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Escape Artists Metacast Update

Escape Artists MetacastThis quick episode is a round-up of the results of our recent Metacast to ask for subscriptions and donations hosted by Alasdair Stuart.

Thank you so much for the initial response to the problems at Escape Artists!

To review:

1. Escape Artists has a major cash problem. This has been caused by a massive increase in the amount of listeners which has not been accompanied by an increase in donations. In fact those have started to decrease. This situation is unsustainable and we will close at the end of 2013 without a major increase in subscriptions.

2. Click anywhere on this line for the original 44 minute meta-cast from all three shows explaining this.

3. We need money. There are two ways to do this either by donating or subscribing. One off donations are lovely and we’re incredibly grateful. Subscriptions cost you much less and raise our base level of funds on a monthly basis. Those are going to help much more in the mid term.

4. This is Escape Pod’s Homepage. Click on the DONATE or SUBSCRIBE buttons on the right hand side.

5. This is Pseudopod’s Homepage. Click on the DONATE or SUBSCRIBE buttons on the right hand side.

6. This is the Podcastle Homepage. Click on the DONATE or SUBSCRIBE buttons on the right hand side.

7. Click here to donate via Dwolla. Our ID is 812-527-2340

EP404: Zebulon Vance Sings the Alphabet Songs of Love

by Merrie Haskell
Read by Amanda Ching

Links for this episode:

About the Author…

Merrie Haskell grew up half in Michigan, half in North Carolina. She works in a library with over 7 million books, and finds this to be just about the right number.

Merrie’s first novel, THE PRINCESS CURSE, was a Junior Library Guild selection. HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS is her second novel.

About the Narrator…

Amanda Ching is a high school teacher turned freelance editor and writer. Her work has appeared in WordRiot, Candlemark & Gleam’s Alice: (re)Visions, and every bathroom stall on I-80 from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis. She’s currently posting free content for Clarion West Write-A Thon at her blog, Panda-monium. If you desire to read about how Grandma got mauled by a plastic reindeer, please visit her at


Zebulon Vance Sings the Alphabet Songs of Love
By Merrie Haskell
I am Robot!Ophelia. I will not die for love tonight.


The noon show is the three-hour 1858 Booth production. The most fashionable historical war remains the First American Civil. Whenever FACfans discover that Lincoln’s assassin played Horatio, they simply must come and gawk at this titillating replica of their favorite villain playing no one’s favorite character.

FACfans love authenticity. To the delight of Robot!Hamlet, today’s clients insist that Edwin Booth stride the stage beside his more famous brother. Most performances, Robot!Hamlet remains unused in the charging closet, for the first law in our business is _Everybody Wants to Play the Dane_.

Today, Robot!Hamlet is afire with Edwin Booth’s mad vigor, and runs his improv algorithms at full throttle; he kisses me dreamily, and rips my bodice in a way that would never have been allowed in Victorian America. The FACfans don’t look hyperpleased about this; it tarnishes their precious authenticity.

Robot!Horatio also loves the 1858 Booth. It’s the only time anyone comes to a performance for him alone. But what about the rest of us, the remainder of the AutoGlobe’s incantation of robots? We bear with it, as we bear with all the other iterations of our native play.

The FACfans barely notice me when either Booth is on stage. I clutch my ripped bodice; exit Robot!Ophelia. I get me to a nunnery.


Act 4, Scene 4. I wait for my cue and check the callsheet for the six o’clock show.

EP393: Red Card

by S. L. Gilbow

Read by Heather Bowman-Tomlinson

About the Author…

(taken from S. L. Gilbow is a relatively new writer, with five stories published to date, four inThe Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and one in [the] anthology Federations.Gilbow served twenty-six years in the Air Force, and has been on dozens of deployments, and has flown more than 2000 hours as a B-52 navigator. He currently makes his living by teaching English at a public high school in Norfolk, Virginia.

Everyone knows that James Bond has a “license to kill.”  As an international spy, he must sometimes fight for his life. But he’s a trained government employee, specially selected for Her Majesty’s Service.  But could you trust just anyone with a license to kill?

What about your neighbor?

Or your boss?

In fact, what if the government gave everybody one free pass to shoot one person,any person, for whatever reason?

That’s the premise of [this] story.  S. L. Gilbow says that the idea for “Red Card” actually came from a conversation he had with his daughter, Mandy.  “One day after a driver cut me off in heavy traffic, I… turned to my daughter and said, ‘Everyone should be allowed to shoot one person without going to prison.’ My daughter thought for a second then turned to me and said, ‘Dad, if that were true you would have been dead a long time ago.’”

About the Narrator…

“I may not be perfectly wise, perfectly witty, or perfectly wonderful, but I am always perfectly me.” Anonymous
The best part of my life is being Bill’s wife. I’m a horticulturist by trade, current stay at home mom for two children, team mom for the local Goalball team, and advocate for Blind/Visually Impaired causes and adoption causes. I love D20 gaming, reading, camping and canoeing, card playing, and music.

