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In a post I made a couple of days ago, I told you that my new science fiction story podcast, The Valley of Forever, would soon premiere. I’m pleased to announce that Episode 1 of the series, titled “Smoke on the Water,” is now live. It’s hosted on Podomatic.com here, and is also available on iTunes here. I also found it on Podcast Addict, a leading free podcast app for Android phones (just search for the title), and I suspect it’s available in various other outlets too.

The Valley of Forever is based on my as-yet unpublished 2015 novel, which is sort of science fiction, sort of magical realism. Its main theme concerns the nature of time. The podcast is a story, told from the point of view of a mysterious middle-aged man, Marcus Windom, who recently survived a catastrophic fire aboard a Caribbean cruise liner called the Crowne of the Sovereign Ocean. Something about this event–which he learns is actually an eerily accurate repeat of a previous disaster that happened to the same ship 23 years earlier–seems to involve a twist in the fabric of time and space. In Episode 1 Marcus, locked in an airport hotel room, records an audio message to his estranged son in which he describes his experiences in the disaster…and hints they are somehow connected to a mysterious place called the Valley of Forever. We know nothing (as yet) about this place, except that it lies “at the very limit of human consciousness.”

The first episode is, obviously, only the beginning of a much larger story, and in planning out how the episodes will go from here I’m already amazed at the narrative possibilities of the podcast form. As a novel, The Valley of Forever was extremely difficult to write because it transcends the conventions of traditional storytelling, which is rooted firmly in mainstream conceptions of time. Transforming it into a series of podcast episodes opens up some interesting opportunities to explore aspects of the story that I couldn’t really do in the novel format. I’m very excited to see where it will go!

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A rave review for the podcast! Thanks Kevin!

The Valley of Forever is a sequel (of sorts) to my 2011 short story The Antimeridian, which is available (for free) on Amazon Kindle. You don’t need to have read it to understand the podcast. In fact I’m probably going to visit the narrative of The Antimeridian in one of the later episodes.

Despite being released only yesterday, The Valley of Forever has already begun to attract some notice. In addition to a rave quip on Twitter comparing it to The Twilight Zone, the show is already #17 in its category (Spoken Word) on Podomatic. Eagle-eared listeners may recognize the voice of the narrator toward the beginning of the show; it’s Lesley Ann Fogle, who did such a great job on the Doppelgänger audio book last fall. I’m really grateful for her contribution, as her versatile voice adds the perfect atmosphere.

Just as I did with The Armored Satchel (a written serial, not a podcast), I’ll make a new post each time a new chapter goes up. In the meantime, if you like the podcast, tell somebody–spread it around your Twitter, Facebook, or whatever it is you do. At this early stage I can use all the help I can get!

The promotional image for The Valley of Forever Podcast is copyright (C) 2016 by Sean Munger, all rights reserved.