Hey guys! Welcome to a little series I’m calling Shoutout Saturday. As a creator, I understand how frustrating it can be to put a lot of work into something only for it to go unnoticed. So I hope in this series to highlight some books, songs, podcasts, blogs, musicals, custom sticker-maker companies, whatever I’m into that week, that you need to check out now–with a focus on smaller creators. I hope you’ll give all of these amazing podcasts some love, because oh my gosh, do they deserve it.
I have a job gardening, and it’s a very mindless process for the most part honestly–I don’t need to be thinking too much while pulling dandelions or whatever. So, to make the time pass, I like to binge-listen to podcasts, as one does. I’ve always been a huge auditory learner, and loved the format so much–so podcasts are just something I’ve become incredibly passionate about. Here are some of the shows I’ve been loving this week.
Write Now with Sarah Werner
I listened to Girl in Space (Sarah Werner’s other podcast, an absolutely breathtaking audio drama you should also check out) a while ago, and loved it. I had always meant to check out her other show, never really got around to it. Until a few weeks ago, when on a whim I looked this gem of a show on Spotify on a night when I was struggling, and oh my god, I am so glad I did.
It does to me what I hope my work can do for you. It is empowering, honest, and kind, and if you’re a writer you need to listen to it. It centres around helping writers reach a work-life-passion project balance without sacrificing their mental health, and is never afraid to acknowledge the truths of that struggle.
The host is always so open, and humble. And whenever I get lost in the pressure, and lose sight of why I want to do this, Write Now is there to pull me down and remind me of who I am.
(Also, the theme song is an absolute jam, and not gonna lie, I have shamelessly danced to it in public with several people watching before.)
The Penumbra Podcast
I’ve been shamelessly binge-listening to this one, not gonna lie.
It’s a mash of a lot of different genres, and within the larger Penumbra universe there are also short stories set in this medieval universe, that are usually a lot more light and funny. So basically, this show is absolutely for you if you’re picky about your podcasts–they have something for everyone. But for the sake of my sanity, we’re going to try and keep this relatively short, and discuss the main story–which follows private eye Juno Steel, as he solves mysteries and whispers melodramatic monologues into your eardrums that occasionally make me either want to smush him in a hug or laugh out loud in very public areas. The mysteries in this show are so amazing, and never cease to surprise me. It’s funny, heartfelt, suspenseful, you name it–this show can pull it off beautifully. The universe feels so sprawling and rich; it’s one of those stories you could get lost in forever.
They also have really amazing LGBT+ representation, which makes me very happy. (Oh, and also, their intro SLAPS.)
The Magnus Archives
Before I started listening to The Magnus Archives, I didn’t think I was a horror person. But boy, did this show prove me wrong!
The Magnus Archives is a horror audio drama following Jon Sims, as he explores the Magnus Institute—an organization dedicated to documenting and investigating paranormal activity.
It is a very slow setup, which was hard to get into for me. But once you get to the action, it’s such an addictive show. The way it approaches horror is so interesting—it makes sunny days and department stores and trains feel terrifying in this deep, existential way–as a pose to your typical stormy night or whatever. It is so undeniably modern, which is also I think part of why it always hits so close to home. It has this way of tapping in to primal human fears, in a way that will resonate with almost anybody. I guarantee that if you listen to this show for long enough, you will find at least one episode that hits just a bit too close to home.
It’s not all horror, though–there’s romance, there’s workplace comedy, there’s a cat called The Admiral, and so on.
If you have mental health issues, I would highly recommend listening. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but as someone with anxiety, it’s served as a wonderful way to explore my fears in a safe way. It also has the guts to actually discuss mental health. The latest episode, “Wonderland” took place in a mental hospital, and going into it I was a bit worried it would be problematic. But holy crap, was I wrong, because this episode just blew it out of the park; it might be one of my favourite ones ever.
The horror element of this mental hospital was not people getting treatment–it was people getting treated by people who did not have the qualifications to treat them, or their best interests at mind. Being taken off their meds, and gaslighted into believing they did not have a mental health issue, and the problem was in fact that they were just a terrible, selfish person. This element really hit home for me, as someone who has had similar experiences in real life. (All episodes include content warnings in the show notes, so you’re covered for any potentially triggering content.)
I don’t want to tell you any more so as not to give you spoilers, because this show is just so well done, and you need to listen to it now—especially if you don’t normally like horror.
Tides is a small audio drama I listened to a while back, that just finished its first season. It is the story of Dr. Winifred Eurus, a xenobiologist trapped on a foreign planet. I’m trash for a good “fuck capitalism in space” podcast, especially with a cool mystery. (And aliens. Love me some good aliens.)
The sound design in this show took my breath away. It’s so gorgeous, even if you don’t care about the plot, which you should because it’s executed so wonderfully, please listen to it just for the beautiful audio. It is such a soothing show to listen to.
I also listened to this while I was quarantined, and the character’s isolation and frustration with how long it was taking to be rescued was very relatable for me.
The Strange Case of the Starship Iris
I listened to this show a while back, but since then it’s remained one of my favourite audio dramas. It’s also a relatively small show that needs more attention, it actually just finished its first season!
As the title implies, it’s a science fiction show, about how capitalism is terrible. (Just kidding, it’s about more than that. But also how capitalism is terrible.)
It centres around Violet Liu, who I would probably take a bullet for. The show begins with a devastating crash hitting her spaceship, and her realizing, essentially, that’s she’s going to die. Until she is contacted and rescued by Kay Grisham, pilot of the Rumor… and shit goes down from there. It takes place in 2182, after humans have narrowly won a war against aliens, and explores this fascinating post-war world. It has found family, it has a catchy song, it has spaceships, what more could you ask for.
The sound design is breathtaking, and the characters are so wonderfully developed. All the voice actors are so amazing, there’s some cute wholesome couples, and I love it so much.
Anyhow! I truly hope you’ll check these shows out, because they’re all so good.
If you liked this post, and want more of my content, be sure to check out my podcast, Sonnets of a Teenage Wannabe, on your favourite podcast streaming platform, and give this blog a follow. All of these shows are available wherever you get your podcasts, so make sure to check them out!
Lots of love,