We’re a bunch of big old nerds here at Tor, and every once in a while we’ve got to share the good word about what we’re reading (or in this case, listening to!). So without further ado, marketing’s own Andrew King is here to yell about one of the Tor hive mind’s favorite podcasts, The Magnus Archives.
By Andrew King
I’ll say this right upfront: Time and wordcount are the only constraints preventing this article from becoming “5,000 Reasons to Listen to Rusty Quill’s The Magnus Archives.” If you’re unfamiliar with this horror serial podcast, The Magnus Archives is the story of a shady London academic institute that collects and verifies testimonies of the supernatural. If you are familiar, you’re probably a fan with 5,000 reasons to love it of your own.
Either way, let’s kick this list off.
1. A Smorgasbord of Chilling Short-form Horror
The basic template of an episode of The Magnus Archives is as follows: Head Archivist Jonathan Sims commits to recording a written statement regarding a paranormal encounter. These statements traverse all kinds of horror. As you listen, you’ll encounter lonesome suburbs that stretch on forever, the rage-filled ghosts of countless wars, a man who with the power to rearrange the flesh of his victims and steal their bones (gruesome!), and a multitude host of other horrors—all in easily digestible twenty minute episodes. Whatever kind of horror speaks to you in particular, rest assured (and in peace)—you can find it in The Magnus Archives.
2. An Immersive Universe of Long-form Storytelling
In addition to the statement-ly horror of the week, The Magnus Archives provides a cast of relatable, tragic, and endearing characters that must contend with supernatural dangers of their own as a result of their day job. Martin is a hapless dreamer who records poetry in between statements. Melanie will fight ghosts and you with the same intense fervor, so please don’t get in her way! Archival assistant Tim is a wise-cracking chaos bisexual while Sasha is unflinchingly dependable in the face of all-enveloping horror. If you haven’t spiraled down this rabbithole yet, these names are probably just names, but over the course of five seasons of audio horror, they’ll be names of characters that make you laugh, fret, cheer, and cry. Promise.
3. Canonized Queerness
Yes, the Magnus crew must contend with harrowing and monstrous entities of their world, but the show offers relief from some of the horrors of ours in the form of canonized queer representation. These characters live in a world that is too scary to spend any second living as any less than they truly are, and The Magnus Archives presents a compelling counterargument to the seemingly endless horror of the cosmos: Authentic love and companionship.
4. Creator Content
The finale of each season is inevitably a fraught time in The Magnus Archives-dom. Luckily, you can calm down with creator Q&A’s where the good folk behind the show talk through what production was like, and the choices that went into each season. And then there’s bloopers, and you can even listen to the cast and crew play fun dorky tabletop roleplaying games on special occasions with partner podcast Rusty Quill Gaming.
Here’s a quick look into what it’s like to be a fan of The Magnus Archives:
Perhaps your friends are tired as you enter your second hour of emphatically insisting that your tinfoil theory regarding the end of Season 5 is in fact, an accurate prediction. “You’re gonna think I’ve lost it,” you swear, “but I’ve got EVIDENCE. Look at these episodes. Look at these characters. TELL ME I’M WRONG.”
Your friends aren’t tired. They’ve got pages of notes on exactly why and where you are WRONG and this theorycrafting debate has just begun.
You peruse pages and pages of killer fanart at no risk of spoiling any grand reveals and keep an extra tab open on your Internet browser to scroll through Magnus tarot art on Tumblr. You run quick figures to estimate the cost of cosplaying a certain book-burning goth. Your TikTok feed is INFECTED with Magnus content and it is GLORIOUS.
You wouldn’t have it any other way.
In summary, there exists every reason that you should listen to The Magnus Archives. It’s a fantastic show both to listen and re-listen to—and yeah, I’ll attest—re-listen to again. I hope you find the same enjoyment in the show as I did, and I’m confident you will. And gosh, I’ve always wanted to say this: