We’ll be closing to submissions next Monday (the 6th) until August as we clear some stories out of the inbox and cut down a bit on the inventory of stories we’ve already bought.
The Night Train
By Lavie Tidhar
Her name wasn’t Molly and she didn’t wear shades, reflective or otherwise.
She was watching the length of the platform.
Hua Lamphong at dusk: a warm wind blowing through the open platforms where the giant beasts puffed smoke and steam into the humid air, the roof of the train station arching high overhead.
Her name wasn’t Noi, either, in case you asked, though it’s a common enough name. It wasn’t Porn, or Ping. It wasn’t even Friday.
She was watching the platform, scanning passengers climbing aboard, porters shifting wares, uniformed police patrolling at leisure. She was there to watch out for the Old Man.
She wasn’t even a girl. Not exactly. And as for why the Old Man was called the Old Man . . .
He was otherwise known as Boss Gui: head and bigfala bos of the Kunming Toads. She got the job when she’d killed Gui’s Toad bodyguards—by default, as it were.
ePub version here.
We have listeners all over, and some of them will be heading into the winter months, but where I am spring has finally shook off the claws of winter.
But in the slice of science fiction fandom we all inhabit, spring is really notable for the return of Doctor Who to the airwaves, and thankfully for US fans, it is far closer to simultaneous transmission now that it has been the last few seasons. Physical distance matters less and less for communication, which in practice means that it is incredibly annoying to be in the US and looking at a twitter stream full of UK tweets about what the Doctor’s been on about that week. Spoilers suck (sweetie).
And speaking of the UK, we were very lucky and happy to run an interview with Lauren Beukes, who won this year’s Arthur C. Clarke award for her novel Zoo City. It’s available in an audio episode on our website, along with a (still audio) excerpt from the book.
This month we were happy to bring you six stories, three of them flash. We ran three of the four honorable mentions from our flash contest fiction, which we should have done well before this. The forth and the three outright winners of the contest should be following in fairly close order.
We also brought you Abby Goldsmith’s A Taste Of Time, LaShawn Wanak’s Future Perfect, and Larry Hodges’ Tom the Universe. If you didn’t already listen to the on the ‘cast, I implore you to flick, scroll, click, or otherwise navigate several pages further in this to read them.
Until next month,
Editor’s Note —3—
EP287: A Taste of Time By Abby Goldsmith —4—
Speculative Fiction And Engagement Marketing By Josh Roseman —13—
EP288: Future Perfect By LaShawn M. Wanak —15—
Book Review:God’s War By Sarah Frost —22—
EP290: Tom The Universe By Larry Hodges —24—
This episode has three of the honorable mentions from the flash contest we held on our forums.
You can, perhaps unsurprisingly, discuss this episode on our forums.
Rated PG for some naughty language in Many Mistakes.
Episode 37 – Captain Max Stone versus DESTRUCTOBOT!
By Angela Lee
Read by: Joshua McNichols
When last we left our heroes, Captain Max Stone and his brother Billy had just navigated Hyperion’s perilous asteroid field and battled their way into the fortified base of the villainous robot Destructobot. The dastardly robot’s latest scheme is the deadliest yet – he intends to destroy the Earth using a high-powered negabomb! Will Max stop Destructobot in time? Or will the earth be vaporized?
Many Mistakes, All Out of Order
By M.C. Wagner
Read by: Wilson Fowlie
The first mistake was in our thinking they were ghosts. In our defense, the tradition of vanishing, translucent figures wailing in the night might’ve influenced us.
By Arnold Gardner
Read By: Marshall Latham
Mr. Omega checked the time on his trans-dimensional pocket watch and stared out the taxi’s rain pelted window. Four minutes to midnight. Four minutes to the culmination of his life’s work.
We’re very sorry for the downtime of the last day or two, and I’m very sorry to also say that it may continue for another few days while we sort through some server issues that have affected the blogs, forums, and RSS feeds. Though we are hopeful that we’ve gotten things fairly well fixed for now.
Please let us know here if you are having issues with the blogs or RSS feeds at this thread on our forums. Or if they go back down, please email me at bill at escapeartists period net.
Thanks for your patience,
This has been a very strong season of Fringe, and it seemed inevitable that this would be its last. I mean, seriously, it’s on Fox, the ratings have been slipping, and it got moved to the friday night death slot.
The one that took out Star Trek — the first one. (The good one*.)
And yet, it got renewed for another full season.
It has even been fairly clear that the writers expected this season to be the show’s last, with the main plot arc hurtling towards its final resolution and the show’s canon being laid bare left and right.
So you know, congratulations and good luck to the writers and producers on slipping out of that one.
I’m not aware of a stronger science fiction show airing in the US right now, and I look very much forward to watching it again in the fall. It surveys the science of the weird week in and week out, but has never lost sight of the characters. Which is the best you can hope for in a US-style series.
