EP527: Plural

April 17th, 2016 by Posted in 17 and Up, Podcasts, Uncategorized

by Lia Swope Mitchell
narrated by Amanda Ching

author Lia Swope Mitchell

author Lia Swope Mitchell

about the author…

Lia Ardith Swope Mitchell is a writer of literary fiction. Sometimes speculative, sometimes not. Real world with a twist, let’s say. She has lived in Minneapolis all her life, except for a couple years in Wisconsin and France.

Lia is also a PhD candidate in French literature at the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation is currently titled Scientific Marvelous: Technologized Experience and Speculative Fiction in the Third Republic. Someday, she swears, she will finish it.

narrator Amanda Ching

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 http://amandaching.wordpress.com.

Plural
by Lia Swope Mitchell

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

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

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

The first gift is plants, miniature trees bearing sour marble-sized drupes. Alien plants are rarely hardy enough, although we try. Under our red-eyed sun they wither quickly, and even within the shade and cool of the Complex they give too little in exchange for the water required. Our own plants have adapted to heat and dust. They stand tough and proud in bristling rows, radiating out into the dustplains. Most years they’re enough, as long as our numbers are controlled. But any supplements that arrive, while they last, are welcome.

They brought another gift, too: squares of a glass-like material, several thin layers pressed together around dull silvery skins, about ten centimeters across. Close examination reveals no obvious function, but they’re not particularly decorative, either. The inner material is metallic but not metal, not a mineral at all. Normally we refrain from extended communication with aliens, but given the possibility of new technology, we decide to see what information they can offer.

After some discussion, Reception selects an ambassador. Sub-engineer Tres is the smallest Reception tech, physically unthreatening even to these small aliens. We dress her in a white robe and place metal circlets around her waist, throat and wrists, a tiara on her head. Worthless old-world trinkets, but aliens often interpret them as signs of importance. She looks right. A good-enough representative for us, the collective remainders of the human race.

*

Bring Back the Middle Ground

April 11th, 2016 by Posted in Rambling

If you haven’t heard the hubbub surrounding Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, then you must be living under a rock. The commercials aired for months; the press junkets were full of moments like Sad Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill saying stupid things. And then the film came out on March 25, and the public neatly divided into three groups:

  1. “IT WAS AWESOME I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT!”
  2. “Eh, I’ll see it when it comes out on Netflix.”
  3. “IT WAS HORRIBLE I HATED EVERY SECOND OF IT!”

Yes, I’m exaggerating a little… but not much.

EP: Metacast 0416

April 4th, 2016 by Posted in 10 and Up, Meta, Podcasts

EscapePod

We wanted to give you a quick update of the goings-on at Escape Pod. It’s the first of what we expect to be many positive developments in 2016, so hold onto your socks!

EP526: The Hunter Captain

March 29th, 2016 by Posted in 10 and Up, Podcasts

by David John Baker
narrated by Mat Weller

author David John Baker

author David John Baker

about the author… Aside from my philosophical essays, I also write short science fiction stories.  Some of these have been published in anthologies.

The Hunter Captain
by David John Baker

“The sign for the survivor’s species is ‘human,'” said Kyber, “although I am unsure of the exact pronunciation.”

Hunter Captain Sra examined the data feed, zooming in on an image of the human’s brain. “Have you discovered anything in her nervous system that might function as a seat of consciousness?” said Sra.

“There is one promising organ. An intersection here, between the two hemispheres of the brain. But we’ve found such things before, in highly developed animals. I see no particular reason for optimism.”

Although he knew it was naive, Sra was optimistic. For once his hunter’s skills might not be needed–if the human was in fact a sentient alien being. Although it meant Explorer Captain Kyber would retain command of the ship, the prospect of true first contact spoke to a dream Sra had cultivated since his infancy.

Sra was old enough to recall an earlier age, when no one believed that the Nampranth were alone. A time before their race journeyed outside the home system–before they found a galaxy infested with intelligent animals and bereft of sentient life.

Already this mission seemed different. Sra had never heard of a more auspicious contact. They’d found the alien ship alone, disabled–apparently by a freak collision with a cosmic string. Its single passenger was recovered still unconscious, its computer’s artificial animal dormant but intact. The animal’s architecture had so far resisted interface with Nampranth computers, but Kyber’s explorers had already learned much from the ship’s markings. It was a perfect opportunity for slow, cautious study before beginning the delicate process of contact.

“When do you plan to revive the human?” Sra said.

“Perhaps very soon. We can’t learn much more from noninvasive scans, especially given the number of cybernetic devices operating within her brain.”

EP525: Among the Living

March 18th, 2016 by Posted in 10 and Up, Podcasts

by John Markley
narrated by Carl Allery

narrator Carl Allery

narrator Carl Allery

about the narrator… Carl Allery has sold a couple of stories (Farthing Magazine, Killers ed. Colin Harvey), had a couple read out loud (BBC local radio, Escape Pod) and had a couple placed in short story contests (Jim Baen Memorial, Heinlein Society Centennial). He lives in Somerset, UK with 2 Feline Overlords and needs to write more.

Among the Living
by John Markley

Williams perceives a world of hazy reds and angular grays. He sees through smoke and through walls. He sees the fury of fires and the sparks of life in survivors hundreds of yards away. He sees every crack and buckle in the structure around him.

Most importantly, he can’t see Chicago’s burning skyline as it would look to his own eyes.

The bulky door barring him from the interior of Waldron Arcology shudders as Williams’ gauntlet-mounted saw tears through its hinges, then falls outward. McIlrath, Principe, and Armstrong catch it, lowering it to the ground while Williams’ saw retracts. Team Leader Garcia shouts commands.

The room beyond is an inferno. The five step aside, and a great blast of fire-retardant dust blasts from the Vertical Take-Off/Landing transport on the landing pad.

They advance into what had been the terminal for the 150th floor’s south landing pad. Williams takes the lead, metal ringing under his 500-pound weight with every step. There’s no need for anyone in full Evac Team Armor to wait for the fire to go out; extinguishing it isn’t for their benefit.

Fire-choking sodium chloride and melting thermoplastics spread across every surface, covering everything but sparing Williams nothing. He sees through it as if it were air, sees the skeletal ultrasound reflections of every person who died here.

They died very quickly, Williams reminds himself. One of the floor’s main corridors runs straight through the center of the building to here. The shock wave of superheated atmosphere and debris had been channeled towards this place unimpeded, crushing and incinerating them before they could have registered what was happening.

He hopes. He hopes most of the 150,000 people living here died that way.

Escape Pod Flash Fiction Contest 2016

March 14th, 2016 by Posted in Blog, SF/F News, Site News

Thirteen districts rebelled against the country that fed them, loved them, protected them. Brother turned on brother until nothing remained. And then came the peace, hard fought, sorely won. A people rose up from the ashes and a new era was born. But freedom has a cost. When the traitors were defeated, we swore as a nation we would never know this treason again.

And so it was decreed, that each year, the various districts of Escape Artists would offer up in tribute, 500 word stories to fight to the death in a pageant of honor, courage and sacrifice. The three champions, bathed in riches, would serve as a reminder of our generosity and our forgiveness. This is how we remember our past. This is how we safeguard our future. We are in the finals. Stories are published on a members-only section of the forums, so come join and participate today.

The culling has begun! Stories are being released every couple days in groups of 11 or 12. You may choose up to three from each group to move on to the next round.

UPDATE: First round voting has concluded, but you can still read all of the stories HERE

stay tuned, the second round of voting will follow soon!

Escape Pod Flash Fiction Contest 2016 – Rules

EP524: Scrapmetal

March 7th, 2016 by Posted in 13 and Up, Podcasts

by Nan Craig
narrated by Cat Rambo

 

about the author…

Nan Craig holds an MSc in Global Politics from the LSE and worked for the social enterprise Participle, and as a freelance editor, before becoming Publications Director for the Centre for Global Studies. twitter.com/nancraig

narrator Cat Rambo

narrator Cat Rambo

about the narrator…

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.

