Archive for 13 and Up

EP276: On a Blade of Grass

Show Notes

Show Notes:

  • Feedback for Episode 268: Advection
  • Next week… Rejiggering stuff – really, this time.

 

Creative Commons License

On a Blade of Grass by Tim Pratt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at escapepod.org.


On a Blade of Grass

By Tim Pratt

“Interstellar war is about as exciting as playing chess by mail.” The guy who said that had been leaning into the bar for so long I thought his chest might fuse with the wood. I drifted over, because he wasn’t a regular, and I was bored with all my regulars and their regular bullshit.

“Who plays chess by mail anymore?” I said. “With the ‘net and all.”

“Nobody. Guys in jail maybe, I don’t know. Because it’s boring. My point. Inefficient and slow. Just like this war.” He tapped his glass meaningfully. He was rumpled and sleep-creased and middle-aged and smelly, but a better class of smelly than my usual crowd — like working-all-night-sweaty smelly, not sitting-around-all-day smelly. Long enough tending bar and you can tell the difference.

I refilled his glass. He was a pretty good drinker, but the little guys often are. “They say by the time our warships get out there, to their homeworld, the Phages might even be extinct. Like, just from natural processes, long timescales, like that. Or they might’ve evolved into something new, something that doesn’t… you know…”

“Want to eat us?”

(Continue Reading…)

EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President

Show Notes

Show Notes:

  • Election day is always better with clones!
  • Mr. Dahlen is editorial director of Kill Screen, a new print quarterly magazine about videogames.
  • Feedback for Episode 257: Union Dues: The Sum of Its Parts.
  • Next week… We travel to Japan!

 


Creative Commons License

We are Ted Tuscadero for President by Chris Dahlen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at escapepod.org.


We Are Ted Tuscadero For President

By Chris Dahlen

My name is Ted Tuscadero. And I want to be your President.

I say that with a humble heart. I realize that even after eight stellar years in the Senate, some of you are still getting to know me. And I’ll admit, I am not perfect. The other day, when I told a VFW in Littleton I would blast Iran to glass, and at the same exact time I swore off the war at a town hall in Concord? My bad. Or the time that three of me showed up for the big debate in Manchester, and we got in a fistfight over who was going on the air? Yeah, the chattering classes had a few laughs over that one.

And that little incident before the holidays, when I crashed, as lit as a Christmas tree, into a pole and my car exploded, killing me instantly and taking a mailbox, a transformer and a barn cat with me? It looked bad, I know. But that proxy was on the fritz. That’s not me. That’s not who I am. And the more we talk, the better you get to know me, the more you’ll see what I mean. (Continue Reading…)

Escape Pod 243: I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno

Show Notes

Show Notes:

  • Thanks to John Joseph Adams and Lightspeed Magazine for the opportunity to run this fantastic story at the same time as their launch. Go check out their magazine and subscribe!
  • Enter the Escape Pod Flash Contest! It runs June 1- July 4, stories must be under 500 words. More information at the link.

Next week… we begin our annual Hugo short stories rundown, with five weeks of award-nominated stories! I’m taking a 4-week break from hosting, but I’ll see you in July!


I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno

By Vylar Kaftan

I knew you loved me, of course. It was written in your eyes when you looked at me, a physics problem with no clear answer. If an irresistible force meets an immovable object, what happens then?

They meet. That’s all we know. Relative to each other, they are in contact. From within the object or the force, there is no way to tell if you’re in motion.

Escape Pod 235: On the Human Plan


On the Human Plan

By Jay Lake

I am called Dog the Digger. I am not mighty, neither am I fearsome. Should you require bravos, there are muscle-boys aplenty among the rat-bars of any lowtown on this raddled world. If it is a wizard you want, follow the powder-trails of crushed silicon and wolf’s blood to their dark and winking lairs. Scholars can be found in their libraries, taikonauts in their launch bunkers and ship foundries, priests amid the tallow-gleaming depths of their bone-ribbed cathedrals.

What I do is dig. For bodies, for treasure, for the rust-pocked hulks of history, for the sheer pleasure of moving what cannot be moved and finding what rots beneath. You may hire me for an afternoon or a month or the entire turning of the year. It makes me no mind whatsoever.

As for you, I know what you want. You want a story.

Genres:

Escape Pod 208: An Almanac for the Alien Invaders


An Almanac for the Alien Invaders

By Merrie Haskell

In January, there will be an annular solar eclipse, with the path of annularity moving through the Indian Ocean and into Sumatra and Borneo. Two days later, aliens will invade Earth.

No spaceships will loom large in blue skies, nor hover over our cities. At night, though, when we see blinking dots of light near the horizon, as small and pale as any star, we’ll think they’re planes or satellites of human origin. They won’t be. These are alien ships, come for conquest.

