Sunday Podcast: Artifexian

Well, this is a late one. Technically it's still Sunday though, and everyone knows that technically correct is obviously the best kind of correct. I really need to get writing though if I want to push this out today, since it's nearly 10pm and I still have to write the entire post! I have all my links ready, and I have pretty much nothing but good things to say about this weeks picks, so let's get to it. 

The podcast I've picked for the feature this week is the Artifexian Podcast. I've only just recently found out about this show, it's one of the newest podcasts on my list, but it very quickly became one of my favourites. There are exactly 2 podcasts I listen to that I have notifications for when a new episode is released, and this is one of them. 

I'll get into what makes this podcast so great in just a minute, but first we have to cover a bit of sad news. The very first time I opened up the podcast in my player I was greeted with the show title "End of Artifexian , . ?", which was a bit depressing as I assumed I was about to start on a really interesting journey that would have a sad ending. I decided to go for it though, as there were only 15 episodes at the time and everything I'd read about it was very high praise. Spoiler alert: the show didn't end. 

To understand why it almost did end though, we have to talk about the show itself. As you may remember from a previous post, I've started to dabble in a bit of worldbuilding for my novels. Well, I'm not just dabbling, it's going to be a major part of some of the novels I plan to write. Nothing really sends me out of my story immersion more than a poorly thought out setting or system of magic or type of crazy government, or basically anything that contradicts a previous part of your story. While I completely understand that this is almost impossible to eliminate completely, being an effective worldbuilder means you dramatically increase the amount of continuity in your stories, which makes for a more fleshed out and enjoyable experience for everyone. I've always been a bit of a worldbuilder at heart, thinking about how magic systems might work, or the shape or name of a country or continent. What I plan on doing for my novels though involves a much more detailed and organized approach, which is where the Artifexian Podcast comes in. 

Edgar Grunewald and Bill McGrath are two Irish dudes who are the driving core behind this podcast. This is very much a "two dudes talking" style of podcast, which is easily my favourite flavour of audio entertainment. The episodes can be nearly or upwards of two hours, and when you enjoy hearing what the hosts are talking about that time really just flies. In this case, along with stuff that happens in their day to day lives, Edgar and Bill enjoy talking about worldbuilding. The Artifexian YouTube channel is Edgar's project, and the reason the whole podcast exists. It's a terrific resource for learning more about the science that goes into building an interactive and deep setting for your stories. This is the basis behind the podcast, and while the show has it's moments of tangents and off topic discussion, (as any good "two dudes talking" podcast will) the core idea is always one of worldbuilding. 

So remember before when I was talking about how the podcast almost ended? Well, that's because even though some people can make their livings off of YouTube money, Edgar isn't one of those guys. I wish he were, as the content he produces is straight top notch stuff, but unfortunately he has to get a real job in order to pay for things like rent and food. In his most recent video (at the time of writing this, October 9th, 2016) he talks about this in detail and explains how the videos will have to take a huge backburner position for the time being. This was quite upsetting news to me, as I had just discovered this wonderful resource at a time when it would become, for the most part, inactive. However, the one saving grace is that the podcast would most likely continue. 

And so it has. A new episode has gone up just today, which I haven't quite finished yet so if you get to it before I do, don't spoil anything interesting! This is one of the few podcasts that I downloaded the entire backlog to listen to, because I enjoyed it just that much. It also helped that there were only 15 episodes at the time I started listening, so it was super accessible. I can say for certain that the podcast has provided me with hours and hours of entertainment, and made me stop to jot down a few cool novel ideas or world ideas while listening. I'm not sure what exactly the average person knows about worldbuilding, you can leave a comment and tell me if you'd like, but I imagine they think about drawing a map, naming some places, and boom you're done. Well, it's more complicated. A lot more complicated. This podcast really helps put things into perspective though, and really does a good job of picking a topic involving worldbuilding and expanding on that topic in detail. It, along with the youtube videos, have really helped me a lot in my pursuit of worldbuildilng for the purpose of writing a novel. 

I have no massive cons for the podcast. I've been trying to think of something that doesn't just seem petty or pedantic for the last while but I can't. It's well recorded, the sound quality is always great, the topics, as well as the hosts, are interesting and engaging. It has a terrific community, both on YouTube and reddit. If Bill or Edgar get something wrong in an episode they've been really good so far about self editing and mentioning things in follow-up. The show notes are extensive and everything is always linked properly. The topics are fun and engaging, and when the boys retire to the green room to talk about things going on in their lives I remain just as interested as I did with the worldbuilding stuff. They both seem like genuinely great dudes, and it makes me happy that they've created this podcast and community. Artifexian is a big part of my desire to start up my own worldbuilding based podcast. They'll be getting competition soon enough! 

My favourite episode was tough to pick again this week. Not only because they are all fantastic (which they are), but because I listened to the first 15 back to back to back, so they all kind of blur together in my mind. I had a quick peak back at the show notes though and have narrowed it down to a single episode. So far, my favourite Artifexian podcast episode is definitely Handwavia and Dager. In this episode, Bill and Edgar talk about two star systems that they designed independently. Just writing that out seems a bit crazy I think. They literally designed star systems from scratch. I think one of the big reasons this is my favourite episode is because they went over, in decent amounts of detail, the maths involved with star sizes and planet orbits and all sorts of things like that. These numbers are not something I was aware of before, at least not consciously, and are not something I would have thought to think about when creating a new world. I'm a big believer that even if your story takes place in one city in one country on one planet, you should have everything planned out beforehand, including your star system, your galaxy, the laws of your universe, etc. You don't have to talk about all these things in the book, but if they are all in place before you start writing, you will write more consistently and believably. 

The Artifexian Podcast has simply made my life more enjoyable and it has helped me - with both logistics and motivation - to pursue writing as something I want to do for a career. For these reasons, as well as everything listed above, I'm giving Artifexian my first 10 out of 10 possible stars rating (or perhaps it would be more fitting to give it a 12 out of 12). I know this is only my second podcast review, and it might make it look like I'm handing out 10/10's all willy nilly, but I'm not. I wasn't exaggerating before when I said I couldn't think of anything that I could legitimately list as a con to this show. It's brilliant, and I'm so happy that it exists. If Bill or Edgar ever find their way to this blog post, I want them to know that they've made something really fantastic, and I appreciate their hard work. 

Have you ever heard of this podcast before? Have you listened or will you in the future listen to it? What would you rate it out of 10 (or 12)? Do you listen to any similar podcasts? Leave a comment letting me know your thoughts, and I would love any suggestions for good podcasts. If they are related to the podcast of the week, then that's spectacular, but even if it's totally unrelated I want to hear your suggestions. I'm always on the hunt for interesting new podcasts. So leave your thoughts down below. Thank's so much for reading, and I'll see you next week. Edgar out.