Genres:

Escape Pod 812: The First Doom (Part 3 of 3)


The First Doom (Part 3)

by DaVaun Sanders

The Dubious’s bay doors didn’t budge as the hopper drew close. Kyria began to sweat as a console flickered on to show Zele’s scowl and Remiliat’s intense stare.

Kyria preempted them. “Everyone’s dead, except me and Paki,” she said. “Some sort of biological countermeasures. Paki’s still reeling from it, or he’d tell you himself.”

“A biological contaminant? That would mean—” Remiliat’s eyebrows climbed her forehead. “Replay the events exactly!”

“We’re not sick. The hopper sweeped our vitals clean. We’re wasting time. That ship is dangerous!”

“Yes, yes,” Zele said soothingly. “Give us a moment to think this through.”

The channel abruptly muted. Kyria wiped a hand over her scalp in frustration. Her eyes widened at sight of the glittering blue flecks on her palm. Hair follicles. Stained blue from Tar City, like indigo powder from a spent smart round. Am I sick? She licked her lips, glancing back at Zele. No way they had seen that on the monitor.

Paki gazed at her silently, working his mouth open and closed as if rediscovering his tongue. Kyria held a finger to his lips. After a moment he repeated the gesture. He doesn’t want them to know how messed up he is either, she thought bitterly. Hair falling out and a trauma mute…what a pair we make.
(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Escape Pod 811: The First Doom (Part 2 of 3)


The First Doom (Part 2)

by DaVaun Sanders

Kyria awoke with a start. An alarm chimed faintly in the cryo tube. The frosted glass hissed aside. She clambered free, but her legs immediately buckled and the steel plated floor greeted her with a cold kiss. Kyria lay there until the trembling stopped, and sensation returned to her legs. A light blinked behind the skin of her palm—her sleep mod had finally kicked in. She’d never had to use it in a cryo tube before.

You hear me, rookie? It’s just a leg. You can make a new leg out of the medallions I’m going to get for you. Kyria never spoke the dead woman’s name, it only encouraged her to stir. Now pay attention. Exo-armor can process your new equilibrium better than you can if you lose a limb. Don’t fight the balance when—

“Bad enough I replay it when I’m awake, too,” Kyria muttered. She stood, thankful her legs held.

A glance at the open cryo tube’s chronometer surprised her. She’d slept just over two weeks; half of their expected flight time. Shuster’s measured snoring came loud enough to crack his tube open, but Kyria checked on him anyway, brushing her palm on the frosted glass. I’m keeping more of my crew alive than you, Captain. Her argument cheated on numbers, but even a frail truth held some comfort.
(Continue Reading…)

Announcing our new Assistant Editor!


Mur, Ben, and I are super pleased to say that Premee Mohamed is taking on a bigger role at the Pod: Co-Assistant Editor with Ben! Premee embodies the kind of fun science fiction that we love, and we know she’s going to do amazing in this new role.

Premee Mohamed is an Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction author based in Edmonton, Alberta.
She was a Capital City Press Featured Writer for 2019/2020 with the Edmonton Public Library. Her guest editing positions include novellas with Interstellar Flight Press and short fiction with Apparition Lit.

Her debut novel, ‘Beneath the Rising’ was a finalist for the Crawford Award, the Aurora Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Locus Award. Her other published books include novel ‘A Broken Darkness’ and novellas ‘These Lifeless Things,’ ‘And What Can We Offer You Tonight,’ and ‘The Annual Migration of Clouds.’ Her next novel, ‘The Void Ascendant,’ is the final book in the Beneath the Rising trilogy and is due out in March 2022.

Her short fiction has appeared in print and audio venues including Analog, Escape Pod, Augur, Nightmare Magazine, Shoreline of Infinity, and PodCastle. Solicited appearances include The Deadlands, A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods, and Jo Walton’s New Decameron. In 2017 she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her story ‘Willing’ (Third Flatiron Press).

Genres: ,

Escape Pod 810: The First Doom (Part 1 of 3)


The First Doom (Part 1)

by DaVaun Sanders

Kyria Grazheen faced down every hollow-eyed stare in the mess hall as she flexed her hand, ignoring the pain lancing through her knuckles. Over fifty women and men surrounded her, former Cassad crew bound by nothing but a shared desire to lash out over their fresh despair. She knew their pain, but sympathy in the Known served a mercenary worse than swallowing a handful of irradiated rounds.

