In searching for new podcasts, I stumbled across The Penumbra Podcast. I didn’t have any travel plans for reading week but still found myself transported to a galaxy far far away. Each episode took me back to the Penumbra. As per the podcast itself, the Penumbra is either the “greatest hotel this side of Nowhere” or a twice-monthly podcast series. You decide.
As a guest at the Penumbra there are many rooms to choose from, so many they aren’t even sure how many there are, or what lies behind them. Each episode opens a new door, revealing a new adventure.
In the first and only reoccurring storyline listeners will find themselves in Hyperion City which, as it turns out, is the largest colony city on Mars. Living in Hyperion City is private investigator Juno Steel. Whether his clients are high-profile or low, Juno is on the case. This hardboiled detective series features many of the classic tropes you would expect to find: the private eye monologue, corruption, and the requisite bottle of scotch in the office drawer.
Connected to Juno Steel’s story line are the bonus episodes “The Rita Minute”. Rita works as Juno Steel’s secretary, and is somewhat unconventional in her approach to her work. These quick 10-minute episodes take us inside Rita’s time spent alone at the office, while Juno is out and about working on cases.
The Penumbra Podcast is classic storytelling, but with a twist. Storylines will be familiar but they are being told in new and innovative ways. The producer’s love of storytelling is evident throughout the entire series. From the writing to the acting, the production value and use of sound to transport you to another world, The Penumbra Podcast is storytelling in a delightful new flavour.
The chronicles of Juno Steel are released in 2-part episodes running between 30 and 40 minutes each. These stories are alternated with stand-alone episodes of the same length. Genres include horror, the old west, high fantasy and thrillers. Episodes are released twice a month.
The Penumbra Podcast completed its first season at the end of December. In preparation for the premiere of season 2 the first episode “Juno Steel and the Case of the Murderous Mask (Part 1)” has been rewritten, recast, and re-recorded for rerelease. The Penumbra Podcast is available on iTunes, or wherever you find and listen to your favourite podcasts.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 24, March 7th, 2017.