For Your Consideration 2017: Original Fiction in 2016

In our first 2017 metacast, for your consideration we present the Escape Artists stories that ran in 2016 which are eligible in the upcoming award nomination season.

A quick plug. For us. All four EA shows – PodCastle, Pseudopod, Escape Pod and Cast of Wonders – are themselves eligible in the SEMIPROZINE Hugo category. So is our eZine, Mothership Zeta.

Not Fancast. Not Fanzine. SEMIPROZINE. Yes, the categories are confusing and often overlap. “Fancast” is traditionally dominated by commentary shows and sketch-based audio programs.

There’s an argument that we could split the shows and compete in multiple categories to increase our chances. We don’t think that benefits anyone. The division is artificial at best, and extremely difficult (at worst) to explain, given all four of our shows have harmonised pay rates and submissions policies. It would smack of gamesmanship, which doesn’t interest us. This is what we did last year, and like our commitment to paying creatives, we stick to our commitments and are always pushing to expand.

Don’t get us wrong, we LOVED seeing PodCastle and Escape Pod on the Hugo long lists for the last two years, and we’d be honoured for any one of our shows to be a finalist.

But that’s a decision that rests solely in the hands of YOU, our fans and supporters.

Below are links to some aggregation projects, where fans are building lists of those eligible in the various categories. They’re great tools, and we’d like to thank David Steffen for his efforts. We’ll also link to our Wikia page, containing links to all the eligible Escape Artists stories.

Please listen to this MetaCast for all the Escape Artists entries!

PseudoPod 526: The Great American Nightmare

by Moaner T. Lawrence

“The Great American Nightmare” is a PSEUDOPOD original.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” – Plato

“They who can give up essential liberty for temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

In addition to being a regular contributor to the world’s largest horror publication, Rue Morgue: Horror In Culture & Entertainment (and a member of their Rue Crew) MOANER T. LAWRENCE is also a regular contributor to Germany’s largest horror publication, VIRUS. He last appeared on Pseudopod with “Bad Newes From New England” and can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, Wattpad, and a new wordpress called The Horror In Blog.

Your narrator – John Bell – is an Award winning writer/producer of radio commercials as well as all-around go-to voice talent. Has written/produced 160 episodes of the comedy podcast, “Bell’s in the Batfry”. Catch Bell’s in the Batfry at the usual subscription locations (iTunes, et al) and/or at the link.


Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.


“The sky over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was clear and blue at 12:00PM EST on Friday, January 20th, 2017. At 12:01, a fleet of Secret Service byakhee swarmed over the abstract visage of what was once The White House. Faster and faster, they beat their jet black wings, until the unholy force tore a hole in the sky. It became a swirling vortex, and the composer Erich Zann, considered missing for over 120 years, began conducting a chorus of six-foot albino penguins, alongside the United States Marine Band to a discordant rendition of Hail, Columbia. Opposite the band, a crowd of three million attendants held fast to a double-reinforced security railing, or anything else they could grab onto, so as to bear witness to the spectacle before them without being sucked into the portal forming above.”

PseudoPod 525: Cold Print

by Ramsey Campbell

“Cold Print” first appeared in TALES OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS in 1969.

RAMSEY CAMPBELL is a British writer considered by a number of critics to be one of the great masters of horror fiction. T. E. D. Klein has written that “Campbell reigns supreme in the field today,” while S. T. Joshi has said that “future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood.”

Says Campbell: “It can be argued that my timidity or at least my restraint is why I remain. I’ve never gone for broke and tried to write the most horrifying tale I can concoct, because I don’t quite see the point. To quote the critic David Aylward, as I very often do: ‘writers [of horror fiction], who used to strive for awe and achieve fear, now strive for fear and achieve only disgust’ – and it seems to me that too much straining for terror is wont to produce nothing more than a disgusting dump. If I can’t approach awe, I’d rather try for the other quality I value most in dark fiction, not exclusively in generic horror – a lingering disquiet. I may have felt that way ever since I first encountered Herman Melville’s ‘Bartleby’ in the 1957 anthology BEST HORROR STORIES and didn’t feel cheated out of any of the pocket money I’d saved up to buy the book. Soon I found the quality in work such as the novels of Thomas Hinde and Samuel Beckett, not to mention films such as Last Year in Marienbad and Los Olvidados. I see no reason why fiction packaged as horror can’t achieve these effects of disturbance and dislocation. One definition of good art is that it makes you look again at things you’ve taken for granted, and that can certainly be true of horror.” Ramsey blogs at Ramsey Campbell.com.

Your narrator – Paul S. Jenkins – runs a skeptical podcast – “Skepticule”


Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.


GOOD BOOKS ON THE HIGHWAY provided shelter; he closed out the lashing sleet and stood taking stock. On the shelves the current titles showed their faces while the others turned their backs. Girls were giggling over comic Christmas cards; an unshaven man was swept in on a flake-edged blast and halted, staring around uneasily. Strutt clucked his tongue; tramps shouldn’t be allowed in bookshops to soil the books. Glancing sideways to observe whether the man would bend back the covers or break the spines, Strutt moved among the shelves, but could not find what he sought. Chatting with the cashier, however, was an assistant who had praised Last Exit to Brooklyn to him when he had bought it last week, and had listened patiently to a list of Strutt’s recent reading, though he had not seemed to recognize the titles. Strutt approached him and inquired ‘Hello—any more exciting books this week?’

