We are, tentatively, back! To re-start things, I wanted to put together a post of audio fiction milestones from April. This isn’t going to feature everything, it’d be impossible for me to keep track, but I did want to highlight some new shows and returns that I’m particularly excited about.
(CW: in depth-discussions of a past pandemic, discussions around fertility and pregnancy, depictions of animal testing).
Observer Pictures (Boom, Margaritas & Donuts) released a pilot episode of a new sci-fi show in April. Apollyon is set in a futuristic world, one that has been ravaged by a pandemic which decimated the population. Society has been rebuilt, thanks to the International Conglomerate of Research Scientists, who have created clean cities, free of the virus. In this first episode, we’re introduced to this world through the eyes of a class of elementary school kids, as they learn about a pandemic that happened many years before they were born. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to fund the production of the season.
Someone Dies In This Elevator
(CW: there are detailed content warnings in each episode, but every episode somehow deals with a death in an elevator).
The end of April saw the launch of new anthology show Someone Dies In This Elevator, after a crowdfunding campaign. I was so grateful to have been sent the full season ahead of the show’s release, and I absolutely loved listening to the varied stories that so many different writers had created from the same basic premise. The show launched with Three Superheroes Walk into an Elevator, written by showrunner Tal Minear (creator of Sidequesting), and featuring a whole host of superheroes. So many talented folks from the audio fiction community are involved in the show, with other episodes jumping into the future, delving into the past, featuring stories from everyday life, and from futuristic realities.
The Ballad of Anne & Mary
Long Cat Media (Mockery Manor) released a new show at the end of April – a musical about two lady pirates! The Ballad of Anne & Mary is based on the lives of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and is is set in 1721, when they are both imprisoned. We meet journalist Nathaniel Mist, who decides to take advantage of the two pirates’ infamy, and arranges to visit them in prison. In the show’s first episode, he talks to Anne, who takes Nathaniel back to her childhood, and up to her elopement with a pirate. The episode contains several original songs, including one that opens the episode, and gorgeous sound design. I’m so excited for the rest of the season!
Lost Terminal, the story of an AI called Seth, set in the near future, launched its fourth season at the beginning of April. It’s an impressive pace for a show which only debuted last July! It’s difficult to talk about the point the show’s currently at without spoiling what’s happened in the three previous seasons, but it’s promising to be another exciting season. There have already been plenty of interesting developments – and I’m especially curious to see where a certain revelation from episode four will go. This is definitely one of my favourite shows at the moment, and I’m really excited to see what else Seth will learn this season.
Tales from the Tower
(CW: this season is set during a lockdown, due to a controlled release of toxic gas.)
April brought a new season of Tales from the Tower, titled Mines and Mysteries. Tales from the Tower is a horror podcast, and one of the shows set in the Liberty universe (and available in the Liberty Podcast feed) from Fool & Scholar Productions. I’m sure there’s an ancient meme reference to be made here about hearing that folks liked actual plays, so they put an actual play in a scripted show; but it’s genuinely engrossing, and I wouldn’t have expected less from a creative team that’s very experienced with running RPG campaigns. As someone who doesn’t actually play any RPGs, I’ve really been enjoying the game the players have been playing, regardless of anything else that’s been happening in the world outside their game.
The 24 hour podcast project Hubris is back for its second round. Over a weekend in March, 10 groups of podcasters came together to each create a brand new, stand-alone, podcast episode over the course of 24 hours. All were given the theme of ‘Spring’ from which to create their episodes, and so far, the episodes have interpreted it in very different ways, with very different genres and themes.
The fourth season of Palimpsest launched in April, after two really interesting trailers. The focus this season is on Hawthorn House, which had been abandoned for years due to a dispute, and now it needs to be renovated before it can finally be sold. Ash Mobley, of Mobley Building and Renovation, makes a series of recordings to document the house and all the work that needs to be done on it. Ash doesn’t know how old the house is, but she remembers her Grandpa Bob talking about it over the years, saying it had ‘good bones’. I’m sure nothing can go wrong after a comparison of that nature…
(CW: Episode 7 contains the depiction of a panic attack.)
Dystopian thriller Radio Elusia launched its second season, with the simultaneous release of two new episodes. Set exactly a year after the siege, we meet Lia and Suz again, who are broadcasting on Radio Elusia. Not much has really changed in Elusia over the past year, and certainly nothing drastic, and Lia and Suz want to broadcast a show to commemorate the anniversary of the siege – but their broadcast is interrupted by a strange transmission. In the second episode of the two, we’re introduced to a new facet of the city’s society, the Collective from the episode’s title, and what their mission is. Life and freedom in Elusia is still balancing on a knife’s edge, and I’m really interested to see how events will unfold this season.
Right at the end of April, comedy Mission Rejected returned for its third season, after the recent two-part crossover with Oz 9 (which is absolutely ridiculous in the best way). It was a great start to the season, picking up where we last left the EMF agents; and without spoiling too much, this season promises to be very different from the last two. I had a good laugh at the Shakespeare references! I’m very interested to see where this season will go – especially after that post-credits scene!
