Posts Tagged ‘future’

Escape Pod 598: On the Fringes of the Fractal


AUTHOR: Greg van Eekhout

NARRATOR: Tina Connolly

HOST: Mur Lafferty

about the author . . .

Greg van Eekhout is a novelist of science fiction and fantasy for audiences ranging from adult to middle grade. His work has been selected as finalists for the Sunshine State Award, the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Nebula Award. His novels include Kid vs. Squid, The Boy at the End of the World, Norse Code and the California Bones trilogy. He’s also published about two-dozen short stories, several of which have appeared in year’s best anthologies. Forthcoming works include the middle-grade novel Starward Bound, about dogs on a deep-space mission. He lives with his wife and dogs in San Diego, California, where he enjoys beach walks and tacos.

about the narrator . . . Tina

Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin and Seriously Wicked series, and the collection On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories. Her books have been finalists for the Nebula, Norton, and World Fantasy awards. She co-hosts Escape Pod, narrates for Beneath Ceaseless Skies and all four Escape Artists podcasts, and runs Toasted Cake.


On the Fringes of the Fractal
By Greg van Eekhout

I was working the squirt station on the breakfast shift at Peevs Burgers when I learned that my best friend’s life was over.

The squirt guns were connected by hoses to tanks, each tank containing a different slew formula. Orders appeared in lime-green letters on my screen, and I squirted accordingly. Two Sausage Peev Sandwiches was two squirts from the sausage slew gun. An order of Waffle Peev Sticks was three small dabs of waffle slew. The slew warmed and hardened on the congealer table, and because I’d paid attention during the twenty-minute training course and applied myself, I knew just when the slew was ready. I was a slew expert.

Sherman was the other squirter on duty that morning. The orders were coming in fast and he was already wheezing on account of his exercise-induced asthma. His raspy breaths interfered with my ability to concentrate. You really have to concentrate because after four hours of standing and squirting there’s the danger of letting your mind wander and once you do that you can lose control of the squirts and end up spraying food slew all over the kitchen like a fire hose.

“Wasted slew reflects badly on you,” said one of the inspirational posters in the employee restroom. (Continue Reading…)

EP323: Marking Time on the Far Side of Forever


By DK Latta
Read by Josh Roseman
Discuss on our forums.
First published in Prairie Fire, 1999
All stories by DK Latta
All stories read by Josh Roseman

Marking Time on the Far Side of Forever
by D.K. Latta

I sit beneath the dark green sky, overlooking the valley that has changed much over the years.  What was once a stream has swelled into a river while, to the east, lush vegetation grows where I think there was once a shallow lake. I can’t remember definitely. The information is stored inside me, filed, itemized; I’m merely unsure how to access it. It will come to me. Later, when a random search, an unrelated thought, cracks open the proper conduits and a pulse of electricity resurrects the knowledge, unbidden.

Until then, I am content to wait.

Below my knee, the dented brass-coloured metal becomes the red of a tree trunk, substituting as a shin and foot. Like an antiquated peg-leg, like a stereotypical pira…pi…pi-

Pi is 3.1415926…

The organic substance must be replaced occasionally, but the concept has served satisfactorily for almost two hundred years. It was easy to jury-rig. Not so my mnemonic core.  I lack the appropriate tools and diagnostic programs.

Yes. There had been a lake, teeming with the hoorah-thet fish.

I call them fish simply to provide a basis of comparative orientation. Fish only exist on earth, and this is not earth.  Earth is a long, long way away.
(Continue Reading…)

We live in the future


My science-fiction-loving friends have often heard me claim that, if Robert Heinlein was alive today, he would be very upset with us for not having colonized the moon or other planets. I’m still pretty upset about it myself. Only a few hundred living humans have ever been in space, and the American media still looks disdainfully upon anyone willing to spend the time and money to go up with another country’s space shuttle.

Even the term itself is un-futuristic. “Space shuttle.” It sounds like a fancy name for the tram that takes you to the different parking lots at Disney.

But this week, I realized that we really do live in the future.

I personally live in the greater Atlanta, Ga., area, and we recently were held in the icy grip of a winter storm that cancelled school for a full week, left thousands stuck on their couches and not at work, and generally made people ecstatic for one day and morose for the next four.

Welcome to HothLanta

I happen to work for a company that provided me with a brand-new Macbook (as of November) and a way to access all the programs I need to do my job from literally anywhere with an internet connection. So, while thousands of my co-workers were stuck at home doing nothing, I got work done all week. I worked in my kitchen, I worked in my basement, I worked in my living room with my feet up. I stayed in contact with co-workers via instant messages, I took conference calls at my house, and I fulfilled dozens of work orders.

I couldn’t have done this ten years ago. But now, I live in the future.

For days, meteorologists used computer models to warn me the storm was coming. I got information from television, radio, and the internet. I was able to entertain my child using video games, movies, recorded television, and her very own computer (my four-year-old daughter has a laptop with a Linux install; that amazes me from time to time). I kept up on what other people were doing using Twitter and Facebook, and even got on board with the hashtag #hothlanta, creating a community amid a paralyzing storm system.

A century ago, if a storm had hit, I might not have known about it until it was too late, and I certainly wouldn’t have kept as busy as I did. But now, I live in the future.

Despite being trapped in my house, a prisoner to unsafe driving conditions, I still managed to cook and eat meals, stay in contact with my extended family, keep up with the latest news, complete my assigned work tasks, and even watch three full seasons of “The IT Crowd”.

When Hurricane Andrew hit south Florida (I lived there at the time), the only information we got was from the radio. After it passed, we had no idea when the power would be back on or if it was safe to leave our neighborhood. But this week I found out all those things before even putting on my jacket. Because I live in the future.

What really sealed it for me was this: on Thursday, I was working in my kitchen and wanted to listen to some music. Normally I’d put on last.fm or iTunes radio, but I only have a limited amount of bandwidth in the house. So I took out my iPad, activated the Remote app, and started playing music from my personal library. Without getting up off my ass, I controlled my personal laptop in the next room, told it what music to play and how loud, and within moments was enjoying, among other things, the London Symphony Orchestra performing the soundtrack to “Superman: the Movie”.

I live in the future. And as much as I complain, I kind of like it here.

I wonder what I’m going to do tomorrow.