Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

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Cast of Wonders 319: Presumed Dead (Part 6)

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Presumed Dead (Part 6)

by Rick Kennett

For a moment she puzzled over why the plants up ahead had all turned white and were sparkling under the sun.

Then, in a single step she left the warmth of the day and entered the cold of the island. A sudden, severe plunge in temperature, far colder than she’d ever known – colder still than the day she’d run, bare-footed and exposed, across the sands of Mars.
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Cast of Wonders 318: Presumed Dead (Part 5)

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Presumed Dead (Part 5)

by Rick Kennett

The map in her hand now showed only the blue-green of the sea. Apparently there was nothing but ocean ahead for the foreseeable future.

“Plain sailing form now on, Lazarus,” she said, turning to look for the spider, but could see it nowhere.
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Cast of Wonders 317: Presumed Dead (Part 4)

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Presumed Dead (Part 4)

by Rick Kennett

Cy looked into her palm and said, “Mountains?”

Light as a feather atop her head, Lazarus hadn’t twitched a leg for hours. The map in her hand, however, was in motion. By slow degrees all afternoon a series of tiny V shapes, some inverted, all askew, had crept down into view from the top of her palm to inch along towards her little finger.

She shaded her eyes to the west where sunset blazed the sky with banners of red and crimson and orange. It was only now she realized then how much she missed the quiet purple sunsets of Mars. There was something overstated about these dramatic colours.

If there were mountains on the route she had intended then perhaps they were the reason for the detour. Perhaps whatever put the map in her hand was not so capricious after all.
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Cast of Wonders 316: Presumed Dead (Part 3)

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Presumed Dead (Part 3)

by Rick Kennett

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.

In the lengthening shadow of a capsized hulk she stopped to sniff the air. The hot iron smell of the wreck vied with the scent of rain. A thunderhead was forming in the north. Watching the brewing clouds, for a moment she thought kindly of the dry red of home and its clear pink-brown skies.
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Cast of Wonders 315: Presumed Dead (Part 2)

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Presumed Dead (Part 2)

by Rick Kennett

Half stumbling, almost tumbling, she made her way down the slope to the plain. The need for shelter and overwhelming curiosity had replaced the urgings of caution.

The first wreck she came to was little more than a collapse of iron plates with only a suggestion of a hull shape. A small steamer with a compact superstructure and squat hull offered a dry but debris-strewn interior. Sections of both sides were crushed in, twisted hull plates making seemingly deliberate spikes of malice within. Cy wanted shelter, but not at the risk of cutting herself in half.

The next wreck was more intact, but too close to a swiftly running stream, which she regarded with a feeling bordering on horror. She was Martian enough to know the constant sight and sound of all that water just flowing away, uncontained, unused, would be too disturbing.
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Cast of Wonders 314: Presumed Dead (Part 1)

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Presumed Dead (Part 1)

by Rick Kennett

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.

Cy De Gerch slumped against the mushroom big as a tree trunk and closed her eyes to let another dizzy spell pass. The ghost of Jos Manxman would be appearing soon. She knew it. But right now she couldn’t stomach facing the spectre again, arguing with it again.

The rain continued to fall as it’d fallen for days without number, or so it had seemed.
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Cast of Wonders 305: All Systems Go


All Systems Go

by Gerri Leen

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.

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Cast of Wonders 303: What You’re Missing


What You’re Missing

by Allison Mulder

“Something’s missing.”

The words slipped past Anya’s lips, not for the first time. Most days she could keep them buried under other, safer thoughts. But on quiet, peaceful days like this one, when she’d successfully coaxed Colton past the fences to the off-grid hills, the words had a nasty habit of wriggling out to warm themselves in the sun.

“Of course something’s missing,” Colton said, staring back toward the sprawling gray city. Sun sparkled off the high chain link fences between the hills and town. “No Wi-Fi, no cell signals. The power grid’s scrapped out here. If it bothers you, let’s head back.” He fiddled hopefully with his loose tie, obviously ready and waiting to tighten it.

