My 5 Favorite Escape Artists Episodes

By now you have likely heard that Escape Artists, (Escape Pod, Pod Castle and Pseudo Pod) are in financial dire straights. If by some chance you are hiding under a rock or something and don’t know about it, go take a few minutes and listen to their plea.

I could likely talk until I was blue in the face about how wonderful Escape Artists is, and how great their stories are, but until you understand what it is they provide you can’t really grasp how important it is that you help them out.

Folks, they have done for the short story what no other market has been able to do ever! Something like 40,000 listeners! That means that if your story is published, it is likely going to get upwards of 20,000 sets of ears hearing it. I am sorry, but that is better than any money they could pay an author. That is more circulation than most short stories get ever, and it is just one market.

Alright, enough of my rambling. The title says my five favorites, so here they are. They are not in any order really and don’t include Pseudo Pod because I don’t typically do horror. These are my top 5 picks. Stories that stuck with me long after the closing song had faded out in my ear buds.

1. Conversations With and About my Electric Toothbrush Escape Pod

This is one of those silly light hearted stories that you listen to once and might even forget, if it weren’t for the fact that it was about a talking tooth brush, and the fact that on reflection it was really about so much more. This story is what sci/fi is really about, showing you a glimpse of the future while forcing you to look around and wonder about your own life without being preachy about it.

2. A Gun For Dinosaur Escape Pod

A time travel story. No wait, this is a good time travel story, where the technology makes sense and… heck what am I saying. This story is about hunting Dinosaur. Do you really need a reason to listen to it other than that? And it is ready by and incredible narrator Ayoub Khote. That is really a good enough reason to listen.

3. Goblin Lullaby Pod Castle

I love epic fantasy. I cut my teeth on C.S. Lewis and the Hobbit. Later I ready The Lord of the Rings and many others, but you have to admit there are some tropes in there that well they are good, can sometimes make you wonder. What if the tables were turned. This is one of those stories, and really gives you a view of what all the “normal” people are thinking while these high minded folks are running around on their quests to save the world. Sometimes you just need some quiet. Maybe I have just changed enough diapers to find this one so entertaining.

4. Rescue Party Escape Pod

This was episode 400 for Escape Pod, and the story is written by Arthur C. Clarke. That alone makes it special. But this is still a really great example of classic Sci/fi.

5. What Dragons Prefer Pod Castle

As I write this, I realized that the two stories I picked for Pod Castle were kind of trope busters. You should not assume by this that that is all that they do. far from it, but these are the ones that stuck out in my mind this morning as I was thinking of my favorite episodes.

So have you ever wondered why it was that Dragons were baited with virgins? Do they even really like virgins? What about those dragon hunters? Are they for real or what? This story is another one of the light hearted ones that in the end has some real depth to it.

So that is it. These are my top five stories from Escape Artists. Go out and take a listen, and then decide for yourself. But really, toss them a few bucks, even if all you do is listen to these 5 stories, you have already gotten your money’s worth.

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EscapePod Is Back!

300_dyptichIt is not really that EscapePod ever really went anywhere, I mean really escape pods don’t go anywhere, they just get you far enough away from the ship to save you from whatever was dangerous enough for you to need to leave safety of the much bigger ship, so that you can survive for a little while. Sorry I am rambling.

Let me back up a little bit. Ok a lot bit.

When I first got into podcasts and podcasts of Audio fiction I quickly found out about EscapePod. I love short stories. I like to write them, I like to read them and I really like to listen to them, especially when they are well read / preformed. I will listen to my computer read things to me, (that is how much I like audio fiction) but if you get a good reader / performer you get a whole new level of experience. That is what EscapePod brought to the table. Really it was great, talented authors talented readers and a great variety of stories.

Shortly after EscapePod got started a whole host of other short story podcasts popped up, but most of them didn’t last very long. In some cases like, Variant Frequencies this was sad. But in other cases I was kind of glad to see them go. While it did mean that there were not as many stories to listen to, it did mean that some of the ones that were not being well produced and managed were not ruining what might have been good stories.

The problem was that somewhere around 2+ years EscapePod started having problems. The Editor an manager of the project, Steve Elly started having personal problems and the episodes started slipping. The stories were not as good and they were pretty infrequent. I thought that we were going to loose another great podcast. As a podcaster myself I completely understand that this was not his day job and that there were other priorities. At the time DrabbleCast was the only other player on the block, if you don’t count EscapePod’s “sister / daughter” Podcasts Podcastle and PseudoPod which seemed to be suffering from the same fate as the parent. While I really enjoy most of what Drabblecast has to offer, they do tend to be a little edgier in their stories. So I was really sad to see EscapePod to go.

Then it was announced that there was going to be a new editor and really a whole staff of people would be taking over in the podcast. I was pretty happy. Unfortunately, those first few months were rough. I don’t know if it was legacy from the original editor or just the new folks working out the kinks or what, but it was bad. Really bad. So bad I quit listening. (Remember that I said I will listen to my computer read things to me.) But it was not just production quality. It was story selection and a whole a host of other things, and the “sister / daughters” seemed to be suffer the same problems so I just gave up the whole thing.

Recently I was looking for some thing new to listen to so I used twitter had had the following conversation.

The good news. I have listened to at least a couple dozen back issues and Mr. Selznick is right. There is no slump. EscapePod is back and it is doing very well.

If you like audio fiction, and you like Sci/Fi you owe it to yourself to check out EscapePod. I have very glad it is back!

Hanging on By Your Fingernails

Do you remember the good times? I know I do. I wish we could have them back again, instead of where we are now. I mean, this is really no fun. You might not have enjoyed those times as much as I did. For you there was pain and tears with the torture, but for me it was all just part of the job. I am glad we did the thing with the finger nails. I know that was especially painful for you. But as my new employer tossed me over the cliff, I am hanging on by your fingernails.