Five Free Favourites #7

SFFaudio Online Audio

As the host of the weekly audio drama podcast, Radio Drama Revival, I get the opportunity to listen to a lot of great new stories, most of it free, some of it not so free. I love a good story, and especially admire the producers who are building their audience through sheer iron will and new technology, ignoring the dismal state of radio and professional audio drama distribution in their passion to explore the art. Cutting this list down to five was a challenge, but give you give your ears the privilege of listening to any of these if you haven’t already — you can’t go wrong.

Five Free Favourites

Podcast Audio Drama - Wormwood: A Serial MysteryWormwood: A Serialized Mystery
Among the most ambitious audio drama series and one of the most well executed, Wormwood tells the story of Xander Crowe and the bizarre events that follow his arrival in the backwoods town of Wormwood, California. The series is unabashed in its tribute to Twin Peaks, and packs enough twists to break your neck in every ~20 minute episode (don’t worry, you’ll be revived as a zombie soon afterwards). Episode 2 is now well underway, so start listening now and get your occult fiction fix.

Union SignalUnion Signal
This website is nearly off the map but an utter gem. Doug Bost first turned me on to their Whistler-inspired haunting highway horror “Roadkill” and I’ve been hooked ever since. Bost and his buddy Jeff Ward have been producing their stories in WBAI NYC for years, with quirky and thrilling tales ranging from truly spooky horror to wacky NPR spoofs and even some far flung Philip K. Dick’esque sci-fi.

Final Rune ProductionsFinalRune
Well, here’s a little bit of shamless self-promotion. I’ve been writing and producing my own stories under the “FinalRune” moniker for 2+ years, and in fact founded Radio Drama Revival! as a way of helping get my own work out there (and promote everything else in the medium in the process). You’ll find horror, fantasy, comedy, drama and weirder tales, all free, as well as some background information and articles on the craft.

Icebox Radio Theatre
Icebox Radio Theater
Jeff Adams has been doing a hell of a good job creating a community radio troupe in International Falls, Minnesota. The quality can sometimes be, well, “community,” but the stories are always fun, as if Garrison Keillor walked through a portal into a warped alternate universe. Also be sure to check out Adams’ work in the “ImaginationX” series of Twilight Zone-ish sci-fi/horror.

The Wireless Theatre CompanyWireless Radio Theatre
A little over a year old, The Wireless Radio Theatre Company has done an astonishing job establishing themselves as a premier source of free, high-quality, original audio theater. Cheekily dubbed a “BBC with more guts,” their stories range from speculative philoso-drama to “hard” theater, poetry and classic British comedy.

Honorable Mentions:
I could keep this list going for a while, but I’ve got to mention Roger Gregg’s Crazy Dog Audio Theater, which isn’t free — at least through the website — but if you sniff around the web, you’ll see that many people have played his work elsewhere (including myself on Radio Drama Revival!). I’ve also recently tuned in to Chatterbox Audio Theater, who have a good (and expanding) list of varied audio drama pieces including adaptations of classics and originals.

Keep your mind, and your ears, open!

Posted by Frederick Greenhalgh of Radio Drama Revival and Final Rune

The Imagination X podcast offers cool horror

SFFaudio Online Audio

Imagination XThe Imagination X podcast does cool things with audio. The latest podcast is of a story entitled, Family Radio. It is a pure horror piece written by series scribe Jeffrey Adams. The story takes place in a small town in which a radio station’s program manager struggles for control over one of his new on-air personalities. The DJ in question is the nephew of the station’s owner and is swearing, stumbling and making a general fool of himself on the radio during his Saturday morning slot. The ending on this one is truly unexpected and caps the story very nicely. We reviewed the first Imagination X collection back in 2005, you can read that review HERE.

To experience Imagination X for yourself, subscribe to the podcast via this feed:

Review of Snow Bank by Jeffrey Adams

Science Fiction Audio Drama - Snow BankSnow Bank
By Jeffrey Adams, performed by Icebox Radio Theater
2 CDs – 115 minutes [UNABRIDGED 4 part serial]
Publisher: Icebox Radio Theater
Published: 2004
Themes: / Science Fiction / Alien / Mystery / Teen Drama

A body in a snowbank…
A town under siege
A family that must solve the mystery, or be torn apart!

If you had to do a high-concept pitch for Snow Bank you’d probably wind up saying “X-files meets the Bobbsey Twins.” Sean (Brock Krahnke) and his twin sister Bobbie (Anna Remus) discover a body under a snowbank next to their school. Despite warnings from their father, the local D.A., the twins set out to investigate the murder themselves. What follows dips into UFOs, alien scientists and twin psychic connections. They even manage to pull off a car chase in radio. That’s pretty impressive.

