Increasingly Strange Stories for an Increasingly Strange Year
August 20, 2021 2:07 PM   Subscribe

It’s late summer 2021, and here’s another roundup of weird audio dramas! Since many of us are facing new isolation restrictions, here’s something disturbing to raise your spirits. Most of the series are audio dramas with paranormal elements, but anthologies, fantasy, and science fiction are included. This time, a rather startling number of shows featuring the smooth voice of Soren Narnia of Knifepoint Horror are included.

Stories with LGBTQ characters and elements are identified when possible. Podcasts with frequent or severe content warnings are noted as are those which provide transcripts. Lately, audio dramas seem to be experimenting more with “chaotic action” – fights, headlong flight, etc. This often doesn’t work all that well; it is noted when significant. All the podcasts are accessible via most podcast apps and aggregators (although, weirdly, some apps seem to not catch entire seasons of some of the shows). Most of the series have episodes that run ~30 minutes; those that vary will be identified.

As there has been demand in previous posts, anthologies are now being included. Shows are identified as:
• audio drama – stories with continuing plots and casts, either open- or closed-ended
• anthology – stand-alone stories with no continuity
• anthology with frame – stand-alone stories with some kind of continuity that ties the series together but (usually) does not affect the stories

Note: In the last FPP and this one, several Realm.fm titles appear. They have started pulling content behind a paywall, so, if you think something sounds good, download the whole series immediately.

The Attic Monologues (anthology with frame)
Produced in association with Exeter University Podcast Society, this is the story of Nyx Ryland, a nonbinary university student who records themself reading stories they found in their attic to their flat mate (and crush), Bella Crowe. These monologues are strange, however, and the more Nyx reads, the more it becomes evident that things are not as they seem. Transcripts available.
Tone: university life and dreams
LGBTQ: All characters are queer so far
One season (5 episodes; ongoing)
Website


Daedalus Compound (audio drama)
Reporter Jesper Ikaros follows the trail of a missing woman to a small unstaffed library. Entering the library, Jesper cannot find a way out but does find strange things like books with empty pages, mysterious notes, and signs that previous people have entered this shifting labyrinth, although no sign anyone has ever escaped. On hiatus since the beginning of the year, apparently due to COVID.
Tone: otherworldly mazes
LGBTQ: The main character may be trans or nonbinary
One season (6 episodes; ongoing?)
They do not appear to have a website


Dark Heights (audio drama)
A small town outside of LA becomes the focus of an ancient evil. Three people may be able to do something about it. Tess Bellamy is a failed actress, returned home to care for her ailing mother. Linna Severand is a self-destructive rich girl with a controlling family. Gabriel Majeaux is possibly the world’s last wizard, cursed and hunted by powers he doesn’t understand. Their lives collide and they can either work together or die. Transcripts available with a subscription.
Length 30-50 minutes
Tone: urban fantasy with a bit of horror
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (13 episodes; ongoing)
Website


The Diary of Aliza Schultz (audio drama)
Aliza Schultz reviews nearly every single book by airport paperback novelist Rafael Muslani and learns about herself along the way through a series of surreal encounters. This is a sort of spin-off from WOE.BEGONE, but it’s currently unclear if this story takes place in the same universe. The stories are considerably gentler than the parent podcast. Also available through the WOE.BEGONE Patreon or feed, after a delay. Transcripts available through Patreon.
Length: Episodes 10-15 minutes
Tone: magical realism
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (4 episodes; ongoing)
Doesn’t have a separate website outside of WOE.BEGONE


The Endless Elsewhere (audio drama)
When the calls to her late-night, paranormal radio show go from strange to stranger, host Lindsay Mallyn launches an investigative podcast to explore the mysterious happenings. Unable to do it alone, however, she recruits the infamous JP Leck, a disgraced archivist and the keeper of curious lore. Together they will uncover terrible secrets, delve into forbidden realms, and do battle with otherworldly creatures. This is a tie-in with a roughly decade-old self-published universe of stories, comics books, short movies, and other media. It’s very pulpy, with literal self-insertion by the author.
Length: Episodes vary wildly in length from 35 minutes to 70 minutes
Tone: pulp adventure
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (5 episodes)
Website


Escaping Denver (audio drama)
Sara and Noah wake up in complete darkness, trapped miles below the Denver International Airport (DIA) with no hope for escape. Join their perilous journey as they struggle for freedom from a mind-bending labyrinth filled with horrors mundane and bestial. Mysterious phone calls offer dubious aid, while their voice recordings have somehow been sent to a stranger who tries to make sense of the situation. Inspired by legends about the Denver International Airport.
Length: ~20 minutes
Tone: conspiracy theories
LGBTQ: none
One season (7 episodes; ongoing)
Website


