Archive for Uncategorized

Announcing: Artemis Rising 4 for March, 2018


Escape Pod is pleased to announce that Artemis Rising will return in March, 2018, across all four Escape Artists podcasts! Our annual event is a month-long showcase of stories by women and nonbinary authors in speculative fiction. This year’s stories will be guest edited by two of our Associate Editors, Laura Pearlman and S. Kay Nash.

Escape Pod is seeking original science fiction with a length of 2000 – 6000 words and will be open for Artemis Rising submissions during September 1-30, 2017. Anyone who identifies as a woman, to whatever degree they do, and non-binary authors are welcome and encouraged to submit a story.

Payment, rights, and manuscript format will be the same as specified in our general guidelines, but Artemis Rising will have a dedicated submissions portal. We will not be accepting simultaneous or multiple submissions for this.

Our fellow Escape Artists podcasts are also taking original submissions for the event. Please visit Cast of Wonders for young adult stories, Pseudopod for horror, and PodCastle for fantasy.

As always, Escape Artists strongly encourages submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from traditional science fiction, including, but not limited to, people of color, LGBTQIA 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 humankind, so we strongly encourage submissions from these or any other underrepresented groups.

The Escape Pod Artemis Rising submissions portal will open on September 1, 2017. We look forward to reading your stories!


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If a story has been rejected by Escape Pod in the past, can I submit it to Artemis Rising?
A: No.

Q: Can I submit a rejected Artemis Rising story to Escape Pod’s General Submissions?
A: No, because the Artemis Rising editors may refer your story to the show’s regular editors at their discretion. Otherwise please take a rejection as a rejection of the story from the venue for all purposes.

Q: If a story has multiple authors, do they all have to meet the Artemis Rising criteria?
A: Yes.

Q: If I’ve already submitted an Artemis Rising story, can I submit another I wrote with a co-author to the same podcast’s Artemis Rising?
A: No.

Q: If I have a story on submission to a podcast, can I submit a different story to that podcast’s Artemis Rising while the first one is still in the queue? Or vice versa?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I submit a different story to multiple Escape Artists podcasts for Artemis Rising?
A: Yes! Publication on one show doesn’t preclude publication on another. We’ve had multiple authors accomplish this impressive feat in the past.

EP540: The Right Answer


The Right Answer

by James Miller

While I certainly didn’t plan on an alien encounter, my life had been in such a downward spiral that I had gotten used to expecting the unexpected.

Cheryl, my wife, and Ryan, my friend and boss, had been spending some extra time together without me – nights mostly. I handled this by 1) punching Ryan in the mouth, twice, then 2) spending the rest of the day drinking lunch, and 3) picking up dinner at the liquor store. On the way home, my car expired on the freeway, by spewing steam and smoke then finally bursting into flames. I did, however, manage to rescue my bottle of dinner vodka before its fiery demise, but somehow forgot my personal laptop was in the back seat. I eventually reached home only to find Cheryl had gone. Judging by the amount of stuff she had taken with her, it was for good.

I surveyed what little remained in the house. In the living room there was carpeting with clean spots where the furniture had been, and a TV stand with no TV. In the kitchen I was left with one red plastic cup, an unopened box of flexible drinking straws, and a bag of pretzels. In the bedroom I saw a bed frame with no mattress or sheets, wire hangers, and a torn Sports Illustrated. I grabbed the pretzels from the kitchen and made my way out onto the patio to get away from the heavy absence of my material items. I was considering which lawn chair I might sleep in, when I noticed a little green creature standing in my back yard. It took a while for my senses to come into agreement; I was looking at Fonzie. Yes, Fonzie, the character played by Henry Winkler on Happy Days.

He didn’t look at all like Fonzie in the face, or even his body type. In that regard he was as stereotypically expected: green, about four feet tall, three long fingers on each hand, comically big eyes, with no nose to speak of, and a very tiny mouth. It was the leather jacket, pinch rolled jeans and perfectly greased jet black hair that gave the general appearance of the Fonz.

