Before I tell you about some of the best Sci Fi podcasts in the world, let me first tell you where my love of Sci Fi comes from. One of my earliest memories is from when I was five years old, sitting in front of the TV in a small town in West Germany, watching the original Star Trek series. I remember in particular being absolutely terrified of the episode in which Kirk fights the Gorn on a planet with hilariously fake boulders. And even though it terrified me, that was the genesis of my love for science fiction in nearly every form.
While most Sci-Fi is consumed through television shows or movies, there is an incredibly rich world of science fiction podcasts just waiting to be discovered.
While radio dramas of the 20th century once held audiences captive with tales of mystery, horror, and fantasy, the 21st century has ushered in the era of the podcast. Among the diverse genres and topics, science fiction stands tall, offering a boundless universe of futuristic wonders, ethical quandaries, and otherworldly adventures, all meticulously crafted for the auditory realm. As we stand on the cusp of reality and imagination, these sci-fi podcasts transport us to realms both distant and near, challenging our perceptions and thrilling our senses. Join me as we journey through the sonic stars, listing out the crème de la crème of sci-fi podcasts from around the globe.
Welcome to Night Vale
“Welcome to Night Vale” is a surreal, darkly comedic podcast presented in the format of a community radio show for the fictional desert town of Night Vale. Hosted by Cecil Palmer, the show delves into the strange occurrences and supernatural events that plague the town, from mysterious lights in the night sky to sentient clouds and secret government agencies.
After viewing an enigmatic VHS tape, video enthusiast Mark Cambria starts to utter phrases in his sleep in an unknown language. Alongside his girlfriend Tamra, they embark on a quest to trace the tape’s roots, only to become entangled in a maze of conspiracy, mysticism, and terror linked to a fabled video store harboring dark secrets.
This incredibly long-running podcast (over 500 episodes) is difficult to describe. But suffice to say that it includes doctors in space, a deposed alien prince, and a super gay space pirate. And if you’re lucky, you might even meet a fiery nurse along the way that will help you win a bar fight. Sounds intriguing? I thought so.
Set in the UK, this audio drama unveils a post-apocalyptic landscape plagued by unsettling nightmares. As a mysterious terror engulfs the nation, the remnants of humanity seek refuge. Dial into transmissions from Bunker A:12 and accompany Professor Ryan on his quest to decipher the chaos left behind.
In this podcast YOU take center stage in an auditory odyssey. As a time traveler, every episode thrusts you into a fresh realm. Traverse worlds you recognize, and some you can scarcely imagine—from an Ice Age-stricken Egypt to a Carthaginian outpost on Mars.
Mike and Marie King are fresh out of school, ready for their usual run-of-the-mill summer vacation. However, close encounters of the freaky kind throw a wrench in their plans. Looks like they’re not as alone in the universe as they thought.
When Gloria began waitressing at a diner near Phoenix, she was unaware she’d joined the crew of Midnight Burger—a diner that transcends time and dimensions. Each day, it materializes in a different cosmic location, accompanied by its eclectic staff: a space wanderer, a maverick physicist, a conscious vintage radio, and a fellow named Caspar.
After a disastrous experiment in a timeline closely mirroring ours, Dr. Sally Grissom unexpectedly lands in the past, becoming deeply involved with a secretive segment of the US government. Grissom, along with her team, soon discovers that meddling with the core principles of the cosmos comes without a safety measure.
Hidden Signal: Evergreen
Challenge your perceptions with QCODE’s Hidden Signal, an enthralling podcast anthology that delves into grounded science fiction tales. In the premiere narrative, EVERGREEN, Hannah (portrayed by Lana Condor) becomes ensnared within her employer Fin Gorale’s (played by Alan Cumming) underground haven known as Evergreen, joining seven other intellectual luminaries.
The Left Right Game
Tessa Thompson portrays a budding journalist, eager to carve her niche, as she shadows a team engrossed in the enigmatic hobby known as the Left/Right Game. As she delves deeper, she’s thrust into a realm of the supernatural, a world that proves too overwhelming and perilous for her and her fellow travelers to navigate.
Now in season 3 of this podcast, this Sci Fi show features various stories to satiate the sci-fi nerd in you. Season 1 features an anthology of audio stories from various sci-fi authors. Season 2 follows the story of a non-stop flight that travels into the future, while season 3 is all about an AI that wakes up after the genocide of the human race by an alien species.
