I went in knowing very little about Out Of Place other than the audio drama’s short introductory blurb, and I’m glad I did. First off, I would recommend to stop here and to start listening with little more than that as well. Comeback when done, and whatever flaws you might find I highly doubt you’ll be sorry for hitting play. If you are one who needs more to embark on the two seasons released, I’ll flesh out the bare bones of its clever premise that starts small but steadily expands through some dark sci-fi material.
Its unnerving narrative begins in an understated way through the audio logs of archivist Andrew Moss. Through his cataloguing of strange artefacts that come his way, artefacts that seem “out of place,” we learn more about him and the history of each location from which they arrive. The short episodes are just the right length and perfectly paced to hook you in and keep you on the line. Piece by piece the mystery grows as does the worlds it explores and yes, you heard plural.
The second season expands not only episode length but its cast along with its sound design and ideas turned over, and there are a lot of the latter. Pulling together the audio logs of more than just our lead archivist, the overarching story drives more of season 2 with great effect. Feasibly the premise and remaining mysteries could fuel several more seasons, and while I’d more than like that, we get enough resolution to feel rewarded for time invested no matter the audio drama’s future.
With it’s British archivist narrator, creepy undercurrents and episodic nature tied into an overarching story, Out Of Place can be described as a kind of Magnus Archives for hard sci-fi fans. It contemplates and auditorily realizes some very frightening ideas. To me, I find more of a nod to the Twilight Zone where the premise allows each episode to jump into the heart of the story and message on offer. The narrative’s unpredictability is not had via trying to outthink you or shock you; instead, it unveils its twists and turns by leading you through an imaginative, well-thought-out realm of possibilities.
While there might be some remix of what has come before ultimately, Out Of Place is unique. It sets itself apart not only because of its particular sci-fi angle but its assured balance between the emotional life of our protagonist, historical explorations and its imaginative expanse of bone-chilling ideas. Every episode in and of itself could have launched its own audio drama on the concept expressed alone. But we don’t need it. In under a half hour each episode it will take you to the darkest reaches and back again, demonstrating the lack of impact length has on a good story.
Out Of Place is a truly imaginative sci-fi audio drama, and the research and writing that went in to pulling off its premise is impressive. Actor Ben Counter as our lead does a superb job voicing our jaded but curious archivist. That he is also the writer may account for his pitch-perfect delivery. The production comes from the Midnight Disease crew, who are also responsible for Lake Clarity, SCP Archives, Insidious Inspirations, Margaret’s Garden, and The Hotel. Most of those I have not checked out yet but Out Of Place has ensured I will. If you’re in the mood for some smart sci-fi that can give you chills based on ideas alone Out of Place will be well placed in your audio drama feed.