The creature leaned coolly against my fence, holding one finger of each hand in the air. I assumed those were the closest thing he had to thumbs.

“Aaaaaaaayyyy.”

(Continue Reading…)

EP527: Plural


Plural

by Lia Swope Mitchell

The aliens come in peace, as they always do, bearing gifts and a banner printed with hopeful messages. Universal understanding, sharing and collaboration, the usual thing: three-hundred-year-old language cribbed from the Bebo time capsule. We install them in the quarantine tank and let them alone. We’re still processing the previous group.

The predecessors were large, their plump thigh muscles well marbled with fat. We’re dressing them in herbs and slow-roasting them, and the flavor is good, rich and unctuous, the fibers softened by their long voyage in low-G. The rest we’re making into sausage, confit, and stock. We’ve been lucky this year, with three groups since spring. Sometimes we go a long time without meat; at least real meat, better than the crawlers and birds, tiny dust-flavored things full of bones.

These new ones aren’t impressive, as aliens go. Maybe reptilian: small and sweet-fleshed. Ten forlorn figures in blue smocks, they sit on the sterile-sheeted beds and do not speak or gesture much, exchange only occasional glances. From this we conclude that they communicate telepathically. After a few hours, though, one falls ill, probably from some unfamiliar bacteria. Greenish saliva drips from its mouth onto a pillow. Soon enough they might all be infected, and already this is no great harvest.

(Continue Reading…)

EP505: Falling Leaves


Falling Leaves

by Liz Argall

Charlotte and Nessa met in Year Eight of Narrabri High School. Charlotte’s family were licensed refugees from the burning lands and the flooded coast, not quite landed, but a step apart from refugees that didn’t have dog tags.

Charlotte sat on the roof, dangled her legs off the edge and gazed at the wounded horizon, as she did every lunchtime. Nessa, recognizing the posture of a fellow animal in pain, climbed up to see what she could do. The mica in the concrete glittered and scoured her palms as she braced herself between an imitation tree and the wall and shimmied her way up.

She had to be careful not to break the tree, a cheap recycled–plastic genericus — who’d waste water on a decorative tree for children? The plastic bark squished beneath Nessa’s sneakers, smelling of paint thinner and the tired elastic of granny underpants.

Nessa tried to act casual once she got to the top, banging her knee hard as she hauled herself over the ledge and ripping a fresh hole in her cargos. She took a deep breath, wiped her sweaty hands, and sat down next to Charlotte.

“‘Sup?” said Nessa.

“Go away.” Charlotte kicked her feet against the wall and pressed her waxy lips together.

“You gonna jump?”

“No. I’m not an attention seeking whore like you,” said Charlotte.

Nessa shrugged her shoulders, as if that could roll away the sting. Rolling with the punches was what she did. “You look sad.”

Charlotte bared her teeth. “I said, I’m not like you. Leave me alone.”

Nessa wanted to say, “Fuck you,” but she didn’t. Nessa wanted to find magic words to fix Charlotte in an impatient flurry. She couldn’t. Nessa scratched her scars for a while and felt like puking, but she didn’t think that would help either. Neither would hitting Charlotte’s head against a wall and cracking Charlotte’s head into happiness, although Nessa could imagine it so violently and brightly it felt like she’d done it. Nessa had banged her own head against walls to get the pain out of her head and chest, but it never worked — or rather it never worked for long enough, leading to a worse, moreish pain.

Nessa didn’t know what to do, so she just sat there, feeling chicken shit, until the bell summoned them into class. (Continue Reading…)

EP502: Gorlack the Destroyer’s All You Can Eat Adventure


Gorlack the Destroyer’s All You Can Eat Adventure

by Robert Lowell Russell

Seven hundred battered cases of “Unleash Your Inner Awesome!” mega-nutri-bars dotted the purple grass for kilometers in every direction. Pelle the Silicate rested his rocky body on one of the battered metal crates and sighed.

