Archive for Hugo Awards

EP297: Amaryllis


By Carrie Vaughn
Read by: Gabrielle De Cuir
Originally appearing in Lightspeed
Discuss on our forums.
All stories by Carrie Vaughn
All stories read by Gabrielle De Cuir
Nominated for the Hugo Award for Short Story, 2011

Rated appropriate for all young teens and up for reproductive concerns.

Amaryllis
By Carrie Vaughn

I never knew my mother, and I never understood why she did what she did. I ought to be grateful that she was crazy enough to cut out her implant so she could get pregnant. But it also meant she was crazy enough to hide the pregnancy until termination wasn’t an option, knowing the whole time that she’d never get to keep the baby. That she’d lose everything. That her household would lose everything because of her.

I never understood how she couldn’t care. I wondered what her family thought when they learned what she’d done, when their committee split up the household, scattered them—broke them, because of her.

Did she think I was worth it? (Continue Reading…)

EP250: Eros, Philia, Agape


By Rachel Swirsky
Discuss on our forums.
Originally published in: Tor.com
All stories by Rachel Swirsky
All stories read by Mur Lafferty

The objects belonged to them both, but Adriana waved her hand bitterly when Lucian began packing. “Take whatever you want,” she said, snapping her book shut. She waited by the door, watching Lucian with sad and angry eyes.

Their daughter, Rose, followed Lucian around the house. “Are you going to take that, Daddy? Do you want that?” Wordlessly, Lucian held her hand. He guided her up the stairs and across the uneven floorboards where she sometimes tripped. Rose stopped by the picture window in the master bedroom, staring past the palm fronds and swimming pools, out to the vivid cerulean swath of the ocean. Lucian relished the hot, tender feel of Rose’s hand. I love you, he would have whispered, but he’d surrendered the ability to speak.

Rated PG for marital strife and implied child abuse.

Show Notes:

  • This is a long one, we’re bringing occasional novelettes to Escape Pod now, and what better to launch the effort than a Hugo nominee?

Next week… Escape Pod looks at an alternate history with alternate aliens.

EP248: Spar


By Kij Johnson.
Read by: Kate Baker of Clarkesworld Magazine.
Discuss on our forums.
Originally published in: ClarkesworldDownload and read the text.
All stories by Kij Johnson.
All stories read by Kate Baker.

The alien is not humanoid. It is not bipedal. It has cilia. It has no bones, or perhaps it does and she cannot feel them. Its muscles, or what might be muscles, are rings and not strands. Its skin is the color of dusk and covered with a clear thin slime that tastes of snot. It makes no sounds. She thinks it smells like wet leaves in winter, but after a time she cannot remember that smell, or leaves, or winter.

Its Ins and Outs change. There are dark slashes and permanent knobs that sometimes distend, but it is always growing new Outs, hollowing new Ins. It cleaves easily in both senses.

It penetrates her a thousand ways. She penetrates it, as well.

Rated X – Graphic language and sexual situations. Not for kids. Seriously.

Show Notes:

  • This particular story and narration were originally recorded by Kate Baker for Clarkesworld Magazine, and is used here with their expressed permission. Thanks very much to Baker and Clarkesworld.
  • The Escape Pod Flash Contest is over! now check out the judging!
  • Editor’s note: Thanks so much to Dave Thompson and Peter Wood for taking on this project of securing all five Hugo stories during the hiatus of Escape Pod. Most of the work was done before I joined, and this wouldn’t have happened without them stepping up.

Next week… We’re back to our regularly scheduled programming with a story from Heather Shaw!

EP247: Bridesicle


By Will McIntosh
Read by: Amy H. Sturgis of StarShipSofa
Discuss on our forums.
Originally published in: Asimov’sDownload and read the text
Guest Host: Ben Phillips of Pseudopod
All stories by Will McIntosh
All stories read by Amy H. Sturgis

“Aw, I know you’re awake by now. Come on, sleeping beauty. Talk to me.” The last was a whisper, a lover’s words, and Mira felt that she had to come awake and open her eyes. She tried to sigh, but no breath came. Her eyes flew open in alarm.

