Looking for a new audio drama to spice up your workout or daily commute?
Book lover-approved fiction podcasts are just what you need to add something novel to your culture intake this year.
No matter if you read true crime or rom-coms, horror or fantasy, you’ll find something to love on the list below. Many are limited series that have already wrapped, which means they’re available for you to listen in full whenever you’re ready. Others, including
Welcome to Night Vale and Hello from the Magic Tavern, are still going strong years after they first premiered.
Admittedly, the coronavirus pandemic slowed — and, in some cases, stopped — production on some fan-favorite podcasts. Newcomers should take advantage of the chance to catch up on an ongoing series, such as
King Falls AM or Wooden Overcoats, before its regularly scheduled programming resumes — and dedicated listeners can seek out new shows to enjoy, while waiting for their faves to return.
Here are the best fiction podcasts book lovers should listen to now:
Little Threats author Emily Schultz and filmmaker Brian Joseph Davis comes a horror-comedy podcast about Tess—a messy, bisexual playwright and lycanthrope who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a group of wealthy, Long Island-dwelling werewolves. Click here to listen.
A sci-fi podcast from
The Infinite Noise author Lauren Shippen, The Bright Sessions follows a group of super-powered patients through one-on-one sessions with their shared therapist, Dr. Bright. Click here to listen.
Musical theater fans would do well to check out
Childish: The Podcast Musical. This hilarious series centers on aspiring rapper Dante, whose desire to emulate Childish Gambino leads him to sign up for R.A. duty in his New York City dorm. Click here to listen.
A parody of PSAs in postwar Britain,
The Dungeon Economic Model explains why villages and townships need their own dungeons (to boost their economies, naturally), and lays out how best to run them. Click here to listen.
In the 24th century, humanity is in the middle of a massive recovery effort following the Cataclysm: a data crash that pretty much ended life as we know it. Picking her way through the few remaining files, Pan discovers some 21st-century audio files of rainforest soundscapes. The habitat no longer exist in Pan’s world, and the foreign sound compels her to uncover as much as she can about wildlife before the crash.
Click here to listen.
A fantasy-comedy improv podcast,
Hello from the Magic Tavern centers on Arnie: an average Joe who finds a portal to the magical land of Foon — and quickly discovers that he’s trapped there. Thankfully, a Wi-Fi signal leaks through the portal, providing Arnie with the perfect opportunity to introduce the people of our world to Foon, via educational podcast. Click here to listen.
Set on the grounds of the fictional Sidlesmith College,
Kaleidotrope takes the form of an on-campus radio show. Co-hosts Drew and Harrison take on the pervasive rumor that Sidlesmith students can find love through their favorite fanfiction tropes, investigating the campus’s funny and tender romances. Click here to listen.
If you already love
Welcome to Night Vale, you owe it to yourself to check out King Falls FM. Set in the isolated, eponymous town, the series centers on AM radio co-hosts Sammy and Ben as they field calls from residents concerned by the strange phenomena in the surrounding area. Click here to listen.
The Oyster takes place in a near-future world where climate change has pushed humanity into an underground bunker called New Eden. The series follows Hannah, a government agent who interviews New Eden’s residents, compiling information that will ease the transition back to above-ground living. But when an unexpected hiccup splits survivors in new and fantastical ways, Hannah’s job becomes much more complicated. Click here to listen.
If you’re a true-crime fan, you’ll love
Solve. This inventive podcast puts listeners in charge of its weekly murder investigations, offering its audience a chance to play detective. Click here to listen.
Featuring sumptuous sound design and a cast of professional actors,
The Truth delivers digestible works of short fiction on a biweekly basis. Directed by creator Jonathan Mitchell, this podcast is perfect for any book lover who doesn’t have the time — or the energy — to keep up with a running series. Click here to listen.
The granddaddy of fiction podcasts,
Welcome to Night Vale is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys slightly off-kilter entertainment. Through radio broadcasts from Night Vale native Cecil, the series introduces listeners to the town’s various inhabitants and curiosities. Tune in to find out how to interact with the dog park, and why surviving the local library’s summer reading program is a feat. Click here to listen. 13 Wooden Overcoats by Wooden Overcoats Ltd.
When a rival undertaker rolls into town, twins Rudyard and Antigone Funn must find new ways to dig up some business in this historical-comedy podcast set on the Channel Islands.
Wooden Overcoats will end with its upcoming fourth season, so now’s the perfect time to start listening. Click here to listen.