Escape Pod http://escapepod.org The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine. Each week Escape Pod delivers science fiction short stories from today's best authors. Listen today, and hear the new sound of science fiction! Fri, 01 May 2015 04:14:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2005-2015 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0 editor@escapepod.org (Escape Pod) editor@escapepod.org (Escape Pod) science fiction 1440 http://escapepod.org/wp-content/images/pod-org-icon300.jpg Escape Pod http://escapepod.org 144 144 The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine. Each week Escape Pod delivers science fiction short stories from today's best authors. Listen today, and hear the new sound of science fiction! science, fiction, sf, stories, audiobooks, storytelling, fiction, short, fiction, short, story Escape Pod Escape Pod editor@escapepod.org no no EP491: Heaven’s Touch http://escapepod.org/2015/05/01/ep491-heavens-touch/ http://escapepod.org/2015/05/01/ep491-heavens-touch/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 04:14:59 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5119 http://escapepod.org/2015/05/01/ep491-heavens-touch/feed/ 0 0:57:47 by Jason Sanford read by Marguerite Kenner The story was originally published in Asimov’s Science Fiction and was named to the Locus 2012 Recommended Reading List. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narr[...] by Jason Sanford read by Marguerite Kenner The story was originally published in Asimov’s Science Fiction and was named to the Locus 2012 Recommended Reading List. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Jason Sanford about the author… Jason Sanford is the award-winning author of a number of short stories, essays, and articles, and an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Born and raised in the American South, he currently lives in the Midwestern U.S. with his wife and sons. His life’s adventures include work as an archeologist and as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Jason has published more than a dozen of his short stories in the British SF magazine Interzone, which once devoted a special issue to his fiction. His fiction has also been published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog: Science Fiction and Fact, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Tales of the Unanticipated, The Mississippi Review, Diagram, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Pindeldyboz, and other places. Book anthologies containing his stories include Year’s Best SF 14, Bless Your Mechanical Heart, and Beyond the Sun. A collection of Jason’s short stories, titled Never Never Stories, was published by a small press in 2011. Jason’s awards and honors include being a finalist for the 2009 Nebula Award for Best Novella, winning both the 2008 and 2009 Interzone Readers’ Polls for best story of the year (and being a co-winner of the 2010 Poll), receiving a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, being nominated for the BSFA Award, and being longlisted for the British Fantasy Award. His stories have also been named to the 2012 and 2013 Locus Recommended Reading Lists along with being translated into a number of languages including Chinese, French, Russian, Polish, and Czech. Jason co-founded the literary journal storySouth, through which he ran the annual Million Writers Award for best online fiction. His critical essays and book reviews have been published in a number of places including SF Signal, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and The Pedestal Magazine. He also writes a regular column for the Czech SF magazine XB-1. narrator Marguerite Kenner about the narrator… Marguerite is a native Californian who has forsaken sunny paradise to be with her true love and live in Merrye Olde England. She frequently wears so many hats that she needs two heads. When she’s not grappling with legal conundrums as a trainee solicitor or editing Cast of Wonders, she can be found narrating audio fiction, studying popular culture (i.e. going to movies and playing video games) with her partner Alasdair Stuart, or curling up with a really good book. You can follow her at her personal blog, Project Valkyrie, or on Twitter via @LegalValkyrie. Heaven’s Touch by Jason Sanford As the Tonatiuh arcs through the sparkling coma of Heaven’s Touch, Parda’s holographic proxy wraps herself around my spacesuit and kisses my visor. “Please let Sister Dusty live,” the proxy prays in fervent devotion, defying the actions of the real Parda, who at this moment is piloting our ship on a collision course with the comet. But I’m too busy for either Parda or her proxy. After topping off my suit’s air, I crank open the exterior airlock door until whiteness swirls before me, my fatigue-addled mind turning the ice and dust to ghosts. Countless comet ghosts. Icy haunts begging me to embrace my destiny. “If you jump now, you’re dead,” the proxy whispers seductively in my ear. “All the prayer in the universe won’t save you. Wait until we’re closer to the surface.” I nod, almost forgetting this isn’t the real Parda. Instead, the autonomous AI program is a near-perfect imitation of my best friend–the proxy’s programmed intelligence infesting my spacesuit, my visor’s holographic projectors creating the illusion of her body. The proxy appears to wear a white[...] Podcasts Jason Sanford no no EP490: Flowers for Algernon http://escapepod.org/2015/04/20/ep490-flowers-for-algernon/ http://escapepod.org/2015/04/20/ep490-flowers-for-algernon/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 23:39:46 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5114 http://escapepod.org/2015/04/20/ep490-flowers-for-algernon/feed/ 6 1:40:13 by Daniel Keyes read by Dave Thompson The story has been previously published in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Copyright 1959 by Mercury Press Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wi[...] by Daniel Keyes read by Dave Thompson The story has been previously published in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Copyright 1959 by Mercury Press Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… from Wikipedia: Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction short story and subsequent novel written by Daniel Keyes. The short story, written in 1958 and first published in the April 1959 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1960. The novel was published in 1966 and was joint winner of that year’s Nebula Award for Best Novel (with Babel-17). Keyes was born in New York City, New York.[2] He attended New York University briefly before joining the United States Maritime Service at 17, working as a ship’s purser on oil tankers.[2] Afterward he returned to New York and in 1950 received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brooklyn College.[2] A month after graduation, Keyes joined publisher Martin Goodman‘s magazine company, Magazine Management.[2] He eventually became editor of their pulp magazine Marvel Science Stories (cover-dated Nov. 1950 – May 1952) after editor Robert O. Erisman,[3] and began writing for the company’s comic-book lines Atlas Comics, the 1950s precursors of Marvel Comics. After Goodman ceased publishing pulps in favor of paperback books and men’s adventure magazines, Keyes became an associate editor of Atlas[1] under editor-in-chief and art director Stan Lee. Circa 1952, Keyes was one of several staff writers, officially titled editors, who wrote for such horror and science fiction comics as Journey into Unknown Worlds, for which Keyes wrote two stories with artist Basil Wolverton.[4] As Keyes recalled, Goodman offered him a job under Lee after Marvel Science Stories ceased publication: Since my $17.25-a-month rent was almost due, I accepted what I considered a detour on my journey toward a literary career. Stan Lee … let his editors deal with the scriptwriters, cartoonists, and lettering crew. Writers turned in plot synopses, Stan read them, and as a matter of course, would accept one or two from each of the regulars he referred to as his “stable.” As one of his front men, I would pass along comments and criticism. … Because of my experience editing Marvel and because I’d sold a few science fiction stories by then, Stan allowed me to specialize in the horror, fantasy, suspense, and science fiction comic books. Naturally, I began submitting story ideas, getting freelance assignment, and supplementing my salary by writing scripts on my own time.[5] One story idea Keyes wrote but did not submit to Lee was called “Brainstorm”, the paragraph-long synopsis that would evolve into Flowers for Algernon. It begins: “The first guy in the test to raise the I.Q. from a low normal 90 to genius level … He goes through the experience and then is thrown back to what was.” Keyes recalled, “[S]omething told me it should be more than a comic book script.”[5] From 1955 to 1956, Keyes wrote for EC Comics, including its titles Shock Illustrated and Confessions Illustrated, under both his own name and the pseudonyms Kris Daniels and A.D. Locke.   narrator Dave Thompson about the narrator… Dave Thompson is the California King and the Easter Werewolf, and is the host and co-editor of PodCastle. He has narrated audiobooks (by Tim Pratt, Greg van Eekhout, and James Maxey), written short stories (published in or forthcoming from Apex, Drabblecast, Pseudopod, and Escape Pod), and lost NaNoWriMo twice. He lives outside Los Angeles with his wife and three children. Podcasts Daniel Keyes no no EP489: Uncanny http://escapepod.org/2015/04/08/ep489-uncanny/ http://escapepod.org/2015/04/08/ep489-uncanny/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 03:50:52 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5108 http://escapepod.org/2015/04/08/ep489-uncanny/feed/ 0 0:14:20 by James Patrick Kelly read by Dani Cutler The story has been previously published inAsimovs October/November 2014 Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author James [...] by James Patrick Kelly read by Dani Cutler The story has been previously published inAsimovs October/November 2014 Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author James Partick Kelly about the author… James Patrick Kelly is an American science fiction writer born April 11, 1951, in Mineola, New York. He began selling science fiction professionally in the mid-1970s, and has subsequently become one of the field’s leading writers of short fiction. He has won the Hugo Award twice, for his 1995 novelette “Think Like A Dinosaur” and for his 1999 novelette “Ten to the Sixteenth to One.” His 2005 novella “Burn” won the Nebula Award. His novels include Freedom Beach (1986, with John Kessel), Look Into the Sun (1989), and Wildlife (1994). Also with John Kessel, he co-edited the anthologies Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology (2006), Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology (2007), and The Secret History of Science Fiction (2009). A prolific teacher, Kelly has taught at most of the major science-fiction writing workshops, including Clarion, Clarion West, Viable Paradise, and Odyssey. Since 1998, he has served on the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts; he chaired the council in 2004. He is the Vice Chair of the Clarion Foundation, which oversees the Clarion Science Fiction Workshop; he has served on the Board of Directors of the New England Foundation for the Arts; and he is currently on the faculty of the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine. He also writes a column about SF on the internet for Asimov’s SF.   narrator Dani Cutler about the narrator… Dani Cutler last narrated for EP in 454: Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One. She has been part of the podcasting community since 2006, hosting and producing her own podcast through 2013. She currently works for KWSS independent radio in Phoenix as their midday announcer, and also organizes a technology conference each year for Phoenix residents to connect with others in the podcast, video, and online community.   Uncanny by James Patrick Kelly A month after I broke up with Jonathan, or Mr. Wrong, as my mother liked to call him, she announced that she’d bought me a machine to love. She found it on eBay, paid the Buy It Now price and had it shipped to me the next day. I’m not sure where she got the idea that I needed a machine or how she picked it out or what she thought it would do for me. My mother never asked advice or permission. I dreaded finding the heavy, flat box that UPS left propped against my front door. I called her. “It’s here. So what does it do?” “Whatever you want.” “I don’t want anything.” “You always say that, but it’s never true. We all want something.” I hated it when she was being patient with me. “Just give it a chance, honey. They’re more complicated than men,” she said, “but cleaner.” I muscled it into the foyer. I retrieved the box cutter from Jonathan’s neurotically tidy toolbox and sliced carefully through the packing tape. I decided that I’d try it, but I also intended to send the thing back, so I saved the bubble wrap and styrofoam. There was no manual. The assembly instructions were in twelve pictographs printed on either side of a glossy sheet of paper. They showed a stick figure woman with a black circle for a head building the machine. Black was just how I felt as I attached the arms and headlights, fit the wheels and drawers into place. It stood five feet, eleven and three quarter inches tall; I measured. I had to give Mom credit; she knew quality when she saw it. The shiny parts were real chrome and there was no flex to the titanium chassis, which was painted glossy blue, the exact blue of Jonathan’s eyes. It smelled like the inside of a new car. I realized too late that I should have assembled it closer to the wall, I had to plug the charger into an extension cord. The power light flashed red;[...] Podcasts James Patrick Kelly no no EP488: In Another Life http://escapepod.org/2015/04/04/ep488-in-another-life/ http://escapepod.org/2015/04/04/ep488-in-another-life/#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2015 05:03:43 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5102 http://escapepod.org/2015/04/04/ep488-in-another-life/feed/ 0 0:31:20 by Kelly Sandoval read by Carla Doak The story has been previously published in Daily Science Fiction. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Kelly Sandoval abo[...] by Kelly Sandoval read by Carla Doak The story has been previously published in Daily Science Fiction. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Kelly Sandoval about the author… I live, work, and write in Seattle, Washington. Gray sky days, abundant restaurant choices, and distant mountains are my idea of paradise. In 2013 I abandoned my cat, tortoise, and boyfriend to spend six weeks studying writing at Clarion West. The experience taught me to commit myself and do the work, which is a lot less fun than just thinking about writing. It also introduced me to some of the best friends I’ve ever had. If you’re a writer considering whether you should apply, I’m happy to share my take on things. It’s not for everyone. But if it’s right for you, it’s worth it. My tastes run to modern fantasy with a lyrical edge, though I’ve been writing science fiction, lately. If you’re looking for funny stories with happy endings, I fear you’ve come to the wrong place. I can’t seem to write anything without a dash of heartbreak.   narrator Carla Doak about the narrator… I talk for a living, and push buttons – some literal, some metaphorical. I get to play music (and for the most part, choose what I get to play!), talk to folks from all walks of life, give away awesome things and generally make people smile. I search the world (often via the internet) for strange, wonderful, thought-provoking, conversation-invoking things and relay that information to hundreds and thousands, with my voice and with written word. I listen to new music, old music, new music that sounds like old music, old music that could be new music and music that should never hear the light of day. I share this music with others, willingly and volun-told-ally. I share my happiness, my sorrow, my anger, my passion, my wisdom, my ignorance. I wear my heart on my sleeve, in a pocket that is buttoned. There’s a small hole in that pocket, near the bottom, slightly frayed.   In Another Life by Kelly Sandoval Waking after a night spent slipping, I reach for Louisa automatically, rolling into the empty space where she belongs. I lick the memory of her from my lips, languid with sex. The alarm shrieks from my bedside table but I’ve gotten good at ignoring it. We went skating. Louisa wore a purple sweater and, giggling and unsteady, clung to my arm. We kissed on the ice and she pressed herself against me, her frozen fingers sneaking under my coat to stroke my back. It’s her laughter I cling to. These days, I only hear her low, honeyed laugh when I’m slipping. I miss the warmth of it. But it fades. Even the taste of her fades. I tell myself it’s all right. That it’s necessary. I’ve got an appointment with my therapist at noon. If I’m still clinging to the night’s slip, he’ll know I haven’t been taking my medication. No help for it. I drag myself out of bed and hit the alarm. My head pounds and the world blurs along the edges. I’ve slipped for three nights straight and ice skating with Louisa is nothing like sleeping. If I don’t take a day off soon, it’ll start to get dangerous. My therapist would say it’s already dangerous. But he doesn’t understand what I’ve lost. I’ve got four houses to show before my appointment, and a lot of coffee to drink to be ready for them. He’ll make a thing of it, if I’m late. He always does. The hours dribble past, hazy and distant. It’s like I left a shard of myself in my alter and can’t quite get back in step with my timeline. When the charming young couple at house two asks me about financing I try to answer, only to be distracted by the ghost of a red-headed boy rushing past in pursuit of a large gray bunny. The woman selling the house wears her red [...] Podcasts Kelly Sandoval no no EP487: New Folks’ Home http://escapepod.org/2015/03/28/ep487-new-folks-home/ http://escapepod.org/2015/03/28/ep487-new-folks-home/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 03:36:41 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5098 http://escapepod.org/2015/03/28/ep487-new-folks-home/feed/ 14 1:04:22 by Clifford Simak narrated by Norm Sherman Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   about the author… author Clifford Simak (source: wikipedia) “Clifford Do[...] by Clifford Simak narrated by Norm Sherman Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   about the author… author Clifford Simak (source: wikipedia) “Clifford Donald Simak (August 3, 1904 – April 25, 1988) was an American science fiction writer. He was honored by fans with three Hugo Awards and by colleagues with one Nebula Award. The Science Fiction Writers of America made him its third SFWA Grand Master and the Horror Writers Association made him one of three inaugural winners of the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. Simak was born in Millville, Wisconsin in 1904, son of John Lewis and Margaret (Wiseman) Simak. He married Agnes Kuchenberg on April 13, 1929 and they had two children, Richard (Dick) Scott (d. 2012) and Shelley Ellen. Simak attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison and later worked at various newspapers in the Midwest. He began a lifelong association with the Minneapolis Star and Tribune (inMinneapolis, Minnesota) in 1939, which continued until his retirement in 1976. He became Minneapolis Star’s news editor in 1949 and coordinator of Minneapolis Tribune’s Science Reading Series in 1961. In a blurb in Time and Again he wrote, “I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty three years and have two children. My favorite recreation is fishing (the lazy way, lying in a boat and letting them come to me). Hobbies: Chess, stamp collecting, growing roses.” He dedicated the book to his wife Kay, “without whom I’d never have written a line”. He was well liked by many of his science fiction cohorts, especially Isaac Asimov. He died in Minneapolis in 1988. Simak became interested in science fiction after reading the works of H. G. Wells as a child. His first contribution to the literature was “The World of the Red Sun”, published by Hugo Gernsback in the December 1931 issue of Wonder Stories with one opening illustration by Frank R. Paul. Within a year he placed three more stories in Gernsback’s pulp magazines and one in Astounding Stories, then edited by Harry Bates. But his only science fiction publication between 1932 and 1938 was The Creator (Marvel Tales #4, March–April 1935), a notable story with religious implications, which was then rare in the genre. Once John W. Campbell, at the helm of Astounding from October 1937, began redefining the field, Simak returned and was a regular contributor to Astounding Science Fiction (as it was renamed in 1938) throughout the Golden Age of Science Fiction (1938–1950). At first, as in the 1939 serial novel Cosmic Engineers, he wrote in the tradition of the earlier “superscience” subgenre that E. E. “Doc” Smith perfected, but he soon developed his own style, which is usually described as gentle and pastoral. During this period, Simak also published a number of war and western stories in pulp magazines. His best-known novel may be City, a collection of short stories with a common theme of mankind’s eventual exodus from Earth. Simak continued to produce award-nominated novels throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Aided by a friend, he continued writing and publishing science fiction and, later, fantasy, into his 80s. He believed that science fiction not rooted in scientific fact was responsible for the failure of the genre to be taken seriously, and stated his aim was to make the genre a part of what he called “realistic fiction.” Podcasts Clifford Simak no no EP486: Blight http://escapepod.org/2015/03/17/ep486-blight/ http://escapepod.org/2015/03/17/ep486-blight/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:02:07 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5091 http://escapepod.org/2015/03/17/ep486-blight/feed/ 0 0:11:18 by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam read by Christiana Ellis The story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam abou[...] by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam read by Christiana Ellis The story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam about the author… Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s fiction and poetry has appeared in magazines such as Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Hobart, and Goblin Fruit. She lives in Texas with her partner and two literarily-named cats – Gimli and Don Quixote. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. She also created and coordinates the annual Art & Words Collaborative Show in Fort Worth, Texas.   about the narrator… Christiana Ellis is an award-winning writer and podcaster, currently living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her podcast novel, Nina Kimberly the Merciless was both an inaugural nominee for the 2006 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction: Long Form, as well as a finalist for a 2006 Podcast Peer Award. Nina Kimberly the Merciless is available in print from Dragon Moon Press. Christiana is also the writer, producer and star of Space Casey, a 10-part audiodrama miniseries which won the Gold Mark Time Award for Best Science Fiction Audio Production by the American Society for Science Fiction Audio and the 2008 Parsec Award for Best Science Fiction Audio Drama. In between major projects, Christiana is also the creator and talent of many other podcast productions including Talking About Survivor, Hey, Want to Watch a Movie? and Christiana’s Shallow Thoughts. narrator Christiana Ellis   Blight by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam There are three thousand people in the world, and we are all the same. I don’t mean equal, for The Book makes clear we are not in any way equal. Some of us are blessed, others unblessed, as some live in the temple and others live on the charred black surface. And I do not mean we are similar, like sheep – the term once used, I believe, for a world of people with different genetic coding but the same ideas. No, we are not “sheep.” We are the same, from our hair to our DNA. The Book tells us that once there was The First, long ago, before the war. It tells us that She was not strong but lucky. Hospitalized for a broken leg before the bombs were released, all at once, across the world, or so The Book proclaims. The hospital was underground, hidden from the fallout’s worst. Most of the building caved in with the force of incessant blasts, everything destroyed but one wing: Hers. Our temple. Inside the room with Her, Her sister Marna had been visiting. Sister Marna, a scientist skilled in genetic replication, was older than The First, who had seen only twenty years. Sister Marna nursed The First back to health in that room, mended Her wounded bones. They ate Jello from sealed plastic containers and cans of beans and the petals of roses left by loved ones they learned to forget. They did not know they were the last. But they knew they should not leave the hospital wing, for the one time Sister Marna pushed open the door to the surface, she found the way blocked by rubble, saw a hazy light falling from the cracked concrete above. She and The First remained inside until the food ran out. They waited three days, our three Days of Fast, while Sister Marna searched for an exit, and on the third day, the Day of Sustenance, Sister Marna found another door, unblocked. When she returned, her skin gray with soot, she had removed her shirt and fashioned a bag by tying the sleeves together and plugging the neck hole with a bulk can of baked beans. Though her sister’s shirt was missing, The First could not tell that her upper half was naked, for Sister Marna’s breasts were black and brown as well, the coat of grime thick as a sweater. She had filled the makeshift bag with Jello and applesauce, beans, corn, chili, a bag of fortified cereal. They lived this way[...] Podcasts Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam no no Film Review: Cinderella http://escapepod.org/2015/03/16/film-review-cinderella/ http://escapepod.org/2015/03/16/film-review-cinderella/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 14:00:49 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5083 http://escapepod.org/2015/03/16/film-review-cinderella/feed/ 1 EP485: Supply Limited, Act Now http://escapepod.org/2015/03/10/ep485-supply-limited-act-now/ http://escapepod.org/2015/03/10/ep485-supply-limited-act-now/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 04:48:06 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5077 http://escapepod.org/2015/03/10/ep485-supply-limited-act-now/feed/ 1 0:46:33 by Helen Marshall read by Graeme Dunlop The story was recently released in the author’s short story collection, Gifts for the One Who Comes After, and was also released online at SFSignal (http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/09/free-fiction[...] by Helen Marshall read by Graeme Dunlop The story was recently released in the author’s short story collection, Gifts for the One Who Comes After, and was also released online at SFSignal (http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/09/free-fiction-supply–limited-act-now-by-helen-marshall/) Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Helen Marshall about the author… Helen Marshall is an award-winning Canadian author, editor, and doctor of medieval studies. Her poetry and fiction have been published in The Chiaroscuro, Abyss & Apex, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Tor.com and have been reprinted in several Year’s Best anthologies. Her debut collection of short stories Hair Side, Flesh Side (ChiZine Publications, 2012) was named one of the top ten books of 2012 by January Magazine. It won the 2013 British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer and was short-listed for an 2013 Aurora Award by the Canadian Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy.   about the narrator… Graeme is a Software Solution Architect and Voice Actor living in Melbourne Australia. He is the sound producer for the horror podcast Pseudopod, and former host of the YA podcast Cast of Wonders. You can find him on Google+ and he occasionally tweets as @kibitzer on Twitter. narrator Graeme Dunlop   Supply Limited, Act Now by Helen Marshall Because Larry said it would never work, we knew we had to try. Because Larry said he didn’t want any part of it, we knew we had to try it out on him first. That was the way it was with Larry. That’s how it had always been between us. The four of us knew it. No one questioned it. We could all see the slightly sick look come over Larry’s face as he realized. We could see him turning pale. Pushing at his taped-up glasses and starting to scramble. He tried to say something. Marvin grabbed the shrink ray. Marvin pressed the button. And the world popped and crackled around us. * That’s how it started. Maybe it wouldn’t have been like that if Larry had never said anything. But when Larry had followed the instructions last time it had been a disaster. “FRIENDS,” the ad had said. “HERE’S HOW TO GET at almost NO COST YOUR NEW, Real, Live MINIATURE DOG!” “Supply Limited,” the ad said. “ACT NOW!!” “Please let me come home with you,” the miniature dog begged in a giant speech bubble. The dog was black, with long, floppy ears, cartoonishly wide eyes and a white-speckled snout. Larry, on the other hand, was skinny as a beanpole with a face full of acne. His elbows and knees were huge and knobbly. They stuck out like the knots in the ropes we had to climb for gym class. And if there was any boy who ever was in need of a dog it was him. And so Larry sent in his coupons and waited at the door for the mailman every day. He waited the way he had every day for the past year; while those other times it had been with terror, this time it was with stupid, fearless joy. You see, the thing you need to know about Larry is that his brother Joe had joined the Air Force last September. “GEE!! I WISH I WERE A MAN!” said the ad. “Come to the UNITED STATES AIR FORCE Recruiting Station,” it said. We all wished we could be men—of course we did!—but only Larry’s brother Joe was old enough. So he’d signed up just like it said to. They’d sent him to Honolulu for a while and then after that he had been moved to Seoul where he wrote back letters every once in a while about how hot it was and how many of the shovelheads he had killed and how much he missed his kid brother. Those weren’t the letters that worried Larry. Of course, it wasn’t those letters. It was the official letter. The one signed by President Harry S. Truman himself. Larry knew exactly when the mailman came every day. His whole family did. But after Larry sent away for his miniature dog? For a couple of weeks anyway things were different. This was about the only time in the whole [...] Podcasts Helen Marshall yes no EP484: That Tear Problem http://escapepod.org/2015/03/03/ep484-that-tear-problem/ http://escapepod.org/2015/03/03/ep484-that-tear-problem/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:48:17 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5054 http://escapepod.org/2015/03/03/ep484-that-tear-problem/feed/ 0 0:23:36 by Natalia Thodoridou read by Hugo Jackson guest host Rachael Jones This story was originally published in Kasma SF in June 2014 Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page [...] by Natalia Thodoridou read by Hugo Jackson guest host Rachael Jones This story was originally published in Kasma SF in June 2014 Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Natalia Theodoridou about the author… Natalia Theodoridou is a media & theatre scholar based in the UK. Her writing has appeared in Clarkesworld, Crossed Genres, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. Find out more at www.natalia-theodoridou.com, or just say hi @natalia_theodor on Twitter.   about the narrator… Hugo Jackson is an author with Inspired Quill; his first fantasy novel, ‘Legacy’ is available from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. He has acted and performed stage combat for years, having appeared in various film, theatre and TV productions, including The Young Victoria, Diamond Swords at Warwick Castle, Cyrano de Bergerac (Chichester Festival Theatre, 2009)  Romeo and Juliet (Arundel Festival, 2005), The Worst Jobs In History, and Ancient Megastructures: Chartres Cathedral. See him at www.hugorjackson.com narrator Hugo Jackson   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.” If she caught the irony in my voice, she didn’t show it. “Attach the red electrode to your left arm. Good. Now let me know if you experience any pain.” A moment passed, but nothing happened. “I don’t feel anything,” I said. “OK. How about now?” I waited. My eyes started to tear up. I felt the moisture form into little beads around my eyeballs. “I don’t feel anything in my arm, but my eyes sting like hell. It’s that tear problem again,” I said. Tears, apparently, don’t flow in microgravity. The little fuckers just stick to your eyes like liquid balls, refusing to let go before they get to be the size of small nuts. Bottom line is, you can’t cry in space. They always get that one wrong in the movies. Who would have known? “You are reacting to an imaginary stimulus,” the voice said. “Your brain thinks you should be hurting, so your eyes tear up. Hold still. You can wipe them in a minute.” Maybe the controller was a man, after all. Maybe it wasn’t a person at all at the other end, just a machine. I waited for a ping, but got nothing. “All done. You can unstrap yourself, soldier,” the voice said. “Same time tomorrow. Do not be late.” [...] Podcasts, Uncategorized Natalia Thodoridou yes no EP483: Boris’s Bar http://escapepod.org/2015/03/02/ep483-boriss-bar/ http://escapepod.org/2015/03/02/ep483-boriss-bar/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 05:35:56 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5050 http://escapepod.org/2015/03/02/ep483-boriss-bar/feed/ 4 0:44:18 by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali read by Kaitie Radel This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali about [...] by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali read by Kaitie Radel This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali about the author… I was raised in New Haven, Con­necti­cut.  I attended the Uni­ver­sity of Con­necti­cut for a cou­ple of years but left to marry my hus­band of more than twenty years.  I have three beau­ti­ful chil­dren, who like most chil­dren these days, far out­strip their par­ents in intel­li­gence and cre­ativ­ity. My days, my con­crete life, are spent car­ing for breast oncol­ogy patients as a reg­is­tered nurse.  I love work­ing as an oncol­ogy nurse.  It keeps me grounded and forces me to remem­ber the tran­sient beauty of life, and the impor­tance of doing what one loves while one can.  It also keeps God fore­most in my mind as I jour­ney through this brief life, that my choices might be accord­ing to His will. My less ordered life (Don’t we all live mul­ti­ple sep­a­rate lives?) is spent mostly in my head.  I am always attempt­ing to order the mul­ti­tude of ideas that rise unbid­den in my mind when I least expect them.  To some peo­ple this makes me look deeply spir­i­tual and wise, to oth­ers I look angry.  I assure, I am nei­ther.  Some­times the voices of half-formed char­ac­ters speak to me, beg­ging to be recorded for pos­ter­ity, that we might learn from them, or them from us.  Some­times the voice I hear is my own, remind­ing me of my oblig­a­tion to this life.  Unfor­tu­nately, I rarely have time for any of the voices cre­at­ing the chaotic din in my head. narrator Kaitie Radel about the narrator… Kaitie Radel is a music education student and aspiring voice actress, has been voice acting as a hobby for two years.  In addition to this project, she has participated as both a VA and administrator in several fan projects such as The Homestuck Musical Project and Ava’s Melodies.  She can be contacted at kaitlynradel@mail.usf.edu.   Boris’s Bar by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali   “Orani, tell Boris what is wrong.”     I told Boris about Enoch and our shared dreams, about how he abandoned me. “He said I was frigid,” I confided, my head on Boris’s shoulder, his hand stroking my back. Boris nodded, “What else?” “He said that for all the credits in the system, I would never learn how to love.” I’d been drowning in loneliness when I contracted Boris to help me recover from losing Enoch. After two years of long distance communication, Enoch had traveled from Earth to be with me, only to later decide it was a mistake. “You’re not the human being I thought you were,” he said, which was rich because he wasn’t a human being at all. When I was spent of energy and tears, Boris lifted me into his arms, like steel support beams, and carried me to the bathroom. He undressed and washed me. He kissed my tearful eyes. He rubbed my skin with oil. With Boris I finally felt warm and safe. “Orani, you are worthy and lovable. I want you to know this,” he murmured to me as he carried me back to bed. “I want you to feel like a little baby.” “I don’t remember what that’s like,” I told him. # I turned onto my side and assumed the position for spooning. “Please. Come hold me.” I hated that I sounded so desperate. It climbed onto the bed behind me and pulled me against its body. It laced its legs with mine, stroked my side, and nuzzled my neck. “Tighter,” I whispered. “Closer.” My cuddle bot acquiesced, but it still didn’t feel right. It wasn’t warm and fleshy. It didn’t quite curve and meld into my body. Its breath wasn’t moist on the back of my neck. And I could see its intricate metallic phalangeal joints through the tear in its rubber skin. “Enough,” I said, trying not to sound exasperated, like I was near tears. I don’t know why it mattered. It wouldn’t have noticed or car[...] Podcasts Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali yes no EP482: Chimeras http://escapepod.org/2015/02/21/ep482-chimeras/ http://escapepod.org/2015/02/21/ep482-chimeras/#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2015 05:49:00 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5037 http://escapepod.org/2015/02/21/ep482-chimeras/feed/ 1 0:20:35 author Julie Steinbacher (image is © Folly Blaine) by Julie Steinbacher read by Jessica Dubish guest host Gabrielle de Cuir This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narra[...] author Julie Steinbacher (image is © Folly Blaine) by Julie Steinbacher read by Jessica Dubish guest host Gabrielle de Cuir This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Julie Steinbacher is fully human, whatever that means. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she is an MFA candidate at North Carolina State University. She is a graduate of the Clarion West Workshop, and her fiction appears in Terraform. You can follow her on Twitter @jofthewolves.   