Relic Radio was founded in 2007 and currently features old time radio plays that are now available in the public domain. The producer, Jim Paul, organizes and chooses the radio plays for the podcasts. (It is also available as a streaming radio).
Relic Radio: Science Fiction features many of the classics of radio science fiction and many of the classics writers of the genre. The producer does a good job of choosing recordings, cleaning up some of the original archival materials, and providing introductions. Each show is archived in the Relic Radio wiki. There are a few other sites providing these shows, but this is by far the best.
It’s not just the radio dramas themselves, but the advertisements, often left intact, which provide a glimpse into popular culture during the post WWII era until the late 1960’s. It is particularly interesting listening to so many space travel stories in the context of a world in which there had not yet been a manned mission to the moon. Many of the themes present in these radio dramas have been used over and over in science fiction. Think Jurassic Park was a modern day tale? Listen to L. Sprague de Camp’s “A Gun for Dinosaur”; the similarities are eerie. Other radios plays based on Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth’s The Space Merchants are surprising in their criticisms of conformity, materialism, and even widespread prescription drugs use.
The shows are, however, products of their time. Women are generally relegated to minor roles of adoring girlfriends, nagging wives, or loyal daughters of brilliant scientists. A few give women more active roles- like Philip K. Dick’s “Colony”. This was a period when even radio was “officially” segregated; so ethnic minorities are virtually non- existent. It is understood that the characters are meant to be white, mainly American. The few representations of non-western cultures are often as servants with cringe-worthy accents. Despite this, these older stories have a certain narrative energy and sense of play and wonder that sometimes gets lost in newer science fiction.
Availability: iTunes, site. There is also live streaming of a variety of shows available at http://relicradio.com/otr/stream/
Audience: General audiences. No profanity or sexual situations.
Connect with R.K.: I love hearing about new podcasts and new stuff in the SF/paranormal romance field. If you have a suggestion for a podcast or a great new read feel free to follow at @mrsbookmark. I’d love to follow you.