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Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology

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The fifteenth anniversary of the Hugo-nominated science fiction podcast Escape Pod, featuring new and exclusive stories from today’s bestselling writers. Finalist for the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. Celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of cutting-edge science fiction from the hit podcast, Escape Pod. Escape Pod has been bringing the finest short fiction to millions The fifteenth anniversary of the Hugo-nominated science fiction podcast Escape Pod, featuring new and exclusive stories from today’s bestselling writers. Finalist for the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. Celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of cutting-edge science fiction from the hit podcast, Escape Pod. Escape Pod has been bringing the finest short fiction to millions of ears all over the world, at the forefront of a new fiction revolution. This anthology gathers together fifteen stories, including new and exclusive work from writers such as from Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu, Mary Robinette Kowal, T. Kingfisher and more. From editors Mur Laffterty and S.B. Divya comes the science fiction collection of the year, bringing together bestselling authors in celebration of the publishing phenomenon that is, Escape Pod.


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The fifteenth anniversary of the Hugo-nominated science fiction podcast Escape Pod, featuring new and exclusive stories from today’s bestselling writers. Finalist for the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. Celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of cutting-edge science fiction from the hit podcast, Escape Pod. Escape Pod has been bringing the finest short fiction to millions The fifteenth anniversary of the Hugo-nominated science fiction podcast Escape Pod, featuring new and exclusive stories from today’s bestselling writers. Finalist for the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. Celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of cutting-edge science fiction from the hit podcast, Escape Pod. Escape Pod has been bringing the finest short fiction to millions of ears all over the world, at the forefront of a new fiction revolution. This anthology gathers together fifteen stories, including new and exclusive work from writers such as from Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu, Mary Robinette Kowal, T. Kingfisher and more. From editors Mur Laffterty and S.B. Divya comes the science fiction collection of the year, bringing together bestselling authors in celebration of the publishing phenomenon that is, Escape Pod.

30 review for Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    A very eclectic anthology, not entirely on my taste. All were new to me, except Ken Liu' story, which happens to be the best here, in my pov. Here are my thoughts on them: 1. Citizens of Elsewhen, by Kameron Hurley - a time travel story, in which a squad is sent back in time to save women dying from giving birth. Only it doesn't have much logic. Nice writing style and idea, but no so great development. 3/5 2. Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the Incident at Jackrabbit Five, by T. Kingfisher - a vet is ha A very eclectic anthology, not entirely on my taste. All were new to me, except Ken Liu' story, which happens to be the best here, in my pov. Here are my thoughts on them: 1. Citizens of Elsewhen, by Kameron Hurley - a time travel story, in which a squad is sent back in time to save women dying from giving birth. Only it doesn't have much logic. Nice writing style and idea, but no so great development. 3/5 2. Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the Incident at Jackrabbit Five, by T. Kingfisher - a vet is having quite an adventure trying to deliver some babies. This kind of humor in sci-fi does not work for me. 2/5 3. A Princess of Nigh-Space, by Tim Pratt - a story set in a multiverse, but childish and unrealistic. 1/5 4. An Advanced Reader's Picture Book of Comparative Cognition, by Ken Liu - I've read it first in his collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. Exquisite. 5/5 5. Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right, by Sarah Gailey - an allegory of what power means in a court of law. 2/5 6. Fourth Nail, by Mur Lafferty - set in the same universe as Six Wakes, we are told. Sort of The Hunger Games with clones. 3/5 7. Alien Animals Encounters, by John Scalzi - classic Scalzi. The only amusing part for me was the dialogue at the end. 2/5 8. A Consideration of Trees, by Beth Cato - mystery tale with magic elements. Nice worldbuilding, lousy plot. 2/5 9. City of Refuge, by Maurice Broaddus - a story with a twist, featuring a former convinct and his parole officer. 1/5 10. Jaiden's Weaver, by Mary Robinette Kowal - sweet and lovely, about a girl and her unusual alien pet. 4/5 11. The Machine That Would Rewild Humanity, by Tobias Buckell - disturbing post apocalyptic story, where Earth is run by machines. 4/5 12. Clockwork Fagin, by Cory Doctorow - abandoned; too violent for me. 1/5 13. Spaceship October, by Greg van Eekhout - two children aboard a generationship discover something that enrage them. 4/5 14. Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends, by Tina Connolly - a story on how art and kindness bring people together. 2/5 15. Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death, by N.K. Jemisin - more fantasy than sci-fi, a tale with dragons trained to persecute dark-skinned people. 2/5 >>> ARC received thanks to Titan Books via NetGalley <<< Note: almost all stories from this anthology are originally podcasts, and most of them (and many, many others) can be found here: https://escapepod.org/ . The list with platforms on which they are available is at the bottom of the page.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    A collection of sci-fi stories written to be read for the Escape Pod podcast (which I'd never heard of, I must confess). As with pretty much any anthology, the quality varies, although I can't say I've seen such lows and such highs, side to side. There is some real poor to actually outright bad material here (Tim Pratt has written a deadly dull story with characters babbling exposition at eachother, to name one), and just as many gems (Tobias Buckell has written a story about robots contemplatin A collection of sci-fi stories written to be read for the Escape Pod podcast (which I'd never heard of, I must confess). As with pretty much any anthology, the quality varies, although I can't say I've seen such lows and such highs, side to side. There is some real poor to actually outright bad material here (Tim Pratt has written a deadly dull story with characters babbling exposition at eachother, to name one), and just as many gems (Tobias Buckell has written a story about robots contemplating to rewild the extinct race of humans, to name another one). Seeing as supposedly hundreds of stories have been written for the podcast, this spread of quality is especially baffling. I also could've done without the gushing introductions, telling us how fantastic every writer is and how many prizes they have won (is there any genre that has as many prizes a sci-fi?) - especially because there are little biographies at the back of the book. Tread carefully. (Thanks to Titan Books for providing me with a review copy through Edelweiss) Citizens Of Elsewhen - 3 stars Report Of Dr. Hollowmas On The Incident At Jackrabbit Five - 2 stars A Princess Of Nigh-Space - 1 star An Advanced Reader's Picture Book Of Comparative Cognition - 3 stars Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right - 3 stars Fourth Nail - 1 star Alien Animal Encounters - 2 stars A Consideration Of Trees - 3 stars City Of Refuge - 4 stars Jaiden's Weaver - 4 stars The Machine That Would Rewild Humanity - 5 stars Clockwork Fagin - 4 stars Spaceship October - 4 stars Lions And Tigers And Girlfriends - 3 stars Give Me Cornbread Or Give Me Death - 3 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: Escape Pod the podcast celebrates fifteen years with this very strong collection of fifteen short stories that illustrate the vast imagination and high quality of science fiction today. Anthologies are usually a mixed bag for me, but wow, I’m happy to say that Escape Pod is one of the strongest anthologies I’ve ever read. I en I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: Escape Pod the podcast celebrates fifteen years with this very strong collection of fifteen short stories that illustrate the vast imagination and high quality of science fiction today. Anthologies are usually a mixed bag for me, but wow, I’m happy to say that Escape Pod is one of the strongest anthologies I’ve ever read. I enjoyed every single story in this collection and loved most of them, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Yes, there are quite a few heavy hitters included in this book, and you would expect their stories to be good, but still, this is quite a feat. I was unaware of the Escape Pod podcast before I read this, but now I’m going to be checking it out on a regular basis. This collection includes fifteen stories by contributors to the podcast over the past fifteen years, some of them reprints and some written just for this collection. Usually when I review anthologies, I only highlight a handful of stories that I enjoyed, but hey, it’s impossible to choose this time, so I’m going to give you a brief review of each one! (order of the stories below is random, by the way) I also want to mention that all the stories are completely different from each other. This truly was a Godiva box of chocolates experience, where it didn’t matter which one you picked, each story had its own unique and delicious flavor. Even better, I found the overall theme of the collection to be hopeful and uplifting, which isn’t always the case in science fiction. I also enjoyed Serah Eley's introduction, which touches on the very beginnings of the podcast and how it became what it is today. REPORT OF DR. HOLLOWMAS ON THE INCIDENT AT JACKRABBIT FIVE by T. Kingfisher A mostly humorous story about a veterinarian on Jackrabbit Colony giving her official statement  to a software program called I-Witness (“At Taxon, clarity is our business! ™”) after an “incident” involving a pregnant goat. This story had Kingfisher’s trademark wry humor and was a lighthearted glimpse into an interesting future. TIGER LAWYER GETS IT RIGHT by Sarah Gailey A mild-mannered, incompetent attorney surprises everyone during a trial when his client gives him a special gift that will allow him to win. I thought this was a weird but fun story with a nice surprise twist. FOURTH NAIL by Mur Lafferty I think your enjoyment of this story might hinge on whether or not you have read Lafferty’s Six Wakes. For me, I loved this! I gave Six Wakes five stars when I reviewed it several years ago, and in this story, the author brings several of those characters back and places them in a completely different—but just as dire—situation. This story has a interesting Hunger Games vibe at the end, and I honestly think the author could use this as a jumping off point for a Six Wakes sequel. ALIEN ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS by John Scalzi This was a lot of fun and one of the lighter stories in the bunch. It’s framed as a TV/radio show who’s host poses a new question each week to people on the street. This week’s question: What’s the most interesting encounter you’ve had with an alien animal species? Scalzi formats his story as short interviews and they are pretty hilarious! SPACESHIP OCTOBER by Greg van Eekhout Greg van Eekhout proves that even on a generation ship, life isn’t equal or fair. Two girls from the “poor” part of the ship make a startling discovery one day when they wander into a restricted area by mistake. The theme of the divide between rich and poor is thoughtfully and poignantly done, but the ending gives us hope and shows how resilient humans can be. A PRINCESS OF NIGH-SPACE by Tim Pratt I loved this one! Except for the ending, which was a little too abrupt. But still, it was very imaginative and enjoyable. A woman inherits her granny’s mansion after she dies, but discovers a couple of unsavory men—who are hiding in the basement—are threatening to kill her if she doesn’t help them out. Pratt’s writing is so good, and this multiverse tale kept me riveted. I’m so glad I already have a copy of his upcoming novel Doors of Sleep  because I'm looking forward to reading more of his work. JAIDEN’S WEAVER by Mary Robinette Kowal I absolutely adored this story about how being different can make you very special indeed. Jaiden begs her parents for a teddy bear spider egg, so she can raise her own pet. But things don’t quite go as expected, and Jaiden has to improvise in order to get what she wants. Kowal’s story is uplifting and simply delightful, and she shines a positive light on disabilities by showing that perseverance can overcome many obstacles. And yes, you read that right. Teddy bear spider! THE MACHINE THAT WOULD REWILD HUMANITY by Tobias Buckell This story gave me a lot to think about. In the far future, humans are extinct and machines run the world. One robot works for a company that is trying to bring humans back, but not everyone agrees that should happen. I loved Buckell’s weird apocalyptic world, and I’d love to read more stories like this. LIONS AND TIGERS AND GIRLFRIENDS by Tina Connolly I loved this story! Set on a generation ship, a group of teens decide to add some art to their boring lives by performing The Wizard of Oz. This was so uplifting and hopeful and I loved Connolly’s sparkling prose. There is a sweet queer relationship between two of the girls, and I loved her message of enemies coming together to meet a common goal. GIVE ME CORNBREAD OR GIVE ME DEATH by N.K. Jemisin This is one of the shortest stories of the bunch but boy does it deliver! Jemisin’s stellar writing skills are evident in this futuristic story of violent dragons who hold sway over the human population, especially Black people because the dragons have been trained to love “dark meat.” Ugh, right? This idea is a jumping off point for a story about a group of angry women who decide to rewire the way the dragons think of them and change their fate. Once again, this imaginative story is full of hope. CITIZENS OF ELSEWHEN by Kameron Hurley Hurley’s trademark feminist sensibility shines through in this story about a team of time travelers who are tasked with jumping back in time in order to save women from dying in childbirth, knowing that their deaths lead to a calamitous future. This is a familiar story but you haven’t seen it done in quite this way, I’m pretty sure. I hate to sound like a broken record, but once again, I got a sense of hopefulness from this tale, even though it’s awfully bleak. AN ADVANCED READER’S PICTURE BOOK OF COMPARATIVE COGNITION by Ken Liu This beautifully written tale gave me chills and felt like a warm hug at the same time. Liu explores the theme of “there are many ways to say ‘I love you’” in this reflective story about a woman who is determined to travel beyond the stars, and the husband and child she leaves behind. A CONSIDERATION OF TREES by Beth Cato Cato’s story is a well done mash-up of science fiction and fantasy, and includes a pet “felizard” and fairies. A “xenoarbitrator” gets mixed up in a murder investigation but makes a starling discovery about her past that she wasn’t expecting. There is a lot of humor in this story, and you should read it just to meet the felizard! (Confession: I want one.) CITY OF REFUGE by Maurice Broaddus By far the darkest story in this collection, City of Refuge is tough to read but oh so important. In the editor’s notes, we learn that Broaddus wrote this before the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement that exploded back in June, and his story eerily echoes those events. In a horrific future where the air is barely breathable, an ex-convict who is simply trying to exist finds himself the target of a hateful parole officer. I found this story to be the only one that doesn’t seem to fit in theme-wise, mostly due to its bleakness and revenge scenario. I absolutely loved it, however, and I recommend everyone check it out. CLOCKWORK FAGIN by Cory Doctorow Doctorow channels Dickens in this bleak yet hysterically funny reimagining of Oliver Twist, a steampunk version that was ridiculously fun to read. The poor children of St. Agatha's Home for the Rehabilitation of Crippled Children find their lives considerably improved when a new boy named Monty joins them. Doctorow nails Dickens' style, and I loved the weird combination of clockwork engineering and the Victorian time period. I won't tell you what happens, but trust me, you won't want to miss this story! Fans of the podcast will enjoy seeing all these stories under one cover, and newbies will love the wide variety of subject matter and themes. All science fiction fans should add Escape Pod to your "must read" list immediately! Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andreas