Noxious smoke from the wrecked “Do-It-Yourself and Save!” cargo lander wrinkled Pelle’s nose. He wondered if the “environmentally friendly materials” the lander was constructed from were in fact sarki beetle shells and dung.

Pelle had bet the Silicate colonists on this distant world would trade their exotic spices and rare materials for a little taste of home. Now, those little tastes were baking in their crates under an alien sun, a thousand kilometers from the nearest settlement.

“I’m ruined,” he muttered.


Gorlack the Destroyer fixed his gaze on the rough-skinned alien sitting on the metal box.

“Bah! Zarg, my friend, it is only another of the stone creatures.”

Zarg shook his head. “These are trying times.”

The troop of warriors and women gathered behind Gorlack murmured its discontent.
“A number three fusion blade will pierce the creature’s hide,” said Zarg, “but leave its soft, inner flesh intact. They taste like kana.”

Gorlack spat on the grass. “Everything tastes like kana. I long for a proper meal.” He turned to Zarg and rested a furred paw on the other’s shoulder. “The number three blade it will be, but first, honor demands I offer the creature challenge.”

“The coward will refuse.”

Gorlack nodded. “Undoubtedly.” He strode boldly through the grass, approaching the alien. The murmurs turned to silence.

(Continue Reading…)

Call for Submissions: Artemis Rising II


In 2016, Escape Artists will again celebrate ARTEMIS RISING, a special month-long event across all three Escape Artists podcasts featuring stories by some of the best female and non-binary authors in genre fiction. Escape Pod will fill the entire month with female-authored science fiction. Payment will be $.06 per word for original fiction, and $100 for reprints. Original fiction is preferred.

During the month of September 2015, Escape Pod will be looking for submissions as part of this celebration.

Who Can Submit

Anyone who identifies as a woman, to whatever degree that they do. Non-binary authors are also welcome and encouraged to submit stories.

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 the human race, so we strongly encourage submissions from these or any other under-represented groups.

What to Submit

Send in your best sci-fi between 2,000 – 6,000 words.

You can send Escape Pod one submission for ARTEMIS RISING. If we have another story under consideration already in the general submissions queue, we’d be happy to consider an additional story for ARTEMIS RISING. One submission per portal for a total of two under consideration.

We will accept simultaneous submissions, with one exception: while you’re welcome to submit to all three ARTEMIS RISING calls (Pseudopod for horror and PodCastle for fantasy), please don’t send the same story to more than one ARTEMIS RISING call at a time. Wait until you receive an answer, and then feel free to submit it to another Escape Artists call, if appropriate.

How to Submit

Start writing now, and keep an eye out for a special ARTEMIS RISING Submittable portal. Submissions will be open for the month of September 2015.

Thanks, and we look forward to reading your stories!

EP498: Everyone Will Want One


Everyone Will Want One

by Kelly Sandoval

On Nancy’s thirteenth birthday, her father takes her to the restaurant he likes, the one with the wood paneling, the oversized chandeliers, and the menus in French. Around them, people talk in low voices but Nancy and her father eat their soup in silence. After the waiter takes the bowls away, her father sets a wrapped box the size of a toaster on the table.

She doesn’t open it, just smoothes down the ribbon and rearranges her silverware. The unsmiling waiter is watching her; she can feel it. She can feel that he doesn’t want her in his restaurant, opening her birthday present. It isn’t a birthday present sort of place, isn’t even a thirteen-year-old in her best dress kind of place. She tries to be very small in her chair.

“Go ahead,” demands her father. “Open it.”

He’s frowning and his frown is much closer than the waiter’s. Nancy picks at the bow, undoing the knot as best she can with her fresh manicure. Checking to make sure the waiter’s not looking, she picks up her knife and slides it under the tape, easing it loose without tearing the shiny paper.
The box inside has the logo of her father’s company on it. Nancy’s tangles her fingers together, stalling. She wants, very much, for it to be a toaster.

