Posts Tagged ‘apocalypse’

Genres: , , ,

Cast of Wonders 359: Tiger, Tiger


Tiger, Tiger

By Drea Silvertooth

Echo had always thought that when the world ended, she’d either be running with a motley band of survivors or instantly vaporized. Not a single book, show or movie had prepared her for being apocalypse adjacent.

In the Tropical Asia building, protected by thick glass walls and a ventilation system designed to keep air warm in the winter and sticky in the summer, she hid with her animals. Warty pigs snuffled through the decorative undergrowth, a siamang family sung like sirens in the canopy overhead, and the Malayan tapir and small-clawed otters had taken residence around the cement-bottomed stream that wound through the exhibit. There was still no sign of the sloth bear or the orangutans. Echo wondered if, while she’d been lying face down in the public restroom fighting for consciousness, they might have been evacuated. (Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Cast of Wonders 299: All Them Pretty Babies


All Them Pretty Babies

by Alexandra Renwick

Esmè step careful in the pretty grass. Grass on the hillside is green just how she like it; not all yellow, not all brownish purple like grass past the base of the mountain.

Them grasses, them yellow and purple grasses, make Esmè think on her old mama, who yell and slap and bite and kick at her. Only good thing Old Mama ever done for Esmè, she done let Esmè know just how ugly Esmè is. Ugly enough to stop her wind-up watch, say Old Mama. Ugly enough to stop a train, like train what done stopped on other side of the mountain when them bio-bombs fell so close, sent that train bucking like nasty old three-headed milk cow so it buck right off its track and into the gully.

Of course, that train done crashed long before Esmè was born. That train done crashed without Esmè ever having seen a train a-go full of people, with all them people’s pretty jewelries and pretty clothes, and them pretty little babies bouncing on they’s laps. No, Esmè never seen a train a-go, but she sometimes climb down into the gully, ignore bruised grass and glowing sludge, and she play in that wrecked train what now filled so full with all them clean, clean bones, and she think how pretty all them ladies and gentlemens must’ve been; so pretty that if ugly Esmè lived back then they would’ve chased her off with sticks like Old Mama done when she got so sick-and-tired of looking at Esmè all day long. That’s what Old Mama done told her: I’m so sick-and-tired of your ugly face. Now get gone, girl. Go try the other side of the mountain. (Continue Reading…)

Genres: ,

Cast of Wonders 282: Dreidel Of Dread: The Very Cthulhu Chanukah


Dreidel Of Dread: The Very Cthulhu Chanukah

by Alex Shvartsman

Twas the night before Chanukah, and all through the planet, not a creature was stirring except for the Elder God Cthulhu who was waking up from his eons-long slumber. And as the terrible creature awakened in the city of R’lyeh, deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, and wiped drool from his face-tentacles, all the usual signs heralded the upcoming apocalypse in the outside world: mass hysteria, cats and dogs living together, and cable repairmen arriving to their appointments within the designated three-hour window.

“This will not do,” said Chanukah Henry. “I will not have the world ending on my watch, not during the Festival of Lights.” (Continue Reading…)

Genres: , ,

Episode 234: Why I’m Asking For An Extension On My Paper by Jennifer Hykes

Show Notes

February is Women in Horror Month, an international, grassroots initiative, which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre. Check out the hashtag WiHM8 for plenty of suggestions. Or if you have the stomach for stronger fair, our sister show Pseudopod.

You can find all our own Women in Horror episodes here!

 


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Why I’m Asking for an Extension on my Paper

by Jennifer Hykes

 

Hi, Professor Brandt?  It’s me, Lauren, from your morning lecture?  I know this call is really last minute, and I know you don’t normally grant extensions for “anything short of the apocalypse,” but would you be willing to make an exception?  Friday’s storm knocked out my power.  My computer went offline literally as I sat down to type!  And then the zombies surrounded the house, and between them and the genie and little girls crash-landing on my roof and my housemate’s crazy cat making a general nuisance of himself, my weekend was pretty much shot.

Wait, let me back up.

(Continue Reading…)

Episode 232: Staff Pick 2016 – Twenty-One by Michael Merriam


• Narrated by John Meagher
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Afterburn SF (September 2007)
• Discuss this story on our forum
• For a list of all our stories, authors and narrators, visit our Wikia page
• Come visit us on Facebook and Twitter


Listen above or download here.