    Escape Pod is a well known podcast which has been producing SF short stories since fifteen years. To celebrate this anniversary, the editors collected fifteen SF stories in this publication. It's a mixup of previously published stories (e.g. from Liu, Scalzi, Kowal, and Doctorow) available on the online magazine, and some original stories. The author lineup is just great and look at this awesome cover illustration! The authors contributed stories from a broad field of SF subgenres. There's someth Escape Pod is a well known podcast which has been producing SF short stories since fifteen years. To celebrate this anniversary, the editors collected fifteen SF stories in this publication. It's a mixup of previously published stories (e.g. from Liu, Scalzi, Kowal, and Doctorow) available on the online magazine, and some original stories. The author lineup is just great and look at this awesome cover illustration! The authors contributed stories from a broad field of SF subgenres. There's something in it for everyone with time travel, space opera, multiverse, near future, surreal, posthuman, science fantasy, and steampunk. While YA stories don't fit to my taste, Mary Robinette Kowal's and Tina Connolly's stories might be just your thing. One story is especially relevant in our days, and I found Broaddus's take on BLM with his "City of Refuge" one of the best stories here. But there are also a couple of other great gems in it making the anthology not exactly a must-read but worthwhile, and I can fully recommend it. As usual, please find the detailed reviews in the links below. Contents: ★★★☆☆ • Citizens of Elsewhen • 2018 • Time travel short story by Kameron Hurley • time travelling midwives help out in Roman times • review ★★★+☆☆ • Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the Incident at Jackrabbit Five • 2020 • Space opera short story by T. Kingfisher • Space Marine Midwive Corps in action • review ★★★+☆☆ • A Princess of Nigh-Space • 2020 • Multiverse short story by Tim Pratt • "Sudden Princess" in the Multiverse • review ★★★☆☆ • An Advanced Reader’s Picture Book of Comparative Cognition • 2016 • Near SF short story by Ken Liu • A father reads tales of alien life to his daughter • review ★★★★☆ • Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right • 2020 • Surreal short story by Sarah Gailey • a lawyer gets modded to win his case • review ★★☆☆☆ • Fourth Nail • 2020 • Posthuman SF short story by Mur Lafferty • A clone factory's operator needs to decide upon an incoming replication file • review ★★☆☆☆ • Alien Animal Encounters • 2001 • SF flash fiction by John Scalzi • funny interviews with people encountering alien animals • review ★★★+☆☆ • A Consideration of Trees • 2020 • Science Fantasy short story by Beth Cato • A mediator between species investigates in a spooky forest • review ★★★★★ • City of Refuge • 2020 • BLM SF short story by Maurice Broaddus • an African-American ex-convict is confronted by his shady probation officer • review ★★★☆☆ • Jaiden’s Weaver • 2009 • YA SF short story by Mary Robinette Kowal • a girl does everything to get one of those precious riding pets • review ★★★★★ • The Machine That Would Rewild Humanity • 2020 • Post-Singularity short story by Tobias Buckell • an AI works on rewilding humans after their extinction • review ★★★★☆ • Clockwork Fagin • 2012 • Steampunk novelette by Cory Doctorow • orphanage kids manage themselves by turning their fagin into an automaton • review ★★★☆☆ • Spaceship October • 2020 • SF short story by Greg van Eekhout • Energy resources on a generation ship get scarcer • review ★☆☆☆☆ • Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends • 2020 • SF short story by Tina Connolly • hyperventilating teen is going to stage Wizard of Oz on a space ship • review ★★★★☆ • Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death • 2019 • Science Fantasy short story by N.K. Jemisin • The government oppresses people of colour with dragons • review

