Archive for OK for Kids

Escape Pod 195: 26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss

Show Notes

Narration first appeared at and produced by Starship Sofa. Special thanks to Tony Smith and Diane Severson for their kind permission to resyndicate this award nominee.

26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss

By Kij Johnson

She sets a stepladder next to it. She claps her hands and the 26 monkeys onstage run up the ladder one after the other and jump into the bathtub. The bathtub shakes as each monkey thuds in among the others. The audience can see heads, legs, tails; but eventually every monkey settles and the bathtub is still again. Zeb is always the last monkey up the ladder. As he climbs into the bathtub, he makes a humming boom deep in his chest. It fills the stage.

And then there’s a flash of light, two of the chains fall off, and the bathtub swings down to expose its interior.


Escape Pod 194: Exhalation

Show Notes

2009 Hugo Nominee Winner!

Narration first appeared at and produced by Starship Sofa.
Special thanks to Tony Smith and Ray Sizemore for their kind permission to resyndicate this award nominee.


by Ted Chiang

But in the normal course of life, our need for air is far from our thoughts, and indeed many would say that satisfying that need is the least important part of going to the filling stations. For the filling stations are the primary venue for social conversation, the places from which we draw emotional sustenance as well as physical. We all keep spare sets of full lungs in our homes, but when one is alone, the act of opening one’s chest and replacing one’s lungs can seem little better than a chore. In the company of others, however, it becomes a communal activity, a shared pleasure.

Escape Pod 193: Article of Faith

Article of Faith

By Mike Resnick

“I’m sure,” I said. “Somehow, lunch seems pretty trivial after you’ve been thinking about God all morning.”

“God, sir?”

“The Creator of all things,” I explained.

“My creator is Stanley Kalinovsky, sir,” said Jackson. “I was not aware that he created everything in the world, nor that his preferred name was God.”

I couldn’t repress a smile.

Escape Pod 192: Sumo21


By Daniel Braum

“Oh great Emperor,” the gyoji said, continuing the ritual. “These two honorable warriors can not agree who will step aside, and who will join the sacred battle to return you to us. We would gladly send all our sons, but the Council of Infinite Japans says there may be only twenty-one. So now they must fight to decide.”

“May the best warrior join the fight,” the crowd answered in unison with the gyoji.

The gyoji stepped back. Asashoryu stared into Takanasuro’s expressionless brown eyes. The match would begin upon a tacit agreement between them. He kept Takanasuro’s mid section in his field of vision while focusing on keeping his own face blank. He knew the beginner’s lesson as if it were part of him; faces deceive and betray, but all movement starts at the hips.


Escape Pod 191: This Is How It Feels

This Is How It Feels

By Ian Creasey

Nathan’s eyes stung as he remembered how Jenny used to do just that: the same jump down the stairs, the same windmilling of her arms as she landed…. The grief swept over him like a palpable wave, making him stagger backward.

“Dad?” Christopher kicked his backpack down the hall to the door. “You all right?”

“It’s nothing,” said Nathan. He rubbed the implant-port behind his right ear. It’s nothing. It’s not real.

But it felt real.

Escape Pod 190: Origin Story

Show Notes

Special closing music: “Skullcrusher Mountain” by Jonathan Coulton.

Origin Story

By Tim Pratt

He didn’t call himself The Aerialist at first. The newspapers came up with that later. He called himself Kid Kangaroo of all things, because of the jumping from rooftop to rooftop, even though I made fun of him, called him “Joey,” made jokes about dingoes. Nobody knows his secret identity but me, and I only found out because I snuck into the treehouse one night to smoke a cigarette and found him changing out of his leotard and tights and domino mask. He was only fifteen. I still remember what he said: “Don’t tell anyone — if my identity is discovered, you and mom and dad could be used against me.”

Escape Pod 189: The Botox School of Acting

The Botox School of Acting

By Liz Shannon Miller

Only the best gain acceptance. Harry cannot be bought. Twice a year, he attends the fashion shows, looking for an unknown to transform, but most of the time they come to him — the beautiful, the elegant, the desperate. They plead with him, their eyes containing all the emotion their faces cannot show. The beauties who want to be brilliant, who want to move beyond the limitations of their appearance. Who want to act.

“Boxtresses”, people call his students, and Harry doesn’t bother to correct the gender assumption, because his class for actors is still ostensibly secret. No one wants to believe that action heroes need to avoid aging. It’s their love interests who need to stay fresh.

Escape Pod 186: Chrysalis

Show Notes

Sponsored by CONTAGIOUS, by Scott Sigler.


By Mary Robinette Kowal

People ask me if I ever get involved with the subjects of my documentaries. I have a difficult time imagining that they would ask my male colleagues the same question, but they seem to expect women to be more emotional. In response, I tend to grit my teeth and answer very patiently with another question. How could I do my job if I were part of the story? Only by maintaining a sacred distance could I have any hope of understanding someone’s life. A documentarian records, but does not participate.

Escape Pod 185: Union Dues: All About the Sponsors

Show Notes

Sponsored by CONTAGIOUS, by Scott Sigler.

Union Dues: All About the Sponsors

By Jeffrey R. DeRego

I suck in my chest and tighten the buckles before getting lightheaded. I don’t have to wear the costume anymore, but it seems disrespectful to leave it in the closet for this one last mission. I get the boots on and struggle with the leather straps and silver buckles until my fingers feel like they’re ready to fall off. I surrender and creak back up to standing position. “Ok screw the boot buckles, Jim,” I whisper. “This is it.”

I glance at the open briefcase laid across the corner of my desk but I’ve got everything I need. I pick up the silver frame with the little black and white photo of me, Frida, Alex, Paul, and Steve in our original Liberty League getup. Frida Freedom called me four hours ago. Her voice broke when she said the words, “Alex is dead.” I drop the frame into the case atop a weathered manila folder then close the whole thing up before hobbling out towards the waiting jet.

Escape Pod Flash: Standards

Show Notes

Rated G. Contains proven impossibilities.

Statement from Rachel Swirsky:
Richard K. Lyon died on November 21. When I contacted him last month to ask if he still wanted this piece to run on our podcast, he said that the doctors didn’t give him long, but that he hoped this would give the world “one last laugh.”

Escape Artists dedicates this production to his memory. We wish the best to him, and to his family.


By Richard K. Lyon

After careful examination of your manuscript no 113785, Corbamite, An Insulator Against Gravity, the editors of Review of Physics have concluded that it is not suitable for publication in this journal. This decision is final and further correspondence on this subject will serve no useful purpose.

Since the above may seem somewhat harsh, let me say what I can to mitigate it. The editors do appreciate that you are working under difficult circumstances: when the senior author of a paper is deceased, it is always hard for the junior author to complete the work in an appropriate manner. Also let us assure you that we do believe you. You have told us that with his dying breath Professor Steinhardt handed you his notebook and said, “Have this published in Review of Physics.” Such an action would be completely in character for Steinhardt since he was a true scientist.

As for your claim that Professor Steinhardt made this statement as he was expiring from disintegrator rays wounds suffered during your escape from the City of Disembodied Brains on Altair IV, our believing that is a somewhat different matter but we need to go into that.