Drabblecast wraps up Women & Aliens month with a gritty and intense story by James Tiptree Jr., aka Alice B. Sheldon. Hope you’re hungry!
Do you hear, my little red? Hold me softly. The cold grows.
—I am hugely black and hopeful, I bounce on six legs along the mountains in the new warm! . . . Sing the changer, Sing the stranger! Will the changes change forever? . . . All my hums have words now. Another change!
What makes a hero? The Drabbecast brings you an original commissioned story by Cat Rambo this week called “The Hands of Heroes.”
The thing is, I was never a hero. The first wave of aliens taught me that. The war with them – my older brothers became heroes there, one died in the stand-off at Ucer-25, and we never did discover what happened to the other. My parents celebrated them both, burned scarlet and gold candles that made the house smell like flaming trees and sulphur, every weekend without fail…
Who says Drabblecast doesn’t do Young Adult Fiction?
This week we launch Women & Aliens Month with a fresh, original Drabblecast commission by Effie Seiberg.
We’re grateful to be able to bring you this story this week!
On the day I turned nine I didn’t get a pet nebula.
I’d really really wanted one, just like the one Shelly had. And I’d been talking about it FOR-EVER, so Mom could have the time to save up for the one in the pawn shop. I’m not usually patient, but this was important…
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…”
Our first Women & Aliens Month commission for 2020– It’s a goodie, a full-cast production of a Drabblecast original by Rachel K. Jones and Khalida Muhammed-Ali. Wash up, it’s time for dinner!
On this diplomatic mission, I, Scholar, have two objectives: first, to advise Master Feeder TikTik on Earth customs and linguistic differences, and second, to accurately record what transpires so we may determine an exchange of gifts…
The Drabblecast begins it’s 9th Annual Women & Aliens Month”– a full month of original commissioned stories by women about (you guessed it) aliens. First though, the Drabblecast presents a story by author Margaret Atwood about musicals, fungus, aliens and… well, you’ll see!
The Martians descend to Earth in their spaceship. They intend to go to New York – they want to see something called ‘a musical’ – but they get the directions mixed up, as many before them have done, and end up in Canada instead, as many before them have also done. Specifically, they land on a chunk of rock in the boreal forest somewhere on the Laurentian Shield. There is no one around, or no one you might recognize as ‘one’…
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!
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.
The 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.
“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.
“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.
Lauren Beukes is an award-winning, best-selling novelist who also writes comics, screenplays, and TV shows. Her novels include The Shining Girls, Broken Monsters and Zoo City.
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)’.
It’s a dystopian space story steeping in Eastern mythology and tradition. And rabbits. Moon rabbits.
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”.)
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.
Cover for Drabblecast episode Kiriki Grocery, by Tory Hoke
The last day of orientation at New Plymouth University, Work Placement called students up in pairs. Rhonda Morillo took the chair next to a big-boned blond girl–Deirdre, pretty sure–as their peer advisor announced their “exciting cultural opportunity”: stocking shelves at Kiriki Grocery.
I try to ignore my brothers and sisters as I do my work under the hot twin suns. They call me names. They call me dreamer. They call me innocent. They call me ridiculous.
All the while, I herd the rodents into the pen. I collect animal droppings and scatter them in the garden. I chew what long grass I can find and spit it out into the buckets so my mother can make the doughy bread that is a staple of the Hort diet.
“I will not leave this cavern,” the voice said as soon as I stepped into the cave mouth. A baritone decaying into vibrato, an old man’s voice, full of dignity and pride.
I tried to pinpoint its source, but the air was thick with fog. The haze seemed to originate from inside the chamber, where a mysterious current of cold wind blew from underground. All around me, where the vapour met the pink light, it glowed, the colour of the primrose buds in my terrarium back home. The thought of missing them in full bloom this year, pricked at me. Focus, Virginia, I told myself. Don’t be so bloody addled. There are lives on the line.