In the second season of Case 63, we journey back to 2012. Here, Eliza Beatrix Knight awakens disoriented and undressed in a JFK airport restroom, her mission unsuccessful. She’s then escorted to a medical facility where Dr. Vincent Caldwell, a resident psychiatrist with a hauntingly familiar voice, attends to her. Now labeled as Case 63, Beatrix and Vincent find themselves in a frantic quest to decode the past in hopes of securing an unpredictable future.
The Penumbra Podcast
At the Penumbra, join the journey of Juno Steel, a shrewd and introspective Martian detective, as he pursues a mysterious homme fatale, seeks treacherous relics from an age-old alien culture, and confronts his trio of deepest phobias: towering altitudes, the sight of blood, and the intricacies of relationships.
The Hyacinth Disaster
The team aboard the MRS Hyacinth hurries to assess a Jovian asteroid, with hopes that its value is sufficient to secure the release of their counterpart crew from the Corvus before time runs out.
Escape Pod is a renowned science fiction podcast that delivers a diverse array of short stories from both new and established authors. As one of the longest-running and celebrated speculative fiction podcasts, it offers listeners a weekly dose of imaginative tales, transporting them to futures near and far, often accompanied by thought-provoking commentary or introspection.
The Big Loop
The Big Loop, released every two weeks, is an anthology crafted by the mind behind The Black Tapes. Spearheaded by Paul Bae, also known for his work on The Black Tapes & PNWS, each episode unfolds a standalone tale delving into the realms of the peculiar, the wondrous, the chilling, and the emotive.
It’s 2032, and the groundbreaking tech giant AD LUCEM O.I. boasts a staggering 10 million user base. Their pioneering creation, the Corporeal Augmented Reality Assistant—affectionately known as CARA—has taken the world by storm. But CARA is more than just another gadget; it’s a dynamic virtual aide, managed by a live individual, adept at catering to users’ desires and requirements with the unique touch only a human can offer.
The Leviathan Chronicles | The Rapscallion Agency
Building on the aftermath of the critically acclaimed podcast, The Leviathan Chronicles, The Rapscallion Agency delves deeper into the journeys of youthful characters, Lisette Mainsabiles and Paul Lee, also known as Cluracan. Having relocated to Paris, they channel their distinctive abilities to launch a venture, wade through the nuances of budding romance, and provide nurturing care to a mechanized rat.
In a bleak urban landscape, an aging courier finds himself compelled to collaborate with a criminal mastermind, a decision driven by the desperate need to finance the life-sustaining treatment he requires.
A decade past, a small Tennessee town witnessed the inexplicable disappearance of over three hundred of its residents—leaving no trace behind. Through this podcast, Lia Haddock, a reporter from American Public Radio, revisits the haunting query: “What became of the inhabitants of Limetown?”
The Magnus Archives
“Declare your truth, confront your terror.” Dive into the eerie realms with this weekly horror fiction podcast that probes the mysterious records of the Magnus Institute, a body devoted to the study of the arcane and the peculiar. Follow Jonathan Sims in his quest to uncover the secrets within the archive, but tread cautiously; for as he peers into its shadowy recesses, something begins to gaze back.
The inaugural attempt at light speed travel takes an unexpected turn, propelling an astronaut far into the future. Now, he scours various planets, seeking traces of what’s left of humanity.
Deep within the Earth’s ocean, an enigmatic discovery has been made: a colossal door, embedded into the ocean bed, now referred to as the Vault. This mysterious relic, concealed nineteen thousand feet below, attracts the attention of the universe’s leading corporation, Maas-Dorian. In their quest to unravel its secrets, they construct FATHOM, a vast, isolated research facility encircling the artifact.
We Fix Space Junk
‘We Fix Space Junk’ chronicles the interstellar escapades of experienced smuggler Kilner and the unwilling outlaw Samantha. As they traverse the cosmos, they encounter peculiar entities and face perilous situations, all while taking on unconventional tasks that skirt the boundaries of legality. Set in a technologically advanced, dystopian future, this female-driven sci-fi comedy offers a fresh perspective on the genre.
Station 151 stands as Antarctica’s premier astronomical radio observatory, a monumental endeavor by the Telders Corporation with a whopping investment of around $200M USD. It pledges to unveil the most profound mysteries of the cosmos. Embark on an unparalleled journey with Astrophysicist Wayne Robertson in the world’s southernmost reaches, as he embarks on what could be his ultimate expedition.
