Archive for Announcements

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!

-Valerie

Flash Fiction Contest 2022


Beware the Ides of April: Escape Pod’s Flash Fiction contest returns on April 15, 2022!

Submissions will be open from April 15-30, 2022, via a dedicated portal on Moksha.

To be a valid submission to the contest, each story must adhere to the following rules:

  1. The story must be no more than 500 words long, not including its title. Do not use the title to skirt around the word count. Word count will be determined using Microsoft Word.
  2. Each author may submit only ONE story.
  3. The story must adhere to the general Escape Pod submission guidelines. Most importantly, it needs to be a science fiction story; other genres, including horror and fantasy, are discouraged. As a general rule, we will take a very liberal view of what constitutes science fiction, but authors should note that experience shows that stories that attempt to skirt the genre restriction tend to fare badly in the voting.
  4. The story must be original and previously unpublished. If your story was published on your public blog or your Patreon or in your newsletter, it is considered previously published and is ineligible. If it has been posted only to a private critique group, it has not been previously published and is eligible. If you have a question, send a query to phoebe@escapeartists.net with the subject line “QUERY” and ask before submitting. Please do not submit stories that have been entries in any previous Escape Artists contest. Note that contest stories will be posted on a members-only portion of the forum, so first publication rights will not be spent by entering.
  5. The person submitting the story must be the story’s author (or acting for the author with express permission) and hold full publishing rights to the story.
  6. The story must be submitted in its final form, as the author intends it to be read by the voting public. We will not allow authors to submit changes to stories.
  7. The title, byline, and text should be included in the submission. Any byline will be stripped when the stories are posted in the contest, and will be revealed when the story does not advance, or at the close of the contest. Feel free to use a pseudonym for the byline, but we will need a legal name if you win for the contract.
  8. Authors under 18 are welcome. By submitting, any author under 18 asserts they have obtained the permission of a parent or guardian with whom Escape Artists, Inc. can enter into a contract on behalf of the author.

The three stories with the highest votes will be published on Escape Pod. Authors will be paid $40 USD, making this a pro sale of at least eight cents a word.

Please share widely and loudly!

A Shift Change On the Bridge


It’s been my great privilege and pleasure to work on Escape Pod for the last 7 years, but it is time for me to say goodbye. Unfortunately, due to my health problems, I no longer have the energy to juggle 3 jobs plus family responsibilities, so April 8, 2022, will be my last day as co-editor.

When I joined the crew of the pod in 2015, I had two flash fiction credits to my name. I knew very little about the publishing world, and even less about podcasting. I started out as an associate editor, reading from the “slush pile,” which helped me hone my own writing. When I became assistant editor, my understanding of magazine publishing grew exponentially, and when I became co-editor, I realized I had taken a very privileged position.

Since then, Escape Pod has been thrice (!) nominated for the Hugo Award, and Mur and I have been finalists for Best Editor, Short Fiction. We put together an amazing print anthology for our 15th anniversary. We’ve run special events like Artemis Rising and Black Future Month, as well as episodes to highlight International Non-binary People’s Day and holidays like Diwali, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. 

Being an editor carries a lot of responsibilities, and I take those very seriously, especially as one of the few BIPOC and genderfluid people to hold that position for a major SFFH magazine. Editorial staff are the gatekeepers who decide which stories get published. Movements like #weneeddiversebooks are important, but we also need diversity among editors and publishers, both at the top of the decision-making trees and throughout the supporting staff.

That’s why I’m very pleased to say that Valerie Valdes will be taking my place in the co-pilot’s chair at Escape Pod. Valerie is an amazing writer who embodies the spirit of fun science fiction that we’re known for. (She also shares my love for spreadsheets and to-do lists.) You’ll be hearing directly from Valerie starting in April, and I’m sure you’ll agree that she’s awesome.

Escape Artists is very much my 2nd family. Alasdair and Marguerite are amazing people, as are Rachael K. Jones and Norm Sherman, who were instrumental in starting me on this path. I couldn’t have come this far without the support of our awesome staff – Ben, Premee, Adam, Summer, Tina, and our associate editors – the unsung heroes of short fiction publishing; as well as the editors of our sibs, PodCastle, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders. I’ve grown with them, learned so much from them, and will miss them all dearly. 

As for Mur, words will never be enough. Getting to know and work with her has been an honor, and getting to call her my friend an even bigger one.

This is definitely a bittersweet moment for me. Saying goodbye is never easy, but I’m glad I’m leaving my responsibilities in good hands. I have no doubt that Mur and Valerie will make a fabulous team, and I’m eager to see where they take the pod. Thank you for supporting Escape Pod, for reading and listening, and enjoy your adventures through time and space.

-Divya

2021 Year in Review and 2022 Awards Eligibility


While it seems odd since we just got done with the 2021 Hugo Awards (congrats to FIYAH, winner of the Best Semiprozine Hugo!), it is indeed already time for the 2022 Award Season. Both Nebula and Hugo Award nominations are open!

In 2021, Escape Pod published 17 original science fiction stories and 28 reprint stories.

If you are nominating and/or voting for these awards, please consider our original publications for the Short Story category of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, among others. The full list is below!