Content Warning: This week’s story involves more profanity than usual. Parents listening with younger children may want to join us again next week.

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge, plan the year ahead and highlight some of our favourite episodes. A different member of the Cast of Wonders crew will present their favorite story of 2016 each week in January.

We hope you enjoy assistant editor Katherine Inskip’s favorite story from 2016, Twenty-One by Michael Merriam, narrated by John Meagher. The story originally aired April 2, 2016 as Episode 204.


Michael Merriam is an author and spoken-word performer living in Hopkins, Minnesota. His novella, Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep, was long-listed for the Nebula Award in 2010, and his novel, Last Car to Annwn Station was named a Top Book in 2011 by Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction. Michael has appeared on stage in the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Minnesota Storyfest, Story Slam Minnesota, and over the air on KFAI Radio and Minnesota Public Radio. He’s also the co-organizer of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers. Visit his homepage or follow him on Twitter.

John MeagherJohn Meagher is the writer and narrator of Tales of the Left Hand, an ongoing fantasy series offering “swashbuckling, intrigue, and a dash of magic.” You can learn more about his work at www.talesofthelefthand.com or on Twitter. In his secret identity, he’s a graphic designer living outside Washington DC with his wife, daughter and two cats.

 

 

 


Read along with the text of the story.

Theme music is Appeal to Heavens by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Supernatural Radio and Tempting Secrets by A Kevin MacLeod are licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Episode 230: Staff Pick 2016 – Planar Ghosts by Krystal Claxton


• Narrated by Paul Cram
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Writers of the Future (Volume 31)
• Discuss this story on our forum
• For a list of all our stories, authors and narrators, visit our Wikia page
• Come visit us on Facebook and Twitter

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge, plan the year ahead and highlight some of our favourite episodes. A different member of the Cast of Wonders crew will present their favorite story of 2016 each week in January.

We hope you enjoy former assistant editor Jeff Hite’s favorite story from 2016, Planar Ghosts by Krystal Claxton, narrated by Paul Cram. The story originally aired across two episodes in April 2016, Episodes 205 and 206. The story is presented here in its entirety.


 

Krystal ClaxtonKrystal Claxton writes speculative fiction in the sliver of time between being a parent and a full-time computer technician. She lives in Georgia with her long-suffering spouse, a dog who thinks she’s a cat, and a number of children that is subject to change. She enjoys breaking Heinlein’s Rules, getting distracted by DragonCon, and feverishly researching whichever random topic has just piqued her interest. You can keep up with her online at and on Twitter.

 

 

 

Paul CramThe very first story Paul Cram ever narrated was here at Cast of Wonders, and he seems to have been bit by the bug. While Paul still considers his voice to be somewhat new to the world of audio, he now has a few full-length novels under his belt, including the Zombie-filled love story Flirting With Death, sci-fi action story The Face Stealer and the soon-to-be-released Kidnapped, A Jarek Grayson Private Detective Novel due out in the spring 2016. Find them online at Audible, Itunes, & Amazon.

Paul grew up performing on stage and in more recent years traveling the United States working on independent films. This summer keep an eye out for Paul alongside actor Woody Harrelson in the movie Wilson.

When not on a movie set or recording booth, Paul can be found deep-frying chicken wings & cream cheese wontons with his older sister, or arguing about pop culture with his little brother around one of the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota. You can find Paul online and on Twitter.


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Read along with the text of the story.

Genres:

Episode 206: Planar Ghosts (Part Two) by Krystal Claxton


Planar Ghosts (Part Two)

By Krystal Clayton

(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Episode 205: Planar Ghosts (Part One) by Krystal Claxton


Planar Ghosts

by Krystal Claxton

 

The walls around the town of Bootstrap are mostly old cars stacked one on top of the other and welded together. Outside Bootstrap, market stalls made from patchwork tarps and rusty pipes lean on either side of the wide gate. They are temporary places for the people who live inside to trade goods with the people stuck outside who need in.

People like Pup.

He looks up at the guard by the gate, who is thicker, but not much older. Probably grew up inside the walls. He looks as if he’s been well-fed, even during bad years. His skin is sun-reddened and spotted along his cheeks and the high bridge of his nose.

Pup offers his frayed duffle bag to the guard. The man kneels to comb through it with one meaty hand. Inside is Pup’s winter scavenge–a length of rope, a glass vial with lighter fluid, and three almost-full rolls of duct tape. 

