Hugo Award News


Escape Pod is honored to be a finalist for the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. Voting is now open to members of WorldCon. The Voter Packet, including 5 stories from us, is available for your consideration. Find all the details here!

Congratulations to Co-Editor Mur Lafferty on her nominations for Best Novel and Best Fancast, and to Associate Editor Sarah Gailey for Best Novella!


The following staff members from Escape Pod and Escape Artists will be attending WorldCon in San Jose:

  • Alasdair Stuart
  • Marguerite Kenner
  • Mur Lafferty
  • S.B. Divya
  • Norm Sherman
  • Benjamin C. Kinney
  • Sarah Gailey
  • S. Kay Nash
  • Laura Pearlman
  • Peter Behravesh

Look for us there, and please do stop us to say hello!

Announcing Artemis Rising 5


In March 2019, Escape Pod will bring you ARTEMIS RISING for a fifth year. This special month-long event, across all four Escape Artists podcasts, is a celebration of stories written by women, in the broadest definition of the word.

ARTEMIS RISING specifically highlights women in genre fiction, a demographic that has been underrepresented until recent years. This showcase helps to address that historical imbalance and correct the impression, which continues to persist in some social circles, that women cannot write excellent science fiction.

Guest Editors

We are pleased to announce that last year’s guest editors, Laura Pearlman and S. Kay Nash, will reprise their roles for 2019.

Who Can Submit

Submissions are open to anyone who identifies as a woman to any degree.

In past years, we have specifically included the term “non-binary” in our Artemis Rising submission calls — you may notice it is missing this year.

English is flawed in its ability to accurately represent the breadth of human genders, and as such the language we use is always evolving. We respect the feedback that we’ve received regarding our use of “non-binary” as a catch-all: that it erroneously tilts the perception of non-binary people in a feminine direction.

In a continuing effort to support diversity and inclusivity, we’re changing the language of our ARTEMIS RISING call. Non-binary authors who identify as women are welcome to submit. Your gender is for you to determine, and we support you and take you at your word. If you feel you have a story that helps cast light on the multitudinal existence that is womanness, please don’t self-reject.

Please note we’re talking about author identity here, not pen names. We fully respect the right of authors to use whatever pen names they like. However, as we note in our Legalese, we require information in the submission form be accurate and truthful.

As always, we strongly encourage submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically under-represented or excluded from traditional science fiction, including, but not limited to, people of color, LGBTQ authors, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States. Our goal is to publish fiction that reflects the diversity of humanity, so we strongly encourage submissions from these and any other under-represented groups.

What to Submit

Send in your best science fiction between 1,500–6,000 words. Original fiction as well as reprints are welcome this year. Payment will be USD $0.06 per word for original fiction, $100 for reprints.

If you have another story under consideration already in the general submissions queue, you are welcome to submit an additional story for ARTEMIS RISING. One submission per portal for a total of two under consideration.

Multiple and/or simultaneous submissions are not accepted.

You can send in one submission for ARTEMIS RISING to each of our podcasts (Escape Pod for science fiction, PseudoPod for horror, PodCastle for fantasy, and Cast of Wonders for young adult), but please don’t send the same story to more than one podcast at a time.

While we’ll be accepting a limited number of stories for ARTEMIS RISING, all stories will also be considered for general submissions as well, in the event that we simply have too much awesome to contain in one month.

How to Submit

A special ARTEMIS RISING Submittable portal will open September 1. Submissions will be open for the month of September 2018. Stories will air in March 2019.

Thanks, and we look forward to reading your stories!

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Escape Pod 640: Paradise Regained


Paradise Regained

By Edward Lerner

My head hurts. I expect it: this is winter. I want it to be spring.

Paradise does not ask what I want.

The winter is young, and I think the dogs are not yet so hungry as to attack me. Still, I hold tight to my spear. Dogs or no dogs, the spear helps me walk through the knee-deep snow.

Only trees show above the snow, and I do not know what is under. In winter, asleep, the plants cannot scream when I step on them.

