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Drabblecast 410 – Go Between

Cover for Drabblecast Episode Go Between by Bo KaierOn this week’s Drabblecast, Norm and NPR’s Chioke I’Anson bring you stories about the voices in your head, including “Go Between” by acclaimed writer China Mieville.

“Go Between” tells the tale of a man who, for several years, has been receiving strange instructions to deliver seemingly random items from location to location. Agonizing over effect his deliveries, he considers stopping, unsure whether the deliveries  support a malignant cause or aid a good one.

Story Excerpt:

“Something was in the bread. Morley was cutting, and on the fourth strike of the knife, the metal broke.

Behind him, his friends talked over their food. Morley pried the dough apart and touched something smooth. He had marked it with a scratch. Morley could see the thing’s colour, a drab charcoal. He frowned. It had been a long time since this had happened…”

China Tom Miéville is a British urban fantasy fiction author, essayist, comic book writer, socialist political activist and literary critic. He often describes his work as weird fiction and is allied to the loosely associated movement of writers called New Weird.

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Drabblecast 409 – The Dandelion Man

 Drabblecast cover for The Dandelion Man by Gareth McGormanThe Drabblecast presents an original story:

“The Dandelion Man” by Jack Nicholls.

A tale of coming of age, a tale of survival; a fight to discover who is of the soil and who is of the air…

Story Excerpt:

Teo and Paulus stood at the shore of the pampas, where the grass grew twice as tall as a man. They were naked, and the pampero raised goosebumps on their skin. The stalks bent against the wind’s force, green and gold ripples drawing the eye to the distant horizon. It was a good wind, people had been telling Teo all morning. Lucky.

Enjoy the show!

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Drabblecast 408- Doubleheader: Robert Reed

Cover for Robert Reed Doubleheader by Bo KaierThis week the Drabblecast brings you two new, previously unpublished stories by SF genre luminary Robert Reed.

Reed published his first novel, The Leeshore in 1987. Since then he has received nominations for both the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award, as well as numerous other literary awards. In 2007, he won his first Hugo Award for the 2006 novella “A Billion Eves”.

This week we bring you two original stories by Robert Reed:

“And So On” (Story Excerpt):

You never sleep and you cannot be alone. Companions surround you,
extraordinary both in their numbers and the multitude of lost worlds represented. Subjected to minimizations of data and energy, each of you has been compressed into a body no larger than a bacterial spore. The principles of efficient packing mean that your neighbors share your temperament and general outlook. This is the means by which you can exist and feel so very real. Your nature is shared. Ten million like-minded souls make every calculation that much easier.

Primarily human. That is what you are.

“The Statistical Grandeurs” (Story Excerpt):

You begin by insisting that you are a happy person.

“A thin happiness built from predictive software,” your new mentor counters. “And let’s be honest here. The system’s limitations are growing more obvious with every rigorously planned day.”

Then he says nothing, staring at you.

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Drabblecast 407 – The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change

Cover for Drabblecast 407: The Evolution of Trickster Stories Pt. 1 by Joe BotschThis week we bring you “The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change” by Kij Johnson.

This story depicts a world in the aftermath of “The Change,” a mysterious event whereby all domesticated mammals spontaneously gain near-human intelligence and the ability to speak.  It was shortlisted for the 2007 Nebula Award for Best Novelette and the 2008 World Fantasy Award—Short Fiction.

Our soundtrack is produced with a soundtrack of arrangements of various songs by The Pixies.

 

Story Excerpt:

North Park is a backwater tucked into a loop of the Kaw River: pale dirt and baked grass, aging playground equipment, silver-leafed cottonwoods, underbrush, mosquitoes and gnats that blacken the air at dusk. To the south is a busy street. Engine noise and the hissing of tires on pavement mean the park is no retreat. By late afternoon the air smells of hot tar and summertime river bottoms. There are two entrances to North Park: the formal one, of silvered railroad ties framing an arch of sorts, and an accidental little gap in the fence back where Second Street dead-ends into the park’s west side, just by the river.

Enjoy the show! (Full story printed after the jump)

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Drabblecast B-Sides 75 – The Five Hundred Days of Ms. Between

Cover for Drabblecast The 500 Days of Ms. Between by Thomas N. Perkins IVFor this bit of Drabblecast Member Premium Content, we bring you “The Five Hundred Days of Ms. Between” by Joshua Alan Doetsch.

Joshua Alan Doetsch is a “sentient word virus spreading across the collective unconscious through the vector of human language.” His writings include novels, short fiction, and video games (including Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey).

Click here to become a Drabblecast B-Sides Premium Content Member with access to extra stories like this each month!

Warning: story contains violence and references to suicide.