“Hurry up,” says her father.

She wants to fold the paper into a crisp square or turn it into a giant origami swan. She wants to pretend that is the present, a sheet of white wrapping paper. Her father clears his throat and she cringes. The box isn’t taped and she tugs it open. Inside, there’s a layer of packing foam, which she picks through, not letting any spill on the table, until her fingers meet fur. The thing in the box is soft, cold, and the size of her two closed fists. She traces the shape of it, four feet, a tail, ears pointed alertly upward.

When, a minute later, she gets it free of the box and shakes the last of the packing foam from its fur, she sees it has the shape of a kitten. Its fur is black and silver, with patterns that look nothing like a real cat’s, all loops and whirling, dizzy spirals. It looks like a synth-pet. They’re popular at her school and her father’s company does make them. But Nancy has a kitten, a dog, and a tiny jeweled unicorn at home. He wouldn’t give her another.

“Thank you,” she says, setting it beside her bread plate. “What is it?”

(Continue Reading…)

EP484: That Tear Problem


That Tear Problem

by Natalia Theodoridou

“Now flex your arm,” the controller said. Her voice sounded dry and mechanical through the speakers.

“The real one or the other one?” I asked and immediately received a neuro-ping: You are real.

“Both your arms are real, soldier,” she said.

I always thought of her as a woman, but really it was just a voice. There was no way to tell gender.

Focus.

“Right. Which one do you want me to flex?”

“The left one.”

I flexed my left arm. It’s one of the limbs they rebuilt after the accident. The Neuropage pinged me again, just in case: You are real. All this is real. I wondered if they figured out I had found the glitch. Was that what prompted this ping? But it couldn’t be; the pager was supposed to be entirely incorporated into the nervous system. No outside access available.

Unless that was a lie, too.

“Now the other one,” the voice said.

“How much longer is this going to take?” I asked, flexing my right arm. I could feel my legs getting fidgety. They always did that when I was strapped down for long chunks of time. Ever since the accident. Fidget fidget fidget. Even while I slept, the legs fidgeted. I would much rather sleep floating around, but that set off the security alarm. I had found that out the hard way, on my second day at the space station.

“The muscle-tone examination is complete,” the controller said. “Now on to the neural routine.”

“The neural routine. Of course.”

(Continue Reading…)

Escape Artists presents ARTEMIS RISING: A Celebration of Women in Genre Fiction


Between now and December 20, 2014, Escape Pod is accepting submissions of woman-authored science fiction for ARTEMIS RISING, a month of audio fiction celebrating women in genre fiction, airing in February 2015.

Payment: $0.06 per word for original fiction; $0.03 per word for reprints We are an SFWA qualifying market for original fiction and pay professional rates.

Who can submit?

Anyone who identifies as a woman, to whatever degree that they do.  All non-binary folk are welcome.

Additionally, we strongly encourage submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from traditional SF publishing, including, but not limited to, people of color, LGBTQ or non-binary gender people, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States.  Our goal is to publish science fiction that reflects the diversity of the human race, so we strongly encourage submissions from these or any other underrepresented groups.

What can I submit?

Science fiction stories between 2,000 and 6,000 words. You may submit up to 1 original story and 1 reprint for consideration in ARTEMIS RISING, although original stories are strongly preferred. If you already have a submission in regular Escape Pod slush, you may still submit to ARTEMIS RISING.

You can expect a response by mid-January 2015. Although we’ll be accepting a limited number of stories for ARTEMIS RISING, all submissions will also be considered for Escape Pod proper.

How do I submit?

Email your submissions to submit AT escapepod DOT org, using the subject line ARTEMIS RISING SUBMISSION: Storyname (e.g. “ARTEMIS RISING SUBMISSION: Attack of the Killer Space-Whales”)

Please follow regular Escape Pod guidelines for the story’s formatting. In your cover letter, please include the story’s word count, and for reprints, the story’s publication history.