Ad Astral Podcast, Episode 24:

The Department of Puzzles-Shownotes

Submitted by DJ Burnham on Sunday 10th August 2014

(It was written in October 2006 in Brighton. It first appeared in Test Drive – Volume 1 of the collected short stories of DJ Burnham – in September 2007.)

Well, it was about time I followed the tradition of British Sci Fi writers playing around with the idea of a future dystopia. It gave me the freedom to cherrypick a few recognizable elements from our own society whilst employing the backdrop of totalitarianism. Sudoku was particularly popular around 2006 when I wrote this story so it was a simple extrapolation to use it as a method of control , although on-line gaming addiction itself has become a recognized problem in recent years. The conceit of naming the central character “Sue D’Q” is obvious, but then I wondered if I could employ an alphabetical hierarchy and decided on something akin to the Caste system in India. If you’re familiar with Ad Astral you’ll know that growth of bureaucracy is something that irritates me, so the myriad Departments of the Corpus Provincae create a sardonic parallel – I rather like the Department of Deportment.

The original artwork shows the holographic display of the Palm Puzzler V.


Our Guest Voice Actors:


Sue Burnham: Dave's wife and best friend

Sue D'Q in EP24






Andy Kerr loves everything Greek. He knew that playing the triangle in a school play would stand him in good stead for his kazoo exploits in the Ad Astral podcast. After the experience he now, however, considers that the Bouzouki my take a bit longer to master than originally anticipated. It's rumoured that Retsina may help the process so he's willing to give it a try until it starts working.


Hugh D'Q in EP24



Miles Jefcoate (AKA Muddy Rich) fronts the Brown Stripes and Permanent. The Stripes are a rock/cheese crossover 2 piece for whom Muddy drums and croons. Permanent are a 5 piece power pop combo from Wales, for whom he sings and co-ordinates heckling between songs. He’s also to be found playing sloppy drums for Fearless Jones, a funk soul 5 piece.Muddy is a caring and switched on musician/activist, he is currenly running a campaign to keep Jamie Oliver out of the kitchen and to ban Jamiroquai and Deacon Blue from all ipods. Muddy's hobbies include bogsnorkling and kitten juggling. By day when he's not committing musical crimes he is better known as mild mannered art teacher Milo, sharpening colouring in pencils and telling jokes to 11 to 18 year olds. You can find out more at and

Ed D'Z in EP 24





Keith Dettmar's pastimes include wading through mud at music festivals, attaching planks to his feet to slide down mountains and punishing his liver. Preferably combining the latter with one of the others.


Barman in EP24




Paul Davison brews (and samples) his own beers and is a budding archer (hopefully the two are seldom undertaken contemporaneously.

He also presents the Roy Harper Podcast and has been extraordinarily helpful in setting up Ad Astral (hence he is our Chief Science Officer).

Find out more at and read his biog.

Mel D'L in EP24




Sound Effects

Many come from The Freesound Project.

Other effects:

Various from Apple’s Garageband library.

Other effects tailor-made by Ad Astral.

Scene 1
Intro music = 161423__setuniman__lost-0q-14pi by Setuniman of the FreeSound Project
Opening scene music = Drone 001.wav by JarredGibb of the FreeSound Project
Servotram sounds = Bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing by taurindb of the FreeSound Project
Young punks rampaging = Trainstation passenger terminal with hooligans.WAV by looijenga of the FreeSound Project
Window bashes = window_thump.wav by BristolStories of the FreeSound Project
Guardian sounds = Robots and Electromechanics - 051.wav by Headphaze of the FreeSound Project
Carriage control panel opening = elevator_lit.wav by Runey of the FreeSound Project
Corridor exits being sealed = pneumatic_door.wav by primeval_polypod of the FreeSound Project
Cattle prod = Electrical Shock (Zap).wav by BigKahuna360 of the FreeSound Project
Punks in pain = screaming_male_painII.mp3 by GabrielaUPF of the FreeSound Project
Doors opening = 0009 Metro_door_close by bmoreno of the FreeSound Project
Ejector plate = Letterbox clang by JackDeB of the FreeSound Project
Ejector plate = Metal Boom by Johnnyfarmer of the FreeSound Project
Falling scream = screaming_male_weird.mp3 by GabrielaUPF of the FreeSound Project
Palm Puzzler V beeps = 3beeps.mp3 by longe630 of the FreeSound Project
Palm Puzzler V check button and delivery = Sifi.wav by 2887679652 of the FreeSound Project
Palm Puzzler V fanfare = Chinese Fanfare.wav by Nick-Nac of the FreeSound Project

Scene 2
Background Music = Ocean Drift by FoolBoyMedia of the FreeSound Project

Scene 3
Door to apartment = Door - Close 03.wav by JarredGibb of the FreeSound Project
Studio door = door open inside 140219.wav by Klankbeeld of the FreeSound Project
News = Newsdesk.wav by jobro of the FreeSound Project
Shopping Channel = ambient electro loop by frankum of the FreeSound Project

Scene 4
Background Palm Puzzler music/sounds = Casino_Slots » WOF_slots4.wav by touchassembly of the FreeSound Project

Scene 5
Lift arriving = Elevator_opening by GilPS of the FreeSound Project
Sue running = running.wav by sagetyrtle of the FreeSound Project
Panting = heavy breathing off mic loop.wav by bevangoldswain of the FreeSound Project
Door to apartment = Door - Close 03.wav by JarredGibb of the FreeSound Project
Palm Puzzler bliss state = gg o2 b2 18 sci fi orch 4.wav by ERH of the FreeSound Project
Vidimessage alert = ALERT.mp3 by IFartInUrGeneralDirection of the FreeSound Project

Scene 9
Razzamatazz music = JazzMan.mp3 by HAPPYtekTRIBE of the FreeSound Project
Door knock = Knock on door.mp3 by payattention of the FreeSound Project
Hatch sliding = Laundry_Hatch_Opening_Closing.wav by bewagne of the FreeSound Project
Bolts = door bolt 7.wav by FenrirFangs of the FreeSound Project
Creaky door = creaky-old-door.mp3 by nawerwohl02 of the FreeSound Project
Whisky poured = Pouring Drink by f4ngy of the FreeSound Project
Cigarette smoking = Lighting smoking Cigarette by batman6661 of the FreeSound Project
Clinking glasses = Wine glasses clink.mp3 by Ad Astral (was to be glass clinking.aif by MAJ061785 of the FreeSound Project, but a mono stereo conflict prevented its use)

Scene 10
First half background music = Opening Scene.wav by roigianno batman6661 of the FreeSound Project

Scene 11
Door to apartment = Door - Close 03.wav by JarredGibb of the FreeSound Project
Servotram sounds = Bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing by taurindb of the FreeSound Project
Ferry = 20130103_140859_oslofjord_colorfantasy_foghorn_sun_deck.wav by hoersturz of the FreeSound Project
Hoverexpress = Hover engine by peridactyloptrix of the FreeSound Project
Solar Flyer = Distant Flying Helicopter.wav by Henrythetrain of the FreeSound Project


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