LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE - Science Fiction and Fantasy Story Podcast (Sci-Fi | Audiobook | Short Stories) Cover
LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE - Science Fiction and Fantasy Story Podcast (Sci-Fi | Audiobook | Short Stories) Profile

LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE - Science Fiction and Fantasy Story Podcast (Sci-Fi | Audiobook | Short Stories)

English, Literature, 1 seasons, 546 episodes, 1 day 6 hours 55 minutes
Edited by bestselling anthologist John Joseph Adams, LIGHTSPEED is a Hugo Award-winning, critically-acclaimed digital magazine. In its pages, you'll find science fiction from near-future stories and sociological SF to far-future, star-spanning SF. Plus there's fantasy from epic sword-and-sorcery and contemporary urban tales to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folk tales. Each month, LIGHTSPEED brings you a mix of originals and reprints featuring a variety of authors, from the bestsellers and award-winners you already know to the best now voices you haven't heard yet. When you read LIGHTSPEED, you'll see where science fiction and fantasy have come from, where they are now, and where they're going. The LIGHTSPEED podcast, produced by Grammy Award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki of Skyboat Media, is presented four times a month, featuring original audio fiction and classic reprints.
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Timothy Mudie | Blood For a Stranger

Crunches and shrieks buffeted the Magellan LLC smartship as it plunged into Enceladus’s kilometers-thick ice crust, making their way to the subsurface ocean and the rival LuxeSpace corporation’s station situated there. Warning signals flashed through Jarrell and his fellow shipminds’ readouts, but they followed their orders and continued inward. They’d long since learned to ignore such dangers---the digitized brains of former human corporate-soldiers that controlled smartships could afford to take risks and go places traditionally-crewed spaceships wouldn’t dare. | ©Timothy Mudie. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
25/05/20231 hour 12 minutes 15 seconds
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Kat Howard | One Heart, Lost and Found

I came to the city to find an egg. A robin’s egg, to be precise, an oval of pale, perfect blue that echoed the spring sky. Inside, not a robin, but an emerald. Inside the emerald, a wizard’s heart. He had decided he missed it, and he wanted it back. It was the usual sort of thing, or so he had assured me. His heart taken out and stored for safekeeping, a place where his enemies---and certainly there were many, jealous of his power---would never think to look. So well hidden, in fact, that he himself was no longer quite certain where it was. ©2023 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Judy Young.
04/05/202325 minutes 57 seconds
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Amanda Helms | The House, the Witch, and Sugarcane Stalks

The house wakes from its somnolence as the witch trudges up the path made of tarts. Through its rock-candy windows, the house scans her figure for any signs of hurt. The witch’s errands in the city make her nervous. And the house, being made of her magic and therefore of the witch, worries along with her that the wrong person might recognize her, or simply think they do. | ©2023 by Amanda Helms. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
27/04/202318 minutes 20 seconds
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Brian K. Hudson | Virtually Cherokee

What I observed was a giant anthropomorphized ribbon microphone, the type one might imagine standing in front of a radio announcer and his studio audience, selling soap in the dirty 1930s. It sauntered lazily over to an overstuffed red couch, walking on stick-figure legs that looked like they’d been hand-drawn by a young child. The large red couch sat next to a five-foot tall elephant ear plant. | ©2023 by Brian K. Hudson. Narrated by Scott Peterson.
06/04/202352 minutes 13 seconds
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Benjamin Peek | The Ministry of Saturn

The town was not called Byzantium. The Ministry named it during the first meeting. “It’s not a colony,” Thomas James would have said if he could, but the office was hot and bright, the sun in the windows, in his eyes. He felt like he was surrounded by faceless figures even though there were only two other people in the room. The town they were talking about was located between worlds. The entrance was in the remains of Ooldea, out on the edge of The Nullarbor Plain. | ©2023 by Benjamin Peek. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
23/03/202347 minutes 38 seconds
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Daniel H. Wilson | Crystalline

