Best Audio Fiction Podcasts

best_fiction

Podcasting is the perfect partner for storytelling, and people have been using this platform to tell fictional tales since the medium itself was born.

And just like podcasting on a whole, fiction podcasting has grown steadily year after year.

Though I use the term “fiction podcasting”, there’s still no universally agreed-on term for story podcasts. That’s something I take a deeper look at in this article.

Perhaps lack of a universal term makes it harder for listeners to search for their next series to binge on Google or iTunes. There’s certainly still a high demand for quality fiction podcasts, despite new shows launching with increasing regularity.

That’s why I’ve awarded myself the thankless task of creating a “best audio fiction podcasts” list, which is of course purely my personal opinion as both a fiction podcast listener, and creator.

This was difficult because there’s way too many shows that I love to include all of them here.

As I’ve mentioned, there are also new shows appearing all the time, and many old ones that I still haven’t even heard yet. Nevertheless, if you have a thirst for some audio storytelling, I’m sure you’ll find something you like here:

Docudrama Podcasts

This style of fiction podcast is probably the most popular at the moment. These “as real” shows feature teams of podcast producers whose episodes involve them working to solve the mysteries their shows are based around. Audio fiction has spent years in the wilderness from the mainstream. The fact that these shows and their stories limetownare so immediately accessible gives them the edge at the moment. They are well presented, easy to follow, and most importantly, the stories hook you right from the start.

The Black Tapes

The Black Tapes is an investigation of the paranormal. The team look into a number of demonic and ghostly occurrences which gradually appear to have some sort of chilling connection to each other.

Limetown

The focus of Limetown is to get to the bottom of what happened in a small American town 10 years ago when over 300 people vanished without a trace.

The Message

The Message brings an extra-terrestrial element to the table as the main reporter covers the decoding of a message received from outer space 70 years ago.

Post-Apocalyptic Podcasts

Post-apocalyptic fiction is as popular as ever. And whilst it would take millions to create a movie showing hordes of zombies lumbering through the streets of LA, or waves crashing over a collapsed Statue of Liberty, that’s not the case when you’re working in audio.

You can dismantle the world we live in, and rebuild it in whatever way you like, just like these great shows have…

were-aliveWe’re Alive

We’re Alive is the story of a small group of survivors caught in the midst of a zombie apocalypse in Los Angeles. This series began in 2009 and helped shape the medium of Modern Audio Drama as we know it today.

The Cleansed

The Cleansed is set in rural Maine, 15 years after the “oilpocalypse” where there’s no more fossil fuels to burn. It is described on the show’s feed as equal parts ‘Mad Max’ and ‘The Stand’

Our Fair City

Our Fair City is a more comedic effort that sticks us right in the middle of a world where everything is owned and operated by the HartLife Corporation.

Sci-Fi Podcasts

Just like post-apocalyptic stories, science fiction lends itself well to a medium where no scene is too big, and nothing is impossible. In the audio medium you can build new worlds, create entire galaxies – and destroy them too.

There are probably more Sci-Fi shows in the fiction podcasting space than any other medium. It’s immensely difficult to pick just 3, but you can find more right here.

Edict Zero FIS

Edict Zero FIS is a cyberpunk crime drama that takes place on an Earth-like planet in the distant future. Probably the finest soundscape and production levels that you’re ever likely to hear.

The Bright Sessions

The Bright Sessions is a science fiction audio drama about people with supernatural abilities in therapy with the mysterious Dr Bright.

ars Paradoxica

ars Paradoxica is a time travel story following the story of Dr Sally Grissom, who finds herself in the middle of a military base in 1943 after an experiment gone wrong.

Fantasy Podcasts

If you’re into Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, or The Elder Scrolls, then these are the shows for you.

The Once & Future Nerd

The Once & Future Nerd is the story of a group of US High School kids who find themselves transported to a world of orcs, elves, and warring armies.

Witch Hunter

Witch Hunter follows the story of Ludlov, a hardened but principled witch hunter working in the Gothic, sprawling city of Sevenpeaks.

Alba Salix: Royal Physician

Alba Salix Royal Physician is one that could’ve also slotted into our comedy category. Alba’s is the story of a witch and long suffering employee of a bickering King and Queen in a land of magic and fairies.

