“Seeking Tanis. Runner available.”
With these words you are led down a mysterious path chock full of: hidden cities, altered states of consciousness, shadowy corporations, supernatural phenomenon, cults, conspiracies, secret history, Baba Yaga, Jack Parsons, numbers stations, Dungeons & Dragons references, deep web spelunking, and serial killers. The TANIS podcast by Pacific Northwest Stories‘ own Nic Silver has a little something for everyone. I discovered TANIS midway through listening to their other show, the Black Tapes (which honestly deserves a review on its own) and was immediately hooked.
In style TANIS is a bit like a found footage style movie; it is a story told serially over a number of episodes masquerading as a podcast researching a “weird phenomena” the narrator and his colleagues stumble upon in the midst of doing other research. I find it a best of breed of such shows. It remains engaging and believable as the narrator leads us further and further down the rabbit hole that is TANIS. The central conceit is a vague reference to a legendary (or perhaps mythical) city called Tanis that seems to have taken on a life of its own. The story blends the fantastic with the sinister by turns and draws you in as it does. The show notes (available on the website) provide background props, images and crunch for the listener to further immerse themselves in.
I’m not going to spoil anything for anyone, but it is a great example of the sort of thing H.P. Lovecraft did so well with his narratives, and I really, really like it. So check out TANIS at their website, on iTunes and they seem to have a Patreon going for the folks with day jobs to contribute to. As always, I like to tie this back to analog gaming somehow, so if you are in the mood for a conspiracy game, horror campaign or a low key urban fantasy setting, or just need inspiration for the same, you could do worse than consider TANIS.
The series is currently on hiatus between seasons 1 and 2, but is set to resume soon with more episodes. I can’t wait.
[Edit: Season 2 of TANIS dropped on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Go listen. – Mike]