Story Excerpt:

Can’t feel my legs. So I slither along the ground, toward the audient window, humming that song. I hear the wet-velcro rip of the thousand hands rending flesh. I see her through the window. That mocking grin.

The first thing Ms. Between said to me was, “I’m a mad woman with a lab.” The second thing she said was that I could leave at any time with no obligation. The third thing was that there could be no questions—questions would cause her and her offer to evaporate. I believed absolutely in that, so she handed me the murder weapon.

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Drabbleclassics 30- Doubleheader featuring Mur Lafferty (150)

Mur Lafferty Double Header image for DrabbleclassicsIn this Drabbleclassics episode, fan and audio producer Fred Greenhalgh presents two classic Drabblecast stories by acclaimed author Mur Lafferty exploring the dichotomy of pie and cake.

In “The Blueberry Pie” successfully slaying the titular food item stands as the first rite of passage for a child wishing to officially join the tribe of the pie hunters.

In “The Last of the Pie Hunters,” a peaceful gardener gives care and compassion to a battered warrior in the war between the pie hunters and the eaters of cake…

Story Excerpt:

She’d been hunting full-grown pies for four years now.  The little hand-held fruit pies were for kids– the preservatives made them slow and stupid– but pies in the wild, they were the true treasure, they had formed the culture of her people…

Mur has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards and most recently published the novelization for “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” She also hosts several podcasts including “I Should Be Writing,” and “Ditch Diggers” which just won the Hugo Award for Best Fancast.

Enjoy the show!

Drabbleclassics 30- Doubleheader featuring Mur Lafferty (150)

Drabblecast Director’s Cut – The Box Born Wraith

Drabblecast Director's Cut The Box Born Wraith by David Flett“Just Lookin’ for Chocolate.”

Norm and author Kevin Anderson discuss the horror genre, the origins of Cryptkeeper Norm, and of course, the hit story “The Box-Born Wraith” featured as Drabblecast episode 87 back in 2008 and published as our second official Halloween Special.

“We all die in the dark, Benny…”

Another Drabblecast Director’s Cut bringing more detail and author insights to a fan favorite episode.

Drabblecast 406 – Beauty Tips for the Apocalypse

Drabblecast cover for Beauty Tips for the Apocalypse by Leonardo d'AlmeidaToday The Drabblecast brings you an original story commissioned by Karen Heuler: “Beauty Tips for the Apocalypse.”

Karen Heuler wrote her first novel when she was eleven, and she’s been worshiping books at the altar ever since.

Story Excerpt:

In times such as these, with the world shaken to its core, it is all too easy to give up on routine cosmetic care. Yet a fresh look in a war zone can do so much to uplift those suffering and dying right in front of your eyes. Consider it a humanitarian obligation that you owe to those around you, no matter the particular effects of the zone of destruction you find yourself in…

Enjoy the show (the full story is printed below the player)!

Drabblecast 406 – Beauty Tips for the Apocalypse

 

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Drabblecast 405 – Wet Fur

Cover for Drabblecast episode Wet Fur by Saratoga RidzaThis week The Drabblecast presents “Wet Fur” by Jeremiah Tolbert.

From Jeremiah:

“This story came to me wholly formed in a dream one day. I wrote it in a white hot tear, desperate to capture all the details and emotions that had seemed so immediate in the dream. It’s about how our pets live such short lives compared to us. It’s about what happens when someone tries to do something about that…”

Story Excerpt:

You can tell the dog owners when they board the plane. They see the black cloud hovering in the first row and their eyes widen in shock, then narrow in fear. When they see so many occupied seats, they smile. It’s a relieved smile that seems to say: “Not for me. Not for mine.”

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Drabblecast 404 – Witches for Mars

Drabblecast cover for Witches for Mars by Shoshana Sumrall FrerkingClosing out Women and Aliens month, The Drabblecast brings you another originally commissioned story: “Witches for Mars” by Eden Royce.

It’s a surreal tale about considering greener pastures…

 

Story Excerpt:

No one expected the government to allow it. To acknowledge it even, but Maira was looking at the advertisement above a webpage she was using to compare prices of agate and selenite healing crystals.

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Drabblecast 403 – The Translator

Drabblecast cover for The Translator by Susie OhNext up in Women and Aliens month: a Drabblecast original commissioned from author Eboni J. Dunbar, “The Translator.”

Eboni Dunbar resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner and specializes in queer and black speculative fiction. She is also a VONA Alum, an associate editor for PodCastle and a freelance reviewer.

Story Excerpt:

Corporal Robbie Elms stood at the airlock, waiting for the
arrival of their guests. The rank was as new and as shiny as the toe of her boots, a gift from her mother to congratulate her. The airlock chimed as it depressurized and she stood straighter, trying to make herself look a little taller. This was her first official assignment since the promotion, she wanted to do it right.

