Read by Naomi Mercer, Norm Sherman, Mike Boris and Veronica Giguere.
Do The Hustle!
This week, the Drabblecast presents a full cast production of “1977” by Carrie Vaughn.
“Have another one,” the guy said, and Megan did because she was thirsty, though a martini was probably not what she should be drinking. She was too far gone to question.
She downed the drink in three swallows while the guy laughed. Craig. Conner. Whatever his name was. The music changed, and her eyes got wide. She shoved the glass at the bar, knocking something over, but was already turning to the dance floor.
We are inside a holding cell containing CLAY ORTS, a tech programmer, a small cubicle-style structure. He’s with CAMPBELL DOYLE, a man with a salesman voice. There is a momentary piece of ambiance as both sit in silence. Campbell takes a deep breathe. It’s the calm before the storm.
This week the Drabblecast brings you two new, previously unpublished stories by SF genre luminary Robert Reed.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:
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.
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.
For 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.
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.
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.”
It’s a surreal tale about considering greener pastures…
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.
A fan-hosted Series that features fan-picked stories from the Drabblecast archives, remastered and brought to you by fans like our host this week, Bart Epstein. Enjoy!
This week for Drabbleclassics Bart Epstein brings your Primary Pollinator, by Nicole Kimberling.
When Dr. Lopez came for me, I was plunging the geo lab toilet. She carried a red stickle suit in one hand and a spray can of anti-fungal lubricant in the other.
This story is available to our $10/month B-Sides subscribers! Not a member yet? Here’s how you can support the show!
Margaret reached over to the other side of the bed where Hank should have been. Her hand patted the empty pillow, and then she came altogether awake, wondering that the old habit should remain after so many months. She tried to curl up, cat-style, to hoard her own warmth, found she couldn’t do it any more, and climbed out of bed with a pleased awareness of her increasingly clumsy bulkiness.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
This 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.
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.
Today 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!
“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.
A special throwback episode. With One week left in the Drabblecast Reborn Kickstarter, Norm presents one of his favorite surreal stories from deep in the archive by Hootingyard writer and Resonance FM radio personality Frank Key, and gives us a teaser about Frank’s commissioned story for Drabblecast Kickstarter Supporters
The bullet-riddled corpses of our dead crew-mates, all sixteen of them, are coffined up, and the coffins stacked as a makeshift ping pong table…
As the Drabblecast Reborn Kickstarter campaign continues, we bring you another Fan Pick: The Belonging Kind. Drabblecast fan Kyle Sellers introduces this eerie story about how hard fitting in can be sometimes…
It 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.
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…
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