Possibly you listen to podcast fiction and audioboks. Possibly you don’t. Either way, you should definitely listen to the following five pieces. Three are from Escape Pod and two are from Podcastle, which reflects my own personal listening habits, but also reflects how the SFF crowd were early adopters of online audio formats for fiction. Because free SFF audio stories have been online for some years now, there is quite a bit of good Science Fiction and Fantasy to pick from. Unfortunately, mystery, crime , romance and lit fic are taking a while to catch up, but if you wanted to create a short-format fiction podcast in one of those genres it’s worth being are that there certainly isn’t much competition to deal with at the moment.
So, even if you are not especially fond of the SFF genre we hope you may find something quite sparkling and wonderful in the following tales. We’ve picked them to provide a range of styles, and we’ve picked stories that we think a general readership will enjoy (not just SFF fans).
The copyrights of all text belong to the respective authors. The audio files are released under a Creative Commons, non-commercial, attribution, no derivative works 3.0 licence. That means you can distribute these files but you must provide attribution and you cannot charge money for them, change them or produce derivative works without seeking permission.
Escape Pod 103: The Watching People (MP3)
The most science fictiony of these pieces. A first contact story told from the alien’s point of view where the human in question is rather clueless about what’s really going on under the surface of things.
Escape Pod 105: Impossible Dreams (MP3)
A heart-warming little story that starts out seeming like it will be about a mystery involving an alternative universe, but which ends up being about human connection.
Escape Pod 144: Friction (MP3)
This is the sort of story that cannot help but resort faith in the human species. Sure, it’s a story about a strange friendship formed between two non-human species, but this is one of those stories that will likely stay with you a long time.
Podcastle 001: Come Lady Death (MP3)
An early short story by the inimitable Peter S. Beagle. Peter has said elsewhere that he wrote this piece in an effort to sneak some fantasy past a creative writing teacher who did not like fantasy. As with all of Mr Beagle’s work, this story is rather marvellous.
Podcastle 003: Run of the Fiery Horse (MP3)
A deeply emotional and deeply involved story that dances around the fringes of being a straightforward fantasy tale and manages to pass over the hemming boundaries of genre and become much, much more.
If you enjoy these works you should consider seeking out Escape Pod and the sister shows, Podcastle and Pseudopod. As of writing this, I’m not aware of any short form podcast sites for mystery, crime, thriller or romance. There is almost certainly a gap or two still waiting to be filled…