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Drabblecast 273 – The Electric Ant

Drabblecast episode 273, The Electric Ant, by Skeet ScienskiThis episode of the Drabblecast brings you a very special presentation of “The Electric Ant” by the one and only Philip K. Dick!

Garson Poole wakes up after a flying-car-crash to find that he is missing a hand. He then finds out that he is an ‘electric ant’ – an “organic” robot. He further finds out that what he believes is his subjective reality is being fed to him from a micro-punched tape in his chest cavity.

Yeah, it gets weird in perfect Philip K. Dickian fashion!

Story Excerpt:

At four-fifteen in the afternoon, T.S.T., Garson Poole woke up in his hospital bed, knew that he lay in a hospital bed in a three-bed ward and realized in addition two things: that he no longer had a right hand and that he felt no pain.

They had given me a strong analgesic, he said to himself as he stared at the far wall with its window showing downtown New York. Webs in which vehicles and peds darted and wheeled glimmered in the late afternoon sun, and the brilliance of the aging light pleased him. It’s not yet out, he thought. And neither am I…

Without further ado, please enjoy:

Drabblecast # 273 – The Electric Ant

Drabblecast 272 – Power Armor: A Love Story

Drabblecast episode 272, Power Armor: A Love Story, by Mike DominicIt was quite a party. The women wore gowns. The men wore tuxedos. Anthony Blair wore power armor.

Armor that was sleek and black and polished, and made not a whisper as Blair paced the lawn behind his mansion, passing a word here or there with one of his guests. In those days the most advanced exoskeletons were crude affairs, and Blair’s armor seemed decades, if not centuries, ahead of its time…

Drabblecast 271 – Trifecta XXIV

Cover for Drabblecast episode 271, Trifecta 24, by Gino MorettoWe listen to the spidersong. The spiders are far away, just at the edge of our senses, whispering a haunting and beautiful melody into our minds. The grown-ups are oblivious, as always. They are having several conversations at once around the campfire, laughing and gossiping. It’s a nuisance because we can’t enjoy the spidersong nearly as well, not with all the distraction. We use a reliable trick — we have Sheila ask for a story…

Drabblecast 270 – The First Conquest of Earth

Cover for Drabblecast episode 270, The First Conquest of Earth, by Richard K. GreenWhen the alien fleet was first sighted just beyond the asteroid belt, end-of-the-world riots broke out in cities around the globe. But when astronomers calculated that the huge, silent ships would take nearly three weeks to reach Earth, all but the most committed rioters felt their enthusiasm wilt. By the end of the day they’d all dropped their bricks or bats and slunk home, plundered consumer electronics in hand, muttering about the aliens’ apparent lack of urgency...

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Drabblecast 269 – Bright Lights

Cover for Drabblecast episode 269, Bright Lights, by Bo KaierThe water fountains are low. The lockers are empty. The summer air is warm but there are people in the classrooms. People are talking, are moving. A female emerges from the nearest classroom. She is fully grown. She has dyed hair and competing odors and all of her teeth. Showing her teeth, she asks, “Are you the teacher?”

“YES. YES, I AM.”

She wants to believe those words. What she sees isn’t what she expects, but this woman believes in authority. She wants to get along with others. Showing her teeth, she says, “My son is thrilled to get into your class. He loves the outdoors and doing outdoor things . . . fishing and all that. . . .”

“GOOD.”

“You’ll do the field trip Thursday, right? To the woods?” She waits a moment and then says, “I can take some of the kids, if you need an extra car.”

“I DON’T NEED A CAR.”

“But I’d like to come along. I mean, I’ve heard such good things about you. My friend Rita . . .” She stops talking, trying to find a reason for her nervousness.

“I MUST GO AND TEACH YOUR SON.”

Drabblecast 268 – I Only Am Escaped Alone to Tell Thee

Cover for Drabblecast episode 268, I Only Am Escaped Alone to Tell Thee, by Steve Santiago Whatever you do, don’t call me Ishmael.

