I’m not normally a fiction podcast fan. That probably has something to do with the fact that I rarely ever pick up a novel and much prefer the non-fiction genre of books. But when it comes to audio, there is something much more compelling about the level of production, sound design and voice acting that can truly suck you into an amazing story. Here is a curated selection of what I think are some of the best fiction podcasts available. Just don’t lose track of time!
The Two Princes
The powerhouse that is Gimlet, despite being bought out by Spotify, continues to push further afield into all kinds of different genres. The Two Princes is a scripted show set in a fantasy world where two princes from warring kingdoms become allies and soon fall in love with each other while trying to figure out how to save their kingdoms. As with most scripted shows of this caliber, the production quality here is off-the-charts, and the story happens to be quite good!
Voyage to the Stars
Travel to the year 2263 and join a group of bumbling misfits that mistakenly board an alien spacecraft only to find themselves transported through a wormhole to the far side of the universe. That’s the simple premise of this awesome sci-fi / comedy show featuring some top-tier voice talent. I’m unwilling to say more as not to spoil anything, but go ahead and give it a whirl.
I’m actually kind of bummed that it took me this long to discover this podcast. As one reviewer put it… it’s like … “Game of Thrones… but in Podcast form”. Now that’s a bold claim, but I wouldn’t quibble with it too much. Now in its epic fourth season, this incredible fantasy series centers around the city of Tumanbay – the most magnificent city on earth. Professionally scored with an incredible set of voice actors, sound engineering, if you’re into long-form, binge-worthy fantasy fiction, this podcast is not to be missed.
I’ll admit, this show is not for everyone. But if you’re into fiction podcasts that skew towards the mysterious, sci-fi, and thriller genre, you’ll love this. Plus, it features the melodic sounds of Bonobo who if you haven’t heard, you should. At the end of the day, this podcast, through its narrative asks the question: Can you feel loss for something you’ve never known?
The premise is simple, but I assure you, the story is not. But it sure makes for one hell of a compelling fiction podcast. I honestly can’t really tell you much about this show without spoiling everything, so I will leave at this: Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again.
Now go listen to it and get sucked into the story as I did.
The Apocrypha Chronicles
This audio science fiction tale takes place in the year 2156. In it, a young archivist, or perhaps even historian, discovers a time capsule from the year 2020. A year that marks the first of the great pandemics to come. A fascinating sci-fi tale of a possible future to come.
If you’re into narrative science fiction podcasts, this right here is your goddamn jam. Here’s all you need to know… it stars Richard Madden (Robb Stark from Game of Thrones), and the legendary Brian Cox from countless amazing roles including as William Stryker in the X-Men movies. The premise of the story is simple: A famed lost spaceship, the USS HOPE, returns to Earth after vanishing thirty five years prior. The lone survivor disembarks mysteriously looking the exact same age as when he left.
The No Sleep Podcast
Now, at over 15 seasons long, this podcast is exactly the sort of listening you need to empty your bowels at the slightest strange noise you hear in your dark home at night. Based on the r/NoSleep subreddit, it’s a great podcast that narrates some of the top stories posted to this forum of endlessly creepy, strange and downright terrifying horror stories. Yeah, it’s fictional, but if you want to let your imagination run wild, I guarantee that you’ll get a good scare.
It’s good to get away from the day-to-day non-fiction sometimes and dive headlong into a great piece of Science Fiction. That’s exactly what the Sayer podcast is. Having completed five seasons thus far, this show is set on Earth’s man-made second moon, Typhon. SAYER is a highly advanced AI that’s been created to help new Typhone residents acclimate to their new lives and employment. And that’s all I’m willing to say without spoiling anything. If you’re into narrative Sci-Fi, give this show a shot.
The Edge of Sleep
The Left-Right Game
Starring and co-produced by the mega-talented actress Tessa Thompson, of Westworld fame, amongst other things you’ve seen her in, the Left-Right Game is an awesome science fiction narrative podcast. Tessa stars as a young journalist trying to get her big break by following a group of paranormal explorers who have become obsessed with something called the Left/Right Game. If you like science fiction audio, don’t miss this one.
One fiction type that I can definitely get into is the mystery-thriller genre. And that’s exactly what the Passenger List podcast is. Here’s the setup: Atlantic Flight 702 has disappeared mid-flight between London and New York. Now…one of the passenger’s twin sister is determined to get to the bottom of what happened to the flight.
It’s true that it is, in fact, a rare occurrence that I feature a narrative fiction podcast in the newsletter, so when I do, that’s got to tell you something right? I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that this terrific podcast is only 6 episodes long. Here’s the official description:
“Everything is fine and dandy in Wendell. There’s nothing off-putting or strange at all. Why would you even ask that? Don’t ask questions. But after some unnerving encounters with the local radio announcer and an influential farmer, newcomer Gabe Rodriguez can’t help but ask questions. Questions like, is that talking scarecrow completely psychotic, or am I?”
You don’t often hear about a retailer starting up a podcast, and honestly, I expected some sort of cynical play to get more customers through a poorly produced podcast, but boy was I wrong. Camp Monsters is probably the best “cryptids/myths/legends” podcast I’ve listened to. Each episode takes you through a story of a fantastical creature that someone in North America once claims to have had an encounter with.
Where this podcast really stands out is that the entire series really makes you feel like you’re sitting around a campfire in the North American wilderness. Listening to a gifted storyteller trying to scare the shit out of you with tales of creatures that reside just beyond the edge of where the campfire light ends is endlessly entertaining.
Another unique concept that caught my attention. Each episode of this podcast tells the tale of a world-famous person from a first-person view. You won’t know who the person is at the start, but along the way, you’ll be given clues to help you decipher the identity of each person. Pretty great podcast production quality on this one.
From the same producers that brought you one of our previous picks (Blackout), comes a scripted show featuring a simple premise. What happens when a truck driver picks up a loaded trailer but doesn’t know what’s inside? Make sure you’ve got your headphones on for this one as they use some clever audio tricks to create a more immersive experience. Best experienced at night.
Set as a narrative apocalyptic thriller, Blackout is the tale of a small-town radio DJ trying to deal with a sudden and mysterious nation-wide power grid failure and his attempts to protect his family. Blackout features actor Rami Malek, better known from Mr. Robot and Bohemian Rhapsody. If you’re looking for a fun narrative escape, this mostly under 30 minute per episode podcast might be the perfect break for your commute.