For further explorations into different worlds and escapism, we highly recommend reading or listening to our own LaShawn M. Wanak’s 21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One). We think it’s pretty incredible.
Happy New Year!
“The Problem With Other Worlds,” by Nick Scorza
Read by Dave Thompson
A PodCastle Original!
At the bottom of an old boarded-up well is the world you really come from. You were plucked from it as a child, and all the miseries of your life, all the ways the world you know does not fit you, are a consequence of this.
After his wife died, the magician stayed in his library for three days with the door barred. Purple smoke poured from the chimney and something that might have been salt tears came in a trickle out of the windowsill, as the magician forbade water, even his own, anywhere near his books. When the three days passed, the magician came forth dry-eyed and forbade anyone to mention her name again.
Warning Signs. One in every 250 children experiences inter-dimensional travel before the age of 18. Siblings and cousins are 40% more likely to enter another dimension than single children. If you discover your child hiding medieval items (crowns, trumpets, tapestries, chastity belts, swords, etc.), take action immediately. Likewise, if potential magical artifacts are found (uncommon rings, buttons, feathers, etc.), confiscate the item and talk to your child. Watch for imaginary friends, talking animals or strange behaviors (avoiding sidewalk cracks, fear of open closets, obsessively locking bedroom windows, etc.).
About the Authors
Nick Scorza was born in Seattle, grew up in Washington, DC, lived for a while in the Czech Republic, and now resides in Astoria, Queens. He writes both spec-fic and what’s usually called ‘literary fiction.’ Stories of his can be found in Something Wicked, Hobart, Dogwood, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Matt Mikalatos is the author of the Sky Lantern letter and book. He works at a non-profit dedicated to helping people live better, fuller lives, and speaks at conferences all over the world.
Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin trilogy from Tor Books, and the Seriously Wicked series from Tor Teen. Her novels have been finalists for the Nebula and the Norton. Her very first Escape Pod appearance was in #209, when “On the Eyeball Floor” was narrated by Norm Sherman, and she’s been providing narration for PodCastle since our miniature episode 23, about 8 months prior to her first publication with Escape Pod. Her stories are collected in On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories, from Fairwood Press. She is one of the current co-hosts of Escape Pod, and her narrations have appeared all over.
She is extremely delighted to have had both her stories and her narrations featured on all four Escape Artists podcasts. Find her intermittent, Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast at Toasted Cake, or find her at tinaconnolly.com.
About the Narrators
M.K. Hobson recently decided to follow a time-honored authorial tradition and become a bitter recluse. She swore off all social media and left her website to go to seed. At the moment, she exists only as a voice on short fiction podcasts such as Podcastle and Cast of Wonders. She leavens the tedium of her vastly expanded free time with misanthropy, paranoia, and weight lifting.
Dave Thompson (also known as the Easter Werewolf) has written stories featured or forthcoming at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex Magazine, Bull Spec, Drabblecast, Pseudopod, and Escape Pod, and has lost NaNoWriMo twice. Once upon a time, he edited and hosted PodCastle with Anna Schwind, and stepped down to focus on his own writing in 2015. His collection of stories And Welcome Back released in 2016. He lives in Southern California with his wife and three children. Learn more about him on his website, or follow him on Twitter @krylyr.
Peter Wood has been audio producer for PodCastle since the winter of 2009, with his first episode being PC 82, “The Twa Corbies” by Marie Brennan. In addition, he has hosted and narrated several stories over the years. In 2016 he received a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently on the academic job market. He also does design work, both web and print, under the moniker of PW Design. More information about him can be found at PeterCWood.com.