An old man was leaning over her, smiling, but Mira barely saw him, because when she opened her mouth to inhale, her jaw squealed like a sea bird’s cry, and no breath came, and she wanted to press her hands to the sides of her face, but her hands wouldn’t come either. Nothing would move except her face.

Rated PG

Show Notes:

  • Starship Sofa is the first podcast ever to be nominated for a Hugo award, in the “Best Fanzine” category. If you’re eligible to vote in the Hugos, you have less than a month left to put in your vote! Please consider Starship Sofa – it’s a fantastic show on its own merit, and it’s a HUGE credibility booster for all podcasts if it wins!
  • The Escape Pod Flash Contest ends soon! It runs June 1- July 4, stories must be under 500 words. More information at the link.
  • Editor’s note: Thanks so much to Dave Thompson and Peter Wood for taking on this project of securing all five Hugo stories during the hiatus of Escape Pod. Most of the work was done before I joined, and this wouldn’t have happened without them stepping up.

Next week… Our final Hugo-nominated story!

EP246: Bride of Frankenstein


By Mike Resnick
Read by: Julie Davis of the Forgotten Classics podcast
Discuss on our forums.
Originally published in: Asimov’sDownload and read the text
Guest Host: Alasdair Stuart of Pseudopod
All stories by Mike Resnick
All stories read by Julie Davis

Victor can be so annoying. He constantly whistles this tuneless song, and when I complain he apologizes and then starts humming it instead. He never stands up to that ill-mannered little hunchback that he’s always sending out on errands. And he’s a coward. He can never just come to me and say “I need money again.” Oh, no, not Victor. Instead he sends that ugly little toady who’s rude to me and always smells like he hasn’t washed.

And when I ask what the money’s for this time, he tells me to ask Victor, and Victor just mumbles and stammers and never gets around to answering.

Rated PG: for spousal annoyances

Show Notes:

  • The Escape Pod Flash Contest ends soon! It runs June 1- July 4, stories must be under 500 words. More information at the link.
  • Editor’s note: Thanks so much to Dave Thompson and Peter Wood for taking on this project of securing all five Hugo stories during the hiatus of Escape Pod. Most of the work was done before I joined, and this wouldn’t have happened without them stepping up.

Next week… Another Hugo-nominated story!

EP245: The Moment


By Lawrence M. Schoen
Read by: Graeme Dunlop
Discuss on our forums.
Originally published in: Footprints
Guest Host: Norm Sherman of Drabblecast
All stories by Lawrence M. Schoen
All stories read by Graeme Dunlop

One of the first generation of Krenn had lived long enough to reach the site, though none had expected to. The very first Krenn had conceived of this journey in the distant past, dedicating his life and his posterity to the pilgrimage with an ever recycling population of clones. Like their clone-father, each was an optimized collection of smart matter no bigger than a speck. Hundreds of generations of Krenn had lived and died during the voyage, their remains enshrined into niches in the very walls of the vessel that now lay shattered at its destination.

The survivors flooded out upon the steppes of the heel, rejoicing despite the crushing weight that gravity forced upon them. They settled in, constructing mansions of haze and shadow, and waited for enlightenment to come. The mission and purpose of the first Krenn remained with each of them. This place had been the site of the greatest triumph of the greatest archaeocaster in all of history. Before the beginning of the quest, Krenn—the original Krenn—had felt drawn to it. He had cultivated the tales, sifted myth from coincidence, mastered the lost language of the interview-eschewing, spatial curmudgeons of the ancient dark times, and recreated the route through dimensional puzzles to this theoretical location. The odds of success had been so absurd not a single entelechy of Krenn’s crèche dared invest time or expense in the project. And yet, here they were, nearly three hundred unique individuals sharing the template of Krenn.

Rated PG: for Space Exploration and Looking into the Abyss

Show Notes:

  • Enter the Escape Pod Flash Contest! It runs June 1- July 4, stories must be under 500 words. More information at the link.
  • Editor’s note: Thanks so much to Dave Thompson and Peter Wood for taking on this project of securing all five Hugo stories during the hiatus of Escape Pod. Most of the work was done before I joined, and this wouldn’t have happened without them stepping up.

