Metamor City Update, 2014-05-11

“Hey Chris, where’s the next Metamor City ep?”

or, Why You Should Never Start A Podcast Without A Backlog


Hello, Metamorphs!

THINGS UNSEEN debuted on the Metamor City Podcast at the beginning of March, with a stated release schedule of one episode every two weeks. At the time, I thought this wouldn’t be a problem: my narration for half of the book was already recorded, I only had one other voice actor to coordinate with (the extremely talented Dawn D. Wood, also known as @phynixism on Twitter), and I already had a well-established library of music and sound effects that had helped to define the Metamor City style. While I had some trepidation about not having a backlog of completed episodes, I thought that we could keep up with a biweekly release schedule.

I was so very, very wrong.

Almost immediately we started having problems. A hard drive failure killed much of the audio that Dawn had already recorded for the podcast. When she re-recorded in February and March — a truly titanic effort for which she deserves huge props — her computer did not inform her that, due to a defective USB port, she was not actually recording through the high-quality microphone in her recording closet, but through her laptop’s internal microphone. Then she switched to another USB port, started over AGAIN, and THIS time the audio cut in and out between the studio mic and the internal mic (again without the OS telling her this was happening). Finally she borrowed someone else’s computer, and she is now re-recording lines for a fourth time.

Meanwhile, I was having problems of my own. Listening to my audio for the podcast, I realized that it was pretty much impossible for me to maintain a consistent voice for David Silverleaf while switching back and forth between David and my narrator lines. Since David’s a major character in the novel and having a distinctive voice for him was important, I had to go back and re-record my lines for David, then splice them into the recording along with Dawn’s lines.

Now, as all of this was going on, we were able to keep on top of things just enough to get the first three episodes out more or less on time … but we were losing ground, and we knew it. Then, when we absolutely could not afford any more delays, we got hit with a triple whammy:

1.) The end-the-marking-period grading rush. Piles upon piles of student work for me to grade.

2.) A long-planned job hunting trip for me and my partner Melanie. We were on the road through all of Spring Break (April 13-19), and while I was hoping to get editing done on the podcast during this trip, that turned out to be a lot harder than I’d anticipated.

3.) On top of everything else, Dawn got hit with a case of food poisoning that knocked her out of commission for about a week. We’re talking serious hospital time here. It was bad.

Week after week slipped by, and while we’ve made headway, it has been slow going. We should be able to get Chapter Three out this month, but it’s clear that we can’t keep going like this. Something needs to change.

After discussing the matter with Dawn, here’s what I’ve decided to do: after Chapter Three is released, we’re putting the podcast on hold while we build up a backlog — not just finished narration, but actual finished episodes. There are a lot of things coming up in the next few months that are going to demand my attention — Balticon, finals, packing, cleaning house, moving to Montana, hunting for a new job — and I’m not convinced that I can keep a consistent schedule with all of that going on. (Especially since we haven’t been able to keep a consistent schedule even WITHOUT those things going on…)

We’ll come back when we have six complete episodes in the can; that will give us a three-month head start on further production. I don’t know exactly how long it will take for us to put those episodes together, but I’m optimistic that we can be back on the air by September. In any case, we won’t start releasing again until those six episodes, Chapters Four through Nine, are done.

I’ll keep you posted here on the status of production, and send you updates at least once a month on how the work is progressing. It kills me to put the show on hold again when we just came back from such a long hiatus, but it’s time I admitted to myself that I jumped the gun and came back before I was ready. If I’m going to release content on a regular schedule, I need to take a page from Abigail Hilton’s playbook and just get the content ready in advance. I think it will be worth it in the long run.

Balticon 48 Preview

Hello Metamorphs!

If you’re going to be in the Baltimore/DC area this Memorial Day weekend, you should take some time to come up to Hunt Valley, MD for the 48th annual convention of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Not only will there be a ton of awesome podcasting people there, but we’ll be having TWO Metamor City events:

Things Unseen Launch Party: Hear Chris and Dawn do a live reading from the book, with special guests Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine! Then stick around for Q&A, prizes, signings, snacks and beverages, AND a sneak-peek at the next Metamor City novel, THE LOST AND THE LEAST.