If this is enough to buy Pup in, he can work for water until summer is over. As the guard measures Pup’s worth, the one good pocket of his cargo pants seems heavier. Inside is something he’s not supposed to trade. He’s not sure what it is. Some Before thing. Probably the guard wouldn’t know what it is either.

 

(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Episode 204: Twenty-One by Michael Merriam

Show Notes

Happy birthday, Podcastle! Our fantasy sister show is celebrating it’s 8th anniversary. Pop on over and join the party with Graeme Dunlop, Rachael K. Jones and the rest of the castle’s inhabitants.

Supernatural Radio and Tempting Secrets by A Kevin MacLeod are licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Twenty-One

by Michael Merriam

 

Wednesday, January 6th, 2009, dawned bright and clear for the twenty-first time.

“Are we ready?” Aaron Burnett asked the group surrounding him, all of them cold and shivering in the pre-dawn light.

“Yeah, yeah. We can do this,” Thomas Pinchly said. The short, thin teenager chewed nervously on a plastic straw.

Aaron’s older sister, Sharon, gave him a reassuring smile. “We don’t really have a choice, do we?” The smile on her plump face widened. “And if we screw it up—”

“We start over at December 23rd and take another crack at it,” Sharon’s friend Teri finished.

 

(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Cast of Wonders 119: Pictures in Crayon by Elizabeth Shack


Pictures in Crayon

by Elizabeth Shack

At recess the Arks dot the sky like unwinking stars. Ally and her friends aren’t supposed to talk about it, eyes wide above the breathing masks that muffle their voices, but they do. Where they’ll go, what they’ll bring. Every kid Ally knows has a suitcase packed, just in case they win. Hers has photos from the zoo and a birthday card her little brother Rafe drew in red crayon. He called the scribble Mars.

(Continue Reading…)

Episode 109: Nuclear Family by Alex Shvartsman

Show Notes

Today we present Alex Shvartsman’s story, Nuclear Family. Alex has been here several times before — welcome back Alex! Thanks for gracing us with an inventive seasonal story.


Nuclear Family

by Alex Shvartsman

Daddy said we couldn’t have a real tree this Christmas.

At first I was sad, but then Mommy said we would im-pro-vise.  I liked learning a big new word. It means use things we have in the house. Mommy and Daddy improvise all the time, ever since we couldn’t go outside anymore.

Daddy went upstairs to find some things to improvise with. I wanted to help, but Daddy said we all have to stay in the basement for a very long time, so we don’t get sick. I hate the basement. There’s nothing to do here. Mommy or Daddy go upstairs once every few days and bring things back down with them. Usually it is food and toilet paper and things, but sometimes they get a few books and toys and games from my room.  They run up and down the stairs as quickly as they can, because when they are upstairs they can get sick too.

This time Daddy was gone for almost five minutes, but he brought down a whole bunch of stuff. He put a tall coat rack in the middle of the basement to make the tree trunk and taped on some unwound wire hangers to make branches.  He gave me a green tablecloth and said to cut it into long, thin strips. Then we glued the strips on to the wire and put up a few ornaments. It didn’t really look like a tree, but Mommy said to use our imagination. I didn’t mind. Decorating the coat rack gave us something fun to do.

Then all of us had to take our radiation pills. I dropped mine and Daddy got really mad. He said that we already didn’t have enough to last us until it was safe to go outside and that we couldn’t waste any. He made me pick it up and eat it off the floor. Eww.

On Christmas Eve we moved the table next to the pretend tree and ate a holiday meal. Mommy made a big pot of spam stew and everyone was allowed to have seconds because it was such a special day. We even had sliced peaches for dessert. Mommy and Daddy didn’t eat very many, saying that it was a special treat for me. But they did try some because it was the last can and Daddy said he wasn’t sure when we would ever taste peaches again. Mommy shushed him. Then we sang every holiday song we could remember.

When I woke up in the morning Daddy was gone. Mommy said that he had to leave for a while but the way she was crying I didn’t think he was coming back. I got scared and Mommy told me to go open my presents.

There was some stuff under the pretend Christmas tree, but it was all toys from upstairs that I had from before. There was also a little box with Daddy’s share of the radiation medicine. Daddy is silly. Who wants pills for a present?