“Who loves you?” I ask. My daughter looks away. Doesn’t answer. I lean down and turn her to face me, resting my thumb in the dimple in her chin. It’s the same dimple her mother has. Or had. “You love me, Daddy.” “That’s right, so please listen closely,” I say. She’s only nine, but Anya’s eyes are flat and black and hard to read in the dim light of the cave. “Only you can make our family whole again.” “But. Last time. I saw . . .” ©2023 by Daniel H. Wilson. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
02/03/202327 minutes 17 seconds
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Sam J. Miller | His Guns Could Not Protect Him

I punched my brother because he was an idiot, because he couldn’t see what I saw, how hard mom held onto the dish rag when she came out onto the deck to tell us dad had been in an accident, which is why the first thing out of his idiot mouth was “So can we go to Pizza Hut for dinner instead?” And her face had already been enough to tell me dad was in real danger, but the fact that she didn’t scold me for punching Rem made my skin prickle up like when a snowball hits the back of your head. | ©2023 by Sam J. Miller. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
23/02/202336 minutes 46 seconds
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Carrie Vaughn | Learning Letters

Enid sat on the front porch of Haven’s clinic with a half a dozen books, some paper, and a small chalkboard. Three days a week, when she was in town, she taught reading to Haven’s children who wanted to learn. The last two weeks, Rose was the only kid who came to the lessons. Her household’s daughter, Rose, eight years old, stared at her while wearing a resentful frown that begged to be allowed to do anything else at all in the whole world but this. ©2023 by Carrie Vaughn. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
02/02/202343 minutes 57 seconds
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Jendayi Brooks-Flemister | From the Largest Crater

AUDIO LOG BF-0003 / 2083-14-09 13:36 / This . . . feels strange. They said that it’s healthy for those of us whose spouses take Return Missions to record our thoughts. Audio journaling, they called it. Zeli, if you saw the way these devices look, you’d have laughed at the very suggestion of it. They said other spouses who’ve done it have found it helpful for “processing difficult emotions.” It just makes me think they want to keep tabs on what I say and do, but that’s my father’s paranoia coming in. They said it helps to finish my recordings with “over” so that I know when I’ve gotten my thoughts out. Doesn’t that seem strange? ©2023 by Jendayi Brooks-Flemister. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
26/01/202338 minutes 52 seconds
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Scott Edelman | A Man Walks Into a Bar: In Which More Than Four Decades After My Father’s Reluctant Night of Darts on West 54th Street I Finally Understand What Needs to Be Done

My father was so honest, people often spoke of him in cliches. For example---you know the way someone will sometimes say so-and-so was so honest they’d walk five miles to return an extra nickel they’d been given in their change? Nobody means anybody actually did that kind of thing when they say it, of course---you and I both know they’re only exaggerating for effect. Except in the case of my father. My Dad had really done that. Around the neighborhood, he was seen as so calm and understanding when compared to other fathers, other husbands . . . some of the grownups jokingly referred to him as Saint Barney. ©2023 by Scott Edelman. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
05/01/202343 minutes 13 seconds
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Aimee Ogden | Mad Honey

The three wolves in the sun-smeared wood did not turn and run when Aran approached with his musket in hand. Wolves were supposed to run from men with guns. This was the way of the world. Sweat and necessity made his musket slide against his palms. He gripped tighter, not wanting to startle the beasts by bringing the musket to bear too quickly. Two of the beasts stood over the third, which reclined on its side in the patchy grass. He could count their rib-bones through their thin hides. His own hungry bones hummed in sympathy. But the world turned on toward frost and frozen ground, and necessity stilled the tremor in his chest. ©2022 by Aimee Ogden. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
22/12/202225 minutes 3 seconds
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L.D. Lewis | Last Stand of the E. 12th St. Pirates

STAND BACK DOORS CLOSING. Dee heard the musical bing-bong of the departure warning between song transitions in her headphones, and watched as the heads of workers in line ahead of her lolled back in the universal why, God gesture of commuters everywhere. There was only one freight car down the wall into the Flood District, and it was shared by all bulk service providers who came bearing gifts: maintenance workers, solar installers, grocery and package delivery, and the like. A bing-bong meant another fifteen-minute wait. | ©2022 by L.D. Lewis. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
01/12/202231 minutes 38 seconds
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Kristina Ten | The Noon Witch Goes to Sound Planet