Metamor City LIVE: The Metamor City Players return with another live audio drama event: AGENT OF EMPIRE! In the year 1876 C.R., master wizard and Imperial covert operative Liam ard’Taxis joins a young Miriam Bakhtavar as they race to stop enemy spies from finding the mythical Black Library of Fellos. It’s James Bond meets Indiana Jones in the steampunk age of Metamor!

Ordering Autographed Copies of Things Unseen:

If you’re going to be at the convention and you’d like a signed copy of Things Unseen, you can pre-order them at the new Liminal Corvid Press storefront. I only plan on bringing enough copies to satisfy the preorders, so if you want one, place your orders before April 28th, 2014.

If you’re not going to be at Balticon, but you would still like an autographed copy of the book, you can buy that at the storefront, as well.

Hope to see you at the con!

A slight delay

Hello Metamorphs!

This week’s episode of Things Unseen will be slightly delayed. My good friends at Artistic Whispers Productions are coming down to the deadline for their production of the audiobook for Gail Carriger’s CRUDRAT, and they were in desperate need of extra hands this week to help with the editing.  Since I myself am one of the actors on this project, and I want to see Dan, Kitty and Gail succeed on it, I volunteered to pitch in. This means that production of Things Unseen took a back seat this week as we worked on editing CRUDRAT instead.

The good news is that you shouldn’t have to wait for too long: I have a 3-day weekend because Monday is Cesar Chavez Day here in California. That means that I can spend the bulk of Sunday and Monday working on getting the podcast ready to go. My goal is for Chapter Two to drop by 12:00 AM Pacific Time on Monday night/Tuesday morning.

In the meantime, if you find yourself in the Bay Area this weekend, I hope you’ll come out and join us on Sunday for the launch party for Crudrat. From 3 to 5 PM. I’ll be taking a break from the editing room to appear with Dan, Kitty, Gail and some of the other voice actors at The Book Shop on B Street in Hayward. (I’ll bet you didn’t know we had THE book shop here in the East Bay.) Come on out, bring your tea cup, and let’s celebrate the completion of this exciting but very crazy-making project.

Until next time, keep it on the bright side!


PROMO: “Crudrat”, the Full Cast Audiobook from Gail Carriger and ArtisticWhispers Productions

Hey Metamorphs!

If you’ve been following Metamor City for any length of time, you probably know about my long-standing friendship with J. Daniel Sawyer and his ArtisticWhispers Productions. If you’ve been with us from the beginning, you may remember when Dan and I helped to promote a little “urbane fantasy” called SOULLESS that my friend Gail Carriger was putting out four years ago. ArtisticWhispers produced a sample chapter of SOULLESS in full cast style, and we recruited friends and allies in the podcasting community to distribute it far and wide. Now, of course, Gail is a New York Times-bestselling sensation, and while our efforts were only a small part of that success, it still felt good to be in on the ground floor of something as amazingly good as what Gail had created.

Now we have the chance to do it again — and even better, you can get in on the ground floor with us.

Gail has written a science fiction adventure story in the grand tradition of the Heinlein Juveniles, updated for a modern and more diverse audience. Now she and ArtisticWhispers are running a Kickstarter campaign to bring it to life as a full-cast audiobook, using all the technical brilliance that Dan has brought to his own novels Down From Ten and Antithesis. Dan’s production genius, plus Gail’s writing brilliance, plus outstanding voice actors like Veronica Giguere and Nathan Lowell, means that this audiobook is going to Rock. Your. Socks. Off.

You can be part of making this brilliant project happen. Listen to the promo, then check out for more information and to join the campaign. Let’s make this happen and show the world a whole new side of Gail’s fiction!

