Posts Tagged ‘mur lafferty’

EP282: You’re Almost Here


By Melinda Thielbar
Read by: Mur Lafferty
Originally published in Bull Spec Magazine
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All stories by Melinda Thielbar
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated PG-13: This story contains one F-bomb.

A&E are offering us a prize pack for a random drawing! So US residents, please email feedback at escapepod.org and put CONTEST in the subject line. We’ll do a drawing next week!

You could win both of the following:

Space 1999: The Complete Season 1

In the year 1999, a spectacular explosion at a lunar nuclear waste dump sends the moon out of Earth’s orbit. In this seminal sci-fi series from producer Gerry Anderson, the men and women of Moonbase Alpha are suddenly propelled on a treacherous journey across the universe in search of extraordinary new worlds.

The Prisoner
Since its CBS debut in the summer of 1968, the masterful British TV series THE PRISONER has captivated American audiences. Now A&E presents a definitive aficionado’s edition of the cult classic which is considered one of the most innovative TV series ever filmed, for the first time in breathtaking Blu-Ray.

Show Notes:

  • Feedback for Episode 274
  • Next week… The grandfather paradox rears its violent head.

You’re Almost Here
by Melinda Thielbar

“Can I share your table?”

You look up to see your dream girl. Red hair, cream-colored skin, face just a little round, breasts just a little small. Not movie-star beautiful, not perfect just–nice. She smiles, and her cheeks dimple, and you’re in love. You gesture to the empty chair across from you with a grin of your own.

“Be my guest,” you say.

“Thanks.” She takes the chair and sets her coffee cup down. You close the notebook in front of you and open your mouth to say something—anything—to impress this girl.

Without looking at you, she turns in her chair, pulls a phone out of her pocket and bends over it. You watch her face in profile as she slips a pair of earbuds into her ears. Your mouth is still open, so you close it and look away. That’s when you see that every table is occupied. Men in suits, women in suits, a few people your age in khakis or jeans. They’re all looking down at their phones, laptops, or handheld game consoles. Sunlight streams in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, and you watch people passing by on the street for a minute. They’re all looking straight ahead, faces set the way they have to be in a city this size. When it’s this crowded, the only privacy you can give a stranger is not to notice them. That idea interests you, and so you open your notebook to jot it down at the bottom of the second-to-last page. As you’re writing, a chair scrapes behind you, and a guy in a navy three-piece moves past. He flips his phone open and then closed again, checking the time, and hurries out.

The girl across from you moves almost as fast as he does. “Thanks,” she says and flashes that amazing smile again before she grabs her drink and hops to the newly-open table. You write FUCK across the top of the second-to-last page of your notebook, tuck it into your pocket, and go get another coffee.

The barristomatic (you call it this; no one else does), takes your thumbprint and opens a menu with your recent drink selections. They’re supposed to be sorted so the one you drink most is at the top. For you, it might as well be random. You do something different every time. This one’s a half-pump vanilla, half-pump strawberry, soy milk latte with a lousy espresso bean that still costs more than all the other ingredients put together because it’s fair-trade and organic. You once enumerated every combination, ranked them from most to least expensive and calculated how long it would take to try all of them. Assuming they add nothing to the line-up (unlikely), you’ll have to live to be eighty (likely) and drink four cups a day (near-certain). The machine hisses out your espresso and steamed milk. The menu pops up a new screen “People who enjoyed this drink also liked…” You hit Done and taste your drink. It’s perfect and artless.

You turn around and see someone sitting in the chair you just vacated. It’s a guy in jeans, probably another unwilling table-sharer. He’s sitting inches away from the red-haired girl. They’re practically back-to-back, both bopping to whatever’s playing through their identical earbuds, and neither one’s aware of the other. The guy’s t-shirt reads: “Steal This Shirt”. You put a lid on your coffee and head out the door.

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EP280: Endosymbiont


By: Blake Charlton
Read by: Mur Lafferty
Originally published in Seeds of Change
Discuss on our forums.
All stories by Blake Charlton
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated PG-13: Swearing (one f-bomb) and disturbing hospital images

Show Notes:

  • Feedback for Episode 272
  • Next week… Horticulture, dermatology, and love

“Do you know what day it is? What year?”

“It’s like mid August, 2017?” her voice squeaked. Jesus, had she really lost her mind?

“That’s right.” She smiled. “Don’t be scared. I just wanted to be sure.”

“What do you mean don’t be scared?” she blurted. “Sure about what? Jesus! How long have I been here? How many times have you seen me before?”

Jani held up her hand. “Slow down; it’s okay…I’m not an oncologist, but I’m following your case. The cancer responded well to the treatment. And our research suggests that the side effects are temporary.”

