The Sound of Speculative

Ever since I discovered that reading during my morning commute on the train makes me motion sick, I’ve been in love with podcasts. There are so many incredible audio dramas out there that I thought I’d share the wealth! So here are five podcasts for any speculative fiction fan!

Welcome to Night Vale

This is the quintessential podcast that really took off. It’s spawned into books and a second, equally awesome show: Alice Isn’t Dead. Welcome to Night Vale plays like a radio show in the small, strange town of Night Vale. Your host, Cecil, takes all the strangeness with humor, grace, and a voice made of pure velvet. Things get weird, queer and fun. Every episode also features a weather section, which plays music from a wide range of genres.

There are a lot of episodes, and that can be a little overwhelming, but most of the episodes hit at just about 30 minutes. It’s a fun ride for your ears.


So the Public Radio Alliance (and Minnow Beats Whale) have an array of incredible shows out. There’s Tanis, The Black Tapes, and RABBITS. All are amazing! While Tanis is the longest running, RABBITS has quickly jumped to the front to be my favorite show.

RABBITS follows Carly Parker as she hunts for Yumiko, her missing best friend. She discovers an alternate reality game that leads to questions about the nature of reality, alternate time lines, and what is just in her mind? Season One is complete and a fast listen. It is an amazingly fun run with mystery, nostalgic references, and questions about the nature of reality.

The Message

The Message from Panoply and GE Podcast Theater and follows a group of code breakers trying to decipher what’s believed to be a message from space. However, unlocking the answers might cause more problems than anyone expected.

The voice acting on this is top-notch and the fascinating implications of the message itself left me breathless in a lot of the episodes. This one really looks at the nature of technology and what happens when we reach the edge of our understanding.

Their new season is called LifeAfter and features an all new cast and plot! It’s about grieving in the digital age. (I haven’t listened to it just yet, so no one give me any spoilers!)

Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons is a weekly magazine of and about speculative fiction, but they also record and share their stories on a podcast every two weeks. Since I haven’t been able to read as much on my commute, this has been an incredible way to hear some of the best short stories out there.

So far my favorite episode has been Jes Rausch’s “Unfurl/ed” read by Anaea Lay.


Limetown is far and away my favorite speculative podcast. Lia Haddock, American Public Radio reporter, looks into the mystery of Limetown, a city where every man, woman, and child vanished during one chaotic night. Her quest into what Limetown really was and what happened brings some survivors into the limelight.

With an incredible production quality and a range of characters, it’s easy to forget that Limetown never really existed (did it?). The world that Haddock creates with her interviews builds a new American folktale (or creepypasta) as she tries to find the answers behind the enigma of a city that never existed.


  • Merrin September 13, 2017 at 9:28 am

    My own suggestions:

    Wolf 359, which is ending this December after three glorious seasons.
    EOS 10, which is already over but had two glorious and deeply hilarious seasons.
    We’re Alive, if the zombie apocalypse is your thing. That one got really dark though, so fair warning.

  • Carey Ballard September 13, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Hail yes Nightvale. And Limetown. We went from Limetown directly to The Bright Sessions, which is also awesome (a psychiatrist who has her own agenda counsels people with superpowers). I am just now on the 3rd episode of The Message, too.

    I love podcasts. 🙂

  • Shara White September 13, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Ah, Limetown! I started listening to that and LOVED IT. Not sure why I stopped, unless it correlated to the time I just stopped listening to podcasts, period. :-/


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