A classic Drabblecast Tim Pratt story, presented to you by Guest Host, Avery Alexander!
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…
Sally was coming down the lake road, so I waved to her and called her by name. I always liked to see Sally. I
liked all of them, you understand, but Sally’s the prettiest one of the lot. There just isn’t any question about it.
She moved a little faster when I waved to her. Nothing undignified. She was never that. She moved just enough faster to show that she was glad to see me, too…
In this Drabbleclassics episode, author and Drabblefan Weirdo Abbie Hilton breaks down the hit Drabblecast story Boojum, by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette.
The ship had no name of her own, so her human crew called her the Lavinia Whateley. As far as anyone could tell, she didn’t mind. At least, her long grasping vanes curled—affectionately? — when the chief engineers patted her bulkheads and called her “Vinnie,” and she ceremoniously tracked the footsteps of each crew member with her internal bioluminescence, giving them light to walk and work and live by…
In 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…
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.
Drabbleclassics is a fan-hosted monthly series that features fan-picked stories from the Drabblecast archives.
Our fan-host this month is listener Zimmerman Bledsoe, who presents author Tim Pratt‘s take on New Year’s resolutions with his original Drabblecast Commissioned story, “Happy Old Year,” featured as Drabblecast episode 308 and read by Matt Hayes.
This story features “Elsie,” the same mischievous character featured in Tim Pratt’s featured Holiday Special this past year, “Dirty Santa,” in episode 394.
“Still, New Year’s — a time for new beginnings. Suppose someone came along, one of those bad fairies or wise angels, and offered you a deal. Like, say, you could give up your future, and instead of ringing in this crappy New Year, you could return to an old year. Any old year of your choice.”
“What? Like go back in time?”
“Sort of. Return to any New Year’s Day you’ve ever experienced, back in the body you had then, in the place you were then, but knowing what you know now — with your full mind and memories, able to make new choices, and do things differently. See disaster coming and avert it. See opportunities coming and seize them.”
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!
I 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.
A change came over Charlie then, like a cloud passing in front of the sun. He placed his hands flat in his lap, straightened his neck, and took a deep breath. “Us,” he said at last. “They read us.”
A delightful Drabble evokes a sage summation of the style from Norm: the mark of a good drabble is the rolling of the eyes and sounds of chuckling. The feature is a unique tale set inside a televised cartoon world. Our main character, Charlie the purple giraffe, has a disturbing and profound view of his world, one not shared by his best friend Jerry the orange squirrel. Floating question marks, colored word balloons, it may not be as light, airy, and humorous as appears at first blush.
Dexter crouched beneath the toxic fruit trees in his grassless back yard, turning over black earth with the spade he’d taken from the old man, and every shovelful revealed worse things:
clumps of cinders and the dust of ashes; rusting nails, practically dripping tetanus; wickedly-curved shards of brown glass; bullets of various sizes, crusted with dirt; and a foot or so down, fragments of black-stone statuary…
They called it “Synesthesia.” It’s when the senses got mixed up and you started to hear colors or taste sounds…
Norm begins this with a warning concerning graphic violence and gore. We return to one of the Drabblecast’s favorite topics, the Zombie Apocalypse. The theme receives a fresh airing, which is just as well, as it was starting to smell. Sal Lemerond, veteran of the horror webzine “Necrotic Tissue,” posits the connection between drug addicts and zombies, in a 100-word drabble. Norm chimes in with a tasty public service announcement about the nutritional value of your brain on drugs. In the feature story, J. Alan Pierce whose work has appeared in Kaleidotrope, as well as twice on the Drabblecast (#18 “The One that Got Away” and #31 “Beekeepers”) – takes us through a zombie plague via the eyes of an early victim. The condition first manifests as Synthesesia, the scientific name for the ability to taste colors, smell sounds, and other bizarre sensory hallucinations. The story culminates in a family dispute and a choice betrayal.
I mean I’m a fan of the band rather than a fan of the concept. Although, hey, what’s not to like about the idea of being no longer subject to torture over the fires of greed, hatred and delusion? Free from all suffering – yes, that sounds pretty good. But if I really wanted to free of everything that makes us human then I probably wouldn’t dig bands like Nirvana any more, and that would be bad. Then I wouldn’t be me any more.
You couldn’t describe a rath. You couldn’t even look at one for more than a few seconds before you started getting a migraine aura. Rovers were just blots of shadow. The breeder was massive, armored, and had no recognizable features, save for its hideous, drooling, ragged edged maw. Irizarry didn’t know if it had eyes, or even needed them…
Izrael Irizarry stepped through a bright-scarred airlock onto Kadath Station, lurching a little as he adjusted to station gravity. On his shoulder, Mongoose extended her neck, her barbels flaring, flicked her tongue out to taste the air, and colored a question. Another few steps, and he smelled what Mongoose smelled, the sharp stink of toves, ammoniac and bitter…
The energy and personality of a person can get stuck before it evaporates from our world. Wood is a fair dumping ground. Something about its pore size and how cellulose vibrates. A person can get himself pasted inside the wall or the floorboards. The body and brain quit, but the rest of the bastard lingers, and that’s the weird quantum trickery that for thousands of years people have called a ghost…
“Pardon, Winston Sinclair, I am not here to sell you something. I am not here to buy something. Winston Sinclair, sir, I am here to apologize…”
Jeff Soesbe, graduate of The Viable Paradise Workshop, gives us a tender feature about a family of the future, and a unique robot with a special purpose. In Drabble News, Norm Sherman makes all the men jealous with the tale of a sexual powerhouse: a prolific, philandering Guinea Pig! Norm tells us more about the Mega-Beast Death-Match. Feedback is for Episode #70 “Reality Bites!” and Episode #71 “Perfect Down Further.”
I had a dog, his name was Blue Betchya five dollars he’s a good one too. Come on Blue! I’m a-comin’ too.
Glum weather in Baltimore inspires Norm to treat us all to a pair of melancholy stories. In Shane Shennen’s Drabble, “Ancient Apple Tree,” the passing of an old, faithful robot is mourned by nary an organic eye. Next, accomplished writer Mike Resnick (who appears in Drabblecast #67, “Malish,” and #102 “The Last Dog”) bases a sad tale of attrition and mourning on the traditional song “Old Blue.” Accompanied by Norm’s gentle rendition of the song, the story describes the mutual loyalty of a hermit and his canine companion in a harsh season. A grateful Norm confesses to his love of dogs after the song and story conclude. This is followed by feedback for Episodes #88 (“The Toys of Peace”) and #89 (“Starry Night”), which is generally positive.
And so came Creature out of the wasteland and into the city, bouncing from hilltop to hilltop like a bulbous ballerina skipping across the knuckles of a great hand. He was big as the moon and black as the night, and he came crashing into the city like a silent meteor. The cityfolk watched his approach with wide eyes and open mouths, and then scattered like leaves…