The Drabblecast! Still my favorite publication, hitting just the right level of weirdness. Big editorial change recently at Drabblecast with Norm Sherman handing over the Editor-In-Chief position to longstanding head slushwrangler Nathaniel Lee–sounds like it might get episodes out with greater regularity which would be a great thing. Norm will still be host and main producer, so his talent will still make the show what it is.
1. “The Carnival was Eaten, All Except the Clown” by Caroline M. Yoachim
Starring a confectionary clown who acts as the seed for a magician to make carnivals. The epitome of a Drabblecast episode–weird, fun, strong emotional story.
2. “To Whatever” by Shaenon Garrity
Written as a series of notes from an apartment dweller to lurking horror that always stays just out of sight and also drinks the last of the milk from the fridge.
3. “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon
A kind of a selkie love story, but with jackalopes.
4. “Half a Conversation, Overheard While Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug” by Oliver Buckram
Happily, this story is exactly what it says on the tin.
5. “My Hero: The Fisherman” by Jack Handey
Yes, this is the Jack Handey you may recognize from SNL’s Deep Thoughts and Fuzzy Memories segments. Hilarious story.
“On a Clear Day You Can See All the Way to Conspiracy” by Desmond Warzel
This is one of those that was definitely elevated by the production–amazing narration by Dave Robison as the radio DJ and others playing callers.
“Seven Things that are Better in Blue” by Jason K. Jones
written by David Steffen
Drabblecast is as good as ever, still one of my favorite fiction sources. Still edited by Norm Sherman. Still has a stellar Lovecraft month in August when they publish one Lovecraft stories and three unpublished stories by contemporary authors in the cosmic horror subgenre. They published 48 stories in 2013.
1. The Electric Ant by Phillip K. Dick
Of course the classic tales by big authors whose stories last the ages have an advantage on such a list. I love PKD, and I’d never come across this story about an android whose entire experience is dictated by the data stored on the paper tape fed into his system and what happens when he starts messing with the data. As with much of PKD, it is more than just straight up SF, it blurs the boundaries between genres and makes for a very surreal experience. This might be my favorite of PKD’s work, and his work is so often stellar.
2. Bloodchild by Octavia Butler
Another big story by big name. In this world, humans are not the dominant species and are mostly kept around as birthing vessels for an alien race who have babies like maggots that need to live in flesh to incubate. This story is about a boy raised to be such a birthing vessel, and his relationship with his owner.
3. Hollow as the World by Ferrett Steinmetz
One of the stories in the Lovecraft month, all based around a cosmic horror version of Lovecraft, questioning the very nature of reality.
4. Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain by Cat Rambo
This was one of my Hugo nominations for last year, out of Cat’s Near+Far short story collection. It takes place on a planet where the inhabitants are all made of sentient clay and is told from the POV of one of the cruder class clays who has taken a rare class-skipping occupation as a tourism writer. The story is written from her POV in a tourism-style writing of making lists of five.
5. The Revelation of Morgan Stern by Christie Yant
A post-end-of-the-world romance story as two lovers try to reunite after the collapse of civilization based on their pre-collapse plan for such a circumstance. If you like the story, be sure you listen to the comments afterward to hear about the origin–it casts everything in a whole new (and totally awesome) light.
Flying on My Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog by Shaenon Garrity
The Breadcrumbs Man by Frank Key