Podcasting is on the rise these days—and sci-fi themed podcasts are no exception. Sci-fi fan Rod Faulkner reviews sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films and series on The 7th Matrix website (and has shared some of his reviews here on RECURSOR too). Faulkner recently launched EYE ON SCI-Fi—a pithy podcast focusing on quick film/series reviews for SFF fans. We caught up with him to learn more.
RECURSOR: What is the EYE OF SCI-FI podcast about?
FAULKNER: The EYE ON SCI-FI podcast is an extension of the work I’m doing with The 7th Matrix site. I share with listeners indie produced genre short films and web series I think are terrific and deserve greater exposure. The episode runtimes are brief by design (less than 15 minutes) in order to keep the podcast focused and succinct. I like to think I’m giving listeners tiny nuggets of SFF gold.
My plan is to have creator interviews too. My goal with the podcast is for it to be considered a go-to source to discover quality genre content not offered by more mainstream media outlets. My fingers are crossed!
What inspired you to start podcasting in addition to your website?
I’ve always enjoyed podcasts and have been listening to them since 2008. My enjoyment of the medium mainly stems from the fact there is a podcast for almost any interest, produced by an endless variety of voices. I also love its convenience and immediacy. You can curate a list of podcasts from voices you like, and are able to listen to them when it is convenient for you.
As for what inspired me to make the leap into podcasting, I just felt it was time and the next logical evolution of my site’s mission.
Do you have any SF podcasts that are especially strong influences for you? And have you listened to Recursor’s podcast, HOW SCIENCE FICTION SAVES THE WORLD?
I didn’t know you had a podcast! I most definitely will check it out.
There have been a couple of (other) podcasts that stand out to me. The main one is the SCI-FI TALK podcast hosted by Tony Tellado. SCI-FI TALK is one of the first podcasts I began listening to, and it remains one of the best out there that covers genre entertainment. Tony conducts insightful interviews with genre creatives from every sector of the business, including actors, producers, directors, showrunners, writers, composers, makeup artists, visual effects professionals, cinematographers, authors, etc. If you are a fan of SFF, the SCI-FI Talk podcast should definitely be on your playlist.
Who/what have been your biggest SFF influences? Why?
One of my biggest SFF influences is Nichelle Nichols in her iconic role as Lt. Uhura in STAR TREK, the original series. Being black and growing up in the 1970s in the South, I didn’t see many depictions of black people on-screen, and if I did, the depictions were either horrible racist stereotypes, or the black actors had teeny tiny bit parts as maids, butlers, or in some other menial role.
When I first saw Ms. Nichols as Uhura as a young boy, my world opened up. Here was this beautiful, regal, elegant black woman who was part of the command staff of a starship. It blew my mind, and I’ve been an enormous STAR TREK fan ever since.
In other media, I love the science fiction novels of Octavia Butler. Her books blew open the doors as to what science fiction narratives could be, what themes could be addressed, and who could be at the center of those stories. She was a genius.
You have a strong desire to promote indie SFF. What do you feel indie works add to the world of SFF and its fandom?
I have great admiration and respect for independent filmmakers. Often, they must realize their visions without the backing of major investors, Hollywood studios, or networks. What I have discovered in the five years since I founded The 7th Matrix is that there is a goldmine of extraordinary SFF stories being told by independent filmmakers that many genre fans are not aware of.
Indie SFF tends to add more complexity, originality, and richness to genre narratives. These stories are often told by a diversity of perspectives we still don’t get in mainstream media. Most Hollywood studios are obsessed with creating the next big tent-pole film or franchise. On television, there is more originality, but overall, the networks are reluctant to veer away from tried-and-true programming like medical dramas or police procedurals, or they hope to exploit audiences’ nostalgia for former hit properties — which is why we are seeing a constant barrage of reboots and remakes.
For SFF, indie online short films and web series are a lush oasis of originality and inclusion that needs amplification.
Have you ever considered creating your own indie work? Or do you prefer being part of the SFF fandom and reviewing community?
No, I’ve never considered creating my own indie work. One day that may change, but for now, I am content with discovering, consuming, and sharing the wonderful works I encounter. I love being part of SFF fandom because it’s just wonderful to meet others of like minds and geek out over properties and subjects you love. I enjoy my role in the reviewing community because my hope is, in some small way, I am helping these terrific indie filmmakers and their works gain more public exposure.
What SFF films, TV shows, and books are you particularly enjoying right now?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a few SFF media I’m enjoying:
In terms of film, I enjoyed SNOWPIERCER, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO MONDAY?, INFINI, GET OUT, A QUIET PLACE, BLACK PANTHER, THE CONJURING, and despite how polarizing they are, Episodes 7 and 8 of STAR WARS.
On TV, I enjoy THE EXPANSE, DARK MATTER, KILLJOYS, THE ORIGINALS, WESTWORLD, SENSE8, LOST IN SPACE, VOLTRON.
In books, I’m enjoying THE EXPANSE novels. CHILDREN Of BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi was excellent. And I devour anything by N.K. Jemisin.
Is there anything you’d like to see more of in SF? Less of?
I definitely want to see more stories produced, told by, and centering individuals from marginalized groups. We don’t live in a homogeneous world, and our media should reflect the beautiful variety and richness that is humanity. I definitely want to see fewer remakes and reboots. There are plenty of original and fantastic SFF stories being told out there!
Rod T. Faulkner is the founder of The7thMatrix.com, a website dedicated to promoting the best genre web series and short films. He hosts the Eye On Sci-Fi podcast where he shares his picks of must-see indie SFF web series and short films. He also is the author of 200 Best Online Sci-Fi Short Films, a compilation of exceptional genre shorts.