Red Card
by S.L. Gilbow

    Late one April evening, Linda Jackson pulled a revolver from her purse and shot her husband through a large mustard stain in the center of his T-shirt.  The official after incident survey concluded that almost all of Merry Valley approved of the shooting.  Sixty-four percent of the townspeople even rated her target selection as “excellent.”  A few, however, criticized her, pointing out that shooting your husband is “a little too obvious” and “not very creative.”

Dick Andrews, who had farmed the fertile soil around Merry Valley for over thirty years, believed that Larry Jackson, more than anyone else in town, needed to be killed.  “I never liked him much,” he wrote in the additional comments section of the incident survey.  “He never seemed to have a good word to say about anybody.”

“Excellent use of a bullet,” scrawled Jimmy Blanchard.  Born and raised in Merry Valley, he had known Larry for years and had even graduated from high school with him.  “Most overbearing person I’ve ever met.  He deserved what he got.  I’m just not sure why it took so long.”

Of course, a few people made waves.  Jenny Collins seemed appalled.  “I can hardly believe it,” she wrote.  “We used to be much more discerning about who we killed, and we certainly didn’t go around flaunting it the way Linda does.”  Jenny was the old-fashioned kind.

Linda would never have called her actions “flaunting it.”  Of course she knew what to do after shooting Larry.  She had read The Enforcement Handbook from cover to cover six times, poring over it to see if she had missed anything, scrutinizing every nuance.  She had even committed some of the more important passages to memory:  Call the police immediately after executing an enforcement–Always keep your red card in a safe, dry place–Never reveal to anyone that you have a red card–Be proud; you’re performing an important civic duty.

But flaunting it?  No, Linda blended in better than anyone in town, rarely talked and never called attention to herself.  She spent most of her days at the Merry Valley Public Library, tucked between rows of antique shelves, alone, organizing a modest collection of old books.  In the evening she fixed dinner.  After Larry had eaten, cleaned up and left the house for “some time alone,” Linda would lie in bed reading Jane Austen.  No, Linda never flaunted anything–never had much to flaunt.

Soundproof #12

You can download the ePub version here.

This is the October issue, so I guess I should be sounding all spooky in the editor’s note, but That Holiday Which Must Be Feared is a month away, so instead why don’t we talk about reinvention.

I’m not that great at waiting out long serialized stories, and honestly with longer book series where the author is know for long stretches between novels (Cough-George-RR-Martin-Cough) I usually stop one before the last one out so I can at least control when I’ll restart the story. So comics have never been an ideal form for me, except for when the storyline’s collected into a volume. Or, in the case of The Sandman, 10 volumes.

But we’re a bit into DC’s reboot, and their reinvention means a bit more critical eye is being cast over their crop than would be if they hadn’t resorted to remaking themselves in the great American tradition. And while there are highs in the new crop, the lows have been getting most of the attention, because, well, while any reboot is going to lose you fans, it shouldn’t do this to young female fans:

On a happier note, this is one-year anniversary of Escape Pod reinventing a bit of itself into a text product in addition to the audio coming into your ear canals every week. I think it’s been a success, but this is as good a point as any to stop and ask for feedback, so hit up with your suggestions for what we can do different/better in Soundproof.

This Soundproof is bringing you Lavie Tidhar’s The Insurance Agent, Saladin Ahmed’s The Faithful Soldier, Prompted, and T. L. Morganfield’s Night Bird Soaring. So it’s a strong issue.

Hope you enjoy it,


P.S. SF Signal put together an awesome, awesome flowchart of NPR’s top 100 SF/F books. Go get lost in it here:

Soundproof #10

Download the ePub version here.

Hey folks—

Short editor’s note this month to make sure this goes out reasonably on time to all you faithful listeners. Er, readers.

Last month saw a bit of mopping-up action on the various nominees with Stone Wall Truth, which got nominated in the novella category for the Nebula, and the space-piratical Leech Run.

But most importantly, we hit Episode 300 of the podcast that Steve built with Tim Pratt’s We Go Back. Who Escape Pod goes pretty far back with. His stories are episodes 8, 31 (with Greg van Eekhout), 67, 105, 142, 190, 239, 251 and 276. He’s probably far and away the Escape Pod fan favorite, and Impossible Dreams is still the story I usually recommend as the entry point for new Escape Pod listeners.

It’s been a little over a year since Mur took over and I snuck in through an open side Escape Pod airlock (for closed values of open). We’re still adrift in space, same as it ever was, floating along scanning for the next story, and eventually a planet to set down on. Like many fiction journeys, the path laid out at the beginning is not the path you end up going down, because that would be boring.

Until the next,


News- changes at Escape Pod- blog, reviews, text, and rate increase!

Hi SF fans!

I wanted to talk about some changes that are happening here at Escape Pod.

First: DON’T PANIC. What you love about Escape Pod – free stories every Thursday – is not changing. At all. We’re not removing things as a change, we’re adding things.

