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Escape Pod 72: Joe Steele

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains profanity and strong political themes. Not happy politics, like we have today. 1930s politics.

(Inspired by the song “God & the FBI” by Janis Ian, published by Windham Hill. Song included with Janis Ian’s permission.)

Referenced sites:
Wikipedia: Alternate history
AlternateHistory.com
“If Lee Had Not Won the Civil War,” by Winston Churchill
Today in Alternate History (by Robbie Taylor)
Bring the Jubilee, by Ward Moore
Turtledove Wiki

(Update 9/24: Many of you will probably get a duplicate download. This time it’s deliberate. I had requested permission to play Janis Ian’s song, “God and the FBI,” but she was touring Europe and didn’t get my e-mail in time. She just responded and graciously gave me permission, so I’m revising the file and including it at the end. If you don’t want to hear the whole story again, just skip forward 41 minutes. Thank you, Janis!)


Joe Steele

by Harry Turtledove

Two men left. Franklin D. Roosevelt. D for Delano, mind. Governor of New York. Cousin to Teddy Roosevelt. Already ran for Vice President once. Didn’t win. Cigarette holder. Jaunty angle. Wheelchair. Paralysis. Anguish. Courage. As near an aristocrat as America grows. Franklin D. Roosevelt. D for Delano.

And Joe Steele.

Joe Steele. Congressman from California. Not San Francisco. Not Nob Hill. Good Lord, no. Fresno. Farm country. That great valley, squeezed by mountains east and west. Not a big fellow, Joe Steele. Stands real straight, so you don’t notice too much. Mustache, a good-sized one. Thick head of hair just starting to go gray. Eyelids like shutters. When they go down and then come up again, you can’t see what was behind them.

Escape Pod 71: The Capo of Darkness

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains religious satire, gangster satire, and profanity. Not for those who take their hellfire too seriously.

Referenced sites:
Destructomundo


The Capo of Darkness

by Laura Resnick

Eve looked startled. “You used to be in Heaven? And now you’re working for the Lord of Flies?”

“He don’t go by that title no more. He didn’t like the novel, thought it showed him in a bad light. And don’t call him ‘Beelzebub,’ neither,” I advised, figuring it wouldn’t hurt to give these underdressed kids a little help. “He’s gotten real sensitive about it. He thinks it makes him sound like a character in an English comedy.”

Escape Pod 70: Squonk the Dragon

Show Notes

Rated G. This is a children’s story. Have Fun.

Referenced sites:
Variant Frequencies

(Technical Note: This is a corrected version of the sound file; my original one had a cut-and-paste glitch in the outro. Apologies to anyone who gets a duplicate, and thanks to Tony Mast of the Fanboy Smackdown podcast for pointing out the error.)


Squonk the Dragon

By Pete Butler

Squonk lived with his mother, who was definitely not a dragon–she was a small blue bird named Mrs. Tweedle-Chirp. Now, it is true that birds generally cannot lay dragon eggs, and Mrs. Tweedle-Chirp was no exception. But, they can care for dragon eggs that they happen to find lying untended in the middle of the forest, assuming they are suitably ambitious.

Escape Pod 69: Her

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains explicit anatomical imagery. On a very large scale.

Referenced sites:
Podrunner Podcast
Daily Dragon Podcast
Dragon*Con: Atlanta, GA, September 1–4


Her

by Tobias S. Buckell

“It’s fascinating,” Jo said, now that she had what she wanted out of me, “that the inhabitants here are the only race we know of that has their mythology dead on.”

“Huh?” I looked down at the table. I needed more beer.

“They believe they live on the corpse of a giant.”

“Maybe it’s because they do,” I said, sneaking another look back down the inner thigh that dominated the western hemisphere.

Escape Pod 68: Depth of Field

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains profanity, brief scenes of graphic violence, and questionable filmmaking.

Referenced sites:
Worldcon 2006: Anaheim, CA, August 23–27
Dragon*Con: Atlanta, GA, September 1–4


Depth of Field

by Stephen Dedman

One of the governor’s advisers had recommended appointing a committee of science fiction writers to investigate the saucer sightings as a way of diverting the public, and the governor had agreed. However, as none of the selection committee were SF readers, Project Birdwatch was dominated by screenwriters, writer-directors, writer-director-producers, and the occasional typecast actor. Few of them were brilliant, but they knew one side of a television camera from the other, and at least none of them had been blacklisted. The novelists and short story writers who had joined Birdwatch had soon given up in disgust. Ed had signed up for the same reasons as most of the others; the possibility of publicity, and the badly-needed fifty dollars a month. Besides, seven pretty blonde women had been abducted, and someone was responsible!

