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Category: Sci-Fi Page 2 of 11

Drabblecast Director’s Cut – Sing

Director's Cut Special Sing“A Musical on a Submarine”

Norm and author Kristine Kathryn Rusch discuss her story from way back in 2008 for Drabblecast #53. This is the “Director’s Cut – Sing.”

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?

Story Excerpt:

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.

Enjoy!

Drabblecast Director’s Cut – Sing

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 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 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 Presents: Far Far Away

Drabblecast Presents: Far Far AwayA 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…

Drabblecast Fan Pick: The Belonging Kind

The Drabblecast Fan Picks - The Belonging Kind 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.

Drabblecast Fan Picks: The Last Dog

Drabblecast Fan Pick: The Last Dog cover artThe 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.

Story Excerpt:

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…

Enjoy:

Drabblecast Fan Pick: The Last Dog

Drabblecast Director’s Cut: Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Director's Cut: Jimmy's Roadside Cafe cover art“Birds are what come after…”

We present to you a special Relaunch Prelaunch episode—”The Director’s Cut: Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe.”

This story was written by Ramsey Shehadeh and originally aired back in 2012.

In it, Norm and author Ramsey Shehadeh talk about grief, Mr. Rogers, the apocalypse, and his popular story about compassion in the end times.

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Drabblecast Director’s Cut: Flying On My Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog

Cover art Director's Cut: Flying On My Hatred of My Neighbor's DogThe Relaunch Prelaunch continues with another listener-requested “Director’s Cut: Flying On My Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog.”

When this story originally aired in 2013 it was an immediate hit with the Drabblecast Community, winning Best Story in the People’s Choice Awards of that year. It seems the potentially energizing power of hate is still a relevant topic here in 2018.

In this episode, Norm sits down with the author, Shaenon Garrity.

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Drabblecast B-Sides 68 – The Wanderers

Drabblecast B-Sides 68 The Wanderers cover by Bo KaierWe came to your planet because we knew that you, the peoples of Kill Bill and Saw and Vietnam and Columbine Massacre would understand us. You could not call us monster, as our subjects had done, and you would not call us morally reprehensible, arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct. We had watched your entertainments, our satellites catching your transmissions from so many fog years away, through so much space we marveled at the quality of transmission. The other planets never sent out such good entertainments. Yours we liked to watch most, the four of us, as our subjects screamed from the metal chambers which we had locked them in and which we never strayed from so we could hear them as they cried.

Drabblecast 383 – SUN MOON CAT MAN

Drabblecast cover for Sun Moon Cat Man by The Littlest FinchThe Drabblecast concludes Women and Aliens month with “SUN MOON CAT MAN” by Julia Reynolds.

This is a story about #Language#.

#Language# is a key.

#Language# can open doors of emotion, of empathy, and of connection. It unites us, it bonds us.

#Language# can also lock those doors and keep us together alone.

Story Excerpt:

“What have we got, Sergeant Kelley?” I ask, tired and bored from a long day of doing very little. I was just about to go home to my empty flat. These days it’s not so different from the police station.

On my speaker-phone Kelley’s voice says, “Patrol has a perp for you to interview. He’s in Interrogation Room 1, ma’am.”

Of course he’s in Room 1, I think as I walk down the hallway. We don’t even use the other rooms anymore except for storage. One benefit of our new Masters, crime is practically nonexistent.

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Drabblecast 382 – Down the Well

Drabblecast Cover by Melissa McClanahan for Down the WellWomen and Aliens month continues with “Down the Well” by Alaya Dawn Johnson.

Alaya is the author of speculative and historical fiction and has written six novels. Her stories have been featured in Asimov’s, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Welcome to Bordertown. She is also a recipient of the Cybils and Nebula awards.

Story Excerpt:

“I enjoy watching children,” she said. “It comforts me to remember that I too was a child once, and one day they too will be old.”

