Posts Tagged ‘Greg van Eekhout’

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Escape Pod 775: Spaceship October


Spaceship October

By Greg van Eekhout

When you live on a spaceship, you learn to make your own fun. Exploring the tunnels is some of the very best fun the October’s got. After school hour, me and Droller go scuttling through the darkest conduits you ever will find. The starboard Hab gets minimal heat, so our breath clouds in the light of our head torches as we crawl on our hands and knees.

“You hear that?” Droller whispers from a couple of meters ahead.

I do hear it, a deep, wet wheezing that sounds exactly like Droller trying to spook me.

“You better go ahead and check it out, Droller.”

“Naw, Kitch, it’s behind you. It smells your butt. It’s a butthunter.”

I laugh at Droller’s stupid joke, because the stupider, the funnier, and she’s by far my stupidest friend.

We’re both from Aft Hab, both from the same birth lottery, and out of the eight babies born that season, we’re the only survivors. It used to be the three of us, me and Droller, and Jamm, but Jamm died last year along with her parents when the CO2 scrubbers in their cube failed. The scrubbers were item thirty-three on the fixems’ to-do list.

“How much farther?” I ask Droller.

“Just a couple of panels.”

It’s more like a couple dozen panels, but we finally arrive at the section of conduit above Town Square. Using just our fingers, Droller and me remove the fasteners holding the panel in place and slide it aside, just enough for us to peak out.

Down below, a crowd settles on the rings of benches surrounding the lawn. The brass band toots “Onward or Bust” in a marching beat, their jackets sparkling with silver buttons and silver loops of rope. Droller and I exchange a sad look. Jamm wanted to be a drummer and wear a thick, warm jacket like that. The odds were against an Aft Habber like her, but she was good enough that she might have made it.

Once the tooting is over, one of the Vice Captains ascends the grandstand. The audience stands and salutes in respect. Everyone on the October acts as like salutes are required, but White Madeleine told us saluting was never in the contract the original families signed. The Fore Habbers made up the requirement only eighty years ago.

The kind of people who come to witness a Course Correction are the type who do what they’re supposed to.

The Vice Captain says some stuff into a bullhorn. It’s too distorted for me and Droller to make out actual words, but we know what he’s saying, because this isn’t the first time we’ve watched a Course Correction from the conduits. He’s announcing the name of the violator and their crime.

The guards bring out a man, their hands gripping his arms and shoving. He’s dressed in thin brown paper coveralls. His face is bloodless. I bet he’s shivering in the cold.

“I’ve seen him before,” says Droller. She doesn’t know his name, but he does look familiar. Maybe I’ve spotted him in line at Distro, or maybe on a community service detail. Yeah, that’s it. A few months ago we were on the same crew scraping mold off crop troughs in the farm module. He was quiet and sniffed a lot.

“What do you think he did?” Droller asks.

“I bet he buggered a robot.”

Droller laughs, because it’s stupid. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 738: Flash From the Vault


Flash From the Vault

Hi there and welcome to Escape Pod Summer School, where we post some of our favorite episodes from the vault with a new perspective. I’m your co-editor and teacher for this class, Mur Lafferty, bringing you three flash episodes from long, long ago. We bring you “Taco” by Greg van Eekhout, “Get me to the Job on Time” by Ian Randal Strock, and “Hibernation” by Madge E. Miller.

(Continue Reading…)

Escape Pod 598: On the Fringes of the Fractal


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…)

Escape Pod Flash: Taco


Taco

By Greg Van Eekhout

“Hey, tell me, this look like Jesus to you?”

I come to Tito’s Tacos for a lot of reasons. The freeway overpass ambience, the way the old men in the kitchen wrap the burritos tighter than Cuban cigars, the shiny Kennedy 50-cent pieces you always get as part of your change. A lot of reasons. But conversation isn’t among them. Nonetheless, I dutifully look up from my lunch to see what the guy at the next table over is talking about.

Escape Pod 138: In the Late December

Show Notes

Closing Music: “Chiron Beta Prime” by Jonathan Coulton.


