…But now that we’ve seen this article we’re ready to jump in and get hooked!
by Kristina Manente
With nearly 22,000 works on Archive of Our Own alone, podfic isn’t exactly niche. Nor is it new. Fans were recording audiozines, aka fanfiction on tapedecks, in the 1970s and ’80s, with Doctor Who and Star Trek stories being the most popular. But audio fanfiction didn’t really make it “mainstream” until 2004 with sbp aloud, the Livejournal project to record an audiobook version of a popular Harry Potter fanfiction, “The Shoebox Project.” Soon enough after that, podficcing communities started to pop up all over Livejournal and Dreamwidth. With the creation of the Audiofic Archive, which sadly had a major server corruption and lost over 25,000 podfics in 2016, podficcers were slowly building a community, one that would spread to Tumblr, Twitter, and Archive of Our Own over the years.
That said, podficcing is still on the outskirts of general fandom discourse. With the rise of podcasting, it’s come up more often than it did two decades ago, yes, but it’s still an art form and a way of experiencing fanfiction that more people simply need to know about.
“As a listener, it’s the intimacy of it, the ‘warm hug’ of someone’s voice,” Annapods, who considers herself a major fan of podficcing, so much so that it actually helped her speak English, told SYFY WIRE. She finds the variety of skill levels one of the best parts of podfic. Not everyone is a master sound engineer or actor, but podfics are a labor of love — and it shows.
“There’s no right way to podfic, and I really enjoy exploring all that’s possible,” she explains. “Podfic is especially good for that because it’s multimedia. There’s acting, sound engineering, design, communication….