Comedy Podcasts

Sometimes you just want a bit of a laugh on your morning commute. Or you do, at least, until you start laughing out loud on the train for no apparent reason and everyone thinks you’re an idiot. Here’s some brilliantly surreal audio humour…

HGHHadron Gospel Hour

In Hadron Gospel Hour an attempt to weaponise the Great Hadron Collider has gone horribly wrong, resulting in the destruction of our timeline.

Wooden Overcoats

Wooden Overcoats takes us to a fictional English island to witness a hilarious stand-off between two rival undertakers.

Wynabego Warrior

Wynabego Warrior is a modern day old west tale. The story of a man determined to find the old west that he remembers from the silver screen of his youth.

Anthology Podcasts

Maybe you prefer short stories, a variety of characters and varying settings in your audio fiction podcasts. In that case, the anthology series is for you.

The Truth

The Truth is a show that has mastered the intimacy of audio drama, and each story will leave you thinking about it for days afterwards.

Campfire Radio Theater

If horror is your bag, then look no further than Campfire Radio Theater where these tales of the macabre range between original works and adaptations of popular legends and mysteries.

The Stories of Mahabharata

For something completely different, The Stories of Mahabharata are beautifully narrated and soundscaped traditional Indian fables, each with different lessons and morals. 

SSCompilation Podcasts

Prefer the Pick’n’Mix approach where you just want to sit back and let someone choose a story for you? Then check out these long running podcasts.

Radio Drama Revival

Radio Drama Revival is a weekly showcase of stories post-golden age of radio drama from across the world.

Sonic Society

Sonic Society “spreads stories through the theater of the mind” on a weekly basis. Formed in 2005, it is a true institution within the medium.

I’ve discovered loads of shows by listening to them for the past few years, and they continue to dig up works, new and old, to this day. If you’re churning through all your favourite fiction podcasts at an alarming rate, be sure to subscribe to these two and stay in the loop finding fresh stuff.

Discovering Other Fiction Podcasts

There’s a collection of short audio promos in the Audio Drama Production Podcast Trailer Park. You’ll be sure to find something that catches your ear there before having to download or subscribe to anything. If you produce a fiction podcast yourself you can also submit your own trailer to be listed there.

If you’re on Twitter, follow the #AudioDramaSunday hashtag where you’ll find links to the shows that are creating a bit of hype.

And keep an eye on Audiotainment News for all the latest releases in the world of audio drama and fiction podcasting.

Make Your Own

Everyone has a good story in them, so why just enjoy listening to fiction podcasts? If you’re interested in making your own series then here are some resources that I’m sure you’ll find useful.

Audio Drama Production Podcast

The Audio Drama Production Podcast is a podcast about – funnily enough – the production of audio drama. It isn’t just production that’s covered though, the subjects of storytelling in general, writing, voice acting, and creating sound effects are often talked about too. The ADPP features interviews from many of the medium’s top names.

How to Make a Fiction Podcast

How to Make a Fiction Podcast is a series of blog posts aimed towards helping you do just that. It covers story format, structure, writing for audio, finding actors, recording, production, launching, and monetising your fiction podcast.

Just The Tip of the Iceberg

As with any “best podcasts” list, this is all purely my personal opinion. It’s now your duty to berate me for all your favourite shows that I’ve left out in the comments below.

There are hundreds more great shows out there, and new ones launching all the time. That’s why we decided to launch our Fiction Podcast of the Week feature, so we could cover as many as possible.

So if you run a fiction podcast (or know someone who does) and would like to be featured, just let me know.

We’re always looking for more great stories to listen to.

Fiction Podcast of the Week

Let me know if you're interested in being featured.
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17 Comments

  1. I hope you’ll see fit to include Pulp-Pourri Theatre, which is producing new episodes on a monthly basis, and is an anthology series adapted from or inspired by pulp fiction. Considering we won several awards last year, we are fairly certain you and your followers will enjoy it.

    Reply
    • Cheers Pete, I’ve never heard PPT before but it has been on my ever growing list for a while.

      Reply
  2. Wait, all of the “Cinematic Epics” have been dead for several years! And there are so many more good, ongoing podcasts that would fit into this category. For example: Wolf 359, EOS 10, The Elysium Project, Audio Diary of a Superhero… all of them great, interesting and new audio dramas that would really benefit from a mention on a list like that.

