Posts Tagged ‘aliens’

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Cast of Wonders 274: Won’t You Please Give One of These Species-Planets a Second Chance?

Show Notes

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


Won’t You Please Give One of These Species-Planets a Second Chance?

by Nathan Hillstrom

At 2:13pm EST on a slate-grey Tuesday, the Earth was caged.

The barrier appeared line by line, traced into existence by white-hot dots dragging their way through the thermosphere. From the lawn of the United Nations Headquarters, it looked like chicken wire wrought of pure light.

U.N. Secretary-General Ataahua Tan Tan Tamahi was strolling on the lawn as he took his lunch, a welcome break from the impossible demands of his job. He stopped chewing and stared at the sky. “Like chicken wire,” he said, to nobody in particular, before his security detail tackled him and knocked the pita pocket from his hands. After a mumbled consultation, they disentangled him from the protective huddle, brushed the grass off his suit, and whisked him to the U.N.’s basement bunker. The sandwich was left behind.

It quickly became apparent that the cage corrupted all aerial communication and satellite-assisted technologies. Within hours, power surges and brownouts were rolling across the planet.

Reports from the field were of unmitigated panic: Militaries everywhere went on war footing. Governments launched contingency plans and double-checked their lines of succession. Families devolved into tantrums as videos got stuck buffering.

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Cast of Wonders 243: The Tentacles Never Lie

Show Notes

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


The Tentacles Never Lie

By J.W. Alden

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.”

Their forehead tentacles shifted to the left and became a deep shade of purple, standing out against the pink translucence of their skin. Appreciation. “We shall not wait so long, Connie of GalactiCorp,” their leader said through the tinny voice of a translator. “We thank you now. We are always honored to do business with your mighty race. We hope your government will keep our continued partnership in mind as development continues on their Baryonic Synchrotron superweapon.”

“Now, now, Dthlrap.” Connie held her hands up, palms outward. “I’ll try to put in a good word, but I can’t speak for the government. You’ll have to take it up with them. I’m merely a humble salesperson.”

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Cast of Wonders 228: Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class (Staff Pick 2016)

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 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 Cast of Wonders 201.


Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class

by Dantzel Cherry

Darcy walked up to the gilded starship door and it dissolved, revealing what had to be the gaudiest room in the galaxy. Gold, silver, bronze, and minerals that probably didn’t even exist on Earth covered the high ceiling and walls in panels, interlaced throughout with precious stones – and was that tinsel? – depicting who-knows-what. The effect was much like a wild animal had eaten all the jewelry at Tiffany’s and then vomited all over the walls.

Clearly the ability to travel through all the worlds in the galaxy and kidnap a fifty-two year old ballet teacher didn’t grant good taste in interior design.

The blue blob Overlord guard accompanying her spoke, its voice wobbling with each syllable, and Darcy jumped as a split second later her newly installed gray earslugs wriggled and translated:

“Behold, your students.”

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Cast of Wonders 203: The Universe Dress


The Universe Dress

by Laura-Marie Steele

I’ve never been the biggest fan of weddings. Some women plan weddings from childhood. They draw pictures of the dress they’d like to wear and collect magazine cuttings of flowers or venues, but not me. I’d never even thought about it before. I’d always seen myself as the adventurous type, trekking off alone across the world. Maybe that was why I felt strange, staring at myself in the mirror, on the day of my own wedding.

“You look beautiful.” Mum wiped her eyes with the corner of her bathrobe.

“The lips,” Aunt Julia said, with a twist of her own, “can’t we make them a bit darker?”

My two cousins, Emily and Amelia, began to rummage in the suitcase of cosmetics they’d brought with them. They’d already attacked me with all sorts of colours and turned me into a doll with pink-spotted cheeks.

Aunt Julia took charge of the curling tongs, scooping and pulling up my hair. Lipsticks were passed around, tiaras were polished, hairbrushes were located, dress fit was discussed. Everyone struggled to get ready in the small space that had been my bedroom for the past nineteen years, and I sat in the middle, calm and silent, like the eye of the storm.

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Cast of Wonders 201: Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class


Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class

by Dantzel Cherry

Darcy walked up to the gilded starship door and it dissolved, revealing what had to be the gaudiest room in the galaxy. Gold, silver, bronze, and minerals that probably didn’t even exist on Earth covered the high ceiling and walls in panels, interlaced throughout with precious stones – and was that tinsel? – depicting who-knows-what. The effect was much like a wild animal had eaten all the jewelry at Tiffany’s and then vomited all over the walls.

