Author Archive

On Inclusion and Artemis Rising: An Apology


It has come to our attention, through multiple channels, that the current incarnation of Artemis Rising 5 has caused harm to members of our community.

Thanks to Bogi Takács’s eloquent explanation of how to bring more voices to the table, we are examining the best way to repair the trust we’ve broken. We appreciate the conversations happening on various platforms and thank you for allowing us to participate in them.

Artemis Rising’s aims have always been to highlight the work of underrepresented genre authors and provide training and progression opportunities to junior members of the Escape Artist family who are members of traditionally marginalized groups. The underrepresented groups that we’ve chosen to focus on have changed over time and are likely to continue to change from year to year.

This year, we failed to consider the effect this change would have on people who were previously eligible to submit but were not eligible this year.

Artemis Rising’s submission portals will remain open and stories are being read while we consider how best to move forward, but we feel it is imperative to urgently acknowledge our mistake.

We apologize for the exclusion and hurt caused by this year’s call. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received; to everyone who voiced their objections, thank you for giving us a chance to correct our error. We hear you.

Escape Artists editors

Escape Pod: S.B. Divya & Mur Lafferty
PseudoPod: Shawn Garrett & Alex Hofelich
PodCastle: Jen R. Albert & Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali (and assistant editor Setsu Uzume)
Cast of Wonders: Marguerite Kenner

The 2018 Artemis Rising editors

Escape Pod: S. Kay Nash & Laura Pearlman
PseudoPod: Cecilia Dockins & Tonia Thompson
PodCastle: Krystal Claxton & Elora Gatts
Cast of Wonders: Amy Brennan & Karissa Sluss

Artemis Rising 5 Guest Editors


We’re thrilled to announce that this year’s guest editors for Artemis Rising will be Amy Brennan and Karissa Sluss, with assistant editors Alexis Goble and Katherine Inskip.

Amy Brennan is a huge fan of all manner of fiction and non fiction writing, music, art, basically anything even mildly creative. A geologist by training, holding a masters in Geoscience from Keele Unversity she used to make mud pies for a living. It is a job that is both enjoyably challenging and at times mind-numbingly repetitive. She devoured audiobooks at a rate of knots to get her through the day – until she discovered podcasts and hasn’t looked back since.  She lives in Cambridgeshire with her partner, and three floofs of the cat and rabbit type. She occasionally blogs, and you can follow her on Twitter.

Karissa Sluss lives with in North Carolina with her family and a hairy husky named Bonnie. Her favorite things are coffee, dark chocolate, Star Wars, and Princess Bride. By day she wrangles cases and hearing schedules for a small administrative court. At night, after cooking dinner, checking homework, and walking the dog, she writes and reads as much as possible. You can find out more about her writing online at karissalaurel.com, and she loves making friends on Twitter @karissalaurel.

Full details of the submission guidelines will follow.

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Cast of Wonders 308: Every Drop of Light


Every Drop of Light

by Rachel Delaney Craft

No one ever said no to Grace, because she almost died when she was a baby. That’s why we always did what she wanted to do, even though I was the older sister. That’s why, when we were kids, I followed her into the woods behind the old factory.

We had no business being there. But Grace just giggled as she skipped down the path alongside the eroded creek bank. “Anna, come on!”

I trailed behind her, imagining the knots in the tree trunks melding into stern eyes and puckered mouths. I felt I was in a giant, slow-moving lung: each rustling breeze was a deep breath in, each creaking branch a collective sigh. I felt the place might inhale me and never let me out. (Continue Reading…)

2018 Sunburst Award Longlist


Congratulations to all the Sunburst Awards longlist finalists, including Rati Mehrotra’s Hacker’s Faire, narrated by Wilson Fowlie, and PodCastle associate editor Naru Dames Sundar’s The Weight of Sentience.

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastika published during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction. Past winners of the Sunburst Award include Ruth Ozeki, Guy Gavriel Kay, Cory Doctorow, Nalo Hopkinson, Charles de Lint, Thomas King, and last year’s winner Claire Humphrey.

For additional information about the Sunburst Award, the nominees, juries, as well as previous awards, eligibility, and the selection process, please visit the official website at www.sunburstaward.org.

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Cast of Wonders 306: The Poet and the Spider


The Poet and the Spider

by Cynthia So

You saw the Empress once, when you were still a pillow-cheeked and blossom-mouthed child. She was tall and severe, and the train of her yellow dress flowed behind her for miles and miles, a river of pure gold. You stood behind your mother and wanted to bathe yourself in that river, and the Empress turned, her crown twinkling like a cosmos of cold stars, and she looked at you. You told everyone in your village afterwards that the Empress looked at you.

It was only for a moment. Her head was briefly inclined in your direction, and then it wasn’t. She kept walking. The river of gold frothed sumptuously past for hours, until at midday a woman interrupted it. She wore a black dress that spilled from her shoulders like ink. She held a brush in one hand, and in her other she held aloft the yellow fabric, on which she wrote in decisive strokes. In her wake, the river was no longer pure, muddied by dense black columns of characters.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 305: All Systems Go


All Systems Go

by Gerri Leen

The spaceport at Norn Five is a shining ode to order, automation, and interstellar travel. State-of-the-art communication ports dot the walls, offering instant access to loved ones, bosses, or eccentrics offering revolution at bargain prices.

Travelers move across the floors, various forms of locomotion taking them from point A to point B. Walkers tends to be the most common, but there are also floaters, crawlers, slitherers, and the odd vaporous beings that just sort of waft.

