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Drabblecast B-Sides 74 – In the End, You Get Clarity

Drabblecast cover for In the End, You Get Clarity by Unka OdyaThe first time Leopard-Print Girl killed someone, it was an accident.

She wasn’t Leopard-Print Girl then. She was Nicole Davis, an urban studies sophomore at the University of Chicago. When she got home for Christmas break, her mom told her things were getting worse at work…

Drabblecast 405 – Wet Fur

Cover for Drabblecast episode Wet Fur by Saratoga RidzaThis week The Drabblecast presents “Wet Fur” by Jeremiah Tolbert.

From Jeremiah:

“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…”

Story Excerpt:

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.”

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Drabblecast 404 – Witches for Mars

Drabblecast cover for Witches for Mars by Shoshana Sumrall FrerkingClosing out Women and Aliens month, The Drabblecast brings you another originally commissioned story: “Witches for Mars” by Eden Royce.

It’s a surreal tale about considering greener pastures…

 

Story Excerpt:

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.

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Drabbleclassics 29 – Primary Pollinator (191)

Drabbleclassics 29 cover by Bill Halliar

Drabbleclassics:

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.

 

Drabblecast B-Sides 73 – That Only A Mother

Drabblecast cover for That Only A Mother by Bo KaierThis Drabblecast B-Sides episode features Judith Merril’s story “That Only A Mother”

This story is available to our $10/month B-Sides subscribers! Not a member yet? Here’s how you can support the show!

 

Story Excerpt:

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.

Drabblecast 403 – The Translator

Drabblecast cover for The Translator by Susie OhNext up in Women and Aliens month: a Drabblecast original commissioned from author Eboni J. Dunbar, “The Translator.”

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.

Story Excerpt:

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.

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Drabblecast 402 – The Moving Stars

Drabblecast The Moving Stars Cover by Samantha BarrettWe’re in the thick of Women and Aliens month, and we’re keeping it going with an original commissioned story— “The Moving Stars” by Premee Mohamed.

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!

Story Excerpt:

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.
What happened?

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!

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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 B-Sides 72 – Looking for a Key

Drabblecast B-Sides Looking for a Key by Bo KaierThis Drabblecast B-Sides episode features S. L. Bickley’s story “Looking for a Key”

This story is available to our $10/month B-Sides subscribers! Not a member yet? Here’s how you can support the show!

 

Story Excerpt:

My lover is a used bookstore, and when I have money we play a game. He closes me inside him and won’t let me out till I find a certain book. And I do not know what it is or where it is, and so I have to touch every part of his insides to find it. And I wander him all over and touch his spines with my dry fingertips – slide the books from his worn-smooth wooden shelves and riffle his pages. I like the deckled edges best. Sometimes I will find an uncut page and when that happens I will turn my back so his clerk doesn’t see me and slit it with my pocketknife that I keep for only that purpose. That excites him, I think, more than most things I do, and often it means I have found my key.

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 399 – Trifecta: We Don’t Talk Any More

Bo Kaier cover for Drabblecast Trifecta We Don't Talk AnymoreThis week the Drabblecast presents a Trifecta Special: “We Don’t Talk Any More.”

“One in Four Adults”

by Catherine Schaff-Stump

Cath Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and adults, from humor to horror. She is the author of the Klaereon Scroll series, the most recent of which is The Pawn of Isis, coming in March, 2019. She lives and works in Iowa, teaching English to non-native speakers.

Story Excerpt:

She placed the pan on the burner. “Lycanthropy?”
 
He wasn’t joking. “You know there are genetic indicators.”
 
“First of all, just because Peter Stumpf is the most famous werewolf in the werewolf books, and you’re related, I don’t think that means you’re going to become a werewolf.  He had an enchanted belt, right? That’s not a genetic indicator.”

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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 B-Sides 71 – The Man Who Has Been Killing Kittens

Bo Kaier cover for Drabblecast The Man Who Has Been Killing Kittens

This Drabblecast B-Sides episode features “The Man Who Has Been Killing Kittens” by Douglas Warrick.

This story is available to our $10/month B-Sides subscribers! Not a member yet? Here’s how you can support the show!

Story Excerpt:

So you want to know about the man who has been killing kittens.

