Monster Talk review
The Monster Talk podcast was actually recommended to me by my first proper subscriber, and the first guy to reach out and message me, so thanks for that Mr. Vincent!
Truth be told, I don’t really listen to any science podcasts. I know that people go on about the Infinite Monkey Cage and shows like that, but for some reason I always gravitate towards audio drama. This isn’t because I’m some science denying luddite, I just like some bang for my buck during work hours. Monster Talk has plenty of bang for your buck thankfully.
What’s it all about then?
Monster Talk is a bi-monthly podcast that promotes critical thinking and skepticism in the field of cryptozoology and the paranormal in general, which sounds kind of stuffy and long-winded but is surprisingly good. Every week, the hosts Blake Smith and Dr. Karen Stollznow examine a different topic and interview people in the relevant fields.
This is like the anti-Coast To Coast AM. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of love for the late Art Bell. In fact I spent an inordinate amount of time in the early 2000’s downloading mp3’s of his show from P2P sites. My point here is that while Mr Bell would have pretty much anyone on his show that had a good story to tell (Mel’s Hole or the legendary phone call from Area 51 spring immediately to mind), there were a few occasions where he must have felt like Peter Venkman hosting “World Of The Psychic”.
Monster Talk isn’t like that. All of the guests are experts in their fields, and (so far) they are charming and witty. The conversation bounces back and forth with ease and is very entertaining to listen to. As I said in my review of Mark Rees’ show, I believe that you are more likely to retain facts if they are presented in an engaging manner. Hopefully if more people listened to this show then more people would question pseudoscience despite the buzzword of “cognitive dissonance” (yes it does work both ways all you conspiracy theorists).
Is it any good though?
I’d have to say yes, it is very good. I’ve started from the beginning, as I always do, and there are a few niggles. You have to remember that the first episode was 12 years ago, so the audio quality here is pretty low. This isn’t so bad though, and gives these early episodes a cosy feeling that takes me back to those halcyon days of illegally downloading the aforementioned Art Bell shows over a dial up connection (ask your parents, kids). There’s only been one episode so far that’s been close to unlistenable, but that was due to the phone connection with the guest rather than the overall audio quality.
Blake is very funny, as are the other hosts, but knowledgeable enough not to fill each episode with inanities and pointless jokes just for the sake of it. The questions they ask are also just at the right level for me. I’ve had an interest in a lot of this stuff for many years, but I’m by no means an expert. I certainly learn something new in every episode without having to resort to googling strange jargon and esoteric terminology so beloved of experts in niche fields.
This has instantly become one of my all time favourite podcasts, easily in my top 5. Seriously, I’d give it an 8 or 9 brain rating if I could. Like Hypnogoria, I’ll be listening to this all day every day for a while yet, and loving every minute.
At the time of writing, there are 242 episodes! I’m on episode 27, so I’ve got some catching up to do. Thankfully this is a totally binge-worthy podcast and I can really see myself having to make an effort to listen to other shows just to keep this blog going.
The paranormal seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance in the last decade or so that it hasn’t had since the 1970s. Unfortunately the modern shows seem to lack any sense of balance. They will always side with extraterrestrials or demons rather than more mundane explanations. I understand that, I mean if you don’t get the ratings, you don’t have a show. And we all know nothing will get ratings than saying “it was aliens”, you’ve seen the memes.
This is a refreshing change to all the crazy haircuts, shaky cameras and huge leaps of imagination. It’ll be a real shame when I eventually catch up and have to wait 2 weeks for a new episode.
You can get Monster Talk here:
Or wherever you get your podcasts.