Monday, March 28, 2005

Earthcore by Scott Sigler

Earthcore - A Podcast Novel by Scott Sigler, MP3 File, Free

Before I get into this, I've just got to wonder why a post saying I wasn't going to post for a couple of days got as many, or more, comments as a lot of my reviews? What's up with that?

"A Podcast Novel", that's not a short story, you say. Why am I reviewing this? Three reasons:

A) Because it is being issued in twenty installments, so each installment can be considered short fiction (though I don't intend to review each installment). This first installment could easily stand alone as a short story.
B) Because it is another instance of good audio on the web. My regular readers know what that means to me. (If you're not a regular reader, why aren't you?)
C) Because I want to. So there!

Earthcore by Scott Sigler appears to be a technothriller in the "Journey to the Center of the Earth" vein. Earthcore was originally issued as an ebook back in 2000 and was scheduled to be issued in paperback by iPublish until the imprint was shut down just before publication date.

Apparently Mr. Sigler got fed up with trying to flog his book through the regular channels and decided to do something a little different to attract attention. He has recorded the entire book and is releasing the audio files on a weekly basis for twenty weeks. You gotta admire the guy's pluck.

The first episode, the book's prologue, was released last week. About 24-minutes long, it tells the adventures of three geology graduate students in 1942 exploring a cave that one of the students, Samuel, believes is important to his research. The upper reaches of the cave showed signs of Neolithic occupation, but Samuel is more interested in the deeper reaches. He can tell that the cave leads deeper, much deeper into the mountain, but the access is blocked by an ancient rock fall. The strongest of the trio, Wilford Igo, the viewpoint character, is trying to clear a passage big enough for them to squeeze through by shoving one particular boulder out of the way. The trouble is that the boulder is heavy, and moving it in the wrong way could bring the entire rock fall down on them.

Once Wilford exhausts himself moving the boulder, Samuel and Douglas squeeze through the opening to explore deeper. They try to goad Wilford into going with them, but he is too tired. All he wants to do is rest, so they continue without him. Not long afterward, Wilford hears screaming. Douglas makes it back to the boulder where Wilford is, and things go downhill (so to speak) from there.

Mr. Sigler does a good job building suspense with this episode. As I said above, this prologue could stand alone as a horror story. I especially liked Wilford's very personal struggle with the boulder, though that portion could have profited by some judicious editing. It felt a bit overlong. The production values are good with some nice intro and outtro music by
The Transfer. Mr. Sigler, in addition to writing the book, performs as well and does a good job of it. This first episode is 11.4 MB in size, so if you have a dial-up connection, prepare to be patient.

In short, I liked it enough to subscribe to the RSS feed so I don't miss any episodes.


At 12:32 PM, Blogger Scott Sigler said...

You, sir, are the first person to review EarthCore the podcast. I salute you! Thanks for the coverage, I hope you're enjoying the new episodes. Throw me a vote for the rankings -- just go to and vote in the upper-right-hand corner

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