghost Story and Murder Bears, Moonshine, and Mayhem.

As you might guess from the name, the podcast is devoted to interviews with people who’ve changed their minds about something important. In this episode, Luke and I talk about why I left the Lutheran church. I’ve discussed this publicly a few times before, most notably in a speech I gave at the 2010 Calvin College Festival of Faith & Writing, but for a lot of fans I suspect this will be new, and may give some additional insight into why and how I write the kinds of novels that I do.

If you enjoy my conversation with Luke, I’d highly recommend you check out his other podcast episodes. The “loss of faith” interviews — such as the ones with Ryssa Marshall, Yons, and Calvin Moore — tend to be particularly interesting. I also really enjoyed the Halloween episode with Christian Tiews, a Lutheran exorcist, which I did not know was a thing (though having discovered that it is, I am unsurprised to learn that Lutheran exorcists think their version of the rite is superior to the Roman Catholic version).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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