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    12 Great Science Fiction Podcasts – Discover the Best Podcasts | Discover Pods


    Science fiction podcasts encapsulate a broad and diverse section in the audio drama and fiction world. Some listeners I’ve spoken with have even said it pretty much dominates the field of audio drama. And while I’m not sure about all that, I do know science fiction podcasts are fantastic. Due to genre conventions, science fiction audio dramas can go to places other nonspeculative fiction podcasts can’t. 

    Like The Bright Sessions! It’s a typical story wrapped in science fiction trappings, giving us something to relate to, think about, and imagine. Or you can follow a kid around the galaxy as they get into wacky and wild adventures involving sentient ships, aliens, and more. Science fiction podcasts give us the space to dream and think about our own lives simultaneously!

    It’s pretty incredible. So, for all my other science fiction audio drama stans out there, here are 35 science fiction podcasts to dive into.

    As with all our lists, this article will be updated frequently to give you doses of new great science fiction podcasts. Unless stated otherwise, they should all be listened to in order.

    Solutions to Problems

    Solutions to Problems is a science fiction audio drama in the style of Dear Prudence advice columns. While the show is set on a spaceship traveling through the galaxy, the questions and advice they get into sometimes borders on relatable. It doesn’t just end there, though, Solutions to Problems crafts a whole world and universe across the 30+ episodes. I will note that there hasn’t been a new season since the end of 2020. But! They announced over the winter that another season is still in the works, so now is the perfect time for new listeners to jump on one of the great science fiction podcasts. And if you’ve already listened to the show, why not refamiliarize yourself with the world, characters, and humor of Solutions to Problems before the new season airs?

    Apple Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Google Podcasts | Website | RSS | Transcripts

    The Bright Sessions

    The Bright Sessions follows a doctor who provides therapy to those experiencing strange and unusual events. This landmark in science fiction podcasts deals with trauma in interesting and sometimes healing ways, providing a unique experience for the listener. While The Bright Sessions is an old favorite among many science fiction audio drama listeners, during 2021, they did something a little different. A new spinoff series, the AM Archives, started to run for a few episodes before switching over to another new spinoff of The Bright Sessions, The College Tapes. While listeners still get to spend time with the doctor, new characters and troubles are introduced to keep the story raging on. All the series have wrapped up, so new listeners can check out all seven full seasons of The Bright Sessions universe. 

    Apple Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Stitcher | Website | RSS | Transcripts

    Covid39

    Year three (or is two?) of the pandemic. New variations are cropping up like bad pop hits, and we are all still processing the impacts of Covid on ourselves, our loved ones, and the world around us. That’s why I wanted to recommend Covid39 again. The science fiction audio drama is set 39 years in the future but looking back on current times in a way that calls into question our existing relationships and circumstances. Are we choosing our friends and lovers based on the pandemic and our forced closeness? Covid39 follows a couple who are curious if their love stems from the fact that their families lived together during the pandemic. Through audio recordings, letters, emails, and more, the two unearth the locked away memories of their time during the pandemic, the time happening right now for all of us.

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    Carrier

    I’ve reviewed Carrier a few times in other articles because it’s a bit of a crossover and genre-bending hit from QCODE. In the science fiction horror, follow a truck driver as she takes one last job to be able to afford to make it home, but the job may end up costing her life. Another great thing about Carrier is that it’s a completed show, though the ending feels a bit lackluster to me. Since QCODE produced Carrier, listeners can expect big-budget production, sound effects, and acting. Those factors don’t always create a great audio drama, but that is not the case with Carrier. Listeners are in for a wild ride and experience when strapping into the science fiction audio drama.

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    Mission to Zyxx

    Mission to Zyxx is an improvised science fiction audio drama about a team of space ambassadors traveling to various planets to create diplomatic relationships. Due to its adlib and free-style form, some listeners may be turned off by the unscripted show. But let me assure you, Mission to Zyxx is hilarious! Not only is the full-cast science fiction audio drama funny and imaginative, but there are TONS of queer characters and relationships all mixing in with the aliens, space travel, and talking ships. Mission to Zyxx is great for listeners who love comedy space science fiction like We Fix Space Junk and The Strange Case of Starship Iris. There are five seasons going back to 2018, so it’s a great show to dive into from the beginning and catch up before the next episode drops. 

