“Dark Side of the Moon” by Alan Jacobson

To say the fourth OPSIG Team Black book, Dark Side of the Moon, is out of this world, would be a bad pun, but also very true. Make of it what you will.

Apollo 17 returned to Earth in 1972 with lots of moon rock, but also something else: a new element that could change nuclear weapons forever; it was kept secret for decades. But now the secret has been leaked from NASA and some disliked potential superpowers are looking to get back to the moon and verify this mysterious element and harvest it for personal gain. The United States has no choice but to go back to the moon to prevent this from happening. But it’s been a long time since anyone’s been back to the moon, and NASA no longer has its shuttle program to depend upon. It’s going to require a level of skill and ingenuity to pull this off the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the space race of the 1960’s.

OPSIG members Hector DeSantos and Aaron Uziel will be joining the NASA team of four to travel to the moon and face the Chinese, or whoever they might find up there. Meanwhile, FBI Profiler Karen Vail is brought in to trace the leak and track down who and what country is ultimately behind the spy ring, along with help from OPSIG Team Black colleague Alexandra Rusakov.

Alan Jacobson takes his OPSIG team to a whole new level in Dark Side of the Moon, literally! It required him venturing into a field he hasn’t really explored before, in space travel, the surface of the moon, and all things NASA, ultimately requiring an immense amount of research. But if you know Jacobson at all, you know he does the hard work, and the result is a stunningly well-research book that is also immensely gripping. The ultimate page turner!

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Ten podcasts you probably haven’t heard of but should be listening to . . .

podcasts

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we are living in the epoch of the podcast, and it shows no signs of slowing down. 2017 was another massive year for audio dramas which culminated perfectly in the first official podcast convention, Podcon, in Seattle in December. It was a huge success and will hopefully be the first of many conventions to come. Last year also saw the big publisher Tor Books turn to podcasts, creating a new imprint, Tor Labs, and the release of its first podcast, the successful (and fantastic) Steal the Stars by Mac Rogers. 2017 also saw the release of the hugely popular Lore podcast as an Amazon TV series, as well as a number of podcasts like Tanis, Bright Sessions, and Welcome to Night Vale receiving their own TV deals.

Basically, the podcast train is just getting up to full speed: it’s got lots of stations to stop and visit along the way, and there’s no end of the line in sight, and what’s even more awesome, is that there are more and more passengers getting on all the time. If I’ve learned anything as a podcast writer, it is: podcast creators love listening to other podcasts as much as they love making their own.

With so many podcasts out there right now to listen to, especially in the “audio drama” category, when “best podcasts of the year” lists start coming out, it tends to be a lot of the same ones repeated over and over, often ones that have a big following, or have had a lot of media attention, or have just been going for a number of seasons. Meanwhile, the smaller, self-supported, super-indie podcasts that may well just be one person with a mic attached to their laptop and the use of the free audio software Audacity who wants to tell a story, are kind of getting pushed by the wayside because they don’t have a million downloads, or aren’t getting featured on the start pages of Podbean or other podcast sites, or aren’t in the iTunes Top 200 podcasts.

So as a fellow podcast creator (Ostium) and proud podcast addict, here are my ten best podcasts you probably haven’t heard of and should be listening to. These are podcasts I’ve come across over the last year through recommendations from other podcasts and podcasters; or by a few devoted podcast fans out there who are the heralds of the podcast world and spend their days spreading the word about podcasts, like @audiotainmentnews and @ShoMarq; or by searching through the awesome hashtag #AudioDramaSunday. Every Sunday, us podcasters like to spread the word about podcasts we like and want everyone else to be listening to, all under this handy hashtag.

Okay, enough chatting, here are the ten podcasts, and I’m using the description listed with the podcast to best explain the premise. Also I’ll be mentioning one of these podcasts at the end of each episode of Ostium throughout Season 2. Enjoy!

gone

Gone: There’s no way to plan for being alone. There’s no way to plan for what comes next. This is a story about what happens when the world goes dark, and everyone else is gone.

marsfall

Marsfall: Marsfall is a new science-fiction series that follows the first colonists settling on the planet Mars. Led by their fearless commander Jacki O’Rania, and assisted by the colonial artificial intelligence unit ANDI, our colonists strive to make a home on the Red Planet while exploring its deeper mysteries.