Because they are asleep, Father told me. Long ago. Before Mother died. Before I left home. I did not understand what he meant. I do not now.

I think Father is gone, too. “Watch the flag,” Father told me, long ago, pointing at the tall pole that stood near Ship. “I will change the flag every day. Unless … I can’t. Then you must come. You must.” (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 639: Me, Meg, and The Thing


Me, Meg, and The Thing

By Gian-Paul Bergeron

I’m Inroom making honest credit, doing Daily, counting breaths, when Meg messages me with extreme urgent markation to say that she got a Thing and I’m like Meg, you loon, please, and then she stresses the urgency with absolute dire markation – i.e. there has never been a realer deal – and so I hyperthink and create some awful anxiety, such that Main recommends exercise, which I do superquick, after which Main allocates extra water and recommends drink, so I do and sit still until 10 minutes, watching my bladder markation rise slowly until it hits Basic Relief, at which point I turn thoughts to nearly zilch and relieve myself all over myself, and Main calls Sanitation to take me to Communal Care, where Meg will be waiting with pissed pants, a fat grin, and maybe even a Thing.  (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 638: Ulla (Flashback Friday)


Ulla

By Daniel Schwabauer

(Excerpt)

The world we now occupy is red, fourth from its sun, and extreme in its temperature. The atmosphere is lethal. Without our shelters we would die. But we will not be here long. Already the attack-cylinders, loaded with machinery and the weapons of destruction, stand ready in the firing tubes. Soon I shall be sending you thoughts from the third planet.

I have loved you.

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Escape Pod 637: At the Village Vanguard (Ruminations on Blacktopia)


At the Village Vanguard

(Ruminations on Blacktopia)

By Maurice Broaddus

In this, the 25th anniversary of the founding of the lunar colony, First World (colloquially called Blacktopia by its residents), The Indianapolis Recorder, the nation’s oldest-surviving African-American newspaper, continues its series re-visiting key events. Their reporter interviewed (and re-interviewed) many of the principals in order to piece together a picture of the terrorist threat that nearly ended it and the heroic actions of Science Police Officer, Astra Black.

 

Jiminy Crootz (aka J-Croo, Science Police, Senior Investigator. Retired.)

When the alarms sounded for the converter station, I had no doubt she would beat me there. The gate surrounding the solar panel farm had been slit open, like someone wanted to perform a Caesarean but only had a rusted pair of clippers at their disposal. The backdoor of the converter station had been battered in. The air, heavy and re-breathed, like the filters weren’t working at full efficiency. Panels ripped open, wires everywhere. Nanobots probably skittered across the room like roaches in my aunty’s old kitchen. The farm was strictly a backup source of power for the lunar colony, so it wasn’t as heavily guarded as say the nuclear fission power station or the magnetic generators. But there was still a man down and Astra Black stood over his body.

 

Dr. Hensley Morgan (aka Dreamer, ranking Science Council member)

Astra had an elegance about her, like the waltz of a First Lady. When she walked, she stepped with purpose. Long strides, though only the balls of her feet ever seemed to touch the ground. At first glance, nothing about her stuck out as exceptional. Average height and build. Hair drawn back in Afro puffs. But she had this way about her.

(Continue Reading…)

Holiday Special Submissions Call


Escape Pod is looking for a holiday-themed story to run at the end of the year. We are accepting reprints and originals for this limited submissions call, which will run from Oct 1 – Oct 15, 2018.

Stories should follow our general guidelines for subject matter and word count. They should also incorporate a holiday that typically takes place in November or December by an Earth-based Gregorian calendar.

If you have a story in our general submissions that you would like considered for the special call, let us know by email to Otherwise, please use the Submittable portal below for our Holiday Special.

Holiday Special

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Escape Pod 636: Mother Tongues


Mother Tongues

By S. Qiouyi Lu

“Thank you very much,” you say, concluding the oral portion of the exam. You gather your things and exit back into the brightly lit hallway. Photos line the walls: the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu. The sun shines on each destination, the images brimming with wonder. You pause before the Golden Gate Bridge.

