XO Reporting for Duty

Greetings, fellow Pod people!

I’m Valerie Valdes, the new co-editor here at Escape Pod. I’m extremely excited to be taking over the co-pilot seat from S.B. Divya, and I hope to ensure a continued smooth flight for all our passengers and crew.

But who am I? A riddle wrapped in an enigma? A miserable pile of secrets?

I’m a writer! My space (cat) opera trilogy starts with Chilling Effect, which was shortlisted for the 2021 Arthur C. Clarke Award. I also commit poetry and short fiction and the occasional essay, some already published, some forthcoming. I mostly write stuff that is fun, funny and at least a little satirical. Every time someone compares me to Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, I hum the victory music from Final Fantasy.

Beyond writing, I volunteer as a municipal liaison for National Novel Writing Month, which means I try to help other writers get words on page or screen. I also play video games on Twitch a few nights a week, which I call “Mandatory Fun” because otherwise I would simply not stop working. I’m Cuban-American and I spent most of my life in Miami, which seeps into my work in myriad ways, especially the cussing. Right now, I live in Georgia with my husband, kids and cats, all of us currently suffering from seasonal allergies.

Perhaps the most important thing to know about me is that I possess a firm and unwavering love of spreadsheets, which I am told will serve me well in this endeavor.

What can you expect from my tenure here? This magazine is called Escape Pod, not Sad Reality Pod, so my preferences will lean toward escapist fiction. Send me your fun, quirky, hopeful and heartfelt stories. Make me laugh, even if I’m also crying. Restore a little of my lost faith in humanity, even if you’re showing me the violence inherent in the system.

With that, it’s time to buckle up and take off. I hope we all enjoy the ride!