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EP060: Creature For Hire

By Paul E. Martens.
Read by Mark Forman (of Getting A Leg Up and The Ex-Wife files).

“But, Morty, I’m an alien. Christ, I’m The Alien, the only one on the whole damned planet.
There’s got to be something.” It occurred to me that my apartment was too big. It seemed to be
getting bigger every day. And when I considered the rent
vis a vis my bank account balance, the
place was huge.

“The novelty’s worn off, kiddo. I’m surprised it lasted for four movies. And that last one
didn’t really count, just a walk-on in a dream sequence. The point is, people aren’t going to keep
paying to see something they’ve already seen, even if he is an alien. I mean, it’s not like you do
anything. You’re just there, you know?”

Rated PG. Contains minor innuendo, minor swearing, and some grotesque imagery. No livestock were harmed in the making of this podcast.

Comments (17)

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  1. Spork says:

    Just so you know…the file name is now a mile long. I don’t know if you’ve changed the podcasting service you use, looks like podlot now, but the file names is terrible.

    Some players, like mine, have a character limit for the file name. I can’t hear this story without screwing around with the filename which then screws around with my aggregator.

  2. SFEley says:

    Hi Spork,

    Do you mean the URL or the filename?

    We’ve been using Podlot to serve almost all of our files since last fall. They’ve been good enough to donate bandwidth to Escape Pod, which sometimes exceeds a couple of terabytes a month. The hosting hasn’t changed. I did just turn on Podtrac tracking again (that’s the http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3? part at the beginning of the URL) — I’d removed it a few weeks ago because they were having technical issues, but before that we’d been using Podtrac on all of our files since December. If you were subscribed prior to June, you’ve processed these sorts of URLs before. (And none of it should ever be saved as part of the filename on your end.)

    The filename format, EP060_CreatureForHire.mp3, is based on other listener feedback. Some MP3 players display the filename instead of using the ID3 tags to show what you’re listening to, and some people who owned those players requested that we include title information in the names.

    If you’ll let me know what podcatcher you use and your specific requirements, I’ll do my best to help you find a solution that works. None of the stuff we’re doing with this file is new, but I certainly want it to be convenient for everyone to hear us.

  3. [...] Hey gang my EscapePod reading is up now here. Make sure you show Steve Eley some love for doing such a fine show, and leave a comment over there. Hope you enjoy! [...]

  4. Omry Yadan says:

    Hi Steve,
    the redirect service you use in the URL currently have an error (502, bad gateway).
    maybe its time to reconsider using them :) .

  5. SFEley says:

    Hi Omry,

    That’s very strange. I just confirmed that it worked for me (and they’ve assured me personally that it’s up and running right now).

    If you don’t mind, please try it again, and if it still doesn’t work send me an e-mail at editor@escapepod.org to let me know what software you’re using and what ISP. I’ll pass that on to their support person and tell him to follow up directly with you. If that doesn’t resolve it, then yes, I will work something else out.

    I do have a specific reason for beginning to use them again, and yes, it relates to advertising. More details on that later. But that’s no good if people can’t listen, so I take this stuff very seriously. Thanks for letting me know there’s a problem.

  6. Groupie says:

    When I need to download the episode directly with Firefox instead of using iTunes, I’ve found that the podtrac address gets in the way of downloading the MP3 file itself.

    So what I do is copy the link to the MP3 file, paste it into Google, and then delete the portion of the URL up to the beginning of the actual URL, and click “search.”

    Google then tells me that it doesn’t have an entry for that address, but conveniently converts that address to a link that I can then right-click and download with no difficulty at all.

    The whole process takes me all of about ten seconds.

  7. Spork says:

    Here’s the filename, Steve.
    redirect_http___escapepod_podlot_com_EPFlash021_StuckInAnElevator_mp3.mp3

    It’s too damned long for my mp3 player’s software. It’s a nice 20GB model from iriver, so I’m not talking about a shitty memory stick knockoff or anything.

  8. JM Campbell says:

    I just wanted to say this story was fun, for some reason I pictured the alien looking like Robert Blake.

    but the reading seemed really dry in my opinion.

  9. Pete Butler says:

    Cute, and enjoyable. I love that First Contact is with the alien version of a shipwrecked Ordinary Joe. And hey, was the narrator really any more useless a celebrity than Paris Hilton? :-)

  10. YaZug says:

    Loved the story.

  11. Omry Yadan says:

    Steve, just bumped into it again after googling myself.
    all seems fine now.

  12. BigFan says:

    The quality of this story was high enough to ooze through the “mismatched” reading. The reader might have a gift for certain things, but this story was definitely not one of them. He sounded like a tipsy kindergarten teacher. Sloppy, uneven emphasis, and a condescending tone.

    I think this sort of mismatch is a rare occasion. So… its a proof of EP’s basic awesomeness.

  13. SciFi Nut says:

    I’ve tried downloading this twice now and the file seems to be only 1.2MB and only 0:01:43 long. Anyone else having this problem?

  14. Matt says:

    Yeah i get that as well………….

  15. Jen says:

    Yup, same issue, and it cuts off when played directly from the site also, right in the middle of the introduction. Some problem with the file?

  16. SciFi Nut says:

    Hey, it’s up on the Escape Pod Classic site now, if you still want to hear it:

    http://classic.escapepod.org/?p=67

  17. scatterbrain says:

    Showbusiness is a bitch.

    The Aldiss reference was a bit off.