    Apple Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Stitcher | Website | RSS | Transcripts
    (Transcripts available on each episodes’ page)

    Stories from Among the Stars

    I like to suggest serializations or books turned into podcasts for people completely new to audio dramas. The transition from audiobooks to audio dramas is sometimes easier. If you’re new to the whole realm of science fiction audio dramas, Stories from Among the Stars is a science fiction novel serialization podcast from Macmillan Podcasts is a perfect introduction to the style. Each season, Stories from Among the Stars takes a science fiction book and releases it in audio format. Past books include The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu and A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. Initially, Steal the Stars, one of creator Mac Rogers’s science fiction podcasts, Stories from Among the Stars still holds to the original’s production and storytelling. Take note, the episodes of Stories from Among the Stars aren’t available forever. After the season’s run, the episodes are taken down. Steal the Stars is still available, though.

    Apple Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Stitcher | Website | RSS 

    Silva Lining’s Care Plan

    Silva Lining’s Care Plan is a touching and honest look at what it’s like to care for someone during a time when they need it the most. Silva Lining’s Care Plan focuses on relationships and end-of-life issues following a caregiver and their dementia client as the two try to create life in a petri dish. To be honest, I’ve thought about this science fiction audio drama since the first time I heard it. The science-fiction element of having a petri dish of a small life form as a character adds a lot of tension, heart, and humor around a subject that isn’t often discussed or used in the audio drama world. Even though the science fiction audio drama ended in September 2021, I still think Silva Lining’s Care Plan is a must-listen for all fans of heartwarming science fiction podcasts. 

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    Dark Tides

    Like Mission to Zyxx earlier on the list, Dark Tides is an improvised comedy audio drama. But unlike Mission to Zyxx, which is set in space and on various planets, Dark Tides follows two characters in a science fantasy archipelago setting as they investigate mysteries surrounding the strange location. So, not only is there comedy and science fiction and fantasy elements, but there’s a pretty compelling mystery pushing the story forward. Season three is currently airing with a prequel series of shorter episodes while the creators prep season four and a return to the original storyline. So, now is the perfect time to catch up on all the seasons before the new season airs!

    Apple Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Google Podcasts | Website | RSS 

    Science Fiction – Daily Short Stories

    Science Fiction – Daily Short Stories is a science fiction anthology podcast. Listeners are treated to vintage science fiction stories of a wide variety throughout the genre. Some of the stories are a bit too vintage for me, though I am a fan of those older science fiction stories—I just have to sometimes wade through sexist, racist, homophobic, and transphobic ideologies and rhetoric. There were only some of those aspects in the few episodes I listened to from the recent episodes. Since all the stories are creative commons science fiction stories, listeners can find classic science fiction short stories from authors like Robert Silverberg, Frank Herbert, and so many more. If you’re a fan of classic science fiction, Science Fiction – Daily Short Stories will probably be your new favorite science fiction podcast.

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    Original Science Fiction – Makeshift Stories

    Original Science Fiction – Makeshift Stories is a science fiction anthology audio fiction podcast featuring imaginative science fiction and other speculative fiction stories. For fans of science fiction audios like Lightspeed Magazine Podcast and Science Fiction – Daily Short Stories, Original Science Fiction – Makeshift Stories is another you should add to your queue. The main distinction and what makes Original Science Fiction – Makeshift Stories unique is that there are sometimes repeat characters, adventures, and locations building a loosely connected storyline. While I thought some of the stories were overly written to create a packed story, I think Original Science Fiction – Makeshift Stories is a great science fiction podcast for long-time fans of sci-fi. There are stories featuring genre favorite tropes and conventions with a blend of more imaginative and genre-bending stories. 

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    The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian: Science Fiction for Kids

    For younger science fiction fans, The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian: Science Fiction for Kids is a great science fiction audio drama. It’s also great sci-fi! So, it’s a solid show for adults who love sci-fi and want a show to share with the younger members of their families. The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian: Science Fiction for Kids follows a young child exploring the galaxy, having wild and imaginative adventures with aliens, robots, and more. While it’s not a full-cast science fiction audio drama, it’s still a fun listen with the blend of energetic voice acting and audio effects. I had moments while listening where I wanted to compare it to classic science fiction like John Carter of Mars but for modern-day children.