*Outrage can be sent to bill at escapeartists dot net, as per usual.
Quick note: Sorry it’s late folks, minor illness-related delays.
The ePub version can be found here.
To our readers—
I’ve always been of two minds about that proverb (well, curse) that has been attributed to the ancient Chi- nese of “May you live in interesting times.”
Because let’s face it, boring times are getting further apart and fewer. The era of the noble farmer living a quiet life on the plains is long dead in much of the developed world, and while we always dream of re- turning home to a quiet Ithaca, I think a lot of us prefer the torrents of the seas and not knowing what the next isle will bring.
Which is bit of a long way of saying that it was a bit of a crazy month last month, wasn’t it?
Thousands of much better words than these have been etched in the cyber on the wave of popular revolu- tions in North Africa and the Middle East, so I’m going talk about the impending end of the Space Shuttle program.
Space shuttles were always a bit of science fiction that existed in the real world for those of us who grew up after the space race. They were the oddly shaped white space ships in the toy box with the X and Y- Wings and variants of the Enterprise.
They mixed the aspiration of escape from the bonds of gravity with the weight of tragedy that such aspira- tion can lead to. They were something between a pickup truck and the first real wave of space colonizers. Not that the two are mutually exclusive
The third to last shuttle mission is skimming the stratosphere as I write this, and the last one is due to launch in June. And then the US civilian space program will be reliant on private sector for space vehicles until at least 2015. Which, in a way, is progress.
But progress that doesn’t quite sit right. You want commercial haulers out there making space civilized, useful, and cheap enough that you might be able to hop out there for less than a decade’s salary. But there’s a need for ships of the line, and those come from the public masses.
Last month, Escape Pod brought you four stories, two of which will be republished here. Unfortunately we bought EP279: Conditional Love just before we started asking for ePub rights, as it was just nominated for the Nebula. Escape Pod knows all, but not always at the right time.
But we are bringing you the excellent David D. Levine’s Written On The Wind and the quite interesting Alex Dally MacFarlane’s The Notebook of My Favorite Skin-Trees. One’s about a bunch of aliens living together, mostly in peace, and the other’s about advertising in the near future.
We also did something a little special with the Written On The Wind episode, and you can read about it in the back of this month’s Soundproof.
Congratulations to everybody, and if you want to listen to two of them we’ve already podcast the ones with Love in the title — Conditional Love and I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno. What this says about us or SFWA can be speculated on in the comments.
- ‘‘Arvies’’, Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed Magazine 8/10)
- ‘‘How Interesting: A Tiny Man’’, Harlan Ellison® (Realms of Fantasy 2/10)
- ‘‘Ponies’’, Kij Johnson (Tor.com 1/17/10)
- ‘‘I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno’’, Vylar Kaftan (Lightspeed Magazine 6/10)
- ‘‘The Green Book’’, Amal El-Mohtar (Apex Magazine 11/1/10)
- ‘‘Ghosts of New York’’, Jennifer Pelland (Dark Faith)
- ‘‘Conditional Love’’, Felicity Shoulders (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 1/10)
- ‘‘Map of Seventeen’’, Christopher Barzak (The Beastly Bride)
- ‘‘The Jaguar House, in Shadow’’, Aliette de Bodard Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 7/10)
- ‘‘The Fortuitous Meeting of Gerard van Oost and Oludara’’, Christopher Kastensmidt (Realms of Fantasy 4/10)
- “Plus or Minus’’, James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 12/10)
- ‘‘Pishaach’’, Shweta Narayan (The Beastly Bride)
- ‘‘That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made’’, Eric James Stone (Analog Science Fiction and Fact 9/10)
- ‘‘Stone Wall Truth’’, Caroline M. Yoachim (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 2/10)
- The Alchemist, Paolo Bacigalupi (Audible; Subterranean)
- ‘‘Iron Shoes’’, J. Kathleen Cheney (Alembical 2)
- The Lifecycle of Software Objects, Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
- ‘‘The Sultan of the Clouds’’, Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 9/10)
- ‘‘Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance’’, Paul Park (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 1-2/10)
- ‘‘The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window’’, Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Magazine Summer ’10)
- The Native Star, M.K. Hobson (Spectra)
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit UK; Orbit US)
- Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
- Echo, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
- Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)
- Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)
The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
- Despicable Me, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud (directors), Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul (screenplay), Sergio Pablos (story) (Illumination Entertainment)
- Doctor Who: ‘‘Vincent and the Doctor’’, Richard Curtis (writer), Jonny Campbell (director)
- How to Train Your Dragon, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders (directors), William Davies, Dean DeBlois, & Chris Sanders (screenplay) (DreamWorks Animation)
- Inception, Christopher Nolan (director), Christopher Nolan (screenplay) (Warner)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright (director), Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright (screenplay) (Universal)
- Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich (director), Michael Arndt (screenplay), John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, & Lee Unkrich (story) (Pixar/Disney)
Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)
- White Cat, Holly Black (McElderry)
- Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press; Scholastic UK)
- Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Barry Deutsch (Amulet)
- The Boy from Ilysies, Pearl North (Tor Teen)
- I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett (Gollancz; Harper)
- A Conspiracy of Kings, Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow)
- Behemoth, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)
So I haven’t posted here as much as I should, and hope to alter that in the next few weeks. There are things I know I should be writing about (Like, for example, Fringe. Which is a great, great SciFi show. It has heart and a parallel universe and an ancient and mysterious machine.)
