Back to bus rides part 2: Fiction podcast recommendations for your campus commute

A misconception I’ve heard about podcasts is that they’re mostly four-hour+ mediums for YouTuber ramblings or boring AF roundtables of white folk talking about sociology. While I am indeed a listener of a sleepy sociology pod and have also written about a treasure trove of amazing non-fiction pods, during my tenure as a podcast connoisseur™, I’ve also discovered the fascinating and immersive world of fiction podcast series and audio dramas. Sometimes reminiscent of 50s radio shows but much, much more exciting and artsy, fiction podcasts are amazing treats for your ears and I’d highly recommend checking out the ones I’ve listed below! They're great for long bus rides to campus or even for the fast-paced walk from Totem Park or Place Vanier (rip) to Buchanan D.

Rec 1: The Truth

Episode length: 10 to 20 minutes

My favourite episodes: “Moon Graffiti,” “That’s Democracy,” “Falling

This pod was a gem hidden in the annals of my recommendations on Google Podcasts, so I’m glad I found it! The producers of The Truth consistently make alluring movies for your ears each time they release an episode. This podcast series showcases sometimes funny, sometimes dark but always intriguing short stories and audio dramas. How would Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin react if the Eagle spacecraft crash-landed on the moon and couldn’t make it back home? What would the everyday life of a George Clooney look-alike be like? Or what could happen if someone phoned random phone numbers every Valentine’s Day? The Truth offers vivid answers to such questions in short audio story form. Using only the sonic medium, each episode of The Truth transports you to gripping, enthralling scenes that immerse you in the storytelling.

Rec 2: Limetown

Episode length: usually between 25 and 40 minutes

To be listened to in order.

In this mystery podcast series, an American Public Radio reporter called Lia Haddock investigates the bizarre story of Limetown, a small Tennessee town/research facility from which its 300-some population vanished without a trace. This pod plays like it’s non-fiction reporting, complete with fake 9.1.1 call audio, shaky interviews or found footage as well as apologies and corrections from the producers — in fact, if no one told me, I’d have thought that this podcast was 100 per cent legit investigative journalism when I started the series. Limetown is compelling and eerie, full of twists, buried secrets and an inkling of sci-fi – definitely give it a listen if you’re into mysteries and thrillers.

Rec 3: Holy Sh!t

Episode length: 13 to 17 minutes

To be listened to in order.

According to this pod’s website, Holy Sh!t is a “comedy drama, told entirely through Whatsapp voice messages, about female friendship, sex, betrayal... and Jesus.” Now, does this description intrigue you? ‘Cause it definitely did for me. The podcast series follows the goings-on of Meg and Lydia, two polar-opposite best friends who attend different universities. Meg is a devout Christian keener while Lydia is a sex-positive lover of jazz. Listeners get to hear their chats and Lydia’s wild theory that the guy in the dorm next to hers is in fact Jesus incarnate. This one is silly yet intriguing, and an audio page-turner.

Rec 4: The Amelia Project

Episode length: usually 20 to 30 minutes

To be listened to in order.

This black comedy podcast chronicles the day-to-day ins and outs of a totally-regular small business… besides the fact the Amelia Project, named after the infamous vanished aviator, is a secret organization that fakes the deaths of its clients before helping them reappear on the other side of the globe with a brand new identity and story! This podcast series begins with interviews of various Amelia Project clients (all of whom are fascinating in their own way), but a larger, more complex narrative slowly but surely develops as this series goes on. Being a smaller production, The Amelia Project also teams up with other small pods in crossover episodes every so often, thus allowing you the chance to discover other fun fiction podcast series. In the end, The Amelia Project is a really fun pod. And all the recurring characters are oh so cute and quirky in their own ways, and have really grown on me!

Rec 5: Children of the Stones

Episode length: 12 to 20 minutes

To be listened to in order.

Ok, now this BBC pod is just plain creepy and yet I drank in every second of it. The premise: preteen Mia Blake and her archeologist father move to Milbury, a small English village surrounded by a henge of ancient stones. After she makes a few friends, Mia soon discovers that the stones have a strange power and effect on the town, and that the townsfolk of Milbury seem too happy to be normal. From brainwashed kids to (potential?) sacrificial rituals, this podcast series gets eerie AF, with every episode getting more and more chilling. And yet, you might be surprised to learn, this audio drama was based on a British children’s show?!?! WTF?? Anyway, you’ve been warned.