  5. 4 out of 5

    *Tau*

    In 2005 Steve Eley started the science-fiction podcast Escape Pod in which short stories of different writers are read aloud. Afterwards he launched a second podcast for horror stories, PseudoPod, and later a third one for fantasy, PodCastle. After posting an episode every week for five years on Escape Pod, he passed the torch and made a transformation to Serah Eley (who also wrote the foreword of this book). Since 2017 the podcast is co-edited by Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya. To celebrate the 15th In 2005 Steve Eley started the science-fiction podcast Escape Pod in which short stories of different writers are read aloud. Afterwards he launched a second podcast for horror stories, PseudoPod, and later a third one for fantasy, PodCastle. After posting an episode every week for five years on Escape Pod, he passed the torch and made a transformation to Serah Eley (who also wrote the foreword of this book). Since 2017 the podcast is co-edited by Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya. To celebrate the 15th year anniversary of Escape Pod they decided to compose an anthology of exactly 15 stories (one for each candle apparently) written by authors whose works were covered in the podcast previously. Some of those stories can be found on Escape Pod, but most of them are written especially for this book. The line-up is really impressive. Just look at the names below! The good thing about anthologies is that there's always something to everyone's taste. That's no different here. Humor, ethical questions, time travelling, AI, steampunk, … You can find it all in this book. But the plus is at the same time a minus: it's very well possible that not all the stories will appeal to you equally. Read other reviews and you'll see that every reader has different experiences. One thing is for certain though: everyone agrees that there are some real gems in this book. Here's my personal appreciation of the 15 stories in this SF-anthology, but it's highly recommended to judge them for yourself. For me, this was a fascinating voyage of discovery during which I got to know many different authors and appreciated the stories of T. Kingfisher, Ken Liu and Cory Doctorow the most. Without further ado: Citizens of Elsewhen - Kameron Hurley ⭐⭐ A feminist take on time travelling midwives. To say it in the author's writing style: "What a fucking moralizing story!" It's not that swearing has to be banned out of a story, but it has to serve some purpose and that doesn't seem the fucking case here. So it's real shit that these words are thrown in at every fucking moment. For the rest the story begins intriguing, although a bit confusing as well. It holds the attention till about two third, but then it begins to lecture the reader. There's no refinement at all and the 'message' is delivered (pun intended) far too explicitly, which actually nullifies it completely. Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the Incident at Jackrabbit Five - T. Kingfisher ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ If you're a bit reticent because this is another midwives-story, there's absolutey no need to. What a wonderfully humorous story! It reminds of Douglas Adams in the best of ways and will certainly make you curious to discover other works of this author, who writes in different genres btw. A Princess of Nigh-Space - Tim Pratt ⭐⭐ After an exciting start this story falls rather flat. Actually, it's as if you're reading a child's essay. The plot doesn't rise above the level of a predictable ten-year-old adventurer (except maybe for the end). This story was written especially for this anthology, but if you want to read some other short stories of this author's hand, you can head over to the overview of short stories on his website. An Advanced Reader’s Picture Book of Comparative Cognition - Ken Liu ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Pure poetry! For everyone with a broad field of scientific interests (neuroanatomy, physics, chemistry, …). For people who like to eat food for thought and love to look at images painted by words. For those who are eternally searching for that sparkling sense of wonder. And for those who want to discover this story: you can read or listen to it here. Can't you get enough of it? Head over to the website of Ken Liu where other short stories are available. Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right - Sarah Gailey ⭐⭐⭐ Original, but there's something missing which causes your attention to wander away. The whole story revolves around one central idea. And even though it's a good one, somehow it doesn't generate an overall feeling of satisfaction. 2,5* rounded up to 3*, because this story was better than the other 2*-stories. Fourth Nail - Mur Lafferty ⭐⭐ After an interesting start things get in a muddle rather quickly. An open ending can be good, but in this case the story just has no ending at all. It stops abruptly somewhere in the middle of the action, as if the word count was reached and the "That's all folks"-tune was already within hearing range. It would definitely come better into its own if it were elaborated into a longer story or if the short story was well-rounded. Alien Animal Encounters - John Scalzi ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Nice concept of little stories in a short story. Each entry pulls you right away into the world of strange creatures and manages to evoke suspension of disbelief. With a humorous finishing touch. You can listen to this story through this Escape-podcast. A Consideration of Trees - Beth Cato ⭐⭐⭐ An original mix of very different elements like robots, faeries, 'felizards', … They're brought together in a nice way, although the story could use some more tension. And sometimes it seems that there are too many 'messages' forced upon the reader, which doesn't feel natural anymore. 2,5* rounded up to 3*, because this story was better than the other 2*-stories. City of Refuge - Maurice Broaddus ⭐ Science-fiction is all about imagination, endless possibilities and the feeling of exploration. This story doesn't reflect that point of view at all as it focusses almost entirely on anger and negativity. There are a few elements that can be qualified as 'science-fiction', but they're just details that don't contribute anything to the story and could've been left out without any problem. In fact, this story would completely come into its own in a BLM-anthology. But in a SF-anthology it may not always be fully appreciated as some readers have other expectations. Jaiden’s Weaver - Mary Robinette Kowal ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Delightful story about a twelve-year-old girl and her teddy bear spider. What the latter is exactly, that's for you to find out. One thing is certain: the author draws you immediately in her imaginative world. Curious to discover this story? You can read or listen to it here. The Machine That Would Rewild Humanity - Tobias Buckell ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Interesting take on AI and human behaviour. Except for one little thing that kept nagging (view spoiler)[This takes place "one hundred years after the extinction of humanity", but in Kensington Zoo they already "recreated a pack of humans 20 years ago"? That means they weren't "extinct" anymore at that moment. (hide spoiler)] , this story was absolutely worth the read. Clockwork Fagin - Cory Doctorow ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Great story for everyone who likes to be immersed in a steampunk world. The beginning reminds of a scene in Nobody's Boy from Hector Malot, only much better written. Although it's the longest story in this anthology, it reads much more smoothly than some of the shorter ones and it keeps you guessing what will happen next. Can't you wait to discover it? Read or listen to it here. Spaceship October - Greg van Eekhout ⭐⭐⭐ Life on a generation spaceship forms the background to some ethical questions. Again a story with a message, but brought with more subtlety this time. Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends - Tina Connolly ⭐ About queer students in space who want to start a drama department in their school. Whoa, whoa, wowowow!!! This is SOOOOOO Young Adult-like with all the abbr.'s and SHOUTING and teenage drama queen acts (yep, pun intended). Good for those who like this kind of writing style. Although most adults probably won't be as overwhelmed by it as young teenagers. Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death - N.K. Jemisin ⭐⭐ Very short story which rambled on and on and which - just like some of the other stories in this book - shoved its message down the reader's throat and didn't show much refinement by doing that. Nor is it the best one to end a SF-anthology with, as it is more fantasy with dragonlike creatures. Nevertheless, an extra star as the characters didn't act like victims all the time (although not the same can be said about the written thoughts) and did defend themselves in a creative way. *Thanks to NetGalley and Titan Books for providing a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    A great anthology of 15 stories, of which, I have to say, I didn’t fully enjoy about 2. So, that’s a win. There was 1 that was a complete masterpiece when it came to pure art in wordery. 1 that was just utterly cute. 1 that was hilarious (it includes a pregnant goat in space) and a whole dozen or so that highlight everything that is wrong in our society. You say sci-fi, I say: space, aliens/beings, weird and advanced gadgets and weapons, time travel, wormholes, great danger to the Universe, slime A great anthology of 15 stories, of which, I have to say, I didn’t fully enjoy about 2. So, that’s a win. There was 1 that was a complete masterpiece when it came to pure art in wordery. 1 that was just utterly cute. 1 that was hilarious (it includes a pregnant goat in space) and a whole dozen or so that highlight everything that is wrong in our society. You say sci-fi, I say: space, aliens/beings, weird and advanced gadgets and weapons, time travel, wormholes, great danger to the Universe, slime, no gravity, no oxygen, stars, advanced civilizations, AI. Escape Pod delivers it all. If I had to pick one story from the anthology to tell you more about, then it has to be An Advanced Reader’s Picture Book of Comparative Cognition by Ken Liu. Just, holy sheeet what masterful wordery, story and moral. It was truly challenging for me to read, which made it all the more intriguing, but I couldn’t even comprehend how someone could build sentences much like Liu does. He deserves every award going out there. My darling, my child, my connoisseur of sesquipedalian words and convoluted ideas and meandering sentences and baroque images, while the sun is asleep and the moon somnambulant, while the stars bathe us in their glow from eons ago and light-years away, while you are comfortably nestled in your blankets and I am hunched over my chair by your bed, while we are warm and safe and still for the moment in this bubble of incandescent light cast by the pearl held up by the mermaid lamp, you and I, on this planet spinning and hurtling through the frigid darkness of space at dozens of miles per second, let’s read. Yeah? See what I mean? *starry eyed* Some of my short, crude commentary as I read the stories: “Wow!” “So good! Funny! Want to explore author’s work more!” (T.Kingfisher is the author by the way) “Very inventive!” / “Wow! just wow!” / “Bonkers! Fun!” / “Hmm. Not funny or even remotely amusing.” / “Oof! What an ending! Bravo!” / “Amazing story – so much heart!” / “Interesting, well-balanced, point made, brilliant.” / “Wholesome! Marvellous!” Contributors: Kameron Hurley, T. Kingfisher, Tim Pratt, Ken Liu,Sarah Gailey, Mur Lafferty, John Scalzi, Beth Cato, Maurice Broaddus, Mary Robinette Kowal, Tobias Buckell, Cory Doctorow, Greg Van Eekhout, Tina Connolly, N. K. Jemisin

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura (crofteereader)

    As I was reading, I wrote mini reviews of each story. Because that's the issue with reading short stories: each one kind of has to be taken separately - especially when they're by multiple authors. I'll admit, I was most excited to see familiar names: Hurley, Kingfisher, Jemisin. But I also discovered new-to-me authors whose other works I really want to check out, like Broaddus, Canto, and Van Eekhout. There were a couple of weird things with the ordering. Namely that the first two stories had to As I was reading, I wrote mini reviews of each story. Because that's the issue with reading short stories: each one kind of has to be taken separately - especially when they're by multiple authors. I'll admit, I was most excited to see familiar names: Hurley, Kingfisher, Jemisin. But I also discovered new-to-me authors whose other works I really want to check out, like Broaddus, Canto, and Van Eekhout. There were a couple of weird things with the ordering. Namely that the first two stories had to do with midwifery in a collection that had no alignment with midwifery at all. But also that stories in the second half seemed more geared towards a younger audience (themes, style, less cursing, ages of protagonists, etc). Not all short stories are created equal. And in fact, I was struggling through the first half of the collection because the stories felt incomplete or without a driving force. That was then corrected in the latter half, but I kept wondering: at what cost? {Thank you Titan Books and NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review; all thoughts are my own} Here is the breakdown of my reviews of each individual story (by author name): -Kameron Hurley story - Hurley's writing always makes me feel a little bit stupid, like it exists on a higher plane that I can't quite reach. This one is relatively straight-forward, with an uncomplicated goal. But we end feeling unresolved and that doesn't really sit well with me. Asa, our narrator, asks a moral question that should be at the center of the story and it's brushed aside. 3/5⭐️ -T Kingfisher story - Okay, I'll admit I wasn't expecting two midwifery stories in a row. While there is Kingfisher's token humor (in the form of a machine constantly interrupting for clarity of random things), it again felt kinda like "why do we care?" I guess I'm just used to Kingfisher being scary and very "in your head" but this one didn't give me that at all. 2/5⭐️ -Tim Pratt story - so much talking and almost nothing happening... Basically an Anastasia retelling but modern and kinda boring because we don't get to see any real opulence; instead we get an info-dump in the form of chat-over-a-bad-diner-meal. And another unsatisfactory "the adventure is just beginning" ending... 2/5⭐️ -Ken Liu story - I've never read Liu before, so this was an introduction to his work. I'm not gonna lie, for a story that was theoretically supposed to be geared towards children, there was a lot of jargon. Like, unnecessary jargon. I really loved the central thread of the family but most of the sections about other species just felt like filler. 3/5⭐️ -Sarah Gailey story - I'm all for a story about personal growth and self-confidence. I'm also all for people turning into tigers. But what gets me is that... he didn't really win. Like, this can't just be how that ends because he hasn't done anything? Like... If you're gonna be a lawyer, be a lawyer and beat the bad guy. You can't just eat him and say you've won? 3/5⭐️ -Mur Lafferty story - Okay, this was probably my favorite of the bunch so far and I think I'm going to have to bump Six Wakes up on my TBR because I'm very intrigued by this world. We're left with kind of a cliffhanger, but I feel like we accomplished what we set out to and my guess is it ties in directly with Six Wakes in some way. 3.5/5⭐️ -John Scalzi story - Kinda dumb but also kinda fun: just a series of independent monologues as people describe amusing encounters with various alien animals. Not anything to write home about, but Scalzi really encapsulates the tone of these random impromptu interviews - 3.5/5⭐️ -Beth Cato story - I love when stories (be they short, novellas, novels, whatever) twist the lines between genres. Here we have a character who is obsessed with and deeply connected to fairy tales, oral tradition, and mythology in a distinctly futuristic setting with aliens also contributing to the mix of folklore - 4/5⭐️ -Maurice Broaddus story - a world so like our own (but farther down in a spiral of destruction), from the perspective of someone who many wouldn't consider: an ex-con, an addict. The prose is poignant and clear, with every sentence precise and nothing wasted. I need to go find more of Broaddus's work because he killed it 4.5/5⭐️ -Mary Robinette Kowal story - I guess they saved the best stories for the second half because they've been getting much better. Heartwarming tale of a kid and her (alien) pet - the determination and self-sufficiency needed to acquire and care for said pet. Even when it's a little... Strange. Very much had the feeling of a children's story, so it didn't really fit with everything else but still good - 4/5⭐️ -Tobias Buckell story - I'm always curious about how people view the age of AI/machines. But what about a post-human future? Buckell creates exactly the sort of totally human but also distinctly robotic question: bring back the humans and risk destruction / becoming monsters for the sake of preservation/restoration or just let them rot? 4/5⭐️ -Cory Doctorow story - why is there always that one story that's like 3x longer than every other story in a collection? Sometimes they throw in a novella for good measure. This one had rather dry writing and was, again, rather a "younger" story than most of the others. It took some getting into, but not bad for my first Doctorow - 3.5/5⭐️ -Greg Van Eekhout story - I'm so down for this one! Generation ships are all well and good, but who pays for them and what privileges does the paying grant? Two kids from the failing Aft Hab discover just why there's such a power disparity and seek to correct it. Definitely going to look into Van Eekhout's other work - 4.5/5⭐️ -Tina Connolly story - I can't believe I had to wait 94% into this anthology before I got two queer girls kissing in space. Like... Isn't that the whole point of a scifi anthology? (No? Just me?) It was a little dorky (rewrite Wizard of Oz to foster "teamwork" or whatever) but the character's monologue was very relatable 3.5/5⭐️ -NK Jemisin story - What a way to end the collection: revolution and teamwork and standing up against oppression. Also dragons. Dragons are always a good move. And Jemisin is renowned for a reason: efficient prose and a tone that drapes one arm around you and welcomes you to the table. Now I want to know more about these dragons - 4/5⭐️

