REVIEW: Ostium

This fiction podcast is often mentioned in the same breath as Limetown and Black Tapes. Indeed it is an example of the conspiracy/horror story so popular amongst fiction podcasts. The male protagonist is deliberately an “everyman”. He works a mind-numbing office job, has no appreciable social or family life, and finds himself addicted to an odd online game. He hops onto a mystery glitch in the game; this is attributed to the ineffable siren call of the eponymous town, but he doesn’t seem to have much to lose.

Unbelievably, the writers of Ostium chose to go with the narrative of a chosen/special one for the male protagonist, whose first reaction to meeting a badass woman is “Does she like me?”. Why are we still entertaining such stereotypes? The town has “some special connection” with him – exact nature unknown, naturally, but certainly he has few emotional stakes in risking his – and her – life exploring the town.

What was ultimately the most frustrating for me was her validation with the “maybe he's not like other guys” stance. I would rather listen to her perspective: her motivation may be clichéd, but at least I can understand its importance to this character.

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