The radio drama was a staple of the pre-television entertainment media; tales of sleuths, superheroes, explorers and soldiers streamed out over the airwaves, their visuals as rich as the imaginations of their audience. Once movies and television started making it big such dramas largely died out, though even now the CBC maintains a fairly solid stream of audio dramas (which can also be comedic), though never runs more than one at a time. But even as advances in modern technology open up whole new realms of self-expression and innovation, they also offer a chance to go back and rediscover older forms of entertainment.
Case in point, Tales from the Afternow.
I'd like to get this out of the way, right at the start; Tales from the Afternow is good. It's really good. So good, everyone with any interest in the wide variety of things I'm about to describe should absolutely give it a listen. It's free, after all, so what other excuse could there be not to?
Anyway. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, and narrated by Independent Librarian Sean Kennedy VII (most of which doesn't mean what you think it means), the Afternow stories take full advantage of the freedom of their medium and the opportunities of their settings. There are corporate arcologies and polluted wastelands, genetically engineered supersoldiers and simple townsfolk, cyborgs and robots and cyber-monks, the decadence of NuRome and the hard-scrabble life of interstate couriers, and a whole host of other odds and ends. There are adventure stories, and love stories, suspense stories and horror stories and morality tales. Afternow is an uninhibited foray into the world of dystopian fiction, and more than that, it's a relatively unique instance of this, communicated as it is through a format that has been out of favour for decades, but has lost none of its power in the meantime. The individual stories stand alone, more or less, but there is a certain over-arching narrative at play as well, one that will reward the listener who pays close attention.
And of course, when all you have to focus on is a voice, why would you do anything but?