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maryam

    Review first published here: https://thecurioussffreader.wordpress... Escape Pod, a science fiction podcast, is now 15 years old! To celebrate, the Escape Pod team and Titan Books have assembled fifteen stories by famous authors to create this collection. Some stories are reprints, others are original to the anthology. I love reading short fiction so when I saw the list of contributors, I was over the moon. From Ken Liu to N.K. Jemisin, T. Kingfisher, Mary Robinette Kowall, John Scalzi, Kameron H Review first published here: https://thecurioussffreader.wordpress... Escape Pod, a science fiction podcast, is now 15 years old! To celebrate, the Escape Pod team and Titan Books have assembled fifteen stories by famous authors to create this collection. Some stories are reprints, others are original to the anthology. I love reading short fiction so when I saw the list of contributors, I was over the moon. From Ken Liu to N.K. Jemisin, T. Kingfisher, Mary Robinette Kowall, John Scalzi, Kameron Hurley and more, this anthology has it all! The selection of stories is also very broad and diverse. All the stories are SF but they are all completely different from one another. Some stories are funny like Tim Pratt’s A Princess of Nigh-Space and T. Kingfisher’s Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the Incident at Jackrabbit Five, others are wholesome like the adorable Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends by Tina Connolly and others are angry commentaries about our society like N.K. Jemisin’s Give me Cornbread or Give Me Death or Maurice Broaddus’s City of Refuge. Since the selection is so broad, some stories worked better for me than others. However, even the stories that I didn’t enjoy were well-written, they were just not to my taste like Fourth Nail by Mur Lafferty, a short story set in her Six Wakes world and that kind of completely spoiled Six Wakes? I might be completely wrong since I haven’t read the book but it seemed to be set after the end of the novel and it didn’t stand well on its own. Another miss was Alien Animal Encounters by John Scalzi. I have read several of Scalzi’s short stories and they tend to be hit or miss for me. Sometimes his humor works for me, sometimes it doesn’t and… it was the latter for this story. Except for these two, I liked most of the stories and I really liked or loved the others! I am not going to talk about all the stories in detail because it would be very tedious to read (and to write about!) but here are my five favorites: A Princess of Nigh-Space by Tim Pratt – 4.5* Tamsin, a woman who just inherited the fortune of her grandmother, receives mysterious cards from Bollard and Chicane, two famous assassins who may or may not come from another dimension. And in this dimension, Tamsin isn’t a coder but a… princess? This story is my first encounter with Tim Pratt’s works and I loved it. It’s very absurd but some moments were extremely funny and I really liked the unexpected twists and turns of this story! Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends by Tina Connolly – 5* This story was another absolute delight. Most science fiction short stories deal with very heavy themes and issues and it’s rare for me to giggle while reading or to feel very happy and hopeful at the end. However, it was the case with this story, it was geeky, goofy and adorable and I loved it. It follows a theater nerd living on a spaceship as she assembles a theater troop to play a new and improved version of The Wizard of Oz, with lots of battles, flying cats and revolutionary angry teenagers. What more can I say about it? It was great. 😀 City of Refuge by Maurice Broaddus – 5* On a completely different note, I really loved City of Refuge. Set in a world where the richest left Earth to live on terraformed planets and only the people who couldn’t afford remain on the dying planet. The main character is an ex-convict who is trying to build back his life but the entire world wants him to fail. This story enraged me, I especially hated with a passion a character who is supposed to help ex-convicts but who only makes their life harder. However, I loved how it depicted the fact that some people are always left behind and how they have to live with the decisions made by people richer (and usually whiter) than them. City of Refuge is a powerful story and sadly way too relevant in 2020… Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death by N.K. Jemisin – 4.5* This story by N.K. Jemisin deals with similar themes than City of Refuge like race, discrimination and injustice. However, even if both stories have similaries, I would highly recommend reading them both! I don’t want to say too much about this one because it would ruin the experience but if you like N.K. Jemisin and you like reading about dragons, you will love Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death. 😉 The Machine that Would Rewild Humanity by Tobias Buckell – 4.5* Finally, my last highlight is a story by Tobias Buckell. Set in a world where humans can only be seen in zoos and AIs rule the planet, this story follow a robot who works in a rehabilitation organization that wants to reintroduce humanity in New York. I’ve never read a story with this kind of premise and I absolutely loved the idea and how it was executed. The themes explored were fascinating, the pacing was perfect and I loved how it ended. Buckell is an amazing short fiction writer and I ought to read more of his works! FINAL THOUGHTS I really enjoyed this anthology, I’m not an Escape Pod listener since I prefer reading short fiction rather than listening to it but now, I think I have to give the podcast a try! I really appreciated how broad and diverse the selection of stories was and, even if some stories worked better than others, I wouldn’t add or remove any stories. I would definitely recommend this anthology, especially for readers who want to give short fiction a try.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This anthology of science fiction stories, Escape Pod, is drawn from the Escape Pod podcast to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary. As with all anthologies, there were some stories that worked for me better than others. I was disappointed to find a cluster of stories that committed the common SF error of introducing really promising concepts, but then spelling out the message of the story so clearly near the end that it ceased to be interesting. This was the case with Kameron Hurley's 'Citizens This anthology of science fiction stories, Escape Pod, is drawn from the Escape Pod podcast to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary. As with all anthologies, there were some stories that worked for me better than others. I was disappointed to find a cluster of stories that committed the common SF error of introducing really promising concepts, but then spelling out the message of the story so clearly near the end that it ceased to be interesting. This was the case with Kameron Hurley's 'Citizens of Elsewhen', Beth Cato's 'A Consideration of Trees' and Tobias Buckell's 'The Machine that Would Rewild Humanity', among others. However, in contrast to other SF collections I've read, this anthology was really strong on stories that were thoughtful and funny, or at least more light-hearted. I loved T. Kingfisher's 'Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the Incident at Jackrabbit Five', Mary Robinette Kowal's 'Jaiden's Weaver', John Scalzi's 'Alien Animal Encounters' and Cory Doctorow's 'Clockwork Fagin'. I'd already read NK Jemisin's 'Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death', in another collection, A People's Future of the United States, but it's a great story that's worth revisiting. Overall, this anthology definitely picked up in its second half, and has introduced me to a number of writers I hadn't heard of before. 3.5 stars. I received a free proof copy of this collection from the publisher for review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    Not a review. Includes my story "A Consideration of Trees." Not a review. Includes my story "A Consideration of Trees."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    Thanks to NetGalley and Titan Books for providing an ARC! _________________________________ First thing I have to say: what a GREAT time I had reading this anthology! And how rare to love - or at least like - all of the stories in a collection! It was a roller-coaster of scenes, emotions, characters. I laughed, I was close to tears, I felt injustice, joy, sadness, excitement! All of the stories are well-written, I was allergic to no writing-style, and I got gripped by every single story! I'll got Thanks to NetGalley and Titan Books for providing an ARC! _________________________________ First thing I have to say: what a GREAT time I had reading this anthology! And how rare to love - or at least like - all of the stories in a collection! It was a roller-coaster of scenes, emotions, characters. I laughed, I was close to tears, I felt injustice, joy, sadness, excitement! All of the stories are well-written, I was allergic to no writing-style, and I got gripped by every single story! I'll got through them in details, without spoilers! There is a foreword at the beginning of the collection explaining what is Escape Pod; I didn't know it so it was great to have this introduction! But maybe I shouldn't have read the opinions of the author about each story, because, even if it doesn't really spoil them, it does give their theme, and just that in itself is a bit spoilery sometimes. Last remark before I start: all these stories made me think and reflect on the future and on the human race in general. Could I really ask for more? - "Citizens of Elsewhen", Kameron Hurley I was surprised to love this story because I already knew it dealt with (view spoiler)[midwives and birth (hide spoiler)] and it's not a subject I'm attracted to! I loved the all concept of Elsewhen, (view spoiler)[the characters not knowing how many times they went there, their memories kind of "erased", the kind of loop they live because they haven't completed the mission the first times they got there. (hide spoiler)] And I loved the comparison between birth and war, the awe of it, and the reflection of the main character at the end: (view spoiler)[what if she's being used? What if she's a tool for an unknown enemy? (hide spoiler)] I already knew Kameron Hurley but hadn't read anything from her yet! - "Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the Incident at JackRabbit Five", T. Kingfisher Another story about(view spoiler)[midwives and birth (hide spoiler)] but this one was funny, both thanks to the format and the narrator! She is Dr. Hollowmas, a doctor living in a colony where they control births. And something went kind of wrong? Not in tragic way, rather in a funny way, as someone interrupted labour! I won't say more, but I laughed and really liked the whole feel of this story! - "A Princess of Nigh-Space", Tim Pratt This story was the first that left me frustrated and wanting more! It felt like the author ended it right when a novel would have "properly" started! If a novel follows this story, I WANT IT! And if there isn't... I WANT IT anyway! We follow a young woman who gets a strange call and, just after that, learns that her grand-mother just died. I won't say more, but I liked everything and wanted it to go on! (view spoiler)[I wanted to cross this door and discover this other world! (hide spoiler)] - "An Advanced Reader's Picture Book of Comparative Cognition", Ken Liu The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu was supposed to be part of my "try-a-chapter" experiment last week; it didn't happen, but I still got to discover this author thanks to Escape Pod! And what a discovery! I instantly loved the writing-style! Poetic, just so beautiful it made me want to read more and more of it. As to the story, at first, I had a hard time understanding; when it dawned on me, I was really moved! How impressive to move your reader in a few words like this! - "Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right", Sarah Gailey This was good weird to me! I even really really loved an aspect of it: (view spoiler)[when we get the other lawyer's point of view and he understands that the Vibrania child isn't helpless or innocent; she hides fierceness and plays along with her lawyer's "trick"! (hide spoiler)] It made me really want to read more from this author! - "Fourth Nail", Mur Lafferty I'm wondering if this story doesn't spoil Six Wakes as it takes place in the same universe with some characters from the novel. Either way, this is one of the I'm-frustrated-gosh-I-want-the-sequel story! We follow Regina who, during her nightshift, receives a strange message and asks her superior what to do about it. I can't say more, but I was gripped at some point and I really REALLY want to know more! - "Alien Animal Encounters", John Scalzi I know John Scalzi for his novels but never read him before! Here is a funny short story in the form of little interviews. People must answer one question: what was their strangest encounter with alien animals? That was really fun! - "A Consideration of Trees", Beth Cato One of my favorite stories from this collection, "A Consideration of Trees" deals with humans and their way of treating nature and its inhabitants. It was lucid, true, a beautiful mix of SF and Fantasy, and I want more! - "City of Refuge", Maurice Broaddus This story was more despairing than satisfying. We follow Royal, a Black man, who has to deal with his PO, Ford. Won't say more, but I felt anger reading this story and couldn't understand how we still live in a world like this, how the future could still be this way. Depressing, even if (view spoiler)[the ending can be a teensy bit satisfying as Royal gets his revenge! (hide spoiler)] - "Jaiden's Weaver", Mary Robinette Kowal Competing for my favorite story of this collection with "A Consideration of Trees"! "Jaiden's Weaver" was moving and hit a raw nerve: I could feel Jaiden's feelings, I could perfectly understand her, and... well, as I read, I grew less and less afraid of spiders! (until I meet one again, of course!) It was just beautiful, uplifting and true! - "The Machine that Would Rewild Humanity", Tobias Buckell On the top 3 of my favorite stories! This one is the one that made me think the most. I don't want to spoil any of it, so I'll use spoilers to talk about the story! (view spoiler)[The narrator is a machine/robot created by humans. They are extinct now, and the robots want to reintroduce them in the wild. (hide spoiler)] This idea is SO GOOD! I never read a story like this, it was really original to me! (view spoiler)[As the narrator tries to understand why someone would be against reintroducing humans in the wild, (hide spoiler)] the reader thinks about humanity, its place in the world and wonders if we are worth saving. - "Clockwork Fagin", Cory Doctorow This story is inspired by Charles Dickens! I was apprehensive because of that, but I had a good time - if I may use these words with this story! The narrator, orphaned and crippled, is sent to an orphanage managed by Grinder - great choice of name by the way! The children are beaten regularly and made to beg in the streets. They are mistreated, just like Dickens' characters! Everything changes when Monty arrives. I won't say more! It was quite suspenseful at some point and I loved the ending! - "Spaceship October", Greg van Eekhout This story deals with social justice and asks the question: to whom would the future be beneficial? It could be depressing - at some point, it is - but (view spoiler)[the ending kind of balances it, even if the harm has been done for the characters. (hide spoiler)] We follow children to make a discovery on their spaceship, October, taking part of humanity to Nova Terra. - "Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends", Tina Connolly I feared I wouldn't enjoy this one because, in her foreword, the author talked about romance; but I really liked it! It deals with art and its power while dealing with love and teenage feelings! - "Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death", N.K. Jemisin What better to finish this collection? I didn't expect this story to have (view spoiler)[dragons (hide spoiler)] in it: it made it perfect! I'd like a novel continuing this story! I basically loved everything: ideas, plot, characters, this sense of community and mutual assistance we can feel! Really, a great way to end the anthology! So, I discovered new authors to read and I had a great time traveling through time and space!