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Drabblecast 402 – The Moving Stars

Drabblecast The Moving Stars Cover by Samantha BarrettWe’re in the thick of Women and Aliens month, and we’re keeping it going with an original commissioned story— “The Moving Stars” by Premee Mohamed.

Premee Mohamed is an Indo-Caribbean scientist and specfic auhor based out of Canada. Her short fiction has appeared in Analog, Pseudopod, Mythic Delirium, Automata Review, and other venues.  Her debut novel is scheduled for a 2020 release from Solaris Books.  She can be found on Twitter at @premeesaurus.

As a special treat, this episode is being hosted by one of our preeminent editors, Sandra Odell!

Story Excerpt:

They had to knock me out to get her out of me, which was for the best; I was asking be knocked out for quite a while by that point. All that sweating and grunting and gritted teeth (I cracked a molar, for heaven’s sake) and then darkness and then there she was, swimming up through the layers of gray light, a strange little pink fish that someone had placed into my arms.
What happened?

I asked. She got stuck, said one of the nurses, and patted my hand. Backwards and upside down, poor little mite. Sometimes happens with the first. But isn’t she perfect!

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Drabblecast 401 – We Who Stole The Dream Pt. 2

Drabblecast 401 cover by Tristan TollhurstWomen and Aliens Month continues with Part 2 of “We Who Stole The Dream” by James Tiptree Jr., aka Alice Bradley Sheldon.

If you have not heard part one, you can find that here.

Sadism, slavery, power and oppression… are we ever truly innocent? Or is there the potential of cruelty in all of us?

You be the judge.

 Story Excerpt:

An alarm shrieked and cut off, all colors vanished, the very structure of space throbbed wildly—as, by a million-to-one chance, the three most massive nearby moons occulted one another in line with the tiny extra energies of the cruiser and its detonating missile, in such a way that for one micromicrominim the Dream stood at a seminull point with the planetary mass. In that fleeting instant she flung out her tau-field, folded the normal dimensions around her, and shot like a squeezed pip into the discontinuity of being which was tau.

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Drabblecast 400 – We Who Stole The Dream Pt. 1

Drabblecast 400 cover by Tristan TollhurstThe Drabblecast launches its 8th Annual Women and Aliens Month with Part 1 of “We Who Stole the Dream” by James Tiptree Jr.

This is a dark, dystopian tale about sadism and slavery, and the potential for cruelty in all of us. Published postmortem in the 1990 compilation “Her Smoke Rose Up Forever,” this story was originally written in 1978. True to the times, Tiptree was wrestling with sexism and feminism in much the same vein as Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Atwood. These issues are all still relevant, and still topical forty years later.

Story Excerpt:

The children could survive only twelve minims in the sealed containers.

Jilshat pushed the heavy cargo loader as fast as she dared through the darkness, praying that she would not attract the attention of the Terran guard under the floodlights ahead. The last time she passed he had roused and looked at her with his frightening pale alien eyes. Then, her truck had carried only fermenting-containers full of amlat fruit.

Now, curled in one of the containers, lay hidden her only-born, her son Jemnal.

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Drabblecast Director’s Cut – Trifecta: Things We Made

Things We Made Trifecta Cover

“My Kids Think I’m Nuts”

Norm and Drabblecast Audio Producer Adam Pracht talk about the Maker’s Movement, everything wrong with Gloucester, the finer points of audio production and of course the three stories in this classic Trifecta Special themed around “Things We Made.”

Drabblecast Director’s Cut Specials are regular monthly features where we bring back a story, or in this case, stories, from the archives and play them uncut as Part 1. Then in Part 2 we replay the episode with bonus commentary on top from the author… or in this case, the story’s producer– Adam Pracht.

We talk about all the inside baseball that goes into producing a Drabblecast story from start to finish.

Hope you enjoy!

Sato lay on the cement floor of the workshop in a pool of his own blood and tried desperately to get Kuro-4’s legs working again. The robot, in turn, tried to deal with the gaping wounds in Sato’s smashed leg and pelvis.

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Drabblecast 399 – Trifecta: We Don’t Talk Any More

Bo Kaier cover for Drabblecast Trifecta We Don't Talk AnymoreThis week the Drabblecast presents a Trifecta Special: “We Don’t Talk Any More.”

“One in Four Adults”

by Catherine Schaff-Stump

Cath Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and adults, from humor to horror. She is the author of the Klaereon Scroll series, the most recent of which is The Pawn of Isis, coming in March, 2019. She lives and works in Iowa, teaching English to non-native speakers.

Story Excerpt:

She placed the pan on the burner. “Lycanthropy?”
 