The man faced him, puzzled. ‘Any more—?’

‘You know, books like this?’ Strutt held up his polythene bag to show the grey Ultimate Press cover of THE CANING-MASTER by Hector Q.

‘Ah, no. I don’t think we have.’ He tapped his lip. ‘Except — Jean Genet?’

‘Who? Oh, you mean Jennet. No, thanks, he’s dull as ditch-water.’

‘Well, I’m sorry, sir, I’m afraid I can’t help you.’

‘Oh.’ Strutt felt rebuffed. The man seemed not to recognize him, or perhaps he was pretending. Strutt had met his kind before and had them mutely patronize his reading. He scanned the shelves again, but no cover caught his eye. At the door he furtively unbuttoned his shirt to protect his book still further, and a hand fell on his arm. Lined with grime, the hand slid down to his and touched his bag. Strutt shook it off angrily and confronted the tramp.

‘Wait a minute!’ the man hissed. ‘Are you after more books like that? I know where we can get some.’ ”

PseudoPod 524: Flash on The Borderlands XXXV: The Kids Are All Wrong

Bells chime, I know I gotta get away
And I know if I don’t, I’ll go out of my mind


Accident Report by Jarod Anderson

“Accident Report” first appeared in Midnight Echo Issue #11.

Jarod K. Anderson is a fan of comic books, tattoos, pulp detective novels, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, video games, and all things sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Jarod’s work has appeared in numerous online and print publications including Escape PodDaily Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, Fantasy Scroll, and elsewhere. His bestselling books of speculative fiction writing prompts (co-written with Leslie J. Anderson) include: Inklings: 300 Starts, Plots, and Challenges to Inspire Your Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy and 100 Prompts for Science Fiction Writers. Find Jarod online at: jarodkanderson.com.   

Your narrator – Jeremy Moran is a writer, filmmaker, and actor based in Austin Tx. You can usually catch him doing improv around the city. Check out his writings and films at www.jeremymoran.com. Follow his happenings at @moranicjeremy on Twitter.

I remember being worried about the cost of another citation. That’s why I made a complete stop at the corner of Deer Run and Milner Roads. My last ticket was over $300, and I was fresh out of second chances. Not just from the DMV.

If I had skipped that stop sign altogether, like I used to, or even settled for a rolling stop, maybe I wouldn’t have given the Devil a chance to get into the car.


What the Dollhouse Said by Karen Bovenmyer

“What the Dollhouse Said” was originally published in Devilfish Review, Issue Ten, July 24, 2014 and it will be reprinted in a forthcoming issue of Jennifer Brozek’s Evil Girlfriend Media Shorts. This story was also accepted for illustration in Bonnie Stufflebeam’s 2015 Art & Words Show.

Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program in 2013, and she was awarded the 2016 Mary Shelley Scholarship by the Horror Writers Association.

She spent many hours as a kid among beaten earth and bare roots avoiding predators and whispering to imaginary people of various moralities. She never had a pet rabbit, but she did have a hamster named Chucky Cheeks who wanted to be an astronaut. This story is dedicated to everyone who found animals and inanimate objects easier to communicate with than fellow homo sapiens. Karen is the Nonfiction Assistant Editor for Mothership Zeta, Escape Artists’ new e-zine and has been having a spectacular time helping set up the first issue. Check out book, short story, and movie reviews, a “Story Doctor” article from award-winning science fiction author James Patrick Kelly, and a science column from a real astronomer—as well as plenty of fabulous fresh stories from amazing authors both new and experienced.

Your narrator – Heather Simmons grew up in South Africa and has made her home in the United States. She is an active participant in community theatre with radio experience and can be reached for narration requests at heatheresimmons at gmail

She cries more than I think anyone can, at first, but she is the only kid who visits the dollhouse. I don’t know how it got there. It looks like it grew by accident in the root knuckles of a wide old apple tree on the edge of the playground. It smells strongly of cats, like my aunt’s house, and is white as antlers. It twists like grandma’s fingers, but the spines and knobs come together to make something that looks like a dollhouse just the same, with an open door, windows, and a steeple roof. There is always a small animal rotting there, tufts of fur missing.


MeetWorks Daycare by Michael M. Rader

This is a PseudoPod Original.

Michael M. Rader is an electrical engineer and busy father who writes horror and science fiction stories in the slivers of time found between those responsibilities. His other works can be found in Fiction Vortex magazine and World Weaver Press’ Corvidae anthology.

Your narrator – Troy Volin is a fan of all science fiction. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC where he raises children, develops software, and develops other software developers.

We leave the children at the abattoir because it’s the only daycare center in Custer County. This is very convenient for the slaughterhouse-men in their white suits but less so for us. We leave, expecting the children to be skinned and slaughtered in our absence because we are pragmatic fatalists. This is the fear every parent has. You’ll understand when you have children.