Don’t call me anything at all. Give me my pint of piss-poor ale and leave me be in this yellowed corner where men relieve themselves when they are too lazy to make three extra stumbling steps to the streets of Nantucket. I am done. Finished. Come to this hole to die—and if you insist on speaking to me, I’ll find a deeper hole than this dying excuse of a whaling town can offer…

Drabblecast 267 – Postapocalypsemas

Cover for Drabblecast episode 267, Postapocalypsemas, by Mary MatticeSandeer smelled her.

It was just a whiff, a few molecules of something familiar and therefore sweet, wafting on a late afternoon breeze that otherwise carried only the usual: formaldehyde, benzene, dioxin, chromium, and miscellaneous particulate matter both organic and non-. (Once, there had been the smell of roasting chestnuts and crackling logs and simmering spiced cider, but in recent cycles only less pleasant things burned.) There, represented by an air sample just barely statistically significant, was the scent of Sophie.

Drabblecast 266 – Little Grace of the House of Death

Cover for Drabblecast episode 266, Little Grace of the House of Death, by Caroline ParkinsonThe niece of King Death had not yet chosen a name.  She was the only daughter and youngest child of Death’s sister, Merciful Grace, and everyone still called her by her baby name, Little Grace…

Drabblecast 265 – Pop Quiz

Cover for Drabblecast episode 265, Pop Quiz, by David Flett

“By the Earth-Stypei Treaty of The Twenty-third Local Year of Our Interaction, as amended, suspected Stypean sympathizers may be detained by duly empowered authorities only so long as the unbreachable sovereignty of the Stypean body-host is not violated, and only for the purpose of deportation upon confirmation of Stypean inhabitance. Tests to determine inhabitance are only permissible if they do not breach body-host sovereignty in any fashion. The breaching of a body-host as well as the deportation of a non-Stypean body host to Stypean space shall constitute an act of war and a resumption of hostilities between the two worlds”

Drabblecast 264 – The Belonging Kind

Cover for Drabblecast Episode 264, The Belonging Kind, by Kathleen BeckettIt might have been in Club Justine, or Jimbo’s, or Sad Jack’s, or the Rafters; Coretti could never be sure where he’d first seen her. At any time, she might have been in any one of those bars. She swam through the submarine half-life of bottles and glassware and the slow swirl of cigarette smoke… she moved through her natural element, one bar after another.

Now, Coretti remembered their first meeting as if he saw it through the wrong end of a powerful telescope, small and clear and very far away.

Drabblecast 263 – Betty Flesh and the Meat Man

Cover for Drabblecast episode 263, Betty Flesh and the Meat Man, by Bo Kaier“Your suitor’s here!” Ma Flesh hurried into the back room of the butcher’s shop. “Are you presentable?”

Betty waited there amongst the swinging, marbled yellow cow carcasses. The wooden butcher’s table was smooth under her fingertips, and solid as the earth. Knives glinted from the walls, each reflecting a tiny, seated Betty and the thin figure of Ma Flesh standing over her.

“Sit up straight,” Ma snapped. “And don’t scratch. It could lead to tragedy. I mean it.”

“I won’t.” Betty didn’t dare ask why Ma was so against scratching. Her head itched but she didn’t lift her hand. Ma had cut off Betty’s hair to stop her from being so floaty. She hoped the suitor liked short hair. If he was blind, he’d like it, she thought. She could lay her head in his lap and he could tell her mood by the bumps on her skull. He could stroke behind her ears, let his fingers drift up to her crown, slide down her neck–

“It isn’t Saturday.” Ma rapped on Betty’s head with the back of her shining metal hook. “No going floaty today, girl.”