He wasn’t joking. “You know there are genetic indicators.”
 
“First of all, just because Peter Stumpf is the most famous werewolf in the werewolf books, and you’re related, I don’t think that means you’re going to become a werewolf.  He had an enchanted belt, right? That’s not a genetic indicator.”

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Drabblecast 398 – The Day After The Day The Martians Came

Drabblecast martians cover by Justin EisenbeissThis week The Drabblecast presents “The Day After the Day the Martians Came” by Frederik Pohl.

Jokes can teach you a lot about the underlying anxieties of a culture. The old line “take me to your leader” was actually a jab at President Eisenhower’s leadership during the Cold War. This story is about jokes and anxiety. Part of what makes it so brilliant is discerning between the two.

Though Frederik Pohl passed away in 2013, his impact on the world of science fiction (and particularly on this podcast) will carry well into the future. His 1977 novel “Gateway” won the Hugo, Locus, Nebula, and John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel. Among many other accolades Pohl became only the 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. Pohl may not be a household name, but he deserves to be.

Story Excerpt:

On the television screen a hastily edited tape was now showing the return of the Algonquin Nine space probe to Mars, but no one was watching it. It was the third time that particular tape had been repeated since midnight and everybody had seen it at least once; but when it changed to another shot of one of the Martians, looking like a sad dachshund with elongated seal flippers for limbs, one of the poker players stirred and cried: “I got a Martian joke! What’s worse than a martian tryin to fly a spaceship?

“It’s your bet,” said the dealer.

“A martian tryin’ to park one” said the reporter, folding his cards. No one laughed, not even Mr. Mandala, although some of the jokes had been pretty good. Everybody was beginning to get tired of them though, or perhaps just tired.

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Drabblecast 397 – Fruit and Words

Cover for Fruit and Words Trifecta by Mary MatticeThis week The Drabblecast presents “Fruit and Words” by Aimee Bender; a story about words and their meanings.

Aimee Bender is an American novelist and short story writer, known for her surreal plots and characters. Bender’s works have been published in GQ, Harper’s, Opium Magazine, and several anthologies. She has also been heard on This American Life.

Story Excerpt:

So there we were, Steve and I, smack in the middle of the same fight we’d had a million times before, a fight I knew so well I could graph it. We were halfway down the second slope of resignation, the place where we usually went to different rooms and despaired quietly on our own, and right at the moment that I thought, for the first time in seven years, that maybe things were just not going to work out after all, that was the moment he suggested we drive to Vegas right then and tie the knot.

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Drabblecast 396 – Trifecta: Losses & Sacrifices

Cover for Losses and Sacrifices Trifecta by Cesar ValtierraThis week the Drabblecast brings you three stories about shipwrecks, murder, and Nazis. It’s a Losses and Sacrifices Trifecta!

“Seven Losses of Na Re”

by Rose Lemberg

This is a brooding look back on things taken, things lost, and things always remembered.

Rose Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their fiction and poetry have appeared in Lightspeed‘s Queer Destroy Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny, and many other venues. Rose’s work has been a finalist for the Nebula Crawford, and other awards. Their novella The Four Profound Weaves is forthcoming from Tachyon Press. You can find more of their work on their Patreon: patreon.com/roselemberg

Story Excerpt:

My life is described by the music of mute violins. When my
parents married, my great-grandfather, may the earth be as a
feather, ascended the special-guests podium, cradling the old
fiddle to his chest. “And now the zeide will play the wedding
melody,” they said. “A special blessing,” they said, a sgule, a
royal blessing. But the bow fell from his fingers.

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Drabblecast 395 – The Slaying of the Dragon

Cover for The Slaying of the Dragon by Bo KaierThis week on the Drabblecast we present “The Slaying of the Dragon” by Dino Buzzati.

Enjoy this rare piece of translated fiction by Italian novelist and short story writer Dino Buzzati, about what might happen today if we discovered a dragon.

Dino Buzzati was a painter, playwright, poet, novelist, short story writer, opera librettist, mountaineer, and science fiction writer. In writing his books, he drew on folk tales, but he believed that fantasy should be written with all the detail of a newspaper account. Buzzati’s most famous book for adults, The Tartar Steppe, shares with The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily a concern with the difficulty of keeping up one’s courage in a confusing and often threatening world.

Story Excerpt:

“I think it’s all over,” said Andronico.

It did indeed seem so.  The last breath of obstinate life was coming out of the dragon’ mouth.
No one had answered his call, no one in the whole world had responded.  The mountains were quiet still, even the diminutive landslides seems to have been reabsorbed, the sky was clear without the slightest cloud and the sun was setting.  No one, either from this world or the next, had come to avenge the massacre…

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