This page provides links to podcasts you can listen to to help your English language listening skills. The podcasts have all received strongly positive as well as critical reviews. The podcasts are mainly either fiction or faction (stories based on facts, like “true crime stories”). The genres include science fiction, romance and crime stories as these are the genres people expressed interest in during the classes so far. As well as the stories a few provide more of a discussion than an actual story (like True Crime Japan). We’ll update the list during the year, so any suggestions are welcome.
All of the links below have been tested for use on a standard Chinese mobile. If you’re listening on your phones you will probably need to download each episode of the podcast (if anyone finds a better form of access let me know).
I hope you find something you find interesting and enjoyable, and might tell us your thoughts about it as the year goes on.
Science Fiction Stories
Adventures in New America is the first sci-fi, political satire, Afrofuturistic buddy comedy, serialized for New Americans in a new and desperate time.
Set a few years in the future, Adventures in New America follows the escapades of two mismatched African-New-American best friends — fat, lonely curmudgeon IA and lesbian sneak-thief Simon Carr — who take on a series of increasingly high-stakes heists to get quick cash to pay for IA’s medical treatment while attempting to survive the wilds of New New York City… and a secret cabal of Tetchy Terrorist Vampire Zombies from outer space. Intrigued? Good! Frequently, there will be musical numbers — and radical reflections on our dangerous, beautiful, heart-pounding world.
Someone is changing all the streetlights in Pepper Heights, Cleveland. The color of nighttime is shifting. Everyone thinks they know what happened at the Pepper Heights Zoo… But do they, really?
Dane, a spun-out musician spending the winter in Cleveland, Ohio, has two main goals: keeping his job at the Pepper Heights Zoo and trying not to waste all his time on Grindr. What he doesn’t expect is to get swept into a story about dreams, about forevers, about flickering lights, about unexplained deaths, about relentless change, and about the parts of ourselves that we wish other people knew to look for. Oh, and also a murderous zebra.
Limetown is an audio drama that straddles the line between science fiction and horror. Framed like an investigated journalism podcast a la Serial, Limetown follows a reporter trying to find out what happened to a town where everyone suddenly went missing ten years ago. Limetown packs so much character development into its first season, with most episodes following a specific interviewee, but it balances character with one of the most riveting plots I’ve ever heard. After several years, Limetown is returning with its second season on October 31st–yes, Halloween–2018, as well as releasing a prequel novel set when Limetown was founded.
Kaitlin is a young artist struggling to make great work and find great love. She believes that the love depicted in Hollywood movies is real and that she will be one of the lucky ones to find it. When Kaitlin falls for someone who challenges her romantic ideal, she is faced with an impossible choice and a decision that can’t be unmade.
A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.
Sarah Koenig sorted through thousands of documents, listened to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talked to everyone she could find who remembered what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee. She discovered that the trial covered up a far more complicated story than the jury – or the public – ever got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence — all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.
True Crime Japan
The team at True Crime Japan discuss a different crime case every episode and shed a light on Japanese society in the process, from an American point of view. They live in Japan and clearly have a great love for Japanese society and culture, and true crime stories.
S-Town is a new podcast from Serial and This American Life, hosted by Brian Reed, about a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But when someone else ends up dead, the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.