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EP461: Selkie Stories are for Losers

by Sofia Samatar
read by Amanda Ching

about the author/narrator…

I am the author of the novel A Stranger in Olondria (Small Beer Press, 2013). I edit nonfiction and poetry for Interfictions Online. You can find out more about me at sofiasamatar.com, or contact me directly at sofiasamatar@gmail.com.

Comments (7)

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  1. nooker says:

    While this story isn’t bad, it’s really not science fiction. While I am normally loath to argue about whether or not a story fits some sort of science fiction criteria, this one clearly doesn’t. There is no science here. There are two girls who want to run away and one who tells fantastic stories. There’s nothing about the way the stories are told that implies that she has seen anything to imply they are true, they’re just stories. This story could easily be 100% true without changing a single detail. There are no trappings of science, real or imagined, or even magic, that would be required to make this story happen right now. Good story, not science fiction and does not belong here.

  2. Mail-order Monster says:

    I agree with nooker. This story is not sci-fi and shouldn’t be on Escape Pod. I think it would fit better on PodCastle.
    I didn’t actually listen to the entire story though, so maybe something happens towards the end that would make it more sci-fi, but I doubt it. Main reason I didn’t finish it was because it’s not sci-fi, yet it reminded me of “The Silkie” by A.E. Vogt which is possibly the worst sci-fi novel I’ve ever read.

  3. Mat says:

    Every year we use August to feature Hugo Award nominee stories which are not obligated to be strictly sci-fi. It’s a feature we’ve run annually for most of the life of Escape Pod, and one that we don’t intend to change in the foreseeable future.

    We hope our listeners will be open minded enough to give these nominees a chance to be enjoyed. We will return to our normal programming schedule shortly.

  4. nooker says:

    I’m not closed minded and I never said I didn’t enjoy the story, I actually thought it was good. It’s just not science fiction, it’s really not anything but straight fiction or possibly non fiction since there is nothing preventing it from happening now. I saw the quick summary of what qualifies for the Hugo. It listed horror or fantasy in addition to science fiction, which makes sense as it can get real fuzzy with some stories. I also noticed that it said if a member of Worldcon thinks it qualifies, than it does. Only the last category works here.
    Let me put it another way. My son believes the story that I’ve told him about an alien (from the Alien movies) working in my building. I’ve told him that the alien lives there and does IT work for the school district. I’ve shown him where he lives and that he’s very shy so he won’t ever be able to see him. My sister has gotten in on the act, even admonishing me for not informing others of his presence. Another coworker showed my son the alien’s blood (believable because my son hasn’t seen the movies). A very similar, non fiction story could be written about this. Embellish it a bit and turn it into a fictional work, but just like the story here, the presence of a story about an alien doesn’t make it science fiction.
    This story may be award worthy (I don’t know, it’s really out of my wheelhouse), but it shouldn’t be considered for the Hugos, nor Escape Pod.

    • Joey says:

      Don’t worry Nooker, that’s the generic reply whenever someone gives any criticism against the Hugo stories.

      • Mat says:

        It is. And it is because the tradition of supporting the Hugos is important to us, even if we don’t always agree with their choices. It’s important because it is a long-running award system to highlight up-and-coming authors, and anything that furthers that cause is something we want to support. It’s important also because the nominees are pieces selected by and awarded by fans, and we believe that fan-decided awards are the best kind.

        The good news about this is that you can go to http://www.thehugoawards.org and find out how you can nominate and vote for stories, and we wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. The more people vote, the more valuable the award, so we’d like to see as many people in the pool as possible!

  5. Tonic says:

    Its being included with Science Fiction doesn’t bother me. I would technically consider it Speculative fiction as it could happen on earth in an alternate reality, but I still think that’s splitting hairs. I very much enjoy the liberalness of what “Science Fiction” can mean and very much enjoyed the story!