Archive for 17 and Up

Escape Pod 125: End Game


End Game

by Nancy Kress

“What exactly happened in the seventh grade?” I found myself intensely curious, which I covered by staring at the board and making a move.

He told me, still unembarrassed, in exhaustive detail. Then he added, “It should be possible to adjust brain chemicals to eliminate the static. To unclutter the mind. It should!”

“Well,” I said, dropping from insight to my more usual sarcasm, “maybe you’ll do it at Harvard, if you don’t get sidetracked by some weird shit like ballet or model railroads.”

“Checkmate,” Allen said.

Escape Pod 122: Transcendence Express


Transcendence Express

by Jetse de Vries

Unable to keep my distance, I walk up to three classmates interacting with one such a BIKO. The pictures are fuzzy, the colours ill-defined and the reaction time tediously slow. However, the letters appearing are large and easily readable, and after all three kids have been asked to introduce themselves the program equally divides its attention to each of them, making them take turns while the other two can effortlessly follow what’s going on. But man, is it slow. The display makes your eyes water and would have any western whizz kid tuning the screen properties like crazy.

Still, the real wonder is that those pell-mell constructions are doing anything at all. Furthermore, those African kids have nothing to compare them with, so are uncritically happy with what they’ve got. As dinner time closes in Liona has to wrestle most kids away from their new toys and promises that first thing tomorrow they will — after school hours — start making new BIKOs, so that eventually every classmate will have one. The whole class cheers and Liona’s smile doesn’t leave her face for the rest of the evening.

Escape Pod 120: The Sundial Brigade

Show Notes

Referenced Sites:
UK Terrorism Act 2006
Graydancer.com
Stranger Things

Closing song: “Think For Yourself” by George Hrab


The Sundial Brigade

by James Trimarco

Not long after that, Antonio had an appointment with his curator, Yoshi, at the Department of Human Heritage. Antonio explained his situation in the Tyrranean language.

“So you’re unsatisfied with your role as a beggar,” Yoshi said. “That’s hardly surprising. The unemployed of the early twenty-first century were also unhappy. Your emotions are true to period, that’s all.”

“But it’s all wrong,” Antonio insisted. “I did well in school. I studied to be an engineer. If this was the real Italy, someone like me wouldn’t end up like this.

Yoshi’s mouth curved into the sterile non-smile of a bureaucrat with no time for sympathy.

Escape Pod 117: Reggie vs. Kaiju Storm Chimera Wolf


Reggie vs. Kaiju Storm Chimera Wolf

by Matthew Wayne Selznick

Yarborough led them through the impromptu village of broad white tents, rows of outhouses, sensor towers, and heavy weapons installations that had obliterated the turf of the athletic field. They stopped at the fence on the edge of the hilltop.

“You can get a pretty good look at the swath, here.”

On a day without monsters, it would have been a nice view. You could see most of the town center, and all the way to Pacific Coast Highway the misty ocean beyond. A wide, flat, smoking scar of ruin cut from the water to a shopping center half a mile inland.

Escape Pod 113: Ishmael in Love

Show Notes

Related Links:
Steve’s LiveJournal (cleaning updates)


Ishmael in Love

by Robert Silverberg

I am a lonely mammalian organism who has committed acts of heroism on behalf of your species and wishes only the reward of a more intimate relationship [“love”] with Miss Lisabeth Calkins. I beseech compassionate members of H. sapiens to speak favorably of me to her. I am loyal, trustworthy, reliable, devoted, and extremely intelligent. I would endeavor to give her stimulating companionship and emotional fulfillment [“happiness”] in all respects within my power.

Permit me to explain the pertinent circumstances.

Escape Pod 111: Mayfly


Mayfly

by Heather Lindsley

The reflection of what appears to be a girl of eleven looks back at me from the full-length mirror in the bedroom that was my mother’s. Together we spit out yet another baby tooth, which reminds me I need to drink another calcium-enriched protein shake. Either that, or eat what remains of my mother.

She’s the pile of coarse dust scattered across the bedsheets. Some of my kind swear by mother dust, the way certain factions among the rest of the population swear by breast feeding. And there are benefits, whether you’re still a kid with growing bones or an adult woman facing osteoporosis by the end of the week.

But my mother is not strawberry-flavored, so I opt for the shake.

Escape Pod 106: The House Beyond Your Sky


The House Beyond Your Sky

by Benjamin Rosenbaum

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.

Escape Pod 99: Start the Clock

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains graphic sexual content and children who are a bit too grown up. Literally.

Today’s Sponsor:

Referenced Sites:
Contest: Name the Fantasy Podcast
WHOIS Gateway Service


Start the Clock

By Benjamin Rosenbaum

Frankly, we were excited. This move was what our Pack needed — the four of us, at least, were sure of it. We were all tired of living in the ghetto — we were in three twentieth-century townhouses in Billings, in an “age-mixed” area full of marauding Thirteens and Fourteens and Fifteens. Talk about a people damned by CDAS — when the virus hit them, it had stuck their pituitaries and thyroids like throttles jammed open. It wasn’t just the giantism and health problems caused by a thirty-year overdose on growth hormones, testosterone, estrogen, and androgen. They suffered more from their social problems — criminality, violence, orgies, jealousy — and their endless self-pity.

Okay, Max liked them. And most of the rest of us had been at least entertained by living in the ghetto. At birthday parties, we could always shock the other Packs with our address. But that was when all eight of us were there, before Katrina and Ogbu went south. With eight of us, we’d felt like a full Pack — invincible, strong enough to laugh at anyone.

Escape Pod 98: Just Do It

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains sexual innuendo, advertising warfare, and better living through chemistry.


Just Do It

By Heather Lindsley

“What do you see?” he asks.

I want to say a menace, but instead I tap the delivery barrel and give the context-appropriate answer. “Unused ad space.”

Suddenly he’s a schoolmaster who has finally found a bright pupil in a classroom full of dunces.

“Exactly, Ms. Monroe. Exactly. No square millimeter wasted, that’s what I say.” He leans across the table and whispers conspiratorially, “We’re looking at co-branding an AOL-Time-Warner-Starbucks Lattepaloosa Crave with a Forever Fitness session discount.”

Escape Pod 93: {Now + n, Now – n}

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains sex, nudity, and explicit finance.


{Now + n, Now – n}

by Robert Silverberg

All had been so simple, so elegant, so profitable for ourselves. And then we met the lovely Selene and nearly were undone. She came into our lives during our regular transmission hour on Wednesday, October 7, 1987, between six and seven P.M. Central European Time. The moneymaking hour. I was in satisfactory contact with myself and also with myself. (Now — n was due on the line first, and then I would hear from (now + n).