Tag: fiction podcasts

LGBT Pride & Queer Reads

Hit Americana Mystery ‘Alice Isn’t Dead’ Nominated for Lambda Award

If you’ve been sleeping on Alice Isn’t Dead, we hope you’ve caught up on your rest. Once you dive into this clever, creepy lesbian road trip mystery, you may not be sleeping again for awhile.

This poignant, witty, and deeply unsettling podcast written by Welcome to Nightvale co-creator Joseph Fink—and its novelization has been nominated in the 31st annual Lambda Awards under the Lesbian Mystery category. An homage to the classic American road-trip, this eerie and contemplative podcast follows Keisha, a brave yet anxiety-ridden woman whose wife mysteriously disappears. The obvious assumption is as awful as it is incorrect: Alice died mysteriously while working for her job, a fast-paced corporate position that led to her frequent domestic travel. She wrote lovingly throughout her travels, sending emails from small-town bed-and-breakfasts, describing sunny summer afternoons.

But what if the weather reports say there was no sun that afternoon in the town Alice described? What if there was no bed-and-breakfast in the town she wrote about, a lie Keisha never thought to question? What if Alice isn’t dead?

What if it gets worse than that?


Alice Isn't Dead logo

Image via a suivre


Our story opens with the distinct tone of nightmare—something familiar left out to rot. Keisha is in a diner, and a man is eating an omelette. Only he’s not really eating the omelette so much as he is devouring it with a violent, mindless need. There’s something wrong with his fingernails. There’s something wrong with his eyes.

Keisha has left her job and life behind to journey into the liminal space of the American highway, a vast and threatening emptiness in which anything could be lurking—whether it’s a sinister truth or something even more frightening than knowledge. Joining trucking company Bay & Creek Shipping, Keisha talks to Alice on her CB radio.

But Alice might not be the only one listening.

The story unfolds with all the logic of a dream: the same town appears endlessly along the same stretch of road, an image repeated into meaninglessness. A factory looms on the edge of an ocean, populated by a single worker who is moving sideways through time. Keisha hears footsteps in the bed of her truck, but no one is there when she stops to check. Things are and then aren’t. Things aren’t and then very much are.



Creepy 'Alice Isn't Dead' art

Image Via Lady Geek Girl


Alice Isn’t Dead is a wonderful example of LGBT+ media entering the mainstream; although its popularity arose in part because of Joseph Fink’s reputation, the podcast and novel earned attention for their expert storytelling and striking fixation with the uncanny as the story journeys deeper and deeper into America’s messy innards. It’s no mistake that the podcast ran from 2016 – 2018, a time in which America’s political climate was another strange and inhospitable landscape. Fink boldly places a queer love story in the wildest reaches of the United States: where police won’t help, where the threat of violence doesn’t seem entirely supernatural. Although Alice Isn’t Dead will compete against some incredible titles, its wide reach into the mainstream represents a serious accomplishment.

The Lambda Literary Awards, established in 1988, honor works exploring LGBT+ themes across an exciting range of genres. Though the award was initially for gay and lesbian works, its scope expanded to include bisexual and transgender categories as the community became more inclusive. The 31st annual Lambda awards judges have chosen from over 1,000 nominations—so you’d better get to reading! Tickets for the award ceremony, held in NYC, are now available for purchase.


Other Lambda Literary Award Nominees

A Selection of 2019 Lambda Award Finalists
Image Via Them


Other high-profile nominees include Elizabeth Acevedo’s National Book Award-winning The Poet X, renowned lesbian poet Eileen Myles’ Evolution, and acclaimed author and reviewer Alexander Chee’s How To Write an Autobiographical Novel. The categories cover an inclusive spectrum of genres and identities: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Mystery, Memoir/Biography, Romance, Anthology, Children’s/Young Adult, Drama, Erotica, Graphic Novels, SF/F/Horror, and LGBTQ Studies.

