The Best of Glittership

written by David Steffen

GlitterShip is a science fiction and fantasy podcast devoted to publishing audio versions of LGBTQ stories from authors of all backgrounds.  Glittership was originally funded by a Kickstarter campaign in 2015, which blew past its base goal and reached several stretch goals beyond that increased the frequency of episodes as well as funding original episodes to be mixed in with the reprints.

Glittership is published, edited, and produced by Keffy R.M. Kehrli.  If you follow Diabolical Plots and you recognize Keffy’s name, he’s also a writer whose stories have featured multiple times on previous Best Of podcast lists right here.

Glittership features short story authors you are probably already familiar with, and others that might be entirely new to you.  Every story has major characters that are unambiguously within the umbrella of LGBTQ, but that’s not necessarily the focus of the plot of every story (though it might be sometimes).  I’ve really enjoyed the podcast largely because I think that having a podcast with a broad range of story topics and types that include characters from this range of demographics can help normalize stories about these demographics, so that they feel less and less like the “other” and just become accepted as more stories that might be rip-roaring adventures or introspective literary stories or any number of other stories, not just defined by that single characteristic.  Keffy has done a great job picking a variety of types of stories to show the variety of stories that can be called LGBTQ stories, and I am happy to help spread the word.

While Keffy generally doesn’t get into a lot of current politics in the episode commentary, it’s also worth checking out the intro to this episode which aired shortly after the US presidential election in 2016 about why he has decided to keep making the podcast.

This list covers the entire history of Glittership thus far since the first episode went live in April 2015.  49 episodes have been published to date, including a few multiple-story episodes, for a total of 55 stories.  The latest issue has just started.  Each issue is first available as an ebook for purchase, and then all of the stories are published on the podcast over the following several months, so if you want to read ahead, you can take advantage of that.

Every short story that is eligible for Hugo nominations this year which were first published by Glittership are marked with an asterisk (*), novelettes are marked with a double-asterisk.

The List

1.  “Sooner Than Gold” by Cory Skerry
A thief is enslaved by an enchantment to run errands for an unknown master.  They finally get the chance to know to meet their enslaver.

2.  “Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon” by Ken Liu
Legends tell of the daughter of the Emperor of Heaven and her lover separated by the River of Heaven who are reunited for one night a year.  The protagonists of the story are chosen to be lifted up by birds to heaven to meet the legendary lovers.

3.  “The Little Dream” by Robin M. Eames*
Sylvia’s superpowers of a minor variety are nice enough on the days that they work, which are also the days when her body is more cooperative.

4.  “The End of the World in Five Dates” by Claire Humphrey
When you can see the end of the world coming… why take care of yourself?

5.  “The Pond” by Aimee Ogden*
Messages from a lost child appear to his mother on the ice of the pond where he died.

6.  “Into the Nth Dimension” by David D. Levine
The nefarious Dr. Diabolus’s newest invention transports the superhero of our story into the “real” world.

Honorable Mentions

“For She is the Stars and the Sun Revolves Around Her” by Agatha Tan

“And the Blood of Dead Gods Will Mark the Score” by Gary Kloster

“How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps” by A. Merc Rustad

 

 

 

The Best of Podcastle 2014

written by David Steffen

It’s been a great year for Podcastle with some of my favorite episodes ever after they and their sister podcasts came back from the brink of having to close due to lack of funds. The podcast is still edited by Dave Thompson and Anna Schwind and they’re doing a great job.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. Just yesterday I learned that Dave and Anna are stepping down from their editorial positions early this year after five years in the position–I hear that the full details are in the most recent episode along with the story Rachael K. Jones’ “Makeisha in Time” but I haven’t had time to sync my iPod and listen since I heard this, so I don’t know much more about it yet.

On to the list!

The List

1. “Heartless” by Peadar O Guilin

2. “The MSG Golem” by Ken Liu

3. “Stranger vs. The Malevolent Malignancy” by Jim C. Hines

4. “Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy” by Saladin Ahmed

5. “Gazing into the Carnauba Wax Eyes of the Future” by Keffy R.M. Kehrli

6. “Help Summon the Most Holy Folded One!” by Harry Connolly

 

Honorable Mentions

“The Old Woman With No Teeth” by Patricia Russo

“Underbridge” by Peter S. Beagle

“Ill Met in Ulthar” by T.A. Pratt

 

 

 

 

 

The Best of Lightspeed Podcast 2013+

written by David Steffen

My last list for this podcast was actually a combined list of The Best of Lightspeed and Fantasy podcasts, since both were under the editorship of John Joseph Adams and then the two magazines were consolidated into one. The consolidation is still called Lightspeed and publishes four stories on their podcast every month, two of them SF and two of them fantasy (there are more on the site in text, but those are not part of this list). Both Lightspeed and JJA continue to be popular as they have been for years, garnering award nominations. I expect it will only be a matter of time until Lightspeed wins some of those.

John Joseph Adams continues to edit the magazine, and the stories are good as ever. Cutting down the great stories to just a few was a brutal process.

 

The List

1. The Battle of York by James Stoddard
How best to describe this. It is a myth written about the history of the USA based on half-heard fragments and scraps of memory by a person in the future after earthquakes have destroyed all the landmarks and EM has destroyed all the electronic records. It is over-the-top, bizarre, hilarious, yet tells a compelling story amongst it all. You’ve really got to read it just to see how it was done.

