295 episodes

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 Escape Artists, Inc

    • Science Fiction

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 725: Falling Through

    Escape Pod 725: Falling Through

    Falling Through

    by Steen Comer



    Woke up again. Checked the news feeds. Everything seems to be about the same, though there is news of a presidential candidate who I don’t remember dropping out of the race. It’s really hard for someone in my position to take an interest in politics, so that’s not really a strong indication. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.



    I went to work and the office was still there. My memory tells me I’ve had this job for a few months now, which is helpful. One of the most traumatic shifts I had, because it was one of the first, was showing up at my office job and finding that it was an auto body shop. Luckily I had a faint memory of another location and was able to get there only half an hour late. My boss didn’t even notice.



    That was when I first started really thinking about the shifts. I had been seeing the small ones for a long time, but that was the first incontrovertible one, the first that I couldn’t explain away as an error of memory. I thought I was going crazy, of course. Spent a while like that. And, in a case like this, it’s impossible to be sure that I’m not crazy. But I’ve found a Practical Operational Paradigm, as Jonas was fond of saying.



    Oh Jonas. First shifter other than myself I ever met. Last one I ever saw. I should get back to work. I don’t know why today I need to write this down again. Maybe it’s the sky. It’s a flat grey that could be anywhere. It’s the color of Claire’s eyes.

    • 40 min
    Escape Pod 724: The Season of the Storm

    Escape Pod 724: The Season of the Storm

    The Season of the Storm

    by Jonathan Edelstein



    Twenty kilometers outside Nkoloso Station, we stopped for gas.



    The Titan rover turned and Misozi steered for a group of outcroppings; there were more of those now that we were getting to the uplands north of Kraken Mare. She slowed and stopped beside one of them, a cairn of ice-rocks fused into a column half again my height.



    “Elias!” she said. “Let’s cut some.”



    My eyes flicked to the dashboard display. “We’re not low.”



    “Never hurts to top it off, and we’ll be up there a couple of days.”



    Misozi was like that. She liked her margins of error large, and she’d never be satisfied with the gauges at eighty percent when they could be one hundred. She wasn’t going to change, and her habits had saved our lives a time or two, so I didn’t argue. Instead, I opened the door and jumped down.



    There was a toolbox on the rover’s flatbed with the word “Banda” scrawled on it in an ancient marker; Misozi opened it and took out an ice pick and hammer, and I did the same with the box labeled “Yaluma.”



    A breeze was blowing and stirring the dust and ice particles on the ground, raising even more of a burnt-orange haze than was usual in Titan’s sky. Enough dust was in the air that I had to wipe the face-plate of my suit, and I had the sensation of being in a cloud. I leapt into it; a single bound, in gravity one-seventh of what I’d been born under, took me to the middle of the cairns.

    • 46 min
    Escape Pod 723: How Did it Feel to be Eaten?

    Escape Pod 723: How Did it Feel to be Eaten?

    How Did it Feel to be Eaten?

    By Amit Gupta



    “I was an elderberry,” I announced, glowing with pride.



    “How did it feel to be eaten?” he asked.



    It seemed an odd question, but a response came unbidden, so I voiced it, “It was an honor.” My words surprised me, but they felt true.



    “The Queen of England ate me,” I added. How did I know this? Who was he? My cheeks flushed with embarrassment. I didn’t feel like a berry. Did berries feel embarrassed?



    “I didn’t know she was the Queen at the time,” I admitted.



    “Yes,” agreed the man who I could not see and did not know. “Let’s try another.”



    I was in again and felt immensely powerful. I sparkled in the sun. The land beneath me rose, I stood, and I felt a caress on my shoulder. A child. We danced. I rolled, crested, and rumbled; she banked and cut on her board, gliding gracefully along me, her speed blowing droplets of me right off her wetsuit. We became one.



    We reached the shore, and I crumbled, making room for others like me, and others like her.



    That was a short one.