The Noon Witch is not a cat person. She likes the color purple, hates police procedurals, loves breakfast foods, thinks scented bath products and anchovy pizza are gross. Hates platform shoes. Hates walnuts in brownies. Used to like the electropop group all the girls at school like, until they used too much synth on their latest album, so now she hates them too. The Noon Witch isn’t an overcritical person. She’s just at that difficult age when you’re desperate to figure out who you are, so you lean too much on your likes and dislikes to try to cobble together what you think should be your personality. | Copyright 2022 by Kristina Ten. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
24/11/20221 hour 1 minute 1 second
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Tania Fordwalker | Beyond the Shore

Nobody noticed the first few. They walked. One by one, in the beginning. Isolated instances. On every continent, mid-meal, mid-shower, mid-work, mid-fuck, right out the door of a pulled-up car in the middle of a freeway---ordinary people turned their backs on their ordinary lives and walked. They walked, shedding their hair in clumps along the way, sloughing their skin in translucent sheets to reveal pale grey beneath. On bleeding feet they walked down highways and lanes and trails, unerringly taking the path of least resistance to the nearest coast. They crossed the sand. The sea cooled their aching calves. Still, they walked. | Copyright 2022 by Tania Fordwalker. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/11/202220 minutes 16 seconds
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Debbie Urbanski | The Dirty Golden Yellow House

On the first floor of a Colonial-style house constructed last century out of planks of old growth cedar, a monster is dragging a woman’s husband from room to room. The specific path this monster takes will be evident the next morning from the gashes in the wood floors and the splattering of the husband’s innards upon the plaster walls. Blood on the ceiling. The woman herself is hiding in the upstairs bedroom in her closet, face buried in the nylon hems of her patterned dresses, hands to her ears, a washcloth between her teeth so she can bite down hard on something that isn’t her tongue. | Copyright 2022 by Debbie Urbanski. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
27/10/20221 hour 18 minutes 57 seconds
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Gene Doucette | Primordial Soup and Salad

Wallace Englund, captain of the United Space Fleet vessel Caroline, stared out his private office window at the only view he’d had for nearly four years---outer space, in all its dull glory---and wondered why he couldn’t get a decent cheeseburger. Behind him were the last three attempts at a burger made by the ship’s food replicator. The first looked okay until Wallace bit into it and discovered a soft, gelatinous interior that still tasted like a cheeseburger but whose texture made it impossible to ingest. The second was visibly worse: the left side of the burger looked like brown gravy, and not in a good way. | Copyright 2022 by Gene Doucette. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
06/10/20221 hour 20 minutes 42 seconds
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Martin Cahill | Her Five Farewells

When the Asphodel Queen decides she’ll die to save our people from her ex-husband’s tyranny, she commands me to build her a coffin, the very first in our world’s history. Her ageless face of ivory and emerald is water on a windless day; her stillness betrays nothing of her decision. As the Senate screams in sorrow, I am held by her imperial glare, the enormity of my task sinking in like sunlight on skin. “Me, Your Majesty? I’m but a humble craftsman.” Her voice rises above the growing din, as panic races through data-vines and across the crystal-network. | Copyright 2022 by Martin Cahill. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
29/09/202231 minutes 3 seconds
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MKRNYILGLD | The CRISPR Cookbook: A Guide to Biohacking Your Own Abortion in a Post-Roe World

If you’re reading this---on some godforsaken imageboard, or dog-eared book page, or in encrypted base pairs sequenced off 3D-printed oligos---you’re probably grappling with a pretty tough decision right now. Breathe. I’m not judging you. I know how it goes. You tried your best but nothing’s infallible, or you slipped up one night, or he just straight-up went, your biological clock’s ticking, and hacked your birth control, knowing once it happens you won’t have a choice. The second his sperm enters your egg, he’s done, back to his star-studded career cranking out Science and Cell papers. | Copyright 2022 by MKRNYILGLD. Narrated by Judy Young.
08/09/202223 minutes 29 seconds
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Tobi Ogundiran | The Clockmaker and His Daughter

