Some people in the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA) asked me to select some of the best podcasted fiction episodes of the year, so I have done so in this post. Keep in mind, these are the result of MY opinions, not the club’s, but I think you’ll agree that they are pretty darn good. FYI, I tried to avoid major fiction nominees and winners (Nebulas, Hugos, etc.).
In no particular order, The Top 5:
Clockwork Fagin – Cory Doctorow
Escape Pod Episode 315
*This story is definitely one of my favorites of the year, even though it is only from last month. None of our participants had listened to it yet, so I figured I’d give it another chance to warm your heart!
Tying Knots – Ken Liu
Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 52
*Ken Liu is one of my favorite rising stars in SF short fiction. This a a really interesting story that blends cutting-edge science problems with intercultural conflicts. I was also privileged to help critique this story when Ken shared it with the Critters online workshop.
Breakaway, Backdown – James Patrick Kelly
Lightspeed Magazine February Issue
*Make sure you listen to this one with your ears. The narrator does a fantastic job and the “one-sided conversation” format took me to new and exciting places (especially as a hobbyist writer).
Raft of the Titanic – James Morrow
StarShipSofa Episode 214
*Be aware this is a long one and to get to it, you’ll need to skip to timecode 31:55 (though I thought the previous segment was interesting too). That said, if you listen to this whimsical story (reminded me of Gulliver’s Travels to some degree) in a few smaller chunks, I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s another recent entry, but I think it deserves a spot in the year’s best for its micro world-building.
Epoch – Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow Podcast (Excerpt from With A Little Help)
*Yep, that’s two Doctorow stories out of 5. Don’t be upset – I could have made it 5 without breaking a sweat (he’s had a good year)! This story stuck with me all throughout the year, and I think it contrasts fairly well with the other chosen story.
That’s the list, BUT I am weak and will include below all the runners-up that I just couldn’t leave you without mentioning:
That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made – Eric James Stone
StarShipSofa Episode 194
*Starts at timecode 8:00. An interesting perspective on xenobiology and religion.
On A Clear Day You Can See All The Way To Conspiracy – Desmond Warzel
Escape Pod Episode 284
*The plot wasn’t amazing, but the way they actors used audio as the medium was pretty interesting and entertaining. It’s a morning radio show!
The ’76 Goldwater Dime – John Medaille
Escape Pod Episode 286
*A neat little story about a quirky man’s hobby.
Shannon’s Law – Cory Doctorow
Escape Pod Episode 291
*Another great Doctorow story that really stuck with me. It’s part of the Welcome to Bordertown collection and it pairs analog with digitial…with magical!
Midnight Blue – Will McIntosh
Escape Pod Episode 305
*A bit of a YA story, but I found the mythology and the characters very compelling.
Movement – Nancy Fulda
Escape Pod Episode 314
*A recent story about mental disorder and how it may simply be a matter of perception, not of disease.
Just Another Perfect Day – John Varley
Lightspeed Magazine August Issue
*”I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter……”
A Militant Peace – David Klecha and Tobias S. Buckell
Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 62
*This one will make you think about multinational initiatives like never before!
Staying Behind – Ken Liu
Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 61
*Another solid Ken Liu story, this time tackling some questions that only The Singularity can bring.
Pack – Robert Reed
Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 60
*A somewhat grisly tale of a far-future Earth and the disparities of different groups in society (yeah, I can’t say more than that vaguery, sorry).
Knights of the Rainbow Table – Cory Doctorow
Link to Chapter 01
*This is a series of podcast episodes that Doctorow released prior to final editing and publication of this story. I enjoyed some of the idea discussed and characters developed. To find the next episode after this one, just download the next podcast in the series (all visible on iTunes or his blog).
Hope you enjoy some of the stories on this list and if you really liked any in particular, remember to give a little contribution to the sponsoring podcast, as it will help them continue to produce a high-quality publications.