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The Best Science Fiction Podcasts of 2016 in One Big List

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By Rachel Feltman | 7:43 am, November 23, 2016

 

I love podcasts, you love podcasts, your grandma probably loves podcasts. Looking for some science fiction you can enjoy while your eyeballs do stuff that isn’t reading? Great. Read on.

Limetown

Remember that time when everything on the radio wanted to be “Serial”? Limetown got it right. Follow a reporter as she revisits the mysterious disappearance of every inhabitant in Limetown, an idyllic little community built around a mysterious scientific research facility. The mind-melting sci-fi in Limetown comes in on such a slow burn that a lot of people don’t realize they’re listening to a fictional story until a few episodes in, which makes it feel a lot more compelling than a story that’s schlocky right out the gate. Don’t worry: You’ll be biting your nails and making tinfoil hats by the time you get to the final episode.

Great if you enjoy: Stranger Things, Eureka, Wayward Pines, Serial

Where to start: Episode one—you’ll get spoiled if you skip ahead

The Message

The first offering from General Electric’s Podcast Theater was a smash hit: It brought us along for the ride as a quirky cryptography podcaster documented attempts to translate a mysterious alien message. I can’t say the plot gripped me quite as much as Limetown’s, but it’s perfect for marathoning during a car trip—you can listen to the entire thing in a couple hours.

Great if you enjoy: Serial, War of the Worlds, Arrival

Where to start: Episode one—you’ll get spoiled if you skip ahead

ars PARADOXICA

Paradoxica follows the adventures of accidental time traveler Dr. Sally Grissom. While Grissom’s audio diaries are used liberally to narrate the plot, the show also uses more traditional radio drama scenes—so it feels more like watching a movie than listening to a newsy podcast. It feels appropriately old-time-radio-y, and gets bonus points for dealing with issues like mental health and sexuality right along with discussions of quantum mechanics.

Great if you enjoy: ‘—All You Zombies—’, Timeline, Outlander, Doctor Who, Primer

Where to start: Try “Plasticity”, then go back to the beginning—you might be a little confused, but it’ll get you hooked

LifeAfter

The second show from General Electric’s Podcast Theater is new (as of November 2016) and intriguing. Follow a man as he tries to cope with his wife’s sudden death, hooked on and haunted by her audio posts on social media. Surely it’s about to get creepy.

Great if you enjoy: Her, Black Mirror, The Black Tapes

Where to start: Episode one—you’ll get spoiled if you skip ahead

The Truth

These “movies for your ears” (a.k.a. pretty standard, traditional radio dramas in small bites) aren’t always sci-fi. But hey, variety is the spice of life.

Great if you enjoy: Every episode is different, so just give it a shot if you like listening to things

Where to start: Voyager Found

Flash Forward

Half science, half fiction: Every week, host Rose Eveleth picks a fictional future and has real experts explain how it might work. What if all drugs were made legal? What if antibiotics stopped working? What if the internet suddenly disappeared?

Great if you enjoy: Popular Science (lol)

Where to start: Since each episode deals with a different, often very random question, I recommend scrolling through and clicking on whichever one strikes your fancy.

The Drabblecast Audio Fiction Podcast

It’s what it says on the tin: Short stories, and lots of ’em. Load up a whole bunch for your next car trip. You’re welcome.

Great if you enjoy: Every episode is different, so just give it a shot if you like listening to things

Where to start: The Four Generations of Change E struck us as particularly well done.

The Bright Sessions

Listen in on the recordings of Dr. Bright, a therapist who provides mental health services for the “strange and unusual”. But does she have a hidden agenda pushing her to assemble a gang of super-powered patients? Duh.

Great if you enjoy: Jessica Jones, Heroes, ars PARADOXICA

Where to start: Episode one—you’ll get spoiled if you skip ahead

TANIS

TANIS follows a podcast host as he tries to track down a “game” with no internet trail. In pursuing what he thinks might be one modernity’s last true mysteries—an easter egg hidden in Craigslist posts and obscure works of science fiction—he stumbles across a world that bridges the gap between sci-fi and fantasy.There’s definitely some weird stuff going down, but is ‘magic’ to blame? Maybe not. And in any case, the constant online sleuthing give this show a tech nerd bent.

Great if you enjoy: Lore, The X-Files, Ready Player One

Where to start: Episode one—you’ll get spoiled if you skip ahead

 

This article was written by Rachel Feltman from Popular Science and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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