Gaza looked down at the city of Nyss, surveying his creation. He thought it was perfect. Well, almost. In the city centre stood several griots spinning a tale to a captive audience, their camels and brightly-coloured caravans sheltering in the shade of palm trees. The griots should be dusty---after all they had travelled some distance, spent several months weathering the harsh terrain of the desert. As it was they looked too pristine. | Copyright 2022 by Tobi Ogundiran. Narrated by Mirron Willis.
25/08/202236 minutes 25 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | My Future Self, Refused

This much was clear. At some point in my future, I would have access to a time machine. This was a ridiculous sentence and a tragically irrelevant concern while my wife Judi was on the floor and possibly dying, but there it was: nonsense, in the presence of death. This was the central tragic absurdity of the day. My future self had materialized in the corner of the room, as solid as a blow to the face, and it was not even my most important concern. | Copyright 2022 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
04/08/20221 hour 2 minutes 21 seconds
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Micah Dean Hicks | Hungry as the Mirror Bright

She was born a low and needful thing. Hatched down in the tannin dark, dead leaf pillowed, gnashing her mouth in the loam. Burrowing deep where shed buttons and broken boot laces lay. Alone and babbling, prowling for worm-meat and snail-slick in the wet ground rot. Fattened on maggot and grub, she hardened white and lay sarcophagal. Then a second birth, splitting free and strange in new skin. | Copyright 2022 by Micah Dean Hicks. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/07/202257 minutes 39 seconds
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Peter Watts | Critical Mass

Leo Gregory is losing altitude. He coasts on the thermals of a legacy fading behind him: a documentary here, a retrospective there, some greatest-hits collection down in the corner for the dilettantes. Oh, the work has lost none of its grandeur: his buildings remain timeless, his objets d’art still serve up facets upon layers from each new angle. | Copyright 2022 by Peter Watts. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
07/07/20221 hour 13 seconds
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Jo Miles | Scientists Confirm: There’s a Black Hole in the Center of Your Heart

The black hole in the center of your heart devours everything around you. It always has, but when you were small, your event horizon was, too: you might pull in a teddy bear, your corgi puppy’s love, your grandma’s snickerdoodles. Small fuel for a small hunger. But you didn’t stay small. In school, you pulled other children into your orbit, cool kids and nerds and loners, along with shelves of books, the faded basketballs from the gym, the classroom iguana. | Copyright 2022 by Jo Miles. Narrated by Judy Young.
30/06/202214 minutes 13 seconds
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Susan Palwick | Picnic, with Monster

Freedom means walking through the park on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon, instead of being locked up in the hospital or a group home. Caleb was released from the hospital this morning, not because he’s well---he knows he’ll never be what the doctors call well---but because they had nothing left to offer him. He dutifully took their pills when he was locked up, because otherwise, they just get a court order to force you. No freedom in hospitals. | Copyright 2022 by Susan Palwick. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
09/06/202215 minutes 54 seconds
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Lina Rather | The Cheesemaker and the Undying King

Tana was in a humid cave checking the rind on a round of Tomme when the messenger arrived to tell her that the war was lost and her wife was to be hanged. She took her time rewrapping the cheese before she responded. Still too soft. Another week, she estimated. The rind was a beautiful blue-black shade that would catch a maid’s eye in the market. Ruining a fine wheel wouldn’t save Renae. And she knew what the boy was going to say as soon as she heard his nervous footsteps. | Copyright 2022 by Lina Rather. Narrated by Alison Belle Bews.
26/05/202247 minutes 3 seconds
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Grace Chan | Nobody Ever Goes Home to Zhenzhu

I’d always known Calam would run. He had all the signs. A taut restlessness, body brittle as an overstretched lute string, when we stayed too long in one place. A gloom in his eyes, as we drifted through stretches of dead space. A sullen crease between the brows, whenever I tried to ask how he’d landed in that dead-end Martian workshop at seventeen. But after ten years, why now? | Copyright 2022 by Grace Chan. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
05/05/202229 minutes 47 seconds
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Leah Cypess | The Fairy Godmother Advice Column

