The Who, What and Why
Odin (@Odin1eye), the reviewer of the blog View From Valhalla. I review stories. Why? Because I hate reading or watching reviews of any kind of artistic work.
If you’re saying “huh?” at this point, I completely understand. So, how did I get here?
The Origins of Odin (the Reviewer)
I’ve always been an avid reader. From 1st grade on, when I won a reading contest, I’ve rarely been without a book nearby. In fact, as a teenager, I spent so much time in our local library, they offered me a job. Talk about feeding an addiction.
Fast forward twenty (wow) years to 2006.
I am now a father (again) and commuting. I bemoan the lack of time available for reading. I’ve discovered podcasts. Through this, I’ve discovered Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword by Tee Morris. Billi and Mr. Morris turned out to be a gateway drug to podibooks.com (an online repository of original stories released as serialized podcast episodes) and to Twitter.
Due to my lifelong addiction to books, authors have always been rock stars to me. I’ve always wondered about their humanity and if they are remotely like the rest of us. I grew up in Wyoming and never had the opportunity to meet an honest to goodness author. Mr. Morris kept providing his Twitter address in the outro of his podcast episodes as a way to contact him. I kept wondering if he would really correspond with his fans. Finally, I created an account and took a chance. He did. He does. You can find him @teemonster on Twitter. (Tell him I sent you.)
Not long after getting on Twitter I began finding myself in a very literary group of like-minded individuals. Many of my new online acquaintances were also listening to stories from Podiobooks. It wasn’t long until I started to become a resource for “What should I listen to next?” or “What would you recommend?”
Evolution of a Podio Reviewer
Along with many readers/listeners, my Twitter stream was full of many authors/podcasters. One of these was (and thankfully still is) Ms. Philippa Ballantine.
After having the above questions asked a number of times, I queried my Twitter stream, “Would anyone be interested in reading reviews of podiofiction?” Ms. Ballantine replied that I had better be careful, as I might “become famous”. I believe those were her words.
Well, I had no fear that I would become famous, but felt encouraged by the response. Shortly after, I released my first review of podcast fiction on my blog, http://www.viewfromvalhalla.com. That was November of 2009. Since then I’ve released a new review of a work of podcast fiction every Monday minus one.
The Small Print
Before I began reviewing, I set myself several rules. I wouldn’t review magazines or anthologies. I wouldn’t review erotica. Other than that, I had very little in the way of guidelines. I also decided I would close each review with a statement regarding my association (or lack thereof) with the creative personalities involved. I also, of course, left myself the right to ignore any of my self-imposed rules at any time.
Backtracking and Fast forward to 2011.
After several years of reviewing audio fiction, I realized that I missed the act of reading. I further realized I had allowed my love of this new medium (podcasts) to supplant my first love of the printed word. I resolved to make room in my life for both.
Once I finished a book however, it seemed like something was missing. I quickly realized that reviewing had become part of my process for internalizing a story, and so I began reviewing printed and e-book fiction as well as podcast fiction.
I changed one rule for reviewing print fiction, however. In these reviews I will take publisher and author submissions. I have reviewed a number of titles from PYR and have enjoyed reading a number of self published stories as well.
I have endeavored to remember one thing every time I review a work regardless of type. Nothing pleases everyone. Something will please someone. I will tell my readers what I like, and what I don’t like. However, I will always try to identify what is being done well, even when I don’t like the story in question, because a good story, movie, book, cd, is in the end a subjective quantification.
I hope you stop by View from Valhalla or give the podcast of the same name (found on iTunes and currently simply an audio version of the podiofiction reviews). If you do, don’t be shy. If you agree, let me know. If you disagree, that’s even better, tell me why!
Thanks, and keep reading!