If you’ve never been hooked on a fiction podcast, you’re really missing out. The last few years has seen an explosion of amazing stories to get your teeth into. The joy of podcasts is that you no longer have to spend all the mundane tasks of life, like laundry or washing up, waiting for the chores to be over. You’ll start to cherish your time doing the cleaning, if you spend it getting lost into a whole new world with an audio drama.
There is a huge variety of podcasts at your fingertips, and the sheer amount of choice can be a little overwhelming. So to get you started, here is a list of the 10 best fiction podcasts that we would recommend. Whether you’re into cute rom coms, or you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller, we’ve got you covered.
A couple humans, a ghost, and a cat – what better squad could you ask for? They might not be the most efficient team ever, but they certainly are the funniest to create an audio drama out of. We join Taylor, Heather, Gill the ghost and Sans the cat as they fumble along life in the Below, a world running parallel to our own. The Below is like our own universe, except inhabited by supernatural beings. Our team spends most of their time helping out spirits who find themselves in trouble. But they also make sure to find time for making fun of Taylor’s dressing gown and arguing with the cat about his owner’s love life.
Season 1 comes in at 10 episodes, each under 15 minutes in length. New episodes will be coming as soon as the cast can get together again after lockdown, so now is the perfect time to binge the first season in time for the second. This is a great little podcast if you just want a few minutes of escape, and it’s guaranteed to make you laugh.
2. Forest 404
Introducing your new favourite environmental thriller! You will be sucked into this one. It’s set a couple hundred years in our future. The main character Pan (brilliantly played by Pearl Mackie), lives in a totally different world to us, one where forests don’t seem to exist any more. So when she stumbles across a soundscape of one, her first thought is to delete it. That’s what she does to all the other useless ancient audio files she sorts through as a librarian. But the birdsong has her mesmerised, and she keeps the strange sounds. That’s when she discovers that the sounds of the forest are more than a pretty melody. They’re dangerous. Something about them transfers an infectious disease to listeners, and some people will stop at nothing to make her forget them.
You’ll be hooked after the first 23 minute episode. It’s got great acting and amazing sound design to immerse you into the story. There are also some fun extras to go with each episode, including discussions about AI, the environment, and humanity’s relationship with nature. But if you’re just interested in a good dystopian story, the audio drama episodes are more than enough to keep you entertained.
This is the perfect wholesome romance. We follow two gay guys in Australia who meet on a blind date and immediately hit it off. The whole story is told through voicemails that the guys leave each other. You’ll find yourself yelling at Jason to shut up and hang up the phone already when he starts going on a nervous ramble, and you’ll shake your head at Kane overthinking every situation.
Despite the moments of awkwardness though, these two are (mostly) just adorable. They have the kind of open, honest communication that every relationship should aim for, and it brings me a little bit more hope in humanity. Love and Luck is the ultimate feel good rom-com fiction podcast. Episodes are only 10 minutes long in season 1 so this one is really easy to jump into. It takes you straight into the story, so it’s great for anyone with a busy life or a short attention span.
4. EOS 10
The sci-fi sit-com audio drama you never knew you needed. Ryan, a 34-year-old doctor, arrives on a space travel hub to become the head of surgery. But his new job is filled with more chaos than he expected. Dr. Urvidian, his new boss, is a severe alcoholic with a level of stubbornness that would rival the most insolent of toddlers. Ryan also has to deal with Levi, a hypochondriac convinced of his own impending death, and Jane Johns, a senior nurse who takes it upon herself to fix Ryan’s love life.
Despite initial teething problems, Ryan and Dr. Urvidian soon make an unlikely friendship. Their relationship is filled with sarcastic insults and comedic timing that will make you laugh out loud, but they also come to bond through opening up to each other. This fiction podcast finds humour in serious topics like addiction and shame. It shows how important friendship is in helping people get through their issues. Insightful as well as funny, you won’t regret giving this one a go.
