My Subjective List of the Best EscapePod Episodes… Part One
EscapePod is a science fiction anthology podcast founded in 2005 and still going strong. (Almost) every week, they release an episode – a short or flash fiction story, narrated for their listeners. They pay their writers and narrators, these days, quite well. The podcast has twice been a finalist for the Hugo Awards. Almost every episode is available to listeners for free. (I bumped across a few episodes that had corrupt files and wouldn’t download for me.) There are over 760 episodes available today and they have just released a print anthology, with 15 stories to celebrate their 15th year anniversary.
Now, I listen to a lot of classic radio dramas. But in an effort to not live my entertainment life entirely stuck in the past-before-I-was-born, I decided not too long ago that I would listen to all the EscapePod stories, from their beginnings, to today. Or to tomorrow, or…whenever I catch up with all their episodes.
When you visit the EscapePod site, you will see that, excepting the first few, all episodes receive a rating. For a brief period, I skipped some of the R and X rated episodes. I was thinking of saying that going forward I’d only be listening to episodes which weren’t rated X or R, but then I realized that a lot of the episodes I picked out as being superior are…rated R. So… I guess I will be continuing to listen to R and X rated episodes, although I feel a bit weird promoting them. I’ll assume that you, reader, will be adult, and choose the episodes you feel comfortable with trying, and not blame me if you listen to something that shocks you because of this blog post.
Anyway, now I present to you, out of the first 100 full-length short story and flash fiction EscapePod episodes, a shortlist, those which I consider the most entertaining 25.
Not many of these are very science-fiction-y. I generally prefer science fiction a bit soft, so if you’re here looking for a list of hard science fiction podcast episodes, sorry, this isn’t it.
Episode 3 – Three-Wish Habit – This one, I just straight up enjoyed.
Episode 6 – Jenny Nettles – It’s a ghost story which mentions Scottish, and Canadian, history. And, it’s good! How could I not like this one?
Episode 7 – The Trouble with Death Traps
Episode 13 – The Once and Future Dentist – Okay, I’ll be honest, this one probably wouldn’t have made the list, if I weren’t a sucker for Doc Holliday stories.
Episode 15 – Hell Notes – For people who like to eat.
Episode 20 – The Burning Bush – This one is rated X, but it is also funny.
Episode 22 – Don Ysidro – A little disturbing, but…also…nice? Also – When I listened to this story, I had a feeling that a particular story element was familiar. Then not long after, I re-listened to a story as presented on Dimension X, in 1950, ‘The Potters of Firsk.‘ I don’t want to say anymore because I don’t want to spoil either story, but I will say my spidey-senses were tingling accurately. There is a similarity.
Episode 25 – The Great Old Pumpkin
Episode 29 – Crystal Balls – a mystery…
Episode 30 – Aliens Love Oranges – humorous, and what a cool title!
Episode 36 – Connie, Maybe – Just generally all around great.
Episode 37 – Craphound
Episode 41 – Ambient Sleaze – Rated R, provides an explanation for terrible TV
Episode 54 – Tk’Tk’Tk
Episode 55 – Down Memory Lane – This one is good, but be forewarned it’s rather sad.
Episode 56 – The Clockwork Atom Bomb – This is an R-rated episode. It has a setting (future Congo) that I don’t encounter very much – actually I can’t remember ever coming across another science fiction story set in the Congo
Episode 72 – Joe Steele – Another R-rated episode. This is an alternative history story, which was a plus for me, and introduced me to a song I enjoyed, too.
Episode 75 – Yet another R-rated episode – Nano Comes to Clifford Falls
Episode 79 – Mountain, Man
Flash Episode – Oasis – Short, and it seems like it might not end well, but it’s hopeful at the same time
Flash Episode – Paul Bunyan and the Photocopier. Yes. It’s funny!
Flash Episode – Friday Night Gods – Also funny
Flash Episode – Mount Dragon – this one grew on me as it…unfolded
Part Two – Coming Some Time! (I hope to have a post about Dimension X episodes Next Month, and a best-of-the-next-100-EscapePod-episodes the month after that.)
[Edited after listening to episodes 80 through 180 – Over the holidays, you may wish to listen to Episode 138 – In The Late December, but although it is rated PG, it’s probably too weird and santa-at-the-end-of-the-world scary for some children.]
Please let me know if you’ve listened to any of these episodes, have other favourites, and have other science fiction podcasts to recommend!