  12. 4 out of 5

    sallanvaara

    Ah, how lovely to read short stories again! Varying mileage with each story of course, but overall I really really liked this selection. Some authors I'd read from before, but many were new to me and this definitely made me want to read more from almost every single one of them! Here are tentative ratings for each story: Citizens of Elsewhere - 3 stars. Took me most of the story to get what was happening and then it was over. Probably something to do with it being the first story and me not being Ah, how lovely to read short stories again! Varying mileage with each story of course, but overall I really really liked this selection. Some authors I'd read from before, but many were new to me and this definitely made me want to read more from almost every single one of them! Here are tentative ratings for each story: Citizens of Elsewhere - 3 stars. Took me most of the story to get what was happening and then it was over. Probably something to do with it being the first story and me not being mentally primed for it. Report of Dr. Hollowmas on The Incident at Jackrabbit Five - 3.5 stars. Cute and funny! Nothing too mindblowing, but a fun little story all the same. A Princess of Nigh-Space - 3-ish stars. I LOVED the beginning so much, the concept of this was weird and great. But it ended wayyy too abruptly and in the middle of things and not in a very satisfying way. So a bit of a nose-dive in that sense. An Advanced Reader's Picture Book of Comparative Cognition - 4 stars. Very elegant and beautifully written and woven together. Mostly enjoyed for the language porn. Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right - 4 stars. Just... what??? :D This was incredibly surprising and funny, if a little convoluted, especially the ending. But what do we even read SF/F for if not for some convoluted weird fun times with a tiger. Fourth Nail - 2.5 stars. Didn't really get what was happening at all. Alien Animal Encounters - 3 stars. Short and sweet and not very deep, but a necessary break from having to take in a lot of new worlds and stories in a very short time. Funny and cute. A Consideration of Trees - 4 stars. I love me some fantasy in my sci-fi. The fairy/changeling plot was great and I loved the lizard sidekick so much! I wouldn't mind reading more about these characters and this world! City of Refuge - 4 stars. Well this was bleak. Made me super upset and sad, but that's kinda the point. This almost didn't feel like SF/F, because it was so painfully real. All in all definitely not an enjoyable read as such, but I can't help but respect it in all its harshness. Jaiden's Weaver - 3 stars. Back to the cute side of things, which was a relief as I was reading. Nothing mindblowing, but a lovely tale of a beloved childhood pet - whatever the hell it was :D The Machine That Would Rewild Humanity - 3.5 stars. Loved this concept, but it could've maybe used a bit more time to bulk up the philosophical weight. Clockwork Fagin - 5 stars. I think this was the longest story in the collection but it definitely earned every page used. Very fun and unexpected, and I'm so thankful it had a happy ending! A great time all in all. Spaceship October - 4 stars. Definitely reminiscent of An Unkindness of Ghosts, but in a good way. I love a good spaceship-as-a-class-warfare-metaphor story. The main characters were cute and I want to read more about them. Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends - 4.5 stars. This cleansed my soul after The Very Bad Amateur Theatre Book I read recently. Peak teen cuteness - in space! Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death - 5 stars. DRAGONS AND N. K. JEMISIN!!! I have no choice but to stan. This was awesome and achieved a lot in not that many pages. And also DRAGONS!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Escape Pod is an anthology of fifteen stories from fifteen writers who have been contributors to the Escape Pod podcast for the last fifteen years. This is an eclectic collection of Science Fiction stories and as with all such anthologies some are better than others but all are worth a read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Runalong

    Really enjoyable SF Anthology celebrating the diversity and talent currently in the genre - well worth your time Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl... Really enjoyable SF Anthology celebrating the diversity and talent currently in the genre - well worth your time Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Groucho42

    A collection of short stories from, based on the stories, what is a pretentious and useless podcast. Most are mediocre, trite and cardboard at best. The only two I can remember being above average are "Spaceship October" and "Give Me Cornbread Or Give Me Death." Both are towards the end, so if you get this just skip there. A collection of short stories from, based on the stories, what is a pretentious and useless podcast. Most are mediocre, trite and cardboard at best. The only two I can remember being above average are "Spaceship October" and "Give Me Cornbread Or Give Me Death." Both are towards the end, so if you get this just skip there.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    First of all, I had never heard of the podcast Escape Pod. I immediately smashed that subscribe button!!! I don't know how I missed it; I've literally searched my podcast app for "science fiction". I must be blind. Very excited to start listening! Anyway, this anthology of stories is a really eclectic mix of various flavors of sci-fi... I think almost anyone can find stories they like in this book. I was drawn to the sheer star power (Ken Liu? N.K. Jemisin? John Scalzi?!). The stories range from First of all, I had never heard of the podcast Escape Pod. I immediately smashed that subscribe button!!! I don't know how I missed it; I've literally searched my podcast app for "science fiction". I must be blind. Very excited to start listening! Anyway, this anthology of stories is a really eclectic mix of various flavors of sci-fi... I think almost anyone can find stories they like in this book. I was drawn to the sheer star power (Ken Liu? N.K. Jemisin? John Scalzi?!). The stories range from serious social commentary to silly YA space romance to funny interview style articles. I think my favorites were Jaiden's Weaver (all I need to say is "teddy bear spider") and Clockwork Fagin (steampunk orphanage kids go ham!). *** I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Good stuff. A nice mix of well-known and less known authors create a diverse set of stories that are good quality overall. There probably better collections out there, but this one is still worthwhile. I really appreciate the review copy!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Captain

    Every short story was worth the read, not a bad one in the bunch. Has a little something for every type of science fiction fan. Highly recommend.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Chastain

