•  Feature:  When You Visit the Magoebaskloof Hotel Be Certain Not to Miss the Samango Monkeys  by  Elizabeth Bear
  •  Drabble:  Cloud and Sky  by  Chris Schryer
  •  Genre:  Sci-Fi

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Cover for Drabblecast episode 236, When You Visit the Magoebaskloof Hotel Be Certain Not to Miss the Samango Monkeys., by Kelly MacAvaneyIn the place where I was born, stones had been used to mark boundaries for four hundred years. We harrowed stones up in fields, turned them up in roadcuts. We built the foundations of houses from stones, dug around and between them. We made stone walls, and our greatest poet wrote poems about those walls and their lichen-speckled granite. The gift of glaciers, and the wry joke of farmers. “She’ll grow a ton and a half an acre, between the stones.” The people who lived there before mine made tools of them, made weights and currency.

This episode of the Drabblecast opens with a Drabblenews story about the resurrection of an ancient human vaginal yeast once used to make a fermented drink fittingly dubbed “vag yeast moonshine” by Norm. In the drabble, while Shouting Cloud has correctly read the signs predicting the return of the Sky Father, there isn’t only one – and they are armed and dangerous. The feature explores the need to adapt to new environments. Humans have fled a ruined Earth to find themselves on a planet where they can’t digest the plants or communicate with the oddly amiable natives, and their preserved supplies are dwindling. While reflecting on memories from a visit to Africa on Earth and desperate to discover some clue about how to survive, a xenobiologist risks exhuming the corpse of a juvenile native for dissection even though one of her colleagues was brutally slaughtered for doing so. When she is discovered by a group of natives, she is sure she will be murdered as well, only to find herself forced into nursing from one of them. As she drinks its milk, she realizes that the intelligent natives, after dissecting rather than slaughtering her colleague to learn about human biology and digestion, have likely theorized that the microscopic flora in their milk may allow humans to finally be able to digest the alien crops on their planet.

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Originally published in Interzone, #195 November-December 2004.
Episode Art:  Kelly MacAvaney

Twabble:  “"Grampy, have you heard of the Grandfather time travel paradox?" she whispers. I can only nod, because of the duct tape. ”  by  Zedaysi

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  •  Feature:  Unreliable Witness  by  Jo Walton
  •  Drabble:  Missing Things  by  Ben Kapitz
  •  Genre:  Drama  Sci-Fi

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Cover for Drabblecast episode 235, Unreliable Witness, by Kathleen BeckettI don’t know if this is the same tape as last time, because They keep moving things around and stealing them. I don’t know who does it. It may be the staff here, or my own family when they come to visit, or the aliens, but somebody’s always doing it — taking my glasses, my tapes, my TV remote, anything I put down for a second. I don’t think it’s the other residents. I used to think that, but I don’t think they’re that organized. Some of them are a bit senile, to tell you the truth…

In this episode of the Drabblecast, Catherine is an 89-year-old nursing home resident plagued by someone who keeps taking her things and a son and daughter-in-law who treat her like a child. When she gets a visit from an alien named Tom, they strike a bargain: He will tell her who the thief is if she tells him the secret to longevity. His race does not live to old age, they die after reaching breeding age and having children (the human equivalent of about 40 years old); he is trying to learn how to extend their lifespan. Despite her insistence that there is no secret he doesn’t believe her, but does tell her no one is taking her stuff – she just can’t keep track of it. Catherine thinks he is lying because he didn’t like that she didn’t have an answer for him and becomes convinced that the people who are taking her stuff are actually looking for alien, looking for clues about their existence among her possessions. She makes a tape recording of her experience, hoping that when they inevitably take the tape and listen to it they will realize they have no reason to continue stealing from her since she will freely tell them everything she knows. In the drabble, a young girl wakes up with a new set of stitches and doesn’t stop searching until she finds the quarter the kidney fairy has left her.

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Originally published in Strange Horizons, January 2001.
Episode Art:  Kathleen Beckett
Read by:  Delianne Forget

Twabble:  “Even they don't fully understand the butterfly effect, yet they seem to love flapping those delicate and deadly wings. ”  by  TroyStJames

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Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Cover for Drabblecast episode 234, Jagannath, by Bill HalliarAnother child was born in the great Mother, excreted from the tube protruding from the Nursery ceiling. It landed with a wet thud on the organic bedding underneath. Papa shuffled over to the birthing tube and picked the baby up in his wizened hands. He stuck two fingers in the baby’s mouth to clear the cavity of oil and mucus, and then slapped its bottom. The baby gave a faint cry.

“Ah,” said Papa. “She lives…”

This episode of the Drabblecast is about awakenings and transformations. In the drabble, not all its memories of a man’s life make sense to an undersea creature. In the feature, generations ago the survivors of a ruined world struck a deal with their Mother, an enormous creature merging flesh and technology. They live symbiotically within her, helping her do everything from navigating to digesting food while in return she provides them safety and sustenance. When Mother is injured beyond repair, starved for both food and fresh genetic material, she passes on a dying gift.

