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Seven excellent free audio fiction podcast sites

Updated on May 13, 2013

What do you get when you combine audio literature and the internet? Fiction pod casts. They vary in length, style and format. Many work like fiction magazines, receiving submissions from authors. Then they have a narrator read them and publish them in an audio format. Others create in-house productions, similar to the radio shows people listened to before television.

I myself found short audio fiction while looking for something to listen to after my wife went to bed. At the time she was working early shifts and complained that she could't sleep until I was in the bed. I worked nights and could't sleep until I had wound down for a few hours. With podcasts I could put on my headphones, lay down, close my eyes, and be transported into a new world(or worlds) every night without waking up the better half. She has since became a housewife, but listening to a story before bed is something I now always look forward to at the end of the day.

These are the audio fiction websites I have been using. I haven't even began to check out all of the many fiction podcasts available, the sites listed contain more than enough material to keep me occupied for years to come. They are all free, and most of them work through donations. If you enjoy what you hear from those sites you can show it by throwing them a little dough or buying some merchandise. Be aware that these sites sometimes contain adult language and subject matter in the stories. There are several ways to download the audio, but for those with no experience the most simple is to find the little link that says download, right click it, then select save link as/save target as/ or something that looks like that then save it to your mp3 player. All of these sites allow downloads, so fill your phone/mp3 player up and you will have some stories to listen to the next time you are in a waiting room, stuck in traffic, or going to bed (being an adult doesn't mean you can't enjoy a bedtime story).

This is the first place I came to looking for short stories and still one of my favorites. It publishes horror short fiction once a week, calling itself a "The premier horror podcast magazine". The site has archives available for download going back to 2006.

Though this is primarily a text site, it features a monthly (sometimes two) story in audio format. Neat magazine-like presentation. Just so you know, science fiction isn't necessarily lasers and aliens. 

This is the sister site of Pseudopod, serving fantasy instead of horror. It's a little younger and therefore it's archives aren't as big, but it still has a ton of short stories, 172 as of this writing. Fantasy isn't all dragons and magic, by the way. Check a few of these out before you knock it.

The homepage proclaims "Short stories at the far side of weird". The site features science fiction, fantasy and horror, though weird is the uniting theme here.(the podcast's tagline is "Strange stories, by strange authors, for strange listeners"). I've had some problems downloading some of the older stories from the archives before, but it seems to be working fine now. Just click on download episode archives if you want to get the old stuff.

This is my current favorite. By favorite I mean I can't stop listening and am not sleeping enough as a result. Unlike the other sites this is not a collection of stories being read, it is a full scale production with sound effects and multiple voice actors. It follows the story of a group of survivors after a zombie apocalypse and appears in weekly episodes. You should start at the first episode, from the main page go to "listen", then to "download mp3's" to access the direct download page. Stick with it a few episodes, it will grow on you.

This podcast is the "father" of Pseudopod and PodCastle, they are it's spin-offs. I realize that using three podcasts from the same company makes it look like I'm working for them, but I promise i'm not. I put them on here because they are each excellent in their own right and have more stories than you will probably ever listen to. Escape pod is a science fiction podcast. It's archives go back to 2005. With a story per week that makes for a ton of listening material. The site also has interviews and reviews tossed in with the stories.

The tagline for this one is "Free serialized audio books, delivered on your schedule". Unlike the other podcasts on this list, Podiobooks doesn't pay it's authors, they donate material for self promotion. The site features full books and short stories in all genres and has a massive selection. 

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