And working around it all are the units of the robotic char force. One in particular moves slowly along the wall, sucking up the residue left by one of the slithering public. It gets stuck for a moment when it hits a point where one being’s slime has mixed with another’s, making a sort of glue of the noxious kind. The bot revs forward, then backward, sucking up goop up as it goes, spritzing solvent onto the floor and then wiping it up so no one slips.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 302: Restoring the Magic


Restoring the Magic

by Ian Creasey

When I had climbed high enough that my breath came in great panting gasps, and the sheep in the valleys looked like tiny flecks of fallen cloud, I heaved off my backpack and looked for the best spot to plant the final sapling. Birch and goat-willow dotted the exposed slopes, hardy species that withstood the storms and chills of the High Tatras. My oak required a more sheltered home. I saw a south-facing escarpment, and scrambled across to investigate. The grey rock felt warm under my hand, retaining the heat of the autumn sun. Behind an outcrop, in a small gully, the wind dropped to a light breeze. I pulled up tussocks of grass to inspect the soil, and found it damp but not sodden, thin but not barren. An earthworm crawled away into the moss and leaf-litter. Instinctively, I felt that a dryad would thrive here. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 301: Ana’s Asteroid


Ana’s Asteroid

by M.K. Hutchins

I raced Cornelius home after school, through the corridors of the Platinum Phoenix. He took the right hand side, I took the left. The dents in stainless steel walls made our reflections wobble.

“I’ll beat you this time!” Cornelius called from behind. He was eleven — two years younger than me.

I laughed. “I doubt — ”

But my feet slipped out from under me. I skidded across the floor. Like all the other kids on this asteroid mining colony, my clothes were sewn from surplus mylar blankets — slick stuff. I crashed into a sealed-off door. There were plenty of unused corridors like that, leftover from better days when the Platinum Phoenix actually had passengers. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 300: The Death Knight, the Dragon and the Damsel

Show Notes

This week’s episode art is from Le livre et la vraye hystoire du bon roy Alixandre. It details Alexander the Great battling against two-headed, eight-legged, crowned dragons with multiple eyes along their torsos (Royal MS 20 B XX, f. 78v). It dates to between 1420 and 1425 CE.

Music attribution: Village Consort by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.


Escape Pod’s Flash Fiction contest returns to the Solar System this year, running April 15-30, 2018.


The Death Knight, the Dragon and the Damsel

by Melion Traverse

Cold afternoon light stretched in thin patches on the stone floor of the great hall. Jaw and guts tight and trembling, I stood at attention with twenty other squires, armor clean and new as our hopeful futures. For four years, we had trained with sword and shield under the patronage of Duke Amlick. Four years tinged in blood and exhaustion. All for the hope that one of the knights roaming among our lines would pick us from the group like a hound pup plucked from its litter. Twenty squires and only twelve knights—Duke Amlick believed his knights ought to have options. Eight of us would go home with tails between our legs.

One by one the knights claimed their squires and I watched my companions go to their new lives, eyes bright with the glory they would win. I stood with eyes half-closed against the fear that I would be left. I, Cori Forsmire, from one of Duke Amlick’s oldest houses, would have to sell my sword as a common guard. What was I going to tell my father? (Continue Reading…)

Announcing Assistant Editor Alexis Goble!


We’re pleased to announce that Alexis Goble, long-time slush pile wrangler, has taken the editorial leap and will be joining Katherine Inskip as co-assistant editor of Cast of Wonders.

Alexis cut her teeth this year as assistant editor for 2018’s Artemis Rising showcase, working with Katherine and Dani Daly, who will remain Cast of Wonders’ community manager while focusing her energies on StoryTime Soap Company (check them out!)

Dani says:

I would like to say that being part of the editorial team of Cast of Wonders has been incredibly rewarding, and I am both honored and humbled to have been provided the opportunity. I have learned a lot and interacted with some fabulously talented people, some of which I am now thrilled to call friend.

And head over to our forum this autumn, when Dani will be running the Cast of Wonders flash fiction contest.

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Cast of Wonders 297: Artemis Rising 4 – Where You Get Your Ideas

Show Notes

Cast of Wonders is proud to present the fourth annual Artemis Rising event through March 2018! We have four original stories for you this year, guest-edited by assistant editor Katherine Inskip and associate editor Alexis Goble. This year’s artwork by Geneva Barton.

Artemis Rising is an annual month-long event across all four Escape Artists podcasts, celebrating the voices of women, non-binary, trans, and marginalized gendered authors in genre fiction. The resulting lineup is an incredible collection that celebrates the strength, ingenuity, and brilliance of the artists, the characters they create, and the performers that bring these stories to life. It also features the hosting, editing and production talents of a rotating cast. Part of the project’s mission is to give opportunities and experience in these publication roles traditionally held by men.

Don’t miss the full month of Artemis Rising stories across the Escape Artists podcasts!


Where You Get Your Ideas

by Megan Lee Beals

Bells chimed in the empty storefront that waited for us at the top of the stairs. The boss closed her eyes and tilted her head to assess their tone.

“Iron, pitched low, minimal tuning. It’s probably high fantasy up there.”

I shrugged over the collection of banshee skulls I was cleaning for a future wind-chime. “Cool.” I was her subordinate, and the fantasy upstairs would need a young apprentice to cast aside before she could make a grand entrance as some wizened old shopkeeper.

Were it the eerie insectoid hum of space-opera, I’d answer as the rookie, but the roles are pretty much the same. (Continue Reading…)