Second: For a while, this site has been little more than a delivery device for the podcast. But now we’re going to add commentary, reviews, and news. We need help, though. If you’re interested in volunteering material for the blog, simply email me and let me know what you’d like to contribute.

Third: Escape Pod is raising its rates. That’s right folks, we’re shooting for the stars and going for an SFWA pro rate format. We’ll be paying $.05 a word for new stories (maximum $300), $.03 a word for reprints (minimum $100). We’re doing this for a couple of reasons- authors deserve to be paid, of course. We’re hoping we can attract a greater caliber of authors, which will therefore grow our audience. Along with the rate increase, we’ll be asking for ebook rights to the stories so we can print them on our site, which will bring in a bigger audience. The rate increase will start with stories I accept after October 1, 2010.

A side note- we’ll only be able to pay pro rates if the donations help us do so. we’re doing a six month trial; if our donations stay strong, it’ll be a permanent change for 2011, if they don’t, then in April we will drop back down to $100 a story. This depends on your support of the site.

Alternately, if you’re a media publisher of any kind — television, movies, video games, a book seller, or just an indie author who wants to sponsor Escape Pod, that will help us out while also promoting you to tens of thousands of listeners. You can email amanda at for current rates and details.

EP225: A Hard Rain at the Fortean Café

by Lavie Tidhar
narrated by Sarah Tolbert

This story originally appeared in Aeon #14.

The diner stood off the highway outside a small town optimistically called Hope. Hope was being stuck in the middle of the Northwest and wishing you were someplace, anyplace else. And Hope was also the name on the tag pinned to the dead woman in waitress uniforms that was currently lying against the wall inside the _Barbie-Q Roadhouse_. I had to stop myself from worrying at the connection: looking for patterns when sometimes there are none at all.

I wasn’t worried about Hope (the waitress, not the town). I didn’t get called down here for a murder: shit, murder is an honest-to-God American pastime. Just look at the statistics. No, I got called in because of the Marilyn.

The Marilyn was also dead. All in all, there were five dead people in the Barbie-Q: two waitresses; a balding man who – from his bag full of cheaply-printed catalogues – was some sort of a general salesman; the diner’s manageress; and Marilyn. They had been shot by a machine gun, probably an Uzi. Marilyn’s head left a red smear against the glass of the booth she sat in. She was there alone.

What the hell was a Marilyn doing out here?

Rated R for violence and language.

EP223: The Uncanny Valley

by Nick Mamatas
read by Kathryn Baker

The trouble with knowing everything there is to know, Stephanie Dowling decided instantly, because that’s how clever she was, was that when there was something unknown out there, she had nobody to consult.

And there was something unknown out there, nibbling away at the edge of the economy, and screwing with the Cottrell-Cockshot tatonnements sufficiently that there’d be problems. Shortages of essentials: power cells and answer boxes. Ridiculous surpluses of nonsense like chrome and diamonds. She could tell because the bride was coughing between her lines and the donkey she rode on suddenly looked ill. It would be just like … wossname … that old thing. Capitalism. Till she fixed it anyway.


Rated R.

EP222: Infestation

by Garth Nix
read by Geoff Michelli

They were the usual motley collection of freelance vampire hunters. Two men, wearing combinations of jungle camouflage and leather. Two women, one almost indistinguishable from the men though with a little more style in her leather armour accessories, and the other looking like she was about to assault the south face of a serious mountain. Only her mouth was visible, a small oval of flesh not covered by balaclava, mirror shades, climbing helmet and hood.

They had the usual weapons: four or five short wooden stakes in belt loops; snap-holstered handguns of various calibers, all doubtless chambered with Wood-N-Death® low-velocity timber-tipped rounds; big silver-edged bowie or other hunting knife, worn on the hip or strapped to a boot; and crystal vials of
holy water hung like small grenades on pocket loops.

Protection, likewise, tick the usual boxes. Leather neck and wrist guards; leather and woven-wire reinforced chaps and shoulder pauldrons over the camo; leather gloves with metal knuckle plates; Army or climbing helmets.

Recently appeared in By Blood We Live.

Rated R for violence and very different vampires.

EP220: Come All Ye Faithful

by Robert J. Sawyer
Read by Mike Boris

“Damned social engineers,” said Boothby, frowning his freckled face. He looked at me, as if expecting an objection to the profanity, and seemed disappointed that I didn’t rise to the bait.

“As you said earlier,” I replied calmly, “it doesn’t make any practical difference.”

He tried to get me again: “Damn straight. Whether Jody and I just live together or are legally married shouldn’t matter one whit to anyone but us.”

I wasn’t going to give him the pleasure of telling him it mattered to God; I just let him go on. “Anyway,” he said, spreading hands that were also freckled, “since we have to be married before the Company will give us a license to have a baby, Jody’s decided she wants the whole shebang: the cake, the fancy reception, the big service.”

Rated PG.