Archive for E-pub

The Soundproof Escape Pod #5


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.
Yours,
—Bill

The Soundproof Escape Pod #4


To our lovely readers—

It’s awards season, and yes, we will be talking about it on the blog, and in future podcasts. Even as SF authors all over are posting on their blogs about their 2010 award-eligible work, others are discussing whether this is blatantly trolling for votes.

I can see how a constant barrage of VOTE FOR ME OMG could be irritating and tacky. I certainly find it so when it’s podcast award season, and one award allows listeners to vote daily, so the constant vote requests tend to be cacophonous. However, I’m spreading out the awards information for one main reason: don’t forget the podcasts.

Until recently, people didn’t even think about nominating a podcast (or any web content) for a Hugo. Heck, it was ground-breaking when webzines started to win. But last year, Catherine Valente self-published a book on her site, and it went on to win the Andre Norton award for best YA novel. Clarkesworld, an online magazine, won the Hugo for best semi-pro zine. And as we’ve mentioned several times (because it’s still SO FREAKING COOL) Starship Sofa won the Hugo for best fanzine.

I had an uncomfortable panel discussion at last year’s NASFiC (North American Science Fiction Convention). We had a panel on podcasting and a very bitter fanzine author showed up (I’d politely say they shall remain nameless, but honestly I never did catch their name), This person expressed anger that these new methods of reaching fans were getting all their friends to vote for them, as if new fans, or listeners to SF instead of readers, were less worthy to vote for the Hugos.

What gets me is that the new is considered unworthy, not paying its dues, and the fans are similarly unworthy, and their votes just don’t mean as much. I find that incredibly offensive, as our fans are worldwide, and many have been dedicated to us since we launched five years ago. Others are new to the genre, just trying it out, and loving it, and I sure as hell don’t want to take a new fan of the genre and tell them they aren’t worthy.

You, the readers and listeners, don’t give a crap about this infighting in SF. You want a good story. We try to deliver it to you. As does LightSpeed and Clarkesworld and Starship Sofa and Pseudopod and Podcastle and Drabblecast and Asimov’s and Analog and F&SF and Weird Tales… and so on. You want SF content. We give it to you. And that’s the end of story. (Until next week, anyway.)

I had not planned on going on such an impassioned rant. I just want to say that a new fan is worth just as much as an old fan, and a new way to experience shot stories is not a reason to discount it. And whether the Internet-wary veterans like it or not, if you’re eligible to vote for these awards (WorldCon member for Hugos, SFWA member for Nebulas, and HWA member for Stokers) then your vote counts just as much as theirs does.

I wanted to use this letter to remind you that many, many podcasts are now eligible for the major awards. Starship Sofa broke it open last year, and now we just need to let the listeners know. When you make your Hugo or Nebula or World Fantasy or Stoker ballots, consider Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Podcastle. Don’t forget Starship Sofa and Drabblecast. Remember also your favorite podcast novels, novellas, and short stories that were released last year. I’m not telling you who to vote for, in any of the categories, just wanting to remind you that we — the online content providers — are here are here, delivering weekly content, and if you enjoy it, consider us when you make your nominations.

Yours,

—Mur

The ePub version can be found here.

The Soundproof Escape Pod #3


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

The Soundproof Escape Pod #2


We at Escape Pod have been thrilled and gratified at the response for the first Soundproof Escape Pod. We got kudos for everything from the fact that it existed, to the awesome layout job by our own Bill Peters.

Speaking of Bill, this month I want to announce our staff changes. Escape Pod is hitting its stride now, thanks mostly to our new assistant editor. We promoted Bill Peters from the inside joke of Assistant to the Regional Manager, or the Right A.R.M., to Assistant Editor. He wrangles the slush and makes sure I am on top of things, and I don’t know where I’d be without him. We’re also delighted to welcome Mat Weller on as our audio producer. If you listen to Escape Pod, you’ll notice that Norm Sherman of the Drabblecast (a fine, award-winning podcast you should totally listen to) is still a part-time host, who, incidentally, makes me work harder on my intros.

Speaking of slush, in order to get a hold of the reins of this mighty team of slush ponies, we’re closing to submissions over December. We’ll be back on the job in January, once the hangovers fade.