Escape Pod itself is eligible for the Best Semiprozine Hugo Award. 2021 staff include Co-Editors Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya, Guest Editor Brent Lambert, Assistant Editors Benjamin C. Kinney and Premee Mohamed, Audio Producers Adam Pracht and Summer Brooks, and hosts Tina Connolly and Alasdair Stuart.

Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya are also eligible for the Best Editor (Short Form) Hugo Award. (Please nominate them together.)

A list of current Escape Pod staff is available here. We are very proud of our crew and the work we’ve done, especially during this trying year, and we thank you for joining us in this orbit around the sun.

VIDEO of Schitt’s Creek: Alexis says “What is your favorite season?”
Moria says “Awards.”

(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).

Black Future Month


 

Escape Pod is proud to present the Black Future Month special event for October, 2021!

We have four stories this year, guest-edited by Brent C. Lambert.

Open 27 Hours” by L.P. Kindred, narrated by Eden Royce
Bright Lights Flying Beneath the Ocean” by Anjali Patel, narrated by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
T _ ME” by Alex Jennings, narrated by Bria Strothers and Eric Luke
Win Again” by Lina Munroe, narrated by Joniece Abbot Pratt

 

Brent Lambert is a Black, queer man who heavily believes in the transformative power of speculative fiction across media formats. He resides in San Diego but spent a lot of time moving around as a military brat. His family roots are in the Cajun country of Louisiana. He can be found on Twitter @brentclambert talking about the weird and the fantastic. Ask him his favorite members of the X-Men and you’ll get different answers every time.

 

This year’s artwork is an original piece by Barry Brown Jr.

Barry is a Renaissance man, Illustrator, character designer, and props maker. His love for oil painting is only matched by his ability to be a chameleon and learn new styles and techniques to push himself and grow. You can find out more at barrybjr.carbonmade.com, and follow him on Instagram.

 

This year’s cover design is by Matt Dovey.

The name Black Future Month is inspired by N.K. Jemisin’s essay, “How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?

Joy: A Themed Submissions Window


This September and October, Escape Pod is opening our general submissions for a themed call: we would like to see joyful stories that celebrate positive futures (or positive alternate pasts). We would especially love to see stories that embrace joy for demographics where we often see pain centered (including but not limited to: people of marginalized genders or sexual preferences; people from historically oppressed or colonized cultures; people with disabilities). Happy endings are not mandatory, but some part of the story should evoke a smile.

Starting in November, we’ll be back to our standard submissions guidelines.


FAQs

Will there be separate portal for this call?
No, we will use our general submissions portal, but only themed submissions will be accepted.

What if I mistakenly submitted a non-theme related story?
You’re welcome to withdraw it and submit a themed story or resubmit it at a later time.

If my story is rejected, can I submit it again after the themed window ends?
No.

Does this theme apply to the novelette reprint submissions?
No.

Are there any changes to word count or pay?
No, all other standard guidelines apply.

2021 Award Voters Packet


Here’s where you can find our offering for 2021 award consideration in one convenient download, or check it out episode by episode. The zip file includes all three ebook formats, the PDF in A4, and MP3s (335 MB).

 PDF Link    EPub Link 

  • Ignyte Awards: Voting is open to the public and closes May 21st.
  • Hugo Awards: Members of DisCon III are eligible to vote on the 2021 Hugo Awards. You can check your membership status, or become a voting member, at the 2021 DisCon III registration page. Voting closes November 19th.

Voter Packet Episodes

Special thanks to Matt Dovey and Jen Albert for their invaluable assistance preparing the voter packet!

Escape Pod is an IGNYTE AWARD Finalist!


We were still reeling from the news of being finalists for the Best Semiprozine Hugo (alongside our sibling podcast Podcastle!) and the Best Short Form Editor(s) Hugo when we got more good news last week: Escape Pod is a finalist for the Ignyte Award for Best Fiction Podcast!
The Ignyte Awards are awarded at FiyahCon and “seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre.”
Working to be a more inclusive magazine at all levels is something we’ve been actively working on for the past several years, and we’re so very honored that our work has been noticed.
The work towards the goal of supporting underrepresented voices in genre work doesn’t end with this nomination, but it is an amazing milestone to mark our journey! Thanks to all who nominated us, and congrats to all of the Ignyte Award Finalists!

Announcing Black Future Month


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Escape Pod is pleased to announce a new special project for 2021: Black Future Month, a month-long celebration of Black voices in science fiction.

We are excited to have Brent Lambert of FIYAH Magazine as our guest editor. For this special event, we are only accepting submission from authors of the African diaspora and the African continent. This is an intersectional definition of Blackness, and we strongly encourage submissions from women, members of the LGBTQIA community, and members from other underrepresented communities within the African diaspora.

Episodes will air in the month of October and feature two original works of short fiction as well as two reprints.

Submissions will be open from March 1 – April 30. Stories must be between 1,500 – 5,000 words, and manuscripts do not need to be anonymized.

Pay rate, content, and format will follow Escape Pod’s regular guidelines.

The term Black Future Month is inspired by N.K. Jemisin’s essay titled, “How Long ’til Black Future Month,” (as well as a recent short story collection with the same title), and timing is aligned with Black Speculative Fiction Month (October).

Submit your stories via our Moksha Portal for this project!

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