no shrinking violet

words by e. spalding

weird & speculative fiction podcasts: recommendation listening

One night I had a frightful dream in which I met my grandmother under the sea. She lived in a phosphorescent palace of many terraces, with gardens of strange leprous corals and grotesque brachiate efflorescences, and welcomed me with a warmth that may have been sardonic. She had changed—as those who take to the water change—and told me she had never died. Instead, she had gone to a spot her dead son had learned about, and had leaped to a realm whose wonders—destined for him as well—he had spurned with a smoking pistol. This was to be my realm, too—I could not escape it. I would never die, but would live with those who had lived since before man ever walked the earth.

– H.P. LOVECRAFT, “THE SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH”

There is often so much overlap between the speculative, the weird, the horrible, and the fantastical, that it was a bit of a chore to decide whether something belonged under this category rather than under another. Anyway, I do my best.

This list will absolutely be updated over time.


The Drabblecast

The Drabblecast is best described using its own words for its intended purpose: “The Drabblecast will continue to assert itself as the standard-bearer among fiction podcasts, always searching for the next great story, and to keep its audience trapped somewhere between ecstatic joy and unfathomable confusion.” With possible haunted car salesman host Norm Sherman at the helm (and Cryptkeeper Norm around the holidays), Drabblecast has published delightfully bizarre stories since 2007.

I’d also like to add that, as Norm recently revealed on the podcast that he recently had to undergo a major organ transplant that absolutely saved his life, if you needed a reminder to check whether you are registered as an organ donor, please consider this that reminder.

CanadaUnited StatesUnited Kingdom
Check requirements for organ donation above. (Countries recommended based on stats for most common visitors to this blog.)

Some favourites:


The Clarkesworld Podcast

The podcast version of the Clarkesworld Magazine publishes all of the magazine’s sci-fi, fantasy, and speculative fiction content in audio form, updating a few times a month. Published and edited by Neil Clarke, and hosted by the talented Kate Baker, of The Dark Magazine fame, Clarkesworld is a recipient of three Hugo Awards, a World Fantasy Award, and so many other awards that listing them off here is redundant when you can go look at the awards for yourselves by clicking the above link. Rest assured that the stories published by this magazine will push you to expand your definition of science fiction and fantasy–and you’ll be glad that you did.

Some favourites:

Lightspeed Magazine

John Joseph Adams’ science fiction and fantasy magazine and podcast, Lightspeed Magazine is the Hugo Award-winning sister project to Nightmare Magazine. Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, N. K. Jemisin, and George R. R. Martin are just a few genre giants whose work you’ll find here. This podcast updates a few times a month.

Some favourites:

Stories from the Border of Sleep

Stories from the Border of Sleep is a small fiction podcast where each episode is written by author and host, Seymour Jacklin, and include charming illustrations by artist Robyn Trainer. The stories themselves run the gamut of flavours, from fables to whimsical fantasy, and while geared towards adult audiences, all stories are perfect for sharing with the children in your life, too. Stories does not keep to a regular update schedule (you’ll note there were no updates for the years of 2016 and 2017), but Seymour’s work is always such a delight that I will always maintain my subscription.

Some favourites:

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