“That’s the last warning you’re gonna get.” Kyria’s brown gaze settled on the man at her feet. He cupped a hand over his jaw, glowering up at her through a puffy eye. He had the good sense to keep his mouth closed while she spoke, even if it meant swallowing a little blood. “One more fight in this outpost, and I’ll shut the broadcast down myself. You can listen to it in orbit like all the rest.”

The scowls deepened as more of the surveying crew set to rush her. Behind them, Shuster’s hand slipped under the bar. Kyria gave a slight shake of her head. He kissed his teeth in exasperation, refusing to budge. Perfect. The man’s grip rested on worse than the mess hall’s poisonous ale.

Kyria winced, flexing her fist again as another Cassad elbowed past his crewmates. Veins bulged along his musclebound neck. “You Arcadian vermin act like you’re the—”

Kyria pried the tooth out of her knuckle with a grunt. “Finally.” A few drops of bright blood oozed out, spattering on the mess hall’s grated metal floor. She peered down at the stocky man, an Element G dispersal engineer by the smell of him. “You were saying?”

(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Escape Pod 809: Heard, Half-Heard, in the Stillness


Heard, Half-Heard, in the Stillness

By Iona Datt Sharma

Ekta’s Dadi could tell the future. She didn’t read the tea leaves, or make or lay bets on the cricket. But she booked the photographer the week before the news came of Purnima Didi’s engagement. She told the panditji to get his blood pressure checked before he told anyone he was short of breath. The day before the Human Spaceflight Programme was suspended, she called Ekta in Sriharikota and said she should come home.

Ekta had been living in the dormitory attached to the ISRO flight training school. It took her twenty minutes to pack her things into two suitcases. On her way out, one of the boys stopped her and said, “Ma’am, your mail.”

He handed her a heavy package, which Ekta put in her bag without opening. It would be a technical document, now mockingly out of date—a systems report for a rocket that would never leave the ground. “Thank you,” she said, both to him and to everything around her. She took a moment to look as though seeing this place for the first time, taking in the clean white lines of the building, the landscaped campus, the soft blue water lapping the fringes of the barrier island—every small detail of a place she had loved. Mangalyaan, the Mars Orbiter, had left for space from here. Ekta would not. (Continue Reading…)

WITCHING HOUR

Show Notes

Special thanks to Margaret Dunlap. In collaboration with:

Creepypod

  • written and Performed by Jon Grilz
  • produced by Steve Blizin

The Magnus Archives

  • written by Anil Godigamuwe
  • performed by Alexander J Newall
  • editing by Elizabeth Moffatt
  • produced by Lowri Ann Davies

Neighbourly

  • written by Matthew OK Smith and Naomi Clarke
  • The Narrator was voiced by Matthew OK Smith
  • Lockie was voiced by Alan Burgon
  • music composed by Alex Schwartz

Nightlight Pod

  • written by Tonia Ransom & W.E.B. DuBois
  • narrated by Hollis Monroe and Tonia Ransom
  • portions of audio supplied by PseudoPod

The Secret of St. Kilda

  • written and edited by Naomi Clarke
  • directed by Michael Ireland
  • with Shogo Miyakita as Georgie Torrance
  • and Dean J. Smith as Robbie Torrance
  • transcript by C. L. Hendry

The Storage Papers

  • Jeremy Enfinger as Jeremy
  • Amanda Lunsford as Resident
  • Nathan Lunsford as News Anchor and Detective Mark Anderson
  • written by Nathan Lunsford
  • edited and mixed by Nathan Lunsford

Unwell: A Midwestern Gothic Mystery

  • written by Jim McDoniel
  • sound design by Hannah Foerschler
  • directed by Jeffrey Nils Gardner
  • Unwell executive producers: Eleanor Hyde and Jeffrey Nils Gardner
  • Featuring David Rheinstrom, Marsha Harman, Jeffrey Nils Gardner, Nathaniel Ewert-Krocker, Kat Evans, Abby Doud, Krista D’Agostino, Ele Matelan, and Pat King

Featuring sounds from Free Sound under Creative Commons licenses. PseudoPod’s theme music “Bloodletting on a Kiss” is by Anders Manga and used with permission.


ACT ONE

SCENE 1: INSIDE A RECORDING STUDIO

(WITCH, brightly) PseudoPod, The Sound of Horror!

The familiar strains of PseudoPod’s opening music, “Bloodletting on a Kiss” begins. A moment of distortion interrupts, followed by a saxophone-driven 90’s talk show cover of the same song. Canned studio audience applause as the song concludes.

