The Silence of Ancient Light Goes Audio!

I promised you an audio narration, and the first episode is here! I know it took a little while to get this up, but the learning curve to produce what amounts to a podcast episode was a little steeper than I expected. And, having now recorded, edited, mastered, and published this first episode, I have learned a lot, and I have learned that I have a lot more to learn.

I need to get a lot better at narration, for one thing. I thought I was a pretty good public speaker, but speaking into a microphone while in a small, somewhat sound-deadened room changes almost everything. I also learned a lot about noise floors, and this too is an area I believe I can improve. Indeed, dealing with the noise floor was the major reason this took so long to produce.

I’ll go into more detail in the next post, but some of you want to get right to it, don’t you? So, without further ado, here is a link you can play right from your browser:

Once I feel a bit more polished at audio production, and once at least a few more episodes are ready, I’ll set this up as a proper podcast, one you can load into your favorite podcast player (probably your phone, for most of you). I’ll talk more about how setting up podcasts are a bit different from just linking an audio file on the website, and how setting up a full audiobook is considerably different from creating a podcast (though they all start from the same basic process of recording, editing, mastering, etc).

I’ve also updated the original page with the text to contain this same link. For those of you who’ve misplaced how to navigate to it (hint: it’s all there in the menu at the top of every page!), it’s here: Arrival.

Yes, I know that I need to work on my plosives, and maybe better de-essing. And my breath control. That’s a problem, you know, breathing while a microphone is stuffed in your face. I think mostly I need to learn to relax while narrating, get into the groove that I feel when I’m just reading aloud to someone (or even the groove I found when I did my first — well, so far only — author reading).

Once I have that all down, I’ll redo this episode.

And, oh yeah, keep actually writing more episodes!

Let me know what you think! And, seriously, don’t spare my feelings. I know it’s not full-on Audible Studio quality, so if you have ideas about how I can improve, I’m all ears! So to speak.

Next up: the technical details!


header image credit: Dmitry Demidov / Pexels

7 thoughts on “The Silence of Ancient Light Goes Audio!

    1. Thank you, Gerhard! Although of course all I hear are all the imperfections… 😉

      I had hoped to record the next episode this weekend, but I was working late Friday night, until about 2am, and my voice has been a bit hoarse since, so I’m giving it a few days to settle down. It’s harder to get a quiet day during the week, though, as many more trucks go up and down the hill outside my window, and what with it being the beginning of summer, all the professional gardeners are out in force with their gas-powered machines, so I find I have to time things just right to avoid that telltale lawnmower or truck exhaust and squealing brake sound in the background. I’m also working on my breathing technique, to try to reduce the incidence of breathing sounds which, I fear, are quite audible in this first snippet.

      The other decision I wrestle with, a bit, is whether to continue to record these shorter segments, so that they match the written episodes I’ve published, or whether to gather them together into longer, ~30 minute, episodes. That would be a more typical podcast-length episode, but then they would not match up with the previously published written work. What do you think?

      Seems like it might be time for a poll! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Linda Phelps

    Gosh Matt I’ve always had a hard time comprehending written words, the reason i would be lost at your previous posts ,so I appreciate this format.You are so articulate, ot a bit of “homeboy” in your diction, which leaves me to believe that you are extremely educated and really know what your are talking about, (even if it is made up) Is it?
    I feel so ignorant…all the scientific terminology describing the flight, I can kinda get the jest of it, but all the moves, energies, etc. are described in ways that only scientist of a high caliber would comprehend . I think your target audience, brainy scientist, will be quite pleased to have an author who doesn’t talk down to them and makes them want to explore with you, the forces of the universe.
    As an artist , I most enjoyed your descriptions of environments as you “paint” them well . I liked the way you described a black hole, without saying that it is what you were describing…or maybe you were describing a worm hole? whatever it was if I was in it…passing time, I’d be less positive (thinking I was maybe lost forever in the blackness.)
    .However, your crew seemed unphased by human fear and was set of their mission and all the scientific ground ( well, in this case ,space) they were covering. I just assume that your pilots are human,however, as of yet , you haven’t said these pilots were human..maybe they are robots or even aliens…. I personally am more into novels that deal with human emotions, so it’s not the kind of writing I am drawn to but scientist,however, will be thrilled to be educated by your brilliance and knowledge of terminology…as if you have knowledge of the universe.way beyond “the common.” This can be inspiring for young people, especially t hose who may want to join the new “space force”.
    I could see you starting another book, about the under sea alien communities here on earth,that witnesses have reported seeing n saucers rise from.
    I still think you could write an excellent documentary on your antarctic experiences, or explorations of worldwide treks….you are so descriptive.
    Keep up the good work. On the technical side, i didn’t hear background noise or breathing, but glad you have the sense to be concerned so the listener can have an easy time hearing you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Linda,

      Thank you! This is very useful feedback, in fact. To your point about human emotions, yes, the crew are indeed human, and I hope that I convey their uncertainties and fears a bit more in later scenes. In fact, in the very next scene (written, of course, but not yet recorded), Anna deals a bit with her frustration at not finding what they were hoping to find, and unfairly takes it out on one of the other crew members. There’s more dialog in that scene, back-and-forth between the two, which I hope you will enjoy.

      The experience of being inside a warp bubble for an Alcubierre drive is, of course, not something any of us can really know, at least not yet. But, it probably is very similar to being inside a wormhole, and I tried to convey the sense of isolation that not even being able to see stars from the outside universe would convey. Of course, the story opens as they exit that bubble and only refers back to the three years they spent inside it. I tried to draw upon my own experience wintering in Antarctica to convey that isolation, though of course I wintered with a much larger crew (150 instead of 5), and for a much shorter time (8 months instead of 3 years).

      I personally feel that my writing is better in the next few scenes than in this initial one — something I plan to improve in the next rewrite — so I will be interested to learn if you agree.

      Once again, thank you for your comment!

      Like

      1. Also, may I just add, coming from you, the comment about the sound quality of my amateur recording is highly prized, as you are an accomplished musician with many years’ experience dealing with microphones and mixers and recording equipment, and I know you have a trained ear for these things.

        Like

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