Winner of the 2012 Parsec Awards and a favorite among audio/radio drama fans everywhere, The Mask of Inanna combines elements of old time radio with the sensibilities of audio drama in the modern age. The blending of the two is seamless and works for the story Alicia E. Goranson is telling. It doesn’t feel like a cheap gimmick at all. Rather, it pieces up things up in the same way the Mistborn: The Final Empire (the book) uses the italicized paragraphs at the beginning to chapters as both a plot point and a coolness factor.
The plot itself is anything but simple and is so unique. There’s a god called Inanna who watches over her followers children who are out risking their lives in Iraq. The protagonist is Leonard Allen—an elderly man who recently left retirement to finish the horror radio show he hosted back in the day. The name of the show is “After Dark” and for most of the episodes, a radio drama within an audio drama takes place. But it’s not simply there for fan service of OTR fans, it serves the story as a plot point.
The ending is where this piece truly shines. Truth be told, the middle was a slog to get through, mostly because it felt like setup or simply wasn’t interesting. But, man was that set up worth it. The last time I grew misty-eyes from listening to audio dramas was We’re Alive Season 2. Since then I’ve awaited another show to hit me with an emotional gut punch. I won’t say what happens for obvious reasons, but know that getting through the middle episodes is well worth your time.