There’ve been some changes backstage in the last month, and two of our very talented and hard-working staff members have stepped up to join the editorial team at Cast of Wonders. Cup Jacob and Alicia Caporaso have both shown their skills as associate editors in the slushpile; their careful and supportive critiques and advice have helped shape many of our published pieces, and helped the team provide what we hope are useful and fair rejection letters. They’ve got to grips with all the nuts and bolts of the production process, and have taken the lead on several smaller submission windows. Now, it’s time to give them a moment in the spotlight to introduce themselves in their own words.
First up is Alicia Caporaso, who has been with the team for the last five years.
Hello! My name is Alicia Caporaso, and I am so happy to take on the role of Assistant Editor at Cast of Wonders. I first learned about Escape Artists around 2008 through listening to the French-language Science Fiction and Fantasy Podcast Utopod, which, on Science Fiction blogs, was repeatedly and favorably compared to EscapePod. I had to check it out, and have been listening to EscapePod, Podcastle, PseudoPod, and Cast of Wonders ever since (that’s a lot of stories!). I was one of the winners of the first Podcastle Flash Fiction Contest in 2010 with my story The Water Sprite, and I still have my original Podcastle t-shirt that I won! In 2017 I applied to be an Associate Editor with Cast of Wonders and have loved every minute of reading stories submitted to us. I was honored to guest edit Banned Books Week 2022, which gave me an excellent introduction to the behind-the-scenes process of editing our podcast. I am blown away by the diversity and creativity of our authors. We have a true community of storytellers here.
I am a marine archaeologist with undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Engineering, a Master’s degree in Anthropology, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography (I love it when authors incorporate science into stories!). I work as a marine scientist for the U.S. federal government in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. My office is in New Orleans, but I work from Minnesota (yay remote work!). My two little Louisiana Swamp Monsters – they look like dogs, but you know – just experienced their first snow, and I can’t say that they like it yet. We are looking forward to getting to know the speculative fiction community here and I can’t wait to go to my first CONvergence!
And here’s Cup Jacob, with his thoughts about YA fiction and working with Cast of Wonders.
Young Adult Fiction is some of the most impactful literature because we read them at the age we started reading for ourselves. By this I mean we chose to read these stories instead of having an adult decide what we might like.
I wasn’t the nicest of kids and I would get into a lot of trouble in grade school. Detention where I went to school meant having our play hours replaced with library time. And I loved it! I started with the encyclopedias, then I discovered our school’s huge collection of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Three Investigators Mysteries. I eventually started going to the library outside of detention hours.
Soon after, I discovered the used book stores and with my student allowance savings I discovered Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, Ursula LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, while high school literature classes introduced Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s This Earth of Mankind and Ceres Alabado’s Kangkong 1896.
For some condescending reason, many adults consider young adult literature as easy reading. I don’t see anything wrong with that. This ease in reading is often achieved by a musicality of language and a tightness of structure that many so-called adult stories aspire for. It harkens back to our early civilizations where stories are oral, they are recited to an audience, and they provoke conversation after, building community.
Nowadays, I am often stuck doing things I would rather not be doing and podcasts have helped make those times worth living. It seems that long commute hours and chores have replaced detention of my childhood, while podcasts like Cast of Wonders make these hours not just liveable but wonderful.
I look forward to more stories with you.
About the Authors
Joel Donato Ching Jacob is called Cup by most people. Cup was a 2021 Clarion West Cohort, 2021 Ani ng Dangal (Harvest of Honors) awardee, 2019 Editor’s Choice for Best Asian Short Stories, and the 2018 Scholastic Asian Book Award Winner for the YA Historical Fantasy novel Wing of the Locust. He lives in Bay, Laguna in the Philippines with two dogs and an allergy to flowers and seafood.
Alicia Caporaso is a marine archaeologist living in New Orleans, LA. Her technical specialty, and one of the more exciting parts of her job, is exploring and documenting historic shipwrecks in the ultra deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico using robots called remotely operated vehicles. She has been an active listener of Escape Artists podcasts since 2009, and has been a slush wrangler with Cast of Wonders since September of 2017.