EP026: The Ludes


By Lisa M. Bradley.
Read by Stephen Eley.

That might seem funny to those who’ve ever bothered to attend these performances, to say that someone didn’t belong. The audience is always a motley sort–faculty and spouses, local musicians and artists, music students and jocks who have to attend so many of these things to get credit for required courses, waitresses and office workers desperate for some culture, their school-age children (alternately awed and bored to tears), homeless folks who need a warm place to sleep for a couple of hours, mentally and physically handicapped folks hauled out as someone’s idea of a good deed, and, of course, recreational drug users with nothing better to do.

Still, he didn’t belong. He was Gothic. Not like those kids who hang out at Hot Topic and think wearing black nail polish expresses their inner turmoil, their eternal angst. I’d seen Goths there before and he wasn’t Goth, he was Gothic–dark and looming, faintly chivalrous in manner, seemingly possessed of a great, tragic secret. I thought of Bronte’s Heathcliff.

Rated R. Contains drug use, some profanity, and codependent creatures of darkness.

Referenced sites:
The Sci-Fi Podcast Network
Geek Fu Action Grip
I Should Be Writing
The Secrets
Slice of Sci-Fi
Skepticality
Alien Ethos
The Signal
Earthcore
Ancestor
Morevi

EP Flash: Mount Dragon


By Vera Nazarian.
Read by Stephen Eley.

“Go to hell, idiot,” I said, using an astringent tongue he’d understand. “I
am but a monumental slab of granite, and you, mortality, are like one of
the droppings of a fairly large corpulent deity–an ephemeral honor I would
rather pass me by.”

“And yet, you speak to me, mountain,” said the mote of humanity. “Why is
that?”

I considered that for a moment. The creature had a point.

“I don’t know,” I replied honestly.

Rated PG. Contains some profanity. Paradigms may shift without warning.

EP025: The Great Old Pumpkin


By John Aegard.
Read by Stephen Eley. Music by Toby Chappell.

As you are no doubt aware, I am the issue of solid Dutch stock—the prosperous Van Pelt family of St. Paul. Mine was a comfortable and happy childhood, and I spent much of it in the devoted service of the Great Old Pumpkin. For him, I cultivated an annual pumpkin patch. I also evangelized him in the community, relating the tale of how, every year on Hallowmas Eve, the day when the spiritual most strongly encroaches on the substantial, this mightiest of gourds would rise to revel across the world with the most sincere of his adorers. My neighbors were understandably skeptical; after all, not once had this superbeing ever chosen to grace my pumpkin patch or any other place in our town. I vowed that I would coax him into my backyard, and I set out in the manner of a learned man to discover how I might do this.

Rated PG. Contains dark imagery and terrifying fruit.

Referenced sites:
Eyes of Ligeia
Amphigory
K9Cast

EP024: The Death Trap of Dr. Nefario


By Benjamin Rosenbaum.
Read by Chris Miller (of Unquiet Desperation) with Stephen Eley.

“Well, you know, Doc, safe is a relative thing in my profession, but I
have you on the headset, and I’m picking the lock on these handcuffs
as we’re talking. I think I’ll be fine, the piranhas are still 5 or 6
feet below me.”

“All right, but isn’t our conversation going to distract you?” I
asked. “I know you’re upset, but wouldn’t you rather call back at
another time?”

“I’d really like to talk about it, Doc. I always find talking to you
clears my mind and makes me more effective. I may need to go if the
henchmen come back, though.”

Rated PG. Contains childhood trauma and mild gratuitous villainy.

Referenced sites:
Dead White Guys
The Sci Phi Show

EP Flash: Wetting the Bed


By Heather Shaw.
Read by Anna Eley.
Discuss on our forums.
All stories by Heather Shaw
All stories read by Anna Eley

When the floods came, all us kids climbed into bed and pulled the covers up over our heads while our parents rushed about trying to do something to stop it. As the water level rose we could feel the beds lift off the floor, floating through our houses, bumping down our hallways and out our front doors.

We sat up in bed waved to one another as our beds merged onto the canal that now flowed between our houses. We shrieked and giggled as our beds spun and bumped along with the swirling water. Waves lapped at our boxsprings, but our covers were still warm and dry.

Rated G. It’s apocalyptic fantasy — for kids!

Recognition


It’s been a busy week for Escape Pod. I’ve got a few shoutouts accumulated over the past few days, so let’s get to them all:

  1. The new Yahoo! Podcasts directory launched on Monday. What’s more, they’ve chosen to feature Escape Pod as one of their “New & Noteworthy” podcasts for their debut week! This is the first time we’ve had prominent front-page status on any major podcast portal, and we’re just tickled about it. If it suits you, feel free to visit our page there and rate us or leave us a review. And to everyone who just found us via Yahoo!, welcome.
  2. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mur Lafferty for her I Should Be Writing podcast, a resource specifically for beginning writers. We had a good conversation, talking about Escape Pod, the Viable Paradise workshop, and perspectives on writing and persistence. If you’re writing and still working to get published, you really should be listening to Mur’s show. Check it out!
  3. Fan art! FNH sent us this fun little piece from the inside of our logo:
    Escape Pod Fan Art
    That’s far too cool for me not to share it with you.
  4. And of course it’s Thursday, so we have a new podcast. You’ll find that right underneath these words.

EP023: The Dream Factory


By Jenn Reese.
Read by Scott Fletcher (of Podcheck Review).

You need some younger Ast-tlakians for a new fantasy feature the company is doing. It’s Lord of the Rings meets Kindergarten Cop. Vin Diesel to star, Woo to direct. So you need a bunch of realistic fantasy creatures, and Stan Winston figured out long ago that it was easier to hire off-world than build all these bizarre creatures from scratch. It’s a big industry secret, and you need to keep it that way. You have a tendency to brag and name-drop when you’re drunk, so you’re only mostly sure that you haven’t told anyone.

Rated R. Contains sexual situations and a sleazy industry.

Referenced sites:
The Bear’s Grove
Podcheck Review
Thither.biz

EP022: Don Ysidro


By Bruce Holland Rogers.
Read by Evo Terra (of The Dragon Page).

On that last morning, anyone who came to visit me could see that I was dying. I knew it myself. As if I had cotton in my ears, I heard the voice of don Leandro saying to my wife, “Dona Susana, I think it is time to fetch the priest,” and I thought, yes, it’s time.

We don’t have our own priest, or even our own church, so someone has to drive in a pickup truck to get the priest from El Puentecito. But don’t be fooled by what you may hear in Malpasa or in Palpan de Baranda. Here we remain Catholic. Yes, we make pots in the old way. That’s why tourists come here. And it’s true, as is sometimes whispered, that we have restored certain other practices from the past. But not as they were done back then. Those were bloody and terrible times, the times of the Mejica. They say that the sacrificial blood covered the sun pyramids from top to bottom. Thank the Virgin, we don’t do anything like that.

Rated PG. Contains death rituals with possible disturbing imagery, and numerous pot references. (No, not that kind.)

Referenced sites:
Short-Short Stories
Podiobooks

EP021: Platypus Girl


By Jonathon Sullivan.
Read by Stephen Eley.

Rufus didn’t relent. “How come you ain’t got a license, skillet face?”

Shari struggled to keep her own distaste under control. Emotion could screw up the reading, her own pheromones and toxins clogging up the massive olfactory bulb and entorhinal cortex that occupied most of her cranium. She took a deep breath, pulling air through her huge nostrils, trying to calm herself. At least she didn’t have to see the man’s face.

Rated R. Contains violence, profanity, and crimes against chemistry.

Referenced sites:
Mirrormask