Her shiny olive skin was firm, but even the best youth-treatments couldn’t hide the purple veins that snaked around her arms like cables. She appeared to be in well-preserved middle-age; only I and a few other agents knew the truth. Her eight remaining fingers were casually laced over a knobby walking stick that she carried for show. A particularly knowledgeable observer might have noted that the cherry-red wood was at once lighter and stronger than any known on Earth. Dr. Constance Roya was a scientist in the ancient sense, when that term implied at least as much of a reckless love for adventure as an appreciation of form and method and the furtherance of human knowledge.

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Drabblecast B-Sides 67 – Bad Shit

Drabblecast cover for Bad Shit by Declan J. Keane“Fat Jimmy,” said Wilbur. “I told you: Fat Jimmy.”

“You told me it was a skinny guy,” said the uniform.

“Fat Jimmy is skinny,” said Wilbur.

The uniform sighed.

“So you bought the weed from a skinny dealer called Fat Jimmy?”

“Didn’t buy, just holding.”

“For Fat Jimmy?”

“That’s what I said: Fat Jimmy.”

“Where did Fat Jimmy get it?”

“I don’t know,” said Wilbur. “His man.”

Drabblecast 381 – Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs

Cover for Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs by Bo KaierWomen and Aliens Month slithers forward with this week’s story: “Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs” by Lauren Beukes.

Lauren Beukes is an award-winning, best-selling novelist who also writes comics, screenplays, and TV shows. Her novels include The Shining GirlsBroken Monsters and Zoo City.

Story Excerpt:

Unathi was singing karaoke when the creature attacked Tokyo. Or rather, she was about to sing karaoke. Was, in fact, about to be the very first person in Shibuya’s Big Echo to break in the newly uploaded Britney hip-hop remix of the Spice Girls’ ‘Tell Me What You Want (What You Really Really Want)’.

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Drabblecast 380 – The Four Generations of Chang E

Drabblecast cover for The Four Generations of Change E, art by Caroline ParkinsonWe kick off Women And Aliens Month with “The Four Generations of Chang E,” by Zen Cho.

It’s a dystopian space story steeping in Eastern mythology and tradition. And rabbits. Moon rabbits.

Story Excerpt:

In the final days of Earth as we knew it, Chang E won the moon lottery.

For Earthlings who were neither rich nor well-connected, the lottery was the only way to get on the Lunar Habitation Programme. (This was the Earthlings’ name for it. The moon people said: “those fucking immigrants”.)

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Drabbleclassics 26 – Unreliable Witness (235)

Cover for Drabblecast episode 235, Unreliable Witness, by Kathleen BeckettI 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.

Drabblecast 378 – Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House!

Drabblecast cover for Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House by Skeet ScienskiA plate, a plate, another plate burst upon the kitchen tile. This one broke into three large pieces and assorted ceramic crumbs. Giraffe closed her long-lashed eyes and prayed to her many makers. Why in the world would the people make one hard thing that was so likely to smash into a second hard thing?

“Another one?” Ms. Mtombe yelled. “Get out of my kitchen immediately!” She seemed to have been lurking near the kitchen entrance in anticipation. Giraffe didn’t bother to look. That unshining face made guest appearances in her night terrors. It was Tuesday, so it would be the zebra print dress, the long strand of Moroccan beads, and those slapping gold sandals.

Drabblecast 374 – Jump I’ll Catch You

Drabblecast Cover for Jump and I'll Catch You by Bo KaierAnton drew his legs up underneath him. The car seat was huge and puffy, and the leather made a breathy creak when he moved. It sounded like it was sighing.

‘How much longer?’ he said.

For a while, nobody answered. He thought maybe they hadn’t heard him, but then his mother said, ‘We’ll be there soon.’

There meant the place where our new friends lived. When people talked about them, you could hear something extra in the words. Like they were names: Our New Friends. Anton was trying to look forward to it, because it was good to make new friends, but he sometimes got nervous when there were a lot of new things, different things, to take in. But his mother said they all had to get used to things being different now, so he was trying. He was trying hard.

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