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Podcast Review: Steal the Stars, by Tor Labs

Steal the Stars is one of the best stories I’ve listened to in a long time.

Cover of Steal the Stars.

I say listened to because Steal the Stars is a dramatic podcast written by Mac Rogers and directed by Jordana Williams. There are eBook and paperback versions, but the podcast came first, and it was written to be heard. Steal the Stars has a full voice cast, crackling dialogue, and top-notch sound effects. This is a radio play, not an audiobook.

The premise mixes sci-fi and romance. Dakota Prentiss, the security chief for a secret military base housing alien wreckage, falls in love with Matt Salem, a new guard. There’s only one problem: “fraternization” at work is strictly prohibited by their employer, a corporation that’s essentially become the U.S. government. Anyone who breaks this rule does hard time in the Chem Zones, a sentence few survive. But Dakota and Matt continue their relationship anyway and concoct a desperate scheme to escape together.

Without dialogue tags, I sometimes had trouble telling Dakota’s lines from her first-person narration. The story also leans on some familiar tropes: alien conspiracies, forbidden love, etc. But I don’t mind hearing old tunes when they’re played well. And while the ending wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped, the journey to it was riveting. You know you’ve got a good podcast on your hands when you make up chores to do so you can keep listening. Steal the Stars had me working hard.

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