    Apple Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Stitcher | Website | RSS 

    Asimov’s Science Fiction

    Asimov’s Science Fiction is a great pick for fans of classic science fiction storytelling who want more modernized tales from diverse and contemporary science fiction authors. Asimov’s Science Fiction is the podcast branch of the long-running magazine of the same. The Asimov’s Science Fiction podcast is one of my favorite new finds. And I’m pretty embarrassed that I didn’t know about it before. Asimov’s Science Fiction, the magazine, has been a science fiction print magazine since 1977. With each print issue, a story is selected from the magazine and read on the podcast by the authors. The podcast has been releasing episodes since 2015, so there are a fair number of stories to catch new listeners up on what type of pieces Asimov’s Science Fiction airs. 

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    Bonus science fiction podcasts

    These science fiction podcasts come from versions of this article past. We still recommend them! They remain some of the greats in science fiction podcasts.

    Clarkesworld Magazine Podcast

    The Clarkesworld Magazine Podcast is similar to a few other podcasts on this list. It is a magazine’s audio fiction department where they record and produce stories from their issues. Clarkesworld Podcast delivers literary science fiction and fantasy and has won countless awards. Their audio fiction pushes the boundaries of literary speculative fiction to show readers the wide breadth of what contemporary writers have to offer. 

    Escape Pod

    Escape Pod is the science fiction branch of the Escape Artists podcast family. Operating since 2005, Escape Pod has published a wide range of authors and sci-fi subgenres. Sometimes the science fiction podcast can be literary, but some episodes are extremely commercial and accessible. With over a half-decade worth of stories, there is a lot to choose from in Escape Pods’ back catalog. 

    Moonbase Theta, Out

    Moonbase Theta, Out is great science fiction featuring queer stories and characters. The science fiction audio drama follows the shutting down of the Moonbase programs of the future. There’s one left, Theta. The stories and characters explore topics surrounding politics, science, and more. The third season wrapped up at the beginning of May, but several bonus episodes dropped this summer, so now is a perfect time to start the series from the beginning and catch the finale.

    We Fix Space Junk

    A science fiction comedy sitcom set in space in the future, We Fix Space Junk is a hilarious audio drama filled with adventures and AI and good ol’ sci-fi fun. Started back in 2018, We Fix Space Junk is currently in its mini-season run of Marilyn’s Diary. The most recent episode dropped July 11th and finds a couple of the characters dealing with pirates. 

    StarTripper!!

    A road trip through space, a talking spaceship, and the whole universe unfolding before him, StarTripper!! is about Feston Pyxis’s search for adventure among the stars. Season 2 is just starting with the prologue released back in May. There are space races, cooking shows, and, yes, space pirates. It’s a wild ride with a wild guy. 

    Read more: Upcoming Whisperforge audio drama, StarTripper!!, aims to lighten up fiction

    Civilized

    From the creators behind Alba Salix, Civilized is an improvised dark comedy science fiction audio drama podcast. Following the crew of a marooned terraforming spaceship crashed on an alien planet, Civilized delivers thematic storytelling dealing with cloning terraforming and more. With over 50 episodes and season 4 happening now, Civilized is the perfect podcast for first-time science fiction audio drama listeners. 

    Oz 9

    Colony ships are well-tread territory in science fiction. But every new creator, if they’re good and daring enough, makes each one unique. What’s different about the science fiction audio drama podcast Oz 9 is the diverse cast and stories that crop up over the 60 episodes. The very first episode feels a bit topical with all the news of billionaire wannabe space boys. But overall, the show is pretty funny and satirical. 

    Twilight Histories

    Twilight Histories is a science fiction audio fiction podcast where sci-fi stories are dramatized using music and voice acting. It’s all done in the second-person point of view where you are the character. It feels a bit Twilight Zoney and has a darkness to its science fiction. For science fiction podcast listeners who like stories that are darker and weirder than anything, Twilight Histories is a great podcast to check out. The stories featured on the show harken back to classic science fiction stories often featured in periodicals like Startling Stories and Planet Stories with a contemporary twist. 

    Dispatch from the Desert Planet

    Dispatch from the Desert Planet is a fictional news and music broadcast to over 200 planets, space stations, and terraformed meteors. But it’s more than that. More than fiction or an audio drama. In a way, it’s political and hopeful, inspiring. “Tech Talks/Space Serenade” was the first episode that I listened to and was instantly hooked by using fictional radio broadcasts to build and create a world, universe, and diverse set of cultures. That was their last episode back in February, so I hope they’ll be back soon. Until then, there are over 20 episodes to listen to and support.

    Strange Horizons Podcast

    Strange Horizons is a hub for fantastic, thought-provoking science fiction, fantasy, horror, and stories of the weird. It is a weekly magazine with an audio fiction podcast where they select stories and poems from their issues to offer them a second life in your ears. 

    Lightspeed Magazine Podcast

    Lightspeed Magazine Podcast is a science fiction and fantasy audio fiction podcast, similar to Strange Horizons, that publishes some of the stories from its issues on its show. Listeners can find a broad and diverse range of stories and characters on the show. It also is a great place to see what’s being published currently in the short science fiction field. 

    Dirt: An Audio Drama

    Most of the work on Dirt: An Audio Drama is done by Kristopher Kaiyala, who plays the main character, a man in his 30s who embarks on a fun and imaginative journey after receiving a strange letter. Season 2 is in production currently, but there are six episodes available for new listeners looking for a science fiction audio drama podcast about the things we find when we begin digging into the mysteries around us. 

    Apple Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Stitcher | Website | Transcripts

    Read more: 15 Audio Drama Podcasts to Get You Hooked on Fiction

    CTRL-ALT-DESTROY

    CTRL-ALT-DESTROY is a science fiction audio drama podcast about a video game designer who uncovers a plot that spans nations and involves the game she created. Put out by Realm, formerly Serial Box, CTRL-ALT-DESTROY has that big-budget feel and features Summer Glau. As a gamer who also loves science fiction, I loved how the show blended gameplay with the story’s action. CTRL-ALT-DESTROY wrapped up in June, so all ten episodes are out and available for listeners.

    Marsfall

    Marsfall is stunningly emotional, cinematic, and immersive. It’s the story of the first colonists on Mars, and each episode is told from a different character’s perspective. As you learn more about the crew, you also learn more about Mars–and about their journey. The podcast ask questions about the objective truth and what it means to be human, about what happens when we try to start anew when our planet falls apart. It’s got the best action scene audio fiction has ever done, and one of the most beautiful soundtracks in any medium.

    ars PARADOXICA

    ars PARADOXICA is one of the best time-travel stories ever written. Following Sally Grissom, a scientist who accidentally discovers time travel, this podcast has some of the tightest timeline plotting out there without sacrificing great character and plot writing. Its meticulous timeline isn’t a gimmick; instead, it works to help create commentary that relates to identity, memory, isolation, and plenty of political intrigue. As a product of The Whisperforge, it’s also one of the best sounding podcasts to date, with an incredible cast the keep everything grounded.

    Arca-45672

    Arca-45672 has some overlap with Marsfall: they’re both space operas with fascinating AI systems, but where Marsfall focuses on that intersection between humanity and technology, Arca-45672 focuses intently on the human. It asks questions about what humans will do when they need to survive, and how humans will react to a situation they’ve created, like climate change.

    Adventures in New America

    If you’re looking for goofy but still steeped in cutting, scathing, rapidfire social commentary, you’re going to love Night Vale Presents’s Adventures in New America. Following IA, a man with terminal cancer desperately seeking the funds to pay for his medical treatments despite his deep depression, Adventures in New America takes place in a surreal version of New York called New New York, where the black citizens are being preyed upon by white zombie vampires from outer space.

    A World Where

    A World Where is an unsettling anthology podcast where the sci-fi setups seem both hyperbolic and a little too close to home. Sound designed with binaural audio–easier heard than explained, so just know that headphones are mandatory–it’s easy to slip not just into the sounds themselves, but also each episode’s plot. For episodes that are short, there’s a slow burn feeling to how intense A World Where can get. Erasing traumatic memories goes to as unexpected places as a cooking competition show do, but with completely different trajectories.

    The Big Loop

    The Big Loop is like if you took the concept of Black Mirror but made it a series of monologues and subtracted most of the cynicism. A deeply intimate anthology series, The Big Loop covers a wide range of genres but usually ends up in some form of sci-fi. From a ghost stories to superhero (villain?) origin stories to stories about Lovecraftian horrors and mermaids, you’ll come away from each questioning some part of the world while also being deeply moved.

    Janus Descending

    Starring audio fiction gems Jordan Cobb and Anthony Olivieri, Janus Descending is a story told in two alternating, opposite chronologies: one protagonist, Chel, is followed chronologically, while the other protagonist, Peter, is followed in reverse. It’s a story that begs being put together with theories as it goes, wondering how everyone got from the start to the end, what chaos happened between. The writing changes tone completely while still remaining cohesive, and the sound design is truly chilling.

    The Deca Tapes

    The Deca Tapes is a found audio podcast of leaked audio from a strange experiment in which people were locked in confinement together for unknown reasons. The story unfolds in a strange mystery over eight episodes, hitting unnerving and dark moments that show the perils of prison systems that thrive on capitalism.

