Friday, December 28, 2018

Six Questions for Mur Lafferty and Divya Breed, Co-Editors, Escape Pod

Escape Pod is a podcast featuring original and reprinted science fiction of 1,500-6,000 words. Learn more here -

SQF: How did you become involved with Escape Pod?

Escape Pod: SB Divya was assistant editor of Escape Pod when Norm Sherman stepped down, and was promoted. She asked Mur, editor of Escape Artists' Mothership Zeta that had been placed on hiatus, to join her as co-editor.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

1) The hook has to be strong. There is no time in audio short stories to set a leisurely scene because listeners get bored.
2) Stories that follow the submission guidelines. This is rarer than you would think.
3) Escape Pod was founded on the idea of "fun" science fiction, and while we have evolved over the years, we still try to look for fun and optimistic stories (but not always).

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

Mur: Knee-jerk negative reactions that are unfair: second person POV and present tense narratives. They're both hard to do. Possible, of course. But hard. But more fairly, stories with obvious -isms bug me: sexism, racism, classism, ableism, etc. Falling on tropes like killing the gay/nonwhite/disabled character to further the plot of the protag really annoys me.

Divya: My knee-jerk negative reactions are more to prose quality basics like spelling and grammar. If the opening paragraph(s) are full of typos, I feel like the author didn't take enough time with the story. Long, heavy-handed ("As you know, Bob...") expository sections tend to lose me, as well as the -isms that Mur mentions above.

SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph(s) of a submission?

EP: As said above, I want a good hook that I know will grab someone's ears and keep them enthralled when they listen.

SQF: Many editors list erotica, or sex for sex sake, as hard sells. What are hard sells for your publication?

EP: Erotica, sexual violence, gratuitous violence. More than a hint of horror or magic.

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

EP: How many people will see your stories before we do? Our assist. editor Ben Kinney and at least one of his team of associate editors will look at the stories before they get to us. We are building a slush team of many diverse backgrounds in order to give the most thorough reads of the stories that come in.

Thank you, Mur and Divya. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

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