about the narrator… Jessica Dubish is a sophomore Theatre Major at George Mason University. George Mason University; The Merchant (Gypsy Busker), Women and Wallace (Victoria), Slumber Party (Nancy), The Blue Room (The Girl), The Vagina Monologues (My Angry Vagina), Dido, Queen of Carthage (Cupid). Jessica is a Teaching Artist at Acting for Young People. narrator Jessica Dubish   Chimeras by Julie Steinbacher You’ve heard going chimera is addictive. You’ve never done any hard drugs, so you’re not afraid of what this means. The “Free Consultations” sign on the clinic has drawn you in, not for the first time. It’s raining lightly in the city and droplets cling to your long hair and your nose. Bumps rise on your bare arms. You have the money for the first operation–savings you were going to put toward an apartment just for you and him–and the time: your whole life. You push open the door. # The waiting room is full of people. Some have only subtle modifications, pigment alteration to suggest stripes, lengthened earlobes, eyes that shine in the low lamplight. There are others who stare at you with unblinking reptilian irises, or who run sandpaper tongues across pointed canines. And then there are the other naturals like you, all huddled in one corner, stinking to some, probably, like fear and nerves. The bravado leaks out of you, but you force yourself to the desk, where you add your name to the list. Then you find a place to sit in the center of the room and avoid eye contact with everyone, natural or not. You’re not going to lose your nerve now. You’re making a choice, going against all the promises you made to T–but then, he broke his promises to you. Magazines litter the end tables to make the room look more homey. Animal women are on their covers, or beautiful animal men. There are interviews in Fur & Scales with a handful of celebrities on their personal journeys to chimera. The season’s fashions are highlighted on a page–lacy webbed fingers, dappled rumps, prehensile tails. Your name is called and you furl the magazine and put it in your purse. # After the consultation you have an appointment for your first modification. The date and time are written on a smooth card that you slide into your jeans pocket and touch from time to time on the bus ride home. Your roommates are out, so you slip into your room and strip naked before a mirror. You slide your hands across your thighs and press the jut of each hipbone, stroke the curve of your belly. Briefly you cup each breast and consider its heft and shape. You think about how each part will look, down the line, when you’ve gotten all the modifications you want. “You’re fucking beautiful,” T used to tell you when you made love. It was a friend of yours that saw him in a restaurant with another woman, and it was over when you learned how many he’d slept with while seeing you. The sound of the front door pulls you from your reverie, and you put on a robe. You remove the card from your jeans pocket–a corner bent, now–and put it in the drawer of your nightstand. For now, your secret. # You take a half-day from work for the procedure. It’s in-and-out; the first modifications are often slight, like the remaining balance in your bank account. When you come to, face smarting, the air feels different. The surgeon brings you a mirror[...] Podcasts Julie Steinbacher yes no EP481: Temporary Friends http://escapepod.org/2015/02/16/ep481-temporary-friends/ http://escapepod.org/2015/02/16/ep481-temporary-friends/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 05:45:26 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5034 http://escapepod.org/2015/02/16/ep481-temporary-friends/feed/ 1 0:19:20 by Caroline M. Yoachim read by Caitlin Buckley This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Caroline M. Yoachim about the[...] by Caroline M. Yoachim read by Caitlin Buckley This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Caroline M. Yoachim about the author… I’m a photographer and writer currently living in Seattle, Washington. I’ve published about two dozen fantasy and science fiction short stories, in markets that include Asimov’s, Lightspeed Magazine, Interzone, and Daily Science Fiction. In 2011 I was nominated for a Nebula Award for my novelette “Stone Wall Truth,” which you can read online here at my website. For a list of my publications, see my writing page. about the narrator… Hey – my name is Caitlin Buckley, and I’m narrating this week’s episode. I’ve been voice acting for just over a year, but talking funny for my entire life – and I think it’s just such fun. If you want to see other stuff I’ve been involved with, I keep a blog with all my work: https://caitlinva.wordpress.com/. Thanks for listening! narrator Caitlin Buckley     Temporary Friends by Caroline M. Yoachim The second week of kindergarten, Mimi came home with a rabbit. Despite numerous mentions of the Temporary Friends project in the parent newsletter, I wasn’t prepared to see my five-year-old girl cuddling a honey-colored fluffball that was genetically engineered to have fatally high cholesterol and die of a heart attack later in the school year. “I named him Mr. Flufferbottom.” Mimi told me. I glared at Great-Grandpa John, who’d been watching her while I finished up my shift at the clinic. He shrugged. My gruff maternal grandfather wasn’t my first choice of babysitter, but he needed a place to stay and I needed someone to watch Mimi after school. “Are you sure it’s a good idea to name him, honey?” I knelt down and put my hand on Mimi’s shoulder. “He’s a completely biological rabbit, and this kind doesn’t tend to live very long.” “Teacher said to pick good names for our rabbits,” Mimi said. “Besides, you put new parts on people, so if Mr. Flufferbottom breaks you can fix him.” Replacement pet parts were readily available online, and the self-installing models could be put in by anyone who could afford the hefty price tag and follow simple instructions. But replacement parts defeated the purpose of the lesson — research showed that children needed to experience death in order to achieve normal emotional development. Aside from the occasional suicide or tragic accident, there weren’t many occasions to deal with loss. Schools were required to incorporate Temporary Friends into their kindergarten curriculum in order to get government funding. The school couldn’t control what parents did, of course, but the parent newsletter strongly discouraged tampering with the damned death pets in any way. “Mimi, sweetie, that’s not how it works this time — I know we get a lot of extra parts for Graycat, but your Temporary Friend is only until…” I tried to remember from the newsletter how long the rabbits were engineered to live. Six months? “Only until March, and then we’ll say goodbye.” I expected Mimi to put up a big fuss, but she didn’t. She took Mr. Flufferbottom to the cage we’d set up in her room and got him some food and water. # Mimi didn’t say another word about Mr. Flufferbottom until mid-October. “Mommy,” she said in her most serious voice, “I think we should order parts for Mr. Flufferbottom now, so we’ll have them ready when he needs them.” “We talked about this, Mimi. Mr. Flufferbottom is a Temporary Friend. Do you remember what temporary means?” “It means only for a little while. Like ice cream is temporary because I eat it or s[...] Podcasts Caroline M. Yoachim no no EP480: To the Knife-Cold Stars http://escapepod.org/2015/02/07/ep480-knife-cold-stars/ http://escapepod.org/2015/02/07/ep480-knife-cold-stars/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2015 06:07:52 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5029 http://escapepod.org/2015/02/07/ep480-knife-cold-stars/feed/ 1 0:39:42 by A. Merc Rustad read by Mat Weller This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author A. Merc Rustad about the author… [...] by A. Merc Rustad read by Mat Weller This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author A. Merc Rustad about the author… Hello and welcome! My name is Merc Rustad and I’m a queer non-binary writer and filmmaker who likes dinosaurs, robots, monsters, and cookies. My fiction has appeared in nifty places like Scigentasy, Daily Science Fiction, and Flash Fiction Online. (More at the Published Fiction tab at the top of the page.) I’m mostly found on Twitter @Merc_Rustad and occasionally playing in cardboard boxes. The site is updated with publication announcements, completed short films, and occasional blog-like essays. (For more semi-regular blogging, I hang out on LJ and DW.) narrator Mat Weller about the narrator… <<text redacted>> Mat last Read for EP episode 466: Checkmate   To the Knife-Cold Stars by A. Merc Rustad When Grace opens his newly crafted eye, the first thing he sees is wire. Thick cords of braided wire snaking like old veins up the walls. It’s dim inside the surgical unit, but for all the black metal and mesh shelves, it _feels_ clean, even in the heat. The air still has the unfamiliar taste of crude oil. Sweat sticks the borrowed clothes to his skin. He blinks, a flicker of pain in his head as the left eyelid slides down over cool metal buried in the socket. He’s awake and he’s alive. The anesthetic hasn’t worn off. It’s sluggish in his blood, an unpleasant burn at the back of his throat. It blurs the edges of his thoughts like too much bad wine. But it doesn’t dull the deep-etched fear still unspooling through his gut. He survived the demon, survived his own execution. It’s a hard thing to accept, even days later. He wants to touch the new eye, this machine part of his body, the forever-reminder what happened. Doesn’t dare, yet. “Back with us, eh?” says a raspy voice muffled by a respirator. Grace turns his head, slow and careful. He dimly recalls the wire-tech mumbling about whiplash in his neck and the horrific bruising along his ribs and back where the welts are still healing. “Guess so.” The tech is a small man dressed in heavy surgical leathers that are studded with metal sheeting. Old blood speckles the apron and gloves; the metal and rivets are spotless. Only the skin on his forehead is visible under thick embedded glasses and a breather covering nose and mouth. “Nearly died on us, you did. Venom went right into the blood.” The demon’s venom. Grace doesn’t reach to touch his face where the sunspawn’s claws took out his eye and split flesh to bone. He doesn’t look down, either. A new shirt and worn jeans cover whatever scars the demon left on his belly and thighs. He shivers in the heat. He doesn’t know if he can ever look at himself again; what will Humility think– Humility. Grace trembles harder. Humility will never see him again. _Don’t think._ Harder a self-command than it should be. _Don’t go back there._ “He’s tough.” The second voice jerks Grace’s attention back to where he is. He turns his head again, wincing. He craves more anesthetic, and hates that he wants it. Numbness is just another way to hide. Bishop stands near the narrow doorway, leaning against corded wire that bunches like supports along the wall. He’s tall, broad-shouldered, dressed in travel-worn leathers with a breather mask over the lower part of his face. His mechanical eyes gleam dull green in the surgical bay’s weak florescent glow. Bishop–the man who saved his life. Bishop brought him here to this city, to the medical bay tucked somewhere in one of the vast districts that no name Grace can recall. Grace’s throat tightens. He ought to say something in greeting, or acknowledgement. All words feel hollow. Bishop looks at Grace, unblinking, though he speaks to the tech. “Appreciate your help, Dee,” Bishop says. “Your skill’s always sharp.” “I do my best.” The tec[...] Podcasts A. Merc Rustad yes no EP479: The Evening, The Morning and the Night http://escapepod.org/2015/02/02/ep479-evening-morning-night/ http://escapepod.org/2015/02/02/ep479-evening-morning-night/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 05:28:37 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4990 http://escapepod.org/2015/02/02/ep479-evening-morning-night/feed/ 10 1:05:17 by Octavia Butler read by Amanda Ching This story originally appeared in the May 1987 issue of Omni (available for free here: https://archive.org/details/omni-magazine-1987-05) Drabblecast’s production of Bloodchild: http://www.drabblecast.o[...] by Octavia Butler read by Amanda Ching This story originally appeared in the May 1987 issue of Omni (available for free here: https://archive.org/details/omni-magazine-1987-05) Drabblecast’s production of Bloodchild: http://www.drabblecast.org/2013/10/31/drabblecast-300-bloodchild/ The Octavia Butler Foundation’s scholarships for writers of color: http://octaviabutler.org/scholarship/ Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Octavia Butler about the author… from OctaviaButler.org: Octavia Estelle Butler, often referred to as the “grand dame of science fiction,” was born in Pasadena, California on June 22, 1947.  She received an Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Pasadena Community College, and also attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles.  During 1969 and 1970, she studied at the Screenwriter’s Guild Open Door Program and the Clarion Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop, where she took a class with science fiction master Harlan Ellison (who later became her mentor), and which led to Butler selling her first science fiction stories. Butler’s first story, “Crossover,” was published in the 1971 Clarion anthology.  Patternmaster, her first novel and the first title of her five-volume Patternist series, was published in 1976, followed by Mind of My Mind in 1977.  Others in the series include Survivor (1978), Wild Seed (1980), which won the James Tiptree Award, and Clay’s Ark (1984). With the publication of Kindred in 1979, Butler was able to support herself writing full time.  She won the Hugo Award in 1984 for her short story, “Speech Sounds,” and in 1985, Butler’s novelette “Bloodchild” won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and an award for best novelette from Science Fiction Chronicle. Other books by Octavia E. Butler include the Xenogenesis trilogy: Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988) and Imago (1989), and a short story collection, Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995).  Parable of the Sower (1993), the first of her Earthseed series, was a finalist for the Nebula Award as well as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.  The book’s sequel, Parable of the Talents (1998), won a Nebula Award. In 1995 Butler was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship. Awards 1980, Creative Arts Award, L.A. YWCA 1984, Hugo Award for Best Short Story – Speech Sounds 1984, Nebula Award for Best Novelette – Bloodchild 1985, Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novelette – Bloodchild 1985, Locus Award for Best Novelette – Bloodchild 1985, Hugo Award for Best Novelette –  Bloodchild 1995, MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant 1999, Nebula Award for Best Novel – Parable of the Talents 2000, PEN American Center lifetime achievement award in writing 2010, Inductee Science Fiction Hall of Fame 2012, Solstice Award, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America narrator Amanda Ching about the narrator… Amanda Ching is a 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 tweets @cerebralcutlass and blogs at amandaching.wordpress.com. Amanda last Read for EP episode 461: Selkie Stories are for Losers Podcasts Octavia Butler yes no EP478: People of the Shell http://escapepod.org/2015/01/30/ep478-people-shell/ http://escapepod.org/2015/01/30/ep478-people-shell/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 05:28:44 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5024 http://escapepod.org/2015/01/30/ep478-people-shell/feed/ 0 0:52:38 by Brian Trent read by Jeff Ronner This story originally has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   author Brian Trent about the [...] by Brian Trent read by Jeff Ronner This story originally has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   author Brian Trent about the author… I am a novelist, screenwriter, producer, poet, actor, and freethinker who supports both imagination and rationalism. I am an advocate for film and the written word and possibility. I am a recent (2013) winner in the Writers of the Future contest and have since had work accepted in Escape Pod (“The Nightmare Lights of Mars”), Daily Science Fiction, Apex (winning the 2013 Story of the Year Reader’s Poll), Clarkesworld, COSMOS, Strange Horizons, Galaxy’s Edge, Penumbra, and Electric Velocipede. narrator Jeff Ronner about the narrator… Jeff Ronner is a voice actor, audio engineer, and sound designer. His work has appeared in radio and TV spots, non-commercial narrations, and on those annoying in-store supermarket PA systems. Cleverly disguised as a mild-mannered hospital IT manager during the day, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff last read for us in EP439: Cradle and Ume   People of the Shell by Brian Trent Egypt’s rolling ice-dunes were suddenly peppered by a new ashstorm, as if a bowl of soot had overturned in the heavens. King Cyrus held up his fist and the war drummer ceased his rhythmic pounding, the oarsmen relaxed, and the sandship ground to a halt in the slush. The ash sprinkled Cyrus’ cloak and collected in his beard. He leaned against the deck rails and stared. “Do you see that?” Cyrus asked his daughter, lowering his facemask around his smile. “Look!” The girl squinted. “Are those the pyramids, father?” “As I promised you.” Three fires danced high in the darkness. In a world of never-ending night, the Egyptians alone had devised a brilliant defiance. The Giza pyramids were like magical lighthouses, capstones removed, their vast bodies filled with pitch, and red fires lit to smolder like desperate offerings to the vanished sun. Standing on the sandship deck alongside his king, the Magus Jamshid said, “May they welcome us warmly. We are in no condition to fight.” “I did not need a fight to take Babylon,” Cyrus reminded him. “That was before the Hammerstrike, my lord.” But the king waved his hand dismissively. “I will go to them and look in their eyes, and speak to them as friends, and trust that generosity has not perished with the trees.” The withered magus grunted derisively. He was bearded and ancient, his skin like the patina of old scrolls. Jamshid wore a dark blue turban, facemask, and a scintillating black robe the same color as his pitched eyebrows. His gaze smoked like hot iron. The royal sandship stood at the head of the royal Persian fleet. It sounded majestic, Cyrus thought, but only four sandships – with a meager two hundred starving Persians – remained. The men resembled skeletons in their rags. Their leather armor was reduced to chewed twines that the men fisted in their hands, to nibble on in want of food. When the last of the leather was eaten, little trace would remain that animals had ever existed on the Earth. Cyrus turned to their dirtied ranks. “I give you Egypt!” he bellowed. “It is still here, as I promised!” Hunger, not hope, blazed in their eyes as they beheld the pyramid fires. Jamshid touched his arm. “Sire! The runner is returning!” Cyrus followed the magus’ gnarled brown hand. He saw only falling ash and smoky miasma curling from the ice. A moment later, the scout emerged into the fleet’s amber lamplight. The man saw the royal sandship and dug his spiked boots into the ice to stop hard. The archers relaxed their bows. “Sandship, my lord!” the young man cried. “Approaching dark and fast from the southeast!” “Banner?” Cyrus asked. “I have not set eyes on it. They run dark.” “They have seen our lamps,” the magus guessed. Cyrus stooped to his daughter. She was such a tiny thing, like a miniature of his wife, wi[...] Podcasts Brian Trent no no EP477: Parallel Moons http://escapepod.org/2015/01/23/ep477-parallel-moons/ http://escapepod.org/2015/01/23/ep477-parallel-moons/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 06:18:24 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5019 http://escapepod.org/2015/01/23/ep477-parallel-moons/feed/ 0 0:31:45 by Mario Milosevic read by Bill Bowman This story originally appeared in Space and Time magazine and was produced as an e-book by Green Snake Publishing. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our[...] by Mario Milosevic read by Bill Bowman This story originally appeared in Space and Time magazine and was produced as an e-book by Green Snake Publishing. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   author Mario Milosevic about the author… I live in the Columbia River Gorge, one of the most beautiful places anywhere. My day job is at the local public library. I started writing quite young, and submitted my first story to a magazine when I was 14 years old. Nowadays I write poems, stories, novels, and a little non-fiction. I’m married to fellow writerKim Antieau. We met at a writer’s workshop quite a few moons ago and got married a year later. We’ve been deliriously happy for many years now. My advice to any would be writers: Don’t do it! It’s a crazy life. But if you absolutely must enter this nutty profession, here’s three things that just might help you out: 1. Write regularly (every day is good). 2. Read constantly. 3. Get a job. Seriously. about the narrator… Bill started voice acting on the Metamor City Podcast, and has wanted to do more ever since. He spends his days working at a library, where he is in charge of all things with plugs and troubleshooting the people who use them. He spends his nights with his wife, two active children, and two overly active canines and all that goes with that. Bill last read for us on EP440: Canterbury Hollow.   Parallel Moons Mario Milosevic 1a I never understood the term “new moon.” When the moon is invisible, how can it be new? “New moon” should be called “empty moon,” the opposite of full moon. I resolved to use the term when I was quite young. I figured all my friends would agree with me and we’d start a new way of talking about the moon. Only thing is, the phases of the moon don’t come up in conversation all that often, so the terminology never caught on. Another thing I remember about the moon: I used to put my finger over it to make it disappear. Lots of kids did that There’s immense power in erasing an object big enough to have its own gravity. Kids crave that kind of power. They want to rule the world. 2a You work at a medium-sized law firm. You get a call from some nerds. Space cadets. They want to reclassify the moon. They say it’s a planet, not a satellite. You think this has to be some kind of joke. But no. They are dead serious. They have money to pay for your legal work. Seven hundred and eighty-six dollars. And thirty-two cents. They collected it by passing a hat. You are amused. You take the case. Why not? No point in being who you are unless you can have some fun once in a while, right? Right? 3a Alice Creighton knew as much about Richard Mollene as anyone who ever looked at a gossip website, which made sense, since she wrote for one of the most popular. Mollene was the richest person ever, a complete recluse, a widower, and dedicated to three things above all else: stopping global warming, halting disease, and making the moon disappear. He had already accomplished the first with his innovative solar cell technology, had made real progress on the second with his universal vaccine, and now, with the pepper mill in orbit around the moon for the past twenty years, he was well on his way to achieving the third. Alice approved of Mollene’s first two dreams, but was not in favor of the third. A lot of people said they understood Richard Mollene and his pepper mill. Alice Creighton did not. She asked for an interview with Mollene to get more information. To her surprise, he said yes. Alice would get face time with the man who set the pepper mill grinding and seasoning the moon from lunar orbit almost twenty years ago. A lot of people said its mission was impossible. They said fine non-reflective dust, no matter how abundant, couldn’t quench the light of the moon. But they were wrong. 1b Like most everyone else, I saw the alien craft arrive on the moon via tv. Unlike most o[...] Podcasts Mario Milosevic no no EP476: In Loco Parentis http://escapepod.org/2015/01/16/ep476-loco-parentis/ http://escapepod.org/2015/01/16/ep476-loco-parentis/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 05:38:14 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5012 http://escapepod.org/2015/01/16/ep476-loco-parentis/feed/ 3 0:23:16 by Andrea Phillips read by Mur Lafferty This story is an Escape Pod original, it has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   autho[...] by Andrea Phillips read by Mur Lafferty This story is an Escape Pod original, it has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   author Andrea Phillips about the author… Andrea Phillips is an award-winning transmedia writer, game designer and author. Her book, A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling, is published by McGraw-Hill and is used to teach courses at USC, Columbia, McGill, and many other universities. Her transmedia work includes a variety of educational and commercial projects, including Floating City with Thomas Dolby, The Maester’s Path for HBO’s Game of Thrones with Campfire Media, America 2049 with human rights nonprofit Breakthrough, Diesel Reboot with Moving Image & Content, and the independent commercial ARG Perplex City. These projects have variously won the Prix Jeunesse Interactivity Prize, a Broadband Digital award, a Canadian Screen Award, a BIMA, the Origins Vanguard Innovation Award, and others. Her independent work includes the Kickstarted ongoing serial transmedia project The Daring Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheart. Andrea has spoken at TEDx Transmedia, Future of Storytelling, SXSW, MIT Storytelling 3.0, the Power to the Pixel/IFP Cross-Media Forum, and Nordic Games Conference, and many more events. Andrea cheats at solitaire (a victimless crime) and Words With Friends (which is less forgivable). Consider yourself warned.   In Loco Parentis by Andrea Phillips The video stutters at the eighteen-second mark. Yakova knows by heart precisely when it happens. As she watches, she mouths the words along with Autumn. “So this girl just, like, opens up her bag, right?” And here is where it happens: Autumn elbows her and knocks her glasses off. Yakova knows she should edit it out, those few seconds of skewed and jarring footage as her glasses skitter across the lunch table. Instead, she studies each frame carefully. Jad is there, nearly off-frame and out of focus, light gleaming off the angled planes of his cheekbones, dark hair curled over his eyes. He starts from his recline, and he looks at her (looks at her!), eyes widening. His hand reaches up, and — She cuts it off here, before she has to hear her own brassy laugh, before she can hear herself telling Autumn to be more careful. If she doesn’t hear it, she can pretend HE didn’t hear it, either. She bites her lip, studying Jad’s expression of… concern? It must be concern. Probably. But is it the aloof concern of a bystander, or a more significant concern, floating atop a deep ocean of unspoken feeling? At the base of Yakova’s skull, her minder, Seraph, uncoils and stretches. “You have homework to do,” Seraph says. When she speaks, it is a warm vibration behind Yakova’s ear, all thought and no real sound. Her voice is the same as Yakova’s mother. Yakova zooms in on Jad’s inscrutable degree of concern. “Do you think he likes me?” she asks. The video panel winks out. “Homework,” Seraph says. If she has arrived at any conclusions regarding the boy’s feelings, she keeps them to herself. Yakova shouldn’t have glasses at all, of course. Not anymore, not at her age. The last two years have seen her friends blossoming into adulthood — one by one peripherals have fallen away, leaving their eyes clear, their faces open and unguarded. Yakova is left behind with a goggle-eyed wall between her and her newly coltish, beautiful peers. Being marked out as the sole baby in a flock of long-limbed near-adults is no easy thing, and made worse because she knows she is not a baby, not really. If only her mother could see that. Yakova closes her eyes and pictures the single blurry frame, Jad’s indeterminate degree of concern. Her minder can remove the video from her glasses, but can’t lock Yakova out of [...] Podcasts Andrea Phillips no no The Season http://escapepod.org/2015/01/12/season/ http://escapepod.org/2015/01/12/season/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 14:59:33 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5009 http://escapepod.org/2015/01/12/season/feed/ 0 0:02:39 It’s a new year!  Celebrations and congratulations all around, as we have successfully survived, both as a species and as individuals (presuming you are reading this text from a computer and not, like, Valhalla).  That means, however, a new aw[...] It’s a new year!  Celebrations and congratulations all around, as we have successfully survived, both as a species and as individuals (presuming you are reading this text from a computer and not, like, Valhalla).  That means, however, a new awards season is coming.  If you want to support Escape Pod, then please, feel free to nominate us for awards such as the Hugos, the Nebulas, or the Parsecs.  Escape Pod publishes both text and audio, so that gives some flexibility in how you nominate us.  For example, with the Hugos we are eligible for Best Fancast and Best Semi-Pro-Zine. We’d also love to see some of the authors we publish see their own work highlighted.  The stories are, after all, the whole point of the exercise.  With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the award-eligible fiction we ran in 2014. The following short stories were originally published in EscapePod in 2014: “That Other Sea,” by William Ledbetter “Kumara,” by Seth Dickinson “An Understanding,” by Holly Heisey “To Waste,” by Luke Pebler “Rockwork,” by R. M. Graves “The Sky is Blue, and Bright, and Full of Stars,” by Edward Ashton “Checkmate,” by Brian Trent “Trash,” by Marie Vibbert “Inseparable,” by Liz Heldmann “Shared Faces,” by Anaea Lay “The Mercy of Theseus,” by Rachael K. Jones “Soft Currency,” by Seth Gordon “The Golden Glass” by Gary Kloster The following stories were originally published somewhere else in 2014, but reprinted in Escape Pod that same year. (If you want to nominate any of these, please do so naming the original venue, even if you heard them first with us.): “The Transdimensional Horsemaster Rabbis of Mpumalanga Province,” by Sarah Pinsker, originally published in Asimov’s “A Struggle Between Rivals Ends Surprisingly,” by Oliver Buckram, originally published in F&SF “Repo,” by Aaron Gallagher, originally published in Analog “Enjoy the Moment,” by Jack McDevitt, originally published in the anthology “The End is Nigh” “This is as I Wish to Be Restored” by Christie Yant, originally published in Analog Hat tip to datameister David Steffen of Diabolical Plots for volunteering to help put this list together!   Meta, Podcasts Escape Pod no no EP475: Homegrown Tomatoes http://escapepod.org/2015/01/10/ep475-homegrown-tomatoes/ http://escapepod.org/2015/01/10/ep475-homegrown-tomatoes/#comments Sat, 10 Jan 2015 06:58:15 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=5003 http://escapepod.org/2015/01/10/ep475-homegrown-tomatoes/feed/ 0 0:25:11 by Lara Elena Donnelley read by David Levine This story previously appeared in the pay-what-you-can Clarion Foundation fundraiser anthology The Red Volume. Mentioned in Alisdair’s commentary: KT Tunstall “Black Horse” Discuss on o[...] by Lara Elena Donnelley read by David Levine This story previously appeared in the pay-what-you-can Clarion Foundation fundraiser anthology The Red Volume. Mentioned in Alisdair’s commentary: KT Tunstall “Black Horse” Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   author Lara Elena Donnelly about the author… Lara Elena Donnelly lives and pretends to work in Louisville, Kentucky. When she is not writing (which is far too often), she swing dances, makes art, and does yoga in the park. Her fiction swings heavily anachronistic. She has a penchant for putting fairies, magic, and demons where they shouldn’t be; namely, pivotal points in history. She is a graduate of the Alpha and Clarion workshops. Her work has appeared several places in print and online narrator David D. Levine about the narrator… David D. Levine is the author of novel Arabella of Mars (forthcoming from Tor in 2016) and over fifty SF and fantasy short stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo Award, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. His stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, and five Year’s Best anthologies as well as his award-winning collection Space Magic from Wheatland Press. David lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Kate Yule. His web site is www.daviddlevine.com.   Homegrown Tomatoes by Lara Elena Donnelly When I pick Louisa up from school, _All Things Considered_ is on the radio, playing a round table discussion about the virus. One person believes that the disease ravaging the corn belt is a government experiment gone awry. The reporter reminds the audience: botanists speculate it was brought to the U.S. by an invasive species of beetle. I recognize a few of the interviewees—I studied their research back when I was still pursuing my doctorate. Before I met Ann, before we had Louisa. It’s strange, thinking I could have been on NPR some day, if I had finished my degree. I turn the radio off before Louisa is buckled in. The virus has been the only thing on the news for a week. Louisa’s teacher talked about it with her class a little bit, but I don’t want Louisa to get worried, so Ann and I don’t mention it much at home. “Daddy,” she says, buckling herself in. “Can we plant my tomatoes when we get home?” Louisa’s tomatoes started out as a kindergarten project last spring, but quickly escalated into a backyard plot sized right for a small-town farmers’ market. Ann and I thought she would forget about them this year, but in February she asked if we could plant tomatoes again. “Sure, cookie. But you have to do your homework first.” She shakes her head. “Mommy said she would help with my homework.” I sigh. Ann won’t be home until Louisa is in bed. She called at lunch today and said her boss wanted a story on the virus before she left the office—it’s starting to appear outside the Midwest now, affecting fields in New England. There are signs that it might be spreading to wheat and other grasses. “Mommy’s going to be late,” I say. “I can help you.” Like I’ve been helping Ann on and off. Half the reason she’s on the stupid story to begin with is my half-finished PhD. Louisa doesn’t say anything. She used to cry every night Ann was away. Now she hardly complains, but I worry about what’s going on in her head. We try to make her understand that mommy’s work is very important because daddy doesn’t have an office job—his job is to pick Louisa up from school and make her healthy snacks, to watch her favorite TV shows and play with Legos. Now, Louisa stares out the window, picking at the edge of a band-aid on her knee. I hope she knows we both love her. When we get home, Louisa drops her backpack and runs straight to the dining[...] Podcasts Lara Elena Donnelly no no EA Metacast, December 2014 http://escapepod.org/2014/12/29/ea-metacast-december-2014/ http://escapepod.org/2014/12/29/ea-metacast-december-2014/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 23:27:02 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4998 http://escapepod.org/2014/12/29/ea-metacast-december-2014/feed/ 0 0:17:28 What’s in store for Escape Artists — and for you — in 2015? Listen and find out! What’s in store for Escape Artists — and for you — in 2015? Listen and find out! Meta Escape Pod no no EP474: In Coppelius’s Toyshop http://escapepod.org/2014/12/29/ep474-coppeliuss-toyshop/ http://escapepod.org/2014/12/29/ep474-coppeliuss-toyshop/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 06:34:03 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4995 http://escapepod.org/2014/12/29/ep474-coppeliuss-toyshop/feed/ 0 0:29:06 by Connie Willis read by Nathaniel Lee This story has been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   author Connie Willis about the author[...] by Connie Willis read by Nathaniel Lee This story has been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   author Connie Willis about the author… from Wikipedia: Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis (born December 31, 1945) is an American science fiction writer. She has won eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards for particular works —more “major awards” than any other writer — most recently the year’s “Best Novel” Hugo and Nebula Awards for Blackout/All Clear (2010). She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Science Fiction Writers of America named her its 28th SFWA Grand Master in 2011. Several of her works feature time travel by history students at a faculty of the future University of Oxford—sometimes called the Time Travel series. They are the short story “Fire Watch” (1982, also in several anthologies and the 1985 collection of the same name), the novels Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog (1992 and 1998), as well as the two-part novel Blackout/All Clear (2010). All four won the annual Hugo Award and all but To Say Nothing of the Dog won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Podcasts Connie Willis no no EP473: Soft Currency http://escapepod.org/2014/12/24/ep473-soft-currency/ http://escapepod.org/2014/12/24/ep473-soft-currency/#comments Thu, 25 Dec 2014 04:26:36 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4987 http://escapepod.org/2014/12/24/ep473-soft-currency/feed/ 2 0:39:09 by Seth Gordon read by Melissa Bugaj This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   author Seth Gordon about the author[...] by Seth Gordon read by Melissa Bugaj This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   author Seth Gordon about the author… Seth Gordon, a mild-mannered programmer for a great metropolitan software company, lives in Boston with his wife and three sons. For the past two and a half years, he has belonged to B-Spec, the Boston Speculative Fiction Writing Group, which has given him valuable advice and support. His personal Web site is at http://imaginaryfamilyvalues.com. This is his first professional fiction sale. about the narrator… Melissa is the proud mom of a nine-year-old boy and seven-year-old girl. She is a special educator in her sixteenth year of teaching. Mel has taught all grade levels from preschool to grade five in both general and special education. This past year, however, she left the world of elementary school to teach Special Education in a High School Conceptual Physics and Chemistry class. She survived her first year of being the shortest person in the classroom and was enthusiastic to get back to teaching velocity, gravity and atoms for the 2014-2015 school year. In her “free time,” she co-produces a children’s story podcast with her techie husband called Night Light Stories and writes a blog about the silly antics of her family called According To Mags.   