Archive for Hugo Awards

EP194: Exhalation


2009 Hugo Nominee!

By Ted Chiang.
Read by Ray Sizemore (of X-Ray Visions).

First appeared in Eclipse 2, ed. Jonathan Strahan.

Narration first appeared at and produced by Starship Sofa. Special thanks to Tony Smith and Ray Sizemore for their kind permission to resyndicate this award nominee.

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But in the normal course of life, our need for air is far from our thoughts, and indeed many would say that satisfying that need is the least important part of going to the filling stations. For the filling stations are the primary venue for social conversation, the places from which we draw emotional sustenance as well as physical. We all keep spare sets of full lungs in our homes, but when one is alone, the act of opening one’s chest and replacing one’s lungs can seem little better than a chore. In the company of others, however, it becomes a communal activity, a shared pleasure.

Rated PG. Contains entropy, eschatology, and empirical evisceration.

EP193: Article of Faith


By Mike Resnick.
Read by Stephen Eley.
Discuss on our forums.
First appeared in Baen’s Universe, October 2008.
All stories by Mike Resnick.
All stories read by Stephen Eley.

“I’m sure,” I said. “Somehow, lunch seems pretty trivial after you’ve been thinking about God all morning.”

“God, sir?”

“The Creator of all things,” I explained.

“My creator is Stanley Kalinovsky, sir,” said Jackson. “I was not aware that he created everything in the world, nor that his preferred name was God.”

I couldn’t repress a smile.

Rated PG. Contains religious themes and some violence.

EP158: Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?


2008 Hugo Nominee!

By Ken MacLeod.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in The New Space Opera, ed. Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan.

When you’re as old as I am, you’ll find your memory’s not what it was. It’s not that you lose memories. That hasn’t happened to me or anyone else since the Paleocosmic Era, the Old Space Age, when people lived in caves on the Moon. My trouble is that I’ve gained memories, and I don’t know which of them are real. I was very casual about memory storage back then, I seem to recall. This could happen to you too, if you’re not careful. So be warned. Do as I say, not as I did.

Some of the tales about me contradict each other, or couldn’t possibly have happened, because that’s how I told them in the first place. Others I blame on the writers and tellers. They make things up. I’ve never done that. If I’ve told stories that couldn’t be true, it’s because that’s how I remember them.

Here’s one.

Rated R. Contains profanity, nudity, and in flagrante delicto.

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Referenced Sites:
2008 Hugo Awards
Free Novels for Worldcon Members

EP157: A Small Room in Koboldtown


2008 Hugo Nominee!

By Michael Swanwick.
Read by Cheyenne Wright (of Arcane Times and Girl Genius).
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2007.

That Winter, Will le Fey held down a job working for a haint politician named Salem Toussaint. Chiefly, his function was to run errands while looking conspicuously solid. He fetched tax forms for the alderman’s constituents, delivered stacks of documents to trollish functionaries, fixed L&I violations, presented boxes of candied John-the-Conqueror root to retiring secretaries, absent-mindedly dropped slim envelopes containing twenty-dollar bills on desks. When somebody important died, he brought a white goat to the back door of the Fane of Darkness to be sacrificed to the Nameless One. When somebody else’s son was drafted or went to prison, he hammered a nail in the nkisi nkonde that Toussaint kept in the office to ensure his safe return.

He canvassed voters in haint neighborhoods like Ginny Gall, Beluthahatchie, and Diddy-Wah-Diddy, where the bars were smoky, the music was good, and it was dangerous to smile at the whores. He negotiated the labyrinthine bureaucracies of City Hall. Not everything he did was strictly legal, but none of it was actually criminal. Salem Toussaint didn’t trust him enough for that.

Rated PG. Contains dark, seedy places and dark, seedy characters, only a few of them alive.

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Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams

EP156: Distant Replay


By Mike Resnick.
Read by Steve Anderson (of SGA Creative and Great Tales Live).
Discuss on our forums.
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2007.
All stories by Mike Resnick.
All stories read by Steve Anderson.

“Let me show you,” I said, pulling out my wallet. I took my Deirdre’s photo out and handed it to her.

“It’s uncanny,” she said, studying the picture. “We even sort of wear our hair the same way. When was this taken?”

“Forty-seven years ago.”

“Is she dead?”

I nodded.

Rated PG. Contains mature themes and wistfulness.

Referenced Sites:
2008 Hugo Awards
“First of May” by Jonathan Coulton (Not work-safe)

EP155: Tideline


2008 Hugo Nominee!

By Elizabeth Bear.
Read by Stephen Eley.
Closing Music: “The Fall” by Red Hunter.