In the Late December

by Greg van Eekhout

They come to a cloud of silver mist, and there Santa finds a little boy made of molten silver with liquid silver eyes and sweeping silver delta wings. His wrists are ringed with missile launchers, and a rounded cone emerges from a cavity in his chest. Once there were many silver boys, fleets of them, protecting the outermost parts of inhabited space against things that came from outside inhabited space. But now, there is only the silver boy.

“You, sir,” the silver boy says, “are a tiresome consciousness cluster. Your binary value system remains as laughable as it is irrelevant. How you manage to remain cohesive is beyond me.”

“My value system is hardly binary,” Santa says. “In between naughty and nice I’ve made room for you: grumpy but fundamentally sound. Do you want a toy or not?”

Escape Pod 87: Authorwerx

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains profanity and a disturbing resemblance to Philip K. Dick.

Referenced sites:
Eley’s writing progress
New forums (finally!)


Authorwerx

by Greg van Eekhout

I launched into my next bit, which I’d rehearsed that morning on the tram. “What I liked about your stories is that you never knew where they were going. It’d start off as a World War II military adventure, but then it would wind up being about android worms from another dimension out to steal Earth’s dirt. It’s like other writers’ stories are bridges: There’s a beginning, there’s an end, and it’s a pretty straight shot through. It might be a long bridge, or curvy, maybe, so you can’t quite see the ending coming. But the trip basically makes sense. Your stories were different, though. You always blew up your bridges halfway across, and you’d have to swim for the banks, and you’d end up on some rock with weird lizards.”

On the verge of laughter, he looked at me. “You’re kidding, right?”

Escape Pod 44: Show and Tell

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains mild scenes of violence enacted by somewhat strange children.

Referenced sites:
The Numbers – Movie Budgets
Lies and Little Deaths: A Virtual Anthology
The Speech Accent Archive


Show and Tell

By Greg van Eekhout

Dex asks if he can keep the bullet, and Brindi says to give it back, and Teacher reminds her to say please. Brindi agrees to throw bullets at the rest of us, so she does the thing with her finger and it’s BOOM, BOOM, BOOM and whip-whip-whip for the next few minutes.

When she’s done there’s smoke in the air and it stinks and we applaud and give back her bullets. Brindi has had a great show, and I don’t know how anyone can beat it.

Show and Tell is important because it prepares us to be impressive.

Genres:

Escape Pod 31: Robots and Falling Hearts

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains slight profanity, long flirtations, and excessive Zen. Watch for falling metaphors.

Referenced sites:
Child’s Play
Hooting Yard


Robots and Falling Hearts

By Tim Pratt and Greg van Eekhout

I paused to tie a loose shoelace and a squat robot, like a dirty white trashcan on tank-treads, trundled out of an alley toward me. A red light on top of its domelike top blinked erratically. It said, in a high-pitched voice, “Klaatu barada nikto.” A small panel slid open in its front, and a pole with a cup on the end telescoped out. There were a few coins in the cup, mostly pennies and nickels, and the robot jingled the cup significantly.

“Take me to your leader,” I said, wishing it could be that simple, knowing that these things are never that simple. The robot beeped at me and jingled its cup harder, the coins rattling.

“It won’t go away unless you give it some change,” said a woman standing on the corner. “It followed me all the way to work one day, and hung around outside the door like a dog for hours.”

EP Flash: Pennywhistle

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains graphic violence and disturbing images.


Pennywhistle

By Greg van Eekhout

“Piper,” I screamed, fumbling in my purse. Too late. He brought his pipe to his lips and blew a note that almost made my eyeglasses shatter. Over at the sandbox, Nathan rose to his feet. He started moving towards the man. All the children did.

EP Flash: Virus


Virus

By Greg van Eekhout

Drawn by the sound of the propellers, the lunchtime crowd looked to the sky. An airship passed over the skyscrapers, plumes of black, virus-laden smoke spewing behind it. Traffic below stopped. People paused on the sidewalks and watched the cloud sink slowly towards them.