The Pod People: 5 Audio Dramas on Good and Evil – From Global Warming to Guantánamo

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The Pod People: 5 Audio Dramas on Good and Evil – From Global Warming to Guantánamo

Rising Heat
Episode 1 – The Zombie Way

“Yuki refuses to bring a child into the world he’s predicting.” It’s a paralyzing line, but one that speaks to the emotional ecosystem many of us now inhabit. This is a bizarre audio drama about the woes of international climate conferences, as well as the trials and tribulations of climatologists. It’s not exactly the escape that you want, but it might be the escape that you need. Listening to it may very well prepare you to speak about “this latest game of kick the can down the road” to your local politicians. Produced by Near FM, an Irish radio station, this podcast is unlike anything else we’ve seen in the United States. The series, a trilogy, isn’t just for proponents of the United States Environmental Protection Agency; it’s for all of us.

A line of note: “We almost became a dead rock in space.”

The Truth
Can You Help Me Find My Mom?

What does it mean to be naked on the radio? You may or may not get the answer if you tune into this podcast episode. It goes to unexpected places and asks questions big and small about the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood. How do we get lost, even when we age? Why is life so labyrinthine? What do children owe their parents? It’s hard to believe so many issues are covered in such a short episode. But that’s the thing: it just might leave you in a meditative, imaginative state that extends for hours and hours after you’ve reached the story’s end.

A line of note: “I don’t like needles!”

Archive 81
A Body in a New Place

An archive and a man, a story within a story. This podcast is the perfect drama for librarians, archivists, lawyers, poets, and people who get a kick listening to tales about fictitious bureaucracies. Special shout-out to Amelia Kidd, whose lovely voice guides us through an epic maze. The inaugural episode of Archive 81 might give you the chills; it has that unpredictable beauty, the kind you’re apt to find in a Roberto Bolaño novel. There are echoes. There are dialogues. There are truths about human nature. And, there are tapes upon tapes upon tapes. Don’t expect to end this episode with an understanding of all that’s going on. This may very well be the ultimate escape.

A line of note: “I heard a joke about lawyers once.”

Audio Dime Museum: Carnivale

The narrator of this podcast understands the art of the melodious whisper. There’s something absolutely otherly about these five minutes. Sure, you should listen to the rest of the series. Sure, you’ll probably end up replaying this episode that’s not really even an episode, because it’s that good. It grabs you, because most seconds, you have no idea where you going, where you’re going to land, when the story stops.

A line of note: “You just have to know what’s inside.”

Love + Radio
On the Shore, Dimly Seen

Not all escapes take us to better places. This podcast episode is based on the interrogation log of Guantánamo Bay detainee 063. You don’t need to know the history of GiTMO to get this podcast. It made us cringe at points. It made us cringe for almost more than a half hour. There are pauses that would make British playwright Harold Pinter proud. It asks us all to think on the definition of torture and dives deep into the seamy underbelly of the detention facility. This episode has the feel of an epic poem. There are sounds that are more disturbing than silence and words that leave us wordless.

A line of note: “That is the voice of Lady Liberty.”

Raised on a strict diet of NPR and C-SPAN, Muira McCammon is a war crimes researcher by day and a podcast reviewer for Paste Magazine by night. She can be found on Twitter @muira_mccammon or walking about the woods of western Massachusetts. Her writing has previously appeared in Slate, Waypoint by VICE, Atlas Obscura, the Massachusetts Review, and other publications.

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