Anya shook her head, enjoying the unfamiliar feeling of unbound hair swishing against her cheeks. “Not what I mean.”
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Cast of Wonders 301: Ana’s Asteroid


Ana’s Asteroid

by M.K. Hutchins

I raced Cornelius home after school, through the corridors of the Platinum Phoenix. He took the right hand side, I took the left. The dents in stainless steel walls made our reflections wobble.

“I’ll beat you this time!” Cornelius called from behind. He was eleven — two years younger than me.

I laughed. “I doubt — ”

But my feet slipped out from under me. I skidded across the floor. Like all the other kids on this asteroid mining colony, my clothes were sewn from surplus mylar blankets — slick stuff. I crashed into a sealed-off door. There were plenty of unused corridors like that, leftover from better days when the Platinum Phoenix actually had passengers.
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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.
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Cast of Wonders 296: Canary’s Refuge (Artemis Rising 4)

Show Notes

Cast of Wonders is proud to present the fourth annual Artemis Rising event through March 2018! We have four original stories for you this year, guest-edited by assistant editor Katherine Inskip and associate editor Alexis Goble. This year’s artwork by Geneva Barton.

Artemis Rising is an annual month-long event across all four Escape Artists podcasts, celebrating the voices of women, non-binary, trans, and marginalized gendered authors in genre fiction. The resulting lineup is an incredible collection that celebrates the strength, ingenuity, and brilliance of the artists, the characters they create, and the performers that bring these stories to life. It also features the hosting, editing and production talents of a rotating cast. Part of the project’s mission is to give opportunities and experience in these publication roles traditionally held by men.

Don’t miss the full month of Artemis Rising stories across the Escape Artists podcasts!


Canary’s Refuge

by Wendy Nikel

“Feels good to finally be off that blasted ship.” Ben breathes in so deeply that his shoulder rubs against my bare one, a touch so slight I wonder if I only imagined it.

The elevator rattles as it carries us down the mineshaft, into the depths of this planet whose name I can’t even remember. Maybe it doesn’t have one. Not that it matters. They’re all the same as far as we’re concerned: barren hunks of mineral deposits, surrounded by unbreathable atmosphere. They’re ugly, cold, and unwelcoming, without a thing to make us want to remain on their surfaces. Without a hope of survival if we did. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 295: An American Refugee (Artemis Rising 4)

Show Notes

Cast of Wonders is proud to present the fourth annual Artemis Rising event through March 2018! We have four original stories for you this year, guest-edited by assistant editor Katherine Inskip and associate editor Alexis Goble. This year’s artwork by Geneva Barton.

Artemis Rising is an annual month-long event across all four Escape Artists podcasts, celebrating the voices of women, non-binary, trans, and marginalized gendered authors in genre fiction. The resulting lineup is an incredible collection that celebrates the strength, ingenuity, and brilliance of the artists, the characters they create, and the performers that bring these stories to life. It also features the hosting, editing and production talents of a rotating cast. Part of the project’s mission is to give opportunities and experience in these publication roles traditionally held by men.

Don’t miss the full month of Artemis Rising stories across the Escape Artists podcasts!


An American Refugee

by Tiah Marie Beautement

I first spot the surfer as I run down the path that cuts below the lighthouse. I can’t believe it. The Point is full of holiday campers, so motors are banned on the water until eight a.m. and it is only six-thirty. I run down the steps; reaching the bottom of the peninsula, I find that the few souls that are awake are calm and content. Strange. But when I reach the part of the path that curves at the base of Inner Pool I realize why.

No sound.

It’s an old-school surfer out there. How retro. In the entire week I’ve been in Mossel Bay, the only surfboards I’ve seen have been electric, and even those look dated beside the hover boards that clog every available inch of the water.

I stop at the base of inner pool, where the path creates a sea wall, to watch the surfer catch a wave. The quiet grace, the way it skims across the water, is all kinds of beautiful. So much so, I’m ready to hurl my sweaty self into the sea and ask for a go.
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