While finishing up my PhD, I spent a lot of time in the lab doing what I called ‘robot work’: pipetting tiny droplets of liquid, moving tubes, centrifuging, pipetting. In those days I got into podcasts. In particular I listened to speculative fiction podcasts. Stumbling across podcasts like PodCastle, Drabblecast, and LightSpeed Magazine was eye opening. I hadn’t read a lot of short fiction and to discover that whole worlds could be constructed in less than 10,000 words was wondrous.
Day 2 of Writing 101 asks that I compile a list so here is a list of some of my favourite short science fiction podcasts.
- Sun Dogs by Brooke Bolander
Brooke Bolander excels at tailoring her language to the story’s protagonist. In this story about a dog named Laika, Bolander crafts wonderful compound words and expressions that aptly describe the world from the perspective of a street dog. It’s a sad story especially if you understand the relevance of Laika in science history.
- From the Lost Diary of TreeFrog7 by Nnedi Okorafor
I Discovered Dr. Okorafor’s work around the time I began reading Octavia Butler and so a black woman speculative fiction author this story has even more resonance for me. Aside from the personal significance, the lush descriptions and bizarre techno-organisms of the Greeny Jungle were captivating.
- Electric Rains by Kathleen Ann Goonan
This is one of those stories that manages to pack a lot of world-building into <10,000. I applaud Goonan. It’s is a post-apocalypse tale about a girl names Ella on a simple mission with her Nana.
- Jupiter Wrestlerama by Marie VibbertMuscle atrophy and bone loss in microgravity is a health problem for astronauts traveling and living in space. This story hinges on those challenges faced by the people that live on a tourist station orbiting Jupiter.
- Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain by Yoon Ha Lee
This story is about incomparably lethal guns crafted by a prisoner named Arighan. And it’s about how determinism may, in fact, run backwards.
- Hindsight by Sarah Langan
This is the darkest of the stories in this list, but Langan’s description of the world literally falling apart is cinematic and visceral. The story is a bleak condemnation of what we tolerate from corporations and governments. It’s also about what people are willing to do for their families.
- Walking Awake by N. K. Jemisin
I‘ll cap this list off with another woman of colour: N. K. Jemisin. This story about parasitic overlords reminds me a bit of the Animorphs universe however the origins of these ‘masters’ is revealed throughout the tale.
What do you think of the stories? Do you have any podcast stories that resonate with you? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments.