Escape Pod 738: Flash From the Vault


Flash From the Vault

Hi there and welcome to Escape Pod Summer School, where we post some of our favorite episodes from the vault with a new perspective. I’m your co-editor and teacher for this class, Mur Lafferty, bringing you three flash episodes from long, long ago. We bring you “Taco” by Greg van Eekhout, “Get me to the Job on Time” by Ian Randal Strock, and “Hibernation” by Madge E. Miller.

Greg van Eekhout is a novelist of science fiction and fantasy for audiences ranging from adult to middle grade. His work has been selected as finalists for the Sunshine State Award, the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Nebula Award. His novels include Kid vs. Squid, The Boy at the End of the World, Norse Code and the California Bones trilogy. He’s also published about two-dozen short stories, several of which have appeared in year’s best anthologies. Forthcoming works include the middle-grade novel Starward Bound, about dogs on a deep-space mission. He lives with his wife and dogs in San Diego, California, where he enjoys beach walks and tacos. Find more about him at writingandsnacks.com

The narrator is John Meagher. (@votishal)

Program the settings in the wayback machine to 2009. It’s storytime.


When I was an emo teen, I read an interview with Robert Smith of the Cure. He said he didn’t believe in God, but he envied those who did, because it must be nice to go to sleep thinking someone was watching over you. (I’m paraphrasing, it’s been [mumble] years since I read the thing.) I feel that way about holy food faces and crystals and superstition. Although such beliefs can bring people to do dangerously stupid or harmful things, or disgusting if you have baseball players not changing socks because it brings them luck, it still must be amazing to be doing something as simple as eating a snack and then see the face of God. My snacking has never been that sublime.

It’s hard to throw a rock at the archives of Escape Pod and not hit a Greg van Eekhout flash story. While you can’t really throw a rock at a database, unless you attack the server, the metaphor still holds. Greg is a prolific writer, and in addition to several flash pieces over the years, he’s also brought us full length stories. If you have an hour or two, I highly recommend going to escapepod.org and checking out the list of van Eekhout stories we have there. Or heck, just pick up some of his books.

Our next story is Get Me to the Job on Time by Ian Randal Strock. Ian is a writer, editor, and publisher, and has been in his life a teacher of Hebrew and English, a tour guide of Niagara Falls, and a marketer for a Wall Street wealth management firm. He blogs at ianrandalstrock.com

It’s narrated by Elie Hirschman. Elie is a voice actor, announcer, narrator, podcaster, and presenter. Find out more about him at eliehirschman.com

This originally ran in Analog Science Fiction and Fact.

Settings stay on 2009 for the next one, but it’s still storytime.


What can I say, I’m a sucker for extraordinary solutions to ordinary problems. I always wondered why anyone teleporting superhero would walk. Ever. The Good Place addressed this with the all powerful AI Janet going to an area where she didn’t have powers and she had to walk. She said, “I’ve never had to walk before, this is fun!” and then “Now I’m bored, walking is DUMB.” In further watching the show, I realized Janet had always teleported everywhere. So yeah, if I had a time machine, I’d be too scared to go back and kill Hitler or any other fascist dictator who has destroyed countless lives. And going back in time to warn yourself not to do that stupid thing you regret could also have disastrous consequences, because often it’s our mistakes that help us grow. So yeah, I am on board with using time travel to get places on time. And I’m not saying that because I’m chronically late. Not at all.

Our next story is Hibernation by Madge E. Miller. Madge is a writer, crafter, traveler, and PR person.

It’s narrated by Serah Eley, the founder and original editor of Escape Pod. She mispronounced her name as Steve Eley at the time and came out as transgender in 2015. Serah lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her two spouses (she prefers “spice”), Sadi and Cat.

So if there were ever any betting pools on what happened to Steve: the dark-horse winner is “changed sex and joined a committed lesbian love triangle.” She is, obviously, still Having Fun.

We’re going a bit further back to 2006, and we’re at a very early storytime.


At the end of Watership Down, the mother rabbits tell their babies stories of trickster El-A hrair-ra tricking humans, the god Frith, and the evil general. The babies are bored of the old stories, not knowing that they were things their grandparents went through, and don’t appreciate the sacrifices. I can imagine those rabbits watching the movie and seeing the amazing things the rabbits did, discovering how boats worked, and befriending a seagull, and thinking how quaint it was that once upon a time, rabbits didn’t understand that wood floats.

We all look back on those that came before with wonder and a little bit of superiority, forgetting what it was like to experience all that as new. On the other hand, when all you have is the past and the future moves on without you, then you use that past to get by, as the bears did. Although I do love the wrestling bears more than the hibernating ones.

Our quote comes from Socrates, when he said, “I drank what?”

We’ll see you next week! Have fun, and wash your hands.

About the Authors

Madge E. Miller

Madge E. Miller is a writer, crafter, traveler, and PR person.

Find more by Madge E. Miller

Elsewhere

Greg van Eekhout

Greg van Eekhout is a novelist of science fiction and fantasy for audiences ranging from adult to middle grade. His work has been selected as finalists for the Sunshine State Award, the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Nebula Award. His novels include Kid vs. Squid, The Boy at the End of the World, Norse Code and the California Bones trilogy. He’s also published about two-dozen short stories, several of which have appeared in year’s best anthologies. Forthcoming works include the middle-grade novel Starward Bound, about dogs on a deep-space mission. He lives with his wife and dogs in San Diego, California, where he enjoys beach walks and tacos.

Find more by Greg van Eekhout

Elsewhere

About the Narrators

Elie Hirschman

Elie Hirschman is a self-described “former aspiring voice actor” who has worked with Darker Projects and Dream Realm Productions and is also involved in Cool Fool Productions, turning bad audio scripts into intentionally bad comedy gold. He’s currently still active in all EA podcasts (including Cast of Wonders) and also appearing semi-regularly in the Nosleep Podcast. He doodles constantly but doesn’t draw enough and moved from the Western Hemisphere to the Eastern Hemisphere against his will and better judgment (but has never been in the Southern Hemisphere).

Elie was born in New York City and raised just outside of it.  He started down the voiceover path in 2004, with formal voiceover and marketing training by Creative Voice Development Group. His professional voice work ranges from children’s educational material to real estate advice website audio, with a scientific article and a guided tour of a Polish salt mine thrown in for good measure. In his free time, Elie enjoys cartooning, listening to old-time radio drama, and referring to himself in the third person. By this time next year, he will also have mastered speaking in future perfect tense.

Find more by Elie Hirschman

Elsewhere

Serah Eley

Serah Eley

Serah Eley is the original producer, editor and host of Escape Pod. She mispronounced her name as Steve Eley at the time, but has since realized that life is much more fun as a woman, and came out as transgender in 2015. Serah lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her two spouses (she prefers “spice”), Sadi and Cat.

So if there were ever any betting pools on what happened to Steve: the dark-horse winner is “changed sex and joined a committed lesbian love triangle.” She is, obviously, still Having Fun.

Find more by Serah Eley

Serah Eley
Elsewhere

John Meagher

John is the writer/narrator of Tales of the Left Hand, an ongoing fantasy series offering “swashbuckling, intrigue, and a dash of magic.” Links to audio, print and ebook formats of his books are available at www.talesofthelefthand.com. In his secret identity, he’s a graphic designer living in Northern Virginia with his wife, daughter and two cats.

Find more by John Meagher

Elsewhere