In the Beginning, There was Chaos (2010-2011)
The Skiffy and Fanty Show began in May 2010 as a science fiction and fantasy discussion podcast. Shaun wanted to start his own podcast after becoming obsessed with shows like Adventures in Sci-fi Publishing and Dragon Page: Cover to Cover and tried to convince someone to do it with him. Adam Callaway answered the call, joining for the first handful of episodes and offering his Midwestern charm and his love of good cheese. Seven episodes later, Jen decided she wanted to have a crack at podcasting and became the main co-host. Between 2010 and 2012, Jen and Shaun developed their podcasting voices and expanded the show to include interviews with authors and our infamous bad movie show, Torture Cinema.
This was just the beginning. It was chaotic and full of the kind of silliness you expect of two people who have no idea what they’re doing it. It was fun, it was silly, and it was totally worth it.
Then things started to really change…
New Things, New Voices, and the Hugos (2012-2016)
By 2012, we had gone from knowing nothing about podcasting to having a semi-decent almost useful knowledge of things. In addition to discussions, interviews, and Torture Cinema, we also started to branch out into brief movie release discussion episodes and various other small time show styles that never quite fit into our style. Eventually, we got our “sea legs” and started to branch out. In 2013, Shaun started a movie discussion podcast called Shoot the WISB. It quickly moved over to The Skiffy and Fanty Show house and turned into a long-running movie and TV discussion podcast covering everything from classic sf/f television and film to new releases. Three years later, we added Thrawn and On and On, our Star Wars expanded universe discussion podcast.
By 2015, we were a hot rod podcast of endless geekery. And the voices of the show had changed to meet it. As we added more and more guests to the show, some of those guests decided to stay forever. This started with Paul Weimer in early 2012, who quickly graduated to a host with a science fiction library grafted to his brain. His brand of unabashed geekery helped give the show a much needed boost of geeky joy. In the same year, we invited Julia Rios as a guest and quickly realized we wanted to have her on as a permanent host. With her feminist and pro-LGBTQ+ POV, Julia helped us see the genre world in a slightly different way. In the following year, we added two more: David Annandale and Michael R. Underwood. David added a much needed and slightly terrifying infusion of horror and B-movie knowledge; he would go on to co-host Totally Pretentious with Shaun. Mike, meanwhile, brought his own brand of storytelling analysis and geekery to make the show just that much more, well, geeky. And then there were more! In 2014, Alex Acks (a.k.a. Alex Wells) became the endlessly snarky super genius on the show, initially giving us an inside look into the business meetings at Worldcon and then becoming one of our go-to Torture Cinema and movie discussion people. Two years later, we would add Kate Sherrod to Thrawn and On and On; she brought with her a joyful poetic sensibility and an eternal love of all things Star Wars.
The big changes weren’t just happening on the podcast, though. For the most part, we have been a podcast first and a blog second. But as we started to grow, we also realized we could offer a lot more on the blog. Between 2014 and 2015, we started to expand, bringing on Trish Matson as our secret partner in the role of blog editor and Daniel Haeusser to join Paul as a reviewer. A few others also joined us for a short time; some of those folks came back! By the close of 2016, we had fully established what we thought was a pretty great thing: a fantastic podcast and a blog burgeoning with potential.
Overall, this period involved some pretty big moments for us. In fact, you might say that 2014 became something of a marker of a new podcast era. In that year, we became a finalist for the 2014 Hugo Awards in the Best Fancast category. This nomination was a recognition for the work we produced in the previous year. While we didn’t win, we were ecstatic to be among such sf/f podcast luminaries such as Galactic Suburbia, The Coode Street Podcast, the SF Signal Podcast (the winner), Tea and Jeopardy, The Writer and the Critic, and Verity! Oh, and we’ll always have those Hugo finalist pins! 2014 was also the year of our very first theme: the World SF Tour. Throughout the year, we produced blog posts and podcasts dedicated to highlighting the sf/f work from outside the United States. We covered everything from Canada to the Caribbean, the United Kingdom to Eastern Europe, South Africa to Australia, and even some parts of Southeast Asia (Japan and the Philippines). The year was ultimately a success, but it also taught us just how much work we’d one day have to do to reach to the parts of the world where English isn’t a common language. 2014 sparked the beginning of a tradition. In every year between 2014 and 2018 (except 2016), we had some kind of overarching theme, including Women and Non-Binary People in SF/F (2015), Inclusion (2017), and Hope (2018).