Soft Currency by Seth Gordon When Cassie Levine was nine years old, her family lived in the center of Boston, Lyndon B. Johnson was President, and Cassie learned that her mother was a criminal. The two of them sat in a parked car on Blue Hill Avenue, outside Ethel Glick’s grocery store. While Cassie ate an ice-cream sandwich, her mother smoked a cigarette. The sandwich, the cigarettes, and three bags of groceries had come from Mrs. Glick’s store. When the ice cream sandwich was half gone, Cassie asked, “Why did you change Dad’s money at Mrs. Glick’s? Why not go to the bank?” Cassie’s mother had passed Mrs. Glick a twenty-dollar bill; the older woman had tucked the bill under the counter and handed back a stack of coupons; then, her mother had used some of those coupons to pay Mrs. Glick. Each twenty-coupon note showed a picture of Margaret Mitchell, holding a copy of _Gone With the Wind_. Cassie’s little brother called coupons “cootie money,” because only women and girls could use them. “The exchange rate at the banks is twenty-seven coupons for a dollar,” Cassie’s mother said, “and Mrs. Glick is paying thirty-one.” “Why don’t the banks pay thirty-one?” “The government won’t let them.” “Does the government let Mrs. Glick?” Cassie’s mother drew on her cigarette and exhaled out the half-open window into the drizzle. Cassie licked vanilla ice cream all around the edge of her sandwich, feeling smug and virtuous and full of sugar. “You’re doing something il-le-gal,” she said, stretching out the last word. “Don’t tell your father about this.” Cassie raised her eyebrows. Her mother’s expression was solemn. Through the blur of rain over the windshield, Cassie could see the delicatessen on the opposite corner; the G&G sign was suspended over the sidewalk, round and vertical like a ketchup bottle. Some nights, Cassie’s father would take the family out to dinner there. “He’s an idealist, and I love him for that, but… he doesn’t understand how much things cost.” “Is it really illegal, changing money at Mrs. Glick’s? Could you get arrested for it?” Her mother shook her head. “It’s like jaywalking, honey. It doesn’t hurt anyone, and the police have better things to do than go after it.” # By the time Cassie turned fifteen, her family had moved to the nearest suburb, and Richard Nixon was President. At Glick’s Grocery, which had moved to the same suburb, Cassie worked the register on Wednesday and Friday afternoons, while Mrs. Glick went to physical therapy. There was a locked box under the counter, a metal cashbox wit[...] Podcasts Seth Gordon no no EP472: The Mercy of Theseus http://escapepod.org/2014/12/19/ep472-mercy-theseus/ http://escapepod.org/2014/12/19/ep472-mercy-theseus/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 06:31:11 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4980 http://escapepod.org/2014/12/19/ep472-mercy-theseus/feed/ 1 0:43:07 by Rachael K. Jones read by Dave Thompson This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Rachael K. Jones about the author[...] by Rachael K. Jones read by Dave Thompson This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Rachael K. Jones about the author… Rachael K. Jones is a science fiction and fantasy author, and the Submissions Editor of Escape Pod. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, PodCastle, the Drabblecast, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Crossed Genres, Daily Science Fiction, and Penumbra. She has a degree in English and is currently pursuing a second degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She lives in Athens, GA with her husband and perpetual alpha reader, Jason. You can follow her on Twitter @RachaelKJones. narrator Dave Thompson about the narrator… Dave Thompson is the California King and the Easter Werewolf, and is the host and co-editor of PodCastle. He has narrated audiobooks (by Tim Pratt, Greg van Eekhout, and James Maxey), written short stories (published in or forthcoming from Apex, Drabblecast, Pseudopod, and Escape Pod), and lost NaNoWriMo twice. He lives outside Los Angeles with his wife and three children.   The Mercy of Theseus by Rachael K. Jones Greta and Jamal have three arms, two legs, and one working kidney between the two of them. The kidney belongs to Greta. Its twin went to her little sister three years back, and now she has a laparoscopic keyhole scar over her belly button to remember it by. She can feel it pull tight when she rolls her creeper beneath the chassis of the next project in the shop. Thanks to the war, Jamal has lost the arm, the legs, and the other two kidneys. All his parts have since been replaced. # When Greta picked up Jamal in Washington, D.C. three days back, the first thing she did was insult him. “You look like shit,” she said. His left hand–the good one–flew up to his right cheek where the surgical scars stood out like red cords. His bionics were top notch–the Army had to put you together again before they could legally discharge you–but you could still see where the silicone skin ended and his real face began. Greta snorted. “Not your face, you moron. Your sweatshirt. You look like a psycho killer.” Jamal wore an oversize gray Army sweatshirt with the hoodie cinched tight beneath his chin. He dropped his hand and sidestepped when she tried to hug him. “Where did you park? Let’s get out of here.” She ignored the slight and led the way to the parking lot. She felt secretly gratified when Jamal’s jaw dropped at the sight of the ancient Mercedes. “Jesus fucking Christ, Greta! You found Mercy!” Greta sidled up behind him and eased the duffel bag from his hand–the bionic one. It looked like a real hand up close. Just not like Jamal’s hand. “Get in. We’re going on a road trip.” She slung the duffel bag on a stack of Heinleins in the back and took the driver’s seat. “I don’t remember it smelling like French fries in here,” said Jamal. # Mercy is a 1975 Mercedes-Benz 300D sedan. Burgundy with sham-sheep seat covers and polished pine dashboard. The bumper is solid steel. Inside, it smells like French fries. Greta converted Mercy to run on fast food grease when gas got expensive and most cars went electric. You can’t buy diesel-fueled cars in most states nowadays. You can’t buy diesel, for that matter, but there’s plenty of grease to be had, if you know where to ask, and it’s usually free. Mercy rides low because of all the road trip gear. Greta packed the trunk with spare parts: brake pads and camshaft bearings and an extra fan belt and fuses and two spare tires and three glowplugs and more, all salvaged over the years and stored against the day Jamal came home. She hopes it will be enough to finish the trip. The back seat is stocked with beef jerky and oranges and bottled coffee. Greta’s black backpack is wedged behind the driver’s seat, and Jamal’s Army-issue green duffel bag takes up the middle. There are a [...] Podcasts Rachael K. Jones yes no EP471: Shared Faces http://escapepod.org/2014/12/05/ep471-shared-faces/ http://escapepod.org/2014/12/05/ep471-shared-faces/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 07:19:04 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4975 http://escapepod.org/2014/12/05/ep471-shared-faces/feed/ 0 0:36:46 by Anaea Lay read by A Kovacs This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Anaea Lay about the author… Anaea Lay l[...] by Anaea Lay read by A Kovacs This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Anaea Lay about the author… Anaea Lay lives in Seattle, Washington where she sells Real Estate under a different name, writes, cooks, plays board games, takes gratuitous walks, runs the Strange Horizonspodcast, and plots to take over the world.  The rumors that she never sleeps are not true. The rumors that you’re a figment of her imagination are compelling. You can send her an email at anaeatheblue@gmail.com She’s on google+ as Anaea Lay and posts most everything publicly She struggles valiantly against Twitter’s oppressive character limit as @anaealay Yes, she stole her first name from a dead Amazon.  No, she has nothing to do with the butterfly. about the narrator… A Kovacs is the tireless, relentless right hand of your Future Dark Overlord.   Shared Faces By Anaea Lay Dora’s favorite thing about Justin was that he liked to talk during sex. A good conversation turned him on, and he’d keep it up until the breathless, incoherent stage right before the end. They weren’t at that stage quite yet. Soon. At the moment she was nibbling the flesh at the very top of his thigh. What’s the spot for the sexbot to spot the spot of the plot damn spot You’ll never get it out The music fell from the speakers in a manic rush and Dora shifted her pace to match it. Her skin tingled in response to his arousal, her body automatically configuring itself to comply with the program they’d designed together before starting. “Ugh, I hate this song,” Justin said. Dora tightened her hand around him as she let go with her teeth. The conversation kept her mind engaged, prevented her from slipping completely into brain-dead-Bot mode. “Really? I like it. It’s catchy.” “It’s awful,” Justin said. “Haven’t you seen the video?” She had, and he was right, it was awful. A Sex Bot got jealous of her primary client’s human lover and attacked her. As if the heart-break of watching the client defend the lover weren’t enough, the video went on to lovingly depict the brutal punishment and dismantling of the offending bot. Dora’s skin went clammy-cold when she’d watched it. “Yeah, but the nastiness isn’t in the actual lyrics, and it is really catchy.” “I can’t belive you’d just brush that…” he trailed off when a careful placement of her tongue shoved him into the quiet phase of their coitus. She felt his tension, could smell the hormones and pleasure coiling through him, and her body mimicked it. They were moaning together at the climax, and she was trembling as she climbed back into the bed to nestle at his shoulder and stroke his hair. “That was the most amazing ‘shut-up’ I’ve ever heard,” he said with a happy sigh. “Good.” The program complete, the super-circuitry running through her cycled down and she slipped back from the edge of brain-dead-Bot-dom. His hands drifted down to tweak her nipples. “Do you need anything?” “No. I got what I needed with you.” “I never do anything for you. It feels skeezy. Don’t you have your own needs?” “Of course I do,” Dora said. “But I’m not wired like human women. It actually does please me to please you.” He pressed his lips to her forehead in a kiss, squeezed his arm around her shoulders. “I don’t want to be taking advantage of you, is all. This should be an equal relationship.” “It is.” There was a long pause. He should have drifted off to sleep, but Dora could feel his pulse and breathing and knew he hadn’t. So she didn’t sleep either, and she was ready for it when the question came. “Is it, or are you saying that because it’s what I want to hear and you’re wired to make me happy?” “I don’t have to be here. Our arrangement is sub-optimal for [...] Podcasts Anaea Lay yes no ATTENTION! Escape Pod Closing to Submissions (Temporarily) http://escapepod.org/2014/12/01/attention-escape-pod-closing-submissions-temporarily/ http://escapepod.org/2014/12/01/attention-escape-pod-closing-submissions-temporarily/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 05:04:06 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4966 http://escapepod.org/2014/12/01/attention-escape-pod-closing-submissions-temporarily/feed/ 0 EP470: The Transdimensional Horsemaster Rabbis of Mpumalanga Province http://escapepod.org/2014/11/29/ep470-transdimensional-horsemaster-rabbis-mpumalanga-province/ http://escapepod.org/2014/11/29/ep470-transdimensional-horsemaster-rabbis-mpumalanga-province/#comments Sat, 29 Nov 2014 06:57:26 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4963 http://escapepod.org/2014/11/29/ep470-transdimensional-horsemaster-rabbis-mpumalanga-province/feed/ 0 0:41:29 by Sarah Pinsker read by Amy Robinson This story was published in the February 2014 issue of Asimov’s. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Sarah Pinske[...] by Sarah Pinsker read by Amy Robinson This story was published in the February 2014 issue of Asimov’s. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Sarah Pinsker about the author… Sarah Pinsker  is the author of the novelette “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,” Sturgeon Award winner 2014 and Nebula finalist 2013. Her fiction has been published in magazines including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Daily Science Fiction, the Journal of Unlikely Cartography, Fireside, Stupefying Stories, and PULP Literature, and in anthologies including Long Hidden, Fierce Family, and The Future Embodied. She is also a singer/songwriter with three albums on various independent labels (the third with her rock band, the Stalking Horses) and a fourth forthcoming. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland and can be found online at sarahpinsker.com and twitter.com/sarahpinsker. narrator Amy Robinson about the narrator… Amy’s voice over training began by taking a short workshop at the Alliance Theatre, instructed by industry veteran, Paul Armbruster.  Having whetted her appetite for the craft, she sought out further voiceover training with experts and agents alike, and finally landed at yourAct studios in Atlanta, GA. Under the expert instruction of Della Cole, a seasoned voice actress with over 30 years experience as both an actress and an agent, Amy grew as an actress and a voice over talent. She continues to sharpen her skills and is constantly working hard to provide the best possible voiceovers in the business. She is now proudly represented by People Store, and Umberger Agency, and works both in local studios and out of her home studio.   The Transdimensional Horsemaster Rabbis of Mpumalanga Province by Sarah Pinsker I. Options for an Imagined Pictorial Eulogy of Oliver Haifetz-Perec IMAGE 1: The photograph depicts an unmade bed covered in gear and clothing. A military-style duffel, half filled, dominates the shot. A camera bag sits next to it, cameras and lenses and lens cleaners laid out neatly alongside. IMAGE 2: Shot from the center of the bed. A shirtless man reaches for something high in the closet. He has the too-thin build of an endurance runner, his bare back lanky and muscled. There is a permanent notch in his left shoulder, from where his camera bag rests. A furrow across his back tells of a bullet graze in Afghanistan. The contrast of his skin and his faded jeans plays well in black and white. A mirror on the dresser catches Yona Haifetz-Perec in the act of snapping the picture, her face obscured but her inclusion clearly deliberate. Multiple subjects, multiple stories. IMAGE 3: This photograph does not actually exist. A third person in the room might have taken an intimate portrait of the two alone in their Tel Aviv apartment, photographers once again becoming subjects. A third person might have depicted the way her freckled arms wrapped around his torso, tender but not possessive. It might have shown the serious looks on both of their faces, the way each tried to mask anxiety, showing concern to the room, but not each other. They have the same career. They accept the inherent risks. They don’t look into each other’s faces, but merely press closer. It would have been the last photograph of the two together. Eleven days later, he is beaten to death in Uganda. His press credentials, his passport, his cameras, his memory cards, and cash are all found with his body; it isn’t a robbery. Since the third option doesn’t exist, the last picture of Yona and Oliver is the one that she took from the bed: his strong back, her camera’s eye. IMAGE 4: A Ugandan journalist sent Yona a clipping about Oliver’s death. A photo accompanies the article. It shows a body, Oliver’s body, lying in the street. Yona doesn’t know why anyone would think she w[...] Podcasts Sarah Pinsker no no EP469: Inseparable http://escapepod.org/2014/11/18/ep469-inseparable/ http://escapepod.org/2014/11/18/ep469-inseparable/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:05:08 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4955 http://escapepod.org/2014/11/18/ep469-inseparable/feed/ 0 0:40:34 by Liz Heldmann read by Pamela Quevillion This story has not been published previously. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Credits: The Aus[...] by Liz Heldmann read by Pamela Quevillion This story has not been published previously. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Credits: The Australian science fiction magazine Cosmos: The Science of Everything published my hard sci fi story “Echoes” and “Inspiration” was printed in the first Antipodean SF Anthology. Other credits include the comparative mythology fantasy “Realms of Gold” and Jupiter mining sci fi “Bright Cloud of Music,” both at Neverworlds The Unique Fiction Webzine.  I was short-listed for the Random House/Transworld Australia George Turner Prize for my manuscript “Hashakana”. about the narrator… Pamela Quevillon is a writer and narrator who lives in the St Louis area and gives voice to everything from planetarium shows to documentary movies from her not necessarily well heated attic. You can find more of her narration  as part of the Space Stories series on 365 Days of Astronomy and on past episodes of Escape Pod.   Inseparable by Liz Heldmann The disruptor net hit the ocean with an eruption of steam. Obscuring billows gouted up in columns of gray and white and the target was close enough that the aft hull immediately registered a thermic spike. The temperature shot from swampy greenhouse to hot-as-fucking-Hades. Technically speaking. Around the quadrant, warships were deploying nets as weaponry. Best not to think about that. Science was the new war, according to Delia. The weave generated out of the arse end of the ship was coarse, each node tuned two-dimensionally to its neighbors in a honeycomb lattice that formed a curved plane. A great big seine made of plasma, dragging a world ocean underneath a sun that filled the forward viewscreen as if trying to muscle out of the frame. Both density and chemistry dials had been spun and today’s net split the surly bonds between hydrogen and oxygen wherever it encountered them in a medium of approximately one gram per cubic centimeter. Which meant that the net sliced through alien waters like gamma rays through goose shit and didn’t so much as muss the hair of any entities it scooped up in the process. Forget ‘Take me to your leader’. We quit asking nicely a few planetary systems in. Just about the day we got our first sentient ‘Thanks, but no thanks, and by the way, eat plasma’. Hence the warships. The thought of slammin’ and jammin’ in the spaces between worlds raised a bit of nostalgia in a girl. “All right, Shar, bring her up!” Delia’s shout interrupted before I got all weepy. The science vehicle, romantically named ScV-341, burped inertial brakes out of its titanium skin and gimbaled 45°. The net raveled in. A telltale with the image of a stepped-on snail floating above it went green, the deck vibrated and the ship pinged a saccharine little public service announcement. “Aft hold, secure.” “Thank you, ship.” We’d been excessively polite to each other ever since Delia had told me it was beneath me to argue with a ship over operational procedure. What she’d told it, I don’t know. Ping. “Inertial sink projecting.” “Thank you, ship.” Ping. “Would you like auto nav? It’s a difficult—” “Shut up, ship.” I hit the switch, screwed the bitch and let the shuttle scratch my itch. To fly. An itch I shared with legions of mostly younger up-and-comers. One of whom had up and come right into my zero-g couch on Gossamer while I was in-system indulging a different itch. The shuttle zipped. The Nav Hag at Pilot Bay had a quip for wannabe aether jocks. What’s the shortest line between two points? Folding them together. When you figure out how to do that, let me know. Until then, zip it. The contrail we left behind showed on scope as a straight line connecting the surface to the darkly purpling curvature of sky. As the water planet fell away, the contrail began to feather out and bend, bowing to trajectory and King Coriolis. *** Delia was elbow deep[...] Podcasts Liz Heldmann yes no EP468: Law of Gravity http://escapepod.org/2014/11/14/ep468-law-gravity/ http://escapepod.org/2014/11/14/ep468-law-gravity/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 05:46:23 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4952 http://escapepod.org/2014/11/14/ep468-law-gravity/feed/ 1 0:31:38 by Sam Ferree read by Dave Slusher This story was first printed in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #56, June 2012. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author [...] by Sam Ferree read by Dave Slusher This story was first printed in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #56, June 2012. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Sam Ferree about the author… Sam Ferree grew up in what Neal Stephenson called a Midwestern American College Town (MACT) and has never really left. That, and being surrounded by lawyers for most of his life, has made him somewhat obsessive-compulsive about supporting his comments with citations and factual evidence. In 2010, Sam graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in English after spending a year abroad in Freiburg, Germany. He spent most of his college career haunting the Mill and Java House, producing short plays with Free Association Student Theatre, agonizing through writing workshops, and pestering the college and English department into making a undergraduate creative writing program. After graduating, he did that cliche post-English-BA-thing and worked in a coffee shop and bookstore before signing up for AmeriCorps. He moved to New Orleans and wrote grants and copy for a housing rehabilitation nonprofit. In June, he moved to St. Paul and now works as a communications associate at another small nonprofit. In the summer of 2011, Sam published his first short story with the great Sybil’s Garage, and his work has since appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magainze, Deimos eZine, and Daily Science Fiction. His play, “The News is Next,” won the Nicholas Meyer Scholarship for Dramatic Writing and he is a alumnus from Young Playwrights’ Incorporated from 2006.  Mostly he writes speculative fiction, personal essays, and plays and takes a perverse pleasure in copy and grant writing. Also, Sam reads a lot, and drinks too much coffee. He wears sports coats for the pockets and has a habit of ending his sentences with “so…” He is estranged from reality and divorced from practicality. Driving instructors have said he is a master at parallel parking.   narrator Dave Slusher about the narrator… As an undergraduate at Georgia Tech, I was very involved with the campus radio station, WREK 91.1 FM. I’m back doing some things for them now, including an airshift (that I no longer do but I’m leaving the page up.) That page has some of my play lists from when I was doing the shift – jazz, baby! WREK is a very good and very different station, so follow the links and learn more about it. I rebuilt their automation system, revamped their database and did the CGI scripts that show you (limited) playlists, recent additions to programming and the music database search. I now have online a project that I did in some AI courses in grad school. It is a digit recognition neural network and if I say so myself, I think it is pretty cool. It was one of the first things I did in Java, so it isn’t as elegant in design and execution as it could have been, but it does the trick.   The Law of Gravity by Sam Ferree That sunrise was the best they had made yet.  The air was cool, not cold, and the Termination was just the right shade of pomegranate red around the sun.  The light breeze smelled like oranges.  It reminded me of candy, not real fruit, just that imitation flavor that somehow tastes better than the real thing. “I think Lauren’s dead,” Lukas repeated, his avatar’s young face contorted in disgust.  Lukas had chosen a runner’s physique, because, out there, he’d been a track star in college; why that mattered to him was beyond me. “What do you mean you think she’s dead?” I asked.  We were sitting at Reel Café — a not-so clever pun, I thought — at the edge of the patio.  We had met there every Monday morning for years. My coffee was cold and my cigarette spent.  Lukas had ordered his usual Earl Grey and a grapefruit, but he hadn’t touched either one. Lukas shook his head.  [...] Podcasts Sam Ferree yes no Escape Artists presents ARTEMIS RISING: A Celebration of Women in Genre Fiction http://escapepod.org/2014/11/10/escape-artists-presents-artemis-rising-celebration-women-genre-fiction/ http://escapepod.org/2014/11/10/escape-artists-presents-artemis-rising-celebration-women-genre-fiction/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 02:37:17 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4947 http://escapepod.org/2014/11/10/escape-artists-presents-artemis-rising-celebration-women-genre-fiction/feed/ 0 EP467: Trash http://escapepod.org/2014/11/05/ep467-trash/ http://escapepod.org/2014/11/05/ep467-trash/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 05:45:48 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4940 http://escapepod.org/2014/11/05/ep467-trash/feed/ 2 0:32:16 by Marie Vibbert read by Tatiana Gomberg This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Marie Vibbert about the author[...] by Marie Vibbert read by Tatiana Gomberg This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Marie Vibbert about the author… I live with my husband Brian, his brother John, and two adorable cats, in a 1930s neo-colonial that we unworthy slobs do not keep up. I’m currently employed as the webmaster for the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. I’m a member of the Cajun Sushi Hamsters from Hell – a science fiction writer’s group. I sold a story to an online magazine (now defunct) in 2009 that garnered a Nebula nomination (probably from my friend Mary), and in 2013 I attended the Clarion Science Fiction Workshop in San Diego, CA. In 2014, I became a member of SFWA, the Science Fiction Writers of America professional organization. You can find links to my stories and more about my writing at my author’s website: http://marievibbert.com I’m also a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, squired to Sir Ephraim ben Shlomo. Since 2010 I’ve been playing football for the Cleveland Fusion, a women’s tackle football team. I’m a lineman.   narrator Tatiana Gomberg about the narrator…     Tatiana fell in love with New York City when she took a school trip to the city at 16 years old.  Six months later she had her feet and a suitcase on the New York City asphalt as a new student accepted into New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts which began her New York career.  She adores traveling and counts her lucky stars that acting and dancing have taken her all over the United States, to Montreal, Vancouver, Ireland, and Holland… but she loves coming home to New York where it all started.     Equally at home speaking heightened language in a corset, in a leather jacket spouting obscenities, and as a dancer she has been compared to such dark, vivacious heroines as Helena Bonham Carter, a young Winona Ryder and Ellen Page. This depth and facility with multiple genres garnered her a New York Innovative Theatre Award Best Featured Actress nomination for her work in The Night of Nosferatu. Her facility with accents has landed her quite a few audiobooks and numerous on- camera roles including the role of Evgenya in the award winning I am A Fat Cat.  Tatiana is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.   Trash by Marie Vibbert Nanlee was a woman with the sort of past that necessitated moving to a non-extradition treaty country, but that didn’t mean she hadn’t planned on enjoying her “retirement” on Luna Colony.  She was Facilities Manager – a polite term for the boss of all janitors.  Her staff jumped anxiously at her every glance, and waste was down nine percent since she had taken office.  She was still important; the life of the colony depended on her work.  No one bothered her.  Which was fortunate, given how she used to deal with people who bothered her. Luna Colony concerned itself with maintaining the Ungodly Huge Array on the dark side of the moon and serving as a weigh station between Earth’s inconvenient atmosphere and the rest of the universe.  Nanlee concerned herself with minding her own business. She was at her desk when the alarms started.  A male voice recorded long ago grunted “Evacuate.  Imminent danger of decompression. Evacuate.”  No doubt he had thought he sounded important and tough. Nanlee sighed and locked her workstation. Vince, her assistant, fell to a halt against the door as she was picking up her cane.  “Boss! The station—” “Yes, I heard.  I do have two working ears.  Probably a drill, but gather everyone to the garage.” Vince’s hazel eyes just about vibrated, so wide open she could see the white all the way around the iris.  “It isn’t a drill!  This is ‘we could all die tonight’ bad news.” Nanlee paused, half on her cane, half on the edge of the desk, [...] Podcasts Marie Vibbert yes no EP466: Checkmate http://escapepod.org/2014/10/24/ep466-checkmate/ http://escapepod.org/2014/10/24/ep466-checkmate/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 03:17:35 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4935 http://escapepod.org/2014/10/24/ep466-checkmate/feed/ 0 0:37:26 by Brian Trent read by Mat Weller This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Brian Trent about the author… I am [...] by Brian Trent read by Mat Weller This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Brian Trent about the author… I am a novelist, screenwriter, producer, poet, actor, and freethinker who supports both imagination and rationalism. I am an advocate for film and the written word and possibility. I am a recent (2013) winner in the Writers of the Future contest and have since had work accepted in Escape Pod (“The Nightmare Lights of Mars”), Daily Science Fiction, Apex (winning the 2013 Story of the Year Reader’s Poll), Clarkesworld, COSMOS, Strange Horizons, Galaxy’s Edge, Penumbra, and Electric Velocipede. about the narrator… Mat reads stuff. Sometimes he voice acts too. Oh, and he just beat Metroid II for the first time since 1991.   Checkmate by Brian Trent The black steamrotor chugged noisily beneath the maze of damp brick arches, cutting a frothy wake in the underground canal.  Edward Oakshott stood rigidly at the bow, leaning against his silver cane. The dank stink of London’s forgotten netherworld perspirated over the vessel’s wood, the humidity visibly beading like a spate of glassy insect eyes on the many green lamplights they passed.  Edward drummed his fingers against one clammy hand.  His sense of direction, precise as his fashionable gold pocketwatch, reckoned they must be passing directly below the evening crowd at Charing Cross’ Hungerford Market. Yet he wondered at their boatman’s skill in navigating these dark, labyrinthine channels.  How often were customers ferried to Thoth’s subterranean bazaar?  Edward grinned in nervous anticipation and peered from beneath the rim of his hat at the constellation of green lamps marking the canal’s many twists and turns. “We shall be late if this continues,” Sophia Westbury said behind him.  Her folded parasol looked like a pale sword against her shoulder. “Really, Edward, was there no earlier date you could meet him?  It had to wait until the very eve of war?” “The party shall wait for me.” “It will be a scandal,” Sophia said, though her bell-like voice belied the smile on her lips.  Edward was already the scandal of the decade. Chessmen were synonymous with shadowy, secret shufflings in the night; living legends who could be your banker, teacher, butcher, parent, or carriage driver during times of peace.  Edward’s public antics had shocked Europe into a buzzing hive. Sophia sighed and looped her arm round his.  “What do you know about this Thoth?  Any man who dwells like a spider beneath London, spinning mechanical webs beyond the Ministry’s sight…”  She shivered.  “I feel like Faustus!” “Henry sent a Bishop here last autumn, darling, the one who defended Cornwall.  If Henry says Thoth is trustworthy, that is good enough for me.” At these words, the boat banked sharply through a new arch, throwing up a huge wake.  Edward steadied himself with pressure to his cane, but cast a ghastly glare at their boatman in the ship’s small cabin. “Edward!”   The engines cut.  They were adrift on a Stygian lake with a circle of distant green lamps in the distance enclosing them.  Edward noticed Sophia lowering her parasol, one of her lacy gloved hands poised over the handle switch.  For his part, he slipped a finger beneath his hat rim and lowered a cat-sight monocle over his left eye.  Instantly the darkness blazed into a brilliant shade of blue.  He spied a ring of brick columns plunging into the water, a vaulted ceiling, and several tunnels.  The water lapped in gentle, uneven tides. In the spectral blue of his monocle, Edward watched another vessel emerge from one of the tunnels.  It was smaller and swifter than their steamrotor.  It gave the appearance of an Italian gondola without rowers or visible engine of locomotion. “A single man is at the helm,” Edward reported, hand straying to the oversized steel revolver in his belt holste[...] Podcasts Brian Trent no no EP465: The Sky is Blue, and Bright, and Filled with Stars http://escapepod.org/2014/10/17/ep465-sky-blue-bright-filled-stars/ http://escapepod.org/2014/10/17/ep465-sky-blue-bright-filled-stars/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 04:16:13 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4929 http://escapepod.org/2014/10/17/ep465-sky-blue-bright-filled-stars/feed/ 0 0:32:40 by Edward Ashton read by Andrea Richardson This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Edward Ashton i[...] by Edward Ashton read by Andrea Richardson This story has not been previously published. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Edward Ashton is the author of more than a dozen short stories, as well as numerous technical articles and medical texts. His fiction has appeared in InterText, Louisiana Literature, and The Lowell Review, among other places. His first novel, Three Days in April, is currently in search of a good home. You can find his work online at smart-as-a-bee.tumblr.com. about the narrator… Andrea Richardson is a British singer and actress.  With extensive stage and film performances to her name, she began narration and voice over work fairly recently, but enjoys using her existing skills in a different way. You can find Andrea at www.andrea-richardson.co.uk and www.castingcallpro.com/uk/view.php?uid=507734 – See more at: http://escapepod.org/2014/01/11/ep430-heart-joy/#sthash.zWMVsntv.dpuf   The Sky is Blue, and Bright, and Filled with Stars by Edward Ashton Dot reaches the summit of Mary’s Rock just after six, maybe an hour before sunset. It’s a clear, cool September day, with a scattering of tiny white clouds in a royal blue sky, and a soft, steady breeze from the west that brings the faint smell of burning things up from the ruins of Luray. She drops her pack at the top of the trail, pulls out a water bottle, and scrambles up the last thirty meters of broken granite to the high point. The trees on the north side of Thornton Gap a half-kilometer below are just showing the first hints of color, tiny flecks of red and gold mixed into a sea of dark green. Off to the west she can see the smoke now, rising from what looks like a brush fire far down the valley. She sits down, leans back against a waist-high block of stone, and drains half of her water in one long, lukewarm pull. She’s been here once before, when she was years younger and there were still a few people raising goats and vegetables down in the valley. It was winter then, and she spent a crystal-clear, bitterly cold night out on the overlook, bundled into her mummy bag, sleeping in hour-long snatches, waking each time to a different dazzling pattern of stars and station-lights. The beauty was almost overwhelming, and she vowed then to come back some day, to see what it was like to spend a night on the summit when she didn’t have to worry about hypothermia. As the sun begins to redden and dip toward the horizon, Dot climbs to her feet and makes her way back down to the overlook, a flat half-circle of stone maybe forty meters across, hanging out over four hundred meters of empty space. A hawk rides the breeze, floating almost stationary out over the drop. It looks at her, dips one wing, and falls like a stone, chasing something down below. Dot retrieves her pack, pulls out her food sack and her alcohol stove. She’s low on fuel. Four more days, maybe five, and she’ll be cooking over an open fire until she can find some more. As she measures out her supper, she realizes that she only has a few days worth of beans and noodles left. No point in cooking when you’ve got nothing to cook, and she’s at least a week’s walk from the nearest resupply. She sighs, and pours a third of what she’d taken back into the sack. # The sun is gone, and Dot is tossing her wash-water into the underbrush at the trail’s edge when she sees two luminous yellow eyes reflecting the light of the low, full moon back to her from twenty meters down the slope. The pupils are vertical slits, maybe a meter off the ground. As she watches, they disappear, then reappear a moment later, a meter or two closer. Dot has a burner, too small to be accurate over long distances, but deadly in close quarters. She reaches for it on her hip, only to realize she’s left it with her pack. She takes a slow step backward. The eyes are closer. As she watches, they rise to a height of tw[...] Podcasts Edward Ashton yes no EP464: Red Dust and Dancing Horses http://escapepod.org/2014/10/10/ep464-red-dust-dancing-horses/ http://escapepod.org/2014/10/10/ep464-red-dust-dancing-horses/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 04:39:48 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4922 http://escapepod.org/2014/10/10/ep464-red-dust-dancing-horses/feed/ 0 0:29:43 by Beth Cato read by Marguerite Kenner Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Beth Cato about the author… I reside in Buckeye, Arizona, on the outskirts o[...] by Beth Cato read by Marguerite Kenner Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Beth Cato about the author… I reside in Buckeye, Arizona, on the outskirts of Phoenix. My family includes my husband Jason, son Nicholas, and elder-cat Porom. I’m originally from Hanford, California. If I wear ruby slippers and tap my heels three times, that’s where I go by default. My literary agent is Rebecca Strauss of DeFiore and Company.   