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Escape Pod 829: Wild Meat

Show Notes

Hi folks! Our audience spans the globe, and this week’s author, narrator, and host are all from the Caribbean. We’re bringing you a hilarious story in authentic dialect. If you have any trouble keeping up, we suggest you read the story first or read along with the narration. You can find the full text on our website. We hope you enjoy it!

-S.B. Divya


Wild Meat

By Shari Paul

Girl, I have a story to tell you. Remember the wild meat competition I did tell you about? The one they was planning to have on the holiday weekend? Well, talk about bacchanal because Naresh and them decide that they wanted to cook dinosaur meat. Yes, dinosaur from the Reserve. These people, like they was trying to get we throw in jail. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 828: City of Refuge


City of Refuge

By Maurice Broaddus

Hope was a fickle bitch. Mercurial and quixotic, the kind of woman you spent the whole week getting ready for only to have her cancel the date at the last minute.

The world was ending, but Royal Parker still had to go through the motions of a job interview. He knew as soon as he sat down across from the manager—in his ridiculous red and white striped shirt and paper hat—that he wasn’t getting the job.

(Continue Reading…)

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 The story must be original and previously unpublished.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

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Escape Pod 827: The Wrong Side of the Sky


The Wrong Side of the Sky

By Raymond Roach

There’s an old woman who lives in the desert, and who has lived in the desert a very long time. So, too, have her people, but many of them have gone, while she remains. She’s old enough that she should have a child on her back, or even a grandchild, but she doesn’t. When she was a girl, her people crossed the desert back and forth in an intricate network of traveling families, constantly intersecting; so many of them are gone, now, that the old woman can spend days at a time in perfect solitude without ever seeing another traveler cross the horizon, much less her own path.

So she flies alone, the fat brown barrel of her body slung easily between wide black wings, over the desert. It isn’t an endless desert, but it’s broad enough that even from the thin cold ceiling of the sky, this woman can’t see the edges. What she’s looking for—what she finds—are the far-flung speckles of green that make constellations of the smooth and trackless sands, those points which turn a formless emptiness into meaningful space.
(Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 826: This Is Our Get-Along Brainship


This Is Our Get-Along Brainship

by Kristen Koopman

The brainship Coraje spent its captain’s first walkthrough determinedly ignoring the anomalous sensor data, cold spots, plumbing breakdowns, and spots of visual noise in the hopes that if it just tried hard enough to not believe in ghosts, the ghost would go away.

The ghost did not agree. As Captain Salas and First Mate Teixeira came aboard the Coraje for the first time since the operating consciousness’s installation, the lights frantically flickered on the bridge. The Coraje took two-thirds of a second to clamp down on the behavior—just long enough to translate the flickering, in binary machine-code, into the text characters for “I’M STILL HERE.”

The Coraje hated the fucking ghost. Or would, if it believed ghosts existed.
(Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 825: Fourth Nail


Fourth Nail

By Mur Lafferty

Regina Phillips’ job on the orbital station God’s Eye was that of a nighttime systems engineer. She had to warm her desk chair and make sure nothing broke. It was the highest paying, most boring job around. So she sat in shocked silence for a good minute when the red alert hit.

She didn’t even know the cloning lab had an alert system. It was hard to have an emergency involving minds that were backed up and bodies that were ultimately renewable. Still, there it was, a red glow around her monitor as the words “UNAUTHORIZED TRANSMISSION” blinked over and over again.

Around her, cloning vats filled the lab, each waiting for the command to start growing a new body for a dying clone. One clone in the far end vat was nearly done, but Regina didn’t recognize the face. She wasn’t a tech responsible for dealing with the actual vats, just the computer systems. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 824: Citizens of Elsewhen


Citizens of Elsewhen

by Kameron Hurley

Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land, drawing no dividend from time’s tomorrows.”
   – Dreamers, Siegfried Sassoon

We drop through the seams between things and onto the next front.

The come down is hard. It’s meant to be. The universe doesn’t want you to mess with the fabric of time. Our minds are constantly putting down bits of narrative into our brains, a searing record of “now” that gives us the illusion of passing time. In truth, there is only “now,” the singular moment. We are all of us grubs hunting mindlessly for food, insects calling incessantly for mates. Nothing came before or after.

But because time is a trick of the mind, it can be hacked. And we have gotten good at it. We had to. It was the only way to secure our future.

(Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 823: Build-A-Body


Build-A-Body

By Avi Burton

When I was eighteen, I ordered a body off the internet. It was actually kind of easy.

I was old enough to remember when the first successful human transfer was performed— the consciousness of a paralyzed young man was dropped into a lab-grown body, appropriately nicknamed ‘Adam’. Scientists thought it would change the world. Politicians and preachers thought it would end the world. For a while, every pundit and their mother were convinced that we’d be walking around with chips in our brains, swapping bodies left and right. But as it turned out (as it almost always turns out), the reality was much more mundane. Full-body transference was limited to extreme medical cases and the occasional desperate celebrity. The world’s governments stuck enough red tape on it to dye the whole operation a bloody mess, and most people left well enough alone.

Theoretically, for transgender people with severe dysphoria, full-body transference was an option. There was a waitlist and everything. I’d been on it for eighteen months, trying to get a consultation. With my day job at the DMV, I was intimately familiar with the aching slog of bureaucracy, and had long since given up on making progress with transitioning, full-body or not. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 822: Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends, Oh My!

Show Notes

Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends, Oh My! originally appeared in Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology in October 2020.


Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends, Oh My!

by Tina Connolly

day 183

dear permanent record of my deepest thoughts for posterity app,
today sucked.

The Captain of the Glorious Starship Rockety McZoomystars (never let the federated starspace internet name anything) has announced that there was a miscalculation with the wormholes or the FTL drive or whatever and now this trip is going to take THREE YEARS longer than expected. Everyone in my educational cluster was already hunkering down for 6 years (like, we made it through elementary, we can make it through this) but NOW there is a Lot of Discontent among the teenage ranks. Even the power clique students who’ve been like ExpansionHo!, New Planets Are Amazing! were grumbling loudly in the cafeteria.

I was already having a tough week because I was just remembering that back home it was time to audition for the new crop of spring shows at my high school and, STUPIDLY, Rockety McZoomystars has no drama department.

IDK, it’s just been a lot tougher than I expected.

(Continue Reading…)