Curious Matter Anthology
As any collector will tell you, the joy of collecting is the accumulation of your chosen items rather than getting any use from them. This is certainly true of my podcast list, which despite growing almost exponentially, never seems to get any shorter.
One of the casualties of this accumulation is the aforementioned podcast series. I have only just got around to listening to this one, and it has given me a sore leg from kicking myself for not getting into earlier. Hopefully my introductory ramblings have whet your appetites somewhat, so without further ado, here is my Curious Matter Anthology review.
So what’s it about?
Curious Matter Anthology really does what it says on the tin. Each episode (or in some cases series of episodes), is a dramatisation of a classic weird fiction or sci-fi story. Adapted by Jonathan Pezza and with a cast of talented voice actors, each story really comes to life in a way rarely experienced in podcastland.
The first two stories in the series followed the travails of Mr. Robert Blake, in stories by Robert Bloch and H.P. Lovecraft, then it was a deep dive into an epic tale by Phillip K Dick. With the remainder of episodes featuring stories by Kurt Vonnegut, Henry Kuttner and Andre Norton.
The adaptations (particularly the Lovecraftian ones) sit nicely between the readings by the HPLHS, and the recent BBC releases of The Lovecraft Investigations. In the introduction to the first episode, Mr. Pezza says that was enamored by the BBC radio play of Star Wars. This really comes across in episode 1, with the orchestral background music very reminiscent of the John Williams Star Wars score.
Is it any good?
It’s outstanding. It has deceptively high production values and (for the most part) the voice acting is top notch. It is a very immersive experience, and each adaptation is very well written. The sound effects are also very well produced and really add to the immersion. This is nice for a change. Some series add superfluous noises that can either distract the listener, or worse add a kind of aural “matte line” that shows the joins between the sound effects and the recorded actors.
This is a relatively short series of stories (so far). I appreciate that they started this show right around the time that COVID ground the world to a halt, but hopefully there will be many more episodes in the pipeline.
I should also say that on the whole, I havent really been a fan of podcasts by Realm. I’m glad that this one is an exception. I’m also glad I didn’t dismiss it out of hand either!
I’m sorry that it’s taken so long to get to this series. For the most part I’m really enjoying it. I’ll be honest, Phillip K Dick isn’t really my cup of tea. I can appreciate his influence though, and thanks to the high quality of both the writing and recording, it’s not too much of a slog to get through.
It will be interesting to see which stories get the Curious Matter treatment next. Personally, I’d like more Lovecraftian ones, but I trust the CMA gang to produce brilliant audio drama whatever they choose.
You can get Curious Matter Anthology here:
Or wherever you get your podcasts.