Stephanie started to protest but then stopped. A terrifying memory flashed through her mind. “Mom said they might take me to a hospital for the dead.” She didn’t know what that meant but the memory was clear. “She said you’d keep me here to fool me into thinking I’m still alive.”

Jani was holding up both hands now. “Slow down. The survival rates are scary but they’re far better—”

“You’re not listening. She said they’d take me to a hospital for people who’ve _already_ died. I have to escape before—”

Stephanie started to stand but Jani put a heavy hand on her shoulder and said “Lullaby.”

The word opened a bloom of orange light across Stephanie’s vision. A static hiss exploded into her ears, and she felt herself falling. There was a firecracker yellow flash and then…nothing.

EP279: Conditional Love


By: Felicity Shoulders
Read by: Mur Lafferty
Originally published in Asimov’s, Jan 2010 issue
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All stories by Felicity Shoulders
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated PG-13: Swearing and disturbing hospital images

Show Notes:

  • Serious apologies – circumstances this week had me recording later than usual.
  • Feedback for Episode 271
  • Next week… A longer piece by Blake Charlton

The new patient was five or six years old, male, Caucasian, John Doe as usual.  Grace checked the vitals his bed sensors were feeding her board and concluded he was asleep.  She eased the door of 408 open and stepped in.

The boy’s head was tilted on his pillow, brown curls cluttering his forehead.  Sleep had flushed his cheeks so he looked younger than the estimate.  He seemed healthy, with no visible deformities, and if he had been opted for looks, it had worked—Grace would have described him as ‘cherubic’.  He wouldn’t have been dumped if nothing was wrong, so Grace found herself stepping softly, unwilling to disturb him and discover psychological conditions.

“Don’t worry about waking him, he sleeps pretty deep.”

Grace started and turned to the other bed.  “Hi, Minnie.”

The girl grimaced.  “I go by my full name now, Dr. Steller.”  Grace brought up her board to refresh her memory, but the girl said, “Minerva.  Had you forgotten they’re doubling up rooms?”

“Yep, you caught me.”

“Is the rise in numbers caused by a rise in opting?  Or is it a rise in surrenders, or arrests of parents?”

“Lord, Minn—Minerva, I don’t know.  Planning to be a reporter when you grow up?”

“No, a scientist,” Minerva said and smiled, pleased to be asked.

“Why the scalpel-edged questions then?”

“Just curious if my campaign had had any effect,” Minerva said, nodding toward the window.  The billboard across from the Gene-Engineered Pediatric Inpatient Center flashed a smog warning, then a PSA about eye strain from computer visors, but Grace remembered when it had borne a static image:  Minnie, one year old, a pink sundress exposing the stubs of her arms and legs.  _Babies should be born, not made._  The ad had stayed up until Minnie was eight, three years after her parents turned her over to GEPIC, and apparently she had seen it.  She was twelve now, with serious eyes and a loose ponytail, dark blonde.

EP278: Written on the Wind


By: David D. Levine
Read by: Mur Lafferty
Originally published in Beyond the Last Star
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All stories by David D. Levine
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated PG: Talk of war elsewhere.

Show Notes:

  • Feedback for Episode 270
  • Next week… A groovy strange kind of love

Written on the Wind
by David D. Levine

Thuren Nektopk peered down at Luulianni from above his massive desk. “I suspect you know why I’ve called you to speak with me in person.” He spoke in his native language, Ptopku Dominant, using the form of address for a subordinate or a child. It was a constant reminder that the Ptopku had built and largely staffed this station, and was one of the most powerful species in the Consortium.

“Yes, Supervisor,” Luulianni replied in the same language, knotting her tentacles.

“And that would be…?”

“Because of my side project.”

“Yes.” Nektopk suddenly released the bar from which he hung, caught himself on another handhold, and with two swift strokes of his arms swung down to where his six slitted eyes were level with Luulianni’s. “Your little side project.”

Luulianni cringed. “I don’t understand why it’s so much of a problem.” She straightened and tried to meet his gaze. “I put in my full quota of time every day.”

“Yes, you do, and not one moment more. But I know you are capable of so much more than that. Any work you do on this pointless little side project of yours constitutes theft of resources from the Section — from the whole Project!”

“Theft?” she squeaked. Angry at herself for the loss of control, she brought her voice down. “Theft of resources? But I don’t use any data storage space, or any other Section resources! I write my notes on the backs of old printouts.” She did not mention how much more natural it felt to work on paper.

“You are stealing the most valuable resource of all!” Nektopk pointed at her with one limber foot. “Your own time and attention!”

“But it’s my time!”