Among the Stars and Bones
A group of xenoarchaeologists embark on interstellar journeys to uncover remnants of an extinct alien civilization. Every season unveils a fresh exploration site, unraveling mysteries and presenting unforeseen perils.
Jacki and her team embarked on a mission away from Earth, aiming to carve a new beginning for humankind on Mars. Yet, encounters with enigmatic aliens, rogue AI, and the inherent challenges of establishing a foothold on this barren world make them wonder if leaving Earth was the right decision. Set in 2047, Marsfall chronicles the struggles and dilemmas of the pioneering settlers on the Red Planet.
Out of Place
Andrew Moss was passionate about his role in anthropology until he began receiving peculiar artifacts from a certain Mr. Havisham, packaged in nondescript brown paper bags. Something about these artifacts is unsettlingly… off.
The legendary spaceship, the USS HOPE, reappears on Earth, three and a half decades after its mysterious disappearance. Its sole survivor, Richard Madden, astonishingly hasn’t aged a day since his departure. Amidst the media frenzy that ensues, he eventually meets his twin brother, who, unlike him, has aged naturally over the years.
Mission to Zyxx
An off-the-cuff sci-fi comedy revolves around a group of ambassadors tasked with forging diplomatic ties with planets in the distant and tumultuous Zyxx Quadrant, colloquially dubbed the “backwaters of the cosmos.”
Edict Zero – FIS
Edict Zero – FIS, crafted by Slipgate Nine Entertainment, is an audio drama blending elements of forward-looking sci-fi with the nuances of law enforcement narratives, intertwined with crime themes, suspenseful mysteries, and a touch of shadowy fantasy.
SAYER is a storytelling podcast based on Earth’s artificially constructed second moon, Typhon. The titular SAYER, a sophisticated AI with self-awareness, is designed to assist newcomers in adjusting to their fresh existence and their roles within Ærolith Dynamics.
Within the Wires
Narratives conveyed through discovered audio from a parallel reality. In season four, titled “The Cradle,” we delve into the journey of a mother and daughter striving to guide a family-focused commune as they navigate life on the peripheries of civilization.
Doug Eiffel, the communications lead aboard the U.S.S. Hephaestus Research Station, finds himself in a challenging predicament as the station orbits the red dwarf star, Wolf 359, now on its 448th day. Positioned 7.8 light years away from Earth on an ambiguous scientific expedition, his only companions are the stern mission head Minkowski, the unpredictable science officer Hilbert, and the occasionally glitchy sentient operating system of Hephaestus Station, Hera.
The Liberty Podcast
Step into the universe of Liberty – a series of science fiction narratives brought to life through audio drama podcasts. For ages, the Atrius colony remained isolated from the rest of mankind, weathering relentless civil conflicts. Today, a radiant city stands as a testament to their resilience, surrounded by the untamed territories of the Fringe.
Original Science Fiction – Makeshift Stories
Brace yourself for a celestial journey with Makeshift Stories! Dive into a podcast filled with sci-fi, fantasy, and speculative tales tailored for those with an appetite for the mysteries of the unknown. Every other week, embark on a roller-coaster ride through potential futures, the vastness of space, parallel dimensions, and more. Are you geared up to navigate the realms of the extraordinary and uncover the inconceivable?
This audio drama is set in a future where humanity ventures deep into the ocean in its quest for exploration and colonization. “Aqua Marianas” tracks the journey of a five-member crew stationed at the most profound underwater outpost ever established. As they grapple with the unknown terrors of the deep, they also confront the everyday challenges of life far below the ocean’s surface.
Girl in Space
Simply put, it’s the unadorned audio journal of a girl navigating the cosmos. Yet, there’s a peculiar, possibly foreboding glow in the distance that appears to be inching nearer. Tune in for a mix of science, weaponry, trust, anti-matter, truths, aesthetics, introspective struggles, and scrumptious cheeses. All unfolding against the backdrop of the vast expanse of space.
“SOLAR,” featuring Stephanie Beatriz, Tony Award winner Alan Cumming, Academy Award winner Helen Hunt, and Jonathan Bangs, tells the gripping tale of a crew stranded in different parts of their spacecraft, the Aethon, after a mishap during a solar research mission. As they battle to survive amidst memories, dreams, and harsh truths, they strive to maintain hope against encroaching darkness.
Do you know of another Sci Fi podcast that you think should be on this list? Let me know.