    Normally I read 1 or 2 stories in an anthology: this time I read ALL BUT 1 or 2. This collection has so many fun stories, and I'll be looking for a lot more by many of these new-to-me authors. Normally I read 1 or 2 stories in an anthology: this time I read ALL BUT 1 or 2. This collection has so many fun stories, and I'll be looking for a lot more by many of these new-to-me authors.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Celebrating fifteen years of original podcast science-fiction, Escape Pod offers up an anthology of fifteen stories from some of the most prominent names in the genre. I've always found short story collections a nice way to sample an author's work and decide if I might want to wade deeper into their works. This collection contains several authors I've read a great deal of what they've written (John Scalzi), some I've wanted to read for a while but haven't quite taken the plunge yet (N.K. Jemison Celebrating fifteen years of original podcast science-fiction, Escape Pod offers up an anthology of fifteen stories from some of the most prominent names in the genre. I've always found short story collections a nice way to sample an author's work and decide if I might want to wade deeper into their works. This collection contains several authors I've read a great deal of what they've written (John Scalzi), some I've wanted to read for a while but haven't quite taken the plunge yet (N.K. Jemison) and some that I'm aware of but haven't picked up something from yet. Overall, it's a pretty good collection with some interesting introductions by editors S.B. Divya and Murr Lafferty. Being a Scalzi fan, his story stood out, though I think I've read it before. I will admit that Lafferty's entry felt a bit abrupt, almost as if the author had a word or page count and just stopped writing when it was achieved. The other complaint with that story is that it's set within the universe of her Hugo-award nominated novel and I felt like I was missing some of the contexts of the story having not read the novel first. It did make me want to seek out the book and finally get it off the to-be-read pile, so I suppose that's something. I'm a big fan of podcast fiction and have enjoyed the podcast this collection celebrates. I've read these stories were originally presented as episodes of the podcast and halfway through, I couldn't help but wonder what they might be liked experienced as audio stories. I may have to look around a bit and give that avenue a try. I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This anthology is brilliant. There are some short stories in it that I would definitely read to my students and I’d happily recommend this to colleagues and scientist friends! There’s really something for everyone.... Some thoughts on the individual stories: Citizens of elsewhere (Kameron Hurley) - I Loved the idea of a group trained in changing the past and losing their own identity in the process - do they even get debriefed after a mission? Who is in charge now that they’ve changed their own This anthology is brilliant. There are some short stories in it that I would definitely read to my students and I’d happily recommend this to colleagues and scientist friends! There’s really something for everyone.... Some thoughts on the individual stories: Citizens of elsewhere (Kameron Hurley) - I Loved the idea of a group trained in changing the past and losing their own identity in the process - do they even get debriefed after a mission? Who is in charge now that they’ve changed their own future? Report of Dr Hollowmas on the incident at Jackrabbit 5 (T Kingfisher) - I’m honestly not too sure what I just read. A princess of Nigh Space (Tim Pratt) - Ok the concept is there, it would make an interesting book, but the lead characters a stone cold b*tch. An advanced readers picture book of comparative cognition (Ken Liu) - This was my favourite, as a scientist I loved reading about the different alien species. This was a cute story about how there are a million ways to say I love you in the universe across all species. Tiger lawyer gets it right (Sarah Gailey) - The court case of Vibrania vs Blick - good people versus the evil corporation. Again, the concept was interesting - but it just got a little bit too... silly? Fourth nail (mur lafferty) - Clones, dangerous creatures, computer viruses and a survival game like a spaceship hunger games - this needs to be made into a full length book! Alien animal encounters (John scalzi) - Alien animals are quite commonplace in this version of the world. This made me laugh reading about how humans would interact with alien animals and how some of our weirdest animals can look alien to us anyway (platypus) A consideration of trees (Beth Cato) - aAn investigator who believes humans have been ‘decisively immoral’. Combining folklore and fairytales with a sci fi future. Brilliant idea for a career as a ‘xenoarbitrator’ between species. This would make a really cool TV show.... City of refuge (Maurice broaddus) - I couldn’t really get into this. Drugs, blackmail and lost hope... Jaidens weaver (Mary Antoinette Kowal) - A parable or fable about a young girls desire to help her family, her love for her pet and an alien spider species spinning a web. This story actually made me emotional! It was lovely - I would read this to my students. The machine that would rewild humanity (Tobias Buckell) - There are now extinction reintroduction schemes for humans who have become an extinct species - except they’ve chosen to reintroduce a particular subset of humans that were traders in New York - how would they cope in this new world? How would they treat the machines they’d helped create? Kensington zoo has a few humans they’ve brought back from extinction but unfortunately they keep trying to escape... Clockwork fagin (Cory Doctorow) - Honestly, a little bit boring. It wasn’t ‘Sci-fi’ enough for me! A little bit steampunk... Spaceship october (Greg van eekhout) - A generation ship that’s miscalculated how much power is needed to keep the ‘firsts’ alive - at what point do you turn off their power supply to support the humans already alive on the generation ship? Lions and tigers and girlfriends (Tina Connolly) - it takes a real talent to relate The Wizard of Ox to an onboard teenage mutiny of a spaceship, but somehow it was successful. Give me cornbread or give me death (N. K. Jemisin) - genetically mutated dragons, collard greens and hot sauce ? There was no clear start, middle or end to this and it seems instead like someone’s crazy dream. Thanks NetGalley for the ARC

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    *copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review* Escape Pod is an anthology of science fiction stories, written to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the influential Escape Pod podcast, focused on sci-fi and fantasy.. The contributors include top notch writers, who have produced a lot of scintillating, thought provoking work for this anthology. I’ve been a big fan of some of these folks for years, but some of them were new to me. Fortunately, though the tales ran the gamut from laugh out loud h *copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review* Escape Pod is an anthology of science fiction stories, written to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the influential Escape Pod podcast, focused on sci-fi and fantasy.. The contributors include top notch writers, who have produced a lot of scintillating, thought provoking work for this anthology. I’ve been a big fan of some of these folks for years, but some of them were new to me. Fortunately, though the tales ran the gamut from laugh out loud humour to transcendental, to grim looks at the best and worst of humanity, the quality level remained pretty consistent throughout. Though I enjoyed some more than others, I had to appreciate the sheer quality of craft on display throughout this collection. The first piece, “Citizens of Elsewhen”, came from Kameron Hurley, whose work I’ve always enjoyed. It’s centred around a team of operatives going through time, bringing their technology and assistance to different times and places, in order to bring about a better future. This is thoughtful, and asks tricky, moral questions, and certainly kept my attention throughout. It’s a little less grim (I think!) than her other work, but it’s still got the uncompromising fire in the prose that keeps you turning pages. Then there’s another piece featuring midwives, “Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the Incident at Jackrabbit Five”, from T. Kingfisher, who I’d never read anything by before. It’s quirky, it’s funny, it’s acerbic, and it made me laugh out loud at least once. There’s a few surprises, and it’s a lovely contrast to Hurley’s tale. Kingfisher gives her protagonist a real sense of personality and a voice that really comes through as something special, and you really got a sense of character and world from the narration. Great fun. Tim Pratt’s “A Princess of Nigh Space” is next, and it’s mostly contemporary, with a splash of strangeness, and a dark iron streak running through the middle of the tale. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that it hits like an iron bar. This is a fairy tale where the fairies have fangs, and a twist like a knife at the end. Ken Liu’s “An Advanced Reader’s Picture Book of Comparative Cognition” shows off different types of alien life, and their methods of thought and communication. It’s startlingly inventive, gently lyrical, and it’ll make you think about the way you view the world. Sarah Gailey’s “Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right” is next; it’s innovative, bloody, brutal stuff, which slides a message in there under the blood and guts, so quietly that you might not notice until it’s living in your head. It does, just to be clear, feature an actual tiger, and centres on a courtroom drama of corporate malfeasance, which ends rather unexpectedly - and lets you know that there are ways to bring truth to power, but that you might get your hands dirty. “Fourth Nail” from Mur Lafferty is a mystery of sorts on a space station circling a ruined earth, populated by the super rich and those who serve them in return for escaping from the hell of the gravity well. It’s smoothly flowing sci fi, with a snappy story that always had me wanting to see what happens next. Though the ending was a little abrupt, it left me wanting more - and I’ll be off to find Lafferty’s other work as a result. It’s a fun story with some interesting social undertones and solid characterisation of people making hard choices in difficult, deeply strange circumstances. John Scalzi brings us “Alien Animal Encounters”. This explores various different creatures that humanity has run afoul of, with occasionally unpleasant, but always hilarious results. It’s a comforting read, which made me chuckle whilst admiring the breadth of imagination on display, and I hope it’ll do the same for you. Beth Cato’s “A Consideration of Trees” has a murde mystery at its heart, as a xeno-arbitrator attempts to work out how someone has been killed, why, and works that discovery through their own unique lens. The mystery is rather clever, builds tension nicely, and feels fair to the reader - they’re always one step behind, but the revelations by the narrator always feel within reach. The conclusion is at once unexpected and rather fun. As a blend of science fiction and something else entirely, this is a story you may want to read more than once. By contrast, Broaddus’ “City of Refuge” feels horrifyingly grounded in the contemporary. It centres on issues of structural racism, and the way society is weighted against those already fallen the furthest. It’s also a meditation on the stories we tell ourselves, what happens when we try to rise up, and the many forms of resistance available to those willing to pay the price. This is affecting, painful stuff, which also has a ring of truth and a raw pain about it. Then there’s Mary Robinette Kowal’s story, “Jaiden’s Weaver” about a young girl and her relationship with her very own teddy-bear spider, on a planet at the edge of nowhere. This is actually rather sweet, and the creature itself is vividly painted and its relationship with its human both affecting and believable. Tobias Buckell brings in “The Machine that would Rewild Humanity”, about an AI seeding programme to resurrect the human species. It’s a fascinating study of a different perspective, an effort to portray non-human intelligences, and their priorities. That this takes place in a thriving world, whose context includes the demise of humanity, is a bonus. Cory Doctorow’s “Clockwork Fagin” is, as the title implies, reminiscent of a steampunk version of Oliver Twist, where orphaned children from the computing looms try to better their lot, and succeed perhaps a little too well. This one is a straightforward tale, which cracks along nicely, and has some fun beats. I was smiling all the way through! Full disclosure, I’d never heard of Greg Van Eekhout before I read the story “Starship October”, but I’ll absolutely be looking out for more of their work. An exploration of power dynamics on a generation ship, whose inequalities are sometimes obvious and sometimes less so, it has powerful things to say about the necessity for change. About the process of that change. And about the fierceness required to see it through. Couldn’t stop turning the pages, and really wanted to see more of the creaking starship and its desperate dreams, even as the story came to a close. More please! “Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends”, from Tina Connolly, is a delightfully wholesome tale of queer teen romance, on a starship on its way to colonise another world. It, um, also features a space mutiny. And a play. The voice is intelligent, wry and thoroughly teen, and the whole story just made me smile. My heart grew three sizes that day! It’s fairly light, told through diary recordings, and really just great fun. N.K. Jemisin’s “Give me Cornbread or Give Me Death” is another story of revolution against a cabal of wealth and power. Cornbread does feature, but what kept me turning pages was the anger, the exploration of racism and the reaction against it, and, to be fair, the dragons. It’s a story that wears its heart on its sleeve, and it’s also a damn fine story. Overall, this is a collection which, not to belabour the point, has something for everyone. There’s humour, pathos, tragedy, full on sci-fi, time travel, dragons, a goat. It’s a set of diverse voices, bringing their best, and providing us with wildly imaginative and utterly delightful stories. It’s totally worth a look - I, for one, found a few authors that were new to me, and now need to go read the rest of their work.This is a marvellous collection, and one I wholeheartedly recommend.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Galloway

    It’s always difficult to rate an anthology because it’s unlikely every story will land for someone. I thought, at first, this might be the exception as it began with story after story that blew me away — the Kameron, Kingfisher, Pratt, Liu were all amazing. I was super excited about the Lafferty because I’ve wanted more of that universe. After that the stories became hit or miss, though I think there’s only one I didn’t like at all and one other that made me wonder why it was in THIS collection. It’s always difficult to rate an anthology because it’s unlikely every story will land for someone. I thought, at first, this might be the exception as it began with story after story that blew me away — the Kameron, Kingfisher, Pratt, Liu were all amazing. I was super excited about the Lafferty because I’ve wanted more of that universe. After that the stories became hit or miss, though I think there’s only one I didn’t like at all and one other that made me wonder why it was in THIS collection. But we end with an unsurprisingly amazing Jemisin tale. So I’ll give the anthology four stars because the highs are so high.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

