The Best of Pseudopod 2018

written by David Steffen

Pseudopod is the weekly horror podcast edited by Shawn Garrett and Alex Hofelich.

In February Pseudopod once again participated in the Artemis Rising theme across the Escape Artists podcasts, publishing horror stories by women (including some originals picked out from a special slushpile just for this purpose).

Pseudopod publishes episodes weekly, with occasional Flash on the Borderlands episodes that collect 3 similar-themed flash stories for a single episode, for a total of 63 stories published in 2018, by my count.

Stories that are eligible for this year’s Hugo and Nebula Awards are marked with an asterisk (*), all of which would be credited to Pseudopod as the original publisher.

The List

1. “Emperor All” by Evan Marcroft*
What would you do if you realized you could control everything with your mind?

2. “The Good Mothers’ Home For Wayward Girls” by Izzy Wasserstein*
You don’t want to be the new girl.

3. “Fool’s Fire” by Tim Pratt
Modern day will o’ wisp tales.

4. “Beyond the Dead Reef” by James Tiptree Jr.
Classic horror from one of the masters.

5. “The Challenge From Beyond” by H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, C.L. Moore, A. Merritt, and Frank Belknap Long
An epic story written round-robin style by some of the most famous writers of their time.

6. “Free Balloons For All Good Children” by Dirck de Lint*
There’s no so thing as a free lunch.

Honorable Mentions

“The Town Manager” by Thomas Ligotti

“Mofongo Knows” by Grady Hendrix

“A Visit to the Catacombs of Via Altamonvecchi” by Joe Weintraub





The Best of Lightspeed (and Fantasy) Podcast 2014

written by David Steffen

Lightspeed is still one of my favorite magazines, still edited by John Joseph Adams.  This year has been a big one for Lightspeed, in large part because of their “Women Destroy Science Fiction!” movement–for one month the magazine was staffed by women with women writers (edited by Christie Yant), because historically women have gotten the short end of the stick in SF writing.  The Kickstarter for this project blew its goals out of the water and even unlocked stretch goals for Women Destroy Horror and Women Destroy Fantasy movements.  The WDSF issue of Lightspeed was published in 2014, and Fantasy Magazine (which had been subsumed by Lightspeed) revived for a month for the WDF issue (which is why Fantasy Magazine is included again in this page).

The List

1.  “Drones Don’t Kill People” by Annalee Newitz
I found this one of the much more plausible AI gains sentience stories, justifies how it happens.  Great, fun story.

2.  “Miss Carstairs and the Merman” by Delia Sherman
I love the POV character in this story, a woman scientist discovering and classifying a merman.

3.  “Phalloon the Illimitable” by Matthew Hughes
This is part of Matthew’s “Kaslo Chronicles” series which is all quite good, but this is my favorite of the series so far.  Every so often the universe switches from being rationally organized to sympathetically (magically) organized)–this story takes place just before this polarity switch occurs and some have placed themselves to gain a great deal of power with the switchover.

4.  “The Drawstring Detective” by Nik House
Talking toy detective helps a woman in her everyday life.

5.  “The Case of the Passionless Bees” by Rhonda Eikamp
Gearlock Holmes is on the case!

6.  “Love is the Plan the Plan is Death” by James Tiptree, Jr
Great alien point of view by the legendary James Tiptree Jr. (aka Alice Sheldon).

Honorable Mentions

“Harry and Marlowe and the Intrigue at the Aetherian Exhibition” by Carrie Vaughn

“How to Get Back to the Forest” by Sofia Samatar

“We are the Cloud” by Sam J. Miller



The Best of Pseudopod 2014

written by David Steffen

Another solid year of Pseudopod after they and their sister podcasts came back from the brink of having to close due to lack of funds. The podcast is edited, as it has been for years, by Shawn Garrett. Just a few days ago there was a metacast that announced big new things coming up, including that Alasdair Stuart and J. Daniel Sawyer are now owners of the company.

On to the list!

The List

1. “The Screwfly Solution” by James Tiptree, Jr.

2. “The Wriggling Death” by Harold Gross

3. “Shadow Transit” by Ferrett Steinmetz

4. “The Metal and Its Mold” by Tim W. Burke

5. “Prince of Flowers” by Elizabeth Hand

6. “The Signalman” by Charles Dickens


Honorable Mentions

“Kraken Rising” by Andrew Reid

“The Violin Family” by James Douglas

“File Under” by Lisamarie Lamb