Podcasting as an audio medium has opened up a whole world for people to tell stories, discuss their lives, or spread information. Fiction podcasts have especially allowed a lot of queer storytellers to tell diverse stories in an easily accessible way.
One of the biggest names in fiction podcasts is Welcome to Night Vale, an eerie, almost spooky story told through the radio program of a supernatural town. WTNV very quickly proved itself to be a queer and diverse story. Among a cast of characters, what stands out most is the host himself, Cecil Palmer, who is gay and has a full love story with another character. Recent times have seen other similar podcasts become more well-known, such as the much more horror-themed podcast, The Magnus Archives, or the superpower therapy podcast, The Bright Sessions.
As someone who listens to a LOT of podcasts, a significant amount of them queer, I’ve come across many more podcasts focused on weird and queer fiction. I use ‘weird’ loosely here, meaning strange going-ons, sci-fi or fantasy worlds that aren’t always explained, characters and universes of loose morals, and of course unsettling plot and things that just make you go “what!” A lot of these podcasts also happen to be from smaller creators, who aren’t as well-known. Here are my recommendations!
Peri has spent years shut in at her home, a lighthouse. One day, her lighthouse starts to travel, its door opening to strange locations. Peri finally steps out of her house and experiences new worlds and new people. This one gets uncomfortable pretty fast, with many difficult situations and a lot of past trauma, but the story is compelling.
The least unsettling entry on this list, Inkwyrm is kind of like a sitcom drama at an intergalactic fashion magazine, but it defies expectations often. Made by at-the-time high schoolers, it features an amazing cast of queer characters led by Mella, a lesbian alien assigned to take care of the AI of the magazine’s ship, and Annie Inkwyrm, the badass human trans woman who runs the magazine. As it progresses, the show uncovers secrets and does explore trauma and relationships.
A narrative podcast, KSEMS is presented as entry logs by the witch Kalila Stormfire. It starts off exploring the world through cases she undertakes, eventually expanding into deeper aspects of identity, history, and conflict, both centred around and tangential to Kalila. Actual witchcraft practices inspire the elements of the world, resulting in a thoughtful and magical story, fleshed out by a cast of diverse queer characters.
Violet Liu is the sole survivor of the Starship Iris, a science vessel that met with a mysterious accident. Picked up by a crew of smugglers, Violet has to tackle the reality that the “Republic” running the world is not what she thought. It’s essentially Firefly and Star Trek Discovery vibes but with a more diverse cast.
Arguably the weirdest entry on this list, Solutions to Problems starts out simple. An advice show for aliens gets a new human co-host to help with human and human-related problems. There’s lots of weird alien cultures, mocking of silly human cultures, AI romance, and constant jabs at monogamous heteronormativity. Slowly, time travel and multiversal travel start to become core elements, though the show maintains a light hearted tone with lots of humour.
Hopefully these shows that, in my opinion deserve all the attention, satisfy your podcast cravings! Happy listening!