    • 30 min
    Escape Pod 722: His Stainless-Steel Heart

    Escape Pod 722: His Stainless-Steel Heart

    His Stainless-Steel Heart

    by Jeffery Reynolds



    It was at the rest stop in Tali that Viktor ran into trouble. His fault, really. He’d been driving along all swoon, meditating in an isolationist haze that provided him a good feeling, kept his thoughts clear. Didn’t even have to get high, it was a natural vibe for a motoring king. The ancient Buick purred like an avalanche of love, eating the miles. Better outcome than a warmonger could hope for. The rest were all perished. Peacetime no peace for warriors.



    Into the stop he pulled, needing a stretch and a piss, maybe a hit of Somnup or a sip of caffeine. There were only a couple of vehicles there, so he thought sweet, no one to bust in on my mood. Two drone trucks; a couple three sedans, all electric and shiny new; a lone RV — first one he’d seen in about six years to be fair, so that made it coolness, and it clearly guzzled rich diez. Getting so he didn’t see gassers any more, which was opaque for the lungs, but always a bit low on the sadness scale. Made that RV something special, sitting there all proud on its rubber soles.

    • 48 min
    Escape Pod 721: Hustle

    Escape Pod 721: Hustle

    Hustle

    By Derrick Boden



    I'm all stims and grins as I kick open the door to West Precinct, strung-out bounty dangling from my headlock like a slab of vat beef with a fauxhawk. Inside, it's the regular b******t: a row of five tellers--one for each of the bounty app networks--a half-dozen grime-streaked auto-cuff stations, four janitors, one cop. Everyone's hustling, of course--cobbling gig-shifts to cover backlogged tuition payments and overdue streaming services, eyes glazed and fingers flensed to bone. Everyone except the cop, who's there to lock up after everyone bails for the evening rideshare rush. She's a loophole, a salaried ultra-minority, a relic of pre-privatization. She gives me the creeps.



    I wrangle my mark to the EpicBounty desk. "Payday, y'all."



    The teller stares at me with soulless eyes. "Name and ID."



    Her DMV monotone is the stuff of legend. Of course she recognizes me--I'm not sporting a latex halter top and violet-tuned contax to blend in. But I'm still riding the post-gig high, so I play along.



    "Violetta Yamamoto--"



    "Into the lens, ma'am. You know the drill."



    Of course I know the drill. I'm a five-star double elite EpicBounty hunter, two tiers shy of max. Max elites qualify for f*****g health insurance. No one in King County's amassed more rep than me since I made parole five years ago--seventy-four thousand points and counting.



    But who's counting?

    • 36 min
    Escape Pod 720: Child and Orb

    Escape Pod 720: Child and Orb

    Child and Orb

    by James Dunham



    The child spent most of her time watching the empty stars from the pod window. They were always nothing but distant, dead glitter--not a planet, cloud, or rock, not a fleck of wreckage from the explosion. With only one window, she often wondered whether, if there had been another vista at the rear of the two-room pod, she might still be able to see the spinning pieces of hull and conduit, see that glove someone hadn’t gotten a hand into in time.



    Even though the stars ahead never grew closer, she knew the pod kept moving. A display in a lean-to showed speed, fuel, and probably a destination, though none of the numbers meant much to her. The windowed orb that had carried her onto the pod told her what she needed to know--the pod was heading to meet another ship, still weeks distant. She appreciated that the orb hadn’t lied to her the way adults sometimes did, to make her feel better or to give her time to adjust. Instead it told only the truth.

    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

in memory of my pop ,

Phenomenal

Have been listening for over ten years, ever since my father showed me this beautiful collection of stories when I was small. He’s no longer around, but I continue to be amazed by the content here. I was blown away by ‘A Box, a Pocket, a Spaceman’. Thank you, all of you who make hearing gems like this one possible.

Opal Castmin ,

So much fun!

Escape Pod tends to run fun and funny stories, though occasionally you'll hear darker and more serious fare. I've been enjoying this podcast for years, especially the Hugo nominees they've sometimes run. A favorite fun story from the archives is "How I Mounted Goldie" (actual title is longer). A dark and fascinating one is "Run, Bakri Says." Mur Lafferty and Alasdair Stuart are gems.

Altered St. ,

5/5

Top notch SF that everyone can enjoy. Makes my Friday commute so much better. Thank you to everyone involved and keep up the good work!

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