written by David Steffen
Some big changes at Escape Pod in 2012:
–They were officially added to the SFWA list of professional markets, the first audio market to do so.
–Mur Lafferty announced her resignation of the editor position, official at the end of the year, citing too many projects that she’s signed on for.
Some momentous moments for me personally with Escape Pod in 2012:
–I sold them a story for the first time, “Marley and Cratchit”, which was published in December as their Christmas episode. It’s the secret history of A Christmas Carol, with alchemy. I, of course, did not consider my story for my list.
–That sale was my third and final sale needed to qualify for SFWA.
After the new year, Alasdair Stuart took over as interim editor until Norm Sherman (of The Drabblecast) could take on the role long-term.
Escape Pod, the original speculative fiction podcast, continues on, stronger than ever! Long live Escape Pod! On to the list.
Doing these lists is always interesting to me, because I often never realize how much I like a particular author until I see him/her twice on one of these lists.
1. The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
This story won the Hugo for Best Short Story in 2012, and the award was well deserved–I voted for it to win myself. It’s the story of the American son of a mail-order bride and his relationship with his mother.
2. Devour by Ferrett Steinmetz
This is one of my Hugo nominations for Best Short Story in 2013, the story of a man whose lover has been taken over by a biological weapon, a contagious personality seeded in times of war to take us over.
3. The Ghost of a Girl Who Never Lived by Keffy R.M. Kehrli :
In the future, technology for cloning and memory transfer is commercially available, and is often used to replace lost loved ones who’ve died suddenly, giving them a new body with their old memories. But when the memory transfer process terminates prematurely, is the person who wakes up a faulty version of the old person or are they a new person entirely?
4. “Run,” Bakri Says by Ferrett Steinmetz
A terrorist organization creates a technology that allows a single person to repeatedly start their lives from a certain point in space and time, much like a video game save point. This technology is used in this story for a woman to try to rescue her brother from a heavily armed military compound. She can repeat the attempt as many times as it takes. I’m sure this story appeals to me in large part because it’s like a real-life version of a video game.
5. Contamination by Jay Werkheiser
The story of a multi-generation expedition to study life on a planet without touching it for fear of contaminating the results, and a second expedition that arrives, in conflict with this one. I first read this in Analog, and I’d thought it a little dry at the time which is fairly often my response to Analog stories. But as time went on my mind kept wandering back to it again and again. I really like the characters in it, trying to find ways to live with themselves while operating within the limits of their societies. I listened to it again here after I’d been contemplating it off and on for months, and I like it more and more.
6. Like a Hawk in Its Gyre by Phillip Brewer
An ex government researcher with heavy mind modifications is just trying to live a normal life after he’s done serving his time, but he still has to live with the modifications they’ve made to him to ensure secrecy. Somebody is after his secrets.
Oubliette by J Kelley Anderson
Talking to the Enemy by Don Webb
Springtime for Deathtraps by Marjorie James
The third in a series of stories about an ancient trap engineer building ancient temples.