    12/5/2020 Full review tk at TheFrumiousConsortium.net. 12/7/2020 I am not a pod(cast)person, but this anthology might change that for me! Or at least get me out of my very narrow lane of go-to things to listen to while wrapping Christmas presents or other visual-heavy artsy-crafty things. I tend to enjoy more radio-drama-type fare like Limetown or, even older than that, Sherlock Holmes stories that actually aired on the radio in the previous century. Which isn't to say that I haven't heard of Esc 12/5/2020 Full review tk at TheFrumiousConsortium.net. 12/7/2020 I am not a pod(cast)person, but this anthology might change that for me! Or at least get me out of my very narrow lane of go-to things to listen to while wrapping Christmas presents or other visual-heavy artsy-crafty things. I tend to enjoy more radio-drama-type fare like Limetown or, even older than that, Sherlock Holmes stories that actually aired on the radio in the previous century. Which isn't to say that I haven't heard of Escape Pod and its sister casts, just that I haven't had a chance to enjoy it yet, tho its reputation in the field is legendary. So when I heard that they'd come up with an anthology of fifteen stories to celebrate their fifteen years in operation, I jumped at the chance to sample their wares! Just the author list alone is enough to make the contemporary sci-fi fan salivate, with luminaries such as N. K. Jemisin, John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow among the contributors, alongside perhaps lesser known authors like Tim Pratt and Tina Connolly, who coincidentally provided two of my favorite stories here. Ms Connolly's Lions And Tigers And Girlfriends was a sweetly hilarious tale of theater kids on a generation ship, and I actually cried when Kai gave a stirring speech to rally her peers in communicating all their anger, hope and fear into storytelling (but also I am a sucker for stories that champion stories.) Mr Pratt's A Princess Of Nigh-Space was almost a complete 180 in attitude, as a young woman grapples with her grandmother's legacy: I found it chillingly charming regardless, and a nice upending of the Lost Heir trope. Another favorite of mine here was Cory Doctorow's Clockwork Fagin, which is also my favorite work of his to date. Set in an alternate steampunk reality, it tells the tale of long-suffering orphans living under the petty tyranny of a Dickensian Fagin figure, until a boy just as ruthless as the master comes in and refuses to be abused. I also enjoyed Ms Jemisin's Give Me Cornbread Or Give Me Death, which imagines a future resistance against a tyranny extrapolated in distressingly logical if pessimistic fashion from the current state of American affairs. Another lively extrapolation of the future was on display in Tobias Buckell's thoughtful The Machine That Would Rewild Humanity -- if things ever come to the pass described in his story, I'm rather inclined to agree with the narrator's actions (tho I did think it a bit silly that the future society didn't care about "why" criminals committed their crimes but did care about understanding the criminals, which seem to me integral parts of one another.) Mr Scalzi's Alien Animal Encounters was a cute/titillating/appalling series of vignettes that ended hilariously in large part due to its verisimilitude. Kameron Hurley's Citizens Of Elsewhen felt very much of a piece with her excellent novel The Light Brigade, but with an interesting twist that is unfortunately spoiled by the illuminating, perhaps too much so, foreword by Escape Pod's creator, Serah Eley. I did enjoy Ms Eley's descriptions of each story, but would probably save the entire foreword for reading after the rest of the book. One thing I did disagree with her tho, was in her characterization of editor Mur Lafferty's entry here, The Fourth Nail, as a satisfying standalone. It was a good story but definitely felt to me like a chapter from a bigger novel, as did Greg van Eekhout's Spaceship October. The latter, at least, ended on less of a cliffhanger than the former. As editors, however, Ms Lafferty and S. B Divya have done a marvelous job curating this, not only covering a myriad of sci-fi topics but also bringing together a wonderfully representative sampling of each author's works into a whole that I'm sure will send readers running to read more from each. Beth Cato in particular had a fun twist on science fantasy with A Consideration Of Trees, featuring a private investigator duo I'd like to read more about! Oh, hmm, I should probably push her Breath Of Earth up my To-Read list, especially since I've owned it now for almost three years. The only story that didn't have a similar effect on me was Maurice Broaddus' City Of Refuge, and that was only because of the casual misogyny of the interstitial bits comparing the concept of hope to various "unreliable" women; it was an otherwise affecting tale of the injustices of our penal system, set in an all-too-likely near-future. I'm still planning on getting to his Buffalo Soldier eventually, but it's certainly become less of a priority now. I truly love how Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology is such a terrific representative of contemporary sci-fi despite limiting itself to only fifteen stories. It's great both for newer readers to the genre and for hardcore fans looking for a quick fix of their favorite authors. I definitely have to make a point to listen to the podcast actual soon. Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology was published November 24th, 2020, by Titan Press and is available from all good booksellers, including Bookshop!. Want it now? For the Kindle version, click here.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marvin

    To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of Escape Pod, some of the driving forces behind the podcast have compiled an anthology containing one story for each year. Editors Mur Lafferty en S.B. Divya have selected stories of which some have appeared as podcast in the past already, but also brand new ones. Each of the stories is preceded by a short introduction from one of the editors. Serah Eley, the original founder of the podcast, introduces the entire anthology extensively. Readers who don’t mak To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of Escape Pod, some of the driving forces behind the podcast have compiled an anthology containing one story for each year. Editors Mur Lafferty en S.B. Divya have selected stories of which some have appeared as podcast in the past already, but also brand new ones. Each of the stories is preceded by a short introduction from one of the editors. Serah Eley, the original founder of the podcast, introduces the entire anthology extensively. Readers who don’t make a habit of skipping intros, will find that this foreword is actually quite interesting. It combines the birth and growth of Escape Pod and its spin offs with some glimpses into Eley’s personal life. Science fiction is a broad genre that can go in any direction our imagination takes us. There is much diversity to be found in it, and an anthology preferably reflects that. The stories in this book do touch a range of subjects, but nevertheless it’s remarkable how many of them actually are about subjects that matter very much in our current society. Some authors have integrated the subjects very well into a science fiction decor, others not so much. Kameron Hurley (Citizens of Elsewhen) opens the book with a feminist story about midwives and time travel. Mur Lafferty (Fourth Nail) brings racism to the table by means of tension between ordinary people and cloned people. N.K. Jemisin (Give me Cornbread or Give me Death) and Maurice Broaddus (City of Refuge) both are in this anthology with stories about racism too, but Broaddus’es story is an example of one that hardly fits the science fiction label. On the other hand, of the four mentioned stories, this was by far the best. The other three each contained some interesting ideas but didn’t seem to go anywhere near the end so they disappointed somewhat. Also, the idea of an editor choosing a story of their own in a “best of” doesn’t really work for me. Three stories were funny. T. Kingfisher (Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the Incident at Jackrabbit Five) really is hilarious when writing about multiple baby deliveries at the same time on a remote colony, a goat and an AI. I won’t spoil any of the fun by telling more. The story comes second in the anthology, meaning nothing that follows seems to be that funny anymore. Tough luck for Ken Liu (An Advanced Reader’s Picture Book of Comparative Cognition) and John Scalzi (Alien Animal Encounters), this means. But they still succeed to some extend, as I’ve chuckled at least once during each story. The editor’s picks were in this case not bad at all. I’m glad Cory Doctorow (Clockwork Fagin) has a story in the book. It’s the longest one, and is one of my favourites. Great steampunk! I’ve already mentioned T. Kingfisher’s story as a favourite, and also Mary Robinette Kowal’s story (Jaiden’s Weaver) about the universal love of children for animals, appealed very much to me. Finally, Greg van Eekhout (Spaceship October) explores a possible outcome of what might happen if a generation ship leaves Earth to find another planet to live. It’s about ethics evolving over time and it is very well written. Stories I haven’t mentioned yet: – A Princess of Nigh-Space – Tim Pratt: below average story involving parallel worlds. Way too simple. – Tiger Lawyer Gets it Right – Sarah Gailey: a law suit story involving an alien species. The alien was interesting, the language joke was original, but the story was nevertheless boring. – A Consideration of Trees – Beth Cato: a space detective. I usually like such stories, but not this one. It has more of an average fairy tale than of a detective. And I didn’t like that it spoils the end of H.G. Wells’es War of the Worlds. Not done imho. – The Machine that Would Rewild Humanity – Tobias Buckell: another story about ethics, this time related to reviving extinct species from their DNA. Original view on things and I liked how it sets you on the wrong foot at first. – Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends – Tina Connolly: Connolly is a regular host of the podcast which is why I have mixed feelings about the inclusion of this story too, like with Mur Lafferty’s story. If it would have been a good story, then okay, but now… This is a teenage love story for a teenage audience. To me this is one of the weakest contributions. Overall, this anthology is not the best I’ve ever read. Not the worst either. It’s okay, with several good to very good stories, but the lesser ones (always a matter of personal taste with this kind of books) were so disappointing to me that they bring the overall rating down.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura Estelle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I assume that I saw this mentioned on Scalzi's whatever. Overall, a very strong set of stories! 3* Citizens of Elsewhen (Kameron Hurley) -- time traveling medics are dispatched to ensure that specific mothers and babies survive childbirth in order for their timeline to actually be realized. The time travel mechanic + how those in charge messed with people's memories was reminiscent with The Light Brigades, but I actually liked this story. 3* Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the incident at Jackrabbit Fi I assume that I saw this mentioned on Scalzi's whatever. Overall, a very strong set of stories! 3* Citizens of Elsewhen (Kameron Hurley) -- time traveling medics are dispatched to ensure that specific mothers and babies survive childbirth in order for their timeline to actually be realized. The time travel mechanic + how those in charge messed with people's memories was reminiscent with The Light Brigades, but I actually liked this story. 3* Report of Dr. Hollowmas on the incident at Jackrabbit Five (T. Kingfisher) -- I was surprised that the 2nd story in the anthology *also* featured traveling midwives! In this one, a colony that has been set up to be minimally impactful on their new planet (and thus is growing slowly) has several women about to give birth, with complications. Simultaneously, a rickety old spaceship appears, desperately in need of a midwife. However, it turns out that this one is for a sheep! We hear the story from the perspective of the vet who delivered the sheep, as interviewed by an "intelligent" program that is meant to provide "clarifications". That bit was annoying (as it was meant to be) in a way that didn't really improve the story for me. Probably my least favorite thing that I've read by T Kingfisher. 3* A Princes of Nigh Space (Tim Pratt) -- After her grandmother's murder, Tamsin receives an increasingly threatening sequence of business cards from "Bollard & Chicane", who turn out to be an assassination team from an alternative universe. Tamsin's grandmother had taken temporary refuge on Earth from a power struggle in her original universe, but wound up preferring earth, where she made an easy living introducing more advanced technology, but those conflicts have spilled over into our own, and Tamsin must decide how to handle that, and which universe she prefers. I enjoyed the ending. strong 3* An Advanced Reader's Picture book of Comparative Cognition (Ken Liu) -- Vignettes of alien life forms are interspersed with a father describing to his child why her mother chose to leave on the Focal Point, a generation ship that would travel to the best point for using the sun to focus intergalactic communication. I don't typically love stories that are just a collection of vignettes, though this one stood out a bit for how inventive the aliens were. The Tick Tocks were probably my favorite. 3* Tiger Lawyer Gets it Right (Sarah Gailey) -- * Fourth Nail (Mur Lafferty)-- weak 3* Alien Animal Encounters (John Scalzi) -- Amusing vignettes, exactly as the title promises. * A Consideration of Trees (Beth Cato) -- * City of Refuge (Maurice Broaddus) -- * Jaiden's Weaver (Mary Robinette Kowal) -- spiderbear! * The Machine that would Rewind Humanity (Tobias Bucknell) * Clockwork Fagin (Cory Doctorow) -- 3* Spaceship October (Greg van Eekhout) -- 3* Lions and Tigers and Girlfriends (Tina Connolly) -- This follows teenagers on a spaceship who have just learned that it will take 3 years longer to get to their destination. The main character was a theater kid back planetside, and winds up spearheading a production of the Wizard of Oz as an outlet for angst and to form community. 4* Give me Cornbread or give me Death (N.K. Jemisin) -- This one was unexpected and delightful and pointed. The story opens with a night raid on where the oppressors dragons are kept; but rather than an attempt to disable them physically, it turns out to be a mission to introduce dragons to the deliciousness of traditional southern cooking, hot sauce included. Then, every time the oppressors attempt to use the dragons against our protagonists, they find some way to provide troughs full of good, southern cooking, until eventually they turn the dragons.

