Going Under: A Podcast Recommendation

Allison Carr Waechter is a witchy woman living in the bold North, with a naughty red lynx-cat, a perpetually grumpy old pup, and a partner who consistently refers to her as his "feral wife." She is a storyteller by trade and provides council to struggling writers. If you're a writer who needs help, visit her here, if you're a reader who needs a tale, visit her here. She is also the editrix of this publication and dearly loves to recommend good stories to others. 

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Despite the fact that some of my own writing has been considered "scary"-- I am a big fraidy-cat when it comes to creepy stories. Which frustrates me to no end, because I love the delicious feeling of being creeped out-- an eerie finger of fear sliding down my spine, a sharp intake of breath at a surprise -- all feelings I enjoy. 

Being grossed out, unable to sleep, or simply too terrified to be alone in the dark are not among my favorite feelings though and so that makes anything in the horror genre automatically a little dicey for me. Especially because so much horror seems to be geared towards a cis-male audience (often written by cis-men, even when the characters are primarily women). So it's been hard for me to find a creepy fictional podcast that had all my favorite elements: 

  • Moments of spine-tingling tension and an eerie vibe 
  • Great writing: Great plot, great pacing, great characters, engrossing worldbuilding
  • Written and lead by women/femme/non-binary/trans folks 

Maybe it was too much to ask, I often pondered -- maybe fictional podcasting just hadn't quite reached the place where stuff like that was being produced.... But I know how this works. The best stuff, created by the folks I love to read and consume isn't being talked about the way podcasts like The Black Tapes, Limetown and Welcome to Nightvale are. I was going to have to dig deeper.... And there I found Mabel, the podcast I always wanted. 

*Very* minor spoilers ahead - As Mabel is going into its 5th season, a tiny bit of spoiling is necessary to tell you why I love this story -- it won't ruin anything for you, but if you hate to have *anything* spoiled, just go check out Mabel now and start listening

Mabel is "a podcast about ghosts, family secrets, strange houses, and missed connections." But it's more than that -- it's a love story between its main characters Anna and Mabel. It's a marvelously creepy tale about what haunts us, whether it's our past, love, a house that won't stop interfering, or a mysterious force luring you underground.  

The podcast has the same kind of gothic vibe that Shelley Jackson is able to evoke in We Have Always Lived in the Castle, with a hefty dose of what feels like scary local lore about what happens out on that hill, or that house, you know the one. Plus, it's a sapphic love story and there's not much of that out there, so I am beyond pumped to be writing this recommendation. 

There are many things I love about Mabel, but if I had to pick out just one, aside from what I've already said... If I had to pick out just one thing to say: "This is why you should listen," I would say this: the writing is beautiful. It's literary, poetic, mysterious, lyrical and haunting. There are twists and turns that are there for the obsessive listener who loves to solve a mystery, but not so many that you cannot keep up with the story. 

If I could tell you one other thing to love about Mabel, it would be that I love it when women/femme identifying characters are allowed to be angry, without the implication that you should hate them, or be frustrated with their anger. It's a beautiful thing, and Mabel executes this perfectly. Hats off to Becca De La Rosa and Mabel Martin for writing such a wonderfully engrossing story and creating a world I love to get lost in. 

The next season of Mabel comes out in June 2018 to give its creators time to get married (yes, to each other!) Read their misty-eye-inducing announcement about their good news here and support them on Patreon. Just go listen and support these amazing creators... I mean honestly, what more could you want?