The Ghosts on This Road (anthology with a very thin frame)
Linda Wojtowick has written these stories where two nameless friends, one played by her and one by Soren Narnia, travel to places of interest in the US and Europe in search of… monsters? …the occult …transcendence? On the way, they tell each other stories of things they’ve experienced or read about or had confessed to them. The resultant braided narrative is evocative and weird, with no story coming to a definite conclusion.
Tone: weird, with a hint of creepypasta
LGBTQ: none
One season (13 episodes; ongoing)
Website


Iris (audio drama)
One must give credit for a spooky ballet school story in the shadow of Susperia and Susperia. Additional points for doing an audio drama about a very visual art, although this does lead to occasional moments of chaotic action which are hard to follow. 17yo ballet student Isabella finds herself in an elite and very remote dance academy. She begins to navigate the social currents of the school and makes some friends (or at least frenemies), but then she agrees to participate in a strange ritual that will give at least one of them a shot at the highest levels of dance. When the ritual becomes wholly realized, Isabella must reckon with her ambition and its consequences.
Length: 30-40 minutes
Tone: teen drama and hauntings
LGBTQ: none
Complete story? (5 episodes)
Website


Liminal Apocalypse (audio drama)
Under the threat of an impending apocalyptic war, Becca and her wife, Emily, are separated. Becca is trapped in a remote bunker with her prepper neighbor and a few others, while Emily is lost outside. Emily can send messages via radio, but Becca cannot respond, and she slowly begins to realize that the messages can’t all be from the same Emily…
Length: The episodes vary, but the whole story is ~90 minutes
Tone: literally apocalyptic
LGBTQ: Lesbian main characters
Complete story (3 episodes)
Website


Lost Signal Society (anthology with a very thin frame)
There is a conceit that these are broadcasts from a mysterious radio, but it’s really a grab-bag of stories that vary wildly in tone from horror to weird to horror comedy. Some stories have recurring characters, and they all take place in a sort of alternate New York. Apparently dead or on hiatus.
Tone: grab bag
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (13 episodes; on hiatus)
Website

Mordeo (audio drama)
One month after he and his brother disappeared in the Monongahela Forest, Isaiah Williams emerges starving, disoriented, and traumatized. While attempting to re-establish a normal life, the harrowing events from the woods continue to haunt him–and his darkest secret threatens to turn him into the very monster he believed he had fled. Gradually, a variety of family and townsfolk get drawn into the madness surrounding him, until everything is dangerous.
Tone: werewolves and hunters
LGBTQ: a lesbian minor character, but it doesn’t matter
One season (34 episodes; ongoing)
Website

Newfield (audio drama)
When Jane Barnes moves to her father’s affluent New England hometown for her senior year of High School, she soon discovers the grave of another Jane Barnes – accused of witchcraft almost 400 years before. Jane’s search into the past puts her on a collision course with Newfield’s history as parallels between past and present become increasingly threatening. A first attempt by this production team, the whole story clocks in at barely over an hour.
Tone: teen drama and hauntings
LGBTQ: none significant
Complete story (2 episodes)
Website


The Night Post (audio drama)
In a glistening city in a sort-of US South, certain people are selected to work for the Night Post – delivering letters and parcels to the outskirts of the city, where things aren’t so… certain. Three “Pigeons,” as the conscripted Night Post delivery people are called, rally to find a lost husband, a haunted ex, and maybe some answers. Needless to say, the problem is bigger than all of them.
Length: episodes are closer to 20 minutes
Tone: creepy whimsy
LGBTQ: totally gay and lesbian
Two seasons (16 episodes + supplements; ongoing)
Website


Outliers
Rusty Quill (producers of The Magnus Archives) and Historic Royal Palaces (a UK cultural organization) teamed up to create these short audio plays, set in some of the historic buildings and palaces of the UK. Only some of these stories have weird or supernatural elements, but they bring the heyday of these historic buildings to life with suspense, comedy, and, yes, horror. Often based on real people and/or events. Each audoplay is paired with a short (~10 minute) interview with the writer. Two episodes are written by Jonathan Sims of The Magnus Archives.
Length: most 20-20 minutes
Tone: varies wildly
LGBTQ: some representation in various episodes
Two seasons (20 episodes; complete?)
Website


Sibling Horror (anthology)
Emma and Matt Fradd, who seem to be Catholic musicians, also write horror stories, which they get Soren Narnia (of Knifepoint Horror) to read. To insert a brief personal comment, this is very much not my thing, but the couple of stories I listened to were pleasantly gruesome and well-read by Mr. Narnia, so, if you like anthology horror, you could do much worse.
Length: 15-70 minutes
Tone: Tales from the Crypt
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (15 episodes; ongoing)
Website


