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Hello, fellow podcast lovers!

You ever have one of those days where no words work? That day was this weekend. (Time is a flat circle).

I'm in solidarity with all of you staring at a blank page wondering if you ever really learned how to write, or how to even speak your native language, because everything you attempt feels like gibberish. There will be better days. Probably.

Anyway, let's just dig right on into some excellent podcasts! I vibed a lot with narrator-focused fiction this week, where the action revolved around one person's story (though not necessarily with only one voice).

Second Star to the Left
Gwen can certainly fly, at least for this one way trip where not even the Lost Boys have gotten lost in: Delta-Gamma-One-Four-Six-Two. Gwen is a scout-explorer in a time when humanity has expanded beyond the stars and across space, on a solitary five-year mission to get her planet prepared for settlement. With her adorable bot Boots and her unexpected companion and minder Bell, Gwen can't wait to go out and explore the flora and fauna of this new world, mostly on her own. Ishani Kanetkar is stellar as Gwen, exhibiting an emotional range that translates easily into visual images of facial expressions: sarcastic, hopeful, witty, stubborn, a little sly and a little coy. Bolstered by the soundscape of a somewhat livable strange world, Second Star's opening episodes lend audiences Gwen's eyes as she sees unusual flora and exotic fauna, describing it for the data packets she sends back and for her family as she recites letters for them. The in-depth look into Gwen's new life is as deeply personal as understanding Bell is starkly distant, providing an illuminating foil to her story as she brings Bell along, sort of, on her unscheduled decisions -- making Gwen a little more of the Peter to Bell's Wendy.
Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | RSS

I Found a Wormhole
cn: in-depth discussion of suicide
The despair of a non-functioning, dangerously close to imploding PhD bleeds through Mary O'Neil's voice as protagonist and narrator Jessie Baker, physics grad student whose thesis project has fallen apart and now has very few options left. O'Neil's vocal talent is a sharp and heart-tugging hook as she cuts in and out of loud singing, crying, bargaining with herself, and finding a wormhole. In five episodes, Jessie's discovery spirals out of control in ways that are possibly predictable for anyone who reads enough science-fiction, but its Jessie's individual story that makes this stand out. The wormhole is so personal here, not something that impacts science or the world. I Found a Wormhole is exploratory, intimate in the way that we understand all the fears and joys Jessie has about this aberration of the natural world.
Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | RSS

Night Crew
This grin-inducing sitcom follows the accidental adventures Samantha S. Sharpe, deep space pilot who wants to follow in her grandmother's famous footsteps and join up under the famous Captain Mansfield for danger and excitement. Unfortunately, Mansfield heads the night crew, where the most exciting thing is whether someone has left chewing gum on a plate to clean overnight. In this preliminary episode, Night Crew introduces a reformed (kind of) murder bot named Innocence and a genius teenager in the space corps who faints at the slightest bit of excitement, making for a ragtag bumbling team of dish-cleaners and spaceship minders for the sleeping day crew. Throw logic out the window as you come up against Spider Space and the intricacies of revolution and democracy in a bee colony, as Night Crew's humor relies on the absurd, the whimsical, and the sarcastic in order to tie together the team. And maybe, just maybe, a little sprinkling of real lessons, if you can figure out which is the real test of character.
Subscribe: Apple | RSS

It's a blessing to simply trip over a dreamlike, soothing blend of music and microfiction, one that helps you sink deeper into someone's voice for the span of a few carefully chosen breaths. Attskia begins to perfect this blend over its first season, crafting a dark city that sits between lyrical narrated surrealism and drifting pulsing lo-fi jazzy music. The foregrounded soundtrack demands as much attention as the narrator's occasional echo, close mic, and popping voice, a combination of tactics that here feels just right where somewhere else would feel flawed because Attskia is a distant place, spare and callous and feral, but not so far that you can't see the mirrors. These microepisodes hinge around different characters, hanging lightly around their shoulders for five minutes, six, maybe just two. Eventually, the strings will pull them closer and tie a loose knot, a thread that can be picked up here and there throughout, making for a sensation of cohesion in something weird and raw.
Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | RSS

Character Creation Cast
 is a discussion podcast that examines a new roleplaying game system every month. Hosts Ryan Boelter and Amelia Antrim are joined by guests from the RPG community and industry to learn about a game, create characters, and discuss the process! It's like a relaxed session zero the first three Mondays of every month.

