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EP206: Rogue Farm

By Charles Stross
Recorded at Balticon 43, May 23, 2009
Read by:Joe -Jared Axelrod (of The Voice of Free Planet X), Maddie - J.R. Blackwell (of Voices of Tomorrow), The Farm - Evo Terra and Sheila Dee (of Evo at 11, et al.), Maddie - J.R. Blackwell (of Voices of Tomorrow), Brenda the Barkeep - Dee Reed (of Nobilis Erotica), Wendy the Rat - Laura Burns, Art the Boy Toy - John Cmar, Bob the Dog - Earl Newton (of Stranger Things), Narrator - Stephen Eley.
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All stories by Charles Stross
All stories read by John Cmar, JR Blackwell, Evo Terra, Sheila DeeJared Axelrod, Dee Reed, Laura Burns, Earl Newton, Stephen Eley

Special Thanks To:
Paul Fischer (of The Balticon Podcast) for instigating and organizing
Nobilis Reed (of Nobilis Erotica) for engineering

First appeared in Live Without a Net, ed. Lou Anders
Now available in Wireless, by Charles Stross

“Buggerit, I don’t have time for this,” Joe muttered. The stable waiting for the small herd of cloned spidercows cluttering up the north paddock was still knee-deep in manure, and the tractor seat wasn’t getting any warmer while he shivered out here waiting for Maddie to come and sort this thing out. It wasn’t a big herd, but it was as big as his land and his labour could manage – the big biofabricator in the shed could assemble mammalian livestock faster than he could feed them up and sell them with an honest HAND-RAISED NOT VAT-GROWN label.

“What do you want with us?” he yelled up at the gently buzzing farm.

“Brains, fresh brains for baby Jesus,” crooned the farm in a warm contralto, startling Joe half out of his skin. “Buy my brains!” Half a dozen disturbing cauliflower shapes poked suggestively out of the farms’ back then retracted again, coyly.

“Don’t want no brains around here,” Joe said stubbornly, his fingers whitening on the stock of the shotgun. “Don’t want your kind round here, neither. Go away.”

Rated PG for strong language, chemical violence, and drug-abusing dogs.

Comments (33)

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  1. Derrek says:

    Escape Pod with a laugh track. Yay! This story was too goofy for me. But I liked the talking stoner dog.

  2. Holiday says:

    This was an enjoyable listen. Perhaps not as amusing as “Elvis in the Attic”, but still pretty good. A good job on a live recording (without a dress rehersal:)

  3. Ken_K says:

    I didn’t understand any of it. But I still liked it.

  4. Lexicat says:

    What delightful playfulness with language and contemporary currents in science and technology!

    I especially love the image of the guy getting baked with his dog. :}

  5. Lexicat says:

    Oh! And many kudos for the excellent off-the-cuff performance by Steve & Co.

  6. Dave says:

    This is the best EP I have ever eaten! Seriously after 205 EP Pod casts I have finally found my favorite!!!

    I love stories with tons of implied technology, themes and inside stuff.

    Just, Wow! this one was really neat and I love for a story to make me feel this way. the only thing that could have made it better is for the original cast of Monty Python’s Flying Circus to have read it. Not to say this cast was not Great because they were! I tell you Thanks! 3 times!

  7. phignewton says:

    huzzah! great story, preformance and audience!

  8. Duellist Origins says:

    Ooh, uh, audiences. This brings back bad memories of the Decoder Ring adverts, with an enforced laugh track. Nasty.

  9. Megan Pawlak says:

    Having the live track was strange. It seemed me and the audience were always backwards. I was listening raptly and everyone was finding something funny and when it got REALLY quiet I found something to laugh about (of course I have no idea how much laugh track was cut in the end) I found the ending rather sad though. It killed the levity of the rest of the story completely.

  10. Gotta agree with Dave, this is my fave episode of Escape Pod. Great story, wonderful energy! Awesome.

  11. scatterbrain says:

    I remember trying to read this story years ago, but getting interupted and not finishing it.

    But what a great way to finally hear it; well done Escape Pod!

  12. [...] guest of honor this year was Charlie Stross, and Steve Eley was able to secure his story Rogue Farm for the live recording. While he couldn’t stay for the whole panel due to a schedule [...]

  13. Gail says:

    Steve Eley: Cat Herder.
    Well done, everybody!

  14. GB Steve says:

    I enjoyed that. The accents made it all the more strange. Cheers!

  15. [...] here’s a strange tale by Charles Stross that you can listen to at Escape Pod: Rogue Farm. It’s a good listen if you like surreal bioengineering, a pot-smoking dog, and, of course, a [...]

  16. Brave Space Monkey says:

    I’ve always thought that are beloved EP, would one day morph into (or spawn) a radio-drama-like podcast. Were writers would turn in scripts, rather than a traditional stories.

    If this was indeed the start of a new venture – I enjoyed it. If however it was not the start of a new venture, I still enjoyed it.

  17. morganlean says:

    Really enjoyed this story, liked all the voices good listening to with some nice GT.

    Had all the cool crazy stuff that I like to see in SF

  18. nfraser says:

    I like the story, and I’m glad you took the chance of doing a “live” cast, but I was offput by use of an American cast in what was clearly an English story. Next time perhaps, something that better matches your brave cast of volunteers.

  19. I loved the story. It was very very good and well read. It was also well recorded as well. i hope you guys consider doing this again.

  20. Dave Leo says:

    woohoo! does this episode have a video? it’d be fun to watch!

  21. Holy crap, that was awesome! You should definitely make this a con tradition in the spirit of KoDT live reads. Well executed by everybody and thoroughly enjoyable!

    Oh, and it was a great story, too! ^_^

  22. tim says:

    I’ll echo the positive comments of others. What really made me smile was Evo and Sheila as The Farm. I reminded me of Zippo in the Firesign Theater’s “Everything You Know Is Wrong”.

  23. Karel says:

    This one stands out ! Interesting themes, hints of a weird yet somehow credible future and most of all sheer fun, all in a nut shell of a story. More ! More !

  24. JimO says:

    simply wonderful, I love full cast stuff

  25. WyrdestGeek says:

    “Buy our brains for baby Jesus!” It should go on a shirt.


    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  26. [...] If you’re interested in more Charles Stross, Escape Pod arranged a live reading in front of an audience of Rouge Farm. [...]

  27. [...] to hear something cool?  Head over to Escape Pod and listen to Charlie Stross’ latest story, Rogue Farm.  But, first, stop by Biology in Science Fiction for the link, so they know we care and appreciate [...]

  28. [...] which feature great short scifi stories. Episode 205 even includes a full cast dramatizing “Rogue Farm” by Charles [...]

  29. [...] can listen to the audio version of this story at Escape Pod. VN:F [1.7.5_995]please wait…Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast) Read the [...]

  30. [...] you can sample this Brit’s work in audio form through the first and only live Escape Pod (See Episode 206 or the Special Episode in the Balticon Podcast [...]