The Storage Papers (audio drama)
In July of 2019, Jeremy made he only bid on an abandoned storage unit. At first disappointed by the lack of apparent treasure, he discovered instead a trove of extensive documentation of unexplainable events. As he tracks down signs of horrific and paranormal beings and events, he discovers a monstrous plot that originates, seemingly, in Hell. The series takes on a very Christian cast but is not pushy about it.
Tone: demons and monsters
LGBTQ: none significant
Three seasons (33 episodes + supplements; ongoing)
Website


Strange Tales of Virgil Kaylock (serial audio drama)
Set in the 1920s, these are the stories of Virgil Kaylock, a modest and insecure young man whose life takes the strangest of turns as he battles with dark, supernatural forces and confronts his own feelings of inadequacy and fear. Somewhere between Pulp and Gothic, this series is more a collection of connected short stories than an ongoing narrative. It’s worth checking out the website for the “lobby card” art they have for each story.
Length: 3 20-25 minute episodes per story
Tone: pulp and gothic
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (4x3 episodes; ongoing)
Website


Those Snowy Nights You Read to Me, They’ll Never Be Forgotten (anthology)
Soren Narnia reads some of his longer works. Not all of them are fantastic or horror, but a lot of them are.
Length: 1-3 hours (yes, you read that correctly)
Tone: fantastical to horror to everyday life
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (20 episodes; ongoing?)
Website


Tomorrow’s Monsters (audio drama)
John Boyega stars a thriller about corporations, medical ethics, and alteration of human consciousness. A conman with a vendetta infiltrates NextCorp, a Silicon Valley body-hacking startup run by enigmatic and charismatic CEO. Their research promises a way to eliminate the need to sleep, but failed trials are being suppressed and failed participants are dying. Trapped between the corporation and the government, the conman has to tread a very narrow line while his mind is under assault.
Tone: near future transhumanism and conspiracy
LGBTQ: none
Complete story (12 episodes)
Website


The Town Whispers (audio drama)
Similar in tone and setting to Old Gods of Appalachia (with maybe a whiff of Nightvale), this is the story of the Fort, a small town in the Canadian Pacific Northwest around the beginning of the last century. The Fort is isolated and has the attention of The Long Shadows, old and strange forces that mean nothing good to anything human. There is some moving back and forth in the timeline that makes early episodes a little confusing. CW: body horror and child danger
Tone: folk horror and cosmic horror
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (34 episodes; ongoing)
Website

Tumanbay (audio drama)
Basically, fantasy Ottoman Empire vs insurgent forces of religious fanatics who might have low-level magic powers or just a lot of tradecraft assets. A braided narrative or various politicians, spies, military, and ordinary people in a world being turned upside down. No one’s hands are clean and no one is safe. Basically, Game of Thrones in Istanbul, without the dragons and dead things. CW: It’s a little orientalist in flavor. Transcripts available. Also, novels.
Length: ~45 minutes
Tone: politics and religion
LGBTQ: none significant
Four seasons (34 episodes; ongoing)
Website

WOE.BEGONE (audio drama)
In a search for an interesting ARG, Mike Walters accidentally stumbles into a brutal real-life game. What begins as an exploration of the game turns into a search for the powerful technology that makes the game possible. The game is played by completing tasks set by the showrunners, which quickly get terrifying and bizarre, but with curious prizes including people returning from death. As Mike’s challenges continue and he becomes further enmeshed in the game, he realizes the moral toll may be the worst danger. Then things get really weird. CW: frequent and severe physical and emotional trauma. Transcripts available through Patreon support.
Tone: weird reality and conspiracy
LGBTQ: Gay protagonist
Two seasons (30 episodes + supplements; ongoing)
Website
posted by GenjiandProust (10 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 


Oh wow! Eeeee!
posted by mochapickle at 2:16 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Thank you so much for these roundups, GenjiandProust! I really enjoy your curated lists and have found some cool things to listen to through them.

Also, Soren Narnia is a fantastic name.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:17 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Glad you appreciate them. There are a lot of podcasts coming out these days, and a whole lot that have been interrupted by COVID.....
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:34 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Thank you very much for doing this, GenjiandProust.
posted by doctornemo at 5:42 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Thank you so very, very very much! I've heard ads, wondered, and now feel I have a template to begin poking around!
posted by From Bklyn at 12:29 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Thank you, this is just what I want in my podcasts! Particularly excited about Outliers, which I hadn't heard of.
posted by BlueNorther at 2:56 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Ugh, I see I listed the length of Outliers episodes as “most 20-20 minutes,” who’s is technically correct, but a goofy way to express it. Sigh.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:58 AM on August 21


Thank you!
posted by jameaterblues at 8:04 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I was just thinking about your spooky audio posts and how I love them!!!!!!!!

thank you again!!!!!!
posted by Laetiporus at 11:20 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


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