written by David Steffen
And here is the final of my “Best of” lists covering the year 2011. Escape Pod published steadily over the year, publishing 59 short stories. Among their usual fare, they also published winners and runners-up from their 2010 Flash Contest, whose winners were decided by forumite polling.
Recently they’ve announced that Nathaniel Lee (of Mirrorshards fame) has been given the position of Assistant Editor. I am very happy to hear this. He has already whipped the Drabblecast slushpile into shape, and he has done an admirable job with the Escape Pod slush as well. So if anyone had been frustrated at slow response times or lack of response to queries when trying to contact Escape Pod, you should give them another try.
And on to the list!
1. Rejiggering the Thingamajig by Eric James Stone
read by Kij Johnson
An intelligent spacefaring vegetarian Buddhist Tyrannosaurus Rex, a trigger-happy smartgun that talks like Yosemite Sam, and an ill-defined quest with an incomprehensible talisman at the end of it. Awesome.
2. For Want of a Nail by Mary Robinette Kowal
read by Mur Lafferty
Social and maintenance problems on a generation ship. The title doesn’t tie into the story all that well, but very good stuff.
3. Movement by Nancy Fulda
read by Marguerite Kenner
The protagonist in this story has what her society has labeled as temporal autism (which as even she points out may not have much relation to autism but such are public buzzwords). A very compelling story in a world not quite like our own and told by a very interesting POV.
4. Honor Killing by Ray Tabler
read by Mur Lafferty
This rather reminded my of Tobias Buckell’s Anakoinosis, with fuzzy little aliens demanding to be oppressed. In that case, it was slavery, in this case, murder.
5. Captain Max Stone Versus DESTRUCTOBOT by Angela Lee
read by Josh McNichols
One of the great entries to the flash fiction contest, overall this has a great feel of old-timey radio fiction, pulpy and fun and worth some great laughs.
6. London Iron by William R. Halliar
read by Andrew Richardson
Another entry from the flash contest. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s an action-packed flash story.
Wheels of Blue Stilton by Nicholas J. Carter
read by Christian Brady
Marking Time on the Far Side of Forever by DK Latta
read by Josh Roseman
A robot protagonist who is an incarnation of temporal culture clash.
Many Mistakes, All Out of Order by M.C. Wagner
read by Wilson Fowlie