From codes to snakes

Plus: the soul of Japan

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Murder Hunt

Episode: "The Parallax" | Podcast: The Cipher | 34m00s

Beginning of a ten part science fiction thriller about a mysterious code and the race to apprehend a possibly otherworldly serial killer. In an echo of the WW2 Bletchley Park code breakers, 16 year old Sabrina is recruited to the investigation after she cracks the parallax problem that is baffling the world's brightest minds, and the tale unfolds from there. Two performances lift this series above the standard audio sci fi offering: Star Trek's George Takei narrates beautifully and Chance Perdomo adds the perfect amount of sardonic wit (34m00s)

Culture Clash

Episode: "Bushido" | Podcast: Writ Large | 30m34s

Well produced show about literary history tackles a seminal work by the Japanese writer Inazō Nitobe. Born in 1862, Nitobe travelled widely outside of his home country and was repeatedly startled by the misunderstandings of Japanese culture that existed in the United States and Europe. He wrote his introduction to the samurai code and ethics, Bushido: The Soul of Japan, in English to redress this balance and it was published in the US in 1899. As well as recapping its contents, this episode also examines the book's reception in Japan (30m34s)

Forked Tongue

Episode: "An Appetite for Arboreality" | Podcast: Herpetological Highlights | 76m41s

If you thought you didn't need to listen to over an hour of two experts talking about arboreal snakes, you were wrong. The deep yet matter of fact enthusiasm exuded by these two researchers for "scaled and slimy animals" is palpable throughout and makes their subject here — snakes that climb trees as part of their survival techniques — fascinating even for the completely indifferent. In each episode they run through the relevant academic studies on their topic and present it to the listener in a digestible fashion (76m41s)

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