Welcome to the Metamor City Podcast!

The Metamor City Podcast was a sci-fi/fantasy audio fiction series that ran from 2007 to 2010, with some additional content in early 2011. It is distributed for free through this website. It features a mixture of short stories and full-length novels, all taking place in one large world with an overarching story arc. Combining the narration of audiobooks with the music and sound effects of a serial radio drama, The Metamor City Podcast provided an immersive audio experience of a world like no other.

In May 2015 author Chris Lester returned with a new podcast, The Raven & the Writing Desk, which features additional stories both inside and outside the Metamor City universe. These stories are presented in single-narrator format, with high-quality audio but minimal music and sound effects. New episodes of The Raven & the Writing Desk are released each week on Saturday or Sunday, both here and at

To Learn More: Click the navigation links at the top of the page to meet the cast, learn about the characters, and discover more of the world of Metamor City.

To Subscribe: Click on the “Subscribe with iTunes” button in the sidebar, or click on the Metamor City feed button to subscribe with the aggregator of your choice.

Confused About Podcasts? The “What is a Podcast?” page will answer your questions!

Fan Page: Be sure to visit the Fans of Metamor City page on Facebook for discussions, fan art, and other fan-driven content in the world of Metamor City! 

E-Books: If you prefer to read your fiction rather than listening to it, check out Chris Lester’s Author Page on and his Profile Page on A variety of short stories, novellas and novels are available for purchase.

Merchandise: For posters, t-shirts, coffee mugs and more, check out Metamor City’s Zazzle page.

Welcome to the city — we hope you enjoy your stay!

Special Update, 07-31-2013

Several important updates on the e-books, the podcast, and a new Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund the next Metamor City novel’s cover art!

The Metamor City e-books on Smashwords:

Things Unseen e-book on Smashwords:

The Indiegogo campaign:

The deadline to contribute to the fundraiser is August 31st, 2013.

The 25% off coupon for the THINGS UNSEEN e-book expires on September 30th, 2013.

Join the Fans of Metamor City Facebook group for more news and updates.

Keep it on the bright side!

My schedule for Balticon 47

Hello, Metamorphs!

I’m happy to say that I will be returning to Balticon this year. Here is my schedule of appearances, for those who are interested in seeing me:

Friday, 5/24:
4 pm NM-33 Podcasting 101 with Pamela Gay, Alicia Goranson, and Paul Cooley
630 pm Reading from Metamor City: Things Unseen

Saturday, 5/25:
8 pm NM-51 Podcast Editing with Chris Snelgrove, PG Holyfield, PC Haring, and Hugh O’Donnell
9 pm NM-9 Sex in Mainstream Speculative Fiction with Helen Madden and AL Davroe

Sunday, 5/26:

1 pm NM-25 Talk to Me: How TO Conduct Podcast Interviews with Hugh O’Donnell, Stephen Granade, Tim Dodge, John Mierau, and Alex White
5 pm NM-59 Metamor City Live Show with Nobilis Reed, Veronica Giguere, Renee Chambliss, Hugh O’Donnell, Patrick Scaffido, Doc Coleman, Starla Huchton, and Mildred Cady

7 pm NM-23 Full Cast vs Straight Read with Jay Smith, Tim Dodge, Starla Huchton, PC Haring, Renee Chambliss, and Nobilis Reed

8 pm NM-29 From Page To Pod with KT Bryski, Alicia Goranson, Paul Cooley, Collin Earl, and PC Haring
9 pm NM-24 Music In Podcasts with Tim Dodge, Alicia Goranson, Alex White, and PC Haring
I hope to see you there!

Status update, 1/25/2012

Hello, my wonderful and long-suffering Metamorphs!

After three days of reconstruction, MOST of the Metamor City website and feed are up and working. The new feed is, or if you just want the posts that have MP3 attachments. You can subscribe to the new feed by clicking the links in the right sidebar.

More details after the jump…

Continue reading “Status update, 1/25/2012”