Contents:

  • EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President, By Chris Dahlen
  • Review: Shades of Milk and Honey by Marie Robinette Kowal, Review by Sarah Frost
  • EP266: Kachikachi Yama, By Michael R. Underwood
  • Dark Fiction Magazine Q&A, By Adam Christopher
  • EP267: Planetfall by Michael C. Lea
  • Review: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Review by Josh Roseman
  • EP268: Advection by Genevieve Valentine
  • Review: Zero History by William Gibson, Review by Sarah Frost

The ePub version can be downloaded here.

Edit: The ePub version we previously put out was apparently broken for several types of ePub reading software. It has been hopefully repaired and replaced, please let me know at bill <at> escapeartists <dot> net if it is still causing problems.

The Soundproof Escape Pod


This is the first of our monthly magazines that will bring you the previous month’s Escape Pod stories and the best of the blog. We have been pushing to expand what Escape Pod does, adding an SF blog and distributing our stories via magazine format. We’re also becoming a pro market, and hope to keep paying our authors pro rates well into 2011 if the donations make it possible.

The rights are the same as in the audio — you are free to print, distribute, etc, these stories, as long as you don’t a) sell them, b) change them, or c) put your name on them. Otherwise, the more people that check out our stories, the better.

This month we bring to you two stories (as we’re on the cusp of stories that we own the epub rights to, and a handful of ones we do not): “Fuel” by Matthew S. Rotundo and “St. Darwin’s Spirituals” by D.K. Thompson.

We hope you enjoy this issue. We know that there are people out there who love to read but yet don’t like audio, and there are people out there who are hearing impaired. So Escape Pod is now in a Soundproof version, catering to more SF fans than ever. And please remember that we are completely donation driven, and if we want to keep paying authors the pro rates they deserve, we need your support. Please give, if you can.

Show Notes:

  • EP263: Fuel, By Matthew S. Rotundo
  • Comic Review: Superior, Written by Mark Millar By Alasdair Stuart
  • EP264: St. Darwin’s Spirituals, By D.K. Thompson
  • Book Review: I Shall Wear Midnight, By Terry Pratchett By Josh Roseman

The ePub version can be downloaded here.

EP263: Fuel


By Matthew S. Rotundo
Read by: Dave Thompson
First appeared in Cosmos
Host: Norm Sherman
Discuss on our forums.
All stories by Matthew S. Rotundo
All stories read by Dave Thompson
Rated PG: For a wee bit of swearing, sibling rivalry, and parents who don’t appreciate a smart son.

Show Notes:

  • Feedback for Episode 255: Variations on a Theme.
  • It’s our first full-text story! Read OR listen to it! We’ll have the epub version ready for download in the next few days.
  • Next week… Halloween episode!

FUEL
The third quarter report cards came out Thursday, and for Jamie, the timing couldn’t have been worse. The Nike man was coming over that night to sell his brother some new blood.

He took his time walking home from Gilder Middle School, weaving past cracks in the sidewalk and mud puddles left behind by the spring thaw. His pace slowed further as he turned onto Willow Avenue and saw his house, second on the left, a red brick ranch with spidery ivy growing up the east side. Old leaves, fallen tree branches, and other detritus left over from the winter littered the front yard. As he neared, he noted with dismay his father’s car already in the driveway.

“Damn.” Jamie trudged across the yard and let himself in the front door with his keycard.

Dad was at the hall closet, hanging up his overcoat. He stood just under two meters tall; a navy blue business suit wrapped his muscled frame. He beamed when he saw Jamie. “Hey there, kiddo. How was school today?”

“You’re home early,” Jamie said.

“Need to get ready for the presentation tonight. And I’d like you to clean up the front yard. Make sure you use the dirt rake to get up that thatch. Will you do that for me?”

Jamie opened his mouth to protest, but thought the better of it. “Sure,” he said. He unslung his backpack and headed for the stairs.

“Oh. By the way.” Dad fished in a suit pocket and produced a folded piece of paper. “I got this in my email today.” He opened the paper.

Jaime recognized the school’s letterhead on the printout. He slumped, leaning against the wall.

Dad tapped the paper. “What’s this C-plus in Basic Fitness about, kiddo?”

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