Alexander was running through the snow. The rifle, and the pack of squirrel-skins pounded against his back with every step. Realization seeped into him as he ran: he had shot a Metallic. Its shiny armor hadn’t protected it. After all these years of living in fear, it had been that easy to take one down: one shot, straight into its mid-section, and the hovering thing had cracked apart and fallen to the ground. (Continue Reading…)
The spaceport at Norn Five is a shining ode to order, automation, and interstellar travel. State-of-the-art communication ports dot the walls, offering instant access to loved ones, bosses, or eccentrics offering revolution at bargain prices.
Travelers move across the floors, various forms of locomotion taking them from point A to point B. Walkers tends to be the most common, but there are also floaters, crawlers, slitherers, and the odd vaporous beings that just sort of waft.
And working around it all are the units of the robotic char force. One in particular moves slowly along the wall, sucking up the residue left by one of the slithering public. It gets stuck for a moment when it hits a point where one being’s slime has mixed with another’s, making a sort of glue of the noxious kind. The bot revs forward, then backward, sucking up goop up as it goes, spritzing solvent onto the floor and then wiping it up so no one slips.
Alex Shvartsman is a writer, translator and game designer from Brooklyn, NY. Over 90 of his short stories have appeared in Nature, Galaxy’s Edge, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and many other magazines and anthologies. He won the 2014 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the 2015 and 2017 Canopus Awards for Excellence in Interstellar Fiction (more about this later). He is the editor of the Unidentified Funny Objects annual anthology series of humorous SF/F. His collection, Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories and his steampunk humor novella H. G. Wells, Secret Agent were both published in 2015. Follow his work online or on Twitter.
Rachel Swirsky holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop, and she graduated from Clarion West in 2005. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Hugo, Locus, World Fantasy and Sturgeon Awards. She’s twice won the Nebula Award: for her 2010 novella, The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window and her 2014 short story If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love. You can read or listen to her free online fiction, or buy her collections, singles and anthologies. Find her on Twitter, and follow what she’s up to in her monthly newsletter. You can also support her on Patreon.
Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.
This week we present Robots Don’t Cry by George Edwards.
George owns a smartphone repair shop in Tipton, Indiana and says he earns working capital by writing papers for college students. He’s an anarcho-capitalist in the tradition of economist Murray Rothbard, who’s known for playing a key role in developing the underpinnings of modern libertarianism. George’s influences include Orwell, Rand and Huxley. He’s also a former political blogger, but decided that illustrating tyranny through fiction is more his style. You can find George on Facebook.
Your narrator is Pete Milan, whom you may remember from Episode 108, The Cardinals of Ever-June, which ran last year.
Pete is a writer, narrator, audio drama producer and voice actor, among other things. He has appeared on both Pseudopod and Escape Pod, as wells as previously here at Cast of Wonders. He also appears regularly in several audio drama podcasts from Pendant Audio, as well as their new prestige production, Phantom Canyon, available from iTunes, Audible and Amazon. While you’re there, look for the audiobooks he’s narrated, including Hugh Monn: Private Detective and Sentinels: When Strikes The Warlord.
At the moment, he’s writing a novel with four other people, which he does not recommend doing. At all. For more information, visit him at his website.
Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.