SCRAPMETAL
by Nan Craig
This bloke was as ordinary as you’d get. His own patches seemed good – seamless, no tics or sags, which gave me a bit of confidence. I wondered if he’d even done some of them himself. His surgery – because it turned out he was properly licensed for teeth and eyes – was as neat and rundown as he was. Burn marks in the carpet. The walls and chairs were grimy with fingerprints. The only clean thing in there was his kit, and for that at least I breathed relief. It was a residential house in Grangetown, with an ordinary looking dentist’s chair in the back room, letters of qualification framed on the walls. But he lead me through that room, and up the stairs.

***

I lay on my back on the grass and howled. No one was going to hear me up here, anyway, so I let go. I was no singer, mind, and the whiskey in me didn’t help. I started off singing something, something old, and then let it degenerate into yodels that swooped off into the overcast skies like gulls. I half hoped I could shoot something down with my wild yells.

I just wanted to forget. Forget what? Oh, everything. The last six weeks, the last six years, the whole of the sky and all under it. It was harder to get drunk than I’d thought, even on this 47% stuff. The wet grass soaked my t-shirt through to my muscles. They didn’t even ache, the bloody useless powerful things. There was no chance. No chance for nothing.

I’d thought no one could hear me shout, but then I heard an answering whoop. It could have been a bird, I guess, but I knew the voice already – it was Ioan. As soon as I’d registered that the wind stole all sound of him away from me for a few minutes and then I heard his breath again as he reached me, puffing a bit against the incline of the hill, hurrying. He stood over me, casting a weak shadow, and toed me gently with one boot.

“What’re you up to, now, eh? You look bare plastered. How have you even managed it? I thought you didn’t get drunk, Sergeant Major?”

I propped myself up on my elbows and took another swig.

“I’m not drunk,” I said. “I’m just trying to be. I’m an extravagant failure. At this. And everything else, so they tell me.” I gestured with the bottle down at the town below us. Port Talbot, sprawling and gasping.

He kicked me in the ribs then, not so gently, though we both knew I wouldn’t bruise.

“Anyway, it’s Captain,” I said. “And I’ll do a little private court martial if you’re not careful. Up here no one can here you scream.”

“Ooh, Sarge,” he said. “D’you promise?”

He was kidding. Helen wouldn’t even have cared. She had no reason to be jealous of me, sadly.

Full List of Artemis Rising 2 Episodes

March 1st, 2016 by Posted in Blog, SF/F News, Site News
Artemis Rising 2

Artemis Rising 2

Would you like to be able to access all of the Artemis Rising 2 episodes in one place? Of course you would! Well this is it. We’ll add them as they are released from now until the deal is done, and then you’ll know where to return to find them all when you want to share them with friends.


 

Podcastle

The Color of Regret
by Carrie Patel  |  read by Setsu Uzume  |  Hosted by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
Release date:
1 February 2016
Web page:
http://podcastle.org/2016/02/01/podcastle-401-artemis-rising-the-color-of-regret/
Download Link:
http://media.rawvoice.com/podcastle/media.libsyn.com/media/podcastle/PC401_TheColorOfRegret.mp3

Opals and Clay
by Nino Cipri |  read by The Word Whore |  Hosted by Aliette de Bodard
Release date:
 8 February 2016
Web page:
http://podcastle.org/2016/02/08/podcastle-402-artemis-rising-opals-and-clay/
Download Link:
http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/6/9/4/694a9bec7d9c87a8/PC402_OpalsAndClay.mp3?c_id=10828005

Send in the Ninjas
by Michelle Ann King |  read by Christiana Ellis |  hosted by Christie Yant
Release date: 16 February 2016
Web page:
http://podcastle.org/2016/02/16/podcastle-403-artemis-rising-send-in-the-ninjas/
Download Link:
http://media.rawvoice.com/podcastle/media.libsyn.com/media/podcastle/PC403_Ninjas.mp3

Territory
by Julie Steinbacher | read by Maura McHugh and Kim Rogers | hosted by Amal El-Mohtar
Release date: 22 February 2016
Web page:
http://podcastle.org/2016/02/22/podcastle-404-artemis-rising-territory/
Download Link:
http://media.rawvoice.com/podcastle/media.libsyn.com/media/podcastle/PC404_Territory.mp3

Beat Softly, My Wings Of Steel
by Beth Cato | read by Elizabeth Green | hosted by M.K. Hobson
Release date: 29 February 2016
Web page:
http://podcastle.org/2016/02/29/podcastle-405-artemis-rising-beat-softly-my-wings-of-steel/
Download Link:
http://media.rawvoice.com/podcastle/media.libsyn.com/media/podcastle/PC405_BeatSoftly.mp3

Escape Pod

In Their Image
by Abra Staffin-Wiebe  |  narrated by Diane Severson  |  with guest host Mur Lafferty
Release date:
 4 February 2016
Web page:
http://escapepod.org/2016/02/04/ep519-in-their-image/
Download Link:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/escapepod/EP519_InTheirImage.mp3

Singing to the Stars
by Alanna McFall  |  narrated by Amanda Fitzwater  |  with guest host Amy Sturgis
Release date:
 12 February 2016
Web page:
http://escapepod.org/2016/02/12/ep520-artemis-rising-singing-to-the-stars/
Download Link:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/escapepod/EP520_ArtemisRising-SingingtotheStars.mp3

Myspace: A Ghost Story
by Dominica Phetteplace | narrated by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali | with guest host Angela Lee
Release date: 19 February 2016
Web page:
http://escapepod.org/2016/02/19/ep521-myspace-a-ghost-story/
Download Link:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/escapepod/EP521_Myspace_AGhostStory.mp3

Bioluminescent Memory
by Victorya Chase | narrated by Serah Eley | with guest host Charity Helton
Release date: 26 February 2016
Web page:
http://escapepod.org/2016/02/22/ep522-bioluminescent-memory/
Download Link:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/escapepod/EP522_BioluminescentMemory.mp3

Windows
by Beth Goder | narrated by Andrea Richardson | with guest host Kate Baker
Release date: 29 February 2016
Web page:
http://escapepod.org/2016/02/29/ep523-windows/
Download Link:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/escapepod/EP523_Windows.mp3

Pseudopod

Black Hearts
by Shannon Peavey |  narrated by Tina Connolly |  with guest host Wendy N. Wagner
Release date:
 5 February 2016
Web page:
http://pseudopod.org/2016/02/05/pseudopod-476-artemis-rising-black-hearts/
Download Link:
http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/a/c/d/acdadebd0a6b2ffc/Pseudo476_BlackHearts.mp3?c_id=10833889

Bug House
by Lisa Tuttle |  narrated by Heather Welliver |  with guest hosts Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West
Release date:
 12 February 2016
Web page:
http://pseudopod.org/2016/02/12/pseudopod-477-artemis-rising-bug-house/
Download Link:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/pseudopod/Pseudo477__BugHouse.mp3

Jay’s Place
by E. Lee McVicar |  narrated by Joe Scalora |  with guest host Julie Hoverson
Release date: 19 February 2016
Web page:
http://pseudopod.org/2016/02/19/pseudopod-478-artemis-rising-jays-place/
Download Link:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/pseudopod/Pseudo478_JaysPlace.mp3

Like Dolls
by J. Lily Corbie |  narrated by Kim Lakin-Smith |  with guest host Marguerite Kenner
Release date: 26 February 2016
Web page:
http://pseudopod.org/2016/02/26/pseudopod-479-artemis-rising-like-dolls/
Download Link:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/pseudopod/Pseudo479_LikeDolls.mp3

EP523: Artemis Rising – Windows

February 29th, 2016 by Posted in 10 and Up, Podcasts

by Beth Goder
narrated by Andrea Richardson
with guest host Kate Baker

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Artemis Rising

a celebration of women and non-binary authors
author Beth Goder

author Beth Goder

about the author…

Beth Goder worked as an archivist at Stanford before becoming a full-time mom to wonderful twin girls. Now she enjoys writing speculative fiction stories about archives, memory, records, and the relationship between the past and present. She has a degree in information science from the University of Michigan and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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

narrator Andrea Richardson

narrator Andrea Richardson

Windows
by Beth Goder

After just three years, most of Gurt’s downtown was nearly unrecognizable. Roldan Street boasted a new tea shop, and the roads had been repaved with greenish eco-tar. Even the old sign at Marta’s Bakery, which had been shaped like a pink cupcake, was replaced with sleek blue lettering.

