Each week, Escape Pod delivers science fiction short stories from today's best authors. Listen today, and hear the new sound of science fiction!
Escape Pod 768: Balancing the Equation
Balancing the Equation
by Justin C. Key
June 18, 2031
Lauren led her two-year-old son, Sean, slowly to their car while carrying three full bags of groceries.
"Up," Sean said, showing her his palms. "Up, Mama, up!"
"Ask one more time and you're getting a time out when we get home."
She should have used a cart to carry the groceries. She should have walked with Sean on the inside. She should have ignored the aching pain in her back and picked him up. The rest of her life would be haunted by 'should’ves’.
"A dog!" Sean pointed at passing poodle as big as him. Of his budding vocabulary, identifying dogs was a family favorite.
"Yes," Lauren said. "A black dog." She silently cursed at her failing grip on the bags. She twisted the strap around her wrist. Sean yanked her other arm, hard.
"Okay, time out as soon as--" Lauren said, but choked when she saw that Sean hadn’t tugged at all. It was a black Prius, worn and dented and scratched and horrible, rolling silently over her son to replace him, as if by magic.
Escape Pod 767: Shadowboxer (Flashback Friday)
By Paul Di Filippo
Generally speaking, I need only three minutes of concentrated attention to kill someone by staring at them. If I’m feeling under the weather, or my mind is preoccupied with other matters–you know how your mind can obsess about trivial things sometimes–it might take five minutes for my power to have its effect. On the other hand, if I focus intensely on my victim I can get the job done in as little as ninety seconds.
…Now the nation is at war. Or so we’re told. I guess that changes everything. A person like me becomes much more important.
Escape Pod 766: The Unrepentant
Author : Derrick Boden Narrator : Ibba Armancas Host : Tina Connolly Audio Producer : Summer Brooks Discuss on Forums Escape Pod 766: The Unrepentant is an Escape Pod original. This story has content notifications for language and violence. The Unrepentant by Derrick Boden First time I saw her, she was bleeding from her left […]
Escape Pod 765: Tru Luv
By Sarah Pinsker
The first three Tru fanatics were already waiting outside Meetspace when Molly arrived to open the bar. They were easy to recognize, pushing up their winter coats' sleeves and glancing at the insides of their wrists every two seconds instead of their phones, each hoping for their algorithm-matched Prince or Princess or Princex to cross into range and light up their implant.
For all that Molly thought the implants were a scam, she appreciated that they broke people of obsessive phone-checking, at least a tiny bit. It was actually part of the marketing pitch: "Put your phone away and make a commitment. This isn't social media; it's Tru Luv." She was still amazed that so many had taken them up on it, but, then again, she hadn't gotten into bartending for her ability to understand people.
"Your group isn't even supposed to be here until seven thirty," Molly told them. "And we don't open until six tonight."
"It IS six," the tall one said.
Escape Pod 764: In the Absence of Instructions to the Contrary
Author : Frank Wu Narrator : Roderick Aust Host : Mur Lafferty Audio Producer : Summer Brooks Discuss on Forums This story originally appeared in Analog Magazine in November 2016. It won the AnLab Award for short story. In the Absence of Instructions to the Contrary By Frank Wu Karl 3478 sprawled on the beach, […]
Escape Pod 763: No Spaceship Go
No Spaceship Go
By Annie Bellet
The boys lay on their backs side by side staring up through the open roof of the abandoned building. Dylan clutched Meek's hand in anticipation as the ground shook and a roar filled the air. Tiny pebbles danced up from the ground around them and dust ran like water off the crumbling walls.
"Ten… nine… eight… seven… six… five," Dylan whispered, "four… three… two… one."
The shaking increased and he had to release Meek's hand to shade his eyes. Smoke billowed up into the air, a streak of fire ahead of it. Then the true sonic blast of the rocketship hit them in a wave as the boys squinted to make out the ship speeding through the atmosphere. It sounded like the crackling of a hundred fires, or perhaps the blast of the biggest blowtorch Dylan could imagine.
Meek whooped and crawled to his knees, staring up into the sky.
"Do you think that's the one we'll be on someday?" he asked Dylan.
Dylan rolled to his side and propped himself up on one arm. Dust had accumulated on Meek's round, tan cheeks and Dylan fought the urge to wipe it away.
"Nah, by the time we've saved enough to get our home on Elle Four, the ships'll all be new I bet. We'll ride on a superfast one for sure."
"I want to grow peppers." Meek smiled up at Dylan, his crooked teeth warping the line of his chapped lips.
"What kind of peppers?" Dylan grinned back. They'd had variations of this conversation before and Dylan didn't pay much attention to Meek as the boy launched into his usual daydream about gardens and pepper plants.
Dylan daydreamed about something else entirely as he fixated on Meek's lips, his eyes drifting to the dimple in his friend's left cheek. He didn't notice at first that Meek had stopped talking and instead stared up at him with those dark, nearly pupil-less eyes.
"Oh, hmm? I'm sorry." Dylan murmured.
"Pebble for your thoughts?" Meek smiled again.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great stories, a good listen
I love the escape artist podcasts and I listen every week but I am getting really really weary of deleting 100+ episodes every time there’s some kind of technical glitch. Is there a fix for this? :(
It's almost as good as PSEUDOPOD...
I support ESCAPE ARTISTS... the umbrella group that pushes PseudoPod, Escape Pod, and Pod Castle, (and another?). The best part of it is the online discussion forums. They're civilized and have diverse views. Try it, eh.
...do you have ENOUGH science fiction in your life? I would posit you do not. Anywho, here’s more, and it’s delightful!