Monday, October 24, 2011

PULPTACULAR | BrokenSea Audio Productions

As promised last week, this week’s New Pulp endeavor is another unique approach to bringing pulps to modern audiences. BrokenSea specializes not in the written word at all, but the spoken. The most popular pulp heroes of the ‘30s and ‘40s had their own radio shows in addition to their printed adventures and that’s where BrokenSea draws its inspiration.

The studio creates free audio-drama podcasts adapting pulp TV shows and films like The X-Files and Logan’s Run. They also have some original series in pulp genres like fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

I’m a big fan of listening to podcasts during my commute to and from work, so I’m eager to check out what BrokenSea’s put together. Doctor Who and Planet of the Apes seem like good places to start because I’m so familiar with both of them. BrokenSea’s Planet of the Apes appears to be a straight adaptation of the 1968 film (they’ve also adapted Beneath the Planet of the Apes) while Doctor Who features new, fanfic adventures. Trying them sounds like a good way to test the waters. I also want to try one of their completely original characters and Jake Sampson: Monster Hunter is a familiar enough concept that I feel like I know what I'm getting into.

Before I do any of that though, I wanted to talk to Stevie Farnaby, one of BrokenSea’s producers and directors to find out more about the project.

Michael: Hi, Stevie. What led you to start BrokenSea? What was missing that you wanted to provide?

Stevie: BrokenSea Audio Productions was actually founded by some of my colleagues/friends. I joined the crew a few months later. The original intention though was to provide a fun framework for folks to get creative within. Somewhere that wasn't burdened by politics. Somewhere where people were given opportunities to shine, and somewhere where we could really let our imaginations fly.

Michael: What differentiates BrokenSea from other New Pulp endeavors?

Stevie: The fact that we’re not afraid to take chances and push the boundaries, from both writing and production fronts. I’m a huge Doctor Who fan for example and produce/direct BSAP’s [Doctor Who] series. I wanted something really special to use as a main theme, specifically for our series, so I approached an ex-member of the Radiophonic Workshop. The result was that I collaborated on a version of it with Jay Ellington-Lee (who worked on the TV series with Delia Derbyshire and Company). I also pioneered a number of production techniques for shows like Escape From New York, Doctor Who, and Maudelayne.

Michael: Where did the name BrokenSea come from?

Stevie: The name came from a comic book that Paul Mannering and Bill Hollweg were working on. There was a scene where the main characters had to walk across a frozen sea. The ice was cracking and breaking as they stumbled across. That kinda became somewhat of a metaphor for us. We’re forever on the edge. Forever treading on a Broken Sea of life and imagination. We could splash down to the bottom at any minute, swim back to the top, and continue onwards. Kinda an exciting concept: not knowing what to expect next from us.

Michael: Which one BrokenSea title do you recommend for someone who’s never listened to one of your podcasts? Where’s the perfect place to start to get an accurate feel for what BrokenSea represents?

Stevie: That’s somewhat subjective and would depend on what sort of shows you like to listen to. I suppose the show that has the widest appeal, from my own personal point of view of course, would be Maudelayne. It’s a completely original, fantasy-comedy series set at Oxford College in the 1930s. Imagine that a rift has opened, through which all manner of mythical characters and creatures “leak” through and wreak havoc. Basically a really good mix of Python-esque humour, action, and fantasy elements. Every episode contains it’s own mythology, and all the characters are beautifully realized and well-rounded. Great entertainment for the whole family.

Michael: Let’s say someone has enjoyed every Broken Sea title available and is still craving more like it. What classic pulp would you suggest he or she read or listen to that would be comparable to yours?

Stevie: Wow, that’s a tough one, as our shows cover a huge range of different genres and styles. From my point of view though, I’d recommend works by the likes of HG Wells, Douglas Adams, JRR Tolkien, Arthur C Clarke, CS Lewis, Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, and HP Lovecraft to name but a few. 

Michael: Thanks for talking with me!

Stevie: Cheers! Take Care.


  1. It's too bad Michael that you didn't ask them about their current partnerships with the pulp publishers. They've done audio versions of Pro Se Productions title, are now working with Airship 27 Productions and Moonstone. I'm sure your readers would be most interested in that aspect of Broken Sea Audio.

  2. Ron's right, Mike! These guys..and gals (Go, Fiona Thraile!) rock!

  3. Thanks for that info, Ron. If it doesn't sound too defensive (I don't mean it to be), I'd like to explain why I didn't mention it.

    The purpose of this series (at least for now) is to get a feel for the New Pulp landscape in very broad strokes. Eventually I'll want to go back and dig deeper into some of the relationships between various endeavors in order to get a better look at the details of the movement and how all these pieces fit together, but for now I'm just trying to see what each organization does independently.

    I really do appreciate the reminder though to come back later and do a post about this partnership. I'm very interested by it.

  4. Jake Sampson is wonderful fun. The "Gods of War" arc is my favorite so far, bit they're all great.


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