Ever since Apple made a home for podcasts, whether it was iTunes or (now) Apple Podcasts, no distinction was made between non-fiction and fiction/audio drama/radio plays/et cetera. Thousands of independent immersive stories were buried in categories that didn’t fit. Personal Journals? Society and Culture? Performing Arts? Nothing was a good fit. It was a sink or swim situation. Unfortunately, many shows sank.
This summer, as Apple competes for your attention span with streaming services such as Spotify, Netflix and BBC Sounds , Apple finally decided to give Fiction a category. They even made three sub-categories: Drama, Comedy, and Science Fiction.
As a result, this vibrant, growing community of people and ideas can finally get its head above water. And, guess what?
Jarnsaxa is finally visible.
Here is a screen shot of part of the Apple Podcasts United States Fiction>Drama chart, taken on the 21st of August, 2019, at 5:53 PM.
Finally, we’re not buried under thousands and thousand of podcasts, we’re not shoved into a drawer that doesn’t fit. Finally, when people look for a good story on Apple Podcasts, they can find us, along with stories like ours.
Thank you, Apple Podcasts.
If this is your first time here, hello and welcome. Thank you for joining us. Get out your headphones or turn on your speakers. We have a story for you.
Seems as though all the summer entertainment takes us back to ancient and mythic themes to understand contemporary society. Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame dominated the month of May. The finale of Game of Thrones pitted dragons against mortals to show the difference between dictatorship and democracy. Now, Good Omens uses Biblical themes in a battle between Heaven and Hell to show that friendship is magic.
I’m not actually 100% sure. I haven’t finished watching it, and I read the book over a decade ago. It’s been a while. The point is, people are trying to make sense out of a flawed world, and they’re turning to ancient myths, legends and stories to cope. They’re also giving a lot of money to huge corporations (Disney, Warner Media, Amazon) to scratch the itch for story. Pro tip: You don’t have to. You have podcasts.
Jarnsaxa Rising gives you Norse mythology, in worlds both imagined and real. Mythic themes sort out justice, climate crisis and wealth disparity. Just like the aforementioned, it’s got the end of the world at stake, rich multifaceted characters, and clever strategies to defeat enemies and surmount obstacles. Plus, the actors are exciting. If you haven’t heard it yet, now’s your chance! You can start with Season 1, Episode 1, on your favorite podcast app. Or, click below for the stand-alone episode, We Who Contain Multitudes, the opening of Season 2.
In September of 1944, Jarnsaxa meets mysterious strangers whose plane crashes on her island. She hopes they might release her from her witch bottle, and let her escape. When she finds their agenda is more bellicose and cruel than she could imagine, she takes strides to correct them.
Content warning: extreme violence, frank discussion of sex, frank discussion of racism, fighting Nazis.
(Hey, look at that! I embedded an audio link! It works! Yay, WordPress!)
Why do we keep pulling mythology out to try to cope with what we cannot understand? It’s familiar, it’s adaptive, and it lets us believe that recklessness and flaws have a place in the world. Nature has its own order, humans just try to impose their will on it. Stories let us make sense of our lives. Get yourself more mythic stories, for free!
Jarnsaxa’s final battle with Balder and Thor forces her to abandon her usual tactics. Using Nikea’s flash drive, she explodes the witch bottle, attacking the corporation in a sonic storm. Thor takes her to Yggdrasil. Reunited with Eric, she must make hard choices about the future for her own children, and Eric’s.
Despite Sif’s new wisdom and Eric’s new insight about his relationships, Thor obstructs their mission. Loki uses his experience as the mother of Slepnir to gain Skuld’s trust. Eric uses 21st-century tools to stop Thor, and Sif invokes Jarnsaxa. The Interviewer remembers who she is. Heimdall is caught between Sif’s determination and Thor’s stubborness, and must carve his own path without the Aesir. Ratatoskr returns with intelligence from another world.
Special thanks to Tom Boutell for his understanding of .png files, and to Mark Edmundson for his understanding of ancient electricity.