WITCH
(saccharine, without irony, like a morning talk-show host)

Hello and welcome back to PseudoPod, I’m your host, Alasdair Stuart. We are so excited to bring you a very special episode, a rooftop extravaganza to celebrate the Witching Hour! (Continue Reading…)

Black Future Month

Genres:

Escape Pod 808: Win Again


Win Again

by Lina Munroe

“I want a do-over!” Zira crumpled her opponent’s collar in her fist and twisted it tight around his neck. Glasses shattered against the hardwood floor, spilling drinks at their feet.

Arkady Fabian just laughed. It was a harsh rasp of a sound, mean as sin, that didn’t quite match the sparkle in his left eye. His right eye was bisected by a long scar that ended somewhere beneath his thick brown beard. When he blinked, slow and mocking, the aperture of his right eye spiraled closed over the red glow shining from somewhere deep in his skull.

Zira scowled at the cards. She knew he’d stuck some up his sleeve, but she thought she was good enough to win anyway. She hadn’t accounted for the extras he’d stashed while she was focused on his sleeve. She couldn’t believe she’d fallen for the classic misdirection cheat like some amateur. Now he got to keep that glorious ship of his that she would’ve pushed out to the far end of the galaxy and back just because she could, and she was forced to pick her way through the mess below deck where she’d docked her hoopty starhopper. The old thing had nearly rattled itself to pieces getting her here and then had the nerve to start leaking fuel again when they docked. It was probably still overheated.

He laughed in her face again, the sound scratchy from years of smoking. “Deal’s a deal, Zira. Pay up.”

(Continue Reading…)

Black Future Month

Genres: ,

Escape Pod 807: T _ ME


T _ ME

By Alex Jennings

The portable classroom was larger than Joan Ellen had expected. Lit from overhead with fluorescent lights and busy with seventh-grade artwork, it smelled of chalk dust, old books, and refrigerated air. It reminded Joan Ellen of home. These days, most everything reminded Joan Ellen of home – or at least how far she was from it. She tried to pay attention, but now Joan felt the yawning chasm of distance, the thousands upon thousands of miles between Tunis and DC.

“I’ll put this as simply as I can,” Mrs. Thornton said. “Patrick is a brilliant boy.”

Liz Thornton was Patrick’s homeroom teacher. She was a heavy-set fortyish woman with close-cropped brown hair and a mouth that bunched up at the corners. Like many of the teachers here at ACST, Mrs. Thornton had come overseas with the Peace Corps, married, and stayed.

“I had a hard time getting through to him in our first few weeks together,” Mrs. Thornton said, “but I think his last essay assignment represents a breakthrough. He – I have it here.”

The teacher opened a manila folder on her desk blotter and handed Joan a short typed manuscript crawling with red pen marks.

Joan Ellen frowned as her eyes slid over the heading at the top of the page:

What Comes After Science? (Continue Reading…)

Black Future Month

Genres: , ,

Escape Pod 806: Bright Lights Flying Beneath the Ocean


Bright Lights Flying Beneath the Ocean

by Anjali Patel

[Draft] (no subject) – 2:23 AM

My dearest Tasha, Moon bug, favorite sister…

How are you? I know it’s been a minute. I’m sure you’ve been busy. Probably doing all sorts of smart, lawyer things I don’t understand — litigating and adjourning. Protecting people. Being good. I believe in you, always have. You are the better sister. Things in Accra are good, by the way. I’m finishing my PhD, finally. I’ve made friends. It would be better, of course, if you were here.

I know you are still alive.

I am haunted by the fact that I am fine and you might not be. You are the last face I see before I fall asleep, the first person I imagine when I lie in a half-dream state where we still share a room, twin beds on opposite sides, separated by a few feet and the sticky, glowing stars we plastered across the ceiling. I think of those girls and I envy them for being able to fight and scratch and pull at each other’s hair and hug and scream as if they would not one day be separated by an ocean.

Wait for me. I am coming.

(Continue Reading…)

Black Future Month

Genres: , ,

Escape Pod 805: Open 27 Hours


Open 27 Hours

By L.P. Kindred

“It had pops of habanero-like spice immediately calmed by the subdued dulce of roast sweet potato. You got lemony shots of citric acid alongside amandine crunches. The dish was studded with cubes of meat I was too young to name then and I’m now too old to recall. Nobavgo casserole is the single most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted in my entire life.”

D’Sheadra laughs a laugh that starts in her pinky toe. Her hands flail around the leather-clad booth before slapping the dark-grained table. “What the fuck is a nagabovgoat?” she wheezes.

(Continue Reading…)