written by David Steffen Drabblecast is a podcast of the weird and speculative. It is the closest publication to consistently hitting my own personal tastes, with a tendency towards especially strange and often funny ideas. Since its beginning it has been edited and hosted by Norm Sherman. This year marked a big change with Nathaniel […]
Escape Pod, the original science fiction podcast, is still running more than ten years later. It continues to be edited by Norm Sherman. Mur Lafferty began the year as editor-at-large (whatever that means) but moved on to the sister publication Mothership Zeta.
Escape Pod published 40 stories in 2015.
Podcastle, the fantasy branch of the Escape Artists podcast, has been running for almost eight years now. And this has been an eventful year for the podcast for several reasons:
They upgraded their pay rate for new fiction to professional rates. The other Escape Artists sister publications are now all pro-paying as well. I’m hoping that will draw ever wider talent (and hopefully get more award interest).
They are now paying their voice acting talent for the first time.
Dave Thompson and Anna Schwind have stepped down from co-editor positions.
Kitty Niclaian and Dawn Phynix were chosen to co-edit, but were unable to fill the roles.
Finally, Rachael Jones and Graeme Dunlop are now the co-editors.
Podcastle published 69 stories in 2015.
Pseudopod has now been running for nearly 10 years, which makes it an old fogey in terms of fiction podcasts. 2015 marked a major moment in the podcast’s history–the podcast increased the amount that it paid its author’s to what is considered in the industry to be professional rates. This is very exciting because not many podcasts have been able to afford to do this. I hope this will bring in even better stories by an even broader set of authors, and that will hopefully help give the fiction podcast industry more respect when it comes to awards and such honors which have typically looked over podcasts.
My roots felt only earth. Thin, and good for nothing but wild grass. As I stretched under the ground, I caught the tang of metal, something sharp and not yet rusted. Clean metal, likely dropped when this patch of land was well behind the battle line. Still, the promise it made helped me exert all my energy into those roots, willing them deeper and farther out.
Sunlight glistened off my barbed leaves, feeding its pale energy to my efforts.
I was not the only blood tree growing on the battlefield, and my concentration broke when my sister began chanting. She was double my height already, as if she’d focused her efforts on leaves and branches instead of roots, but her chanting told me she hadn’t needed to work hard below ground. By instinct I recognized the nature of her words, the cadence of syllables sighing from the pores in her leaves. She chanted the lives of those whose blood she drank.
The Ray Bradbury Award is given out every year with the Nebula Awards but is not a Nebula Award in itself. Like the Nebula Awards, the final ballot and the eventual winner are decided by votes from members of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (which despite the name has an international membership).
I like to use the award every year as a sampler of well-loved science fiction and fantasy movies from the previous year. I have been very happy with this tactic, and this year is no exception. I try to watch every movie on the ballot that I can find by rental (usually via RedBox, or occasionally from Comcast On Demand) and review them all within the voting period.
This year, on the ballot but not on this list is the episode of the TV show Jessica Jones titled “AKA Smile”. Since I haven’t seen any episode of the series, even if I could get a copy to watch I didn’t feel it would be fair to review a single episode of a show I’m not familiar with.
At the time I am writing this preliminary post, I haven’t yet rented The Martian, but I intend to.
The Perfect Insider is based on the Mephisto Award winning mystery novel Everything Becomes F: The Perfect Insider by Hiroshi Mori. Unlike most anime novel adaptations, which are based on light novels (Japan’s equivalent of YA), Everything Becomes F is geared towards adults, and it shows in the sensibilities of the characters, the subject matter handled, and the ages of everyone involved.
Professor Souhei Saikawa and his students visit a remote island as part of a university outing, but also because it’s part of a research facility housing the infamous genius, Dr. Shiki Magata. Fifteen years ago, when Magata was a child she killed her parents, but was found non compos mentis (not of sound mind).
Instead of a more conventional way of isolating her or integrating her back in society, it was decided to shut her away in this research facility where she could work to her heart’s content. The benefits of her genius could still be reaped and she would be unable to kill again. For her part, Magata insists that she never killed her own parents, but that the deed was done by a doll.
JONATHAN MABERRY is one of the most versatile and prolific writers in the speculative fiction. His specialty is horror, but he also writes fantasy and science fiction, as well as mystery, thriller, western, and humor. He has 5 wins and many nominations for the Bram Stoker Award, wins/nominations for other genres and encyclopedic nonfiction, and recognition from writer and librarian associations. His first novel was in competition with one of Stephen King’s novels for the Bram Stoker Award. Several of his projects are in development with Hollywood. He has worked with Marvel and other major comic book companies. He has consulted/hosted for Disney, ABC, and The History Channel. He has written several series, most notably the Joe Ledger international thriller sci fi series and the Rot & Ruin young adult horror series. His has edited several anthologies, most notably an X-Files series. He has participated in a multitude of writer conferences and workshops, most notably Write Your Novel in Nine Months, Act Like a Writer, and Revise & Sell. He writes/speaks as an expert on the cannonal background and cultural phenomenon of the horror genre. He is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, Horror Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers Association, International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, and Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators . He is a contributing editor of the ITW’s The Big Chill newsletter. He is a cofounder of The Liars Club writer network. His novelization of the Wolfman film – starring Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, Emily Blunt, and Benicio del Toro – reached #35 on the New York Times bestseller list. Not surprisingly, Publishers Weekly featured him on the cover.
He finds a forest clearing on a planet of perpetual night in the two hours out of a thousand years that stars spread twinkling across its sky. It’s pure luck that he lands there on his random planet sampling. It’s the most beautiful, peaceful, ethereal place that he has ever seen.
There are no people on this planet. It will never be inhabited. Life evolved to little more than trees (if they are trees, those branching things) that get their food from the soil beneath and what sun that struggles through the clouds. Rocky outcrops ring the clearing in sharp relief against the sky. Beneath the starlight, he forgets about his life and loneliness.
He’s still alone here, but it’s different in the fresh unsullied alien air that fills his lungs as he rests between untrodden grass and unwitnessed skies, different from spending each evening alone in a busy, crowded city, full of strangers he’s too shy to talk to and too scared to try and understand.
Clouds crowd back across the gap, shrouding starlight behind their familiar shield. Darkness falls to rule the clearing. Peter knows it’s time to leave.
He logs the coordinates on his device.
This place would be perfect.