Podiodrama Review: “Crush Depth” by Jeff Lane

Official cover art for Jeff Lane’s podiodrama, “Crush Depth” [Click to Enlarginate]

Second Trailer for Jeff Lane’s “Crush Depth”

*WARNING* This review may include spoilers from the first two chapters/episodes of “Crush Depth”.

Preface: When I embedded the audio, my blog has it playing a little choppy, for some reason. I point that out because I don’t want you to think its a problem with the audio file itself, just with my blog for streaming. Sorry about that, but I can’t seem to do anything about it. :/ #TechWorldProblems

Jeff Lane is a sci-fi writer who has published two e-books in the past that he has released with companion podiobooks. He is, originally from Maine, but now lives in Connecticut Vermont (My Bad) with his wife and children. He is a regular contributor to StarShipSofa, a sci-fi literary podcast. I’ve been a fan (and friend) of Jeff’s since his first release, “This Paper World”, which I will briefly mention again at the end of this post. He has just released his newest short story, “Crush Depth”, and decided to make it a podiodrama, which is a word I made up on my way home from work the other night. #ImAGoodWordMakerUpper Jeff was kind enough to send me the full story (rather than waiting for a new episode to post every week) so I could write this review!

Before I get into this review, I want to address the question that some of you may be asking:

Matt, could you please explain what a “podiobook” or, for that matter, what a “podiodrama” is? -Some of You

Or, maybe this is what you’re asking:

Hey toolbag! I don’t understand yer big wordifactionisms! Whatda hell are them thangs you sed? -Most of You

This is also a possibility:

Matt! Your writing is great and your reviews are superlative! You’re pretty much the greatest blogger EVER… Although, I am unsure as to what a “podiobook” or “podiodrama” may be. Could you please spend approximately one paragraph explaining the concept to me? You’re awesome at making up words, but I need context! -None of You

I am happy to oblige your requests for more information on the topic of words that I make up whilst driving home in a work induced rage! A “podiobook” is a hybridization of two other terms, “podcast” and “audiobook”. Thereby, a podiobook is an audiobook that you subscribe to and download as a podcast. These podcasts are available on iTunes and the blogs/webpages of the producers of said podcast. With that said, a podiodrama is a podiobook of an audio drama. This means that instead of one person reading a book to you (such is the case for most audiobooks) an entire cast is put together to read as various characters, while the author acts as a narrator.

Synopsis (So Far): “Crush Depth” takes place in the near future and follows a short span of the life of Dr. Marylou Kelsum. She has earned a spot on a state of the art submersible that can reach the ocean floor, the Skomal. This submarine is capable of depths that were never accessible to researchers before, nearly 6,000 meters beneath the Atlantic Ocean! This is the opportunity of a lifetime as she hopes to be one of the first people to do actual research (not just taking pictures) of things that were, otherwise, unreachable. There are other scientists on the vessel, and the first kink in her plans happens before the Skomal is even able to disembark.She meets this odd, Norwegian fellow, Dr. Tobias Havmann, and feels like he may be trying to get into her wet-suite. #IApologizeForThatCheesyLine

Point of note, I just Googled Skomal. Apparently, there is a marine biologist based in Massachusetts named Greg Skomal. It seems as though he specializes in sharks…

Great! Just got on the ship that will allow her to fulfill her dreams, and the creepy guy ALREADY has his sights set on her! She also meets the antithesis of this man, a kindred spirit named Sirena Petoelain. The two enjoy a bite to eat, exchange some small talk and Dr. Kelsum returns to her room to continue unpacking and calls it a night.

In the morning, Dr. Kelsum makes an appointment to use one of the many “hard suites” (single person, submersible exploration suits) to go out and explore the research site. While she is getting dressed, she sees a face staring in at her through the port-hole! What’s worse, the face, as brief as its appearance may have been, bared a resemblance to that creepy Norwegian dude! She hurriedly gets dressed and bails out to go catch some breakfast. She’s thinking to herself that no human life could survive the pressure at 5,000 meters, and begins to question whether or not she had even seen the face. Perhaps she imagined it… Dr. Kelsum runs into her friend from the day before, Sirena, and they plan to have a coffee together. Just as this is about to happen, Dr. Kelsum is notified by her mobile device that she has an appointment to use one of the hard suits. She cordially excuses herself with the promise of a lunch date later and takes her leave.

While she is out taking samples from a hydrothermal vent, a creature with giant fangs pokes its head through the smoke that is emanating from the vent! This creature looks like the monster that was peering through her window, but bares no resemblance to the creepy doctor. It grins a mouth full of fangs at her and she splits! When she arrives back at the ship, she immediately rushes to her room to playback the video from the hard suit to confirm the existence of the monster. As she’s watching, someone starts pounding on her door. the lights go out and the door opens. In the doorway stands Dr. Havmann. She strikes the man, knocking him back and flees the room to find that Dr. Havmann doesn’t look like he just climbed out of the water. She does see someone who does, however…

The Review: The above synopsis covers the first two episodes, and I hung in the middle of the third episode (set for release on Friday 11.30.12) so I don’t spoil it for you. The story is fast! Episode 1 covers the build up to the story and some of the back story of our lead, Dr. Marylou Kelsum. The action starts pretty quickly in episode 2 and keeps pounding. Episode 3 & 4 are super fast paced and you really get the sense of how fast things must be moving for the characters as these two episodes seem to be running at near real-time. Luanne Johnson (voice over for Dr. Marylou Kelsum) does a GREAT job of really communicating the feelings of the character. Episode 5 is the final episode, so you would expect it to be kind of slow, but this is the wrap-up to the story. This is where you get to learn some of the answers to those unanswered questions you’ve been racking up. There is a very nice twist in the 4th and 5th episodes, something that I think Jeff does really well in all of his stories.

This story ends leaving you wanting more! I believe we are bound to get more, as well. I’m looking at the tags on Jeff’s site for the first episode of “Crush Depth” and I see he has tagged the post with “Origin of Legends”; Interesting. The first promo for “Crush Depth” also offers a bit of insight as well… Give it a listen.

Hmmm… Looks like Jeff may be writing one of those awesome twists he’s so good at into the TRAILER for this story! Could this story be the preface to an entire series of stories? “Crush Depth” is an amazing story! You may think twice about ever surfing again, but that’s a small price to pay!

Go get subscribed to the podiodrama on iTunes or subscribe to the RSS feed on Jeff’s blog to get updates as soon as they happen. The full story only clocks in at 2.7 hours (why does iTunes have to use decimal points in a time stamp?) and it listens way faster. Should you enjoy it, I would suggest giving his other podiobooks, “This Paper World” and “One Way” (plus a collection of short stories), a listen as well, or picking up a copy of the “This Paper World” and/or “One Way” e-books. All of his podiobooks are available on his site and iTunes as free downloads. They’re free! There’s nothing to lose!

Jeff Lane: Blog | e-books | iTunes | Facebook | Twitter


About Alloy Matt

Happy Husband | Beardsman | Blogger | Dreamer | Wholigan | Drinker of Coffees | Tweeter of Hashtags | Gamer of Table Tops | Amature Astronomer | Fanboy of Apple

Posted on November 23, 2012, in Audiobook, Authors, Books, Geek, Jeff Lane, My Nerdography, Nerd, Podcast, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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