Dear Fairy Godmother: I work as the housekeeper for a collective of seven men. It’s a non-normative living situation, but it works for me. (I am estranged from my family, due to my stepmother being crazy.) Lately, however, I’ve been harassed by a woman trying to sell me apples. She is constantly offering me free samples and acting hurt when I don’t buy. My employers have forbidden me from letting anyone into their home, and I value their trust. But I also know there are a lot of prejudices about old women who wander around forests selling apples, and I don’t want to play into that. | Copyright 2022 by Leah Cypess. Narrated by Judy Young.
28/04/202216 minutes 31 seconds
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Sandra McDonald | Advice from the Civil Temporal Defense League

Do: Be Aware of Strangers Who Ask You What Day It It. Be Aware of Strangers Who Ask You What Year It Is. Be Aware of Stunned Looking Strangers Who Murmur “Mom?” in The Squeeze-In Diner When You Stop By After School For a Chocolate Malt, Though Clearly You Have Never Given Birth to Them or to Anyone At All, Thank You Very Much. Be Aware of Strangers Wearing Clothing, Footwear, or Accessories That Seem Just A Few Years Out of Fashion or Incongruent With the Season, Climate, or Weather Forecast, or Perhaps Not Gender Appropriate Because No Woman Needs to Wear Trousers Anyway. | Copyright 2022 by Sandra McDonald. Narrated by Judy Young.
07/04/202216 minutes 33 seconds
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Julianna Baggott | The Historiography of Loss

I didn’t expect the trailer to feel so small and that some of the blood would still be wet. But I must have expected some blood because I cuffed my jeans before going in. And I didn’t expect the cats would have come back---a window was open, its screen clawed loose. I didn’t expect how they pawed through the blood. Dotting the counters with their small footprints. I didn’t expect the trailer to feel so densely packed---a family had lived here, a mother, a father, a twelve-year-old son, and all of their stuff. | Copyright 2022 by Julianna Baggott. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
24/03/202245 minutes 2 seconds
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Shiv Ramdas | Bhatia, P.I.

It’s a few minutes before seven on a cold October evening and I’m just reaching into the bottom drawer of my desk for the Old Monk and my well-thumbed copy of The Big Sleep when I hear footsteps hurrying up the stairs. A new case, has to be. I sigh, give the drawer a regretful look and shut it again. I sit up, awaiting the knock. It never comes. Instead the door swings open, slamming into the wall, sending plaster chips flying everywhere. Then I see her standing in the doorway. | Copyright 2022 by Shiv Ramdas. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/03/20221 hour 7 minutes 48 seconds
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P H Lee | The Honest Fox, or, A Truth Shared is Not a Truth Lost

I have heard it on the rumors that when the tale-spinner’s guild gathers in its secret places, a full half of them are sworn to never tell the truth, and the other half to never tell a lie, even if it mean their life. Being one of that trade myself, I can tell you that that’s more or less the shape of it, and I tell you this so that you will know that the tale I tell you now is true, just as it happened and just as it was told to me, for I am one of the ones sworn to the truth. | Copyright 2022 by P H Lee. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
24/02/202232 minutes 57 seconds
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Isabel J. Kim | Plausible Realities, Improbable Dreams

The multiverse broke last week. Broke is perhaps the wrong word. More accurate would be performed a state-change or found new equilibrium, but tell that to Catalina Chang, who has been popping aspirin like M&Ms ever since last Thursday, 5:54 PM, when the Unspecified Incident in the Lab superimposed all versions of reality together like a flaky scallion pancake. Aspirin still exists. So do coffee and antidepressant commercials, except on alternate Tuesdays, except when they don’t exist at all. | Copyright 2022 by Isabel J. Kim. Narrated by Judy Young.
03/02/202248 minutes 18 seconds
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Vanessa Fogg | An Address to the Newest Disciples of the Lost Words