They would have called her salvage, if there were anyone left to salvage her. But she was the last of the war machines, a three-legged oblate teardrop as big as a main battle tank, two big grabs and one fine manipulator folded like a spider’s palps beneath the turreted head that finished her pointed end, her polyceramic armor spiderwebbed like shatterproof glass. Unhelmed by her remote masters, she limped along the beach, dragging one fused limb. She was nearly derelict.

The beach was where she met Belvedere.

Rated PG. Contains implied violence and themes of death.

Referenced Sites:
2008 Hugo Awards
WisCon May 23-26, Madison, WI

EP108: Kin


2007 Hugo Nominee!

By Bruce McAllister.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, February 2006.

The alien and the boy, who was twelve, sat in the windowless room high above the city that afternoon. The boy talked and the alien listened.

The boy was ordinary—the genes of three continents in his features, his clothes cut in the style of all boys in the vast housing project called LAX. The alien was something else, awful to behold; and though the boy knew it was rude, he did not look up as he talked.

He wanted the alien to kill a man, he said. It was that simple.

Rated PG. Contains implied violence and morally complex themes.

Referenced Sites:
The Girl Who Loved Animals and Other Stories by Bruce McAllister
Balticon 2007 Trip Report

EP107: Eight Episodes


2007 Hugo Nominee!

By Robert Reed.
Read by MarBelle (of Director’s Notes).
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2006.

Eighteen months later, the fledging Web network declared bankruptcy, and a small consortium acquired its assets, including Invasion of a Small World. Eager to recoup their investment, the new owners offered all eight episodes as a quick-and-dirty DVD package. When sales proved somewhat better than predicted, a new version was cobbled together, helped along by a genuine ad budget. The strongest initial sales came from the tiny pool of determined fans—young and well educated, with little preference for nationality or gender. But the scientists in several fields, astronomy and paleontology included, were the ones who created a genuine buzz that eventually put Invasion into the public eye.

Rated PG. Contains some suggestive imagery, references to infidelity, and not very good television.

Referenced Sites:
World Science Fiction Society
Steve’s LiveJournal

EP106: The House Beyond Your Sky


2007 Hugo Nominee!

By Benjamin Rosenbaum.
Read by Paul Tevis (of Have Games Will Travel).
First appeared in Strange Horizons, September 2006.

The simulations, while good, are not impenetrable even to their own inhabitants. Scientists teaching baboons to sort blocks may notice that all other baboons become instantly better at block-sorting, revealing a high-level caching mechanism. Or engineers building their own virtual worlds may find they cannot use certain tricks of optimization and compression‚Äîfor Matthias has already used them. Only when the jig is up does Matthias reveal himself, asking each simulated soul: what now? Most accept Matthias’s offer to graduate beyond the confines of their simulation, and join the general society of Matthias’s house.

You may regard them as bright parakeets, living in wicker cages with open doors. The cages are hung from the ceiling of the priest’s clay hut. The parakeets flutter about the ceiling, visit each other, steal bread from the table, and comment on Matthias’s doings.

Rated R. Contains some profanity and child abuse. It’s probably too complex for young children as well.

Referenced Sites:
Diversity in SF Markets (blog post by Tobias S. Buckell)
Finis: A Book of Endings
Nina Kimberly the Merciless
SciFi Smackdown

EP105: Impossible Dreams


2007 Hugo Nominee!

By Tim Pratt.
Read by Matthew Wayne Selznick (of Brave Men Run and Writers Talking).
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, July 2006.
All stories by Tim Pratt.
All stories read by Stephen Eley.

He went to the Sci-Fi shelf‚Äîand had another shock. I, Robot was there, but not the forgettable action movie with Will Smith‚Äîthis was older, and the credits said “written by Harlan Ellison.” But Ellison’s adaptation of the Isaac Asimov book had never been produced, though it had been published in book form. “Must be some bootleg student production,” he muttered, and he didn’t recognize the name of the production company. But‚Äîbut‚Äîit said “winner of the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.” That had to be a student director’s little joke, straight-facedly absurd box copy, as if this were a film from some alternate reality. Worth watching, certainly, though again, he couldn’t imagine how he’d never heard of this. Maybe it had been done by someone local. He took it to the counter and offered his credit card.

She looked at the card dubiously. “Visa? Sorry, we only take Weber and FosterCard.”

Rated G. Contains excessive movie trivia; some of it true.

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Referenced Sites:
Balticon 2007