Escape Pod

May 17, 2010

I’ve officially listed all Escape Pod episodes on TagShadow. The Escape Pod TagShadow was an interesting one, as it’s mostly a “reprint” venue. I entered all the prior appearances of each story (via ISFDB) and thus added to a ton of other TagShadows in the process.

The image at the top of this post is what the Escape Pod TagShadow looked like before the latest update. The image at the bottom of the page is what the Escape Pod TagShadow looks like now. Since I launched user tags recently, I’m hoping to get some input from the large Escape Pod user base. With any luck, the Escape Pod TagShadow will look even more interesting next week.


You can listen to this story on Escape Pod or read it on the website of the author, Robin Sloan.


It was bound to happen eventually and there’s potential for me to have a similar reaction with any story involving both data visualization and books. This was the single coolest story I’ve entered into TagShadow. Adding a story about visualizing the fantastic happenings at a very strange bookstore into my structure for visualizing fantastic books and stories is so meta my head might explode. It makes me feel both useful and part of something timeless, which is pretty much the point of both the story and TagSahdow.

As an aspiring writer and fan of writing and publishing and such, I firmly believe in the magical longevity earned by those that contribute to the ever more varied permutations of language and thought at the core of all fiction. Speculative fiction in particular. This story is a love letter to all of our favorite writers who have passed and a passing of the torch to those like me that weave our ideas into code. I feel a calling. The words aren’t yet clear, but I hear it. I was following it before I heard it and this just encourages me to keep following it.

You can find Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store on at least the Escape Pod and 2009 TagShadows. It exists on others, but I’ll let you find those via exploration. As I write this, I’ve not yet recalculated these TagShadows, but I’ll be sure to do that this weekend.

Show vs Tell

February 1, 2010

The latest Asimov’s has an essay by Robert Silverberg exploring what that writing advice means with respect to Science Fiction. Show, don’t tell. He explains well what is meant by the phrase and then points out some points in the history of science fiction where emphasis was placed on telling and others where the emphasis is on showing. He settles on Heinlein as a great example of showing done right in science fiction.

The essay stands out in my mind mostly because the first story in that same issue forgoes infodumps entirely. I enjoyed “Helping Them Take the Old Man Down,” even though I had to read the entire novelette to appreciate it. It made me wonder how I could express the spectrum of show vs tell when tagging this story. I’m often at a loss when something that sets a story apart is what it’s missing or what it avoids. I want to tag this story “very few infodumps” but that feels clunky. Hmm.

Well, I obviously picked up a copy of Asimov’s. I was inspired to do so as I continued entering Escape Pod stories into TagShadow. Escape Pod is largely a reprint market and thus I’m also entering data for other magazines and anthologies.

The following TagShadows have seen significant changes due to these additions: Asimov’s, 2008 and Escape Pod.

January 26th updates

January 26, 2010

I’m going to use this space to track my TagShadow updates.

Over the weekend I added all Escape Pod episodes 2009 to the present.  This is my second pass at importing an entire publication’s list of short stories. I’ve not listened to EVERY Escape Pod story, so I enter the bare essentials when necessary. I want to have plenty of data in the system when I start calling for user input.  Futurismic got similar treatment a few weeks ago.

The following TagShadows have seen significant changes due to these additions: Escape Pod, short story, flash fiction, 2009