As of 2019, only the first three categories exist in subcategories Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender; the remainder are generally divided into Lesbian and Gay. Perhaps, with the modern increase in queer content, the award will recognize an even broader selection of sexual and romantic identities.

Check out the full list of Lambda Award nominees in Lesbian Mystery and all other categories!



Featured Image Via Medium.


5 Audio-Dramas That Make You Wonder Why You Ever Pick up Actual Books

Find yourself constantly on the go? Constantly commuting without a moment to sit back and read that book you’ve been dying to tear into? You want to stick your headphones into your ears, but simply don’t have the desire to listen to any variety of music. An audiobook is out of the question because you would much prefer having the physical book in your hands, absorbing word after word with your own eyes. Your options are limited.


Podcasts are a great and fun way to toggle between your desire to read, and your obligation to your on-the-go lifestyle. Most people are familiar with some of the more common news-centric or lifestyle-centric podcasts out there, but many are yet unfamiliar audio-dramas. They are, quite literally, fiction for your ears. These podcasts are typically updated on a weekly schedule and are either serialized, or simply last a single season. Audio-dramas maintain the feeling of a bygone era prior to the advent of television, and allow us the ability to use our imaginations as much as reading a proper book.


Here are some of our favorite fiction-driven podcasts that are worth checking out if you want a spook, a thrill, and a downright compelling story to keep you going as you grow used to these frigidly cold January days.


1. Alice Isn’t Dead


Alice Isn't Dead

Image Via Night Vale Presents


Alice Isn’t Dead is produced by Night Vale Presents, the same company that brought us Welcome to Night Vale. Alice Isn’t Dead follows a young woman whose wife mysteriously goes missing. The protagonist decides to take up a job with a trucking company seemingly tied to her wife’s disappearance, and from there all sorts of spooky and supernatural occurrences begin happening. Our protagonist finds herself spiraling into a dark world she never dreamed existed, and what began as a search for a missing loved one quickly becomes something much more than that. 


2. Sayer 



Image Via TeePublic


Sayer takes place in an indiscernible future on a fictional moon labelled Typhon, a place where a vast number of humans have relocated and are taken care of by the various A.I. systems set in place. The main A.I. system is named Sayer, and he is in charge of ensuring maximum efficiency throughout the several different towers built upon the moon. The entire podcast is narrated by the title character of Sayer, and oftentimes his ability to discern between efficiency and the well-being of humans is seriously lacking and thus a lot of accidents occur. These accidents create a great deal of drama and anxiety for both the listener and the “resident” to whom Sayer is speaking. Sayer is produced by GeeklyInc.





Image Via ScruffandVigor


After the popularity of the NPR-produced podcast Serial, Two-Up Productions devised a fictional podcast under this name. Drawing upon Serial and shows like The X-FilesLimetown tells the tale of a town located in Tennessee in which over 300 people inexplicably went missing. The investigative journalist who remains our tour-guide throughout the season-long show struggles to understand this strange phenomena as the listener also attempts uncovering the truth. The show continues to play with our emotions and lets us keep guessing as to what the possible outcome of this mystery is and was. 


4. Li-fe Af/ter


life after

Image Via Player FM


This single season podcast, produced by the GE Theater, tails the misadventures of a man named Ross who works for the FBI and whose wife, Charlie, has just recently died. He is unable to cope with her untimely death, and becomes obsessed with voice messages she recorded via a fictional social media site. Through this site he is able to hear her voice over and over again. It nearly drives him mad until one day Charlie’s voice actually responds to him from the virtual beyond. What ensues is a serious trick of the mind and senses. 


5. The Message 


The Message

Image Via Brand Channel


The Message, also produced by the GE Theatre, is structured as an actual podcast in which our protagonist is podcasting a linguistics team attempt to decipher what seems to be an alien message received during the 1940s. The catch? Every team that has ever tried to listen to and decipher the message becomes inexplicably ill before eventual death. True to GE’s current podcasting form, this one also lasts a single season. 


Feature Image Via The Independent

A man on a train listening to headphones.

13 Podcasts for Bookish Listeners

Forget your reading glasses at home? Have an hour long commute? As long as you have headphones, you never have to leave the world of books.


1. Bookclub

Book Club Logo

courtesy of BBC


“Bookclub” from BBC Radio is both enchanting and charming, and for more reasons than their desirable English accents. Featuring interviews from the authors of the specific novels they discuss, this is a great place to continue the life of a book even after you have finished reading.


2. The New Yorker Radio Hour

New Yorker Radio Hour Logo


courtesy of WNYC


“The New Yorker Radio Hour” is for those literary nerds who love the branding of this publishing company, claimed to be “the best of the best” by several sources. Complete with a catchy title, this WNYC production features more than just books. It also includes news, poems, short stories, and nearly any format of media literature that can be capitalized on.


3. The Guardian

The Guardian Logo


courtesy of The Guardian


“The Guardian’s” bookish podcast is very sophisticated, featuring authors and readers having stimulating conversations about the societal inspiration behind books.


4. The Book Review

New York Times Logo


courtesy of The New York Times


“The New York Times” allows authors to lend more than their words to a read: it gives a voice to the pages. Covering books that fly off the shelf, many famous authors are on this podcast. The discussions dig deeper than the novel’s inspiration but reveal truths that may have otherwise gone unknown about the author.


5. Bookworm

Logo for Bookworm

courtesy of KCRW


“Bookworm” explores books new and old, and comments on both intentions of the author through the novel and the public reaction to stories in general.


6. Lit Up

Lit Up Logo


courtesy of Lit Up


“Lit Up” is a delightful podcast, featuring host Angie, who approaches all stories in a way that seems very intimate and personal. This podcast covers anything lit, and can be very addicted to stream episodes back-to-back-to-back.


7. Lore

Lore Logo

courtesy of Lore


The unsettling podcast “Lore” isn’t for the faint of heart. Complemented by an eerie soundtrack, this podcast is great for people who love true-life scary stories.


8. Myths and Legends

Myths and Legends Logo

courtesy of Myths and Legends


“Myths and Legends” is a great way to follow “Lore,” especially if you are stuck up at 3 am, patiently waiting for any disasters. This podcast has the stories we all wanted to hear as children, but they still provide ample amounts of entertainment for adults.


9. Overdue Podcast

Overdue Logo

courtesy of Overdue Podcast


Though you may not have met them, Andrew and Craig from “The Overdue Podcast” will soon become your closest virtual friends. With rapport that could shame Regis and Kelly, these two discuss books that one has read, the other hasn’t, and makes book discussions of even the least interesting books incredibly enjoyable.


10. So Many Damn Books

So Many Damn Books Logo

courtesy of So Many Damn Books


Like lit? Try it blitzed, or at least maybe with a slight buzz. “So Many Damn Books” lets you drink (kind of not alone?) while listening to chatter about books. If, according to Ernest Hemingway, we are to write drunk and edit sober, maybe we should also listen drunk and read sober? This mature podcast is fun for the listeners, and it seems like the hosts too!


11. Books on the Nighstand

Books on the Night Stand Logo

courtesy of Books on the Nightstand


Though it is sadly no longer being produced, “Books on a Nightstand” addressed the problem we all have with that stack of books that we meant to get to, but that grows into a monster of fonts, papers, and adventure. They don’t seek to help, but rather share more novels to add, making your stack become a teetering hazard. Because they have stopped production, maybe there is hope that you won’t be smothered by unread novel stacks? Still worth a listen through the archives.


12. Book Riot

Book Riot Logo

courtesy of BookRiot


“Book Riot” gives you so many options. With their several different podcasts, you never have to pick just one genre, just one host, or just one episode. Scroll through the several podcasts shows they produce until you find the bookish one you have needed in your life.