You are here because you ignored the words of your parents and elders, your more sensible peers. You have thrown away promising careers in sheepherding or law, trade or civil administration. You bribed your way here; you stole money for your passage; you broke promises and made new ones that you never meant to keep. You’ve sailed rivers and oceans, crossed mountains and plains, and now here you are at the edge of the desert. | Copyright 2022 by Vanessa Fogg. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
20/01/202232 minutes 41 seconds
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Maria Dong | In the Beginning of Me, I Was a Bird

In the beginning of me, I was a bird. A magpie, although I’ve since been a jay and a red-tailed hawk and even a big, black crow, crying tok-tok-tok at every passerby. But the magpie was special: on my first day, I saw those flashing blue wingtips, and I was myself. And every day after, I woke up and flew to a shiny window, just to admire my plumage. Birds don’t last. Their hearts beat so fast, the seeds burn them out. | Copyright 2022 by Maria Dong. Narrated by Judy Young.
06/01/202245 minutes 9 seconds
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Filip Hajdar Drnovšek Zorko | Red is Our Country

After the incident with Grey, you have three hours of air left and the only possibility of resupply is two hours in the wrong direction. Burke has found references to an old terraformers’ cache---emergency water and oxygen and who knows what else---and now she’s acting like it’s foresight rather than blind luck. Like she can even be sure the supplies are still there. “We’ll find it. We’ll resupply.” | Copyright 2021 by Filip Hajdar Drnovšek Zorko. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
16/12/202140 minutes
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Donyae Coles | When Sri Left the Ruined City

Listen, listen, hush, listen. You’re wrong about the war. You’re wrong about why the world is changing. Why it is dying all around us. That the Gods, many and unknowable be they, wanted this: That’s what you were taught, that’s what you believe. That’s why they gave the Memra their fire beasts and the drawing light that they wield so wildly. That’s why the Reach sings those great stone men into being to crush that flaming war machine. | Copyright 2021 by Donyae Coles. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
02/12/202141 minutes 48 seconds
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Timi Odueso | Cloudgazer

The nearest cloud cluster was sixty miles away, almost an hour’s journey if Bombay went at top speed. A fruit trader had seen it on her way to Sabon-Gari, floating lazily across the azure sky. “You don’t see that often,” the trader had said to the crowd, grappling her basket of mangoes. “A whole cluster, untethered, unbothered, what a sight! So you see why you have to buy my mangoes, they’ve been blessed by clouds!” | Copyright 2021 by Timi Odueso. Narrated by Christina Ogunade.
25/11/202122 minutes 43 seconds
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Stephen Graham Jones | I Was a Teenage Space Jockey

Two days after my brother turned seventeen, he was gone, just like he’d guaranteed my dad. No sad goodbyes, no notes, no taking a knee in the hall before dawn to give me any good advice for high school when I got there. My mom’s story when anybody asked was that he’d moved out, he was old enough, he needed room, it was completely natural. My dad, if asked, would just shrug, knock back the rest of his can of beer, and say he hoped Rance was in the military. | Copyright 2021 by Stephen Graham Jones. Narrated by Scott Peterson.
04/11/202132 minutes 21 seconds
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Coral Alejandra Moore | The Right Dragon

Marisol stared into the cave, breathing in the stomach-turning scent of decay that meant a dragon’s den was inside. I held my handkerchief over my nose and mouth so that I wouldn’t gag. “You’re sure this is the one?” “Definitely.” She scratched the stub of her left arm where it tucked into the metal hinge, just above where her elbow had once been. | Copyright 2021 by Coral Alejandra Moore. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/10/202114 minutes 29 seconds
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Gene Doucette | Memoranda from the End of the World

Attached, please find your personal company-issued Breathing Apparatus, for immediate use within all corporate campus unfiltered air locations! This includes all outdoor locations, such as: the parking lots; the parking garage; the smoker’s hut; the paths between the buildings; the shuttlebus waiting area; the tennis court; and the corporate golf course. | Copyright 2021 by Gene Doucette. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
07/10/202143 minutes 35 seconds
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Adam R. Shannon | It Begins to Snow