  27. 5 out of 5

    WorldconReader

    First Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher, Titan Books, for kindly providing a review copy of this book. Second Disclaimer: I have been enjoying Escape Pod since its first year, so I am not an impartial reviewer. There are so many positive things I can say about "Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology". Let me start by mentioning that Escape Pod is one of the first podcasts that I subscribed to back around 2006 to make my commute more enjoyable. I find the selection of thought provo First Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher, Titan Books, for kindly providing a review copy of this book. Second Disclaimer: I have been enjoying Escape Pod since its first year, so I am not an impartial reviewer. There are so many positive things I can say about "Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology". Let me start by mentioning that Escape Pod is one of the first podcasts that I subscribed to back around 2006 to make my commute more enjoyable. I find the selection of thought provoking science fiction stories and excellent narration in Escape Pod to remind me of my favorite radio show, Mind Webs from WHA Radio in Madison, Wisconsin. If I had to limit myself to a single podcast, it would be Escape Pod. Next, the All-Star lineup of authors is fantastic. Ten of the 15 authors are multiple winners of prestigious awards such as Hugo, Campbell, Locus, Nebula, Parsec, and others. And most of the remaining authors have been nominated for these awards. Nine of the 15 authors have instant name recognition to me as I enjoyed their novels that they are on my "I will read anything they write" list. Since I believe that other science fiction fans may feel the same way, let me list their names: Kameron Hurley, Tim Pratt, Ken Liu, Sarah Galley, Mur Lafferty, John Scalzi, Mary Robinette Kowal, Cory Doctorow, and N.K. Jemisin. And the remaining authors, T. Kingfisher, Beth Cato, Maurice Broaddus, Tobias Buckell, Greg van Eekhout, and Tina Connolly are on the fast track to becoming my newest favorite authors because their stories vividly came to life for me, in some cases even more than the author's I already knew. Next, the selection of short stories themselves was fantastic. Well written short stories instantly grab the readers attention and do not let go until the end. These are all well written short stories. These stories have everything from a recent college grad learning that she is actually a princess from a parallel universe, galactic communication enabled by the Sun's gravitational lens, travelers who send their mind via telecommunication to be recreated as clones at their destination, previously unknown "supernatural" creatures migrating from Earth to space stations, generation ships, steampunk as Dickens would have written, extra-solar colonies, and much more. This was a wonderful anthology. I can't wait to read the next one!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kay Parker

    Escape Pod is the 15th anniversary anthology collection edited by Mur Lafferty and S. B Divya. I was kindly sent a copy by Titan Books for an honest review and this in no way affects my opinion of the book. And WHAT. A. BOOK! Gods! I am going to be straight up honest that I was in love with this one after reading only the Foreword. Not going to lie, it was THAT fast. Serah Eley—the founder of Escape Pod—is perhaps my newest and biggest hero 🦸‍♀️ She is fierce, fascinating, brave and making the s Escape Pod is the 15th anniversary anthology collection edited by Mur Lafferty and S. B Divya. I was kindly sent a copy by Titan Books for an honest review and this in no way affects my opinion of the book. And WHAT. A. BOOK! Gods! I am going to be straight up honest that I was in love with this one after reading only the Foreword. Not going to lie, it was THAT fast. Serah Eley—the founder of Escape Pod—is perhaps my newest and biggest hero 🦸‍♀️ She is fierce, fascinating, brave and making the sci-fi literary world more epic with her podcast and view on the scifi genre and it’s authors. Which leads me onto the stories! For the first time in history I actually read almost every single story in this book. I’m notorious for being a serial story story hater—I just cannot get into short story collections because they’re over far too soon—but never the less I keep trying and finally, I have found a collection to make me believe it’s not the story stories that’s the problem, it’s just my assumption that I won’t enjoy them. I ADORED every single story (bar one) in this anthology. Each an every tale was unique, interesting and diverse, some had LGBTQA+ rep which was enjoyable—as a member of LGBTQA+ community I love to read good scifi with great rep—, some had fierce feministic takes—again, as a feminist I loved this—, and really it was so nice to find this perfect collection of fierce, diverse and feminist scifi tales, because try as we are doing, the scifi genre is still quite riddled with Cis white males! We’re stemming the tide but I’m still waiting for the day collections like this are common and not the gem amongst the rocks. My very favourite tales from the collection were The Citizens of Elsewhere and A Consideration of Trees. These two stories absolutely rocked my scifi loving socks off! I want to see full novels of these or a film, I really do. Such perfect stories.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anneke

    Book Review: Escape Pod - The Science Fiction Anthology Authors & Editors: S.B. Divya; Mur Lafferty; N.K. Jemisin; Cory Doctorow; Ken Liu Publisher: Titan Books Publication Date: November 24, 2020 Review Date: November 5, 2020 From the blurb: “The fifteenth anniversary of the Hugo-nominated science fiction podcast Escape Pod, featuring new and exclusive stories from today’s bestselling writers. Finalist for the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. Celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of cutting-edge sci Book Review: Escape Pod - The Science Fiction Anthology Authors & Editors: S.B. Divya; Mur Lafferty; N.K. Jemisin; Cory Doctorow; Ken Liu Publisher: Titan Books Publication Date: November 24, 2020 Review Date: November 5, 2020 From the blurb: “The fifteenth anniversary of the Hugo-nominated science fiction podcast Escape Pod, featuring new and exclusive stories from today’s bestselling writers. Finalist for the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. Celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of cutting-edge science fiction from the hit podcast, Escape Pod. Escape Pod has been bringing the finest short fiction to millions of ears all over the world, at the forefront of a new fiction revolution. This anthology gathers together fifteen stories, including new and exclusive work from writers such as from Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu, Mary Robinette Kowal, T. Kingfisher and more. From editors Mur Laffterty and S.B. Divya comes the science fiction collection of the year, bringing together bestselling authors in celebration of the publishing phenomenon that is, Escape Pod.” —— Whoa! Totally fantastic science fiction short stories! Some of the very best science fiction stories I’ve ever read. Very creative, bringing to you unusual, outside the box worlds, beings and concepts. 5+ Stars. Highly Recommended. This is one of those rare books I think worth purchasing, if your library doesn’t carry it. Some of the top science fiction and speculative fiction writers are showcased in this anthology. This would make a fantastic Christmas gift for those family members and friends that love to read science fiction. This is one book not to be passed up. Thank you to Titan Books for allowing me access to this amazing galley. Best of luck to all the editors and authors in your writing careers! This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble #netgalley #escapepod #sciencefiction #titanbooks

  30. 4 out of 5

    C.H. Moore

    Read from an ARC provided by Titan Books I’m a recent discoverer of Escape Pod and its siblings (PodCastle, PseudoPod and Cast of Wonders). Like many new converts, I have the zealous fire in the belly of some sort of sci fi Jonathan Edwards. So I leaped at the chance to review the new anthology of short fiction from contributors to the podcast. I was not disappointed! This collection brings together emblematic stories from some of the greats writing today, including the tough but tender military ta Read from an ARC provided by Titan Books I’m a recent discoverer of Escape Pod and its siblings (PodCastle, PseudoPod and Cast of Wonders). Like many new converts, I have the zealous fire in the belly of some sort of sci fi Jonathan Edwards. So I leaped at the chance to review the new anthology of short fiction from contributors to the podcast. I was not disappointed! This collection brings together emblematic stories from some of the greats writing today, including the tough but tender military tale of Kameron Hurley, the humour of T. Kingfisher or John Scalzi, the intricate profundity of Ken Liu, the intrigue of Mur Lafferty and an exciting resistance story by N.K. Jemisin where the oppressed turn the tools against the oppressors. I particularly enjoyed work by two of my personal literary idols: Cory Doctorow’s re-working of Dickens and Mary Robinette Kowal’s heartwarming Laura Ingalls Wilder in space story. There are also great contributions by Tim Pratt, Sarah Gailey, Beth Cato, Maurice Broaddus, Tobias Buckell, Greg Van Eekhout and Tina Connolly. I would personally love to read more of Cato’s xenoarbitrator and her felizard partner, Petey. Like all anthologies, one of the most fascinating things in this collection is how the stories speak to each other…the harmonic distortion that arises when very different sources are placed next each other despite different aesthetics. There are resonating themes that arise touching on issues of gender and societal roles, on embodiment and memory, on encounters with otherness and discovery of the self. Without a doubt, as with all multi-author collections, it is impossible to appeal to all readers with every story. But with such a wide variety of approaches, styles and voices, any science fiction fan will find something to thrill to and enjoy.

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