Hi all. Yes, I am aware that I haven't posted in a while, despite my best intentions, and yes I'm aware that I haven't finished off my previous post about buying my domain and not being able to update the look of the blog. But I'm quite excited that I am finally up-to-date with a podcast that I love, so want to do a post on that instead :-)
Escape Pod is a weekly science fiction podcast that runs stories from authors such as Tim Pratt, Lavie Tidhar, Vylar Kaftan, N K Jemisin, Cat Rambo, Cory Doctorow, Mike Resnick, Saladin Ahmed, and Catherynne M Valente. Impressive, right? The podcast is also totally free. The good news doesn't stop there, the narration and production is impeccable, and each episode comes with monster surf rock theme music by Dai Kai Ju (who are pretty cool).
When I thought to write this post, I tried to compile a list of my favourite episodes, but it's very hard to choose, and sometimes it's difficult to remember just how much I enjoyed each story as I was listening to it. I think this is one of the features/flaws (depending on how you look at it) of audio fiction - it obviously lacks the physical presence of written prose, and so becomes kind of like a sandcastle; beautiful but impermanent. Click on the image below for some of the episodes that really stood out for me.
The episodes that stand out to me include the first I listened to - Wind from a Dying Star by David D Levine; a sweet story about being old in a post-humanist future and chasing memories. I also enjoyed Variations on a Theme by William Meikle, about a biology teacher who realises his students are being possessed by aliens, one by one. Rejiggering the Thingamajig by Eric James Stone is about a pacifist mama tyrannosaurus rex just trying to get home to her babies when the wormhole system she was using shorts all over the galaxy leaving her and an AI to fix the... thingamajig. And more recently, Hugo award winner, The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu, about a man coming to terms with who he is through the origami animals his mother had made him when he was a child. Lastly, Springtime for Deathtraps by Marjorie James is a fun little story about, arguably, the best deathtrap designer who has ever lived (previous stories about Xnab can be found here and here).
I have 192 of the 369 episodes of Escape Pod stored on my hard drive so limiting to even this many suggestions was tough! Not to mention the fact that they run all of the Hugo award nominees in both audio and print (the Escape Pod feed includes a 'Soundproof Digest' - the printed version of each of the stories - every few months), which is great when you don't subscribe to all of the magazines they feature in every year.
I started listening to Escape Pod in February of 2010, and liked it so much that I downloaded all of the back issues I could. Which meant I was perpetually behind, but I didn't mind so much - the stories don't exactly go out of date. But after a couple of dozen episodes, listening to the feedback segment made me want to get involved with the Escape Pod community by posting and discussing the latest story on their forums. But I was never able to catch up, until now. I guess long bus rides to work every day have one benefit!
I can't recommend Escape Pod highly enough, just go and download all of the episodes you can and start listening! Do you listen to any podcasts already? Are they fiction or non fiction? Do you listen to audiobooks? Tell me about them in the comments!