But I’m breaking my silence today to relate onto thee, treasured listener, of a really cool thing I was able to facilitate the weekend before last.
A little bit back I got an email from Susan (aka Georgia), who lives in Washington, D.C. with her boyfriend Christie (aka Xie). (Yes, boyfriend. As Susan explained in an early email, “Australians have flexible ideas on what counts as a dude’s name.”)
Like many people who email me, she is a fan of Escape Pod. Unlike many¹ people who email me, she wanted Escape Pod’s help asking her boyfriend, Christie, to marry her.
They listen to Escape Pod together, and apparently Steve Eley fills a void in Christie’s life that others of us fill with Dan Savage or Dear Prudence. The relationship advice columnist void. Get your mind out of the gutter treasured listener.
So we did it, and awoke Steve from his deep slumber. And I spliced it quickly into a copy of EP278 Written On the Wind and sent our favorite robot speeding her way with it.
The text is below, but I’m sure many of you would prefer listening to Steve read it, so click here.
Hi, this is Steve Eley. Rising from the deep for a special announcement. There’s a lot going on in the world, but some things are more important than others. Some of the most important things involve just two people. Could be any two people, but let’s say two people from the United States and Australia. Let’s say these two people are in love. There’s almost nothing more important than that.
They’d have a lot of challenges, these two people. They’d spend a lot of time on planes. They’re in love, so it’s worth it. And maybe they listen to Escape Pod on the plane. Maybe when they’re together, they listen to Escape Pod together, too. Making dinner, or walking the kitten. It’s clearly not the most important thing, but anything two people do together can be special. And if one of those two people asks us to help, with the most important question — that’s VERY special. It’s special enough to bring me up out of retirement. But what’s special is what you two have.
So. Christie. I’m talking to you. Georgia wants to know: will you marry her?
We now return you to your regularly scheduled outro. Have Fun — and I _hope_ you say yes.
And as Susan emailed me soon after:
He said yes. (Or rather… “Well if Steve Eley thinks I should, then of course I will!”)
Thank you so much. And give my thanks to every else too!
And Xie say thanks as well. He didn’t see it coming… He kept saying “that’s just like us!” until, finally, he realized it was us.
¹Really, everyone else. So far.
Mur kindly introduced me in the last issue of Soundproof, but for anyone who missed that, hi. I’m Escape Pod’s Assistant Editor, and I’m most publicly known for doing the feedback segments in the podcast. I also oversee our teem of slush readers and end up sending out a lot of our rejections, and of course I lay out Soundproof. And other things, as necessary.
So in this beginning of a new year, I’m instead going to take you back a few days to the death of the last machine on earth that could turn a roll of Kodachrome from an opaque deep red film stock into color etched rectangles of plastic. Most of us have moved onto digital, which, let’s be fair, is significantly more user friendly and easier to control. Cheaper, too.
But it says something about Kodachrome — the first successful color film — that it took 75 years to be phased out of production. Sure, it had dwindled in years past, and films meant for paper prints rather than to be projected got rapidly popular, and it was a finicky, and slow, film to shoot.
Getting it developed in the last decade or so meant sending it to one place in Kansas and always worrying that the machine would break or Kodak would stop making the developing chemistry. While it’s trivial to develop black and white film at home, and not too horrible to do most modern color films, Kodachrome’s process would confound most any man.
But it was pretty. Someone wrote a bit too saccharine song about it. And it picked up the light in a bit different way than everything after it.
So this month we’re bringing you three stories in this pixelated form: Élan Vital by K. Tempest Bradford, Dead’s End to Middleton by Natania Barron, and God of the Lower Level by Charles M. Saplak.
They’re quite good.
You can download the ePub version here.
In This Issue:
—EP269: Élan Vital By K. Tempest Bradford
—Book Review: For The Win Review by Josh Roseman
—EP271: God Of The Lower Level By Charles M. Saplak
—Sauropod Dinosaurs had weird feet By Sarah Frost
—EP273: Dead’s End to Middleton By Natania Barron
—Superhero Fiction: The Next Big Thing? by Adam Christopher