Escape Pod 67: Life in Stone


Life in Stone

by Tim Pratt

After ascending 72 flights of iron stairs, creeping past tentacled sentinels lurking in pools filled with black water, and silently dispatching wizened old warriors armed with glaives and morningstars that proved a close match for his pistols and poisoned glass knives, Mr. Zealand at last stumbled into the uppermost room of Archibald Grace’s invisible tower. All Zealand’s earlier murders were mere journeyman work compared to this final assassination, the murder of a man who’d lived for untold centuries, who’d come to America and enslaved Buffalo spirits, who’d built this tower of ice and iron on the far side of the Rockies as a sanctuary and stronghold for his own precious life.

EP Flash: The Uncanny Valley

Show Notes

Rated G. (Anything that isn’t G-rated in this story is entirely the product of your imagination.)


The Uncanny Valley

By Jared Axelrod

“I’m sorry,” Purby said, reshuffling the papers on his desk. “What was the problem with her?”

“Her breathing. She breathes. She doesn’t stop.”

“Yes, and?”

“It’s unnerving.”

Escape Pod 66: The King’s Tail

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains slavery, heavy moral themes, and some violence.

Referenced sites:
Invasion: The Complete Series on DVD
Gradients of Sight
Dragon*Con: Atlanta, GA, September 1–4


The King’s Tail

by Constance Cooper

On one occasion–he flinched to remember it–the invaders had brought him Cthara eggs. Warm, fertilized eggs, likely ripped just that day from the hatching burrow of some poor herder family. It had been the greatest challenge the Creator had ever sent him. His fangs had unfolded without his conscious will, and only a lifetime of piety and self-control had kept him from sinking them into the small bodies of the terrified guards.

His venom had dripped onto the filthy floor, and after the guards left he had lain shuddering in the dampness, feeling the leathery eggs by his flank gradually cool and die. Over and over he repeated the litany of the Prophet: “People shall not sink fang into other speaking people. People shall not eat the flesh of other speaking people. People shall not make war…”

Escape Pod 65: A Green Thumb

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains profanity and adolescence. (Wait, that’s redundant.)

Referenced sites:
Escape Pod on Wikipedia
Worldcon: Anaheim, CA, August 23–27
Dragon*Con: Atlanta, GA, September 1–4
Podcast & Portable Media Expo: Ontario, CA, September 29–30


A Green Thumb

by Tobias S. Buckell

When Jerry walked out across his lawn to catch the morning bus to Effendale High, he stopped to admire the new car Mr. Atkinson had growing in his lawn. Jerry could see the doors stretching up towards the roof, small branches of metal trying to reach their stringy edges up and around the rough frame. It looked like a regular car had melted, but in reverse. Every day Jerry stepped out, he could see more of the car’s gray paneling filling in around the rough frame. Mr. Atkinson tended towards planting larger luxury cars, like any other retired old man. The half-finished Caddilac sat in between the rose bushes and posies that Mrs. Atkinson cared for. Both car and bushes glinted with a fresh coating of morning dew.

Escape Pod 64: Head of State

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains implications of violence, heavy politics, and split ends.

Referenced sites:
Worldcon: Anaheim, CA, August 23–27
Bring Sigler’s Ancestor to Sci Fi!
Wil Wheaton
EP036: Connie, Maybe
EP061: I Look Forward To Remembering You
EP055: Down Memory Lane


Head of State

By Ed W. Marsh

“There’s a reason we don’t use nano to cut the President-Chairman’s hair. You know about the assassination attempt three years ago?”

Everyone did. “I thought he was fully recovered.”

“What’s left of him. Yes. All of that civilian nano would interfere with crucial signals sent and received by the nano in use by the MedTechs. Can’t risk it. That bomb was nasty. What I’m telling you is classified, obviously. We have no intention of presenting Arrington to the world as less than the man he deserves to be.”

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