The book club format has served us very well over the past few years. Our deliberate approach to video games has resonated with an audience who often uses our shows to vicariously experience games they otherwise might not have played. As a network, we're a collection of shows dedicated to capturing and re-expressing experiences, and that's really fun to do.
In a separate but related thought, I've had a hankerin' for a while to diversify the network by creating some shows about other forms of media. Like, you know, doing an actual book club podcast.
Combining these two notions, the most recent bee in my bonnet has been the desire to start a podcast that thoroughly dissects the Dark Tower series of novels by Stephen King.
I found Stephen King really late compared to most people, who likely tore through his books in high school. I read On Writing in college, after a professor recommended it. I then moved right on to The Stand, and proceeded to devour the whole Dark Tower series over the course of a six month period when I was unemployed after graduation. (I think my Stephen King heuristic is to read his books in descending order of length.) It was a very rewarding find, since I've come to really appreciate King's style and ethos, flawed though it may be.
The world that King built over the course of that series really drew me in, even as he tore it apart and reassembled it to fit a story that changed and evolved as he matured as a writer. It's an intricate and fascinating universe that serves as a rare core-sample cross section of one writer's entire career.
The Dark Tower also combines several genres that video game nerds love... fantasy, science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, westerns, and metafictional mumbo jumbo. Okay, maybe those last two are just me... but there's plenty there for the audiences of our existing shows to love.
Each book is different enough that it warrants a fresh examination, and they're chock full of great moments and story beats. The characters are great, too. I'm particularly fond of Eddie. The books encourage investment and imagination, painting an intricate picture of a fractured cosmos and detailing the futile journey to set it right.
Conversely, some parts of the series are extremely bad. For as much as I, personally, enjoy self indulgent author wankery, King flies way too close to the sun in the later books. It would be fun to laugh at those extravagances while also drawing out whatever positives are hidden behind them.
If we wanted to go hardcore on this, we would also dip into the other works that are part of the "mythos". Why not a an episode about The Stand once we get to Wizard and Glass?
The easy answer to the "Why Not" question is, obviously, time. It's always time. This project would require a huge investment on the part of the whole hosting team, and I would feel awful obligating someone to read 4,250 pages of fiction that I know is not 100% gold.
This is a dream project though. Assuming I was ever in a position to do podcasts full time, and had co-hosts who were committed to being along for the ride, Radio Free Midworld would be a fun addition to the network, talking about one of the weirdest (and most successful) pieces of epic fiction to have ever been written.
This is where you tell me if I'm nuts. Is this the kind of thing you'd like to see on the network? Am I right in thinking it would be a good idea to expand into talking about other forms of media? Let me know in the comments below.