“You have been sent here by your people — at considerable expense, I might add — to assist in the Project, to learn the ways of the Consortium, and to demonstrate your species’ unique skills.” He leaned closer to her. His smell was bitter. “And if I find that your species, as represented by yourself, does not demonstrate any unique skills, your application for Consortium membership could very well be denied.” He swung himself up to the edge of his desk, the better to glare down at her. “Therefore, your time is not your own. You owe it to the Section, to the Project, and to your own people to put every bit of available time into your assigned task.”

Luulianni hung her head. “Yes, Supervisor.”

“You may return to your work.”

“Thank you, Supervisor.”

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EP275: Schrödinger’s Cat Lady


By: Marjorie James
Read by: Mur Lafferty
An Escape Pod original!
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All stories by Marjorie James
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated PG: For quantum theory and brief violent description.

Show Notes:

Schrödinger’s Cat Lady
By Marjorie James

I got out of the car, smoothed my shirt down over my bulletproof vest, and contemplated the cats. They contemplated me right back. I sighed. I hated these jobs.

I opened the tiny gate to the front walk (no fence, just a gate) and made my way to the door. The house was small and tidy, a light blue bungalow with green trim and yellow curtains pulled across the windows, through which the cats were peering. It didn’t smell, which was a relief. And something of a surprise, considering the heat. It was one of those days when the world seemed to be actively rejecting human habitation, where the smog and the humidity made the air feel like warm mayonnaise. On a day like this, a cat overpopulation should be stinking to high heaven. Maybe this wasn’t for real, I hoped. It might just be some neighbor with a grudge. Couldn’t be more than a dozen cats here, max. Maybe this one wasn’t going to be that bad.

I have never been very good at predicting things.

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EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament


By: Cat Rambo
Read by: Mur Lafferty
First appeared in Abyss & Apex (read the text here!)
Discuss on our forums.
All stories by Cat Rambo
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated R: for strong language and addiction discussion.

Show Notes:

“Not one of the Big Three? Thought CocaCorp would want a piece of that.”

Rutter had wondered that himself. By all accounts, Solin was a plum piece of real estate, the kind one of the big companies like General M or Bushink would snatch up as an asset. Across the galaxies, they’d grabbed small systems every chance they got. Solin did have a native intelligent race tp be wooed, but there was a surplus of impoverished races deep in debt to the Companies. Very few, the ones who knew to hire themselves savvy (and expensive) legal counsel, managed to keep themselves free.

There was, Rutter figured, something out of the ordinary about Solin. Not out of the ordinary in a valuable way, but something tricky, something slippery or scandalous, some taint the Big Three wanted to avoid. He’d find out soon enough, he guessed.

EP269: Élan Vital


By: K. Tempest Bradford
Read by: Mur Lafferty
First appeared in Sybil’s Garage no. 6
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All stories by K. Tempest Bradford
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated PG: For adult topics of parental death

Show Notes:

  • Feedback for Episode 261: Only Springtime When She’s Gone
  • Next week… The future of corporate America

Élan Vital
By K. Tempest Bradford

The few minutes I had to spend in the Institute’s waiting room were my least favorite part of coming up to visit my mother. It felt more like a dialysis room, the visitors sunk into the overly-soft couches and not speaking, just drinking orange juice and recovering. There were no magazines and no television, just cold air blowing from the vents and generic music flowing with it. I’d finished my juice and was beginning to brood on my dislike for overly air-conditioned buildings when my mother arrived attended by a nurse.

I kissed and hugged her, automatically asking how she was, mouthing the answer she always gave as she gave it again.

“I’m fine, same as always.”

It wasn’t strictly true, but true enough.

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EP268: Advection


By: Genevieve Valentine
Read by: Mur Lafferty
First appeared in Clarkesworld
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All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated PG: For mild violence

Show Notes:

  • Feedback for Episode 260: The Speed of Dreams
  • Next week… The difficulty of watching a parent die.

Advection
By Genevieve Valentine

The first day of fifth year a boy came in with the new eyeshields, a glossy expanse of black with no iris or pupil, and looking at him was like looking into an eclipse.

All the other girls said it made them uncomfortable; they teased him to take them out, to put on some normal sunglasses like everyone else. They said they’d never forgive him for hiding eyes in such a handsome face.

“Fortuni, it’s a little much,” said someone.

That was how I learned his name.

We were all Level Two intelligence, but before the first week was over the news was out that some had managed to find the money for a sixth year. Janik Duranti, who spent the history lectures drawing stick figures screwing on his computer screen, was getting a sixth year. I’d be cleaning his office someday. Answering his phones. Updating the registration on his blue ID cuff.

Carol Clarke opened the top button on her shirt as soon as the shades went down; obvious, but it was worth it to be married to a guy who had a sixth year.

The first time Fortuni opened his mouth was two weeks after start-of-year in geohistory, when Mr. Xi was talking about the five oceans.