The story is all over than map and unfortunately wraps up in the final episode with a long expository scene which, maddeningly, says that the car chase was a hallucination–which both twins shared. There are logical inconsistencies in the story and unresolved questions which left me very frustrated. For instance, I can’t give you a spoiler on how the dead body got in the snow bank because they never explain it.

The acting in this is very strong with only one or two exceptions. What is most impressive about the production is that it was originally broadcast live. When I listened to the first episode I was troubled by some over-modulation on the microphones, but when I listened to the outro and realized that I had just heard a live performance, I was stunned. The performances are tight and the Foley is beautifully handled to create an aural picture of what is happening. Both Krahnke and Remus turn in really compelling performances. In particular, when Remus’s character, Bobbie, is sent to a juvenile detention center you can hear her character change posture from a cocky teenage girl, to an insecure and frightened one.

So, although the story almost felt like they were making it up as they went, the execution makes Snow Bank worth listening to.

Posted by Mary Robinette Kowal

Review of Imagination X: The First Album by Jeffrey Adams

Science Fiction Audio Drama - Imagination XImagination X: The First Album
By Jeffrey Adams; Performed by a Full Cast
1 CD – 1 hour [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Bud C. Productions
Published: 2003
ISBN: 0974201200
Themes: / Fantasy / Horror / Ghosts / Artificial Intelligence / Dreams /

If you are a fan of Twilight Zone fiction, you are going to enjoy Imagination X. There are eight dramatized stories included in this 1-hour album, each performed by a full cast:

“The House in the Woods” – A woman is haunted by visions in her dreams of a house in the woods.

“Box Love” – A hilarious look at love between two artificially intelligent kitchen appliances.

“Up on the Rooftops” – Something’s moving up on the roof – is it Santa Claus?

“Background” – A researcher goes to a haunted house and tape records notes while he looks around. But the tapes contain more than his voice…

“Mandible Hill” – Do you know what the person sitting next to you is capable of?

“The Prisoner” – A tortured soul cries out his torment – or does he?

“Distance” – A space traveler deals with his computer which is also trying to deal with him.

Find this audio at Bud C. Productions – you’ll be glad you did. The website leaves quite a bit to be desired, but there is some interesting information there. If you click on an episode, you can find some of Jeffrey Adams’ notes on the production along with cast info. A piece of data I found interesting: The computer voice was played by the ‘Speakable Items’ function of my iMac computer, the existence of which was the inspiration for the episode, and, to some extent, for the entire series.

I enjoyed the time I spent with these stories, and am looking forward to more from Jeffrey Adams and crew.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The Mark Time Awards (named for a character from F…

SFFaudio News

The Mark Time Awards (named for a character from Firesign Theater) are presented annually for the best audio science fiction of the year. The Ogle Awards (named for Charles Ogle, who played Frankenstein in Thomas Edison’s 1910 film) are presented annually for the best fantasy/horror productions of the year. This year, they were presented on July 4, 2003, at the ConVergence convention in Bloomington, MN.

The awards are given soley for audio theater. For the whole scoop, click here.

The winners are:


Anne Manx and the Trouble on Chromius

The Radio Repertory Company of America

Angelo Panetta, Producer. Elmwood Park, NJ.

A fast-moving 2 hour action adventure with Anne Manx, played by Claudia Christian as a future detective.


Not From Space

The Borgus collective

Jeffrey Bays, Producer. Marshall, MO.

A very subtle invasion from Mars that takes years, wrapped in a production that sounds like modern commercial radio.


Nebulous Rex

Dave Cerf and Faustus Caceres, Producers. San Francisco, CA.

Shirley & Spinoza, Internet Radio.

Things go wrong on the spaceliner, but is it just accidents?

Red Shift

Seem Real Theater

Thomas O’Neill, Producer. Bridgeport, CT.

Has the Dalai Lama been reincarneted on Mars? A polisci-fi religio-comic rumination.


Fears for Ears

Positive Living Productions

Aida Memisevic, Producer. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Five superbly produced horror short stories, made in Canada.

Dragon Song

Texas Radio Theater Company

Richard Frohlich, Producer. Arlington, TX.

A modern urban fantasy story, performed live.


Up On the Rooftops

Imagination X

Jeffrey Adams, Producer. Monmouth, OR.

A very short take on those noises on the roof at Christmas.



Imagination X

Jeffrey Adams Producer. Monmouth, OR.

A short graphic ghost story with a true horror ending.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson