The story of radio is a rich one, with a heavy history and plenty of great narratives. After all, kind of like today’s smart phones or flatscreen televisions, the radio was the device we used to huddle around for some gripping stories. With the podcast, that tradition lives on.
Yep, radio is like a good vinyl record, the format is timeless and we’ll always pine for it. If you don’t believe us, just try not to spend more than an hour on this site, a curated musical time machine that shines a light on the beauty of musical radio. But back to the podcast, we are living in 2023. From great music podcasts to audio series about the best things to eat, it’s a tremendous format, blending old and new. The fiction realm is especially intriguing, stretching our imagination and entertaining us to no end.
While winter is still here, it’s a great time to get cozy and really dive into a podcast series. These are great whether you’re on a road trip, at the gym, chilling around the house, or trying to get some sleep. Here are the best fiction podcasts out there.
No narrative podcast list is complete without one of the originals. Welcome to Night Vale has been around for nearly as long as podcasts have, it seems, and it’s still one of the best around. Presented as a radio show in a fictional town, Cecil Gershwin Palmer takes you through the surreal and sensational happenings of a town somewhere in the southwestern United StatesInside Big Bend National Park: Where Mountains Meet Desert in Texas.
Anna Limón is a nurse in search of Mabel Martin. This audio drama about “ghosts, strange houses, stranger occurrences, and missed connections” reveals a winding, detailed, surprising, and often haunting story. And if you’re having trouble catching up, you can join the thriving online community around their wiki.
Drenched in classic British humor, this podcast follows the Funn siblings as they are left to run their family’s failing funeral parlor. Wooden Overcoats follows them as their new rival, the perfect Eric Chapman, starts to steal all their clients in the dirty business of death.
Remember finding a door that you were scared to open? Ostium takes place in a hidden city full of those doors, and a new door opens every episode. The show’s short, digestible episodes make this one easy to binge.
From the people who brought you Welcome to Night Vale comes Within the Wires. An epistolary podcast, WtW changes every season but is always investigating the ways in which we communicate with one another and what it means to hear another person.
Flash Pulp revitalizes a rich tradition in fiction in bite-sized episodes. Waiting in line? Taking a shower? Just have 10 minutes to kill? Flash Pulp can give you the full arc of a story filled with plenty of intrigue by the time you’re done.
The best in the business of narrative podcasting at Night Vale do it again with Alice Isn’t Dead. A truck driver travels across the country to find his presumed-deceased wife and along the way comes into contact with the weird, the abstract, the out-of-time, and more.
Did you enjoy Serial? Of course, you did! Limetown takes the concept and structure of Serial’s classic public radio style and twists it up into a wild and cacophonous universe akin to The X-Files.
A one-man operation, Imaginary Advice is a monthly podcast of audio-fiction experiments. U.K. native Ross Sutherland brings a new short story to the table every month that’s guaranteed to engross.
Reminiscent of the cult classic play Greater Tuna, King Falls AM takes the loony lens of late-night AM radio and points it at the strange and lonely mountain town of King Falls.
These top fiction podcasts are captivating and immersive, as great narratives tend to be. If you’re long overdue for a good story, this is a great place to land. And it’s especially great because you can just sit there and listen, fully absorbing the content.
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