The Cambridge Geek

Alice Isn't Dead

The people who created Welcome To Night Vale have started branching out into other podcasts, giving a platform to other people, presumably with some sort of technical support. This one is put together by the main chap behind Vale though, so you can expect it to be relatively similar.

Alice Isn't Dead is the rallying call of Keisha, who had believed her wife had died, until she saw her on the TV in the crowd on the news one day. In order to travel across the country hunting her, Keisha takes up Alice's old profession, truck driving, and begins a long trek through America's heartlands, hunting for clues.

The story is told either through audio diaries, recorded for later perusal, or through Keisha's pronouncements into the radio airwaves over CB, to anyone who is interested in her tales as they drive through the night. (I tend to assume she's always driving in darkness. It is a horror podcast after all.)

As she gets closer to Alice's past, certain threads begin to appear. Her first enemy is "the Thistle Man", an employee of a company with a thistle logo, who has a worrying tendency to eat people. This Thistle Man may be a serial killer with dozens of murders to his name, and seems to have some sort of power to prevent the authorities from taking an interest in his activities.

On the side of good, there is the Bay and Creek Company, who employ Keisha to drive their trucks, but who also seem to be opposed to the Thistle Men, occasionally rescuing Keisha and giving her a bit of military support. There are hints that Alice was, and still is, working for them, and she leaves messages for Keisha, usually through billboards. There is also the mysterious Praxis, who do...something.

It's episodic in nature, with the running main plot getting less or more time depending on the episode, and other sidelines dropped in to fill time. There are towns which disappear and reappear, always different, a man living his entire life in a day, and mysterious ships. There's also a plucky sidekick. This does sometimes make it tricky to work out what is actually important, and what's just a bit of fluffery designed as a creepy moment.

It has a very particular style, with the narration for a single episode jumping around in a non-chronological order, and a slightly detached tone of voice for the majority of the time. Has a bit of an X-Files feel, but suffers from some of the shows being a bit more vague than others. I've kept listening thus far to find out what's going on with the main mystery, but the actual episodes themselves are feeling less and less interesting. I've more or less dropped out, about three quarters of the way through series two, and I'm fairly unlikely to go back to it. (I dropped out of Night Vale in a similar manner. Just not enough consistency and development.)

If you're a fan of Night Vale, you're probably already listening to this, but if not, give it a try. If you're not, I'd say try Night Vale first. It's the better show. Then maybe try this.

Score 3

Tagged: Audio fiction Drama Cast Personal recording Urban fantasy Serial