This week’s podcast is Adventures in New America, which is part of the Night Vale Presents network. I’ve tried all of the Night Vale Presents podcasts (because I’m a huge fan of Welcome to Night Vale and want to try everything they’ve come out with), but the only two I’ve actually enjoyed are Alice Isn’t Dead and Adventures in New America, both of which differ wildly from WTNV. It is a serialized fiction podcast, which I love because it’s sort of like listening to an audiobook.
I would describe Adventure in New America as something that really can’t be described, so here’s a description from the official podcast page:
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.
Starring Paige Gilbert, Bryan Webster, Pernell Walker (The Deuce), Starlee Kine (Mystery Show), Stephen Winter, and many more.
What’s neat about this podcast is that the only true commercials are the ones at the end, where the showrunners go over their sponsors. All of the “commercials” sprinkled throughout each episode are directly related to the podcast itself, presented in a pseudo-1920s style.
Although the podcast itself takes place in the future (although it’s not explicitly said how soon in the future), the ads and parts of the podcast feel like they’re taking place somewhere in the 1920s, with the way the afore-mentioned ads are run.
Part of the premise is that African-New-Americans are automatically blamed for any crime, and IA – the main character – is just mixed with white enough that he can pass for white, meaning that he can get away with most crimes. Which isn’t what he wants, because he’s recently been diagnosed with cancer and wants to go to jail in order to get free healthcare. He meets Simon by accident, and once she finds out his “super power” of passing as white, she recruits him to be the fall guy so they can commit as many crimes as they can in order to get money for his medical treatments (and, later, for someone else’s schooling) and not get arrested.
All throughout, there’s a subplot running about the Tetchy Terrorist Vampire Zombies from outer space, which hasn’t collided with the main plotline yet, but I’m sure it will in the near future, and I’m both worried and intrigued as to how that will happen.
I would put a warning on this podcast that it shouldn’t be listened to by anyone under the age of seventeen (yes, I’m putting an R rating on this podcast), due to the sexual nature, violence, and language that’s present in this podcast.
On a whole, I would give this podcast a solid 4.0/5.0 stars, because there are a few points that seem unnecessary (episode seven is ironically named “The Disappointment Act,” which is accurate because it was a severe disappointment), but the overall story is interesting enough to keep me coming back every episode.
Have you listened to Adventures in New America? Do you have another fiction podcast for me to listen to? Let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading (and listening!)