About the Show
Space Mantis is the brainchild of Laura Morrison, author of Grimbargo, Come Back to the Swamp, and the Chronicles of Fritillary Series. All episodes were written by Laura Morrison and produced by J.A. Waters and Alyn Spector. The voiceactors hail from across the globe, including Denmark, Singapore, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The series follows the adventures of an exuberant sci-fi super-fan who receives a box of Space Mantis DVDs on her doorstep after the show is canceled. As the unaired episodes are streamed, both the audience and the Narrator discover that strange forces may be at play both behind the new episodes and the Space Mantis series itself.
The show launches September 5, and airs on alternating Sundays.
Fun Fact: The story was inspired by the hallucination scene from Come Back to the Swamp, and features the same characters, but in an alternative reality.
Why was Space Mantis Created?
There's a rather roundabout story about how Space Mantis came to be. A few years back, Laura Morrison was writing a novella for a contest, and the main character was a big fan of a fictional show called Space Mantis. At the time, it was a throwaway detail. Laura needed a fictional TV show. Space Mantis fit the bill. However, her writer friends who were beta reading the novella kept coming back to her with comments like, "man, I wish Space Mantis was a real show!" and, "you should write a book about Space Mantis!" Jokingly at first, the crew started to brainstorm about the idea of turning it into a podcast with all the writer friends as the voice actors. Then gradually it became a real thing--a super fun group project full of creative people who all had something unique to add. Laura's novella (Come Back to the Swamp) didn't end up winning that particular contest, but it has since found a home with Black Spot Books. A few of the other writers for Black Spot have joined the roster of voice actors for the podcast. It's been quite a journey.
Who is the intended audience?
Laura admits she's always had trouble nailing down who exactly is the intended audience for stuff she writes. Writers are supposed to have an intended audience in mind when they start working on a project so that when the time comes for marketing and other practical things, they'll have a good answer. Laura always ignores this advice, and then regrets it later. Though she had no particular audience in mind, she guesses her audience is made of listeners like her beta readers: people with a sense of humor and a love of sci fi and fantasy.
Is the show appropriate for kids?
There are adult relationships and a very few oblique references to sex, and there is a bit of swearing, but if you're cool with that stuff, then we think it's fine for kiddos. It is not written for kids, but Laura lets her kids listen to it, and they're elementary and middle school aged. Her older kid actually told her she had to cut something out because it wasn't appropriate. So we did. She's our one-kid censorship board.
How long is a typical episode?
They're all about a half hour, except the season finale, which ended up being longer.
Who are the voice actors for this series?
All the voice actors can be found under the "Meet the Cast" tab. They are a truly international crew with representatives from Denmark, the U.K., Singapore, and several areas of the United States. They are comprised of multi-talented writers, creatives, and eccentrics that met on a now-defunct writers' site called JukePop. Then they formed a NaNoWriMo cabin, which became a website, which became a discord, which became a life-long friendship.
What do Bernice and the Narrator look like?
If you've listened to the podcast, you know Narrator is big into maintaining her anonymity. Also, she'd be annoyed if anyone thought her appearance had anything to do with the podcast, anyway. She'd say it's irrelevant. But that's just us speculating, right? What do we know about it? As for Bernice, she looks however you want her to look. Laura doesn't like to describe her characters' appearance too much, because she wants readers/listeners to come up with their own ideas. Captain Joe has chinchilla brown hair, though, and Marcus is dreamy.
It seems like there are some themes of anxiety and mental illness in Space Mantis. Was it intentional?
Laura's answering this one directly:
"As a person who has anxiety complete with pretty awful panic attacks, it's important to me to address these things. That's why my character, Bernice, talks about her panic attacks and anxiety. Same for Marcus, played by Aden Ng, who also experiences his own special blend of this stuff. Making mention of these issues helps to normalize them. General misunderstanding of these issues makes it difficult for those inflicted in finding a place where they can live life normally without worry of repercussions or stigma for something out of their control; the more we talk about it, the more people see they don't have to hide their problems, and they don't have to pretend they're fine if they aren't fine."
What are the key themes or messages in Space Mantis?
The universe is absurd.
Will there be a second season?
Yes. It's already in the works, and Laura's having tons of fun writing it. We're also planning on having special episodes between seasons 1 and 2 so listeners don't have to wait too long.
I have a cool product/show/thing that I want to promote on Space Mantis. Can I be a sponsor?
We would love to talk to you if you're interested in being a sponsor! Yay! Unless your product/show/thing is about hate or marginalization. We're all about peace, love, and understanding in the Mantis universe. Not even Braithwaite is cool with hate and marginalization.
Can I submit fan art/fan fiction/a fan song/some other fan thing?
Please do! We would love to see/listen to any creative projects that Mantis has inspired.
Where can I find other work by Laura Morrison?
You can go to blackspotbooks.com and readspaceboy.com, two amazing small presses that have many books by other great authors, too. Also, nearly all the people working on Mantis are writers as well, and you can find their info under the "Meet the Cast" tab.
I want to air portions of Space Mantis on my radio show/blog or interview the cast and crew. Who do I contact?