5. The Truth
Not looking for a whole series to commit to? The Truth, a fiction podcast of short stories, is perfect for you. Each episode features a new cast of characters, setting, and concept. Every story is completely different, but they will all make you question something you thought you knew about human nature. Feel your mind being blown in 20-30 minutes with each story, as they take turns that you never expected.
You can jump in anywhere you fancy with this one, but I would recommend starting with The Decider. A young woman is given a new ‘decider’ for her birthday, a digital device that will predict how happy any decision will make her. A numerical rating of satisfaction is given for every potential action, from what to have for dinner to whether she should quit her job.
A therapist puts out a newspaper ad offering ‘therapy for the strange and unusual’. She treats patients with supernatural powers. Discovering you have the ability to read peoples’ minds or control someone’s desires may sound like the most exciting thing possible. But having to live a normal life without being able to turn your powers off actually leads to some pretty inconvenient problems.
This fiction podcast is another sci-fi, but it feels very grounded in reality. Set in our own world, the characters and their powers are explored in familiar everyday contexts, like at school or work. They make you think about situations in your own life in a new light. Season 1 follows three patients through their therapy sessions. Start with episode 1, 13 minutes long, to join Sam, a young woman who admits, ‘I can time travel. And it sucks!’
In 2004, a small town in Tennessee saw its population of 327 disappear overnight. Years later, there still have been no explanations found for what happened to these people, where they went, or why. Journalist Lia Haddock starts a radio show reporting her investigation into the tragedy of Limetown. But it quickly becomes clear that the story is much larger than any ordinary missing persons case. This is a mystery podcast that goes deep. It explores death, human emotion, and even the purpose of life itself.
A word of warning, this mystery may take over your life, as you’ll not want to put it down. Each episode leads to more questions than answers, and the story gets more intriguing as you go on. At times you may forget that this is a fictional podcast; it feels so real that you find yourself wrapped up in this world from the moment you start listening.
8. 36 Questions
A couple finds their marriage on the brink of falling apart, when a man finds that his wife has lied to him about her whole identity. They make one last ditch effort to fix their relationship. Their one hope? The 36 Questions test, a list of questions which, if answered honestly by both parties, are designed to make two strangers fall in love.
36 Questions is perfect for anyone who usually listens to songs, but wants to dip their toe into the world of podcasts. Told as a three part musical, this is no ordinary audio drama. It is filled with musical theatre levels of drama and emotion, and songs range from jazz to pop to tear-jerking ballads. It’s also really funny. Romance, drama, comedy, and amazing songs - this podcast has something for everyone.
Being a Black American man is complicated enough without dealing with questioning your sexuality too. Our unnamed narrator is still figuring out how an attraction to other men can fit in his life. And as a professional American football player, he has to do it all in the hypermasculine world of sport.
Fruit is a nuanced look at masculinity, sexuality and identity in our culture. You will get right into the characters’ heads in these 10-20 minute episodes. Audio flashbacks, simple narration, and background music all help to create an immersive story. You’ll forget these characters are fictional by the end of the series.
What kind of person would want to erase their entire identity and start again in a new life? Find out with this fiction podcast about an agent whose career is built on making people disappear. Clients pay for the service that helps them fake their own deaths and reinvent themselves as a new person.
If dark comedy is your favourite kind, mixed in with a healthy dose of intrigue and mystery, then this is the podcast for you. Episodes are around 20 minutes long, and each focuses on a different client. Start with episode 1, with Elizabeth Barlow, who found out her husband has been cheating on her and has decided she wants revenge.
Grab Your Headphones & Enjoy!
This selection is only the start of your fiction podcast journey. There are new and exciting podcasts being made all the time, and the wonderful world of audio drama will only continue to grow. But these will always be great choices to come back to. Whether you’re new to fiction podcasts with no idea where to begin, or you’re looking for a break from your usual favourites, these ten won’t let you down.