Tales from the Aletheian Society

Tales from the Aletheian Society is a serialised comedy-horror audio drama about the misadventures of a society of Victorian occultists.

New illuminate discovered: Julia Mary Brazell

Miss Brazell was the librarian of the Society’s Llandudno chapter, which was established in 1848 to oversee the expansion of the town.  This construction work allowed the Society cover to clandestinely search for the remnants of a malignant pre-human civilisation buried in the vicinity.  It was Miss Brazell’s job to  study and catalogue the strange artefacts that were recovered, before shipping them off for either storage or destruction.

Apart from her duties in the library, Miss Brazell was also an active field agent, and her encyclopedic knowledge of the occult led to the swift and successful resolution of the “Queen Victoria’s Goats” incident.  Given the dangerous nature of the information under her care, Brazell was disinclined to let chapter-mates simply browse the collection, and had a fearsome reputation for refusing what she felt were frivolous requests for records.

By the time of her disappearance in 1865 Miss Brazell was at odds with Chapter-Master Felton, and had begun to live the life of a virtual recluse, seldom leaving her library for any length of time.  According to the reports of her Chapter-mates of the time, during an argument with Felton, she simply dissolved into a shower of paper and dissipated into the library’s collection.

Since that day it has been not uncommon for her spirit to manifest in the library as tutting or shushing noises when anyone makes too much noise, or the sudden closing of books if she feels that they are too dangerous for browsing.

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Another illuminate?

This image was discovered between the pages of a book recovered from the Llandudno chapter after an incident involving sentient teacups migrating into the library. But who is this respectable lady? And what is her connection to the Aletheian Society?  Society archivists are hard at work uncovering further information...

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Animated trailer for Book 2

The latest visualisation of the exploits of the Aletheian Society...

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Inspiring Ladies

As the Aletheian Society blunder about Victorian Britain, one of the tremendous pleasures we have is identifying real world people for them to run into - and Edinburgh in the early 1870s seem particularly packed with fascinating individuals for us to shoehorn into our plots. You'll meet one of those people in Episode 2 - so go and listen to that first before you read on...

...Done? Excellent. I'm referring, of course, to Isabel Thorne, one of the Edinburgh Seven - a pioneering group of women who convinced Edinburgh University to let them study medicine, characterised by their remarkable ability and perseverance.  They met with tremendous opposition from their fellow medical students, the staff and the wider population of Edinburgh- but despite being assaulted, threatened and harassed, all seven consistently excelled academically and passed their final exams with flying colours, only to be told that they should never have been admitted in the first place, and denied their degree. 

As the first group of female undergraduates in Britain, these inspiring ladies laid the foundations for equal access to higher education in a time when only a few years before it would have been unthinkable. In 1876, an act of parliament made it possible for women to study medicine in British Universities - just four years after Sophia and Isabel meet in Edinburgh. Several of the seven went on to obtain medical qualifications in other Universities - Isabel Thorne never did, but instead was instrumental in establishing the London School of Medicine for Women, where her daughter trained and became a surgeon.

You can never really hope to do your heroes justice in a fictional setting - but I hope that Isabel Thorne wouldn't have been too outraged by the version of her that appears in our story. Fictional Isabel's courage, intelligence and wit are inspired by her real-life achievements - any flaws and inaccuracies are naturally the fault of the writers. 

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T minus 24

As I write this, we’ve got less than 24 hours to go before Season 2 is launched, and the familiar buzz of anticipation and anxiety is building. It’s hard not to compare it to the day before we released our first episode, not knowing whether people would enjoy it, hate it, or worse - ignore it completely. I don’t think any of us really thought that we’d get much of an audience beyond our immediate social circles, or that we’d have been welcomed with such warmth and kindness into the established audiodrama and podcasting community. In a way, with Season 1, we had very little to lose - it was our first try at audio storytelling, and if it failed, then no harm done.

Now, six months later, the first season and accompanying minisodes under our belt, the game has changed. We’re an established audiodrama (we have fans we’ve never even met!) and we’ve tried to build on what we learned from our first few episodes to make a more complex, more nuanced, just-plain-better show- and we think we’ve managed. And correspondingly, the stakes feel that much higher than they did first time round.

Writing and performing is all about ego - and as we’ve said before, you need a fairly big one to think that people will want to listen to what you have to say - but a creator’s ego is a fragile thing. Feedback is a vital part of growing and learning as a creator, the prouder you are of what you’ve achieved the harder it is to face incoming criticism, no matter how constructively it might be delivered. Putting your best work out there and inviting people to experience it is difficult. But then, if we don’t think what we make is worth sharing, why do we bother making it in the first place?

So, here it is - Tales From The Aletheian Society, Season Two - A Parcel of Rogues - the result of six months hard work from Chris, Stoo and me, and our wonderful cast and crew. Individual thanks will come later, but as always we couldn’t do this without absolutely everyone who’s given their time and talents to the show. It’s not perfect, and with the benefit of the retrospectoscope we’re learning from yet another round of mistakes - but it’s done, and we can’t wait to share it with you and hear what you all think, and overall we're feeling pretty damn proud, and excited... 

And maybe just a little bit nervous...

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