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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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Drabblecast Director’s Cut: The Worm Within

Cover Art for Director's Cut Special: The Worm Within

“…And Then What?” Norm and author Vincent Eaton revisit a parasite-oriented listener favorite with this “Director’s Cut Special: The Worm Within.” This classic episode originally aired way back in 2007.

Norm and Vincent talk about effective storytelling, disturbing body horror, and then they delve into variations on the “Meet the Parents” movie theme. Yeah, things get a little weird.

Story Excerpt:

After so many years, there are few surprises left for me sitting on a toilet.  Yet it was there where I first discovered an uninvited entity that wanted to call me home…

Warning: Some gross potty humor.  C’mon, get over it.

Enjoy the show!

Director’s Cut Special: The Worm Within

Drabblecast 394 – Dirty Santa

Cover for Tim Pratt's Dirty Santa by Emily CannonMerry Christmas strangers! The Drabblecast has something rather wicked fixed up for you this holiday season! We present to you a festive tale from fan-favorite Tim Pratt! It’s called “Dirty Santa.”

It’s a story that takes us on a journey with one awkward, balding, twenty-something to a Christmas party where he meets a mysterious stranger carrying a mystical and dangerous gift. This is a white elephant he’ll probably never forget.

‘Tis the season of giving, right folks? Yes, the season of learning how to genuinely thank people for upping your supply of socks and underwear. It’s a season of family and friends and maybe learning the difference between the two. Whether you’re opening up presents or opening up old wounds (thanks Kate) we’re reminded this is the time of year to be mindful of what you wish for. You just might get it.

Story Excerpt:

 

Kieran wallflowered. The apartment was a bustle of twenty other people more extroverted and festive than himself, all dressed in the requisite hideous holiday sweaters, drinking bourbon punch and rum punch and some sort of strange vegan eggnog, flirting and joking and ranting and, in one case, openly making out against a wall underneath a dangling branch of mistletoe.

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Drabblecast 393 – Diamante and Strass

Drabblecast Cover by Melissa McClanahan for Diamante and StrassToday the Drabblecast brings you “Diamante and Strass” by Lucy A. Snyder.

Lucy A. Snyder is a five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, appearing in publications such as Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, and Weird Tales. She lives in Columbus, Ohio and is faculty in Seton Hill University’s MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. 

Our story today has got it all, a sort of Thelma and Louise post-apocalypse Sci-Fi western!

Story Excerpt:

“Are these the gunslingers?” The Queen looked down her long, thin nose through her kaleidoscope monocle at the dusty duo.

“She’s a gunslinger. I’m a bomber,” said Strass.

The Queen of Montana stood regal before her icy throne as her guards hauled in the notorious man-eater Giorgia Diamante and her accomplice, Elvira Strass.

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Drabblecast Director’s Cut: Jelly Park

Cover for Drabblecast Director's Cut of Aliya Whitely's Jelly Park by Rodolfo Arredondo

“It’s about getting on the bus…” Norm and author Aliya Whiteley talk double decker busses, double decker tacos, embracing weirdness for what it is and reinventing yourself. They also get into the in’s and out’s of the first ever Drabblecast People’s Choice Award Winner for “Best Story” back in 2007, for this “Director’s Cut: Jelly Park.”

We go over little ditty’s like this:

Keep your sponge cake, fling your flan
Stick your donuts, cream and jam
Leave your custard in its can
Give us all some jelly

In a trifle, from a mold
Rabbit shaped or ice cream coned
Nothing better, so I’m told
Then a lovely Jelly…

But we digress.

Story Excerpt:

“I’m not sure I belong here.”
“Then where do you belong?”
The others stopped chewing and looked at me expectantly.
What am I?…

Co-narrator, Dermot Glennon, also contributed to Episode #29, “Code Brown.”

Enjoy!

Drabblecast Director’s Cut: Jelly Park

Drabblecast 392 – Single Parent

Drabblecast cover for Single Parent by Kirsty GreenwoodThe Drabblecast brings you “Single Parent” by Sarah Gailey.

Sarah Gailey is a Hugo Award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction, and a regular contributor for Tor.com and Barnes & Noble.

Single Parent follows one father’s journey to face the monsters in his son’s closet and some demons of his own. It was originally produced for Cast of Wonders in 2017.

Story Excerpt:

The monster in my son’s closet is so fucking scary.

Here’s how it happened: Jack screamed in the middle of the night and I came running because I’m his dad and that’s what dads are for. He’s been doing that for a month – screaming like someone’s in his room murdering him with a screwdriver. And even though there’s never, not even once been anyone murdering him, I couldn’t just let him scream his little head off all night. If I didn’t come running, his mom would have risen from the grave just to come and slap me upside the head.

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Drabbleclassics 27 – Go Beep (173)

Drabbleclassics is a fan-hosted monthly series that features fan-picked stories from the Drabblecast archives.

Our Drabbleclassics host this time around is Jen Fisher, who presents author Aliya Whiteley’s take on mindless marketing, the grunge rock anti-establishment, and the struggles of a young couple trying to fight a bizarre takeover, in her story “Go Beep.”

Oh, and an alternative rock recipe for crème brûlée.  Enjoy!

Warning: Excessively catchy jingles.

First appeared on Drabblecast 173.

Drabblecast 391 – Day of The Dog

Drabblecast cover for Day of the Dog by ToekenToday, The Drabblecast brings you “Day of the Dog” by Aliya Whiteley.

We’ve still got a few bones to pick with our dog-eat-dog micro theme. So if you enjoy last week’s tail, here’s another one to sniff you nose at (and, yes, a few more incollarable puns).

Aliya Whiteley is a writer of dark tales in science fiction and fantasy, and was the winner of the Drabblecast People’s Choice award for Jelly Park! She has also been shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson, BSFA, and British Fantasy Society Awards.

Story Excerpt:

The afternoon the mayor plugged in the world’s largest air-freshener I was in a bar with Petie, drinking orbitals. An orbital is a wheat beer with a dash of blackcurrant. It’s a slow drink. It gives the world a sepia tint, like everything that’s happening actually happened long ago, back in the good old days before everything got so complicated.

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Drabblecast 390 – I Will Remain

Drabblecast cover for I Will Remain by Aaron SiddallToday the Drabblecast brings you “I Will Remain” by David Steffen. It’s a show for all our weird listeners out there that are dog people…maybe literally.

Yes, it’s a ruff day in paradise. (Oh yeah, we’re barking up the dog pun tree.) We think you’ll thank us when you hear what we’ve unleashed.

The author of today’s feature lives in Minnesota with his two dogs. He owns and maintains Diabolical Plots, which has been publishing nonfiction and fiction for a decade. Their Submission Grinder is a free-to-use web tool that helps writers find new markets for their work, find per-market submission response data, and track their submissions.

Story Excerpt:

I am not insane. I wondered, at first, whether I was simply a dog dreaming he was a man, but if that were true I wouldn’t understand English or recall the sights of London. These things are too real to be mere fancies. I know many things a dog shouldn’t. Fragmented memories of life as a man mingle with recollections of my canine existence.

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Drabblecast 389 – Night of the Living POTUS

Cover for Drabblecast episode Night of the Living POTUS by Tristan TolhurstThe Drabblecast presents “Night of the Living POTUS” by Adam-Troy Castro.

Every President Elect has “the briefing.” You know the one. The President opens a binder and learns the awful truths of the world. They all have to learn the same lesson.

This is the story of one President who learns the horrifying truth and must fight to save humanity. And Democracy itself.

And don’t forget the Drabblecast Reborn Preorder Store, as mentioned by Norm, is up and selling some cool Drabblecast merch.

Story Excerpt:

All Presidents have the same lesson to learn, and they all learn it early on the first full morning of their respective Administrations.

At that point they have already taken their Oaths, already declared their principles to the nation, already enjoyed the first round of celebrations, already settled in to what they imagine will be an Administration marked by great words and historic deeds.

End.

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Drabblecast 388 – Skullpocket: Part 2

Drabblecast cover Skullpocket Part 2 by Bo Kaier and Ellis DuneganThe Drabblecast completes its triumphant return with the conclusion of this two-part Halloween special: “Skullpocket: Part 2” by Nathan Ballingrud!

In this riveting finale we learn the origins of the Orchid Girl, the mystery behind Skull Pocket Fair, and the horrible truth behind the Extinction Event. A freak show awaits you indeed!

Story Excerpt:

But everything changed when Wormcake and his friends entered the room. The Orchid Girl sat a bit straighter, as if she had heard or felt something peculiar. She stood on her feet and looked out at the crowd. Almost immediately her gaze fell upon the ghoul children, as though she could sense them through some preternatural ability, and then, children, the most amazing thing happened. The thing that changed the ghouls’ lives, her own life, and the lives of everyone in Hob’s Landing forever afterward.

Her face opened along the red lines and bloomed in bright, glorious petals of white and purple and green. Her body was only a disguise, you see. She was a gorgeous flower masquerading as a human being.

Nathan Ballingrund is a Shirley Jackson Award winning author of horror and dark fiction. Part One of his tale was published last week so give that a listen if you haven’t.

We’re also happy to announce that the Drabblecast Reborn Preorder Store is now up and running. We’ve got a whole bunch of cool schwag up there to check out. So if you wanted to get your hands on some of our exclusive Kickstarter items and you weren’t able to back us, or you wanna beef up your support, this is the place.

And now the chilling conclusion (the full story is printed below the player or after the jump):

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