I’ve recently been listening to a lot of Escape Pod to fill the time when I’m doing something with my hands or taking my daily walk. I have enjoyed getting back into audio short stories, and Escape Pod in particular delivers that particular enjoyment with a bit of nostalgia.
I stopped listening to Escape Pod about six and a half years ago, mostly as I made some other transitions in my life. My commute had changed and I had less downtime to listen to podcasts in my job at the NSIDC than I did when I was a student. I also wanted to spend my free time with my spouse, which was always better when we could visit or banter with each other (something that didn’t work as well when listening to audio fiction, where you really had to pay attention).
Now though, I’ve made some new habits, and I’m finding more opportunities to listen to audio fiction. My evening walk, which I now take alone, takes a bit less than half-an-hour, and is just right for an episode. I also find that an audio short story is almost perfect when I’m doing crafts, as it not only gives me something to think about while I’m crafting, it also reminds me to at least get up every so often to put a new episode on. While my commute has an ideal space for a podcast, it’s currently filled by my writing and current novel reading; when I finish my current novel though… …I’ll have to see; chances are, I’ll want to start another novel instead of listening to short stories.
As I’m getting caught up on the backlog, I’m noticing one other reason that I didn’t make time for Escape Pod at the time: Escape Pod was going through a change in editor, and I found that there were fewer stories that I really liked compared to those I explicitly didn’t. That’s not to say that Mur is a poor editor, only that I tended to like Steve’s choices better, and found it harder to gamble on a half-hour after Mur took over. Further, I admire Mur for providing her own style to the podcast, rather than chasing Steve’s tastes.
Still, with my new patterns of listening, I have found some stories that I enjoyed and have been well worth keeping up with the podcast. For those who are interested in short audio fiction, I can’t recommend Escape Pod (and Pseudopod for horror or Pod Castle for fantasy) enough – they are an excellent source of short audio fiction, and probably some of the oldest on the block.