narrator Marguerite Kenner about the narrator… Marguerite is a native Californian who has forsaken sunny paradise to be with her true love and live in Merrye Olde England. She frequently wears so many hats that she needs two heads. When she’s not grappling with legal conundrums as a trainee solicitor or editing Cast of Wonders, she can be found narrating audio fiction, rockclimbing, studying popular culture (i.e. going to movies and playing video games) with her partner Alasdair Stuart, or curling up with a really good book. You can follow her at her personal blog, Project Valkyrie, or on Twitter via @LegalValkyrie. Red Dust and Dancing Horses by Beth Cato No horses existed on Mars. Nara could change that.She stared out the thick-paned window. Tinted dirt sprawled to a horizon, mesas and rock-lipped craters cutting the mottled sky. It almost looked like a scene from somewhere out of the Old West on Earth, like in the two-dimensional movies she studied on her tablet. Mama thought that 20th-century films were the ultimate brain-rotting waste of time, so Nara made sure to see at least two a week. Silver, Trigger, Buttermilk, Rex, Champion—she knew them all. She had spent months picturing just how their hooves would sink into that soft dirt, how their manes would lash in the wind. How her feet needed to rest in the stirrups, heels down, and how the hot curve of a muzzle would fit between her cupped hands.The terraforming process had come a long way in the two hundred years since mechs established the Martian colonies. Nara didn’t need a pressure suit to walk outside, but in her lifetime she’d never breathe on her own outside of her house or the Corcoran Dome. There would never be real horses here, not for hundreds of years, if ever. But a mechanical horse could find its way home in a dust storm, or handle the boggy sand without breaking a leg. She could ride it. Explore. It would be better than nothing. Her forehead bumped against the glass. But to have a real horse with hot skin and silky mane… “Nara, you’re moping again.” Mama held a monitor to each window, following the seal along the glass. “No matter how long you stare out the window and sulk, we can’t afford to fly you back to Earth just to see horses. They’re hard to find as it is. Besides, you know what happened when that simulator came through last year.” Yeah. Each Martian-borne eleven-year-old child had sat in a booth strung with wires and sensors so that they could feel the patter of rain and touch the flaking dryness of eucalyptus bark. Nara smelled the dankness of fertile earth for the very first time. She threw up. The administrators listed her as a category five Martian, needing the longest quarantine time to acclimate to Earth, if she ever made the trip. “Blast it, another inner seal is weakening,” Mama muttered, moving to the next window. The dull clang of metal echoed down the hall, followed by the soft whir of Papa’s mechs. Papa would understand. He would listen. Her feet tapped down the long tunnel to his workshop. Nara rubbed the rounded edge of the tablet tucked at her waist. Sand pattered against the walls as the wind whistled a familiar melody. The workshop stood twice as big as the rest of the household, echoing with constantly-clicking gears. The grey dome bowed overhead, the skylight windows showing only red. Papa’s legs stuck out from[...] Podcasts Beth Cato no no EP463: Rockwork http://escapepod.org/2014/10/01/ep463-rockwork/ http://escapepod.org/2014/10/01/ep463-rockwork/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:16:30 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4912 http://escapepod.org/2014/10/01/ep463-rockwork/feed/ 0 0:57:49 by R.M. Graves read by Angi Shearstone This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Also mentioned in this episode, treasured aut[...] by R.M. Graves read by Angi Shearstone This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Also mentioned in this episode, treasured author Eugie Foster passed away author R.M. Graves about the author… I am an illustrator and fiction writer based in London, England. This is the list of my published work so far: “Ever Before Me”, on Everyday Fiction. You might like to hear the Samuel Sebastian Wesley hymn that inspired it:  Wash Me Throughly. “More Crackle Than Music”, upcoming on Stupefying Stories. “Simulation”, appearing in July’sFlash Fiction Online.  If you are interested in the science behind this, check out Silas Beane’s research   as well as  Matchright’s virtual babies. narrator Angi Shearstone about the narrator… Angi Shearstone is an award-winning professional artist with an MFA in comics, a small herd of cats, strong geek tendencies and a fondness for ska-core.  She’s worked in children’s books with Mercer Mayer, in comics on Batman: Gotham County Line with Scott Hampton, collaborated with Mur Lafferty on Beyond the Storm: Shadows of the Big Easy, and otherwise has self-published a handful of comic book projects, two of which with Joe Sutliff Sanders. She currently teaches nifty computer stuff to keep the bills paid while trying to get this epic-sized fully painted comic book series off the ground.  Pitches have been made, grants have been applied for, BloodDreams is to be released sometime in the unspecified but not-too-distant future.   Rockwork by RM Graves Dog sat at her kit, in the cavernous dark at the back of the stage, with Meg’s kiss chilling on her lips. That hadn’t fixed her nerves at all. Now Dog’s chest shook worse than her hands, jacked up on the worry of letting her girlfriend down, again. The crowd didn’t see or care. As Meg took her spot out front, they thrummed the darkness with their chanting, “Rock… Work! Rock… Work!” Dog’s sticks were already slick in her palms as she snapped rubber bands around them. She shuffled in her seat, checked contacts, toggled switches and sensed Meg’s impatience, standing in the dark between the drums and hungry fans. Dog brushed trembling fingers over the kit and it twitched around her, jittery. It hated gigs. “Come on, Rocky,” she whispered and cogs whirred back at her. She shook her head. “Purring? Seriously?” The kit’s blind trust made Dog gulp an urge to up and run. No. This time. This time Meg would be proud of her. Proud of them. No screw-ups. No zoning out. She took a deep breath and kicked a volley of hard thumps into the black. The audience hushed. Cannon-shot beats echoed, overlapped, and swelled like an approaching army. A machine-gun of rimshots and the lights, and the crowd, exploded. Dog scowled into the glare of spotlights as the ‘Rockwork’ burst into life around her; a kit stretched beyond drums to form an entire robotic band. Butchered musical instruments twitched and writhed in a hellish chromed engine of noise. Cogs spun plectrums at wire. Hammers rapped on the broken teeth of piano keys. Thumbscrews wrenched raw electric scales out of strangled frets. Dog set her features into maniacal control, sweat already trickling over her bald head, pooling in her eyebrows; her arms gleaming pistons at the snare and toms. Meg swayed her hips to Dog’s driving cacophony; her playful nonchalance creating a tantalizing silhouette to the audience, but taunting Dog behind. Hinting at what she had to lose. The music press were in tonight, but there was more than the band at stake. The Rockwork was autonomous to a point, but it relied on Dog to keep it in line. Left unchecked it would spin off on its own groove without regard to Meg. Or the audience. Dog pressed her lips, rolled an extravagant fill across the toms, thrashed out her anxiety in the splash and crash. Meg’s[...] Podcasts R.M. Graves yes no Author Eugie Foster passed away 9/27/2014 http://escapepod.org/2014/09/28/author-eugie-foster-passed-away-9272014/ http://escapepod.org/2014/09/28/author-eugie-foster-passed-away-9272014/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 23:24:18 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4905 http://escapepod.org/2014/09/28/author-eugie-foster-passed-away-9272014/feed/ 5 EP462: Women of Our Occupation http://escapepod.org/2014/09/19/ep462-women-occupation/ http://escapepod.org/2014/09/19/ep462-women-occupation/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 04:29:32 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4894 http://escapepod.org/2014/09/19/ep462-women-occupation/feed/ 0 0:30:15 by Kameron Hurley read by Mur Lafferty live at LonCon3   author Kameron Hurley about the author… Kameron Hurley is an award-winning author, advertising copywriter, and online scribe.  Hurley grew up in Washington State, and has lived in F[...] by Kameron Hurley read by Mur Lafferty live at LonCon3   author Kameron Hurley about the author… Kameron Hurley is an award-winning author, advertising copywriter, and online scribe.  Hurley grew up in Washington State, and has lived in Fairbanks, Alaska; Durban, South Africa; and Chicago. She has degrees in historical studies from the University of Alaska and the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, specializing in the history of South African resistance movements. Her essay on the history of women in conflict “We Have Always Fought” was the first blog post to win a Hugo Award. It was also nominated for Best Non-Fiction work by the British Fantasy Society. Hurley is the author of God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture, a science-fantasy noir series which earned her the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer and the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel. She has won the Hugo Award (twice) and been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nebula Award, the Locus Award and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Additionally, her work has been included on the Tiptree Award Honor List. Hurley’s short fiction has appeared in magazines such as Lightspeed, EscapePod, and Strange Horizons, and anthologies such as The Lowest Heaven, The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women and Year’s Best SF. Her fiction has been translated into Romanian, Swedish, Spanish and Russian. She is also a graduate of Clarion West. In addition to her writing, Hurley has been a Stollee guest lecturer at Buena Vista University and taught copywriting at the School of Advertising Art. Hurley currently lives in Ohio, where she’s cultivating an urban homestead. Her latest novel, The Mirror Empire, will be published by Angry Robot Books in August 2014. If you’d like to contact Kameron, click here. To inquire about rights to remix her work, please contact her agent.   narrator Mur Lafferty about the narrator… Winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, 2012 “one of the worst-kept secrets in science fiction and fantasy publishing.” – Cory Doctorow via BoingBoing Mur Lafferty is an author, podcaster, and editor. She lives in Durham, NC, with her husband and 11 year old daughter. Books: Starting with podcast-only titles, Mur has written several books and novellas. Her first professionally published book, The Shambling Guide to New York City, is in book stores now. The sequel, The Shambling Guides 2: Ghost Train to New Orleans came out this year. She writes urban fantasy, superhero satire, afterlife mythology, and Christmas stories. Podcasts: She has been podcasting since 2004 when she started her essay-focused show, Geek Fu Action Grip. Then she started the award-winning I Should Be Writing in 2005, which is still going today. She was the editor of Escape Pod from 2010-2012, and she also runs the Angry Robot Books podcast. Nonfiction: Mur has written for several magazines including Knights of the Dinner Table, Anime Insider, and The Escapist. In January, 2014, Mur graduated from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine with an MFA in popular fiction. Mur is represented by Jen Udden at Donald Maass Literary Agency. Uncategorized Kameron Hurley no no Now that Hugo month is over, here are the results… http://escapepod.org/2014/09/18/now-hugo-month-results/ http://escapepod.org/2014/09/18/now-hugo-month-results/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 02:05:24 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4896 http://escapepod.org/2014/09/18/now-hugo-month-results/feed/ 1 EP461: Selkie Stories are for Losers http://escapepod.org/2014/09/12/ep461-selkie-stories-losers/ http://escapepod.org/2014/09/12/ep461-selkie-stories-losers/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 03:14:33 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4888 http://escapepod.org/2014/09/12/ep461-selkie-stories-losers/feed/ 7 0:21:38 by Sofia Samatar read by Amanda Ching This story has been nominated for a Hugo Award Selkie Stories are for Losers has been previously published by Strange Horizons Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators[...] by Sofia Samatar read by Amanda Ching This story has been nominated for a Hugo Award Selkie Stories are for Losers has been previously published by Strange Horizons Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Please, also remember our friend P.G. Holyfield and donate to his fund if at all possible: http://escapepod.org/2014/08/19/special-edition-pg-holyfield/ about the author/narrator… I am the author of the novel A Stranger in Olondria (Small Beer Press, 2013). I edit nonfiction and poetry for Interfictions Online. You can find out more about me at sofiasamatar.com, or contact me directly at sofiasamatar@gmail.com. Podcasts Sofia Samatar no no Movie Review: Kick-Ass 2 http://escapepod.org/2014/09/08/movie-review-kick-ass-2/ http://escapepod.org/2014/09/08/movie-review-kick-ass-2/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 14:00:34 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4884 Kick-Ass 2 is one such film.]]> http://escapepod.org/2014/09/08/movie-review-kick-ass-2/feed/ 0 EP460: The Ink Readers of Doi Saket http://escapepod.org/2014/09/02/ep460-ink-readers-doi-saket/ http://escapepod.org/2014/09/02/ep460-ink-readers-doi-saket/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 03:56:30 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4881 http://escapepod.org/2014/09/02/ep460-ink-readers-doi-saket/feed/ 3 0:44:46 by Thomas Olde Heuvelt read by Mat Weller This story has been nominated for a Hugo Award The Ink Readers of Doi Saket has been previously published by Tor Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit ou[...] by Thomas Olde Heuvelt read by Mat Weller This story has been nominated for a Hugo Award The Ink Readers of Doi Saket has been previously published by Tor Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Please, also remember our friend P.G. Holyfield and donate to his fund if at all possible: http://escapepod.org/2014/08/19/special-edition-pg-holyfield/ about the author/narrator… Born in 1983, Thomas Olde Heuvelt is the much praised Dutch author of five novels and many stories of the fantastic. BBC Radio called Thomas “One of Europe’s foremost talents in fantastic literature.” Olde Heuvelt is a multiple winner of the Paul Harland Award for best Dutch Fantasy. His story “The Boy Who Cast No Shadow” received the Honorable Mention in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards. His latest novel HEX is currently being translated into English. Podcasts Thomas Olde Heuvelt yes no Tea, Bodies and Business: Remaking the Hero Archetype by Kameron Hurley http://escapepod.org/2014/08/22/tea-bodies-business-remaking-hero-archetype-kameron-hurley/ http://escapepod.org/2014/08/22/tea-bodies-business-remaking-hero-archetype-kameron-hurley/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:25:53 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4873 http://escapepod.org/2014/08/22/tea-bodies-business-remaking-hero-archetype-kameron-hurley/feed/ 8 EP459: The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere http://escapepod.org/2014/08/21/ep459-water-falls-nowhere/ http://escapepod.org/2014/08/21/ep459-water-falls-nowhere/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:06:45 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4870 http://escapepod.org/2014/08/21/ep459-water-falls-nowhere/feed/ 4 0:55:01 by John Chu read by John Chu This story has been nominated for a Hugo Award Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Please, also remember our friend P.G. Holyfield and d[...] by John Chu read by John Chu This story has been nominated for a Hugo Award Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Please, also remember our friend P.G. Holyfield and donate to his fund if at all possible: http://escapepod.org/2014/08/19/special-edition-pg-holyfield/ about the author/narrator… John designs microprocessors by day and writes fiction by night. His work has been published at Boston Review, Asimov’s and Tor.com. His website is http://johnchu.net Podcasts John Chu no no SPECIAL EDITION: PG Holyfield http://escapepod.org/2014/08/19/special-edition-pg-holyfield/ http://escapepod.org/2014/08/19/special-edition-pg-holyfield/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:58:59 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4865 http://escapepod.org/2014/08/19/special-edition-pg-holyfield/feed/ 0 0:01:55 Announcement: http://specficmedia.com/2014/08/17/pg-holyfield-announcement/ GoFundMe Page: http://www.gofundme.com/pgfund Want to give people who don’t know PG’s work a chance to donate AND get an audio version of his book at the same [...] Announcement: http://specficmedia.com/2014/08/17/pg-holyfield-announcement/ GoFundMe Page: http://www.gofundme.com/pgfund Want to give people who don’t know PG’s work a chance to donate AND get an audio version of his book at the same time? Point them here: http://podiobooks.com/title/murder-at-avedon-hill/   Music in this episode: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/All_These_Simple_Things/09_-_The_Idea_of_Space Podcasts Escape Pod no no Interview with Uncanny Editors http://escapepod.org/2014/08/19/interview-uncanny-editors/ http://escapepod.org/2014/08/19/interview-uncanny-editors/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 04:47:52 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4855 http://escapepod.org/2014/08/19/interview-uncanny-editors/feed/ 0 EP458: If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love http://escapepod.org/2014/08/14/ep458-dinosaur-love/ http://escapepod.org/2014/08/14/ep458-dinosaur-love/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 04:28:15 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4851 http://escapepod.org/2014/08/14/ep458-dinosaur-love/feed/ 2 0:15:19 by Rachel Swirsky read by Christina Lebonville This story has been previously published in Apex Magazine Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Rachel Swirsky a[...] by Rachel Swirsky read by Christina Lebonville This story has been previously published in Apex Magazine Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Rachel Swirsky about the author… Rachel Swirsky’s short stories have appeared in Tor,Subterranean Magazine, and Clarkesworld, and been reprinted in year’s best anthologies edited by Strahan, Horton, Dozois, and the VanderMeers. She holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop, and graduated from Clarion West in 2005. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo, the Sturgeon, and the Locus Award, and won the Nebula in 2010 for best novella. Her husband is a dinosaur fanatic, but if he turned into a dinosaur, he wouldn’t be a T-Rex. He’d be a Therizinosaur. about the narrator… Christina Lebonville is known by the online moniker, Evil Cheshire Cat, a tribute to her sense of sarcastically dark humor and toothy resemblance to the re-imagining of the classic Wonderland character in American McGee’s video game, Alice. She has done voice work and writing for skits and songs played on the now retired comedy podcast, The Awful Show, and is the co-creator and former co-host of the podcast Obviously Oblivious, a nearly four-year running comedy podcast with a science twist. Christina has since retired from podcasting to pursue a doctorate in Behavioral Neuroscience.   If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky If you were a dinosaur, my love, then you would be a T-Rex. You’d be a small one, only five feet, ten inches, the same height as human-you. You’d be fragile-boned and you’d walk with as delicate and polite a gait as you could manage on massive talons. Your eyes would gaze gently from beneath your bony brow-ridge. If you were a T-Rex, then I would become a zookeeper so that I could spend all my time with you. I’d bring you raw chickens and live goats. I’d watch the gore shining on your teeth. I’d make my bed on the floor of your cage, in the moist dirt, cushioned by leaves. When you couldn’t sleep, I’d sing you lullabies. If I sang you lullabies, I’d soon notice how quickly you picked up music. You’d harmonize with me, your rough, vibrating voice a strange counterpoint to mine. When you thought I was asleep, you’d cry unrequited love songs into the night. If you sang unrequited love songs, I’d take you on tour. We’d go to Broadway. You’d stand onstage, talons digging into the floorboards. Audiences would weep at the melancholic beauty of your singing. If audiences wept at the melancholic beauty of your singing, they’d rally to fund new research into reviving extinct species. Money would flood into scientific institutions. Biologists would reverse engineer chickens until they could discover how to give them jaws with teeth. Paleontologists would mine ancient fossils for traces of collagen. Geneticists would figure out how to build a dinosaur from nothing by discovering exactly what DNA sequences code everything about a creature, from the size of its pupils to what enables a brain to contemplate a sunset. They’d work until they’d built you a mate. If they built you a mate, I’d stand as the best woman at your wedding. I’d watch awkwardly in green chiffon that made me look sallow, as I listened to your vows. I’d be jealous, of course, and also sad, because I want to marry you. Still, I’d know that it was for the best that you marry another creature like yourself, one that shares your body and bone and genetic template. I’d stare at the two of you standing together by the altar and I’d love you even more than I do now. My soul would feel light because I’d know that you and I had made something new in the world and at the same time revived something very old. I would be borrowed, too, because I’d be borrowing your happiness. All I’d need would be something blue. If all I needed was something blue, I’d run across the church, heels clicking on the marble, until I reached a vase [...] Podcasts, Uncategorized Rachel Swirsky no no EP457: A Struggle Between Rivals Ends Surprisingly http://escapepod.org/2014/08/04/ep457/ http://escapepod.org/2014/08/04/ep457/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 03:41:39 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4842 http://escapepod.org/2014/08/04/ep457/feed/ 0 0:31:20 by Oliver Buckram read by Laura Hobbs This story has been previously published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Mentioned in this episode: Bobby Lombardi fundraiser http://matt-wallace.com/?p=294 Discuss on our forums.  For a list of [...] by Oliver Buckram read by Laura Hobbs This story has been previously published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Mentioned in this episode: Bobby Lombardi fundraiser http://matt-wallace.com/?p=294 Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Oliver Buckram, Ph.D., writes science fiction and fantasy. He lives in the Boston area where, under an assumed name, he teaches social science to undergraduates. His fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Interzone, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF), among other places.  He urges you to keep watching the skies. about the narrator… Laura Hobbs works in infosec by day and is a random crafter by night. Twitter is her social media of choice, and she despises the word “cyber”. When asked nicely, she sometimes reads things for people on the internet. You can find her online at soapturtle.net   A Struggle Between Rivals Ends Surprisingly by Oliver Buckram While the harbormaster fidgeted at his desk, Treya checked her pipes. They were, of course, in perfect condition: the leather supple and the drones polished. She’d brought her double-chantered smallpipes today, in case the negotiations grew complex. The harbormaster snapped shut his pocket watch. “That damned beetle is already ten minutes late.” Treya walked to the window. On the street below, a fishmonger pushed his wheelbarrow through a group of green-skinned Cantharan peddlers while a Glanite hoverjar floated by. But there was no sign of the beetle. If he didn’t show up, Treya wouldn’t get paid. She scrutinized the hoverjar as it wafted through an intersection. Inside its murky interior, there must be a Glanite. The squid-like creatures seldom visited Port Raskol. What was it doing here? Might it want to hire a translator? At last Treya spotted the beetle’s top hat bobbing above the heads of other pedestrians. His fringed leather vest marked him as a servant of the beetle Baroness. After a few moments, the beetle was ushered into the office. Treya and the harbormaster bowed and the beetle spread his stubby hindwings in greeting. After Treya piped a welcome, he responded with a cacophony of wails, whines, and groans from his spiracles. She translated in a low voice. “He’s doing the Lamentation on Congestion…apologies for being late…greetings from the Baroness. He’s going off on a tangent. Could be an extended monologue. No…He’s back on track. We’re definitely doing the first scene of A Routine Mercantile Transaction. It’s a one-act, so this shouldn’t take long.” When the beetle finished his lines, Treya glanced at the harbormaster. “Ask him why the Baroness is behind on her docking fees,” he said. The Baroness owned a fleet of fishing vessels currently in the harbor. Treya shook her head. “That will serve no purpose. At best, he’ll give us a discourse on unavoidable delays, and at worst, he’ll push us into a convoluted subplot. No, at this point in A Routine Mercantile Transaction, you need to state your demands.” “I want those fees paid. Right now.”   Treya put her lips to her mouthpiece and trilled the harbormaster’s demand in a circuitous oration on the changeability of fortune and the virtues of punctual payments. The beetle patted his vest pockets with his midhands. His moans and screeches grew louder. She raised an eyebrow. “He claims he was bringing payment from the Baroness, but now he can’t find it. Pickpockets, he says. Of course he’s lying. He’s attempting the Clever Servant Outwits Rich Foreigners subplot.” “No one cheats me!” The harbormaster got to his feet. “Relax. I’ll tell him that he must’ve dropped it when he came in. Just pretend to look around [...] Podcasts Oliver Buckram no no EP456: To Waste http://escapepod.org/2014/07/28/ep456-waste/ http://escapepod.org/2014/07/28/ep456-waste/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:11:39 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4837 http://escapepod.org/2014/07/28/ep456-waste/feed/ 0 0:29:07 by Luke Pebler read by Joshua Price Links for this episode: This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author…[...] by Luke Pebler read by Joshua Price Links for this episode: This story has not been previously published Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Luke Pebler is a graduate of the 2012 Clarion Workshop at UCSD, and his fiction has appeared in the Sword & Laser Anthology and others. about the narrator… My name is Josh and I’m legally blind. I have a degenerative eye condition that claimed most of my vision while I was in college for film art and design. I now devote all of my free time to volunteering what skills I acquired in college to the blind community. I describe tv shows and movies for a website in England. For those of you who are not familiar with descriptive movies, it basically means that we lay an additional audio track over the film that explains what is happening when the characters aren’t talking. I also spend a great deal of time producing fully casted audio dramas of comic books. I don’t feel that it is fair for the comic book companies to provide an amazing art form for sighted people, but nothing for the blind community. I wrote to the big companies and asked them  to provide an audio form of their products or a text form of them, so a screen reader could read it for the blind, but none of the companies answered me. so, under the 3.0 creative commons license, I produce these free products. At this time, I mainly  focus on comics that use to be television shows. For example, Buffy the vampire slayer and it’s spin off series Angel, as well as Charmed, because these comics are intended to pick up right where the series left off. Again,  I don’t feel that it is fair that the blind community is cut off from the story line simply because the series has changed form and is no longer accessible. Often I am asked why I go through so much trouble to create such detailed audio projects for the comic books content, and I respond with “Comic books are supposed to be a visual art form. I could create a simple read through audio track, like an audio book, but I strive for something more. Comics are visual art form, not just written words.”  I try to change a visual art form into an audio art form, thus keeping the idea of comics as art. I make what sighted people see, into something that blind people can hear. It is my hope that the audio can create an image in people’s minds that resembles visual art.   To Waste by Luke Pebler When I wake, it is not yet hot.  But it will be soon. I am already thirsty. I get up from the cot and go to the machine.  I put my dick into the intake cup, and when my pee flows into the machine it clicks on automatically.  I stretch and reach out to snag my camera by its strap.  I review the shots I took yesterday while I finish going.  The machine whirs while it does its work.  I wait, still looking at photos. When the machine beeps, it has produced almost eight ounces of clean warm water.  I sip some of it, just enough to wet my mouth, and put the rest into a second machine. When the second machine beeps, it has produced five ounces of hot coffee. I crouch in the corner of the room, where the rising sun cannot find me.  It is still cool here.  I inhale deeply, wanting not even the steam of the coffee to go to waste.  I sip. When I look up, the boy is in the doorway, watching.  I do not know how long he’s been there. “He wants you,” the boy says. # The warlord sits in a chair on a dais built from ammunition crates. There’s a child lying in the dirt in front of the warlord.  Her mother stands over her, quaking. The child’s left leg is tatters from the knee down.  Gore and pink bone, then a foot.  Blood seeps through the bandages and into the dust. “Please,” the mother says.  “She needs the gauze.” The warlord watches the woman tremble, then looks up and searches the room.  When he sees me, he waves m[...] Podcasts Luke Pebler yes no EP455: Keep Your Shape http://escapepod.org/2014/07/21/ep455-keep-shape/ http://escapepod.org/2014/07/21/ep455-keep-shape/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:29:56 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4832 http://escapepod.org/2014/07/21/ep455-keep-shape/feed/ 0 0:40:45 by Robert Sheckley read by Nathaniel Lee author Robert Sheckley about the author… (from Wikipedia) Robert Sheckley was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1931 the family moved to Maplewood, New Jersey. Sheckley attended Columbia High School, where[...] by Robert Sheckley read by Nathaniel Lee author Robert Sheckley about the author… (from Wikipedia) Robert Sheckley was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1931 the family moved to Maplewood, New Jersey. Sheckley attended Columbia High School, where he discovered science fiction. He graduated in 1946 and hitchhiked to California the same year, where he tried numerous jobs: landscape gardener, pretzel salesman, barman, milkman, warehouseman, and general laborer “board man” in a hand-painted necktie studio. Finally, still in 1946, he joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Korea. During his time in the army he served as a guard, an army newspaper editor, a payroll clerk, and guitarist in an army band. He left the service in 1948. Sheckley then attended New York University, where he received an undergraduate degree in 1951. The same year he married for the first time, to Barbara Scadron. The couple had one son, Jason. Sheckley worked in an aircraft factory and as an assistant metallurgist for a short time, but his breakthrough came quickly: in late 1951 he sold his first story, Final Examination, to Imagination magazine. He quickly gained prominence as a writer, publishing stories in Imagination, Galaxy, and other science fiction magazines. The 1950s saw the publication of Sheckley’s first four books: short story collections Untouched by Human Hands (Ballantine, 1954), Citizen in Space (1955), and Pilgrimage to Earth (Bantam, 1957), and a novel, Immortality, Inc. (first published as a serial in Galaxy, 1958). Sheckley and Scadron divorced in 1956. The writer married journalist Ziva Kwitney in 1957. The newly married couple lived in Greenwich Village. Their daughter, Alisa Kwitney, born in 1964, would herself become a successful writer. Applauded by critic Kingsley Amis, Sheckley was now selling many of his deft, satiric stories to mainstream magazines such as Playboy. In addition to his science fiction stories, in 1960s Sheckley started writing suspense fiction. More short story collections and novels appeared in the 1960s, and a film adaptation of an early story by Sheckley, The 10th Victim, was released in 1965. Sheckley spent much of 1970s living on Ibiza. He and Kwitney divorced in 1972 and the same year Sheckley married Abby Schulman, whom he had met in Ibiza. The couple had two children, Anya and Jed. The couple separated while living in London. In 1980, the writer returned to the United States and became fiction editor of the newly established OMNI magazine. Sheckley left OMNI in 1981 with his fourth wife, writer Jay Rothbell a.k.a. Jay Sheckley, and they subsequently traveled widely in Europe, finally ending up in Portland, Oregon, where they separated. He married Gail Dana of Portland in 1990. Sheckley continued publishing further science fiction and espionage/mystery stories, and collaborated with other writers such as Roger Zelazny and Harry Harrison. During a 2005 visit to Ukraine for the Ukrainian Sci-Fi Computer Week, an international event for science fiction writers, Sheckley fell ill and had to be hospitalized in Kiev on April 27. His condition was very serious for one week, but he appeared to be slowly recovering. Sheckley’s official website ran a fundraising campaign to help cover Sheckley’s treatment and his return to the United States. Sheckley settled in Red Hook, in northern Dutchess County, New York, to be near his daughters Anya and Alisa. On November 20 he had surgery for a brain aneurysm; he died in a Poughkeepsie hospital on December 9, 2005. about the narrator… Nathaniel Lee is Escape Pod’s assistant editor and sometime contributor.  His writing can be found at various online venues, including Daily Science Fiction, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and all of the EA podcasts.  He lives somewhat unwillingly in North Carolina with his wife and son and their obligatory authorial cats.   Keep Your Shape by Robert Sheckley Pid the Pilot slowed the ship almost to a standsti[...] Podcasts Robert Sheckley no no EP454: Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One http://escapepod.org/2014/07/14/ep454-stop-youve-heard-one/ http://escapepod.org/2014/07/14/ep454-stop-youve-heard-one/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:11:27 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4822 http://escapepod.org/2014/07/14/ep454-stop-youve-heard-one/feed/ 0 0:20:25 by KC Ball read by Dani Cutler Links for this episode: Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… I live in Seattle, a stone’s throw from Puget Sound, w[...] by KC Ball read by Dani Cutler Links for this episode: Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… I live in Seattle, a stone’s throw from Puget Sound, with my life partner, Rachael. I began writing fiction professionally in 2008 and now write full-time.  I’ve sold almost fifty short stories, for publication in various print and online magazines, including Analog, Lightspeed, Flash Fiction Online and Murky Depths, the award-winning but now defunct British fantasy magazine. In addition, my novel,  Lifting Up Veronica, was published in January 2012 by Every Day Publishers as an online serial. E-book and print versions are forthcoming.  My first short-story collection, Snapshots from a Black Hole  & Other Oddities, was published in January 2012 by Hydra House Books. I won the 2009 Writers of the Future competition with my short story,Coward’s Steel, graduated the Clarion West writers workshop July 2010 and attended Mike Brotherton’s Launch Pad workshop July 2011 at the University of Wyoming. I have also studied with SFWA Grand Master Jim Gunn. I am fanatic about the written word, oral story-telling, corny jokes, traditional jazz, open water, lighthouses, sad country songs and all things to do with motion pictures. about the narrator… Narrator Dani Cutler Dani Cutler last narrated for EP in 389: Keeping Tabs. She has been part of the podcasting community since 2006, hosting and producing her own podcast through 2013. She currently works for KWSS independent radio in Phoenix as their midday announcer, and also organizes a technology conference each year for Phoenix residents to connect with others in the podcast, video, and online community.   Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One by KC Ball Lori Meeker pushed her hair out of her eyes and leaned back against the sink. She squeezed the cold porcelain edge to still her trembling hands and focused on the pair of plainclothes cops shoehorned into the women’s can with her. The space was hardly bigger than a closet but the restrooms were the only private spaces in the bar, and the detectives had insisted on questioning her alone. “The restrooms always this clean?” Detective Gayle asked. “Yeah. Augie’s bat-shit crazy about dirt and germs.” Gayle raised an eyebrow. “Bat-shit crazy, huh? Is that your professional opinion?” “Pardon my French,” Lori snapped. Lori had met women just like Gayle. Always judging, always pretending they could do anything a man could do. Always looking down their perfect nose at girls who had to work in joints like Augie’s Bar & Grill. And Augie was bat-shit crazy about germs. A damned phobia, that’s what she should have said. It was a bar, for god’s sake, not some fancy restaurant. The place was cleaner than it had any need to be. “Tell us what you saw and heard,” Detective Osbourne said. Osbourne looked like a nice man, the kind of guy who would listen without judging. Lori decided to talk to him. She weighed how much to tell him, though. She was afraid he might call her crazy, might laugh and stop listening to her, if she said she didn’t think the dead body out on the bar floor was human. Lori fished her cigarettes from her sweater pocket, shook a fresh one from the pack and sparked it with her butane lighter. Gayle turned her head away and coughed. Lori smiled. “You going to talk to us?” Gayle asked. Lori blew more smoke toward Gayle and focused on Osbourne’s big, brown hound-dog eyes. “I unlocked the door at eleven,” she said. “Right off, this little guy strolled in, just like he owned the place. Augie gave him the once over, went back to stocking the cooler with a case of Red Hook.” “What did you make of him?” Osbourne asked. “I saw right off that he was slumming. I can tell the type. But A[...] Podcasts K. C. Ball yes no EP453: The Grotto of the Dancing Deer http://escapepod.org/2014/07/07/ep453-grotto-dancing-deer/ http://escapepod.org/2014/07/07/ep453-grotto-dancing-deer/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 05:37:02 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4815 http://escapepod.org/2014/07/07/ep453-grotto-dancing-deer/feed/ 10 0:57:49 by Clifford Simak narrated by Norm Sherman   This story won the 1980 Nebula Award for Best Short Story and the 1981 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our[...] by Clifford Simak narrated by Norm Sherman   This story won the 1980 Nebula Award for Best Short Story and the 1981 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page   about the author… author Clifford Simak (source: wikipedia) “Clifford Donald Simak (August 3, 1904 – April 25, 1988) was an American science fiction writer. He was honored by fans with three Hugo Awards and by colleagues with one Nebula Award. The Science Fiction Writers of America made him its third SFWA Grand Master and the Horror Writers Association made him one of three inaugural winners of the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. Simak was born in Millville, Wisconsin in 1904, son of John Lewis and Margaret (Wiseman) Simak. He married Agnes Kuchenberg on April 13, 1929 and they had two children, Richard (Dick) Scott (d. 2012) and Shelley Ellen. Simak attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison and later worked at various newspapers in the Midwest. He began a lifelong association with the Minneapolis Star and Tribune (inMinneapolis, Minnesota) in 1939, which continued until his retirement in 1976. He became Minneapolis Star’s news editor in 1949 and coordinator of Minneapolis Tribune’s Science Reading Series in 1961. In a blurb in Time and Again he wrote, “I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty three years and have two children. My favorite recreation is fishing (the lazy way, lying in a boat and letting them come to me). Hobbies: Chess, stamp collecting, growing roses.” He dedicated the book to his wife Kay, “without whom I’d never have written a line”. He was well liked by many of his science fiction cohorts, especially Isaac Asimov. He died in Minneapolis in 1988. Simak became interested in science fiction after reading the works of H. G. Wells as a child. His first contribution to the literature was “The World of the Red Sun”, published by Hugo Gernsback in the December 1931 issue of Wonder Stories with one opening illustration by Frank R. Paul. Within a year he placed three more stories in Gernsback’s pulp magazines and one in Astounding Stories, then edited by Harry Bates. But his only science fiction publication between 1932 and 1938 was The Creator (Marvel Tales #4, March–April 1935), a notable story with religious implications, which was then rare in the genre. Once John W. Campbell, at the helm of Astounding from October 1937, began redefining the field, Simak returned and was a regular contributor to Astounding Science Fiction (as it was renamed in 1938) throughout the Golden Age of Science Fiction (1938–1950). At first, as in the 1939 serial novel Cosmic Engineers, he wrote in the tradition of the earlier “superscience” subgenre that E. E. “Doc” Smith perfected, but he soon developed his own style, which is usually described as gentle and pastoral. During this period, Simak also published a number of war and western stories in pulp magazines. His best-known novel may be City, a collection of short stories with a common theme of mankind’s eventual exodus from Earth. Simak continued to produce award-nominated novels throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Aided by a friend, he continued writing and publishing science fiction and, later, fantasy, into his 80s. He believed that science fiction not rooted in scientific fact was responsible for the failure of the genre to be taken seriously, and stated his aim was to make the genre a part of what he called “realistic fiction.” Podcasts Clifford Simak no no EP452: Repo http://escapepod.org/2014/06/28/ep452-repo/ http://escapepod.org/2014/06/28/ep452-repo/#comments Sat, 28 Jun 2014 04:44:08 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4810 http://escapepod.org/2014/06/28/ep452-repo/feed/ 1 0:49:00 by Aaron Gallagher read by M.K. Hobson Links for this episode: This piece was published in Analog, May 2014. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page narrator M.K. Hobs[...] by Aaron Gallagher read by M.K. Hobson Links for this episode: This piece was published in Analog, May 2014. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page narrator M.K. Hobson about the narrator… M.K. Hobson recently decided to follow a time-honored authorial tradition and become a bitter recluse. She swore off all social media and left her website to go to seed. At the moment, she exists only as a voice on short fiction podcasts such asPodcastle and Cast of Wonders. She leavens the tedium of her vastly expanded free time with misanthropy, paranoia, and weight lifting.   Repo by Aaron Gallagher It took concentration to perform delicate work in the cumbersome gloves of the suit. The rounded fingers were metal-tipped, and bulky. Elise painted the tips of her gloves with luminous paint for ease when working outside. The octopus found the wires and shorted the alarm. The device glowed green and she triggered the manual release. The door popped, expelling a breath or two of oxygen. Elise slipped into the airlock and closed it behind her, shutting the door on the endless black of space. The inside porthole looked into the cargo hold. She glided through the cargo room with three kicks. The head-up on her helmet showed schematics in blue. She found the environmental control room. She flipped open the airtight seal on a container holding a large slab of green gel. She snapped open a metal vial sprayed dark liquid onto the slab. She sealed the container, turned the machinery to full, and crouched by the door out of sight. At thirty minutes, Elise headed upstairs for the cockpit. Empty. She looked for the captain’s cabin. In the cabin’s refresher, she found his body slumped in a large rubber bag. Great. He passed out in the shower. Elise wrestled the naked man out of the rubber shower. Round globules of water drifted around them. She pulled a sedative pad out of her bag and slapped it onto Holland’s arm. The chemicals seeped into his bloodstream. He’d sleep twenty-four hours in a chemical coma. She left him in his bunk pouch, cinch closed around his neck. His balding head bobbed in the breeze from the vent. Back in the environmental control room, she worked the o2 scrubbers at full blast for thirty minutes. She broke seal on her helmet and sniffed the air, ready to clamp the helmet down the moment she felt dizzy. Clean. The ship was hers. Elise floated through the ship to familiarize herself. It didn’t take long. It was a small Beech Skimmer, cargo capacity of around five metric tons. The craft was cylindrical, with two floors. Cargo, environmental, and engine room below. Main floor above was one long corridor, sixty meters long, with the cockpit at the fore, two staterooms to each side, a combination kitchen, dining room, and recreation area at the other end. The ship was roomy for one, comfortable with eight, rated for a maximum of sixteen. Down below she examined the engines, because no pilot she knew ran a ship within recommended specs. The big Beech was tuned up to 122% efficiency. She studied the specs to learn what he had done. She shook her head. Sure, he’d managed to coax more power from the big engine, but it would need an overhaul twice as often. She shut off the display with a shrug. They never thought of the bottom line. She finished her inspection and sealed her helmet. As she kicked out of the airlock, she paused to admire the view. It was worth admiring. Pluto, with her single, sickly colony. The dock in orbit, half-full of ships in port, lit like Vegas, and shining like diamonds on velvet. She slipped under Adage to where her Betty was Remora’d to the hull and went inside. She plopped into the pilot’s couch. All her controls were custom, larger than normal. She spent a lot of time in her suit. Only two hours had passed since she used thrusters to come alongside the bigger ship. She watched the displays as she worked the controls b[...] Podcasts Aaron Gallagher yes no EP451: The Aliens Made of Glass http://escapepod.org/2014/06/24/ep451-aliens-made-glass/ http://escapepod.org/2014/06/24/ep451-aliens-made-glass/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 05:09:39 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4805 http://escapepod.org/2014/06/24/ep451-aliens-made-glass/feed/ 2 0:39:03 by Helena Bell read by Donna Scott Links for this episode: This piece was published in The Indiana Review in December 2013. Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrat[...] by Helena Bell read by Donna Scott Links for this episode: This piece was published in The Indiana Review in December 2013. Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Helena Bell about the author… Helena Bell is a poet and writer living in Raleigh, North Carolina where she is an MFAcandidate in Fiction at NC State University.  She has a BA, another MFA, a JD, and an LLMin Taxation which fulfills her lifelong ambition of having more letters follow her name than are actually in it.  She is a graduate of the Clarion West Workshop and her fiction and poetry have appeared in Clarkesworld, Shimmer, Electric Velocipede, the Indiana Review, Margie Review, Pedestal Magazine and Rattle.  Her story “Robot” was a nominee for the 2012 Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Narrator Donna Scott about the narrator… Donna Scott is a writer, editor, comedian, poet and general weirdo. Originally hailing from the Black Country, she now lives in a Victorian shoemakers’ terraced house in Northampton with one husband and two cats. Her space is being steadily encroached by books and bicycles. What could they possibly want with her?! She is also the Chair of the British Science Fiction Association.   The Aliens Made of Glass by Helena Bell Sister Charles Regina, formerly of the Daughters of Perpetual Help, attends to her boat, the Nunc Dimittis, as if it were the sole member of her parish. She scrubs the white transom, the gunwale, the wooden steps leading to the bridge, and the metal railings. She vacuums the carpet in the salon, empties then refills the refrigerator and checks the interior cabinets for ants. Once a week she cleans the bottom of the hull and even in this she is practiced and ritualed, reciting a dozen rosaries in time with the digs of her paint scraper, the bodies of barnacles swirling around her like ash. It gives her peace. Each action and inaction she commits will lead to consequences and she revels in the knowledge that everything worn away will be built up again. In these moments she does not miss the convent or her religion or God. She does not mind that the aliens are coming. Sister Charles Regina, née Kathleen, brings the dock-master filets of tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi and sheepshead. For this and her company, Gray gives her electricity, use of the slip, and help with the lines. They watch the evening news together, and Gray does not ask about her lack of prayer over the meal. Kathleen does not ask after his parents or sister. He is her family; she is his. It is enough. “The aliens passed Neptune today,” the local weather girl says, but she has been announcing the passing of Neptune for several days. A countdown glows in the right-hand corner with flickering dates and estimations. They will be here in 467 days, three years, or seven years, decades, soon, soon, sooner than we are ready. The aliens move as slowly and perpetually as shadows on a sundial. The anchors express disbelief that we spotted them near Pluto at all. Should not they have zipped in at the speed of light? At warp? Hyperspace? Should not they be in our skies one minute, the valleys of the moon the next? Kathleen wonders if space is more like the ocean than anyone thought with currents and tides and troughs. She pictures the aliens adjusting a compass set to the pull of opposing suns. She imagines long, bone white fingers turning the knobs of a LORAN adjusted for eleven-dimensional space. Instead of sports, a man in a checkered suit announces the decision of all space-faring nations to reroute their shuttles, their satellites, and refitted weather balloons. Like marathon racers or a soapbox derby, the line of them stretches from Baikonour to the moon. A tech company has announced a prize for the first privately-funded spaceship to reach the aliens. A second prize for the first to establish meaningful contact. A [...] Podcasts Helena Bell yes no EP450: Valedictorian http://escapepod.org/2014/06/16/ep450-valedictorian/ http://escapepod.org/2014/06/16/ep450-valedictorian/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 04:34:00 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4797 http://escapepod.org/2014/06/16/ep450-valedictorian/feed/ 1 0:45:37 by N.K. Jemisin Read by Stephanie Morris Author N.K. Jemisin about the author… N(ora). K. Jemisin is an author of speculative fiction short stories and novels who lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo (thre[...] by N.K. Jemisin Read by Stephanie Morris Author N.K. Jemisin about the author… N(ora). K. Jemisin is an author of speculative fiction short stories and novels who lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo (three times), the Nebula (four times), and the World Fantasy Award (twice); shortlisted for the Crawford, the Gemmell Morningstar, and the Tiptree; and she has won a Locus Award for Best First Novel as well as the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award (three times). Her short fiction has been published in pro markets such as Clarkesworld, Postscripts, Strange Horizons, and Baen’s Universe; semipro markets such as Ideomancer and Abyss & Apex; and podcast markets and print anthologies. Her first five novels, the Inheritance Trilogy and the Dreamblood (duology), are out now from Orbit Books. (Samples available in the Books section; see top navigation buttons.) Her novels are represented by Lucienne Diver of the Knight Agency. She is currently a member of the Altered Fluid writing group. In addition to writing, she is a counseling psychologist and educator (specializing in career counseling and student development), a sometime hiker and biker, and a political/feminist/anti-racist blogger. You can reach her at njem at earthlink dot net. about the narrator… Stephanie is a librarian-in-training, a voracious biblio- and audiophile, an occasional writer of short stories, and a voice and stage actor. She has narrated short stories for PseudoPod, PodCastle, and Cast of Wonders, guest-blogged on subjects ranging from creative writing to zombie turkeys, and performed Shakespeare in a handful of weird churches. She is currently working toward a degree in Media Studies, which is really just a sneaky way for her to discuss her favorite fandoms in an academic context. She blogs at Scribbleomania.     Valedictorian by N. K. Jemisin There are three things Zinhle decides, when she is old enough to understand. The first is that she will never, ever, give less than her best to anything she tries to do. The second is that she will not live in fear. The third, which is perhaps meaningless given the first two and yet comes to define her existence most powerfully, is this: she will be herself. No matter what. For however brief a time. # “Have you considered getting pregnant?” her mother blurts one morning, over breakfast. Zinhle’s father drops his fork, though he recovers and picks it up again quickly. This is how Zinhle knows that what her mother has said is not a spontaneous burst of insanity. They have discussed the matter, her parents. They are in agreement. Her father was just caught off-guard by the timing. But Zinhle, too, has considered the matter in depth. Do they really think she wouldn’t have? “No,” she says. Zinhle’s mother is stubborn. This is where Zinhle herself gets the trait. “The Sandersens’ boy — you used to play with him, when you were little, remember? — he’s decent. Discreet. He got three girls pregnant last year, and doesn’t charge much. The babies aren’t bad-looking. And we’d help you with the raising, of course.” She hesitates, then adds with obvious discomfort, “A friend of mine at work — Charlotte, you’ve met her — she says he’s, ah, he’s not rough or anything, doesn’t try to hurt girls — ” “No,” Zinhle says again, more firmly. She does not raise her voice. Her parents raised her to be respectful of her elders. She believes respect includes being very, very clear about some things. Zinhle’s mother looks at her father, seeking an ally. Her father is a gentle, soft-spoken man in a family of strong-willed women. Stupid people think he is weak; he isn’t. He just knows when a battle isn’t worth fighting. So he looks at Zinhle now, and after a moment he shakes his head. “Let it go,[...] Podcasts N.K. Jemisin yes no EP449: An Understanding http://escapepod.org/2014/06/06/ep449-understanding/ http://escapepod.org/2014/06/06/ep449-understanding/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 05:23:32 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4786 http://escapepod.org/2014/06/06/ep449-understanding/feed/ 0 0:28:12 by Holly Heisey read by Wilson Fowlie Links for this episode: This story was a finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest Consider nominating one of our stories for the Parsec Awards Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories,[...] by Holly Heisey read by Wilson Fowlie Links for this episode: This story was a finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest Consider nominating one of our stories for the Parsec Awards Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Holly Heisey launched her writing career in sixth grade when she wrote her class play, a medieval fantasy. It was love at first dragon. Since then, she’s been a finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest, and her short fiction has appeared in Aoife’s Kiss and Avenir Eclectia Volume 1. Holly also designs and illustrates, and her illustrations have appeared in works from award-winning Port Yonder Press and Splashdown Books. When she’s not writing or drawing, Holly can often be found strumming, bowing, or hammering away on her bevy of stringed instruments. Holly lives in Arizona with Larry and Moe, her two pet cacti, and she is currently at work on a science fantasy epic. about the narrator… Wilson Fowlie has been getting more and more into voice work ever since 2008, when he read his first story for Podcastle. He recently lost his full-time job, so he’s actively looking for paid voice work. If you like the way Wilson tells a story, snap him up quick! And if you’re in the Vancouver, Canada area – or even if you just love a good show chorus – check out The Maple Leaf Singers, the group he directs. You can find them at their own website or their Facebook page. www.mapleleafsingers.com   An Understanding by Holly Heisey The sun on Joppa was a deeper red than I remembered, and the blocky shapes of this dusty town I did not remember at all. I passed the sign for Hann River Landing and walked down the main street. There were few people about, mostly women and young children, the mothers dressed in plain cotton and linen and the children ratty, if not mostly clean. The women watched me with a glare reserved for strangers that they must not have used for some time. There were no aircars, no groundcars, no visible signs of industry. Trees around the houses boxed them in at odd angles, some branches bending to stop abruptly in the air. The Time Walls were tight here. I checked the bridge tethering me to Aijas Normal time on my ship in orbit, and checked my rate of sync with local time. It was a strain, to be held in two times at once. I would not stay here long. I scanned into the minds around me, looking for that one particular voice I’d caught two hundred and twelve lightyears out on a wave of Kaireyeh. A young woman. I felt her here, the barest scent of her, and turned down 2nd Street and then onto Acada Lane. The houses on Acada Lane were spaced twenty and thirty feet apart, no more than thirty or forty feet wide, with trimmed lawns of brown grass. Children played in a yard down the street. It was all so quiet that if I turned off the voices for a moment I could hear the rhythm of the Time Walls around me. Beats barely forming measure. I quickened my pace. Her house was one-story with peeling blue paint and white plastic trim. I climbed up the three steps to the creaking porch and since there was no button for a caller rapped my knuckles on the door. I waited. I searched for her mind again–yes she was here. I rapped again. I rubbed a small circle of dust off the door window and peered inside. I did what I had not wanted to do but was necessary now and touched her mind. She gave an inner start and I withdrew quickly, leaving behind only the thought that she must open the door; I was a friend. The door rattled and jerked inward. A slim, red-haired woman looked back at me with almond eyes. Her skin was a dusky tan, typical for Joppan natives. She looked up at my ice-white face, a face that would never be typical in any situation, and I remembered my eyes to blink. I saw and felt her shudder. “Lorin, may I come in?” I said. Her eyes narrowed. “What do you want? I don’t have more to give, [...] Podcasts Holly Heisey no no Book Review: Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain by Richard Roberts http://escapepod.org/2014/06/02/book-review-please-dont-tell-parents-im-supervillain-richard-roberts/ http://escapepod.org/2014/06/02/book-review-please-dont-tell-parents-im-supervillain-richard-roberts/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:00:37 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4775 http://escapepod.org/2014/06/02/book-review-please-dont-tell-parents-im-supervillain-richard-roberts/feed/ 3 EP448: Paprika http://escapepod.org/2014/05/30/ep448-paprika/ http://escapepod.org/2014/05/30/ep448-paprika/#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 04:40:50 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4780 http://escapepod.org/2014/05/30/ep448-paprika/feed/ 0 0:56:08 by Jason Sanford read by Heather Bowman-Tomlinson Links for this episode: Originally appeared in the Issue 249 of Interzone Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Consider nominating one of our stories for the Parsec Awards Discuss on our foru[...] by Jason Sanford read by Heather Bowman-Tomlinson Links for this episode: Originally appeared in the Issue 249 of Interzone Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Consider nominating one of our stories for the Parsec Awards Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Jason Sanford is the award-winning author of a number of short stories, essays, and articles, and an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Born and raised in the American South, he currently lives in the Midwestern U.S. with his wife and sons. His life’s adventures include work as an archeologist and as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Jason has published more than a dozen of his short stories in the British SF magazine Interzone, which once devoted a special issue to his fiction. His fiction has also been published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog: Science Fiction and Fact, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Tales of the Unanticipated, The Mississippi Review, Diagram, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Pindeldyboz, and other places. Book anthologies containing his stories include Year’s Best SF 14, Bless Your Mechanical Heart, and Beyond the Sun. A collection of Jason’s short stories, titled Never Never Stories, was published by a small press in 2011. Jason’s awards and honors include being a finalist for the 2009 Nebula Award for Best Novella, winning both the 2008 and 2009 Interzone Readers’ Polls for best story of the year (and being a co-winner of the 2010 Poll), receiving a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, being nominated for the BSFA Award, and being longlisted for the British Fantasy Award. His stories have also been named to the 2012 and 2013 Locus Recommended Reading Lists along with being translated into a number of languages including Chinese, French, Russian, Polish, and Czech. Jason co-founded the literary journal storySouth, through which he ran the annual Million Writers Award for best online fiction. His critical essays and book reviews have been published in a number of places including SF Signal, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and The Pedestal Magazine. He also writes a regular column for the Czech SF magazine XB-1. about the narrator… “I may not be perfectly wise, perfectly witty, or perfectly wonderful, but I am always perfectly me.” -Anonymous 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. Paprika by Jason Sanford “Ah Paprika, you dance so well,” Satoshi exclaimed each bright-sun morning, his praise always pleasing no matter how many times Paprika heard it. And Paprika could dance, she really could. Not like some of the olds, who’d spent millennia shaping their locked-down bodies through graceful movements. But still she could dance. Ballet. The Twist. The Bhangra. Sometimes she’d make herself as tiny as Satoshi’s hand and pirouette for hours on his workbench while he reformed nano into exciting, long-lost toys. Other times she’d dance full sized–child sized as Satoshi would say, although Paprika knew to never speak that depressing word to customers. Paprika would create a full-flowing lehengas skirt–always the brightest of greens–and she’d dance in the store window, spinning and spinning until she was so overcome with happiness she’d dance through the window into the outside world, leaping and spinning to imaginary partners, bowing and smiling to the boys and girls who never came, flying across the deserted streets and passing in and out of the empty but perfectly preserved buildings surrounding Satoshi’s shop. But whenever any of the few olds left in the city visited, Paprika restr[...] Podcasts Jason Sanford no no EP447: Rachel in Love http://escapepod.org/2014/05/19/ep447-rachel-love/ http://escapepod.org/2014/05/19/ep447-rachel-love/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 04:20:09 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4766 http://escapepod.org/2014/05/19/ep447-rachel-love/feed/ 0 1:10:36 by Pat Murphy read by Kathy Sherwood Links for this episode: Originally appeared in the March, 2012 issue of Asimov’s Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Consider nominating one of our stories for the Parsec Awards Discuss on our foru[...] by Pat Murphy read by Kathy Sherwood Links for this episode: Originally appeared in the March, 2012 issue of Asimov’s Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Consider nominating one of our stories for the Parsec Awards Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Pat Murphy about the author… I’m a writer, a scientist, and sometimes a toy maker. All of my stories and novels have a hint of the strange. Some have been called science fiction, some fantasy, and some neither one. Most of my work falls between categories. I think that the most interesting events happen at the edges, in the borderlands where the lines are fuzzy. My fiction writing has won a number of awards, including the Nebula Award for Science Fiction, the World Fantasy Award, the Philip K. Dick Award for best paperback original, the Christopher Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. I also co-founded the James Tiptree Memorial Award. When I’m not writing fiction, I write books about science. For upwards of 20 years, I was a writer at the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception. These days, I write science books for Klutz, a publisher of how-to books that come packaged with the tools of their trade (from juggling cubes to foldable paper dragons that fly).  This is where I get a chance to try my hand at toy making. Working with at team at Klutz, I help develop the stuff that goes with the books — from origami starfighters to a snap-together skeletal hand. Sometimes, I also teach writing. I’ve taught in Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program, at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and at the Clarion Speculative Fiction Workshops in Michigan and Seattle. about the narrator… Kathy Sherwood resides in a (probably only figuratively) magical forest in North Central Florida, with her significant other, two dogs and two cats. She also hosts alternative rock show Not Quite Random on 88.5 WFCF–Flagler College Radio. https://www.facebook.com/notquiterandom  Last read EP396 — Dead Merchandise by Ferrett Steinmetz Podcasts Pat Murphy yes no Book Review: Ghosts of Engines Past by Sean McMullen http://escapepod.org/2014/05/13/book-review-ghosts-engines-past-sean-mcmullen/ http://escapepod.org/2014/05/13/book-review-ghosts-engines-past-sean-mcmullen/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 14:00:13 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4758 Ghosts of Engines Past, a short-story collection by Sean McMullen, the initial e-mail said it was a steampunk anthology. I suppose this is broadly true, in much the same way that an anthology about veterinarians might be 80 percent dog stories. In this case, the 80 percent is stories of flight. And if there's one thing McMullen knows how to do, it's make people fly.]]> http://escapepod.org/2014/05/13/book-review-ghosts-engines-past-sean-mcmullen/feed/ 0 EP446: The Way of the Needle http://escapepod.org/2014/05/11/ep446-way-needle/ http://escapepod.org/2014/05/11/ep446-way-needle/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 03:34:58 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4746 http://escapepod.org/2014/05/11/ep446-way-needle/feed/ 1 0:55:33 by Derek Künsken Links for this episode: Originally appeared in the March, 2012 issue of Asimov’s Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Consider nominating one of our stories for the Parsec Awards Discuss on our forums.  For a list of a[...] by Derek Künsken Links for this episode: Originally appeared in the March, 2012 issue of Asimov’s Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Consider nominating one of our stories for the Parsec Awards Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Derek Kunsken about the author… I’m a writer of science fiction, fantasy,  and sometimes accidentally, horror. I write and read both novel-length and short fiction, with a preference for works that explore really strange places and people.   THE WAY OF THE NEEDLE Derek Künsken I The ancient pulsar’s lighthouse beam of microwaves and radio waves spun twice per second. Within the bloom of its magnetic field orbited the single planet that had survived the long-ago supernova, at the cost of its crust and mantle. An atmosphere of carbon dioxide had congealed around the little metallic world, producing oceans of iron and nickel carbonyl, dotted with thickets of steel needles that fanned to catch the microwaves. On the largest islands, the growth of the needles had been coaxed into towers, pedestals, and martial walls. Prickly metal creatures held together by strong magnetic fields scuttled in these towns and forts, on eight articulated legs of steel spines. Their fine quills caught the flashing microwaves, generating the electricity for their quick, agile movements. One of them, whose fame would not be made for many years yet, was uncomfortable in a disguise. Mok was a Follower of the Needle, an order of martial priests. Whereas other Followers and fighters-at-arms bore large metal claws high on their forelegs, Mok now scurried with only small, shameful servant claws. No one recognized him and no one complimented him. Nor would he earn any compliments from this mission; he’d been sent by Master Hac not as a warrior to fight under the full shine of the pulsar, but as an assassin. Mok tried to fan his steel quills wider, but the road was too crowded. Fussing builders swung long rods culled from faraway orchards, patching the palisaded walls that lined the streets. Shabby, short-needled monks stood where the upturned points of the streets were overlaid with rusted garbage and sniped at each other with pinching claws and philosophical recriminations. Mok paused at a stall where a thinly needled elder showed off processed snow paste. Mok hadn’t stopped for the snow paste. He wasn’t hungry. He’d stopped for the view of the Ban estate. The Ban family had consolidated an immense estate on the south road during the clan wars. Its high noble gate showed sprouting buildings and growing towers within the palisade. Slow mercenaries controlled the gate. To the side, at a narrow opening, flowed the swarmers, servants and merchants, short-needled and small-clawed. Mok was a noble. Anyone with fighting claws was, but his great claws were now preserved on Master Hac’s estate, while he pretended to be less than he was to reach his target. He needed an excuse to enter. He crossed to a rod merchant. He took a pair of rods and scraped a payment of snow paste from his under-needles. He hefted these and scrambled to the swarmer entrance, like anyone else looking to repair a wall. Ahead of him, each of the entrants tipped the door ward, a clawless swarmer with powdery spines. Mok hesitated. He’d promised to play the swarmer to enter the estate, but had not considered that he’d need to tip one. Tips flowed toward honor. What did it say about him if he tipped a swarmer? “Hello, friend,” the door ward said. Mok was the finest of the Followers of the Needle. He could not bring himself to reply. “Are you well, friend?” the door ward asked. His magnetic field was flabby, with distortions around the joints. Snow paste hung in clots, trembling as if ready to drop. Mok scraped the thinnest gratuity from one of his under-needles and slapped it onto the swarmer’s outstretched claw. He hurried through the entrance, h[...] Podcasts Derek Künsken no no Film Review: In Your Eyes http://escapepod.org/2014/05/05/film-review-eyes/ http://escapepod.org/2014/05/05/film-review-eyes/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 14:00:18 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4742 In Your Eyes has two of those, at least.]]> http://escapepod.org/2014/05/05/film-review-eyes/feed/ 0 EP445: Black Swan Oracle http://escapepod.org/2014/05/04/ep445-black-swan-oracle/ http://escapepod.org/2014/05/04/ep445-black-swan-oracle/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 03:57:53 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4735 http://escapepod.org/2014/05/04/ep445-black-swan-oracle/feed/ 1 0:40:50 by Ferrett Steinmetz read by Amy Robinson Links for this episode: It was originally published in the What Fates Impose anthology Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and n[...] by Ferrett Steinmetz read by Amy Robinson Links for this episode: It was originally published in the What Fates Impose anthology Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… from writertopia… A firm believer in the “apply butt to chair, then fingers to keyboard” philosophy, Ferrett Steinmetz writes for at least an hour every day – which helps, he promises. He is a graduate of both the Clarion Writers’ Workshop and Viable Paradise, and has been nominated for the Nebula Award, for which he remains stoked. Ferrett has a moderately popular blog, The Watchtower of Destruction, wherein he talks about bad puns, relationships, politics, videogames, and more bad puns. He is the creator of the most popular and comprehensive online purity quizzes (this one’s for sex, but he’s also done them for roleplaying and Livejournal). He’s written four computer books, including the still-popular-after-two-years Wicked Cool PHP. He lives in Cleveland with his wife, who he couldn’t imagine living without.   about the narrator… Amy’s voice over training began by taking a short workshop at the Alliance Theatre, instructed by industry veteran, Paul Armbruster.  Having whetted her appetite for the craft, she sought out further voiceover training with experts and agents alike, and finally landed at yourAct studios in Atlanta, GA. Under the expert instruction of Della Cole, a seasoned voice actress with over 30 years experience as both an actress and an agent, Amy grew as an actress and a voice over talent. She continues to sharpen her skills and is constantly working hard to provide the best possible voiceovers in the business. She is now proudly represented by People Store, and Umberger Agency, and works both in local studios and out of her home studio. Black Swan Oracle by Ferrett Steinmetz The crowd waiting below The Oracle’s bulletproof bay window is a mathematically predictable entity. Still, the Oracle relishes any illusion of chaos – and so, every morning, just before she allows herself one single prayer, she sweeps open her curtains to gaze over the crowd. Her supplicants look up from their shivered huddling as fluorescent light spills out from The Oracle’s bay window; poor women in smudged hoodies squat next to Armani-clad stockbrokers. The Oracle’s hundreds of supplicants put up tents faster than the policemen can tear them down, burn garbage to ward off the Seine’s chill winds, buy gristled chicken hunks from illegal street vendors. The wait can take weeks, so long that people fall in love and fuck and have violently dramatic breakups before The Oracle’s guards fish these poor souls from the crowd to escort them towards an answer made pure with data. The Oracle’s tide of supplicants is so constant that, like any shantytown, it has developed its own economy… an economy which pulses perfectly in time with the rhythms The Oracle predicted. She’d spent hours developing algorithms to anticipate the crowd you would get if you charged $25,000 for a single question, answers guaranteed (but not to please), in this geographic and demographic cluster. She’d analyzed the local politicians, and the bribes she pays remain within .03% of initial estimates. She’d tracked the movements of the most influential reporters, ascertaining they would pass by here 2.4 times a week, guaranteeing unending press for “The Statistic Mystic,” a name the Oracle loathes. She even predicted the number of e. coli outbreaks from undercooked chicken. Yet every morning, before The Oracle orders her guards to escort the first supplicant in, The Oracle kneels. She above all people knows how irrational prayers are — multigenerational analyses of billions of lives has allowed The Oracle to thoroughly disprove the effects of prayers, bioharmonics, Zener cards, craniometry, reiki, [...] Podcasts Ferrett Steinmetz yes no EP444: Those Are Pearls That Were His Eyes http://escapepod.org/2014/04/26/ep444-pearls-eyes/ http://escapepod.org/2014/04/26/ep444-pearls-eyes/#comments Sat, 26 Apr 2014 20:10:09 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4728 http://escapepod.org/2014/04/26/ep444-pearls-eyes/feed/ 0 0:37:03 by Daniel Marcus read by Christiana Ellis Links for this episode: First published first in Asimov’s, July 1996, and reprinted in the author’s collection, Binding Energy (2008). Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our [...] by Daniel Marcus read by Christiana Ellis Links for this episode: First published first in Asimov’s, July 1996, and reprinted in the author’s collection, Binding Energy (2008). Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Daniel Marcus about the author… from the author’s website… Daniel Marcus has published stories in many literary and genre venues, including Witness,Asimov’s Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy,ZYZZYVA, and Fantasy and Science Fiction.Some of these have been collected in Binding Energy.   He is the author of the novels: Burn Rate  and A Crack In Everything. Daniel was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.  