Escape Pod [Review]

As a city dweller ex-pat, now living in a remote coastal town, I spend a lot of time utilising automotive transportation to travel to the big city. Being as I am, I tend to fill every square inch of my life with activities. What was needed was a way to make these high speed, yet relatively idle hours, more productive. Enter podcasts. More specifically, sci-fi podcasts. Even more specifically, one sci-fi podcast – Escape Pod.

Escape PodAmongst the earliest podcasts I came across, it’s still the one I listen to most. Escape Pod publishes sci-fi short stories every week – for free. It’s great. Such a frequent cycle ensures diversity. While it means some episodes are more entertaining than others, it also means there’s no shortage of stories to listen to. Over 300 of them for your off-planet pleasure. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve heard but only a small few have left me flat and there’s none that I would describe as clangers.

Of course there are other sci-fi podcasts. Some include news and reviews, which is great, but what’s good about Escape Pod is that each episode is simply a story. Preceded by a short intro and followed by a bit of reader feedback of previous episodes, they are typically from thirty minutes to an hour in length.

The audio quality is very good, which is important when listening to them in transit. Road and engine noise can make comprehending speech on a cheap car stereo somewhat challenging. Narrators change regularly between episodes which is a nice touch but is also the fly in my interstellar ointment. Sometimes I struggle with the reader’s accent . This is not a criticism, it’s just a fact of life with globalised media. Escape Pod is a North American production and science has yet to find a babel fish that fits the Aussie ear canal.

I listen to and read so many stories that I confess to struggling to remember which were my favourites but here’s a few from Escape Pod that I loved enough to be able to recall: EP280: Endosymbiont; EP294: The Night Train; EP304: Union Dues – Sidekicks in Stockholm

These days, hearing the theme music by Daikaiju, gives that same feeling of anticipation and excitement as the theme from Doctor Who, or True Blood, or the HBO studio promo.

Edited by Mur Lafferty, who also happens to be my favourite narrator, Escape Pod is a remarkable achievement and a credit to the whole team. Give it a try and if you enjoy it, then make a donation to help keep it going. Escape Pod pays their writers a humble fee for their work.

Enjoy the Escape.

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