“右拐就到了,” the attendant says. You look up. His blond hair is as standardized as his Mandarin, as impeccable as his crisp shirt and tie. You’ve just proven your aptitude in English, but hearing Mandarin still puts you at ease in the way only a mother tongue does. You smile at the attendant, murmuring a brief thanks as you make your way down the hall.

You turn right and enter a consultation room. The room is small but welcoming, potted plants adding a dash of green to the otherwise plain creams and browns of the furniture and walls. A literature rack stands to one side, brochures in all kinds of languages tucked into its pockets, creating a mosaic of sights and symbols. The section just on English boasts multiple flags, names of different varieties overlaid on the designs: U.S. English – Standard. U.K. English – Received Pronunciation. Singaporean English – Standard. Nigerian English – Standard… Emblazoned on every brochure is the logo of the Linguistic Grading Society of America, a round seal with a side-view of a head showing the vocal tract.

You pick up a Standard U.S. English brochure and take a seat in one of the middle chairs opposite the mahogany desk that sits before the window. The brochure provides a brief overview of the grading system; your eyes linger on the A-grade description: Speaker engages on a wide variety of topics with ease. (Phonology?) is standard; speaker has a broad vocabulary… You take a quick peek at the dictionary on your phone. Phonology-linguistic sound systems. You file the word away to remember later.

The door opens. A woman wearing a blazer and pencil skirt walks in, her heels clacking against the hardwood floor, her curled hair bouncing with every step. You stand to greet her and catch a breath of her perfume.

“Diana Moss,” she says, shaking your hand. Her name tag also displays her job title: Language Broker. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 635: After Midnight at the ZapStop

Show Notes

This story references a concept called “mirror neurons,” that’s subject to some controversy in the scientific community. Escape Pod’s current Assistant Editor happens to be a neuroscientist who shared some thoughts on the topic: http://benjaminckinney.com/mirror-neurons/


After Midnight at the Zap Stop

By Matthew Claxton

When the guy with the horns came in, I knew it wouldn’t be a good shift.

He scowled when the ZapStop’s doors refused to slide open for him. Ignoring the late-hours doorbell, he pounded one meaty fist on the shatterproof polycarbonate. The young woman beside him, hands tucked into the pouch of her hoodie, shifted uncomfortably.

I considered leaving them standing in the parking lot, but much as I’d like to have the ten p.m.-to-six a.m. shifts uninterrupted by customers, they were kind of the point. I hit the door release and let them in.

Under the bright store LEDs, I could see the forehead ornaments were new. Big, curling ram’s horns, straight out of a Rocky Mountain wildlife doc, joined across his forehead to give him a perpetual frown. Faint pink lines traced the graft below his hairline and just above his eyebrows where the whole mess had been slapped into place.

Typical frat boy, in other words. At least horns were less awkward than last year’s fashion for antlers. We’d lost a few ceiling tiles to those.

“Help you with anything?” I said. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 634: On a Clear Day You Can See All the Way to Conspiracy (Flashback Friday)

Show Notes

Alasdair referenced the following in the host endcaps: Frantic Caller and Bob Lazar Interview.


On a Clear Day You can See All the Way to Conspiracy

By Desmond Warzel

You’re listening to the Mike Colavito Show on Cleveland’s home for straight talk, WCUY 1200. The opinions expressed on this program do not reflect those of WCUY, its management, or its sponsors.

Fair warning; I’m in a mood today, folks.

We’ve got a mayor whose only talent seems to be showing up at luncheons and waving at the cameras.

Eighty bucks I had to pay yesterday for not wearing my seatbelt. Show me the seatbelts on a school bus.

I saw a Cleveland athlete on national TV last night wearing a Yankees cap.

And every day I get at least a dozen calls from schmucks who think that people like me are the problem in this city.

Tell me America’s not falling apart. (Continue Reading…)