Next week… Another Hugo-nominated story!

EP244: Non-Zero Probabilities


By N.K. Jemisin
Originally recorded by Kate Baker for Clarkesworld Magazine, and is used here with their expressed permission.
Discuss on our forums.
Guest Host: Dave Thompson of Podcastle
All stories by N.K. Jemisin
All stories read by Kate Baker

Her neighbor — the other one, across the hall — helped her figure it out, long before the math geeks finished crunching their numbers.

“Watch,” he’d said, and laid a deck of cards facedown on her coffee table. (There was coffee in the cups, with a generous dollop of Bailey’s. He was a nice-enough guy that Adele felt comfortable offering this.) He shuffled it with the blurring speed of an expert, cut the deck, shuffled again, then picked up the whole deck and spread it, still facedown. “Pick a card.”

Adele picked. The Joker.

“Only two of those in the deck,” he said, then shuffled and spread again. “Pick another.”

She did, and got the other Joker.

“Coincidence,” she said. (This had been months ago, when she was still skeptical.)

Rated R: for Lucky Streaks and Getting Lucky.

Show Notes:

  • Enter the Escape Pod Flash Contest! It runs June 1- July 4, stories must be under 500 words. More information at the link.
  • Editor’s note: Thanks so much to Dave Thompson and Peter Wood for taking on this project of securing all five Hugo stories during the hiatus of Escape Pod. Most of the work was done before I joined, and this wouldn’t have happened without them stepping up.

Next week… Another Hugo-nominated story!

Episode 197: From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled…


By Michael Swanwick
Read by Sarah Tolbert

First appeared in Asimov’s Feb 2008

Imagine a cross between Byzantium and a termite mound. Imagine a jeweled mountain, slender as an icicle, rising out of the steam jungles and disappearing into the dazzling pearl-grey skies of Gehenna. Imagine that Gaudí—he of the Segrada Familia and other biomorphic architectural whimsies—had been commissioned by a nightmare race of giant black millipedes to recreate Barcelona at the height of its glory, along with touches of the Forbidden City in the eighteenth century and Tokyo in the twenty-second, all within a single miles-high structure. Hold every bit of that in your mind at once, multiply by a thousand, and you’ve got only the faintest ghost of a notion of the splendor that was Babel.

Now imagine being inside Babel when it fell.

Rated PG. Contains the destruction of cities, a lack of trust, and sentient suits.

EP196: Evil Robot Monkey


By Mary Robinette Kowal
Read by Stephen Eley

First appeared in the Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, vol. 2 edited by George Mann.

Special closing monkey music by George Hrab

Sliding his hands over the clay, Sly relished the moisture oozing around his fingers. The clay matted down the hair on the back of his hands making them look almost human. He turned the potter’s wheel with his prehensile feet as he shaped the vase. Pinching the clay between his fingers he lifted the wall of the vase, spinning it higher.

Someone banged on the window of his pen. Sly jumped and then screamed as the vase collapsed under its own weight. He spun and hurled it at the picture window like feces. The clay spattered against the Plexiglas, sliding down the window.

Rated PG. Contains one angry chimp with a potty mouth. Sort of.

EP195: 26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss


By Kij Johnson.
Read by Diane Severson (of The Diva’s Divine Days).
Discuss on our forums.
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, July 2008.
All stories by Kij Johnson.
All stories read by Diane Severson.

Narration first appeared at and produced by Starship Sofa. Special thanks to Tony Smith and Diane Severson for their kind permission to resyndicate this award nominee.

She sets a stepladder next to it. She claps her hands and the 26 monkeys onstage run up the ladder one after the other and jump into the bathtub. The bathtub shakes as each monkey thuds in among the others. The audience can see heads, legs, tails; but eventually every monkey settles and the bathtub is still again. Zeb is always the last monkey up the ladder. As he climbs into the bathtub, he makes a humming boom deep in his chest. It fills the stage.

And then there’s a flash of light, two of the chains fall off, and the bathtub swings down to expose its interior.

Empty.

Rated PG. Contains 26 monkeys. Also, the abyss.