Drabblecast 262 – My True Lovecraft Gave to Me

Cover for Drabblecast episode 262, My True Lovecraft Gave to Me, by Rodolfo ArredondoDear Mr. Kugelmacher,

This letter is to inform you of my resignation. As you know, I have spent the last fifteen years of my life working in your department store, from the age of twelve when I was hired as a stock boy, to my years spent in the jewellery department, to my time in management. I have loved working here, and I am very sorry to leave, but I fear that if I remain any longer, my health and my sanity will be forfeit. Perhaps if I explain the events of weeks, it will become clearer why I have to quit.

Drabblecast 261 – The People of Sand and Slag

Cover for Drabblecast 261, The People of Sand and Slag, by John Deberge“Hostile movement! Well inside the perimeter! Well inside!” I stripped off my Immersive Response goggles as adrenaline surged through me. The virtual cityscape I’d been about to raze disappeared, replaced by our monitoring room’s many views of SesCo’s mining operations. On one screen, the red phosphorescent tracery of an intruder skated across a terrain map, a hot blip like blood spattering its way toward Pit 8.

Drabblecast 260 – Trifecta XXIII

Cover for Drabblecast episode 260, Trifecta XXIII, by Bo KaierYou don’t remember anything, do you? Selective memory loss; what an achievement for a mind as young as yours. Locked in a cupboard of your consciousness, the guilt will eat at you from the inside…

Drabblecast 259 – The Last of the O-Forms

Cover for Drabblecast episode 259, The Last of the O-Forms, by Jacob Wayne BrynerAt the sack’s bottom, beneath an empty donut box, he found the beef jerky. It tasted mostly of pepper, but underneath it had a tingly, metallic flavor he tried not to think about. Who knew what it might have been made from? He doubted there were any original-form cows, the o-cows, left to slaughter…

Drabblecast 258 – Brown Dust

Cover for Drabblecast episode 258, Brown Dust, by Amber Carky“Adao, no.”  Teo, the older boy’s second-in-command, lays a staying hand on his master’s arm.  “The stories I told you about this one… they’re true.”
“True?”  Adao casts a skeptic’s eye over Santos.  Can those flimsy ribs cage anything as fugitive as truth?

Drabblecast 257 – Judgement Passed

Cover for Drabblecast episode 257, Judgement Passed, by Jerel DyeWe stared up at the sunlit peaks, each thinking our own thoughts.  I thought about Dessica.  We’d waited two months after landing to name it, but the decision was unanimous.  Hot, dry, with dust storms that could blow for weeks at a time– if ever there was a Hell, that place had to be it.  But eight of us had stayed there for two years, exploring and collecting data; the first interstellar expedition at work.  And then we had packed up and come back– at an empty Earth.  Not a soul left anywhere….

Drabblecast 256 – Roanoke, Nevada

Cover for Drabblecast episode 256, Roanoke, Nevada, by Spencer Bingham“It’s the extra-terrestrials,” the General said, watching for my reaction. “Our extra-terrestrials are falling ill.”

“Really?” I couldn’t keep the disbelief out of my voice. My eyes wandered back to the picture on the general’s wall.

He noticed. “That’s an untouched photo,” he said. “The aliens are real, and they’re here…”

Drabblecast 255 – The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward pt. 2

Cover for Drabblecast episode 255, The Wreck of the Dexter Ward pt. 2, by Bo KaierLooking away from the light that showed the Charles Dexter Ward was no longer entirely dead was as hard as opening a rusted zipper. But Cynthia did it, and didn’t let herself look back She pulled Hester a little further down the corridor and said, “Now we really need to know how she killed him. And whether it’ll work a second time…”

Drabblecast 254 – The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward pt. 1

Cover for Drabblecast 254, The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward, by Bo KaierSix weeks into her involuntary tenure on Faraday Station, Cynthia Feuerwerker needed a job. She could no longer afford to be choosy about it, either; her oxygen tax was due, and you didn’t have to be a medical doctor to understand the difficulties inherent in trying to breathe vacuum.

You didn’t have to be, but Cynthia was one. Or had been, until the allegations of malpractice and unlicensed experimentation began to catch up with her. As they had done, here at Faraday, six weeks ago…

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