That is all we can see. What we hear is just as faint and difficult to resolve: we hear rumors. Or rather, one persistent rumor: “the aliens want volunteers.”

Naturally, I and my junior faculty friends need to drink quantities of beer to discuss this in detail. I expound that it’s a hoax.

Escape Pod 205: Requiem in D-minor (for prions, whale and burning bush)


Requiem in D-minor (for prions, whale and burning bush)

By Ian McHugh

Kevin switched the audio over to the projector. The lecture hall was filled with outdoor noises. Wind hummed softly over the microphone, cattle lowed nearby, a truck accelerated in the distance.

A roan steer staggered around a concreted yard, its mute distress accompanied by clattering hooves and the fleshy slap of its thigh striking the ground when it fell. A new sound was introduced – incongruous, but familiar to Kevin’s audience.

Whale song.

Gradually, the cow’s shaking stilled, until it could stand securely. Its muscles continued to tremble, but not enough to upset its equilibrium while it listened.

Escape Pod 204: The Fifth Zhi


The Fifth Zhi

By Mercurio D. Rivera

Zhi 4’s scream pierces the Siberian night.

My spiked metal boots crunch through the snow as I race towards him, with Zhi 6 running at my side. The nanochip in my brainstem clicks on, and I reach out with my mind, but I can’t sense even a trace of Zhi 4. A few seconds earlier his form had been outlined by the dark turquoise glow of the force field.

We stop twenty feet short of the field’s perimeter. Beyond it, the hazy silhouette of the colossal Stalk looms, its millions of cilia undulating.

My bodysuit hums as it transmits data back to Xiang Xu Base, situated behind the Rusanov ice cap half a mile away.

My pulse flutters in anticipation and I take a deep breath to try to rein in my excitement. I — like all Zhis — have been designed with an insatiable curiosity about the Stalk’s origins and vulnerabilities. Knowing I’ve been bred to feel this way doesn’t make me feel it any less. Where did the Stalk come from? Why is it here? How can it thrive in these temperatures? I see the same questions reflected in Zhi 6’s expression.

Escape Pod 181: Resistance

Show Notes

Rated PG.

Audible.com Metatropolis Promotion!
Download the first story from Metatropolis free at: http://audible.com/metapod


Resistance

by Tobias S. Buckell

The man opened the pack all the way to reveal a small arsenal of guns, grenades, explosives, and — oddly — knives. Very large knives. He looked up at Stanuel. “I am the attack. I’ve been asked to shut Pan down.”

“But you’re not a programmer…”

“I can do all things through explosives, who destroy for me.” The man began moving the contents of the pack inside the pockets and straps of the trenchcoat, clipped more to his belt and thigh, as well as to holsters under each arm, and then added pieces to his ankles.

He was now a walking arsenal.

But only half the pack had been emptied. The mysterious mercenary tossed it at Stanuel. “Besides, you’re going to help.”

Escape Pod 177: Usurpers

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains strong language, strong emotions, and moderate violence.

Audible.com Promotion!
Get your free audiobook at: http://audible.com/escapepodsff


Usurpers

By Derek Zumsteg

King spots a knock-off cluster, glowing sunny in the rain, too fit, perfectly proportioned. Tear off some burnished bronze, never-burning skin. Shove it under a microscope, see the designer signature, Chinese characters like tattoos on the necks of college girls.

All ten ranked cross-country runners this season took family trips to China after school let out last year. When they’d returned and established dominance, King took the Asics guy up on his offer to join the experimental training program. Found himself running by himself, following daily instructions from an email address. King knows there’s a machine on the other end, some oracle in some data center chewing on his performance data full time. Responds only to email, immediately, all hours.

Escape Pod 176: How The World Became Quiet: A Post-Human Creation Myth

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains war, invasion, exodus, mass extinction, religious revival, and a lot of mud.

Referenced Sites:
Resonance FM
Reality Break Podcast


How The World Became Quiet: A Post-Human Creation Myth

By Rachel Swirsky

Humans laid the foundation for the sixth apocalypse in much the same way they’d triggered the previous ones. Having recovered their ambition after the Apocalypse of Serotonin and rebuilt their populations after the Apocalypse of Grease, they once again embarked on their species’ long term goal to wreak as much havoc as possible on the environment through carelessness and boredom. This time, the trees protested. They devoured buildings, whipped wind into hurricanes between their branches, tangled men into their roots and devoured them as mulch. In retaliation, men chopped down trees, fire-bombed jungles, and released genetically engineered insects to devour tender shoots.

The pitched battle decimated civilians on both sides, but eventually — though infested and rootless — the trees overwhelmed their opposition. Mankind was forced to send its battered representatives to a sacred grove in the middle of the world’s oldest forest and beg for a treaty.