When it begins to snow, it never stops. Perhaps not for you, but another iteration of you---a manifestation of your wild possibilities. I hope it’s not you, for my sake. When it begins to snow, the sky comes down in sharp, precise fragments, and you press your forehead against the window and think: don’t ever stop. And it doesn’t. I don’t want it to be you, because when it begins to snow, the world ends. | Copyright 2021 by Adam R. Shannon. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
23/09/202111 minutes 47 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | Judi

She sank to the ground on a world without name. We were far from home, farther than we had ever gone, maybe farther than anyone had ever gone. It was so far away, or at least so strange for some undefinable local cause, that we could have filled volumes with all the alterations in the way things worked; in the ways that light worked, in the way that time worked, in the way that mass worked. We spoke of bringing back word to the learned of my world and hers. We talked of making our names. | Copyright 2021 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
02/09/202113 minutes 38 seconds
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Isabel Cañas | My Sister is a Scorpion

My baby sister didn’t used to be a scorpion, but she is one now. I don’t know if that sounds weird to you, but it doesn’t to me, because right after my sister was born, Abuelita turned into a white crane and flew away. She was so sad after we buried Abuelito, you know. One winter day, she stepped outside of the faded stucco church into bright sunshine, her Bible tucked under one arm. Maybe the touch of the sun was not enough to warm her after the shadows of the church. | Copyright 2021 by Isabel Cañas. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
26/08/202115 minutes 24 seconds
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Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas | Before the Haze Devours You

If time can stop, this is how it feels. 01:32:03 PLSS WARNING: Abnormal temperature detected in EMU. Yunuen was born to be trapped in this moment. She has been looking at the same alert in her helmet’s heads-up display for a perpetual instant that has become her whole existence. One billion kilometers away from home, she lies in the purgatory that is the red glow of this warning message. In front of her eyes, these petrified uppercase letters have lost all their meaning. Time does not exist anymore. | Copyright 2021 by Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas. Narrated by Kate Orsini.
05/08/202116 minutes 45 seconds
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Lulu Kadhim | Amber Dark and Sickly Sweet

Talia sat at the edge of Eliza’s bed, her hands clasped. She was new---so was I, but she was newer. I went to her, and stroked her head, careful to avoid the honeycomb on her brow. “Daughters.” Mother Anam’s face was twisted when she came back from searching the rest of our rooms, her shoes clicking on the hard, pocked floor. It always seemed to us that she was disappointed that we hadn’t broken a rule, that she couldn’t punish us. | Copyright 2021 by Lulu Kadhim. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
29/07/202123 minutes 3 seconds
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Everdeen Mason | Miss the Zen, but Miss You More

“Welcome to Float Isolation Therapy, an intensive twelve-day experience. You will become one with the stars. During your time in your personalized FIT pod, we encourage you to explore the deepest recesses of your mind.” Bei Bei floated in mid-air and felt the strain in her lower back, but she didn’t care. The picture had to be perfect. The lighting in the egg-shaped pod was excellent. | Copyright 2021 by Everdeen Mason. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
08/07/202145 minutes 47 seconds
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Endria Isa Richardson | Do Nothing

From where she lay on her back, on the grass of the Presidio in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge with all its painted trusses strung from tower to tower seemed most like a red haired boy running along a jetty. She tried, objectively, to see it as they might. A span or a wing. It connected two land masses; of course it would be seen as connective. But there was no ‘of course.’ However they perceived the thing---anchored and cabled and suspended; material hung from more material---would not be objective. | Copyright 2021 by Endria Isa Richardson. Narrated by Judy Young.
24/06/202136 minutes 37 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | A Tableau of Things That Are

When they ordered me down off my pedestal, I had nowhere else to go. Life as a statue is easy. They make you ascend the pedestal, turn you to stone, remove your ability to move, and leave you to watch the turn of the seasons in a world you cannot touch or care about, anymore. You can only stand in the public garden where all the convicted are placed, and you watch with dull and distant interest at the visitors who stroll past. | Copyright 2021 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/06/20211 hour 3 minutes 49 seconds
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Kristina Ten | Bones in It