Check out the backlog, and the special Character Evolution Cast: player-centric advice episodes to help everyone tell more fulfilling stories at the table!
If you want to see more reviews, interviews, and other articles from me, you can support me at my Patreon, or at my ko-fi account for a one-time donation! You can also sign-up to talk about advertising in the newsletter.
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The Bite
Tess, protagonist of The Bite, gets off to an awkward start: her one-woman show at Edinburgh Fringe, Fleabite, gets a lot of people looking for Fleabag and, much to my amusement, does manage to pin its comedy just to the right of Fleabag's purposefully uncomfortable humor. Tess has revealed that she's a werewolf, and that her lycanthropic problems were, at first, less of an issue than the fact that she can't seem to get a break for her theater show and arts foundation application. Tess is the pinnacle of young broke Brooklynite playwright who doesn't have a single clue or a single real friend, at least until she meets Diane: a wealthy pack leader of a Hampton wolf pack. In four episodes, The Bite wants to think about personhood and the sensation of belonging, about sexuality and non-monogamy, and about the horrors of mentorship abuse through werewolf horror and dark, uncertain, slyly-winking comedy.
Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | RSS

Maps of the Lost
In ten minutes or less, a mysterious cartographer takes their audience through a calm, dark journey through lost places, secret histories, hidden entities, strangers and horrors and warnings. It's a prime podcast for those who need low-sensory impact, because all it has is a short electronic theme song, and a slow, deep voice; Maps of the Lost is carried by its lush, creepy descriptions and deep voice alone, at least in its podcast form. However, this is a multimedia experience, alongside a blog with more English folk horror, social media accounts that deal in Twitter-length horror fic and haunting images, and a newsletter. It's an enticing digital adventure, especially when paired with the subway-like map presented of all the weird places the Cartographer has gone.
Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | RSS

For those who love the classic fantasy vibe of Dungeons and Dragons movies, Carcerem presents two young friends who set out on an adventure of a lifetime, to find the Chosen One who'd save the land from its fear of magic and mercenaries. It's action-packed with swordfights and monster attacks, a strategy we're seeing more of in podcasting as creators get more comfortable with portraying action scenes in audio. Carcerem's action scenes are well-paced, using clear and concise foley and original music in conjunction with its dialogue in order to keep the tempo and understanding of what's happening without needless description. Ora and Godrick are already tight friends with a long history, polar opposites on their views about the Chosen One, making for an easy, seamless entry into Carcerem's forward motion across the land of Aaru. And thankfully, there's more than one way to approach the Chosen One plotline, which Carcerem promises to do: What happens with faith in something so mysterious as prophecy or so broken as fear, and its impact on the people you love?
Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | RSS
  • OBSIDIAN: A fantastic speculative fiction anthology podcast based on Afrofuturism, from creators interested in the intersections between creativity and science, between people and technology.

  • Help Fund a Queer Norse Mythology Audio Drama: Come support the first season of Twilight Over Midgarda modern fantasy audio drama about a group of friends who are recruited by two Norse Gods to stop the apocalypse.

  • Podcast Review Day is a monthly reminder to write reviews AND share them on Twitter. On the 8th of every month, ease your podcast review guilt and help others discover new podcasts.

  • Indrisano Audio, LLC: Get help launching or improving your podcast with our consulting, composition, and editing services! You bring the Drama - we've got the Audio. Learn more at our website.

  • The Resistible Rise of J.R. BrinkleyThe true story of a 1920's con man who made a fortune selling his impotence cure: surgically implanted goat testicles. Also: a radio star and politician. Told with country music.

Did you get here from a link online, or sent this by someone else?

If you'd like to ask me questions or comments, you can reply to this newsletter (it goes directly to my email!) or reach out to me on Twitter.

May your podcasts bring you joy,
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