I’m a big fan of audio drama, especially when it’s done well—by which I mean not simply translating a visual story to an aural one, but crafting a narrative that expands on—and is enhanced by being audio-only.
LifeAfter is just such a project. Building on the success of The Message, this is the second story from the GE Podcast Theater/Panoply partnership, and it’s absolutely enthralling. Without giving away too much, it envisions a future in which a voice-based social network becomes a catalyst for some deep philosophical questions, most notably “what happens to all this digital media we’re creating after we’re dead”, but to hang a hat on that alone is to grossly oversimplify the other stuff happening in the story. It centers around a low-level analyst in the FBI, whose wife recently died, having left a bunch of these audio posts on this network, which he’s become obsessed with in the intervening months.
It gets nuttier from there. And I really don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll stop.
It quickly becomes a fast-paced mystery with tons of twists, all highly satisfying. It’s only 10 episodes, and the story is complete (it came out a while ago) so go ahead and drop it all into your queue. And if you haven’t listened to The Message, do that one first, it’s really short (and it’s part of the same feed, so if you’re lazy, you win). There’s a tiny surprise lurking in LifeAfter for you if you do—but you have to be paying attention.