2. The Boy and the Box by Adam-Troy Castro
A boy has a box into which he has put the world. A good extension of the age-old “children would be scary if they had absolute power.”

3. Breathless in the Deep by Cory Skerry
Good action story about a pearl diver in a world where there is magic based around kraken ink.

4. A Fine Show on the Abyssal Plain by Karen Tidbeck
Another one that’s hard to explain. Very metafiction. Just read it.

5. Invisible Planets by Hao Jingfang
On the surface it’s a story describing fanciful and imaginative fantasy planets, but the format is used to work well into a broader story.

6. HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! by Keffy R.M. Kehrli
Written as a Kickstarter campaign to fund a world takeover by a mad scientist, with everything you can imagine like stretch goals, donation levels with appropriate rewards, reasons why you should fund, interaction with the Kickstarter userbase. Very fun!

7. Alive, Alive Oh by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
One of the more heartfelt stories I’ve read this year about a woman and her daughter on an off-Earth colony, and the reminiscences the woman has with her daughter about their old home.

Honorable Mentions

Division of Labor by Benjamin Roy Lambert

Ragged Claws by Lisa Tuttle

Get a Grip by Paul Park

 

 

 

2014 Hugo Noms!

written by David Steffen

It’s award season again! If you’re eligible to vote for the Hugos, you have until the end of March to decide on your picks. I wanted to share my picks, as I always do, in plenty of time so that if anyone wants to investigate my choices to see for themselves they’ll have plenty of time.

Quite a few of the categories I don’t have anything to nominate because I don’t seek out entries in them, so I left those out. And for any category that I have eligible work I mentioned them alongside my own picks.

The entries in each category are listed in no particular order.

Best Novel

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Premier novel by Leckie. Great premise, difficult point of view, great space opera. I reviewed it here.

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
The 14th and final book of Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series.

 

Best Novelette

Monday’s Monk by Jason Sanford (Asimov’s)

Best Short Story

The Promise of Space by James Patrick Kelly (Clarkesworld)

The Murmurous Paleoscope by Dixon Chance (Three-Lobed Burning Eye)

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! by Keffy R.M. Kehrli (Lightspeed)

Hollow as the World by Ferrett Steinmetz (Drabblecast)

The Boy and the Box by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed)

For Your Consideration:
I Will Remain in After Death Anthology
Could They But Speak at Perihelion
Reckoning at Stupefying Stories
Meat at Pseudopod
Coin Op at Daily Science Fiction
Escalation at Imaginaire

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

Ender’s Game

Warm Bodies

Game of Thrones Season 3

 

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)

The Rains of Castamere (Game of Thrones)

And Now His Watch Has Ended (Game of Thrones)

Walk of Punishment (Game of Thrones)

Second Sons (Game of Thrones)

Valar Doheris (Game of Thrones)

 

Best Editor (Short Form)

Neil Clarke (of Clarkesworld)

John Joseph Adams (of Lightspeed, Nightmare, and anthologies)

Tina Connolly (of Toasted Cake)

Norm Sherman (of Drabblecast and Escape Pod)

Shawn Garrett (of Pseudopod)

 

Best Semiprozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Daily Science Fiction

Lightspeed

Escape Pod

Drabblecast

Best Fanzine

SF Signal

My work for you to consider:
Diabolical Plots
I do consider Diabolical Plots a zine. Consider, too, that this was the first year Diabolical Plots also provide the Submission Grinder. The Submission Grinder itself doesn’t fit any of the categories, I think, but Diabolical Plots does.

 

Best Fancast

Toasted Cake

Pseudopod

Dunesteef

Podcastle

Cast of Wonders

 

Best Fan Writer

Ken Liu

Ferrett Steinmetz

Juliette Wade

Cat Rambo

Anne Ivy

For your consideration:

David Steffen
Frank Dutkiewicz
Carl Slaughter

 

The Best of Escape Pod 2012

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.

 

The Best of Podcastle 2012

written by David Steffen

In 2012 Podcastle published 51 feature stories, with 8 miniatures. This is the one of the Escape Artists podcasts that I haven’t managed to get a story into yet, but I listen on! Dave Thompson and Anna Schwind continue their tenure as editors, and there were plenty of good stories to pick from.

1. In the Stacks by Scott Lynch
A full cast recording, unusual for Podcastle. A story about magicians-in-training going into a violent magical library as a test of their abilities.

2. Recognizing Gabe: Un Cuento de Hadas by Alberto YaÃ’ ez
This one surprised me. I felt like I knew where it was going, but it surprised me in a very good way.

3. The Tonsor’s Son by Michael John Grist
“I knew from the moment I saw him that his beard was full of evil.” There’s one scene that many of the forumites found hard to take, but I think everyone who kept listening was okay with it in the long run.

4. Another Word for Map is Faith by Christopher Rowe
There are few things more frightening than religious zealotry.

5. Accompaniment by Keffy R.M. Kehrli
A kickass dark flash.

6. Destiny, With Blackberry Sauce by David J. Schwartz
I’ve seen stories before where someone tried to avoid their destiny, but never as hard as in this story.

 

Honorable Mentions

Fable From a Cage by Tim Pratt

A Window, Clear as a Mirror by Ferrett Steinmetz

Machine Washable by Keffy R.M. Kehrli