Clearly the ability to travel through all the worlds in the galaxy and kidnap a fifty-two year old ballet teacher didn’t grant good taste in interior design.

The blue blob Overlord guard accompanying her spoke, its voice wobbling with each syllable, and Darcy jumped as a split second later her newly installed gray earslugs wriggled and translated:

“Behold, your students.”

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 194: Take A Good Look (Staff Pick 2015)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge our batteries, plan the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes. As part of joining the Escape Artists family, this year we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re running 10 staff pick episodes over the month, each one hosted by a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew.

We hope you enjoy slush reader Sally Gill’s favorite story from 2015, Take A Good Look by Holly Schofield and narrated by Stephanie Morris. The story originally aired August 16, 2015 as Cast of Wonders 174.


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


Take a Good Look

by Holly Schofield

Megan watched with dull eyes as Alan’s tendrils undulated above his head, making odd silhouettes on the garage wall. He grew more excited, his beige skin turned mauve as he finished his breakfast beer.

She rocked her lawn chair slowly back and forth in the early morning sun. She barely heard Alan as he went on and on about his most recent trip, to see the giant Easter egg statue in eastern Alberta, and the other attractions he’d visited since she’d left town last year.

“I took an, erh, hologram of the egg,” he told her gleefully, his voice thick with phlegm. “For my, erh, scrapbook.” His English was good but some things apparently didn’t translate well.

“It’s Dad,” she blurted out. “He’s dying.”

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Cast of Wonders 190: Home Isn’t (Staff Pick 2015)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge our batteries, plan the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes. As part of joining the Escape Artists family, this year we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re running 10 staff pick episodes over the month, each one hosted by a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew.

We hope you enjoy slush reader Katherine Inskip’s favorite story from 2015, Home Isn’t by Kelly Sandoval and narrated by Katherine Inskip. The story originally aired October 25, 2015 as Cast of Wonders 178.


Home Isn’t

by Kelly Sandoval

They tell him he’ll be happy when he gets there. It was wrong, what was done to you, they say. We’re making it right. You’re going home.

The kind ones, who call him Mark, are pleased. They have a party, with foods from his planet. He chews the edge of a gray leaf so bitter it closes his throat. He’s used to coke and animal crackers. You’re going home, they say. No more soda, no more sweets. No more rooms with white walls and bright toys. No more needles, treadmills, tests. Home.

They won’t tell him what home is, only what it isn’t. He pictures a toyless, colorless, cokeless expanse. He pictures fields of bitter gray leaves growing beside silver pools. He tries to picture others like himself, but he is the only one he knows. He populates his imaginings with mirror-reversed copies of his own face. Pale blue fur and liquid black eyes.

At night, he wraps his arms around his chest and makes low choking noises as he tries to cry. He’s never quite gotten the trick of it.
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Cast of Wonders 180: The New Kid Is Not An Alien


The New Kid Is Not an Alien

by Bert Lowe

The new kid was skinny with big round eyes and a head like a melon. Worse, thought Sam, the kid has a goofy smile like he doesn’t even care he looks like a walking lollipop.

“Class,” said Mrs. Vogt, “This is Zack.”

“Zaxx,” corrected the boy. “I’m not an alien,” he added.

The class laughed and Mrs. Vogt smiled. “Class, this is Zaxx’s first day. I would like for someone to show him around the school.”

No way, thought Sam, just before a shove forced him out of the line he’d been standing in.

Behind him, Kelli gave him that, I didn’t do it, because I’m such an angel look.

“Thank you, Sam,” said Mrs. Vogt.

“Happy to help,” he said. Sam scowled at Kelli who stuck out her tongue.

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Cast of Wonders 178: Home Isn’t

Show Notes

Hungry for more horror flash fiction? Then head to the Pseudopod forums where this very moment yours could be the deciding vote in the “two stories enter, one story leaves” ritual that is the flash fiction contest. The three winners will be purchased and run in a special Flash on the Borderlands. For those who comment on the stories, Pseudopod will randomly select a few lucky winners to receive copies of the excellent Women Destroy Horror by Nightmare Magazine. Horror stories and the chance of even MORE horror stories and commentary by participating in a thriving horror fiction community? The only thing more sure is that somehow, some way, your trick or treat candy will contain at least one of those strange honey nougat things…

 


Home Isn’t

by Kelly Sandoval

They tell him he’ll be happy when he gets there. It was wrong, what was done to you, they say. We’re making it right. You’re going home.

