Today I would like to share one of my most recent finds: while I don’t usually listen to audiobooks because I tend to get distracted if I don’t have a page to focus on, I was looking for something to listen to – besides music – while taking a walk or doing some chores around the house, but still the kind of work that did not require the same level of commitment and attention as an average-length book.
Podcasts sounded like a good alternative, because their shorter duration would be perfect against the “threat” of distraction, so I did some research on the internet and the first one that caught my eye was this serialized SF story, now in its fourth season, set on a remote space station where humans and aliens mix. At the beginning of the story, Dr. Ryan Dalias is sent to EOS 10 as a back-up for the resident main physician, renowned Dr. Horace Urvidian, who has become a hopeless alcoholic. It’s not surprising that the first meeting of the two does not go very well, particularly considering Dr. Urvidian’s abrasive character and rough disposition – even in the rare instances when he’s sober. The main cast also includes senior nurse Jane Johns, practical and irreverent (and one wonders if the latter is the result of some time spent with Dr. Urvidian); Levi, a deposed royal who now works as a dishwasher in a restaurant, dreaming of one day regaining his former position – that is, when he does not haunt the infirmary, being a hypochondriac; and Akmazian, smuggler, terrorist, spy and probably a few other equally unsavory occupations.
This first season mainly introduces the various characters and gives us something of their backstory – mainly for Dalias and Urvidian – and shows the two slowly and very, very cautiously building a bond of mutual respect and understanding, while we learn something about the universe in which the story takes place and about the station itself. The overall tone is light and humorous, at times bending toward the farcical, as it happens in episode 4 where a close encounter with an alien aphrodisiac causes unexpected and very embarrassing consequences for Dr. Dalias. Just to give an idea of the overall flavor of this podcast, think of a cross between Star Trek: DS9 and Grey’s Anatomy, wrapped up in the delightful craziness of Galaxy Quest. This lightness however leaves enough room for more serious themes like addiction, or the tragic consequences brought on by outright refusal of traditional medicine, just to name a couple, although the balance still tends toward the whimsical.
I have quite enjoyed this first season, and not just because it kept me company as I was otherwise engaged: I am now invested in these characters and their stories, and can heartily recommend this podcast as a quick and fun intermission between more serious reading – or listening! – material.