13. Fresh Air

Fresh Air Logo

courtesy of NPR

“Fresh Air” is as its title states: a breath of fresh air. Covering books that range widely, this podcast exposes you to novels and authors you might not have otherwise been introduced to.


6 Podcasts You Should Listen to Based on Your Favorite Book

With a world of podcasts available at your fingertips, podcast newbies will find this list life-saving. We’ve looked at some of the recent best-selling books and compiled a list of coordinating podcasts to get you started. Even if you already have your favorite shows downloaded, you can still check out these podcasts based on the book you’re reading.


1. If you loved The Handmaid’s Tale, then be sure not to miss Lore.


the Handmaid's Tale

Images Courtesy of  http://bit.ly/2tnkSo6 and Wikipedia


Since Hulu’s production of the show with the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale and its shocking illustration of a society devoid of equality has gained popularity. Though set in the fictional kingdom of Gilead, the book is based on true historical events. If you are looking for something similar, then Lore is a podcast you definitely shouldn’t miss! This dark and mysterious podcast explores the hidden background stories of common folklores, hence the name Lore. Released every two weeks on Mondays, Lore is an award-winning podcast that will soon be produced into a television series. With 6-million monthly listeners, it has been awarded as iTunes’ “Best of 2015” and “Best of 2016” podcast.


2. Loving American Gods by Neil Gaiman? Try Flash Forward.



Images Courtesy of  http://bit.ly/2s1YBOD and Flashforwardpod.com


If you’re a futuristic type of reader who is drawn to books like Gaiman’s American Gods, Flash Forward would be the podcast version you need to listen to. Every month, producers of Flash Forward release a new episode that takes on an imagined scenario in the future. Just think about it, possible artificial wombs, space pirates or a a world where everyone is face-blind?


3. If you enjoyed reading any one of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, then you must listen to Potterotica. If that’s not your kind of thing, then go for Mugglecast and Harry Potter and the Sacred Text!




Images Courtesy of Bloomsbury, Stitch, Tumblr and Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.com


The Potterotica Podcast is presents a world of erotic Harry Potter fan-fiction featuring odd pairings like Snape and Hermione. Every 20-minute episode features hosts Allie LeFevere, Lyndsay Rush, and Danny Chapman performing dramatic readings of hilarious stories. Even if you think the storyline makes you cringe, the hosts’ occasional giggle fits are so contagious you’ll find yourself laughing within the first few minutes of the show.


MuggleCast is the most listened to Harry Potter podcast in the iTunes Store and it already has 284 episodes. Launched in 2005, it’s already 10 years old! Recently, MuggleCast has been discussing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as well as theme parks!


On the other hand, if you’re a die-hard Potterhead who treats Rowling’s creation as something as sacred as the Bible, you must tune in to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text and follow their truly inspirational readings.


4. For YA enthusiasts who adored Everything, Everything, listen to Rookie.




Images courtesy of Wikipedia and MTV.com


If you enjoy reading YA novels that discuss a teenager’s coming of age, Rookie from Rookie Magazine and MTV is the podcast you need. As an extension to the magazine, Rookie is dedicated to teenagers. In its episodes, hosts will talk about issues that young people face and how to overcome them. 


5. If you read Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, dive into Homecoming.



Images courtesy of Amazon.com and Podcast Maniac


For readers into psychological thrillers such as Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water and The Girl on the Train or Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, Homecoming is the fiction podcast you must not miss. This is a spine-chilling podcast read by celebrity figures such as Star Wars’ Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer, who is well-known for his role of Ross in Friends.


6. Fans of Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur should try Modern Love!



Images Courtesy of Barnes and Noble.com and NPR.org


Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry about hurting and healing that simply touches the soul. For the hopeless romantics who want to listen to more stories alike, look no further than the New York TimesModern Love column. Each episode, host Meghna Chakrabarti and essayists discuss relationship issues such as breakups, love affairs, marriages and more.