whitevault

The White Vault: Explore the far reaches of the world’s horrors in the audio drama podcast The White Vault. Follow the collected records of a repair team sent to Outpost Fristed in the vast white wastes of the Arctic Circle and unravel what lies waiting in the ice below.

victoriocity

Victoriocity: A detective comedy drama || Even Greater London, 1887. In this vast metropolis, Inspector Archibald Fleet and journalist Clara Entwhistle investigate a murder, only to find themselves at the centre of a conspiracy of impossible proportions.

rosedrive

Rose Drive: 7 friends are interviewed after a 10 year high school reunion tragedy occurs. Welcome to Southampton. Are You Listening? This is Markus Hill. if you’re here, you’ve agreed to help me find Forrest Sutherland. I can’t do this alone.

duggan

Duggan Hill: On a back country road outside the hamlet of Duggan Hill, Saskatchewan, a woman named Sasha Ismond goes missing without a trace. She had been travelling from Vancouver for the past day, and was mere minutes away from her father’s home. The last person she spoke to was her former partner, Zoe, a journalism student at the University of British Columbia. This is a collection of recovered audio recordings from the subsequent investigation into her disappearance, recorded during the summer of 2015.

earth

The Earth Collective: The Earth Collective is a story of Mankind’s survival on Oasus, a distant planet, far from earth. They live in rolling cities to stay bathed in constant sunlight, running from The Dark, a malicious entity that resides in the dark-side of the planet.

box

The Box: When Addison Gilmore found the old lockbox of journals filled with entries about bizarre and terrifying events, she thought she’d stumbled upon a unique mass participation fiction project. But as she shares those stories and digs into their contents, it becomes increasingly clear that these journals are more than they seem… and she’s in over her head.

bridge

The Bridge: Welcome to the Transcontinental Bridge!It’s an alternate 2016, and Watchtower 10 sits in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, keeping lonely watch over the Transcontinental Bridge. Unbeknownst to the general public (but totally knownst to each watchtower’s crew), these stations also hold a secret that could potentially destroy the world…or save it.

lucyd

LUCYD: LUCYD is a supernatural drama, following a young woman dealing with unusual and frightening events surrounding her mysterious nightmares, and what follows her into the waking world. Set in Cork, Ireland, and told through the lens of ‘found-footage’-style audio recordings, both knowingly made by the characters and recorded without their knowledge, LUCYD explores elements of occult horror and psychological drama, as well as humor, romance, and dreams.

Ostium Mini Episode: “Musings on the Map Table”

While Monica is still enjoying some shuteye, Jake plants himself in front of the map table and has some very deep contemplations about it.

Written by Alex C. Telander.
Performed by Chris Fletcher.

If you want more Ostium, why not become a patron on our Patreon page, where for just $2 a month you’ll get access to an exclusive brand new mini episode every two weeks (and this includes all through the offseason); and during the regular season of the show you’ll get access to new episodes a full week before everyone else. Alternatively, you could also make a one-time donation and help support Ostium on our website, ostiumpodcast.com.

And if you wouldn’t mind leaving Ostium a review on whatever app or program you use to listen to podcasts and that way people can see what you’re saying to convince them to listen to Ostium.

Thanks for listening and see you in two weeks.

PATREON EXCLUSIVE: Ostium Episode 4 – First Contact

ostiumheader2

Ostium Episode 4 – First Contact is now available in a special early release one week before the regular release for Patreon patrons. Go to Team Ostium’s Patreon page to subscribe and get access to lots of goodies.

At the lowest level, for just $2 a month, you’ll get access to Ostium episodes a week before regular release, as well as a new mini episode. So if you subscribe now, you’ll get to listen to Episode 4, as well as three mini episodes.

Head on over to our Patreon page.

Patreon Patron Exclusive Coming This Sunday!

We here at Team Ostium have made the decision to give our patrons another special perk. So starting this Sunday, February 5th, patrons who have passed through the Third Door ($5 level) in addition to getting mini episodes, all the music, and transcripts, they will also get exclusive access to the next episode of Ostium a full week before it’s released to everyone else.

So this Sunday, if you enter the third door, you’ll be able to listen to Episode 4: First Contact. And all future episodes of Ostium will be made available a week before regular release.

Head on over to our Patreon page and become a patron and help support Ostium.