Season 2, Episode 6: Urd, Sif and Eric connect the pattern between the destruction of Jotunheim, the other Norns’ disappearance, and Jarnsaxa’s mission in Midgard. Jarnsaxa experiences a new side of Balder, and must protect her witch bottle. Loki and Skuld discover the truth about Jasper and Balder, and Loki sets out on a path of destruction.
Season 2, Episode 5: Ratatoskr warns Sif and Eric that something is wrong at Urd’s Well. Jarnsaxa finds that Mr. Wallace has been collecting some mysterious trophies, and recognizes him for who he really is. Heimdall and Thor strain their relationship and mission with threats and deception. Loki makes Stephanie discover her true voice and identity.
Jarnsaxa brings Nikea’s viral weapon back to the Hei Shui corporation, but must continue posing as Agent Bachman and develop diplomatic skills, when The Interviewer gives her a risky invitation. Loki finds Jasper, and lands in the tightest vise he can imagine: the role of a devoted father. Eric and Sif go to Hel, find the trapped Scandia Energy workers from Sottunga, and Agent Bachman adds to the greater mystery. What could Hel want from Sif? Why are the voices of Stephanie, The Interviewer and SoloMom so compelling to Loki and Jarnsaxa?
Need a Winter’s Tale? All ten episodes of Season 1 of Jarnsaxa Rising are available for your listening pleasure. Join her on her journey. Follow these links to listen, or look for Jarnsaxa Rising in the podcatcher of your choice.
There are so many nominated podcasts that voting starts with a semifinalist round. We have some very experienced company with huge audiences, such as The Black Tapes and We’re Alive, which regularly chart in the Top 20 (if not the Top 10) on iTunes. We are a small (but mighty) fish in a very deep and densely populated pond.
You may ask, “Why don’t you just tell me what to click on, and I’ll click it?” I don’t think you want me to do that, Dave. The way the ballot is set, you can’t let a category go by without voting.
Therefore, in the spirit of getting more people to listen to free, independent audio drama, I invite you to listen to the AudioVerse Showcase, and decide for yourself which nominees should make it to the semifinals.
Jarnsaxa Rising is nominated in several categories. You can vote for one to five nominees in each category. Our nominations are:
Best Original Music Composition In A Short Form Production (Vince Friel, for Jarnsaxa Rising, SoloMom, and Rising)
Best Audio Engineering of an Original, Ongoing, Short Form Production (Vince Friel)
Best Writing for an Original, Short Form, Ongoing Production (Lindsay Harris-Friel)
Best Original, Short Form, Small Cast, Ongoing Production
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for an Original, Short Form, Ongoing Production (Katherine Kupiecki as Agent Bachman and MaryLynn Mennicke as Jarnsaxa)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for an Original, Short Form, Ongoing Production (Ethan Bjelland as Loki and John Zeiler as Dr. Eric Aspinall)
Other shows which are nominated that I personally would recommend include:
Wooden Overcoats, a comedy about competing funeral directors on the tiny island of Piffling
Hadron Gospel Hour, a comedy about a doomed scientist and a plucky IT guy traveling the multi-verse
A Scottish Podcast, a drama about a radio DJ and a struggling musician trying to make a podcast about the catacombs beneath a city, and the monster that lives there (It’s meta as meta can be)
The Bright Sessions, a drama about psychotherapy sessions held by Dr. Bright with young clients with extraordinary abilities
Small Town Horror, a horror story about a guy coping with a series of child abductions in his home town, and his own past escape from the abductor
My taste might be very different from yours, but if you pick through the list of nominees, there has to be something you’ll like. The Showcase podcast is a vast sampler platter of probably any kind of entertainment you can imagine, ranging from G rated to R rated, comedy to horror, contemporary through fantasy to surrealist.
Jarnsaxa Rising is nominated for The AudioVerse Awards! This award celebrates the best in independent audio drama podcasting, and provides a signal boost to introduce new listeners to the world of audio drama podcasts. AudioVerse produces a podcast which showcases work from all the nominees. You can listen and subscribe here: 2016 Showcase.