There’s a little congress of dead men in bad suits at the bottom of the reservoir. Some are handcuffed to steering wheels and float upside-down from shattered windshields, and others have their ankles chained to old cinder blocks. Some, their murderers evidently keen on homage, even have their feet sealed in buckets full of cement. They bicker and gossip and lie to one another. Blank-eyed and bloated and secretive are the dead men in their underwater garden.

The Man Who Had Been Killing Kittens

Drabblecast 397 – Fruit and Words

Cover for Fruit and Words Trifecta by Mary MatticeThis week The Drabblecast presents “Fruit and Words” by Aimee Bender; a story about words and their meanings.

Aimee Bender is an American novelist and short story writer, known for her surreal plots and characters. Bender’s works have been published in GQ, Harper’s, Opium Magazine, and several anthologies. She has also been heard on This American Life.

Story Excerpt:

So there we were, Steve and I, smack in the middle of the same fight we’d had a million times before, a fight I knew so well I could graph it. We were halfway down the second slope of resignation, the place where we usually went to different rooms and despaired quietly on our own, and right at the moment that I thought, for the first time in seven years, that maybe things were just not going to work out after all, that was the moment he suggested we drive to Vegas right then and tie the knot.

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Drabblecast 396 – Trifecta: Losses & Sacrifices

Cover for Losses and Sacrifices Trifecta by Cesar ValtierraThis week the Drabblecast brings you three stories about shipwrecks, murder, and Nazis. It’s a Losses and Sacrifices Trifecta!

“Seven Losses of Na Re”

by Rose Lemberg

This is a brooding look back on things taken, things lost, and things always remembered.

Rose Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their fiction and poetry have appeared in Lightspeed‘s Queer Destroy Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny, and many other venues. Rose’s work has been a finalist for the Nebula Crawford, and other awards. Their novella The Four Profound Weaves is forthcoming from Tachyon Press. You can find more of their work on their Patreon: patreon.com/roselemberg

Story Excerpt:

My life is described by the music of mute violins. When my
parents married, my great-grandfather, may the earth be as a
feather, ascended the special-guests podium, cradling the old
fiddle to his chest. “And now the zeide will play the wedding
melody,” they said. “A special blessing,” they said, a sgule, a
royal blessing. But the bow fell from his fingers.

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Drabbleclassics 28 – Happy Old Year (308)

cover for Drabblecast 308, Happy Old YearDrabbleclassics 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.

Story Excerpt:

“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.”

Yes. Those were the days, weren’t they? Enjoy.

Drabbleclassics #28 – Happy Old Year

Drabblecast 395 – The Slaying of the Dragon

Cover for The Slaying of the Dragon by Bo KaierThis week on the Drabblecast we present “The Slaying of the Dragon” by Dino Buzzati.

Enjoy this rare piece of translated fiction by Italian novelist and short story writer Dino Buzzati, about what might happen today if we discovered a dragon.

Dino Buzzati was a painter, playwright, poet, novelist, short story writer, opera librettist, mountaineer, and science fiction writer. In writing his books, he drew on folk tales, but he believed that fantasy should be written with all the detail of a newspaper account. Buzzati’s most famous book for adults, The Tartar Steppe, shares with The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily a concern with the difficulty of keeping up one’s courage in a confusing and often threatening world.

Story Excerpt:

“I think it’s all over,” said Andronico.

It did indeed seem so.  The last breath of obstinate life was coming out of the dragon’ mouth.
No one had answered his call, no one in the whole world had responded.  The mountains were quiet still, even the diminutive landslides seems to have been reabsorbed, the sky was clear without the slightest cloud and the sun was setting.  No one, either from this world or the next, had come to avenge the massacre…

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Drabblecast Director’s Cut: The Worm Within

Cover Art for Director's Cut Special: The Worm Within

“…And Then What?” Norm and author Vincent Eaton revisit a parasite-oriented listener favorite with this “Director’s Cut Special: The Worm Within.” This classic episode originally aired way back in 2007.

Norm and Vincent talk about effective storytelling, disturbing body horror, and then they delve into variations on the “Meet the Parents” movie theme. Yeah, things get a little weird.

Story Excerpt:

After so many years, there are few surprises left for me sitting on a toilet.  Yet it was there where I first discovered an uninvited entity that wanted to call me home…

Warning: Some gross potty humor.  C’mon, get over it.

Enjoy the show!

Director’s Cut Special: The Worm Within

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