He has taught in the creative writing program at U.C. Berkeley Extension and is currently a member of the online faculty at Gotham Writers’ Workshop. He is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers’ Workshop. After a spectacularly unsuccessful career attempt as a saxophonist, Daniel earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from U.C. Berkeley, has worked as an applied mathematician at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, and has authored numerous articles in the applied mathematics and computational physics literature. Daniel then turned his attention to the private sector, where for the last 15 years, he has built and managed systems and software in a variety of problem domains and organizational settings. about the narrator… Christiana Ellis is an award-winning writer and podcaster, currently living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her podcast novel, Nina Kimberly the Merciless was both an inaugural nominee for the 2006 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction: Long Form, as well as a finalist for a 2006 Podcast Peer Award. Nina Kimberly the Merciless is available in print from Dragon Moon Press. Christiana is also the writer, producer and star of Space Casey, a 10-part audiodrama miniseries which won the Gold Mark Time Award for Best Science Fiction Audio Production by the American Society for Science Fiction Audio and the 2008 Parsec Award for Best Science Fiction Audio Drama. In between major projects, Christiana is also the creator and talent of many other podcast productions including Talking About Survivor, Hey, Want to Watch a Movie? and Christiana’s Shallow Thoughts.   Those Are Pearls That Were His Eyes by Daniel Marcus The only window in Suki’s bedroom opened onto an airshaft that ran through the center of the building like the path of a bullet.  She would lie in bed in the hot summer nights with the salt smell of the drying seabed coming in through the open window, a sheen of sweat filming her forehead and plastering the sheets to her body like tissue, listening to her downstairs neighbors.  When they made love, their cries echoing up through the airshaft made her loins ache, and she brought release to herself silently, visualizing men with slender, oiled limbs and faces hidden in shadow. Sometimes the neighbors sang, odd, sinuous music redolent with quarter tones.  The melodies wove counterpoint like a tapestry of smoke and for some reason Suki thought of mountains.  Jagged, fractal peaks thrusting out of an evergreen carpet.  Summits brushed with snow.  Tongues of cloud laying across the low passes. Sometimes they argued, and the first time she heard the man’s deep voice raised in anger she was sure he was a Beast, possibly an Ursa. She was less certain of the woman, but there was a sibilant, lilting quality to her voice that suggested something of the feline.  They’d moved in three weeks before but their sleep cycles seemed out of sync with hers and she still hadn’t met them. Suki tried to imagine herself going downstairs to borrow something — sugar, yarn, a databead.  His broad muzzle would poke out from behind the half-closed door; his liquid bro[...] Podcasts Daniel Marcus no no EP443: This Is As I Wish To Be Restored http://escapepod.org/2014/04/19/ep443-wish-restored/ http://escapepod.org/2014/04/19/ep443-wish-restored/#comments Sat, 19 Apr 2014 04:19:18 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4724 http://escapepod.org/2014/04/19/ep443-wish-restored/feed/ 3 0:27:30 by Christie Yant read by Mr. Lee Links for this episode: Please visit the sponsor for this episode: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Jagash/posthuman-pathways This is an original work with no prior appearances. Get stories from this author on [...] by Christie Yant read by Mr. Lee Links for this episode: Please visit the sponsor for this episode: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Jagash/posthuman-pathways This is an original work with no prior appearances. Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Mentioned by Alasdair at the end of this episode: Matt Wallace’s Slingers Author Christie Yant about the author… from the author’s website… Christie Yant is a science fiction and fantasy writer, and Assistant Editor for Lightspeed Magazine. Her fiction has appeared in anthologies and magazines including Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2011(Horton), Armored, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, io9, Wired.com, and China’s Science Fiction World. Her work has received honorable mentions inYear’s Best Science Fiction(Dozois) andBest Horror of the Year (Datlow), and has been long-listed for Story South’s Million Writers Award. She lives on the central coast of California with two writers, an editor, and assorted four-legged nuisances. Follow her on Twitter @christieyant. our narrator for this fine chunk of literature is Mr. Lee, who’s spiffy. This Is As I Wish To Be Restored by Christie Yant   Every night I come home and I drink. I trade away the hope, the guilt, the fear, even the love–I think it’s love, crazy as it seems. I trade them for oblivion, because otherwise I won’t sleep at all. I drink until there’s no life left in me, until I’m able to forget for just a little while the chrome vessel in the corner and what’s at stake. Sometimes I hope that I’ll dream of her. Sometimes I’m afraid that I will.   I have two things that belonged to her. The first is a photograph, taken at a party in what looks like a hotel. Her hair is dyed red—it doesn’t quite suit her, so you know it isn’t hers, like an unexpected note in a melody where you thought you knew where it was going and then it went sharp. She’s holding a glass of something pink and bubbly. Maybe it’s her birthday. If so, it’s probably her twenty-eighth. She’s laughing.   She was really young to be a client. Especially back then, most of the people who thought about life extension were retirees. Mortality was very much on their minds, and they’d had a lifetime to accumulate their savings—suspension was expensive. I wonder where she got the money. Her file doesn’t say.   So in this picture she’s laughing. She’s seated, supporting herself with one hand braced against the carpeted floor. Her head is thrown back and her back is arched, and she’s just the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. There are other people around her, behind her, just smiling blurs holding drinks, but you get the feeling that she’s the reason they’re smiling. She’s the star they’re all in orbit around. Like me. I fell into her orbit years ago and can’t break free.   The picture moves with me through my bleak basement apartment, from room to room—sometimes it turns up on top of the half-size refrigerator, sometimes absent-mindedly left on a shelf in the medicine cabinet where I discover it again later and take it with me to the bedroom. I’ve found it between the sofa cushions at least half a dozen times. She follows me, or I follow her—it’s been a lifetime since she smiled that smile, and I’m still completely, utterly taken.   The one place it never goes is on the dewar in the corner.  That would just be too macabre, considering.   This is the only photograph she left. I often wonder what it was about this moment, this time in her life, that she could have looked ahead and known that this was as good as it gets. In this picture the cancer’s already killing her, she just doesn’t know it.   She died less than a year later. Pancreatic cancer. It’s in her file.   #   I was giv[...] Podcasts Christie Yant no no EP442b: Eater of Bone, part 2 http://escapepod.org/2014/04/12/ep442b-eater-bone-part-2/ http://escapepod.org/2014/04/12/ep442b-eater-bone-part-2/#comments Sun, 13 Apr 2014 03:55:40 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4715 http://escapepod.org/2014/04/12/ep442b-eater-bone-part-2/feed/ 0 1:41:32 by Robert Reed read by Mat Weller Links for this episode: This story has been previously published as a novella of the same name. Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and [...] by Robert Reed read by Mat Weller Links for this episode: This story has been previously published as a novella of the same name. Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Robert Reed about the author… from the author’s website… Bob has had eleven novels published, starting with The Leeshore in 1987 and most recently with The Memory of Sky in 2014. Since winning the first annual L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest in 1986 (under the pen name Robert Touzalin) and being a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer in 1987, he has had over 180 shorter works published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Eleven of those stories were published in his critically-acclaimed first collection, The Dragons of Springplace, in 1999. Twelve more stories appear in his second collection, The Cuckoo’s Boys [2005]. In addition to his success in the U.S., Reed has also been published in the U.K., Russia, Japan, Spain and in France, where a second (French-language) collection of nine of his shorter works, Chrysalide, was released in 2002. Bob has had stories appear in at leastone of the annual “Year’s Best” anthologies in every year since 1992. Bob has received nominations for both the Nebula Award (nominated and voted upon by genre authors) and the Hugo Award (nominated and voted upon by fans), as well as numerous other literary awards (see Awards). In 2007, he won his first Hugo Award for the 2006 novella “A Billion Eves”. Reed continues to live in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, Leslie, and daughter, Jessie. Local residents who may not know him for his award-nominated work as a genre writer may instead recognize him as an ardent long-distance runner — he can frequently be seen jogging through the parks and hiking trails of Lincoln, and has taken part in many of the area’s running races for the past several years.  Please see the post for the first half of this story for the complete text. http://escapepod.org/2014/04/05/ep442a-eater-bone/ Podcasts Robert Reed yes no EP442a: Eater of Bone http://escapepod.org/2014/04/05/ep442a-eater-bone/ http://escapepod.org/2014/04/05/ep442a-eater-bone/#comments Sat, 05 Apr 2014 04:56:16 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4710 http://escapepod.org/2014/04/05/ep442a-eater-bone/feed/ 2 2:02:34 by Robert Reed read by Mat Weller Links for this episode: This story has been previously published as a novella of the same name. Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and [...] by Robert Reed read by Mat Weller Links for this episode: This story has been previously published as a novella of the same name. Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page We still encourage you to  visit the sponsor for last week’s episode: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Jagash/posthuman-pathways Author Robert Reed about the author… from the author’s website… Bob has had eleven novels published, starting with The Leeshore in 1987 and most recently with The Memory of Sky in 2014. Since winning the first annual L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest in 1986 (under the pen name Robert Touzalin) and being a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer in 1987, he has had over 180 shorter works published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Eleven of those stories were published in his critically-acclaimed first collection, The Dragons of Springplace, in 1999. Twelve more stories appear in his second collection, The Cuckoo’s Boys [2005]. In addition to his success in the U.S., Reed has also been published in the U.K., Russia, Japan, Spain and in France, where a second (French-language) collection of nine of his shorter works, Chrysalide, was released in 2002. Bob has had stories appear in at leastone of the annual “Year’s Best” anthologies in every year since 1992. Bob has received nominations for both the Nebula Award (nominated and voted upon by genre authors) and the Hugo Award (nominated and voted upon by fans), as well as numerous other literary awards (see Awards). In 2007, he won his first Hugo Award for the 2006 novella “A Billion Eves”. Reed continues to live in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, Leslie, and daughter, Jessie. Local residents who may not know him for his award-nominated work as a genre writer may instead recognize him as an ardent long-distance runner — he can frequently be seen jogging through the parks and hiking trails of Lincoln, and has taken part in many of the area’s running races for the past several years. Eater-of-bone by Robert Reed 1 With cured gut and twitch-cord, the Nots had constructed their trap—a marriage of old cleverness and deep rage designed to catch dreaded, unworldly monsters such as her. But the device had lain undisturbed since summer, and the winter rains had washed away some of the leaf litter and clay that served as its camouflage. Knowing what to expect, the young woman easily spotted the taut lines and anchor points, and experience told her where a single soft footfall would trigger the mechanism, causing the ground to fall away. An extraordinarily deep hole had been dug into the hillside. One misstep, and she would plunge into blackness, every kick and helpless flail bringing down the loose dirt that would suffocate and then temporarily kill. She had seen this design before. The Nots were masters when it came to doing the same ancient tricks again and again. Only once in her experience had this type of mechanism worked as designed, but the vivid memory of that exceptionally miserable night was enough to make the woman step backwards—a reflexive, foolish reaction, since traps occasionally came in pairs, and one careless motion could be more dangerous than twenty smart, studied footfalls. But her bare foot fortunately hit only damp dirt, and she felt nothing worse than a jikk-incisor gouging her exposed Achilles. She knelt slowly and pulled the thorn free, placing a thumb across the wound to force the first drop of blood to remain inside her body. Her skin grew warm beneath her touch, and then there was no wound. Sucking on her thumb, she tasted iron and salt and a dozen flavors of grime, and after some consideration, she carefully, carefully traced out a wide ellipse that eventually placed the trap upwind from her. Riding the breeze was the aroma [...] Podcasts Robert Reed yes no EP441: Kumara http://escapepod.org/2014/03/29/ep441-kumara/ http://escapepod.org/2014/03/29/ep441-kumara/#comments Sat, 29 Mar 2014 15:11:00 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4700 http://escapepod.org/2014/03/29/ep441-kumara/feed/ 1 0:46:30 by Seth Dickinson read by Alasdair Stuart   Posthuman Pathways Links for this episode: Please visit the sponsor for this episode: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Jagash/posthuman-pathways This is an original work with no prior appearance[...] by Seth Dickinson read by Alasdair Stuart   Posthuman Pathways Links for this episode: Please visit the sponsor for this episode: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Jagash/posthuman-pathways This is an original work with no prior appearances. Get stories from this author on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… from the author’s website… I’m a graduate of the University of Chicago, a lapsed PhD candidate at NYU (where I studied racial bias in police shoot/don’t shoot decisions), and an instructor at the Alpha Workshop for Young Writers. I write science fiction and fantasy. My work has appeared or will soon appear in Clarkesworld, Analog, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, as well as winning the 2011 Dell Award. I care about gender, subtext, prose style, the fallacies of human cognition, and the ramifications of all we’ve learned regarding causality, cosmology, and thought. In my younger days I was a designer and writer on the Blue Planet (warning: video link) project for FreeSpace Open. I tweet without too much grammar at @sethjdickinson KUMARA By Seth Dickinson   You asked me why you are alive, and this is the answer: because I was asked to do the impossible, to choose someone to die. And I loved them all, loved them as I loved Kumara, as I loved myself. I could not bear the choice. “I need you to choose one of our crew to delete,” Kumara told me. “I need room to think, or we’re not going to make it.” Thirty years of diligence said no, never and I began to refuse. Outside the ship a revenant screamed a radio scream and through the umbilical of our link I felt Kumara cry back in defiance: jamming but still overmatched, struggling against sixty million years of mindless machine hate. Throwing every spark of thought she could muster into beating the revenant’s virals, decrypting them, compiling an inoculation. I closed my eyes and waited for her to fail, for the revenant to slip into her systems, for the antimatter torch to let go and end us all. But Kumara held herself together. Turned the attack. Her avatar grinned up from where she knelt, shoulder bowed with effort, nails clawed down to pink flesh. “Saved us again,” she said. “Ha. And they told me I wasn’t built for this. Thirty years, and still state of the art!” “You can make it,” I said, knowing it was a lie, that she had tapped every scrap of processing power in her hull. I was systems officer; I was the ship as much as she was. But still I begged: “Just an hour to the jump point. You’ll make it. You don’t need to ask for any more.” Kumara had taken the image of a woman, cable-shouldered, strong. Her hands trembled and her eyes shone bright with an inhuman intellect, a very human fatigue. Her intellect was digital, her fatigue an abstract, but she wore the metaphor of flesh. Flesh speaks clearly to the human mind. She looked up at me with those brilliant tired eyes and shook her head. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I’m out of processing power. They’re getting too sophisticated and I can’t keep up. You have to delete someone from heaven.” I closed my eyes and turned away. I was the last living crew of Kumara, you see? The others were dead: Captain Shiroma, who burned in her own armor as she stole the machine god’s dream, Matthews who cracked the revenant code, smiling Jayaraman who died first, wordless Landvatter whose ash still painted the hull. Our raid on the machine god, our Promethean theft, had gone poorly. But Kumara’s systems had saved them as they passed. Snared their dying minds, digitized them, and uploaded them to heaven: a simulation, a place that might keep them stable. Coddle them in a pleasant hallucination until their psyches could be retrieved. The heaven mainframe was the only resource she hadn’t tapped. But to make it useful, room would have to be opened, load reallocated. And there was[...] Podcasts Seth Dickinson no no EP440: Canterbury Hollow http://escapepod.org/2014/03/22/ep440-canterbury-hollow/ http://escapepod.org/2014/03/22/ep440-canterbury-hollow/#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 06:04:06 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4695 http://escapepod.org/2014/03/22/ep440-canterbury-hollow/feed/ 0 0:36:07 by Chris Lawson read by Bill Bowman   Links for this episode: Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Chris Lawson is a doctor and writer [...] by Chris Lawson read by Bill Bowman   Links for this episode: Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Chris Lawson is a doctor and writer living in Australia. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s SF, Realms of Fantasy, Eidolon, and Dreaming Down-Under. In late October he blogged at www.talkingsquid.net about his process of creating a short story, but those posts concerned a different story. For this one, you won’t find any glimpses of the wizard behind the curtain — you’ll just have to enjoy it on its own terms. about the narrator… Last read for us on EP424; Bill started voice acting on the Metamor City Podcast, and has wanted to do more ever since. He spends his days working at a library, where he is in charge of all things with plugs and troubleshooting the people who use them. He spends his nights with his wife, two active children, and two overly active canines and all that goes with that. Podcasts Chris Lawson no no EP439: Cradle and Ume http://escapepod.org/2014/03/15/ep439/ http://escapepod.org/2014/03/15/ep439/#comments Sat, 15 Mar 2014 05:03:02 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4686 http://escapepod.org/2014/03/15/ep439/feed/ 1 0:36:53 by Geoffrey W. Cole read by Jeff Ronner   Links for this episode: This story was originally published in Issue #1 of the relaunched Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds Magazine Get more of Geoffrey W. Cole’s work on Amazon.com Discuss o[...] by Geoffrey W. Cole read by Jeff Ronner   Links for this episode: This story was originally published in Issue #1 of the relaunched Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds Magazine Get more of Geoffrey W. Cole’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Geoffrey W. Cole about the author… from the author’s website… Geoffrey W. Cole was born in Ottawa, Ontario, where he learned to swim and to survive 233K (-40 C or F) weather. After this larval stage, he moved to Kingston, Ontario, where he received degrees in Biology, Mechanical Engineering, Beer Slinging, and Rock and/or Roll. Geoff also met his mate in Kingston. After graduating they embarked on a trans-Canada road trip from Newfoundland to Alaska (for you future-bots reading this, from RockScar to The Beaches). After a brief stint in Ontario, Geoff and his mate moved to Vancouver, BC, where they married, started a home, adopted a giant Newfoundland Lab cross, and gave birth to a wonderful son. They spent a year abroad in Rome, Italy, and after the vandemic of 2017 (curse you, sentient minivans!) they moved to SeaBase 4 off the coast of Haida Gwaii to breed orca. During his time in Vancouver, Geoff received a certificate in creative writing through The Writers Studio program at Simon Fraser University, under the tutelage of Steven Galloway. Geoff and his wife moved to Rome, Italy, in 2011 to pursue writing full-time, and returned to Canada in 2012. Geoff started work on a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia in 2012. Once Geoff moved to SeaBase 04, his writing style took on new direction, as he attempted to write an epic poem in orcish (the cetacean language, not the Tolkien). Narrator Jeff Ronner about the narrator… Jeff Ronner is a voice actor, audio engineer, and sound designer. His work has appeared in radio and TV spots, non-commercial narrations, and on those annoying in-store supermarket PA systems. Cleverly disguised as a mild-mannered hospital IT manager during the day, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.   Cradle and Ume by Geoffrey W. Cole When his creators first booted Cradle those long centuries ago, they told him many things that made a lasting impression on his infant mind. Above all was the commandment: _The Kamurei must never be contacted._ ##   “If you don’t let me in, she will die,” Ume said. “After all these years, you still ask,” Cradle said. “I thought posthumans were supposed to be hyperintelligent.” On the banks of the dry riverbed that wound through the village, Teihana struggled through her thirty-fourth hour of labour. Her emaciated brown skin glistened with sweat.  The midwife, her only companion in the palm-roofed hut, packed cool mud on Teihana’s forehead. There was nothing else for the pain; like the river, the wells were dry, and the medicinal crop had failed along with the corn. Cradle and Ume watched all this from the observation station buried within one of the Andean peaks that towered above Teihana’s village. “Drop your fields now,” Ume said. “This is my last warning.” “Warn away,” Cradle said. “There’s nothing I can do about it.” “Then you’ve left me no choice.” Cradle was embarrassed to engage in this banter with three other visitors in the observation station, but they seemed to enjoy the drama. The tourists pointed and whispered as Ume departed. He ran down the long tunnel that led to the landing pad, where he climbed into his skyskiff and pointed the vehicle toward the valley. Cradle watched Ume’s fit from a thousand different eyes scattered around the valley. The young posthuman’s persistence never ceased to amaze him. He tried to shout a final warning: “I can’t let you -” And that[...] Podcasts Geoffrey W. Colw no no EP438: Enjoy the Moment http://escapepod.org/2014/03/07/ep438-enjoy-moment/ http://escapepod.org/2014/03/07/ep438-enjoy-moment/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 05:07:42 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4679 http://escapepod.org/2014/03/07/ep438-enjoy-moment/feed/ 0 0:33:24 by Jack McDevitt read by Sara Tolbert   Links for this episode: This story is part of the Apocalypse Triptych – website  |  Amazon Get more of Jack McDevitt’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escap[...] by Jack McDevitt read by Sara Tolbert   Links for this episode: This story is part of the Apocalypse Triptych – website  |  Amazon Get more of Jack McDevitt’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… from Goodreads.com… Jack McDevitt is a former English teacher, naval officer, Philadelphia taxi driver, customs officer and motivational trainer. His work has been on the final ballot for the Nebula Awards for 12 of the past 13 years. His first novel, The Hercules Text, was published in the celebrated Ace Specials series and won the Philip K. Dick Special Award. In 1991, McDevitt won the first $10,000 UPC International Prize for his novella, “Ships in the Night.” The Engines of God was a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and his novella, “Time Travelers Never Die,” was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula awards. McDevitt lives in Georgia with his wife, Maureen, where he plays chess, reads mysteries and eats lunch regularly with his cronies. about the book… THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm. But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild. THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH will tell their stories. Edited by acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams and bestselling author Hugh Howey, THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH is a series of three anthologies of apocalyptic fiction. THE END IS NIGH focuses on life before the apocalypse. THE END IS NOW turns its attention to life during the apocalypse. And THE END HAS COME focuses on life after the apocalypse. Featuring all-new, never-before-published works by Hugh Howey, Paolo Bacigalupi, Seanan McGuire, Ken Liu, Jamie Ford, Tananarive Due, Jonathan Maberry, Robin Wasserman, Nancy Kress, Charlie Jane Anders, Matthew Mather, Ben H. Winters, Scott Sigler, and many others. • • • • Don’t want to risk missing out on news about THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH? Sign up for John Joseph Adams’s free newsletter (sent out no more than once or twice a month) to receive updates about THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH, as well as news about his other editorial projects. Podcasts Jack McDevitt no no EP437: A Rose for Ecclesiastes http://escapepod.org/2014/02/28/ep437-rose-ecclesiastes/ http://escapepod.org/2014/02/28/ep437-rose-ecclesiastes/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 06:13:38 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4674 http://escapepod.org/2014/02/28/ep437-rose-ecclesiastes/feed/ 0 1:37:42 by Roger Zelazny read by Pete Milan   Links for this episode: This story was first published by Mercury Press, 1963 Get more of Roger Zelazny’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and[...] by Roger Zelazny read by Pete Milan   Links for this episode: This story was first published by Mercury Press, 1963 Get more of Roger Zelazny’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Roger Zelazny about the author… Roger Zelazny was born in Euclid, Ohio, the only child of Polish immigrant Joseph Frank Zelazny and Irish-American Josephine Flora Sweet. In high school, he became the editor of the school newspaper and joined the Creative Writing Club. In the fall of 1955, he began attending Western Reserve University and graduated with a B.A. in English in 1959. He was accepted to Columbia University in New York and specialized in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, graduating with an M.A. in 1962. His M.A. thesis was entitled Two traditions and Cyril Tourneur: an examination of morality and humor comedy conventions in The Revenger’s Tragedy. Between 1962 and 1969 he worked for the U.S. Social Security Administration in Cleveland, Ohio and then in Baltimore, Maryland spending his evenings writing science fiction. He deliberately progressed from short-shorts to novelettes to novellas and finally to novel-length works by 1965. On May 1, 1969, he quit to become a full-time writer, and thereafter concentrated on writing novels in order to maintain his income. During this period, he was an active and vocal member of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, whose members included writers Jack Chalker and Joe and Jack Haldeman among others. read more on Wikipedia… Narrator Pete Milan about the narrator… Pete Milan is a voice actor, writer, audiobook narrator, audio drama producer, among other things. His latest audiobook, Sentinels: When Strikes The Warlord, is available now from Dynamic Ram Audio, and he will soon be appearing in Phantom Canyon from Pendant Productions. Visit him at petemilan.com for more.   A Rose for Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny Mercury Press, 1963 This text taken from Science Fiction: The Science Fiction Research Association Anthology Eds. Patricia S. Warrick, Charles G. Waugh, and Martin H. Greenberg New York: HarperCollins, 1988. (Pgs. 308-337) *** I was busy translating one of my Madrigals Macabre into Martian on the morning I was found acceptable. The intercom had buzzed briefly, and I dropped my pencil and flipped on the toggle in a single motion. “Mister G,” piped Morton’s youthful contralto, “the old man says I should ‘get hold of that damned conceited rhymer’ right away, and send him to his cabin.–Since there’s only one damned conceited rhymer . . .” “Let not ambition mock thy useful toil,” I cut him off. So, the Martians had finally made up their minds! I knocked an inch and a half of ash from a smouldering butt, and took my first drag since I had lit it. The entire month’s anticipation tried hard to crowd itself into the moment, but could not quite make it. I was frightened to walk those forty feet and hear Emory say the words I already knew he would say; and that feeling elbowed the other one into the background. So I finished the stanza I was translating before I got up. It took only a moment to reach Emory’s door. I knocked thrice and opened it, just as he growled, “Come in.” “You wanted to see me?” I sat down quickly to save him the trouble of offering me a seat. “That was fast. What did you do, run?” I regarded his paternal discontent: Little fatty flecks beneath pale eyes, thinning hair, and an Irish nose; a voice a decibel louder than anyone else’s . . . Hamlet to Claudius: “I was working.” “Hah!” he snorted. “Come off it. No one’s ever seen you do any of that stuff.” I shrugged my shoulders and started to rise. “If that’s what you called me down here–” “Sit down!”[...] Podcasts Roger Zelazny no no Album Review: Flossophy http://escapepod.org/2014/02/26/album-review-flossophy/ http://escapepod.org/2014/02/26/album-review-flossophy/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 15:00:56 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4669 http://escapepod.org/2014/02/26/album-review-flossophy/feed/ 0 EP436: Into the Breach http://escapepod.org/2014/02/22/ep436-breach/ http://escapepod.org/2014/02/22/ep436-breach/#comments Sat, 22 Feb 2014 05:39:25 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4662 http://escapepod.org/2014/02/22/ep436-breach/feed/ 0 0:38:00 by Malon Edwards read by Mandaly Louis-Charles   Links for this episode: This story was first published in Expanded Horizons, Issue 40, July 2013 Get more of Malon Edwards’ work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Es[...] by Malon Edwards read by Mandaly Louis-Charles   Links for this episode: This story was first published in Expanded Horizons, Issue 40, July 2013 Get more of Malon Edwards’ work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Malon Edwards about the author… I’m an American speculative fiction writer. Born and raised in Chicago, I now live in the Greater Toronto Area. My short stories are often set in an alternate or near-future Chicago. narrator Mandaly Louis-Charles about the narrator… My full name is Mandaly Louis-Charles. I was born and raised in the Caribbean Island of Haiti. I love languages. I promote my culture and native language on my blog at www.sweetcoconuts.blogspot.com   Into the Breach by Malon Edwards I’m off my bunk and into my jodhpurs, knee-high leather boots and flight jacket the moment the long range air attack klaxons seep into my nightly dream about Caracara. Muscle memory and Secret Service training kick in; I’m on auto-pilot (no pun intended) and a good ways down the hall buttoning up both sides of my leather jacket to the shoulder a full thirty seconds before I’m awake. And just so you know, the ever so slight tremble in my hands and fingers is not fear. It’s adrenaline. I’m cranked and ready to put my foot all up in it. A door to the right opens and Pierre-Alexandre falls in on my right flank, his steps brisk like mine. Our boots echo down the long hallway as we make our way from the underground bunker at Soldier Field to the bunker at Meigs Field. What you think we got? he asks. My reptile mind—that wonderful, hedonistic thing of mine—notices how lovely his make-me-jump-up-and-dance-like-I-just-caught-the-Holy-Ghost-in-church dark skin looks in the red emergency scramble lighting. And yeah, I know. I’m going to hell for that. A door to my left opens and René-Bastien, better known as Pretty Boy, falls in on my left flank and matches our stride. My guess is fifteen bogeys coming in hard and fast from the south, he says. His flight jacket is only half buttoned and he’s not wearing his T.I. issued white tee-shirt (that’s Tuskegee Institute for those that don’t know). I flicker a glance at his beautiful, honey-hued, well-muscled chest and frown. I bet he just left some police academy recruit in his bunk. Good-N-Plenty is going to smack him upside his head for entertaining unauthorized personnel after lights out. Lax discipline gets people killed. We’ve had enough of that, lately. It don’t matter what we got, I tell them, throwing open the double doors leading to the enormous underground hangar at Meigs Field, as long as we finish what they start. We hustle down the short flight of metal stairs and fan out to our respective bright-shirted handlers waiting for us at our outfit stations: me to Skittles, Pierre-Alexandre to Sour Patch, and Pretty Boy to Good-N-Plenty. Good-N-Plenty pops the back of Pretty Boy’s neck with a comb before she hands it to him and buttons up his flight jacket. Skittles catches my eye as I pull on thin leather gloves and stand shoulder-width apart on my platform, arms outstretched. You okay? she asks as her fingers flow across her station console, manipulating my exo-skeleton into place from above. I hesitate for a fraction of a second before I answer. M byen. I’m cool. Skittles tries to hold my gaze. She knows I’m still grieving hard. Instead, I look at the empty outfit stations scattered throughout the hangar. Once, there were  thirty-six of us, including Caracara. I still can’t bring myself to look at her station on my right. Robotic arms lower the torso of my powered armor onto me and outfit my arms and legs with the rest of my sleek exo-skeleton. I feel all components lock into place, one by one. You’re online, Skittles says, handing me my helmet. Systems check? I ask her. All systems green, including weapons. What’s the gouge? Skittles glances [...] Podcasts Malon Edwards yes no EP435: Made of Cats http://escapepod.org/2014/02/14/ep435-made-cats/ http://escapepod.org/2014/02/14/ep435-made-cats/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 05:44:20 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4649 http://escapepod.org/2014/02/14/ep435-made-cats/feed/ 0 0:24:26 by Judith Tarr read by Amanda Ching   Links for this episode: This story was previously published in Daily Science Fiction, 2011 Get more of Judith Tarr’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, [...] by Judith Tarr read by Amanda Ching   Links for this episode: This story was previously published in Daily Science Fiction, 2011 Get more of Judith Tarr’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Judith Tarr about the author… from Amazon.com: I have a lot of academic credentials (PhD from Yale, MA from Cambridge University, AB from Mt. Holyoke) and taught writing and Latin at Wesleyan University in Connecticut–before I ran away from it all to live on a mesa in Arizona. I breed and ride Lipizzan horses, read and study history (and make up my own alternate and fantastical versions), and write–novels, short stories, articles. I teach writing online (details at http://capriole.smoe.org) and blog on the livejournals as dancinghorse. My alter ego is author Caitlin Brennan, who also has a plog on amazon. Narrator Amanda Ching about the narrator… Amanda Ching is a 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 tweets @cerebralcutlass and blogs at amandaching.wordpress.com.   Made of Cats: A Love Story by Judith Tarr Never mind the slithy toves; let me tell you about the time all the cats splooped into floons. It all started the day the aliens landed. (Doesn’t it always?) We’d been getting the odd invasion–sometimes really odd–for about a hundred years by then. The ones that came up out of the ground and down from the sky and blasted people to powder and tried to marsiform the planet? And got the common cold and turned into slime mold and died? They were just the start. We were pretty solid on the intergalactic maps by the time the Kovarrubians showed up. Killer microbes? Check. Nuclear option? Check. Toxic xenophobia? Triple check. So now when the aliens came, they came in peace. For reals, dudes. Cure for cancer? Check. Super-mega-hyper-insta-teleporta-warp drive? Check. World peace? Not so much. But now when people got their hate on, mostly they got it on somebody Out There. The day the Kovarrubians came, Emily Habibi-Rubinstein, age five and a half, was having a terrible, horrible, awful, no-good, very bad day. Which meant that as her mother, I, Shannon Habibi, age never mind, was having one, too. Between the snufflecrud that kept her home from school, the power failure that took out the television, the Internet, the house controls, and the air conditioning in one fell swoop, and the failure of the city bus to show up and get us both to the library where we could cool off and toss Emily into a big blissful pile of books, we were not a happy family. Oh, and did I mention that the phones were down, too? So we were effectively cut off from the world? Right. That was the first indication that we might be having another alien invasion. The second came about an hour later, after the power came back on and brought the air conditioning with it, but everything else was still stubbornly refusing to get the memo. I’d made Emily lie down for a nap she insisted, at 120 decibels, that she was too old for. “I’m too old for you not to,” I said, hard-hearted, and cranked the air and shoved Mr. Gubbins into her arms and shut the door on her. Emily is what we call strong-willed, but she gets it from me and she knows it. The howling stopped after six minutes and thirty-three seconds. It would start again, by my calculations, exactly fourteen minutes later, but meanwhile I had a reprieve. I pulled a can of Diet Crack out of the secret stash in the back of the fridge, popped the top, and blissed on a long swallow of liquid heaven. Just as I got my breath for the second dose, a shriek from the back of the house came _thisclose_ to splitting my eardrums. That was a solid 160 db, easy, and left E above high C croaking in the dust[...] Podcasts Judith Tarr no no EP434: Coping Mechanisms http://escapepod.org/2014/02/12/ep434-coping-mechanisms/ http://escapepod.org/2014/02/12/ep434-coping-mechanisms/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 06:16:41 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4640 http://escapepod.org/2014/02/12/ep434-coping-mechanisms/feed/ 0 0:37:19 by Gerri Leen read by Dani Cutler Links for this episode: This story was previously published in Return to Luna, the anthology of the winning stories of the National Space Society’s fiction contest (published by Hadley Rille Books, 2008).   [...] by Gerri Leen read by Dani Cutler Links for this episode: This story was previously published in Return to Luna, the anthology of the winning stories of the National Space Society’s fiction contest (published by Hadley Rille Books, 2008).   The story also appeared in the author’s collection of short stories, Life Without Crows (also published by Hadley Rille Books, 2010). Get more of Gerri Leen’s work on Amazon.com This episode features sound effects from users dADDoiT, chuckycheetos, DanielsonIII, nocommonera, Robinhood76, felix.blume and zimbot on Freesound.org Mentioned in this episode: www.ClarionWest.org Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Gerri Leen about the author… I’m a transplanted Seattleite who’s lived in Northern Virginia for nearly three decades. I started writing professionally in my early 40’s, and it’s been a fun ride so far. I have had stories and poems appearing in many anthologies and magazines, such as Sword and Sorceress XXIII, Footprints, She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror, Dia de los Muertos, and Sails and Sorcery. about the narrator… Narrator Dani Cutler Dani Cutler last narrated for EP in 389: Keeping Tabs. She has been part of the podcasting community since 2006, hosting and producing her own podcast through 2013. She currently works for KWSS independent radio in Phoenix as their midday announcer, and also organizes a technology conference each year for Phoenix residents to connect with others in the podcast, video, and online community.   COPING MECHANISMS by Gerri Leen The interface between Luna and Earth was particularly bad–like a slow connection to the Net when I was a kid and my grandparents had been too cheap to move off dial-up.  Cal’s image moved in fits and starts, and it wasn’t what I wanted–okay, needed–to see.  As chief base shrink, I should be woman enough to admit I _needed_ to see my husband in some way that didn’t immediately scream he was roughly 380,000 clicks away. Even if Cal was barely my husband; he and I hadn’t touched in eight months–and I’d only been on Luna for six.  Coming here had been my way of saying goodbye, of letting our marriage die slowly and gracefully rather than living through the drama of a messy divorce.  Funny thing about the moon, though: you don’t get over people here.  You miss the hell out of them, every part of them.  Or maybe you just forget the bad parts, maybe they disappear in the middle of this resounding grayness. I used to think my marriage was gray and grim.  Landing at Echosound–getting my first view of my new home in the bright lunar daytime that had gone on for fourteen Earth-days–had been a reality check of the highest order. “Vanessa?”  Cal was probably wondering why I’d called.  We were supposed to be getting used to being away from each other, and I didn’t have much to say that was related to the impending dissolution of the marriage. So I said the first thing that came to mind.  “How’s Denny?” The jerking image made his expression unreadable.  “He’s fine.” I didn’t normally ask about his parrot.  In fact, I hated that damn bird.  Probably because I knew Cal would part with me, but not with him.  As a psychiatrist, I don’t shy away from truths.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t make me any better at dealing with them. “Van, I have to go.”  Cal didn’t sound disappointed, especially on five-second delay.  Not for the first time I wished personal calls were given the same priority for real-time access as mission-related calls. But they weren’t, so I would deal.  Badly, no doubt.  But I’d deal. “I have to go, too.  Time for my shift.”  Which was a lie.  I may have normal duty ho[...] Podcasts Escape Pod no no EP433: That Other Sea http://escapepod.org/2014/01/31/ep433-sea/ http://escapepod.org/2014/01/31/ep433-sea/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 05:09:30 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4633 http://escapepod.org/2014/01/31/ep433-sea/feed/ 1 0:34:21 by William Ledbetter read by Shaelyn Grey Links for this episode: Get William Ledbetter’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Willi[...] by William Ledbetter read by Shaelyn Grey Links for this episode: Get William Ledbetter’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author William Ledbetter about the author… from the author’s website… William Ledbetter lives near Dallas with his family and too many animals.  His great love, after his wife of course, is reading and writing speculative fiction. He is an editor at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly and runs the annual Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest for Baen Books and the National Space Society. narrator Shaelyn Grey about the narrator… Shaelyn Grey has been active in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, mainly as a singer and actor. Recently she has expanded into voice over work and is currently a part of the cast of Aurelia: Edge of Darkness, which is an online interactive web series. Aurelia is entering it’s second season and Shae is back as Thais ven Derrivalle. Aurelia can be viewed at http://www.theatrics.com/aurelia and Shae can be reached through shaelyngreyvocals.com.   THAT OTHER SEA by William Ledbetter From his position on the sandy slope, Catat couldn’t see the Visitor, but the eerie glow moving around beyond the jumbled rocks proved the device had survived its fall into the killing depths. Catat whipped his tail to move downward, but couldn’t generate enough thrust to overcome the water pressure pushing him into the sand. Only the brute force of side-to-side undulation gave him any forward momentum. He moved two body lengths and stopped to let his shell adjust. As water weight compressed his internal organs further, the gland that produced shellbase went into hyperactive mode, flooding his system, filling the tiny pressure cracks and thickening his ring segments. The depths were changing him, maybe forever, but Catat believed retrieving the Visitor, or at least examining it, was worth the risk. During the intense discussions that followed the Visitor’s arrival, Catat was the only one who believed it could be artificial. Others, including Catat’s main scientific rival, Racknik, maintained that it had to be some radiation mutated animal from an ice vent. But Catat had been the only one to see it up close. He’d watched the Visitor break through the ice ceiling and then struggle with the canopy kelp before starting its long swirling descent to the chasm floor. The Visitor was twice Catat’s size and he probably could have done nothing to arrest its fall, but he’d also been frozen with terror and made no attempt to help. Then as it started downward, lights appeared. Not the dim luminescent bait offered by predator fish, but a brilliant, painful glare, brighter than white magma. At that instant, Catat’s fear dissolved in an overwhelming surge of curiosity and fascination. So know he was going after it. A message from his warren came down the cable he dragged behind him, the electrical pulses converted to taps he could feel through the metal plate mounted between his tool arms and just above his digging arms. The signal was still strong, which worried him. If his shell had thickened enough to protect him against the extreme pressure, then the signal should have been faint. “Can you still see it?” A prefix identified the sender as one of his research assistants. “I see the glow from its lights,” Catat replied. “You made your point. We believe you. Now come back up.” There had been no prefix to identify the second message’s sender, but Catat knew it had to be his friend and sometimes mate, Tipkurr. “I’m not trying to prove anything,” he replied. “I saw this Visitor up close and I know it’s a machine. Do you realize the implications of a machine from beyond the ice ceiling? Some elders don’t believe there is anything above the ice. This not [...] Podcasts William Ledbetter no no Movie Review: Upside Down http://escapepod.org/2014/01/29/movie-review-upside/ http://escapepod.org/2014/01/29/movie-review-upside/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:00:37 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4623 Upside Down.]]> http://escapepod.org/2014/01/29/movie-review-upside/feed/ 0 EP432: Inappropriate Behavior http://escapepod.org/2014/01/25/ep432-inappropriate-behavior/ http://escapepod.org/2014/01/25/ep432-inappropriate-behavior/#comments Sat, 25 Jan 2014 06:31:45 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4630 http://escapepod.org/2014/01/25/ep432-inappropriate-behavior/feed/ 1 1:16:41 by Pat Murphy read by MJ Cogburn Links for this episode: This story first appeared at scifi.com in 2004 Get Pat Murphy’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortab[...] by Pat Murphy read by MJ Cogburn Links for this episode: This story first appeared at scifi.com in 2004 Get Pat Murphy’s work on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page author Pat Murphy about the author… from the author’s website… I’m a writer, a scientist, and sometimes a toy maker. All of my stories and novels have a hint of the strange. Some have been called science fiction, some fantasy, and some neither one. Most of my work falls between categories. I think that the most interesting events happen at the edges, in the borderlands where the lines are fuzzy. My fiction writing has won a number of awards, including the Nebula Award for Science Fiction, the World Fantasy Award, the Philip K. Dick Award for best paperback original, the Christopher Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. I also co-founded the James Tiptree Memorial Award. narrator MJ Cogburn about the narrator… I’m an Special Education English teacher in Texas who also works with various audio production companies. I have worked with at least 6 different companies in the past, but I am head of production at Darker Projects and an actor in DP’s Quantum Retribution, Gypsy Audio’s Tamlynn PI, and Giant Gnome Productions’ Star Trek: Outpost. I’m a parent of three and after this year empty nest will set in (I think). I am currently working with Jerry Robbins at Colonial Radio Productions – at present producing Powder River, season 8. I thoroughly enjoy what I do and I’m glad that I can share it with everyone who is interested in any type of audio production!   Inappropriate Behavior by Pat Murphy The Mechano: There was a man asleep on the sand. He should not be here. It was my island. I had just returned to my mechano and it was time for me to go to work. He should not be here. I studied the man through the eyes of my mechano. They were good eyes. They worked very well beneath the water, at depths down to fifteen hundred meters. I had adjusted them for maximum acuity at distances ranging from two inches to five feet. Beyond that, the world was a blur of tropical sunshine and brilliant color. I liked it that way. There had been a big storm the night before. One of the coconut palms had blown down, and the beach was littered with driftwood, coconuts, and palm fronds. The man didn’t look good. He had a bloody scrape on his cheek, other scrapes on his arms and legs, a smear of blood in his short brown hair. His right leg was marked with bruises colored deep purple and green. He wore an orange life vest, a t-shirt, a pair of shorts, and canvas boat shoes. He stirred in his sleep, sighing softly. Startled, I sent the mechano scuttling backward. I stopped a few feet away from him. My mechano had a speaker. I tested it and it made a staticky sound. I wondered what I should say to this man. The man moved, lifting a hand to rub his eyes. Slowly, he rolled over. “Bonjour,” I said through the mechano’s speakers. Maybe he had come from one of the islands of French Polynesia. # # # The Man: A sound awakened him—a sort of mechanical squawking. Evan Collins could feel the tropical sun beating down on his face, the warm beach sand beneath his hands. His head ached and his mouth was dry. His right leg throbbed with a dull, persistent pain. Evan raised a hand to rub his eyes and winced when he brushed against a sand-encrusted scrape on his cheek. When he rolled over onto his back, the throbbing in his leg became a sudden, stabbing pain. Wiping away the tears that blurred his vision, he lifted his head and blinked down at his leg. His calf was marked with bloody coral scrapes. Beneath the scrapes were vivid bruises: dark purple telling of injuries beneath the surface of the skin. When he tried to move his leg again, he gasped as the stabbing pain returned. He heard the sound again[...] Podcasts Pat Murphy no no Movie Review: Upstream Color http://escapepod.org/2014/01/22/movie-review-upstream-color/ http://escapepod.org/2014/01/22/movie-review-upstream-color/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 15:00:51 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4619 Primer, was confusing, then you ain't seen nothin' yet... especially if you haven't seen his new film, Upstream Color.]]> http://escapepod.org/2014/01/22/movie-review-upstream-color/feed/ 3 EP431: The Golden Glass http://escapepod.org/2014/01/17/ep431-golden-glass/ http://escapepod.org/2014/01/17/ep431-golden-glass/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 06:32:23 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4616 http://escapepod.org/2014/01/17/ep431-golden-glass/feed/ 0 0:36:19 by Gary Kloster read by Matt Haynes Links for this episode: Get Gary Kloster on Amazon.com Sound effects in this episode were created by Freesound.org users thecluegeek, RADIY, and Timbre Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod storie[...] by Gary Kloster read by Matt Haynes Links for this episode: Get Gary Kloster on Amazon.com Sound effects in this episode were created by Freesound.org users thecluegeek, RADIY, and Timbre Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… author Gary Kloster from the author’s website… “I’ve always loved speculative fiction.  That’s the fancy name for stories that involve lasers, or swords, or in the very best laser-swords.  So as a kid, I decided to try writing it.  And it went really badly. A few decades later, and I’m a house husband in rural Minnesota, a Science reference librarian who now answers urgent questions like ‘When’s lunch?’ and ‘Where’s the bathroom?’  Not really much different then helping the undergrads back at the University, but it wears thin.  In an effort to save my sanity, and avoid housework, I’ve returned to writing. I think it’s going better, this time.”   The Golden Glass By Gary Kloster The Golden Glass By Gary Kloster “The jump-pilot,” said Alejandro, “is sleeping with Leo.” “You just noticed?” Glory said, tugging off her pants. “And now these are getting too tight. That’s it, I’m upping G in engineering. It’ll skew the efficiency but my ass won’t fit through the access panels soon if I don’t burn some of this off.” Alejandro ignored his wife’s attempted diversion. “How long has this been going on?” Glory shrugged. “The kids? They’ve been flirting since Evy came aboard. I’m not exactly sure when they actually started sleeping together. Probably during the flight here to Valhalla.”  She dropped her clothes and stepped into the head. “Why’s it matter?” Alejandro sat on the bunk and pulled off his slippers. “You’re okay with this?” Glory leaned out the door, toothbrush in hand. “They’re consenting adults, and it’s impossible to stop ship romances. As long as it doesn’t effect their work, it’s not our business.” “I don’t like it,” muttered Alejandro, staring at the stars that filled the wall screen. “Leo’s a dreamer. He should be with someone grounded. Evy’s nice, but she’s not right for him. Damn good jumper, but an air-head.” “Cheez nah…” Glory spat and tried again. “She’s not an airhead, she’s just young and… cheerful.” “She drinks too much.” “She has wine with dinner. Her parents owned a vineyard on Laramie.” Glory walked back into the cabin and sat next to her husband. “Alejandro, she’s a nice girl and she’s here on the ship. You have to know that Leo’s been thinking of leaving.” Alejandro frowned. “Why? He has a good life here with us, learning the trade, and when we finally retire the Evanston will be his.” “Yes, but that won’t be for a long time. He needs to build his own life. Hell, why do you think I pressed you so hard to hire that newly graduated jump-pilot anyway?” “You said she had great ratings and a low pay-scale.” “Yes, but the real reason is that our son was lusting after her the minute he saw her. Thank the gods that it’s working out and we’re not dealing with a harassment suit. Now brush your teeth. Launch tomorrow, and we’re going to be busy.” # “I’m not sure Captain Your Dad approves of this,” said Evy. “Hmmm?” Leo shifted carefully on the cramped bunk, kissing his way down her belly. “I didn’t think of it. There was nothing about fraternization in the contract, but you are his kid. We talked about this stuff in our small group socialization course…” She lifted her hips, letting Leo drag her panties down. “Ummm.” “Did he look pissed to you, when he caught us necking in the hall? We shouldn’t have done that, it’s rude to block the passage.” Leo stared up from trying to work her underwear off around her foot. “What?” “Your dad. Does he like me?” “I don’t know, I guess. Why?” Leo’s eyes slipped from Evy’s face to stare at her chest. “Maybe he doesn’t approve. I’d hate to screw up my first job.” “It’s [...] Podcasts, Uncategorized Gary Kloster no no Movie Review: Europa Report http://escapepod.org/2014/01/15/movie-review-europa-report/ http://escapepod.org/2014/01/15/movie-review-europa-report/#comments Wed, 15 Jan 2014 16:00:53 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4602 Apollo 18, another recent found-footage sci-fi film has made its way to Netflix. This one had similar elements to Apollo 18, but the difference was in the nature of the monster. This film is called Europa Report.]]> http://escapepod.org/2014/01/15/movie-review-europa-report/feed/ 1 EP430: Heart of Joy http://escapepod.org/2014/01/11/ep430-heart-joy/ http://escapepod.org/2014/01/11/ep430-heart-joy/#comments Sat, 11 Jan 2014 19:57:44 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4607 http://escapepod.org/2014/01/11/ep430-heart-joy/feed/ 0 0:40:56 by Kate O’Conn0r read by Andrea Richardson Links for this episode: Get Mermaid from Kate O’Connor on Amazon.com or check her bibliography for her other works here: http://kateoconnor3.wordpress.com/bibliography/ This story first appear[...] by Kate O’Conn0r read by Andrea Richardson Links for this episode: Get Mermaid from Kate O’Connor on Amazon.com or check her bibliography for her other works here: http://kateoconnor3.wordpress.com/bibliography/ This story first appeared in Daily SF, April 2013 Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page about the author… Kate O’Connor was born in Virginia in 1982. She graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott in 2009 and now lives (and occasionally works) in the New York area. Kate has been writing science fiction and fantasy since 2011. In between telling stories, she flies airplanes, digs up artifacts, and manages a kennel full of Airedales. Narrator Andrea Richardson about the narrator… Andrea Richardson is a British singer and actress.  With extensive stage and film performances to her name, she began narration and voice over work fairly recently, but enjoys using her existing skills in a different way. You can find Andrea at www.andrea-richardson.co.uk and www.castingcallpro.com/uk/view.php?uid=507734   Heart of Joy By Kate O’Connor “How’s your ankle, Luci?” Feon Sen, High Chancellor of Carinae, leaned against the wall, watching intently as she braided her dark hair. Luscinia considered the question carefully, studying his reflection in the mirror. He was a man of many words, but his meaning was clearest in the surgically smoothed lines around his eyes and the rhythm his fingers absentmindedly tapped out on his arm. He was asking if she was up to the task he had for her tonight. “Better, thank you.” She stood and danced a few quick steps to prove it. She was ready. The prism-glass walls sent the light they had collected from Carina’s dim sun scattering around the room in teardrops of scarlet and gold and sapphire. It was hard not to blame the cold and the hard crystal floors for the aches in her joints. Hot sun and soft ground were worlds away, but Feon was always ready with a good reason for her to stay whenever she mentioned returning to her home planet. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. Even after more than a year in his company, Luscinia still found how young he looked and how old his expressions were disconcerting. She hadn’t asked him about whatever medical miracles or cosmetic alterations he’d had done over the long decades he had been in control of the three hundred and forty-seven inhabited worlds of the nebula. It was how things were on Carina Prime, especially for those in the public eye. She hated the scrutiny that came with being his lover. More than one helpful soul had mentioned a few of the currently fashionable options for elongating her legs or slimming her curvy body. The idea turned her stomach. “So you’ll be able to dance for the Alshain Ambassador and his assorted cronies this evening? He’s been after me almost without ceasing since they arrived.” Feon’s carefree grin made her stomach flutter for entirely different reasons. “You’re still the talk of the nebula. Half the city shows up to parties without footwear because you dance barefoot. Not to mention how everyone goes on about what each dance means. It doesn’t help that you keep changing them.” “I’d get bored if the routines were always the same. You wouldn’t use the same words in every speech you gave, would you?” Luscinia smiled back, taking note of the slight crease at the corner of his mouth. “And stop worrying. I’ll settle your diplomats for you.” There was so much more to say that never seemed to make it past her lips… or his. He was far more eloquent than she, except when it came to speaking with her. Alshain was dangerous, more so because of the allies the ambassador was gathering. Feon was old and wily, but she saw him plagued with the worr[...] Podcasts Kate O'Connor no no Movie Review: Apollo 18 http://escapepod.org/2014/01/08/movie-review-apollo-18/ http://escapepod.org/2014/01/08/movie-review-apollo-18/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 16:00:21 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4595 Apollo 18 aims to show why we haven't been back. And if this film is to be believed, there's a damn good reason.]]> http://escapepod.org/2014/01/08/movie-review-apollo-18/feed/ 0 EP429: The Little Black Bag http://escapepod.org/2014/01/05/ep429-little-black-bag/ http://escapepod.org/2014/01/05/ep429-little-black-bag/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 02:32:34 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4589 http://escapepod.org/2014/01/05/ep429-little-black-bag/feed/ 0 1:15:57 by C.M. Kornbluth read by Mat Weller Links for this episode: This story first appeared in  the July 1950 edition of Astounding Science Fiction. Get more from C.M. Kornbluth on Amazon.com This episode contains a sound effect provided by user gcmax [...] by C.M. Kornbluth read by Mat Weller Links for this episode: This story first appeared in  the July 1950 edition of Astounding Science Fiction. Get more from C.M. Kornbluth on Amazon.com This episode contains a sound effect provided by user gcmax at freesound.org Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page About the Author…  from the Wiki about the author – Cyril M. Kornbluth (July 2, 1923 – March 21, 1958) was an American science fiction author and a notable member of the Futurians. He used a variety of pen-names, including Cecil Corwin, S. D. Gottesman, Edward J. Bellin, Kenneth Falconer, Walter C. Davies, Simon Eisner, Jordan Park, Arthur Cooke, Paul Dennis Lavond and Scott Mariner. The “M” in Kornbluth’s name may have been in tribute to his wife, Mary Byers; Kornbluth’s colleague and collaborator Frederik Pohl confirmed Kornbluth’s lack of any actual middle name in at least one interview.   The Little Black Bag by C. M. Kornbluth Old Dr. Full felt the winter in his bones as he limped down the alley. It was the alley and the back door he had chosen rather than the sidewalk and the front door because of the brown paper bag under his arm. He knew perfectly well that the flat-faced, stringy-haired women of his street and their gap-toothed, sour-smelling husbands did not notice if he brought a bottle of cheap wine to his room. They all but lived on the stuff themselves, varied with whiskey when pay checks were boosted by overtime. But Dr. Full, unlike them, was ashamed. A complicated disaster occurred as he limped down the littered alley. One of the neighborhood dogs–a mean little black one he knew and hated, with its teeth always bared and always snarling with menace–hurled at his legs through a hole in the board fence that lined his path. Dr. Full flinched, then swung his leg in what was to have been a satisfying kick to the animal’s gaunt ribs. But the winter in his bones weighed down the leg. His foot failed to clear a half-buried brick, and he sat down abruptly, cursing. When he smelled unbottled wine and realized his brown paper package had slipped from under his arm and smashed, his curses died on his lips. The snarling black dog was circling him at a yard’s distance, tensely stalking, but he ignored it in the greater disaster. With stiff fingers as he sat on the filth of the alley, Dr. Full unfolded the brown paper bag’s top, which had been crimped over, grocer-wise. The early autumnal dusk had come; he could not see plainly what was left. He lifted out the jug-handled top of his half gallon, and some fragments, and then the bottom of the bottle. Dr. Full was far too occupied to exult as he noted that there was a good pint left. He had a problem, and emotions could be deferred until the fitting time. The dog closed in, its snarl rising in pitch. He set down the bottom of the bottle and pelted the dog with the curved triangular glass fragments of its top. One of them connected, and the dog ducked back through the fence, howling. Dr. Full then placed a razor-like edge of the half-gallon bottle’s foundation to his lips and drank from it as though it were a giant’s cup. Twice he had to put it down to rest his arms, but in one minute he had swallowed the pint of wine. He thought of rising to his feet and walking through the alley to his room, but a flood of well-being drowned the notion. It was, after all, inexpressibly pleasant to sit there and feel the frost-hardened mud of the alley turn soft, or seem to, and to feel the winter evaporating from his bones under a warmth which spread from his stomach through his limbs. A three-year-old girl in a cut-down winter coat squeezed through the same hole in the board fence from which the black dog had sprung its ambush. Gravely she toddled up to Dr. Full and inspected him with her dirty forefinger in her mouth.[...] Podcasts C.M. Kornbluth no no EP428: Paradise Left http://escapepod.org/2013/12/27/ep428-paradise-left/ http://escapepod.org/2013/12/27/ep428-paradise-left/#comments Fri, 27 Dec 2013 05:39:49 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4582 http://escapepod.org/2013/12/27/ep428-paradise-left/feed/ 0 0:26:24 by Evan Dicken read by Barry Haworth Links for this episode: This story has appeared in Daily Science Fiction Get more from Evan Dicken on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our so[...] by Evan Dicken read by Barry Haworth Links for this episode: This story has appeared in Daily Science Fiction Get more from Evan Dicken on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Evan Dicken from the Daily Science Fiction author bio – By day, Evan Dicken fights economic entropy for the Ohio Department of Commerce, by night, he writes. His work has most recently appeared in: 10Flash Quarterly, Stupefying Stories, and Ray Gun Revival, and he has stories forthcoming from: Chaosium and Tales of the Unanticipated. Visit him at:evan.dicken.com. About the Narrator… Barry Haworth is from Australia and he first narrated for Escape Pod in episode 317. This is his second appearance after offering to narrate as a way to help Escape Pod.   PARADISE LEFT by Evan Dicken Rob was feeding the dog when Ashley came home from the rebellion. It took less than a second for the front door to recognize her and slide open, but it still wasn’t fast enough. She kicked the jam with a muffled curse and stalked into the room, five and a half feet of wiry,dirt-smudged outrage. RL-147 was on her like an excited puppy. “Welcome home, MistressAshley. Would you like me to–” “Go fuck yourself.” She tossed her omnirifle onto the kitchen counter with a look of disgust and leaned over the sink to shake the ash from her hair. “Belay that command, Erl,” Rob said under his breath. “And switch to silent mode, please.” “Acknowledged.” He dumped the last of the artificial beef into Whistler’s bowl and the dog dove in face-first, snuffling up the stew with wet,guttural gulps. “Calm down, I’m not going to take it away,” Rob murmured. Cupboards banged open and closed as Ashley rummaged around,looking for something to be angry about. “Where’s my damn Sea Pines mug?” “Above the microcleaner, near the back.” Rob gave Whistler one last pat and stood with a soft sigh. He’d avoided the question as long as he could. Ashley already blamed him for leaving the rebellion. She was only going to get angrier if he kept ducking the issue. “So…I take it the war didn’t go so well?” Rob tried for a sympathetic frown, but felt his jaw tighten. He didn’t like being out of the loop. There would almost certainly be news of the rebellion on the Wikifont, which he would’ve been able to see if Ashley hadn’t disabled the holoplates to protect them from “machine propaganda.” “No, it went great. Just great.” Ashley sprayed her head off in the sink, then shook her hair, splattering the kitchen with drops ofgrimy water. “I’m president of the New Human Republic.” “Really?” “Yeah, really.” “Congratulations.” Rob said without much feeling. His eyes kept sliding to kitchen windows. The spray had left grey and brown tracks on the plastic. He couldn’t ask RL-147 to clean it up until Ashley was out of the room. “Right.” She pulled a beer can from her rucksack and popped it open. From the faded silver and white logo it could have been almost any of the pre-singularity brands she favored. Whistler, finished with his food, nuzzled up to Ashley for some head-scratching. “We must have destroyed hundreds of bots, gunned ’em down like dogs.” Ashley glanced down at Whistler. “No offense.” Whistler just thumped the floor with his tail, blissfully ignorant as she kneaded the skin behind his ears. “So, what’s the problem?” Rob asked. He could use a beer as well, but didn’t want one of Ashley’s. They were flat and tasted like metal. Nothing like _actual_ beer. “I’ll tell you what the problem is.” Ashley took a long pull from her can, then grimaced. “[...] Podcasts Evan Dicken yes no EP427: Samantha’s Diary http://escapepod.org/2013/12/22/ep427-samanthas-diary/ http://escapepod.org/2013/12/22/ep427-samanthas-diary/#comments Sun, 22 Dec 2013 07:57:11 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4575 http://escapepod.org/2013/12/22/ep427-samanthas-diary/feed/ 0 0:53:05 by Diana Wynne Jones read by Emma Newman Links for this episode: Our Drone Future – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgLkWT246qU Andrew Reid – http://mygoditsraining.co.uk/ Joan De La Haye – http://joandelahaye.com/ Liz De Jager [...] by Diana Wynne Jones read by Emma Newman Links for this episode: Our Drone Future – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgLkWT246qU Andrew Reid – http://mygoditsraining.co.uk/ Joan De La Haye – http://joandelahaye.com/ Liz De Jager – http://www.lizdejager.co.uk/ Jennifer Williams – http://sennydreadful.co.uk/ Mhairi Simpson – https://twitter.com/AMhairiSimpson Adele Wearing – http://www.foxspirit.co.uk/ Tom Pollock – http://www.skyscraperthrone.com/ Vincent Holland-Keen – https://twitter.com/fiskerton The End of Science Fiction the poem quoted at the end http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/241790 This story has appeared in Stories: All-New Tales Edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Diana Wynne Jones About the Author… from the wiki about the author – Diana Wynne Jones (16 August 1934 – 26 March 2011) was an English writer, principally of fantasy novels for children and adults, as well as a small amount of non-fiction. Some of her better-known works are the Chrestomanci series, the Dalemark series; the novels Howl’s Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm; and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. Narrator Emma Newman About the Narrator… Emma Newman is the author of the Split Worlds series published by Angry Robot Books and is also an audiobook narrator. She has her own podcast called Tea and Jeopardy which is a combination of guest interviews, geekery and abject silliness. You can find her online at www.enewman.co.uk.   Samantha’s Diary by Diana Wynne Jones   Recorded on BSQ SpeekEasi Series 2/89887BQ and discovered in a skip in London’s Regent Street. December 25th 2233 Tired today and having a lazy time. Got back late from Paris last night from Mother’s party. My sister is pregnant and couldn’t go (besides, she lives in Sweden) and Mother insisted that one of her daughters was there to meet our latest stepfather. Not that I did meet him particularly. Mother kept introducing me to a load of men and telling me how rich each of them were: I think she’s trying to start me on her own career which is, basically, marrying for money. Thanks, Mother, but I earn quite enough on the catwalk to be happy as I am. Besides, I’m having a rest from men since I split up with Liam.The gems of Mother’s collection were a French philosopher, who followed me around saying ‘La vide ce n’est pas le neant,’ (clever French nonsense meaning ‘The void is not nothing,’ I think), a cross-eyed Columbian film director, who kept trying to drape himself over me, and a weird millionaire from goodness knows where with diamante teeth. But there were others. I was wearing my new Stiltskins which caused me to tower over them. A mistake. They always knew where I was. In the end I got tired of being stalked and left. I just caught the midnight bullet train to London, which did not live up to its name. It was late and crowded out and I had to stand all the way. My feet are killing me today. Anyway I have instructed Housebot that I am Not At Home to anyone or anything and hope for a peaceful day. Funny to think that Christmas Day used to be a time when everyone got together and gave each other presents. Shudder. Today we think of it as the most peaceful day of the year. I sit in peace in my all-white living room—a by-product of Mother’s career, come to think of it, since my lovely flat was given to me by my last-stepfather-but-one—no, last-but- two now, I forgot. Oh damn! Someone rang the doorbell and Housebot answered it. I know I told it not to. Did I say we don’t give Christmas presents now? Talk about famous last words. Housebot trundled back in here with a tree of all things balanced on its flat top. Impossible to tell what kind of tree, as it has no leaves, no label to say who sent it, nothing but a small wicker cage tied to a branch[...] Podcasts Diana Wynne Jones no no EP426: Flash Fiction Special http://escapepod.org/2013/12/13/ep426-flash-fiction-special/ http://escapepod.org/2013/12/13/ep426-flash-fiction-special/#comments Fri, 13 Dec 2013 05:06:58 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4568 http://escapepod.org/2013/12/13/ep426-flash-fiction-special/feed/ 0 0:24:48 Four Tickets, by Leslianne Wilder Life Sentence, by Ben HalleRt The Future Is Set, by C. L. Perria read by Nathan Lee, Angela Lee & Norm Sherman Links for this episode: Feeling adventurous enough to read all of the contest submissions? Have at[...] Four Tickets, by Leslianne Wilder Life Sentence, by Ben HalleRt The Future Is Set, by C. L. Perria read by Nathan Lee, Angela Lee & Norm Sherman Links for this episode: Feeling adventurous enough to read all of the contest submissions? Have at it! http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?board=134.0 See HalleRt’s current project here: http://timetravelreference.com/ Discuss this episode on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Flash, Podcasts Escape Pod no no EP425: The Boy in Zaquitos http://escapepod.org/2013/12/06/ep425-boy-zaquitos/ http://escapepod.org/2013/12/06/ep425-boy-zaquitos/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 06:23:12 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4565 http://escapepod.org/2013/12/06/ep425-boy-zaquitos/feed/ 0 0:54:50 by Bruce McAllister read by John Chu Links for this episode: This story originally appeared in  The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 2006 Also in Roads Not Taken: Tales of Alternate History. Also in The Best American Short Stori[...] by Bruce McAllister read by John Chu Links for this episode: This story originally appeared in  The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 2006 Also in Roads Not Taken: Tales of Alternate History. Also in The Best American Short Stories. Also in The Girl Who Loved Animals and Other Stories, Oct 2007 Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Bruce McAllister About the Author… His literary and genre fiction has appeared in national magazines, literary quarterlies, college textbooks and ‘year’s best’ anthologies. His second novel, Dream Baby, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship winner, was called a “stunning tour de force” by Publishers Weekly. His fiction has been translated widely and received national awards and notable mentions in the New York Times, other U.S. newspapers, U.S. and foreign magazines and journals, and reference works. His poetry and experimental work have appeared in literary quarterlies and anthologies; he has co-edited magazines and anthologies; and his articles on popular science, writing craft and sports have appeared in publications like Life, International Wildlife, The Writer and newspapers across the country. – See more at: http://www.mcallistercoaching.com/#sthash.iZUdcA2z.dpuf. About the Narrator… John designs microprocessors by day and writes fiction by night. His work has been published at Boston Review, Asimov’s and Tor.com. His website is http://johnchu.net   The Boy in Zaquitos by Bruce McAllister The Retired Operative Speaks to a Class You do what you can for your country. I’m sixty-eight years old, and even in high school—it’s 2015 now, so that was fifty years ago—I wanted to be an intelligence analyst . . . an analyst for an intelligence agency, or if I couldn’t do that, at least be a writer for the United States Information Agency, writing books for people of limited English vocabularies so they’d know about us, our freedoms, the way we live. But what I wanted most was to be an analyst—not a covert-action operative, just an analyst. For the CIA or NSA, one of the big civilian agencies. That’s what I wanted to do for my country. I knew they looked at your high school record, not just college—and not just grades, but also the clubs you were in and any sports. And your family background, that was important, too. My father was an Annapolis graduate, a Pearl Harbor survivor, and a gentle Cold War warrior who’d worked for NATO in northern Italy, when we’d lived there. I knew that would look good to the Agency, and I knew that my dad had friends who’d put in a good word for me, too, friends in the Office of Naval Intelligence. But I also knew I had to do something for my high school record; and I wasn’t an athlete, so I joined the Anti-Communist Club. I thought it was going to be a group of kids who’d discuss Marxist economics and our free-market system, maybe the misconceptions Marx had about human nature, and maybe even mistakes we were making in developing countries, both propaganda-wise and in the kind of help we were giving them. I didn’t know it was just a front for Barry Goldwater and that all we were going to do was make election signs, but at least I had it on my record. Because a lot of Agency recruiting happens at private colleges, I went to one in Southern California—not far from where my parents lived. My high school grades were good enough for a state scholarship, and my dad covered the rest. It was the ’60s, but the administration was conservative; and I was expecting the typical Cold War Agency recruitment to happen to me the way it had happened to people I’d heard about—the sons of some of my dad’s friends. But it didn’t. I went through five majors without doing well in any of them; and it wasn’t until my senior year, when I was taking an IR course with a popular prof named Booth—a guy who’d been a POW in WWII[...] Podcasts Bruce McAllister no no EP424: Biographical Fragments of the Life of Julian Prince http://escapepod.org/2013/12/01/ep424-biographical-fragments-life-julian-prince/ http://escapepod.org/2013/12/01/ep424-biographical-fragments-life-julian-prince/#comments Sun, 01 Dec 2013 19:06:01 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4558 http://escapepod.org/2013/12/01/ep424-biographical-fragments-life-julian-prince/feed/ 0 0:40:18 by Jake Kerr read by Heather Bowman-Tomlinson, Andrea Richardson, Bill Hollweg & Mat Weller Links for this episode: Discuss on our forums.  