The Primordial Deep finale sure was a thing! The horror show’s first season took a turn that I never would’ve expected, but absolutely loved. The final episode clocks in at over an hour, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. A 10 minute epilogue was also released, giving us a different point of view, and raises one big question in particular. And not only that, there was the announcement of a new show which is set in the Primordial Deep extended universe. Descendents is due to be launched later this year, and is a sequel to sci-fi horror Janus Descending. I loved Janus Descending and the way it plays with storytelling structure, and I’m really excited for a new story set in the same world.
Dos: After You
Making the joke that this first season of Dos: After You was a journey – given that it’s been an actual physical journey for Deck, starting off in his home in the Netherlands in episode one – is all too easy, but it really has been. Over the course of this first season, this urban fantasy horror has provided twists and developments that I did not see coming – and especially so, in the season finale. What’s going to happen next to Deck and Sil??
The Path Down
The Path Down wrapped up its story, with the final of nine episodes. Fittingly, it’s the end of Vanessa’s first year in college. This isn’t a story with a neat, perfect ending – it’s messy, it’s bittersweet, it’s complicated, much like real life. It was satisfying seeing how the characters have grown and developed over the course of the season, and there’s definitely a hopeful aspect in that they’ll continue to mature and deal with their issues in the future. Even though superpowers such as telepathy are not of our world, it still felt like a very honest and real portrayal of the issues created when someone is able to read other people’s thoughts, and how that can affect those close to you.
Where The Stars Fell
Where the Stars Fell launched back in January, a new urban fantasy/supernatural show from Caldera Studios (Inkwyrm). It ended its first season at the end of April with a bombshell – I was left literally asking ‘whaaaat??’ as the episode ended. It was such a great revelation, and I loved how it was handled in that final scene, and the fact that it was left right up until the end of the season!
SAYER returned, with the continuation of its sixth season, after going on hiatus just over a year ago due to the pandemic. I was delighted to see a new episode pop up in the feed, it was a complete surprise to me. OCEAN and SAYER are still up to their sketchy shenanigans on Typhon, and I’m very excited at the prospect of a potential show-down between the two AIs, and how this will affect the humans on this artificial moon.
The Amelia Project
The Amelia Project returned to continue its third season, after a short hiatus, and things are just as wild as where we left them! The show’s format has been thrown completely upside down this season with a complete break to the premise that it had followed for the previous two seasons; and with things as they are, the Amelia team don’t look to be going back to their normality any time soon.
I was really glad to see the return of another show which had to go on hiatus due to 2020. Definitely Human’s sci-fi Down returned to conclude its first season, with the final five episodes. Things are only getting worse for the crew of the Virgil, as the mystery around just what they’ve encountered in the trench deepens.
Flynt & Steele was another episode that was submitted as part of a script competition The Orphans ran last April, for the Wild Tales series. Olivia Flynt is assigned to William Steele, and we’re taken through their time together through a series of flashbacks. Honestly at this point, any episode which features an Olivia feels like a punch in the gut, regardless of what actually happens; and in true Orphans style, it’s a highly emotional episode – that ending broke my heart!
Technical gremlins seemed to have done their best to delay the Unseen April Fool’s special, titled Now You See Me, but it was definitely worth the wait. In Now You See Me, we’re given another new insight into the unseen world, with an episode set in New York City. We meet Verena, a 17 year old self-taught magic user, who’s determined to become the apprentice of a fae sorcerer. It’s another poignant and touching story from the Unseen team, of one young woman trying to prove that she’s good enough.
There was an exciting announcement from sci-fi show The Phenomenon, of an upcoming fourth season, due to be launched in the autumn, with stories by a collection of different writers. I’m really curious about this new season, especially after listening to the trailer they posted!
A new actual play is due to be launched this month from the creator of CARAVAN, Tau Zaman. Rogue Runners. The show will adapt stories from other forms of media as RPG campaigns, and Volume 1 will be an adaptation of video game Hades. It’s a form of storytelling that has me very curious, and I’m definitely looking forward to the show’s launch.
Moonbase Theta, Out
It’s Moonbase Theta Out’s season three finale on the 9th of May, and to celebrate it, a series of events have been organised for that weekend. Taking place on the Monkeyman Productions discord server, there will be a listening party, trivia and games. Full details in this thread. An eight-episode miniseries of the show has also been announced, titled All Your Base, which will initially be published on Patreon this summer, before being released to the public.
We Fix Space Junk
I’m very excited for the return of We Fix Space Junk! It was announced towards the end of April that their next mini-season will be the second season of Marilyn’s Diary, titled A Long Journey Home, and is due to be launched on May 17th. I’m so excited for the continuation of this story, and I can’t wait to see what our favourite cow wasp princess has been up to since we last saw her.
I obviously couldn’t not include a very big piece of news from the world of audio fiction this month – the announcement that Jeff Goldblum will be joining horror actual play podcast Dark Dice‘s upcoming season. It’s so exciting to see such a big name joining an indie production, and the attention that the show and the medium have been getting because of it!
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