Features | Written by Ed Fortune 26/03/2020

Pod Pick: TALES FROM THE ALETHEIAN SOCIETY

The choice of podcasts to subscribe to these days is truly phenomenal. Naturally, you already listen to STARBURST’s own output (right?), but what other audio pleasures await your ears? May we recommend...

The serialised audio drama TALES FROM THE ALETHEIAN SOCIETY has been a top pick in STARBURST Towers recently due to its perfect mix of comedy and creepy. We caught up with one of the show's creators, Jude, to find out more… 

STARBURST: How would you describe Tales From the Aletheian Society to the uninitiated?

Jude: It's a comedy-horror audio drama about the adventures of a society of bickering occultists in Victorian Glasgow. If you imagine the sort of thing that Terry Pratchett, Muriel Spark, and Edgar Allan Poe would come up with after a night on the town, you won't be far from the truth.

Where did the idea for the show come from?

It was originally conceived as a background for a Victorian LARP that never ran. Then when we ran a WWII LARP for several years, we snuck the Aletheian Society stuff into that as background.

Why Lovecraft?

It isn't exactly Lovecraft - it's definitely Mythos-adjacent, but you won't find Cthulhu or Yog-Sothoth. I think we've had one reference to the Necronomicon in one of our written stories, but that's it so far. We have a cosmology, and the viewers have seen parts of it, but not the whole thing.

Why are we so fascinated with Victoriana?

It was the beginning of the rational, scientific age. Enormous social changes, huge empires rising and falling. The principles of the world were being discovered and utilised at a speed that had never before been seen. There's a mystique to that idea of taming a world with science, industry and religion. Even though to today's eyes we can see how much of it was terrible, the scope of achievements and ambition still enthrall us.

How would you pitch the show to a beloved elderly relative?

"Like an old fashioned radio show crossed with a Radio 4 comedy. With Victorians. And swearing. And monsters. You'll love it." Reader, our beloved elderly relative did not love it.

What has been your favourite show so far?

That would have to be the penultimate episode of Season 2. We had a lot of fun recording that one, and the big reveal towards the end is one of the standout moments of the series.

What is the most fun part of putting the show together?

Mucking about during recordings - ad-libs and mistakes.

Which character would you most like to go drinking with?

Dr Cadwallader and Banjo would try and cadge money and get drunk. Jessie would probably start a fist-fight. Gillespie hates pubs and Cressida's insane. I'm not sure Sophia would drink with me - she's a bit of a snob - which really leaves Arthur who is nice, but would probably talk my ear off about the finer points of architecture.

Which character really needs a word with themself?

They're all pretty dreadful! But if I had to pick one, Reverend Stuart - you'll meet him in Season 3 if you haven't got there yet - would probably benefit from a sit-down and a stern talking-to about some of his more questionable life choices of late. But let's face it, none of the characters are prone to making sensible decisions, so I don't see him changing his ways - or his intimate companion - any time soon...

How has the response from the community been?

It's been lovely. We were absolutely blown away by the welcome we received from podcast creators and fans and the reviews we got for Season 1 did a lot to build our confidence. The learning curve for Twitter was pretty steep, but it became apparent early on that's where the podcast audio drama community lives and breathes.

Where did all this come from?

Myself and Chris are writers, Stoo is a writer, musician and programmer. All of us live in Glasgow and play D&D together. We got the idea after doing some voice acting for Ritch Keeling's Tales of the Free Cities Guild Ball podcast and started to think we could have fun putting together a show of our own. Things sort of snowballed after that, and before long we were writing a full-cast audio drama, and recording it in Stoo's spare room.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry - highly recommended if you like Victorian Edinburgh, crime, medical history and smart-arsed protagonists.

What ways can we get the show?

For direct download of episodes - and loads of bonus website content - you can find us at www.hunterhoose.co.uk, or you can find us on iTunes or Stitcher. Alternatively, you can just search for us by name on your favourite podcatcher.

How can we support you?

Listen, rate and review, or drop us a line to theincident@hunterhoose.co.uk if you want to tell us how much you like us. If you're considering supporting the show financially and getting some sweet bonus minisodes as a reward, you can take a look at our Patreon at www.patreon.com/aletheiansoc, or you can buy branded merchandise at our www.cafepress.co.uk/hunterhoose. We don't make much money on it, but we LOVE to see photos of people wearing or drinking tea out of our stuff!