This story was first published in Lightspeed in March 2013 Sound effects for this story supplied by the[...] by Jake Kerr read by Heather Bowman-Tomlinson, Andrea Richardson, Bill Hollweg & Mat Weller Links for this episode: Discuss on our forums.  This story was first published in Lightspeed in March 2013 Sound effects for this story supplied by the following Freesound.org contributors: driet, lonemonk, Littleboot, klankbeeld, stevelalonde, blouhond, alexmol, bulbastre, Corsica_S, and gmarchisio Mentioned in the episode: narrators Bill Hollweg & Mat Weller are also appearing together in Brokensea Audio’s adaptation of the Planet of the Apes UK Stage Show and would love if you would give it a listen here: http://brokensea.com/potauk/ For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page About the Author… from the author’s website… I began writing short fiction in 2010 after a long career as a music and radio industry columnist and journalist. The second story I wrote and the first one I published, “The Old Equations,” appeared in Lightspeed magazine and went on to be named a finalist for the Nebula Award and to be shortlisted for the StorySouth Million Writers and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial awards. I’ve subsequently been published in Fireside Magazine, Escape Pod, and the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology of humorous SF. I graduated from Kenyon College with degrees in English and Psychology. Kenyon not only taught me a love of reading and literature that will always be a part of my soul, it also gave me unique opportunities to be a better writer. While at Kenyon, I studied under writer-in-residence Ursula K. Le Guin and Peruvian playwright Alonso Alegria. Both have been big influences on how I approach writing. While I continue to write short fiction, I am currently working on my first novel.   Biographical Fragments of the Life of Julian Prince by Jake Kerr In the early twenty-first century, author Lesley Hauge wrote an essay entitled “we are what we leave behind” to little fanfare. In the wake of the Meyer Impact in 2023, amidst the coming to terms with the shock and loss, the essay was rediscovered and rose to prominence with a new understanding that all we may know about half the planet is what they left behind. Literary giant Julian Prince examined what–and more importantly–who we left behind. So it is entirely appropriate to examine his own life the way he examined those of the millions that died on that fateful day in 2023, by what he left behind–the interviews, the articles, his own words, and the words of others. These are the fragments that make up the whole.  For most of us that is all we have, and Prince knew that more than anyone. So… Julian Prince…  Julian Samuel Prince. He was born on March 18, 1989, and died on August 20, 2057. Prince was an American novelist, essayist, journalist, and political activist. His best works are widely considered to be the post-Impact novels The Grey Sunset (published in 2027) and Rhythms of Decline (published in 2029), both of which won the Pulitzer Prize. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2031. Prince was a pioneer of Impact Nihilism, a genre that embraced themes of helplessness and inevitable death in the aftermath of the Meyer Impact. His travelogue, Journey Into Hopelessness (published in 2026) outlined Prince’s return to North America, ostensibly to survey the damage to his home state of Texas. The book’s bleak and powerful language of loss and devastation influenced musicians, artists, and writers worldwide, giving voice to the genre as a counter to the rising wave of New Optimism, which sprang out of Europe as a response to the Meyer Impact and the enormous loss of life. Not much is known of Prince’s early life. He spoke rarely of his childhood, and with the loss of life and destruction of records during the Meyer Impact, little source material remains. What is known is that Prince was an only child, the son of Margaret Prince (maiden name unknown) and Sa[...] Podcasts Jake Kerr no no EP423: Arena http://escapepod.org/2013/11/24/ep423-arena/ http://escapepod.org/2013/11/24/ep423-arena/#comments Sun, 24 Nov 2013 05:30:49 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4553 http://escapepod.org/2013/11/24/ep423-arena/feed/ 2 0:59:04 by Fredric Brown Read by Bill Bowman Links for this episode: This story was first published in the June 1944 issue of [Astounding] magazine Fredrick Brown on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narr[...] by Fredric Brown Read by Bill Bowman Links for this episode: This story was first published in the June 1944 issue of [Astounding] magazine Fredrick Brown on Amazon.com Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Fredric Brown About the Author… taken front he wiki about the author here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredric_Brown Fredric Brown (October 29, 1906 – March 11, 1972) was an American science fiction and mystery writer. He was born in Cincinnati. He is perhaps best known for his use of humor and for his mastery of the “short short” form—stories of 1 to 3 pages, often with ingenious plotting devices and surprise endings. Humor and a somewhat postmodern outlook carried over into his novels as well. One of his stories, “Arena,” is officially credited for an adaptation as an episode of the landmark television series, Star Trek. About the Narrator… Bill Bowman last read for us in episode 391. Bill started voice acting on the Metamor City Podcast, and has wanted to do more ever since. He spends his days working at a library, where he is in charge of all things with plugs and troubleshooting the people who use them. He spends his nights with his wife, two active children, and two overly active canines and all that goes with that. Podcasts Frederic Brown no no EP422: Deshaun Stevens’ Ship Log http://escapepod.org/2013/11/15/ep422-deshaun-stevens-ship-log/ http://escapepod.org/2013/11/15/ep422-deshaun-stevens-ship-log/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 05:38:10 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4546 http://escapepod.org/2013/11/15/ep422-deshaun-stevens-ship-log/feed/ 1 0:17:10 by Marie Vibbert read by Alasdair Stuart Links for this episode: This is the first publication of this story The author’s story about the story: http://reasie.livejournal.com/663241.html Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod s[...] by Marie Vibbert read by Alasdair Stuart Links for this episode: This is the first publication of this story The author’s story about the story: http://reasie.livejournal.com/663241.html Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page About the Author… from the author’s livejournal… I live with my husband Brian (married nine whole years and counting!), his brother John and two adorable cats, in a 1930s neo-colonial that we unworthy slobs do not keep up. I’m currently employed as the webmaster for the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. My hobbies include writing, I’m a member of the Cajun Sushi Hamsters from Hell – a science fiction writer’s group. Officially ‘turned pro’ last year and got a Nebula provisional ballot nomination to boot! I’m also an avid member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. I recently started playing football for the Cleveland Fusion, a women’s tackle football team.   Deshaun Stevens’ Ship Log By Marie Vibbert   Personal Log — January 1 Crunches–one and a very near half. Push-ups–none unless counting getting off floor Calories–lost count, but all from alcohol, so okay One year ago today I vowed I would not spend another year working on this stupid cruise ship.  One year ago my life was exactly as it is now, with exception of having a girlfriend. Trying to have a good sulk about lack of gf, but general suckatude of life winning.  Have spent all adult years–five of them–treading the same tract of “unexplored” space with end trip to rings of Neptune tacked on by tourist company as apology for boringness of unexplored space.  Have also set lighting and sound cues for thousand ungrateful musicians with combined talent of medium-sized shrub. (Is supposedly new tract of space each time, but how can anyone–especially easily-duped passengers who think cruise ship bands are good–tell the difference?) Current misery doubled by working with now-ex gf.  Attempts to avoid said ex at New Year’s party largely consisted of going back to punch bowl repeatedly.  May have sung love ballad composed in throes of self-pity at end of night. Memory foggy.  Hope everyone else’s is, too. Suspecting ship regulation against alcohol v. wise after all.  Hope they don’t read our logs. Resolutions: 1. Get New Job 2. Avoid romantic complications with Lido Deck Staff, especially boss, xgf, and cocktail waitresses with unfairly attractive hair. 3. Somehow, bearing number 2 in mind, get a new gf. 4. Exercise and update personal log every day **** January 15 Crunches–45 Push-ups–10 Humiliation of “Love Ballad” finally wearing down due to co-workers not having infinite time to devote to re-watching video clip recorded by jerk supervisor.  Wish someone else would hurry up and do something embarrassing to capture Lido Deck attention. New band contains certified hottie named Cyndee R.  Has body like type usually molded in plastic. Is utterly unlikely to notice mildly fit, intellectual, sadly single lighting and sound engineer, but hope springs eternal. Have decided to shave beard and do 400 crunches every day. **** January 16 Fifty is an acceptable number of crunches to do in one day.  Anything higher uncivilized and leads to back injury which prevents both successful completion of job and ability to impress Cyndee. ***** January 22 Crunches–30 Push ups–25 Salisbury Steak Day lures me from monk-like asceticism engendered by hope of impressing hottie.  Must some day make pilgrimage to Salisbury.  Imagine fields of mushroom gravy v. picturesque. Not too concerned about diet as have abs of steel–if steel is made of flabby pain. Still no notice from Cyndee R, who has more talent than entire history of cruise ship performers and eyes that catch number five cerulean light beaut[...] Podcasts Marie Vibbert yes no EP421: Bright Moment http://escapepod.org/2013/11/10/ep421-bright-moment/ http://escapepod.org/2013/11/10/ep421-bright-moment/#comments Sun, 10 Nov 2013 05:51:28 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4540 http://escapepod.org/2013/11/10/ep421-bright-moment/feed/ 0 0:42:55 by Daniel Marcus read by Mr. Lee Links for this episode: More by Daniel Marcus Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page About the Author… from the wiki about the[...] by Daniel Marcus read by Mr. Lee Links for this episode: More by Daniel Marcus Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page About the Author… from the wiki about the author… Daniel Marcus has published stories in many literary and genre venues, including Witness, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, ZYZZYVA, and Fantasy and Science Fiction. Some of these have been collected in Binding Energy (Elastic Press, 2008).   He is the author of two novels: Burn Rate (2009), and A Crack In Everything(2011). Daniel was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.  His non-fiction has appeared in Wired, Boing-Boing, the San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere, he has taught in the creative writing program at U.C. Berkeley Extension and is currently a member of the online faculty at Gotham Writers’ Workshop. He is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers’ Workshop. After a spectacularly unsuccessful career attempt as a saxophonist, Daniel earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from U.C. Berkeley, has worked as an applied mathematician at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, and has authored numerous articles in the applied mathematics and computational physics literature. Daniel then turned his attention to the private sector, where for the last 15 years, he has built and managed systems and software in a variety of problem domains and organizational settings. About the Narrator… Our narrator this week is Mr. Lee, who makes industrial music for fun, but not much money.  You can find his stuff by googling “love songs about hate”.   Bright Moment by Daniel Marcus Arun floated in the ammonia swells, one arm around the buoyant powersled, waiting. He’d blocked all his feeds and chats, public and private, and silenced his alerts. He felt deliciously alone. His ears were filled with the murmuring white noise of his own blood flow, intimate and oceanic, pulsing with his heartbeat. Metis was a bright diamond directly overhead. Athena hung just above the near, flat horizon, her rings a plaited bow spanning the purple sky. Persistent storms pocked her striated surface, appearing deceptively static from thirty kiloklicks out. Arun had negotiated the edgewalls of those storms more than once, setting up metahelium deep-mining rigs. A host of descriptive words came to mind, but “static” was not among them. The sea undulated slowly in the low gee, about 0.6 Standard. The distant shape of a skyhook was traced out by a pearlstring of lights reaching up from the horizon and disappearing into distance haze, blinking in synchronization to suggest upwards motion. The skyhook was the only point of reference for scale. He shuddered involuntarily. His e-field distributed warmth to his body extremities from the tiny pack at the small of his back and maintained his blood oxygenation, but bobbing in the swell, alone in the vast sea, he felt cold and a little dizzy. He wanted to breathe and felt a fleeting instant of lizard-brain panic. The current began to tug at his feet long before he saw the humped swell bowing the horizon upwards, a slight backward drift, accelerating slowly. His heart began beating faster as he clambered belly down onto the power sled. He drifted back towards the swell, slowly at first, then faster. He looked over his shoulder at the rising wall of liquid. It appeared solid, like moving metal, completely blocking the sky. He imagined he could feel wind tugging at his e-field. Arun felt a vibration through the powersled, a vast low frequency murmur, the world-ocean getting ready to kick his ass. Just as he was about to be sucked beneath the monstrous swell, he activated the sled. He surged forward and stood as the sled began to accelerate up the face of the wave. He felt the sled’s stabilizers groaning beneath his feet as he [...] Podcasts Daniel Marcus yes no Escape Artists Metacast Update http://escapepod.org/2013/11/06/ea-metacast-update/ http://escapepod.org/2013/11/06/ea-metacast-update/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2013 18:28:38 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4533 http://escapepod.org/2013/11/06/ea-metacast-update/feed/ 1 0:03:30 This 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[...] This 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 Podcasts, Uncategorized Escape Pod no no EP420: The Shunned Trailer http://escapepod.org/2013/11/01/ep420-shunned-trailer/ http://escapepod.org/2013/11/01/ep420-shunned-trailer/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 04:10:19 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4530 http://escapepod.org/2013/11/01/ep420-shunned-trailer/feed/ 5 0:51:14 by Esther Friesner read by Norm Sherman Links for this episode: More by Esther Friesner Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page About the Author… from the wiki [...] by Esther Friesner read by Norm Sherman Links for this episode: More by Esther Friesner Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page About the Author… from the wiki about the author… Esther Mona Friesner-Stutzman, née Friesner (born July 16, 1951) is a prolific American science fiction and fantasy author. She is best known for her humorous style of writing, both in the titles and the works themselves. Friesner attended the Hunter College High School, a public magnet high school in New York City, as well as Vassar College. She holds a Ph.D. in Spanish and was a college professor at Yale University before becoming a writer. In addition to short stories, Friesner has published a number of novels and is a prolific editor of anthologies. Among her recent books are Nobody’s Princess, which takes the Greek legend of Helen of Sparta and gives it a new beginning, and its sequel, Nobody’s Prize. She is a frequent guest of honor at science fiction conventions, having appeared at Bubonicon, Arisia, Boskone, Baycon and Albacon in the 1990s and into the 21st century. Friesner is credited as one of the founders of a parody movement in the 1980s called cyberprep. Friesner was named Outstanding New Fantasy Writer by Romantic Times in 1986. She won the Skylark Award in 1994. She has been nominated a number of times for the Hugo and Nebula awards, winning the Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 1995 and 1996 for, respectively, “Death and the Librarian” and “A Birth Day”. Podcasts Esther Friesner no no EP419: Expediter http://escapepod.org/2013/10/28/ep419-expediter/ http://escapepod.org/2013/10/28/ep419-expediter/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 05:15:07 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4518 http://escapepod.org/2013/10/28/ep419-expediter/feed/ 2 1:21:51 by Mack Reynolds read by Corson Bremer Links for this episode: More by Mack Reynolds Mentioned in this episode – Roadside Picnic Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedi[...] by Mack Reynolds read by Corson Bremer Links for this episode: More by Mack Reynolds Mentioned in this episode – Roadside Picnic Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page About the Author… from the wiki about the author… From 1946-49, Reynolds worked as a national organizer for the SLP. In 1946, he made his first fiction sale, “What is Courage?”, to Esquire magazine. A year later, he met a woman who shared his radical politics, Helen Jeanette Wooley. They were married in September of 1947, and Jeanette agreed to support Reynolds for two years while he pursued a career as a writer for the detective pulps. After searching for a place with a low cost of living, they moved to Taos, New Mexico, where Reynolds met science fiction writers Walt Sheldon and Fredric Brown. Brown, later one of Reynolds’ frequent collaborators, convinced Reynolds to shift from writing detective stories to writing science fiction. Reynolds’ first sale of a science fiction story, “Last Warning” (also known as “The Galactic Ghost”), sold to Planet Stories in June 1949 but was not printed until 1954. His first published science fiction story, “Isolationist” appeared in Fantastic Adventures in June of 1950.[3] His career soon took off, resulting in a sale of 18 stories in 1950 alone.[1] In 1951, he published his first novel, The Case of the Little Green Men, a mix of the murder-mystery and science fiction genres that became “an instant classic of science-fiction-fan related fiction.” About the Narrator… Corson loves audio drama, dramatic readings, everything BBC 4 produces, SF, fantasy, horror, and tropical beaches.  (He doesn’t like Pina Coladas, but vodka straight up, turns him on.)  Corson works as a professional voice artist in a variety of fields but (occasionally) moonlights as a techncial writer or a French-to-English technical translator.  His website is HCBVoice.com but he is astonished and proud to be also listed as an actor on the IMDB website and also proud to give his time whenever possible to Escape Artists!  Quote: “Contribute to EA guys!”       Expediter by Mack Reynolds His assignment was to get things done; he definitely did so. Not quite the things intended, perhaps, but definitely done. *       *       *       *       * The knock at the door came in the middle of the night, as Josip Pekic had always thought it would. He had been but four years of age when the knock had come that first time and the three large men had given his father a matter of only minutes to dress and accompany them. He could barely remember his father. The days of the police state were over, so they told you. The cult of the personality was a thing of the past. The long series of five-year plans and seven-year plans were over and all the goals had been achieved. The new constitution guaranteed personal liberties. No longer were you subject to police brutality at the merest whim. So they told you. But fears die hard, particularly when they are largely of the subconscious. And he had always, deep within, expected the knock. He was not mistaken. The rap came again, abrupt, impatient. Josip Pekic allowed himself but one chill of apprehension, then rolled from his bed, squared slightly stooped shoulders, and made his way to the door. He flicked on the light and opened up, even as the burly, empty faced zombi there was preparing to pound still again. There were two of them, not three as he had always dreamed. As three had come for his father, more than two decades before. His father had been a rightist deviationist, so the papers had said, a follower of one of whom Josip had never heard in any other context other than his father’s trial and later execution. But he had not cracked under whatever pressures had been exerted upon him, and of that his son was proud. He had not cracked, and in later years, when the cu[...] Podcasts Mack Reynolds no no The Escape Artists Situation: TL;DR Version http://escapepod.org/2013/10/26/escape-artists-situation-tldr-version/ http://escapepod.org/2013/10/26/escape-artists-situation-tldr-version/#comments Sat, 26 Oct 2013 14:03:04 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4522 http://escapepod.org/2013/10/26/escape-artists-situation-tldr-version/feed/ 0 EA Fundraiser – Weird Fiction Night Montreal http://escapepod.org/2013/10/24/ea-fundraiser-weird-fiction-night-montreal/ http://escapepod.org/2013/10/24/ea-fundraiser-weird-fiction-night-montreal/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 19:11:31 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4516 http://escapepod.org/2013/10/24/ea-fundraiser-weird-fiction-night-montreal/feed/ 0 0:01:19 A little message from our darker brethren… HELLO ALL! Craig Mackie is holding a fund-raiser for ESCAPE ARTISTS in Montreal this Friday, October 25, 2013. There will be live readings of weird fiction by Eric Lis, Marta Barnes, Gregg Chamberlin,[...] A little message from our darker brethren… HELLO ALL! Craig Mackie is holding a fund-raiser for ESCAPE ARTISTS in Montreal this Friday, October 25, 2013. There will be live readings of weird fiction by Eric Lis, Marta Barnes, Gregg Chamberlin, Dean Garlick and Rob Kimsey. By Donation. A fund-raiser for three fantastic sister podcasts: Pseudopod, Podcastle and Escape Pod. https://www.facebook.com/events/255534427929123/?ref_dashboard_filter=calendar Please check it out if you can! Shawn Garrett Editor, Pseudopod Bonus, Podcasts Escape Pod no no EP418: The Dala Horse http://escapepod.org/2013/10/18/ep418-dala-horse/ http://escapepod.org/2013/10/18/ep418-dala-horse/#comments Fri, 18 Oct 2013 04:57:04 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4511 http://escapepod.org/2013/10/18/ep418-dala-horse/feed/ 0 0:41:58 by Michael Swanwick read by Michael Liebmann Links for this episode: Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Michael Swanwick About the Author… Michael [...] by Michael Swanwick read by Michael Liebmann Links for this episode: Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Michael Swanwick About the Author… Michael Swanwick has received the Hugo, Nebula, Theodore Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards for his work. Stations of the Tide was honored with the Nebula Award and was also nominated for the Hugo and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. “The Edge of the World,” was awarded the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award in 1989. It was also nominated for both the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. “Radio Waves” received the World Fantasy Award in 1996. “The Very Pulse of the Machine” received the Hugo Award in 1999, as did “Scherzo with Tyrannosaur” in 2000. His stories have appeared in Omni, Penthouse, Amazing, Asimov’s, High Times, New Dimensions, Starlight, Universe, Full Spectrum, Triquarterly and elsewhere. . His books include In the Drift, an Ace Special; Vacuum Flowers; Griffin’s Egg; Stations of the Tide; The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, a New York Times Notable Book, and Jack Faust; his short fiction has been collected in Gravity’s Angels, A Geography of Unknown Lands, Moon Dogs, Tales of Old Earth, and a collection of short-shorts, Cigar-Box Faust and Other Miniatures. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Marianne Porter, and their son, Sean. About the Narrator… Born in New York, Michael Liebmann is a legal secretary now living in Atlanta, Georgia.  He has been everything from a convention organizer today to a trivia master at science fiction conventions in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  He’s also an amateur voice actor who has worked on over 40 projects, most of which are based on Star Trek, and is now at work on the Babylon 5 fan audio drama Novo Babylonia.   The Dala Horse by Michael Swanwick Something terrible had happened. Linnea did not know what it was. But her father had looked pale and worried, and her mother had told her, very fiercely, “Be brave!” and now she had to leave, and it was all the result of that terrible thing. The three of them lived in a red wooden house with steep black roofs by the edge of the forest. From the window of her attic room, Linnea could see a small lake silver with ice very far away. The design of the house was unchanged from all the way back in the days of the Coffin People, who buried their kind in beautiful polished boxes with metal fittings like nothing anyone made anymore. Uncle Olaf made a living hunting down their coffin-sites and salvaging the metal from them. He wore a necklace of gold rings he had found, tied together with silver wire. “Don’t go near any roads,” her father had said. “Especially the old ones.” He’d given her a map. “This will help you find your grandmother’s house.” “Mor-Mor?” “No, Far-Mor. My mother. In Godastor.” Godastor was a small settlement on the other side of the mountain. Linnea had no idea how to get there. But the map would tell her. Her mother gave her a little knapsack stuffed with food, and a quick hug. She shoved something deep in the pocket of Linnea’s coat and said, “Now go! Before it comes!” “Good-bye, Mor and Far,” Linnea had said formally, and bowed. Then she’d left. So it was that Linnea found herself walking up a long, snowy slope, straight up the side of the mountain. It was tiring work, but she was a dutiful little girl. The weather was harsh, but whenever she started getting cold, she just turned up the temperature of her coat. At the top of the slope she came across a path, barely wide enough for one person, and so she followed it onward. It did not occur to her that this might be one of the roads her father had warned her against. She did not wonder at the fact that it was completely bare of snow. After a while, though, Linnea began to grow tired. So she took off her knapsack and dropped it in the snow alongside the[...] Podcasts Michael Swanwick no no Escape Artists Metacast http://escapepod.org/2013/10/13/escape-artists-metacast/ http://escapepod.org/2013/10/13/escape-artists-metacast/#comments Sun, 13 Oct 2013 21:10:14 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4507 http://escapepod.org/2013/10/13/escape-artists-metacast/feed/ 23 0:44:51 An urgent update on the status of Escape Artists, its three podcasts, our plans for the future and why we desperately need your help getting there.   Escape Artists, Inc. P.O. Box 83 Woodstock, GA 30188 Additional music provided by D-Form [...] An urgent update on the status of Escape Artists, its three podcasts, our plans for the future and why we desperately need your help getting there.   Escape Artists, Inc. P.O. Box 83 Woodstock, GA 30188 Additional music provided by D-Form – http://www.reverbnation.com/dform Sound effects provided by users kasa90 (http://freesound.org/people/kasa90/) and TasmanianPower (http://freesound.org/people/TasmanianPower/) of FreeSound.org Podcasts Escape Pod no no EP417: Southpaw http://escapepod.org/2013/10/11/ep417-southpaw/ http://escapepod.org/2013/10/11/ep417-southpaw/#comments Fri, 11 Oct 2013 05:12:43 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4501 http://escapepod.org/2013/10/11/ep417-southpaw/feed/ 0 0:38:45 by Bruce McAllister read by bdoomed Links for this episode: This story originally appeared in  Asimov’s Science Fiction, August 1993. Subsequently in Roads Not Taken: Tales of Alternate History. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Esca[...] by Bruce McAllister read by bdoomed Links for this episode: This story originally appeared in  Asimov’s Science Fiction, August 1993. Subsequently in Roads Not Taken: Tales of Alternate History. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Bruce McAllister About the Author… His literary and genre fiction has appeared in national magazines, literary quarterlies, college textbooks and ‘year’s best’ anthologies. His second novel, Dream Baby, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship winner, was called a “stunning tour de force” by Publishers Weekly. His fiction has been translated widely and received national awards and notable mentions in the New York Times, other U.S. newspapers, U.S. and foreign magazines and journals, and reference works. His poetry and experimental work have appeared in literary quarterlies and anthologies; he has co-edited magazines and anthologies; and his articles on popular science, writing craft and sports have appeared in publications like Life, International Wildlife, The Writer and newspapers across the country. – See more at: http://www.mcallistercoaching.com/#sthash.iZUdcA2z.dpuf. Narrator and half-committed nudist, bdoomed About the Narrator… Brian Lieberman is a Tralfamadorian disguised as a human, and other times disguised as one of the many horrors over at Pseudopod.  He lives in Florida with his girlfriend and gerbil.  One day he’ll be rich and take over the world … or donate a large sum of money to Escape Artists and other great projects, whichever is easier.   Southpaw by Bruce McAllister Eventually New York Giants’ scout Alex Pompez got the authorization from their front office to offer Castro a contact. After several days of deliberation with friends, family, and some of his professors, Castro turned down the offer. The Giants’ officials were stunned. “No one had ever turned us down from Latin America before,” recalled Pompez. “Castro said no, but in his very polite way. He was really a very nice kid. . . .”—J. David Truby, Sports History, November 1988   Fidel stands on the pitcher’s mound, dazed. For an instant he doesn’t know where he is. It is a pitcher’s mound. It is a baseball diamond, and there is a woman—the woman he loves—out there in the stands with her beautiful blonde hair and her very American name waving to him, because she loves him, too. It is July. He is sure of this. It is ’51 or ’52. He cannot remember which. But the crowd is as big as ever and he can smell the leather of his glove, and he knows he is playing baseball—the way, as a child in the sugarcane fields of Oriente Province, he always dreamed he might.   His fastball is a problem, but he throws one anyway, it breaks wide and the ump calls the ball. He throws a curve this time, a fine one, and it’s a strike—the third. He grins at Westrum, his catcher, his friend. The next batter’s up. Fidel feels an itching on his face and reaches up to scratch it. It feels like the beginning of a beard, but that can’t be. You keep a clean face in baseball. He tried to tell his father that, in Oriente, the last time he went home, but the old man, as always, had just argued. He delivers another curve—with great control—and smiles when the ball drops off the table and Sterling swings like an idiot. He muscles up on the pitch, blows the batter down with a heater, but Williams gets a double off the next slider, Miller clears the bases with a triple, and they bring Wilhelm in to relieve him at last. The final score is 9 to 4, just like the oddsmakers predicted, and that great centerfielder Mays still won’t look at him in the lockers.   Nancy—her name is Nancy—is waiting for him at the back entrance when he’s in his street clothes again, the flowered shirt and the white ducks he likes best, and she looks wonderful. She’s chewing gum, which drives him craz[...] Podcasts Bruce McAllister yes no EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit http://escapepod.org/2013/10/06/ep416-big-fisted-circuit/ http://escapepod.org/2013/10/06/ep416-big-fisted-circuit/#comments Sun, 06 Oct 2013 05:26:17 +0000 http://escapepod.org/?p=4482 http://escapepod.org/2013/10/06/ep416-big-fisted-circuit/feed/ 0 0:26:25 by Cat Rambo read by Shaelyn Grey Links for this episode: This story originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Cat [...] by Cat Rambo read by Shaelyn Grey Links for this episode: This story originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction. Discuss on our forums.  For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page Author Cat Rambo About the Author… Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Tor.com. Her short story, “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” from her story collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction and information about her popular online writing classes, see http://www.kittywumpus.net. Narrator Shaelyn Grey About the Narrator… Shaelyn Grey has been active in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, mainly as a singer and actor.  Recently she has expanded into voice over work and is currently a part of the cast of Aurelia: Edge of Darkness, which is an online interactive web series.  Shaelyn plays the part of Thais ven Derrivalle, a self centered member of the aristocracy who is more concerned about her tea than her city’s loss of power.  Aurelia can be viewed at http://www.theatrics.com/aurelia and Shaelyn can be reached through shaelyngreyvocals.com.   On the Big Fisted Circuit by Cat Rambo Jane counted them again to make sure: twelve. Twelve signatures on the back panel, most jerky with haste, a couple deliberate and firm, one with a little flower above the i, for god’s sake. The pen in her hand ready to add the thirteenth. How blatant were they going to be? This was the biggest suit she’d ever crawled into. It meant money: money dripping through the wires around her, money in the gleaming metal struts, money being made by every step it took, money her family needed, every step a week’s rent and food if they were careful with it. She’d never hit a thirteenth signature before. Most rigs, even the monster ones like this, got destroyed long before a thirteenth fight. It wasn’t just the bad luck, it was dealing with machinery that had been damaged and repaired, damaged and repaired, until you didn’t know what was original body and what was filler. The sound of the crowd filtered into the suit. Most were screaming, “Coke! Coke! Coke!” as though they meant blood instead, shouts thrumming through the five railroad cars’ worth of metal surrounding her. Everyone knew what happened in a rig’s thirteenth fight. Sure, not every time, if a fighter had enough mojo to overcome the bad luck. But who needed to ride odds like that in a fight? Plenty to think about then without having to listen for the black cat’s squawl. Unless you’d already closed your ears to the sound, choosing to listen to cash’s siren song. “Everything okay?” Herk poked his head into the interior, but came no further. Day of a fight, the suit’s wearer didn’t really want anyone else in the control cavity, the suit’s heart, even with the struts retracted so there was enough room for a couple of people to wiggle around. “It’s a thirteenth,” she said. Her mechanic paused. The red and green and blue of the interior lights played over Herkimer Smith’s face, scarred with sparks and the blow that had ended his own career. Jane had figured Herk wanted her to succeed, but it couldn’t feel all that fine, seeing someone brushing past you on the path you’d figured you’d be treading. And that blow had come while wearing a suit in its thirteenth battle, fighting for a breakfast cereal they didn’t make anymore. “You want out?” Herk finally said. “Not an option,” Jane said, her voice as flat as a past-due bill’s red f[...] Podcasts Cat Rambo yes no