Category: Uncategorized

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EP223: The Uncanny Valley

by Nick Mamatas
read by Kathryn Baker

The trouble with knowing everything there is to know, Stephanie Dowling decided instantly, because that’s how clever she was, was that when there was something unknown out there, she had nobody to consult.

And there was something unknown out there, nibbling away at the edge of the economy, and screwing with the Cottrell-Cockshot tatonnements sufficiently that there’d be problems. Shortages of essentials: power cells and answer boxes. Ridiculous surpluses of nonsense like chrome and diamonds. She could tell because the bride was coughing between her lines and the donkey she rode on suddenly looked ill. It would be just like … wossname … that old thing. Capitalism. Till she fixed it anyway.

Wossname?

Rated R.

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EP222: Infestation

by Garth Nix
read by Geoff Michelli

They were the usual motley collection of freelance vampire hunters. Two men, wearing combinations of jungle camouflage and leather. Two women, one almost indistinguishable from the men though with a little more style in her leather armour accessories, and the other looking like she was about to assault the south face of a serious mountain. Only her mouth was visible, a small oval of flesh not covered by balaclava, mirror shades, climbing helmet and hood.

They had the usual weapons: four or five short wooden stakes in belt loops; snap-holstered handguns of various calibers, all doubtless chambered with Wood-N-Death® low-velocity timber-tipped rounds; big silver-edged bowie or other hunting knife, worn on the hip or strapped to a boot; and crystal vials of
holy water hung like small grenades on pocket loops.

Protection, likewise, tick the usual boxes. Leather neck and wrist guards; leather and woven-wire reinforced chaps and shoulder pauldrons over the camo; leather gloves with metal knuckle plates; Army or climbing helmets.

Recently appeared in By Blood We Live.

Rated R for violence and very different vampires.

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EP220: Come All Ye Faithful

by Robert J. Sawyer

Read by Mike Boris

“Damned social engineers,” said Boothby, frowning his freckled face. He looked at me, as if expecting an objection to the profanity, and seemed disappointed that I didn’t rise to the bait.

“As you said earlier,” I replied calmly, “it doesn’t make any practical difference.”

He tried to get me again: “Damn straight. Whether Jody and I just live together or are legally married shouldn’t matter one whit to anyone but us.”

I wasn’t going to give him the pleasure of telling him it mattered to God; I just let him go on. “Anyway,” he said, spreading hands that were also freckled, “since we have to be married before the Company will give us a license to have a baby, Jody’s decided she wants the whole shebang: the cake, the fancy reception, the big service.”

Rated PG.

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EP219: Sleepy Joe

by Marc Laidlaw
narrated by Ben Phillips

originally appeared in The Infinite Matrix

The plan must have come to Rog fully formed that first morning, as he stepped off the elevator into the lobby of Szilliken Sharpenwright and saw the old soldier newly stationed there in his omnichair between the potted silk ferns and the coffee tables.

“Oh. My. God. I am in love.”

Megan, her arms loaded with Rog-House props and paraphernalia she hadn’t had time to ditch yet, said, “You say that an awful lot for someone who styles himself completely asexual. Not to mention atheistic.”

Rated R for adult situations, a smattering of violence, and overly friendly chairs.

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EP218: Ode To Katan Amano

by Caitlin R. Kiernan
narrated by Kim the Comic Book Goddess

No one hears when I ease the heavy steel door shut behind me. All the ears in the darkened workshop, all those hundreds and hundreds of ears, but still no one hears a thing. And I stand there for a while, as unmoving as they, not exactly frightened and not exactly uncertain if I should see this through — I think I stand there in reverence. I be-lieve that’s the word that people use for what I feel in that moment, standing there alone, alone with that assembled crowd.

Rated X for violence and strong sexual situations.  As Steve says in the intro, this one isn’t for the kids.

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EP216: βoyfriend

by Madeline Ashby
read by Tina Connolly

Violet snapped three photos of herself from various angles, sent them, and waited for her boyfriend’s response. He rang her up—a slow vibrating purr, unlike the staccato door-knocking of her mother’s ringvibe—and said: “Me likey. Now take it off.”

Violet frowned. “You were _supposed_ to dig up the backstory on the dress.”

“Well, you can’t blame me for getting a little distracted. Besides, isn’t it bad luck for me to see?”

“That’s only for weddings, not prom.”

Rated R for language, teen-adult situations, and virtual steadies. Also, Norm’s sexy talk.

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Dragon*Con Meetup

For anyone among the tens of thousands of SF fans attending Dragon*Con in Atlanta this weekend: for the third year, we’re hosting a meetup along with Cunning Minx of the Polyamory Weekly podcast.

The meetup’s at 11 AM on Sunday, September 6 at the Gordon Biersch Brewpub at 848 Peachtree Street:


View Larger Map

Minx has an RSVP list for headcount purposes at:

http://twtvite.com/cz4lk4

The brewpub’s about a mile north of the con, which makes for a long walk; but it’s an easy taxi ride, and we’re talking about bringing some people to carpool together as well. Drop me a line at sfeley@gmail.com with your cell number or post in the forum thread if you need to coordinate transportation.

We look forward to seeing many of you there!

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EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast

by Eugie Foster
Narrated by Lawrence Santoro

Each morning is a decision. Should I put on the brown mask or the blue? Should I be a tradesman or an assassin today?

Whatever the queen demands, of course, I am. But so often she ignores me, and I am left to figure out for myself who to be.

Dozens upon dozens of faces to choose from.

1. Marigold is for murder.

Rated R for sex, masks, and violence.

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EP212: Skinhorse Goes to Mars

by Jay Lake

Read by Mike Boris

When I met Skinhorse, my first thought was old. Which was weird. Nobody gets old these days. We all die young, some of us after living a long time, if we’re lucky.

He was in Piet’s Number Seven, a bar-cum-caravanserai in an illegal orbit trailing far enough behind Vesta to be ignorable. Piet’s had been instantiated in an old volatiles bladder that had done the Jovian run a few too many times before falling into the surplus circuit. You could store entire cities in Piet’s cubage, which made for a somewhat attenuated bar experience. Plus the place had one of those gravity cans — yes, those gravity cans — which meant your drink stayed stuck down long as you were near a Higgs carpet.

So there I was annoying myself with three perfectly disrespectable rock jocks, each of us out to fleece the others, when this cadaver starts to stand over me. We’re all forever young or forever dead, but this armstrong looked like he’d shaved about half a cent too deep across his whole body, then restored his dermis with spray-on thermal insulation.

Rated R for strong language, strong violence, and world-spanning tumors.

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EP210: The Hastillan Weed

by Ian Creasey

Narrated by MarBelle

This story originally appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction (February 2006).

“Since we have so many new faces,” I said to the half-dozen volunteers, “I’ll start with a tools talk. Safety points for the spade — the most important is that when you’re digging, you push with the ball of your foot.”

I picked up a spade from the pile, and demonstrated by digging up a bluebell growing by the hedge. From the large bells all round the stem, I knew it was a Spanish bluebell, a garden escape that if left unchecked would hybridise with the natives. Too late now, though. You can tell the British bluebell because the flowers are smaller, deeper blue, and they’re usually
on one side of the stem, so the plant droops under their weight as if bowing down before its foreign conqueror. There’s hardly a wood left in England where you’ll see only native bluebells.

“Or you can use your heel on the spade.” I heaved the invader out of the earth and tossed it aside, knowing it would safely rot. “But you should never press down with the middle of your foot. The bones in the arch are delicate, and you can injure yourself.”

Rated PG for plants with many uses.