    Reply
    • Edict Zero is still well and truly alive Tygr, and so is We’re Alive (the new project Lockdown will be released in a few months). It is a shame about Leviathan though as I really enjoyed it. There’s a good case for including The Cleansed in here too, and I’m looking forward to checking out the shows you mentioned. Appreciate it.

      Reply
  3. These are some solid recommendations. There’s a lot of great audio drama podcasts (an some not in podcast form) out there. I run Audio-Drama.com, an online audio drama directory with almost 3,000 links. If you ever do another list, I could recommend many productions.

    Also check out the Audio Drama group on reddit, where new shows are posted and discussed daily: https://www.reddit.com/r/audiodrama/

    Reply
    • Cheers J.C, A-D.com is a great site. I often read the Reddit page to look for new shows too.

      Reply
  4. Hello!

    First of all, thanks for all the good material you’re providing and also I’m a brazilian listener of “Audio Drama Production Podcast”, it really helps me a lot!

    My country doesn’t have much material about Audio Drama but I’m really into this stuff, thanks for everything and cheers!

    Reply
    • Thanks Danilo. Good to hear from you. Are you producing a show yourself at the moment?

      Reply
      • Hi!

        I’m not producing a show “series-like” with episodes, but I’m producing monthly short stories for my Podcast Contador de Historias (it means Story Teller in english) and I’ve recently released an audio drama adaptation for the book Odd and the Frost Giants (Neil Gaiman) altough it’s in portuguese hahahahaha (:

        Reply
  5. While you have listed lots of great stuff, I see the glaring omission of Decoder Ring Theatre’s “Red Panda Adventures” and “Black Jack Justice,” my two favorites. And the great “Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd” deserves a spot as well. Oh, and also “Thrilling Adventure Hour.” There are just so many.

    Reply
    • Great suggestions Mike. Yeah there’s a whole load of shows that I love that I’ve left out of this list. I had to draw the line somewhere or it might have turned into a book 🙂

      Reply
  6. There’s also lesbianromantic.com (The Lesbian Romantic Podcast) for the #lgbt community! And yes, this is a shameless plug of my own productions 😉

    Great blog post! Wish there was more audio fiction like this…

    Reply
  7. The Thrilling Adventure Hour (although it is currently “finished”) is well worth listening to. But – here’s a caveat. you must start at the beginning. I tried to jump in mid-way, and it wasn’t making any sense to me. I didn’t like it at all. My brother said no, go to the beginning and start there. I did. It’s so fabulously brilliant that I went back and listened to all the episodes twice.

    After Nightvale, they have been great at introducing new podcasts as well. Alice Isn’t Dead, and Within the Walls are brilliant female-led storytelling podcasts. Again, they are a series, so it’s no good jumping in mid-way.

    Thanks for this article. I’m so excited to listen to more fictional and fabulous stories!!

    Reply
  8. If you’re looking for a comedy anthology in the vein of Naked Gun, then try out Radio Phonic Audio For Hearing (and also listening). They do a few serial shows as well as one-off “pilots.”

    Reply
  9. Hi Matthew,
    Thanks for providing so much helpful information! My collaborator and I are new to the podcast world and are learning an incredible amount. Our podcast, The Strange Recital, launched in August with twice-monthly episodes, each featuring a short story plus an author interview with a twist. We fall into a weird gap between literary and speculative, sort of like Selected Shorts meets The Twilight Zone. Hope you’ll listen and enjoy! http://thestrangerecital.com

    Reply
    • I love Nightvale and was just checking that someone mentioned their podcasts in the comments. Your podcast sounds really cool; I’ll have to give it a listen. Pretty long list now that I’ve read this article. 🙂

      It’s good. I need to break away from political podcasts. My very sanity depends on it. XD

      Reply
      • Cheers Aidan, yeah you need some escapism now and then eh…

        Reply

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About the author: Matthew McLean

Matthew is the head of audio production at The Podcast Host, taking care of client podcasts and our own shows alike. He also produces audio dramas galore, and talks enthusiastically about them on the Audio Drama Production podcast every week.