I see the crowds before I see you, before I see even the flickering white of your flame. Your culture’s everywhere now—your music, your art, your words—but not your people, and not you, not in this tiny airport in this little place between San Diego and LA. So I hear the whispers—A Torch! A Speaker’s on the flight. Why here? There’s nothing here—and prepare myself to see you for the first time since the War. (Continue Reading…)
Night came quickly in these latitudes, dropping out of the late afternoon sky like a black weight. Though she thought it silly she didn’t much like the idea of coming across spiders in the dark. Not that she imagined there was a posse after her or that she might be ambushed. But the notion was hard to shake. The spiders were an unknown quantity. (Continue Reading…)
Days later, while sheltering from rain that had lost its novelty, she decided the end had begun when George McClusky said, “So what do you suppose that is?”
That had been the moment. Everything leading up to it may have had a bearing, may have been a primer, but hadn’t been the trigger. Not the utter mental void of floating in space with only the whisper of her rebreather for company. Not when the McMurdo Sound disintegrated around her. Not even the battle itself. (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.
Nathan Hillstrom has a sad but overwritten backstory involving computer science, a first career on Wall Street, and ruinous sashimi cravings. He now lives and writes in beautiful Southern California. His fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, Interzone, Compelling SF, and elsewhere. Nathan is a graduate of the 2015 Clarion Writers’ Workshop. You can follow him online and on Twitter.
Chris Williams a professional voice actor of just about every variety you can name. He works with private agencies, New Zealand TV and NZME, radio and a variety of international brand companies, drawing on experience in theater and documentary broadcasting dating back to 1981. He is in demand as a lead singer and MC for hire, working with big bands and variety shows since 2001. Contemporary songwriting is an exciting part of Chris’s passion for expression as he often reflects sociopolitical trends. He also composes music and songs designed to stimulate memory recall to help Alzheimer’s sufferers reconnect with family and friends using the power of music vibration backed by a knowledge of therapeutic harmonics. Chris’s hobbies include, cooking, scuba diving, energy therapy and stress release counselling and vocal coaching.
In Connie’s line of work, you had to massage the truth from time to time. A stretch here, a bend there–even human clients expected a fib or two at the negotiation table. But when trading with the Hygoelus, you always lied. It just made things easier.
“My friends,” she said to the hygos across the table, who were not her friends, “you won’t regret this deal. One day, when you’re bouncing great-grandspawn on your knee-like appendages, still in perfect health in your august years, you and your people will look back on this meeting and thank me.”
• Narrated by M K Hobson
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Galaxy’s Edge (July/August 2015)
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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 associate editor Alexis Goble’s favorite story from 2016, Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class by Dantzel Cherry, narrated by M K Hobson. The story originally aired March 13, 2016 as Episode 201.
By day, Dantzel Cherry teaches pilates and raises her daughter, and by night/naptime she writes. Her baking hours follow no rhyme or reason. She is prone to dance as the need arises, and it often does. Her stories have appeared in Fireside, Galaxy’s Edge, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and other magazines and anthologies. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband, daughter, and requisite cat. Follow her online or on Twitter.
For your narrator we welcome back the fantastic M K Hobson, who has decided to follow a time-honored authorial tradition and become a bitter recluse. She swore off social media and left her website to go to seed. At the moment, she exists only as a voice on short fiction podcasts such as Podcastle and here at Cast of Wonders. She leavens the tedium of her vastly expanded free time with misanthropy, paranoia, and weight lifting. Detailing all of M K’s work in the Escape Artists arena might take longer than the story itself, so we’ve linked to her EA wikia page above, along with her socialmedia links.
Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.