“After the emergency desalinization,” Mr. Xi said, “we held the first HydroSummit to determine the best use of resources.”

“I think it’s awful about the dolphins that died,” said Kay, whose water ration was unlimited because her father was a diplomat, and that was how I first noticed her.

Mr. Xi opened the rain cycle diagram on our screens; the blue advection loop from a hundred years ago had been overlaid by a three-point process from the Atmo water collectors to the thirsty ground, and the green web of the surface sweat system that preserved the little underground things that managed to survive.

My grandfather sent my mom a postcard from Niagara Cliffs when there was still a river at the bottom (RAIN! All my love, Dad), and as Mr. Xi talked about desalinization I traced the advection circle, thought about the sky filling with wet clouds, about water sliding over everything.

I looked up, and Fortuni was watching me, his lashes casting shadows over his flat black eyes.

“I’m going to engineer some rain,” he told me, and after a moment I laughed.

That was how I met him.

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EP264: St. Darwin’s Spirituals


By D.K. Thompson
Read by: Mur Lafferty
First appeared in Murky Depths
Host: Norm Sherman
Discuss on our forums.
All stories by DK Thompson
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated R: For paranormal sexual situations

Show Notes:

  • Enjoy our Halloween episode, which mixes a bit of paranormal in with our science fiction. Hey, it’s a special holiday, and we’re apt to get a little crazy around here.
  • If listeners want some lighter Halloween fun, “Horrorworld,” DK’s short story collaboration with Kevin David Anderson, is running as a two-part special at Drabblecast this Halloween. If people have ever had a desire to see Yul Brynner fight zombies, that’s the story for them.
  • Feedback for Episode 256: The Mermaids Singing Each to Each.
  • Next week… A special election day episode!

Saint Darwin’s Spirituals
By D.K. Thompson

The ghosts wanted a threesome – the two of them in Lucy’s body. It wasn’t an unheard of proposition, or so Lucy had been told. Prostitutes considered psychic whoring one of the safest tricks on the streets. All the pleasures of intimacy without the messy clean-up.

Ghosts had a nasty reputation for vanishing the moment after, though, no matter the talisman around your neck or the potion drunk before sunset, and so payments were usually collected up front. Not that Lucy was worried about the money. Her husband was the only thing that concerned her.

She adjusted her brass and leather goggles, peering through the ethereal tinted lenses to examine the ghosts.

They looked like the average apparitions. Both female. One spiraled around Lucy, long and curly hair obscuring her face. Large black blotches covered her body, causing her skin to peel off in patches. The other hovered several feet above the cobblestones in front of Lucy. She had a noose around her throat and her neck was bent so her head hung to the left side. She crossed her arms and took several breaths. Or whatever passed for breaths in the afterlife.

How long had it been since they’d felt someone’s touch?
Lucy wondered. She remembered something her husband had told her long ago, before the murders, before he’d disappeared. “Spirits linger in this world longing to be a part of it, to reconnect, to have some kind of physical, sensual experience,” Thomas had said. “Only a host can provide them that.”

Ghosts aren’t the only creatures haunted by the memory of a touch, my love, Lucy thought. And yet, despite being a devout spiritualist, she shuddered at the idea of the cadaverous spirits making love inside her. She’d never had a ghostgasm before, much less been paid for one. The ghosts looked sincere in their desire, not like dangerous murderers. Certainly not monsters. Still, lonely as she was, a ghostgasm wouldn’t help her find Thomas.

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EP260: The Speed of Dreams


By Will Ludwigsen
Read by: Mur Lafferty
Host: Norm Sherman
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction
Discuss on our forums.
All stories by Will Ludwigsen
All stories read by Mur Lafferty

Brought to you by Audible.com – Get The Alchemist and The Executioness (or any book you like) for FREE today when you sign up for a free trial!

Paige Sumner

8th Grade Science Fair Paper Draft

#

Introduction

It happens all the time: you’re sitting in class, listening the best you can while Mister Waters goes on and on about atoms or sound waves or whatever, when suddenly you fall asleep. Your head lolls against your shoulder and some drool oozes from the side of your mouth. Luckily, Missy Woo kicks you in the knee to wake you up before someone notices, like Mister Waters or–worse–Austin.

What’s weird is that in those few minutes of sleeping, you dream like hours of stuff. You’re all hanging out or playing basketball or walking the mall while everybody else is slowly raising their hands and taking notes. They all get twenty four hours that day, but you get a little extra.

But how much extra?

Rated PG: For mild drug use.

Show Notes:

  • Sponsored by Audible – get a free book today when you sign up for your free trial!
  • Feedback for Episode 252: Billion-Dollar View.

Next week… Love, the viral kind.