Archive for Hugo Awards

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.

EP194: Exhalation


2009 Hugo Nominee!

By Ted Chiang.
Read by Ray Sizemore (of X-Ray Visions).

First appeared in Eclipse 2, ed. Jonathan Strahan.

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

Audible.com Promotion!

Get your free audiobook at: http://audiblepodcast.com/escapepod

But in the normal course of life, our need for air is far from our thoughts, and indeed many would say that satisfying that need is the least important part of going to the filling stations. For the filling stations are the primary venue for social conversation, the places from which we draw emotional sustenance as well as physical. We all keep spare sets of full lungs in our homes, but when one is alone, the act of opening one’s chest and replacing one’s lungs can seem little better than a chore. In the company of others, however, it becomes a communal activity, a shared pleasure.

Rated PG. Contains entropy, eschatology, and empirical evisceration.

EP193: Article of Faith


By Mike Resnick.
Read by Stephen Eley.
Discuss on our forums.
First appeared in Baen’s Universe, October 2008.
All stories by Mike Resnick.
All stories read by Stephen Eley.

“I’m sure,” I said. “Somehow, lunch seems pretty trivial after you’ve been thinking about God all morning.”

“God, sir?”

“The Creator of all things,” I explained.

“My creator is Stanley Kalinovsky, sir,” said Jackson. “I was not aware that he created everything in the world, nor that his preferred name was God.”

I couldn’t repress a smile.

Rated PG. Contains religious themes and some violence.

EP158: Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?


2008 Hugo Nominee!

By Ken MacLeod.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in The New Space Opera, ed. Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan.

When you’re as old as I am, you’ll find your memory’s not what it was. It’s not that you lose memories. That hasn’t happened to me or anyone else since the Paleocosmic Era, the Old Space Age, when people lived in caves on the Moon. My trouble is that I’ve gained memories, and I don’t know which of them are real. I was very casual about memory storage back then, I seem to recall. This could happen to you too, if you’re not careful. So be warned. Do as I say, not as I did.

Some of the tales about me contradict each other, or couldn’t possibly have happened, because that’s how I told them in the first place. Others I blame on the writers and tellers. They make things up. I’ve never done that. If I’ve told stories that couldn’t be true, it’s because that’s how I remember them.

Here’s one.

Rated R. Contains profanity, nudity, and in flagrante delicto.

Audible.com Promotion!
Receive your free audiobook at: http://audiblepodcast.com/escapepod

Referenced Sites:
2008 Hugo Awards
Free Novels for Worldcon Members

EP157: A Small Room in Koboldtown


2008 Hugo Nominee!

By Michael Swanwick.
Read by Cheyenne Wright (of Arcane Times and Girl Genius).
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2007.

That Winter, Will le Fey held down a job working for a haint politician named Salem Toussaint. Chiefly, his function was to run errands while looking conspicuously solid. He fetched tax forms for the alderman’s constituents, delivered stacks of documents to trollish functionaries, fixed L&I violations, presented boxes of candied John-the-Conqueror root to retiring secretaries, absent-mindedly dropped slim envelopes containing twenty-dollar bills on desks. When somebody important died, he brought a white goat to the back door of the Fane of Darkness to be sacrificed to the Nameless One. When somebody else’s son was drafted or went to prison, he hammered a nail in the nkisi nkonde that Toussaint kept in the office to ensure his safe return.

He canvassed voters in haint neighborhoods like Ginny Gall, Beluthahatchie, and Diddy-Wah-Diddy, where the bars were smoky, the music was good, and it was dangerous to smile at the whores. He negotiated the labyrinthine bureaucracies of City Hall. Not everything he did was strictly legal, but none of it was actually criminal. Salem Toussaint didn’t trust him enough for that.

Rated PG. Contains dark, seedy places and dark, seedy characters, only a few of them alive.

Today’s Sponsor:
Implied Spaces
Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams

EP156: Distant Replay


By Mike Resnick.
Read by Steve Anderson (of SGA Creative and Great Tales Live).
Discuss on our forums.
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2007.
All stories by Mike Resnick.
All stories read by Steve Anderson.

“Let me show you,” I said, pulling out my wallet. I took my Deirdre’s photo out and handed it to her.

“It’s uncanny,” she said, studying the picture. “We even sort of wear our hair the same way. When was this taken?”

“Forty-seven years ago.”

“Is she dead?”

I nodded.

Rated PG. Contains mature themes and wistfulness.

Referenced Sites:
2008 Hugo Awards
“First of May” by Jonathan Coulton (Not work-safe)

EP155: Tideline


2008 Hugo Nominee!

By Elizabeth Bear.
Read by Stephen Eley.
Closing Music: “The Fall” by Red Hunter.

They would have called her salvage, if there were anyone left to salvage her. But she was the last of the war machines, a three-legged oblate teardrop as big as a main battle tank, two big grabs and one fine manipulator folded like a spider’s palps beneath the turreted head that finished her pointed end, her polyceramic armor spiderwebbed like shatterproof glass. Unhelmed by her remote masters, she limped along the beach, dragging one fused limb. She was nearly derelict.

The beach was where she met Belvedere.

Rated PG. Contains implied violence and themes of death.

Referenced Sites:
2008 Hugo Awards
WisCon May 23-26, Madison, WI

EP108: Kin


2007 Hugo Nominee!

By Bruce McAllister.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, February 2006.

The alien and the boy, who was twelve, sat in the windowless room high above the city that afternoon. The boy talked and the alien listened.

The boy was ordinary—the genes of three continents in his features, his clothes cut in the style of all boys in the vast housing project called LAX. The alien was something else, awful to behold; and though the boy knew it was rude, he did not look up as he talked.

He wanted the alien to kill a man, he said. It was that simple.

Rated PG. Contains implied violence and morally complex themes.

Referenced Sites:
The Girl Who Loved Animals and Other Stories by Bruce McAllister
Balticon 2007 Trip Report

EP107: Eight Episodes


2007 Hugo Nominee!

By Robert Reed.
Read by MarBelle (of Director’s Notes).
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2006.

Eighteen months later, the fledging Web network declared bankruptcy, and a small consortium acquired its assets, including Invasion of a Small World. Eager to recoup their investment, the new owners offered all eight episodes as a quick-and-dirty DVD package. When sales proved somewhat better than predicted, a new version was cobbled together, helped along by a genuine ad budget. The strongest initial sales came from the tiny pool of determined fans—young and well educated, with little preference for nationality or gender. But the scientists in several fields, astronomy and paleontology included, were the ones who created a genuine buzz that eventually put Invasion into the public eye.

Rated PG. Contains some suggestive imagery, references to infidelity, and not very good television.

Referenced Sites:
World Science Fiction Society
Steve’s LiveJournal