    Directive

    Stuck in a life of corporate mediocrity due to crippling debt, when protagonist Frank Torrez finds himself unemployed, he has no choice but to start working for a secretive operation: the Caretaker Directive. They need people to help test a method of bodily preservation for longer space travel, and plan to send him–and a few others–deep into space with no way of being hurt, but kept completely alone, separated from the others. Each episode’s dialogue is edited to be listened to with headphones and interwoven with an inner monologue that feels just as sci-fi as it feels noir.

    Moonbase Theta, Out

    With short-form episodes and a sweet narrative, Moonbase Theta, Out is a series from a–you guessed it–moon base from an astronaut to his husband. While the podcast does eventually up its stakes and dive into plot, it always has a sense of kindness, sincerity, and tenderness to each episode. If you’re looking for sci-fi but not necessarily horror or a dramatic space opera, Moonbase Theta, Out is a great place to start.

    The Infinite Now

    Written by the person behind one of the best Twitter accounts, Richard Penner, The Infinite Now is a surreal time/space travel podcast in which the host, The TIMESCANNER, slips between different realities. It’s a bit like if Welcome to Night Vale leaned even more into absurdity and, sometimes, even more into direct scathing takedowns of current societal ills. All of those features surround strangely realistic performances, including Penner’s own hypnotically smooth voice.

    Ostium

    Inspired by the classic games Myst and Riven, Ostium is a podcast about a man who stumbles into information about a strange town called Ostium while looking around maps online. When he finds Ostium, he comes across a complex world of doors and mysteries. A story of exploration, escapism, and trust, Ostium is largely told through single-narrator perspectives, giving it a diary-like feel.

    2298

    Told in 9-minute episodes (later compiled into one whole, two-hour piece), 2298 is a classic dystopian sci-fi that feels at home with works like 1984Brave New World, and Black Mirror. The podcast centers on 24, a man living in a universe completely dictated by social media and government surveillance. 24 doesn’t question this life, always going to work exactly as and when he’s told, until he’s visited by a strange bird–and suddenly, everything starts to change.

    Within the Wires

    Also from Night Vale Presents, Within the Wires is a strange, unnerving podcast with a different format each season. The first season is a set of relaxation tapes with a dark twist; the second is made up of guides listening for museums; and the third is a bureaucrat’s dictation tapes for his secretary. Ostensibly, none of these stories are sci-fi . . . until you pay attention. All three take place in the same universe, and that universe is one of strange government offices, medical facilities, and strange applications of art.

    Wolf 359

    Wolf 359 is one of the most beloved pieces of audio fiction, and for good reason. It’s the story of a small crew on a massive space station, and while it starts off silly, it becomes something absolutely heartbreaking and stunningly beautiful. Wolf 359 has science fiction features galore and plenty of twists, turns, suspense, and character development. It’s a true space opera, rooted in increasingly incredible writing and a phenomenal cast.

    Steal the Stars

    Written in partnership with Tor labs, Steal the Stars is a blockbuster audio fiction that blends a romance, a heist, a political thriller, action, and aliens. Protagonist Dakota “Dak” Prentiss works at a secret government operation to study a massive alien they call “Moss” (named for the moss that covers its body) and the deadly harp-like device found with it. In the facility, all emotional and psychical contact between employees is forbidden–which is made difficult when the gorgeous Matt Salem is hired.

    Girl in Space

    Voted our readers’ favorite audio drama of 2018Girl in Space by Sarah Rhea Werner follows X, a girl . . . in space. Initially, X is isolated in her station, but as she finds other travelers in the cosmos, she finds herself pulled into a space drama and being completely disinterested in falling into the genre’s trappings. X is a captivating protagonist. She’s charismatic, jovial, astute, and so relatable (her love of cheese is so many of us). Slowly, more of her mysterious past an family are revealed, making each episode another step into a fascinating mystery.

    Tides

    Tides is an audio fiction that blends space travel, biology, and a great unreliable narrator. Julia Schifini plays Dr. Winifred “Fred” Eurus, xenobiologist stranded alone on an earth-like planet with tremendous tidal waves. As Fred explores, she encounters alien life, but she also talks about the humans who abandoned her here: her crew, all of whom are doing their best to save her. Fred is aggressively self-sufficient–or, at least, she thinks she is–but finds she may need help more than she wants to admit. You can read our full review of Tides‘s first season here.





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