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Originally published in Weird Tales #358, summer 2011.
Episode Art:  Bill Halliar
Read by:  Hananel Mavity

Twabble:  “Even deep within his bunker, Paul felt each bomb add to the city's devastation. He smiled and tore up 15 parking tickets. ”  by  loyaleagle

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Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Cover for Drabblecast episode 233, A Blade of Love, by K. MartinezAllan Thermoose’s wife is in love with a blade of grass. It’s the 375th blade directly even with the crack in the third slab of sidewalk east of the mailbox. The blade gets full sun all day, and Allan, a stickler for lawn maintenance, is careful to water it, along with all the others, for approximately thirty minutes per day, moving the sprinkler three times to ensure even water distribution. He occasionally counts the residual droplets left on the tufts of grass fifteen minutes after he shuts off the water. If he’s not happy with the results, he repeats the process until he’s positive his lawn has had enough to drink.

This episode of the Drabblecast is concerned with strange love. In the drabble, a mother’s last thoughts are for her son as the mower’s blades cut her down but pass over him. In the feature, Allan Thermoose’s wife falls in love with a blade of grass. Her behavior increasingly unconventional includes: standing outside staring at the lawn, forbidding Allan to cut that blade, sleeping outside on the lawn, and dressing up for the blade. It soon becomes clear that action must be taken.

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A Drabblecast original story.
Episode Art:  K. Martinez

Twabble:  “Starting my new job today, I really screwed up at my last job. Hopefully being a ghost will be safer than being a stunt man. ”  by  tehmedus

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Cover for Drabblecast episode 232, Valentine's Day with the Gods, by Jerel Dye

The first ‘Go to Hell!’
The Angels did say
To certain poor bastards
On Valentine’s Day;

‘Go to Hell!
We do our job well!
It ain’t who you are
It’s what you can sell…’

On Valentine’s Day,
The World demands Love
With a milk-chocolate fist
In a red tin-foil glove.

Romance is featured in this episode of the Drabblecast. In the drabble, falling in love with a werewolf causes problems for a vampire. In the feature, on Valentine’s Day a freshly engaged couple stops at a tavern for dinner. They are seated among a collection of deities representing various traditions and religions who lead them to question their relationship, as well as the meaning of love and marriage at all among the horrors of the cosmos.

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A Drabblecast original story.
Episode Art:  Jerel Dye

Twabble:  “As I leaned in to kiss her moist, pink lips, I received a small electric shock! It must have been static from my PC monitor. ”  by  loyaleagle

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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Cover for Drabblecast episode 231, Trifec ta XX, by Brent HolmesThe six of them meet for the first time in front of the sagging clapboard house where Everett Montrose was born. All are tired, with hollows under their eyes from driving or riding buses for days. Even so, they greet each other with shy, relieved smiles. Few words are said; most seem unsure of how to speak to each other. There are some handshakes, even a quick hug or two, but these interactions are awkward and all soon turn their attention to their reason for coming here. They all carry with them small pieces of Everett Montrose, and all instinctively touch the fragments as they look to the house.

This episode of the Drabblecast opens with an announcement that the Kickstarter goal for Norm’s new CD has been reached. The theme of the trifecta is Southern justice. In Whit Carlson’s Trespasser, chronic bellyacher Whit Carlson makes a complaint to the sheriff about a clown fishing on his property. In The Six Pieces of Everett Montrose, six strangers meet in front of the house where Everett Montrose was born and where his brother still lives. Each has been compelled to return the bone fragment he or she has found. In Boll Weevil, a man drives home through a plague of boll weevils to face the end of the world. Whether they are a bioweapon, a biblical plague, or aliens, the boll weevils have survived the winter and started breeding wildly, injecting their babies into people with each bite. After containment and quarantine have failed to stop them, a scorched earth policy is about to be enacted. The episode concludes with a bit by Hearty White reading a poetry submission rejection letter.

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Hearty White's Miracle Nutrition Hour "The Six Pieces of Everett Montrose", "Whit Carlson's Trespasser", and "Boll Weevil" are all Drabblecast original stories.
Episode Art:  Brent Holmes

Twabble:  “Professorplex8 continued, "Even if humans did exist that hardly supports the theory of intelligent design, does it?" ”  by  Steven D. Lidster

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Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Cover for Drabblecast episode 230, bears Discover Fire, by Matt WasielaWe stayed on the path.  The light seemed to drip down from the canopy of the woods like rain.  The going was easy, especially if we didn’t try to look at the path but let our feet find their own way.
Then through the trees I saw their fire…

This episode of the Drabblecast examines humanity through anthropomorphism. In the drabble, peacefully grazing sheep get unexpected visitors who reveal that the sheep are not exactly what they seem. In the feature, when bears discover fire, stop hibernating, and begin populating highway medians in the southern US, their changing behavior highlights how a family’s members react to changes in their own lives with varying degrees of acceptance and grace.

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Originally published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine v14 #8:144- (August 1990).
Episode Art:  Matt Wasiela
Music by:   Jonny Corndawg (Closing)

Twabble:  “As snakes devoured me, I understood: I never should have shopped at Bed, Bath and Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice. ”  by  Chris Munroe

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