- This particular story and narration were originally recorded by Kate Baker for Clarkesworld Magazine, and is used here with their expressed permission. Thanks very much to Baker and Clarkesworld.
- The Escape Pod Flash Contest is over! now check out the judging!
- Editor’s note: Thanks so much to Dave Thompson and Peter Wood for taking on this project of securing all five Hugo stories during the hiatus of Escape Pod. Most of the work was done before I joined, and this wouldn’t have happened without them stepping up.
Next week… We’re back to our regularly scheduled programming with a story from Heather Shaw!
By Kij Johnson
The alien is not humanoid. It is not bipedal. It has cilia. It has no bones, or perhaps it does and she cannot feel them. Its muscles, or what might be muscles, are rings and not strands. Its skin is the color of dusk and covered with a clear thin slime that tastes of snot. It makes no sounds. She thinks it smells like wet leaves in winter, but after a time she cannot remember that smell, or leaves, or winter.
Its Ins and Outs change. There are dark slashes and permanent knobs that sometimes distend, but it is always growing new Outs, hollowing new Ins. It cleaves easily in both senses.
It penetrates her a thousand ways. She penetrates it, as well.
About the Author
Since her first sale in 1987, Kij Johnson has sold dozens of short stories to markets including Amazing Stories, Analog, Asimov’s, Duelist Magazine, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Realms of Fantasy. She won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short story of 1994 for her novelette in Asimov’s, “Fox Magic.” In 2001, she won the International Association for the Fantastic in the Art’s Crawford Award for best new fantasy novelist of the year. Her short story “The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change” was on the final ballot for the 2007 Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Award, and it was a nominee for the Sturgeon and Hugo awards. In 2009, she won the World Fantasy for “26 Monkeys, Also The Abyss,” which was also a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula. She won the 2010 Nebula for “Spar,” the 2011 Nebula for “Ponies” (also a finalist for the Hugo and World Fantasy). In 2012, she won both the Nebula and Hugo for “The Man Who Bridged The Mist.”
About the Narrator
Kate Baker is the Podcast Director and Non-fiction Editor for Clarkesworld Magazine. She has been very privileged to narrate over 400 short stories/poems by some of the biggest names in Science Fiction and Fantasy.
She has been nominated for a Parsec Award, and a World Fantasy Award. Kate won the Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine in 2011 and 2013, the British Fantasy Award for Best Magazine in 2014 and the World Fantasy Award for Special Award: Non Professional in 2014 alongside the wonderfully talented editorial staff of Clarkesworld Magazine.
Kate is also currently lending her voice to The Dark Magazine podcast and has also read for various other audio venues such as Cast of Wonders, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Podcastle, StarShipSofa, Escape Pod, Nightmare Magazine, Mash Stories, and The Drabblecast.
She has completed a few audiobooks too, all of which can be found on her narrations page.
Kate is also a professional SFF genre writer. You can find her short stories at various venues. Check out the writing tab for links.
Kate is currently situated in Northern Connecticut with her first fans; her wonderful children. She is currently working as the Executive Director for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).