The kind ones, who call him Mark, are pleased. They have a party, with foods from his planet. He chews the edge of a gray leaf so bitter it closes his throat. He’s used to coke and animal crackers. You’re going home, they say. No more soda, no more sweets. No more rooms with white walls and bright toys. No more needles, treadmills, tests. Home.

They won’t tell him what home is, only what it isn’t. He pictures a toyless, colorless, cokeless expanse. He pictures fields of bitter gray leaves growing beside silver pools. He tries to picture others like himself, but he is the only one he knows. He populates his imaginings with mirror-reversed copies of his own face. Pale blue fur and liquid black eyes.

At night, he wraps his arms around his chest and makes low choking noises as he tries to cry. He’s never quite gotten the trick of it.
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 177: Foggy Planet Breakdown

Show Notes

Hello everyone, sorry we’ve been away for a while. Make sure you listen to the story for that important announcement we mentioned.


Foggy Planet Breakdown

by Peter Wood

Bill Holt rushed into the star ship’s meeting room thirty minutes late and set his banjo down on the metal conference table. “Sorry to keep y’all waiting, “ he panted to the half dozen people. “Earl didn’t show up today.”

Skaggs, the top official from Galactic Mining, took a long slow sip of coffee. “Who’s Earl?”

Bill adjusted a couple of strings. Banjos were temperamental and had to be tuned constantly especially in the constant heat and humidity of this alien world. “Earl Scruggs. Greatest banjo player of all time. Bluegrass legend. Flatt and Scruggs.”

Skaggs responded with a blank stare.

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Cast of Wonders 174: Take A Good Look


Take a Good Look

by Holly Schofield

Megan watched with dull eyes as Alan’s tendrils undulated above his head, making odd silhouettes on the garage wall. He grew more excited, his beige skin turned mauve as he finished his breakfast beer.

She rocked her lawn chair slowly back and forth in the early morning sun. She barely heard Alan as he went on and on about his most recent trip, to see the giant Easter egg statue in eastern Alberta, and the other attractions he’d visited since she’d left town last year.

“I took an, erh, hologram of the egg,” he told her gleefully, his voice thick with phlegm. “For my, erh, scrapbook.” His English was good but some things apparently didn’t translate well.

“It’s Dad,” she blurted out. “He’s dying.”

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 152: Captain Cleveland Grackle’s Galactic Cabaret vs. The Goblins of Vishnu 6 (Staff Pick 2014)

Show Notes

Every year in January Cast of Wonders takes a break to catch our breath, plan out the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes from the year just passed.

We hope you enjoy Barry’s favorite story from 2014, Captain Cleveland Grackle’s Galactic Cabaret vs. The Goblins of Vishnu 6 by Jamieson Ridenhour, which originally aired November 17, 2013 as Cast of Wonders 104.


Captain Cleveland Grackle’s Galactic Cabaret vs.The Goblins of Vishnu 6

By Jamieson Ridenhour

Load-in is always a bitch on a gas giant gig, but the moisture off the methane sea on Vamana really played havoc with my drum heads. The city, Upendra, was a big, domed thing with old-school terra-forming and flora-powered atmos that amounted to a human-made jungle in the midst of the rocky moon. We were playing the Municipal Amphitheatre, a screamingly Corporate name that was typically boring and grandiose all at once. That we got booked at all is probably due more to the backwater status of Vishnu 6’s fifth moon than any real thought about whether we’d be a good fit—we were a hell of a lot cheaper than the big CorpMuses who played closer to Earth.

Not that any of this mattered, mind you. A gig’s a gig, and this one was if anything a little bigger than we usually pulled. I’m just saying that for the all the “professionalism” of the local staff and the “modern ease” with which the intra-dome transfer was supposed to run, we might as well have been playing a dive bar in the Pleiades. But we did get the equipment set up, ‘cause you always do, and we did get what could technically be called a sound-check before we were hustled off the stage so the other two bands on the roster could do the same.
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