Escape Pod: The Best Recent Episodes

Paul R. Potts

If any of my readers, both of you, haven’t discovered Escape Pod yet — go check it out! Available through iTunes, or at

I have worked my way through the last year’s worth of stories. There are some wonderful stories, some just good, and every one of them rises above mediocre. That’s quite an achievement!

I can’t review them all, but there are a few that really stand out in my mind as I skim through the list of sixty or so full-length episodes, plus a number of short reviews and “flash” stories.

  1. “Shadowboxer,” by Paul Di Filippo. A wonderful, subtle, chilling first-person story about the limits of morality.
  2. “Tk’tk’tk,” by David D. Levine. A terrific story about a human trying to do his job among an alien race and the more mundane form of culture shock. As in all the best science fiction, it is really about this planet, and the problems of truly understanding other cultures.
  3. ” L’Alchemista,” by N. K. Jamisin. This one tilts more towards the magical/fantasy genre, but don’t let that discourage you even if you generally like your science fiction on the harder side. It’s a beautiful story of cooking and temptation. The account of a a woman whose true love is crafting perfect dishes will have you drooling.
  4. “Craphound” by Cory Doctorow. A low-key but engaging story about an alien whose great love is finding treasure amid trash. Particularly funny if you have a love of yard sales and flea markets or if you have ever climbed into a dumpster.
  5. “The Girlfriends of Dorian Gray” by Gregory Frost. A funny and sadistic twist on the Oscar Wilde novel.
  6. “The Malcontent,” by Stephen Eley. Eley is the host of the show and it took him until episode 50 to include one of his own stories. It’s one of the more strange and surreal stories of all of them, which is saying a lot, but highly imaginative, and it is evocative of golden-age science fiction authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs.
  7. “The Clockwork Atomic Bomb,” by Dominic Green. This is a dark but realistic story about the aftermath of high-tech weaponry. It manages to portray people in an impoverished and desperate population without seeming racist (at least, as far as I’m qualified to judge such a thing).

There are lots more great stories that Escape Pod has made available for free download. What a wonderful concept. Go listen to one!

Ann Arbor, Michigan
July 26, 2006

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