We travel back to Tandy’s Cove in a caravan of three, Cindy Q’s Miata leading, followed by the rented van, dirty white with the windows rolled up, and Beneeta G’s little blue hatchback bringing up the rear. Twelve hours on the road would be stressful in the best of times, yet in these days of turmoil there is an easy peace between us…
Category: Drama Page 1 of 7
“Hey babe, where did the closet go?”
The Hubby, Victor, gives me a blank look, like the word “closet” is Swahili for “bratwurst”. He neither understands the question nor the purpose of the question.
“The closet. It used to be here, through this door, under the stairs. Now there’s just a pit and bite marks on the door jamb.”
More silent incomprehension.
I let the subject drop. After all, who uses the under-the-stairs closet anyway? I don’t even remember if I ever put anything in there, and if I did, it would have been stuff I’d never planned on seeing again. High school journals, SAT study guides and shoeboxes full of bad poetry to that guy I had a crush on during junior year – Tony? Toby? Tory? I’ll find someplace else to put the vacuum cleaner.
I reach out nonexistent fingers to catch your arm, the hem of your shirt. You, there. Sitting on the edge of the bed, head bowed, dripping with sorrow. Your hair is thinning, shiny scalp peeking through the gray-streaked brown at the top of your head, and I wonder if you even know. You flick your fingers near your temples, a self-soothing behavior that, by now, you’ve mostly learned to control…
Norm pays tribute and bids farewell to the greatest unsung hero of the podcast for the past two years: editor Sandra Odell. This fantastic story and many others have been brought to your ears through her hard work!
Our story is another original Drabblecast commissioned story for Women & Aliens month, this week by Darcie Little Badger. Solitude is often a time to help reflect on ourselves, and realize just how wonderfully connected we are to the universe around us. But how do we cope with such inevitably connectivity? What are our responsibilities to those fastened to us or colliding with our destinies us? Grab your kayak, hit the beach and find out…
“The prima donna sun has not yet risen to outshine every other star in the Milky Way. Overhead, a flash of light arcs between Orion and Taurus, the hunter firing at the bull. With a grunt, Mathilda lowers her kayak and admires the streak of light across the sky, thinking of her childhood in Los Angeles. There, shooting stars—most stars, really, except for the terrazzo and brass ones on the Hollywood walk of fame —were rare and wondrous. Things are different now. Mathilda still considers the stars to be wondrous…”
Norm begins this episode with a metacast update on what’s been going on behind the scenes at the Drabblecast lately. He initiates a call to action for all Weird Nation to consider registering as organ donors and to find out more at www.organdonor.gov
Our story this week by short story legend Flannery O’Connor explores the question, “Am I the asshole?” Special thanks to our guest host and narrator, Random Hospital Cafeteria Worker.
The old woman and her daughter were sitting on their porch when Mr. Shiftlet came up their road for the first time. The old woman slid to the edge of her chair and leaned forward, shading her eyes from the piercing sunset with her hand…
“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.
“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.
“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…
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!
This 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.
This 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.
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)
This week The Drabblecast presents “Wet Fur” by Jeremiah Tolbert.
“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…”
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.”
We also dive into a discussion about unsung women in Science Fiction, like Leigh Bracket and James Tipree Jr. Why use a pen name after all? And how might you use punctuation as sound?
Child, you sing all the time- when you’re walking, when you’re eating, even when you’re laughing. You people make the most beautiful music in the entire galaxy…
Drabblecast Director’s Cut Specials are special features where we bring back a story from the archives and play them uncut as Part 1. Then in Part 2 we replay the episode with bonus commentary from the author.
Drabblecast Director’s Cut – Sing
Women 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
“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.
The leadup to our Relaunch Kickstarter campaign continues with this Fan Pick: The Last Dog.
This was a favorite of one of our newest team members, Jen Fisher, d(r)abbler of all things and master of none. We’ll be doing more of these with opportunities for fans to record their own introductions to their favorite stories in the future. Hit us up on Facebook and Twitter or give us a shout out in our forums to tell us your favorite stores.
In “The Last Dog,” the titular ultimate canine and his master, the last man on Earth, form a strong bond helping one another to survive on a war-ravaged planet. When they encounter an alien assassin, they are forced to make hard choices.
He was panting now, his breath coming in a never-ending series of short spurts and gasps. His sides ached, his eyes watered, and every now and then he would trip over the rubble of the decayed and ruined buildings that lined the torturously fragmented street…
Drabblecast Fan Pick: The Last Dog
We present to you a special Relaunch Prelaunch episode—”The Director’s Cut: Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe.”
In it, Norm and author Ramsey Shehadeh talk about grief, Mr. Rogers, the apocalypse, and his popular story about compassion in the end times.
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.
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.
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