The 2012-2016 years were big ones for us. Then came 2017…
Still Growing, Still Becoming Great (2017-Present)
Despite the hellhole that was 2017, it was also an enormous year for us. Jen had taken a brief hiatus from regular show duties around 2015, but she came back with a determination to dedicate nearly every waking minute to the Skiffy and Fanty network.
We expanded our blog from a few reviews and blog posts to a full season of new content. To make this happen, we brought on a whole crew of new and amazing folks. Kate Sherrod transitioned from simply a host to a reviewer. She was joined by Joyce Chng (returning from the World SF Tour), Stina Leicht (writing “The Intersection” on feminism and sf/f), Stephen Geigen-Miller (writing comic book reviews), Penny Reeve (writing about horror), and Elizabeth Fitzgerald (book reviews). We also go our first ever intern. Yes, we were as surprised as you are right now. An intern? For us? Turns out it was one of our best decisions, because it meant that we got the lovely Becca Evans to join us to review books and write columns on queer sf/f. Pretty much all of these new folks also became hosts on our podcasts
Speaking of the podcast: 2017 was a huge year for us. Jen’s dedication to fill in the gaps where Shaun could not (we won’t get into that because it’ll make him cry) meant we went from a show producing under 50 episodes a year to one producing over 80. We also added new shows. Jen created Signal Boost to draw attention to the work of a diverse range of creators. She also spearheaded Reading Rangers, our book club podcast dedicated (at first) to Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga.
And now here we are. It’s 2018. Our supporters on Patreon helped us to earn enough to build a brand new website with the help of Alt Jade Designs. And we have a brand new website that is now the home to our network of shows. Many of those shows used to be elsewhere. Now they’re here as part of a big family of podcasts. 2018 is going to be yet another big year for us, which means more podcasts, more shenanigans, and more fun. We hope you’ll come along for the ride and help us build a new media empire.
Our Image and Sound…Through Time!
Given all of the history above, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the look and sound of this show has changed a lot over time. This section will contain some of those differences from the start to the present. Enjoy the strangeness!
Our original logo was designed by an amazing fellow by the name of Dirk Reul. We love that logo so much that its imagery has become a standard of the Skiffy and Fanty brand. One part alien; one part unicorn! After raising enough monthly funds to build a new website (in 2017), we decided to update that logo to a slightly more modern design (created from Dirk Reul’s template by Alt Jade Designs).
The following gallery will show you how our logos have adjusted and changed over time:
Eventually, we’ll include some of this art on merchandise for the show, including t-shirts and mugs. Stay tuned!
2010 Intro Audio
The intro music for 2010 was produced by Shaun Duke.
2011-2014 Intro Audio (2014 Theme: The World SF Tour)
The music for these years was taken from “Time Flux” by Revolution Void. You can learn more about their music at Free Music Archive.
2015 Intro Audio (Theme: Women and Non-Binary People in SF/F)
Thus began our tradition of changing the audio clips on a regular basis to match the theme of the year. The music for our 2015 intro was taken from “Time Flux” by Revolution Void. You can learn more about their music at Free Music Archive.
2016 Intro Audio
The music for our 2016 intro was taken from “Nocturnia” by Psychadelik Pedestrian. You can learn more about their music at Free Music Archive.
2017 Intro Audio (Theme: Inclusion)
The music for our 2016 intro was taken from “The Launch” by Chronox. You can learn more about their music at Free Music Archive.
The Viking Amoeba Army
- Content: how the show came to be, Hugo nom, people joining, etc.
- Content: Various people joined over the years
- Content: Themes.
- Content: Include old logo and mention Dirk Reul profusely.
- Mention that we’ll have t-shirts for the old logo
- Content: Mention the Viking Amoeba posts