Score another one for the prophetic soup.

The library sported new windows, stained glass whorls of teal and gold, while Grocery Plus had removed the panoramic window which used to overlook the river. That was the first thing I noticed when I came back, the windows.

I’d spent a lot of time looking out of windows, back when I lived in Gurt. I couldn’t go outside during the dust storms, because of my asthma, so I’d waited inside wherever I happened to be when the storm hit. But dust is all the same, just one blank, swirling vortex, so instead of watching the storms I started looking at the windows. Marta’s Bakery used to have the most beautiful violet windows, circular, like a morning bun with icing on top. Not that I eat morning buns, anymore.

I promised myself when I moved away from Gurt that I’d never come back, not after Sara left me at the altar. On the day of our wedding, I waited for hours at the church window (clean, but with the latch rusted off), fingering the beading on my beautiful white dress, while all of the guests snuck out, except for my family, who had transported in for the ceremony. Dad enveloped me in a hug, while Mom said that she had never liked Sara anyway, reminding me of the time Sara had ruined our trip to Seldar by whining about the swamp smell. It helped, but not very much.

EP522: Artemis Rising – Bioluminescent Memory

February 22nd, 2016 by Posted in 13 and Up, Podcasts

by Victorya Chase
narrated by Serah Eley
with guest host Charity Helton

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Artemis Rising

a celebration of women and non-binary authors

about the author…

I’m a writer.  I’m a teacher.  I have taught doctors how to write poetry.  I have taught fiction classes to university students.  I have taught adults how to write about themselves.

I love creative writing research and have published in that realm.  I’ve also presented at conferences across the country, both academic and in the speculative realm.

Life is forever intriguing.  Come explore it with me.

narrator Serah Eley

narrator Serah Eley

about the narrator…

Serah Eley is a software developer and former podcaster who once produced a weekly science fiction podcast called Escape Pod; you can find it at escapepod.org. It’s since gone on to become somewhat successful. She strangely mispronounced her name as Steve Eley at the time; she’s since realized that life is much more fun as a woman, and came out as transgender last year. Serah lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her two wives, Alison and Cat. So if there were ever any betting pools on what happened to Steve: changed sex, joined a committed lesbian love triangle is the dark horse winner. She is, obviously, still Having Fun.

Bioluminescent Memory
By Victorya Chase

“Riley’s a Godsend, isn’t she?” Lily asked.

We were standing in the doorway of our daughter, Absidee’s, bedroom watching her sleep.  She started to stir, face contorting in the fear of a nightmare surfacing, when Riley put a glowing paw up and patted her on the cheek.  Her face immediately softened.

I sighed.  How was it that Riley could do what I couldn’t?

Four years ago I gave birth to our daughter, a blessing and symbol of our blessing.  Absidee was a fairy tale in each and every laugh and gurgle.  But, a child who had nightmares so terrible she’d wake us up with her screaming even when she was too young to talk.  We kept her in our bed, and still she couldn’t sleep.  Absidee shouldn’t have been aware of anything terrible, not in the overprotective home of two first-time mothers.

When Absidee turned three her pediatrician warned us about the long term effects of helicopter parenting, especially with both of us hovering like news copters at a crash.  Since birth she had slept with us, the crib at the end of our bed empty most nights, her screams waking me and her little body lashing out in night terrors.  We conceded to her own room.  This only meant that her yells echoed down the halls.  At four she was lingual and no longer spoke in just the gurgling speech of babies.  I heard her murmur the name from her dreams and realized my trauma was transferred through the womb; the umbilical cord a pump of memories into her tiny growing body.

I had never even told Lily the name of my abuser no matter how many times we spoke in hushed tones about the experiences I somehow survived.  And suddenly it was on the lips of Absidee.