Besides the vedma who lived behind the stove in steam room three, the banya in Grand Lake Plaza was the same as any other budget day spa on Chicago’s West Side. It had deep-tissue massages and signature facials, plus day passes for the communal baths and steam rooms. There was a cucumber water dispenser in the lobby, and a little sign on the front desk that invited guests to “nama-stay a while.” The robes and slippers were cheap, scratchy polyester. | Copyright 2021 by Kristina Ten. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
27/05/202132 minutes 36 seconds
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Gene Doucette | Hypnopompic Circumstance

Thomas’s first encounter with the alien was terrifying. It happened in his bedroom. Thom was attempting to get to sleep at the time, after a long Friday night that had extended into early Saturday morning. Alcohol was involved, and a little pot, but nothing natively hallucinogenic, not unless someone slipped him something. Nothing that could explain the appearance of someone who wasn’t supposed to be there. | Copyright 2021 by Gene Doucette. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
06/05/20211 hour 1 minute 21 seconds
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Genevieve Valentine | Blood, Ash, Braids

It didn’t take them long to find a name for us; almost as soon as they knew it was women inside the rickety biplanes they couldn’t catch, the Germans called us witches. It was because of the sounds our idling planes made from the ground, the story went, as if the German soldiers had spent a lot of time with brooms and knew what they sounded like, engineless and gliding fifty feet above them in the dark. (The wires holding the wings in place made the whistle.) | Copyright 2015 by Genevieve Valentine. Originally published in Operation Arcana, edited by John Joseph Adams. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
29/04/202138 minutes 15 seconds
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An Owomoyela | The Equations of the Dead

The boyo working the transmitter doesn’t look like much, except his face is radiant. Radiant, like one of those pooka upworld adverts for neural templates. Dopamine-druggy, but lucid. Like he’s in love. Boyo also looks like he hasn’t spoken to a human in days, and like aside from the food allotments he doesn’t have a lick of capital. His clothes have that washed-while-wearing look, and they’re homespun; no fancy imported fabrics or styles. You’d walk away from this jondo in the market. | Copyright 2021 by An Owomoyela. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/04/20211 hour 10 minutes 30 seconds
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Sarah Grey | Brightly, Undiminished

Witchcraft is a gift. Imelda would wave her steel spoon at Mercer and insist on this as he measured ingredients for her, whether she was boiling potions or a pot of farfalle pasta. Watch the salt, a teaspoon only, never pour too much. Don’t overheat the sauce. Bottle the hawks’ gizzards separate from the basilisks’. Never half-ass a gift, Mercy. Her perpetual imperative. Mercer is alone now. His hands are unsteady---they’ve shaken like a drunkard’s since they held Imelda as she passed---and he is no witch. | Copyright 2021 by Sarah Grey. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
25/03/202122 minutes
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Claire Wrenwood | Homecoming

Only when Marlo and her mother have followed the attendants through the faux-marble foyer and into the room filled with diffusers and soft jazz and laid down on the massage tables covered in crisp, clean-smelling sheets; only when someone has placed a cool gel pack over Marlo’s eyes and set something against her skin that starts kneading, a familiar, needling motion that ignites a distant spark of recognition within her; only then does Marlo understand where her mother has taken her. She pushes back her eye mask and sits up. | Copyright 2021 by Claire Wrenwood. Narrated by Judy Young.
04/03/202125 minutes 5 seconds
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Alexander Weinstein | Destinations of Beauty

It has become increasingly clear to your guidebook writers that the beauty of any destination should be measured not simply by the magnificence of its architecture or the lushness of its landscape, but by the splendor that its citizens collectively produce. In cities where mayors make sure flowers are planted every spring and the baker sends us off with a free roll, the streetlamps are bound to burn brightly with the warmth of welcome. In fact, the wonderful time we’ve had in any destination was due almost entirely to the kindness of those we encountered along the way. | Copyright 2021 by Alexander Weinstein. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
25/02/202135 minutes 38 seconds
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Phoebe Barton | The Mathematics of Fairyland

If you had a warp drive, it would be easy. The mathematics are strange the way ley lines are strange, invisible yet divinable. You’ve pulled your way up sterner mountains, fingertip by fingertip. You’ve already compensated for stellar motion, spacetime curvature, hyperspatial congruences. You’ve scratched out hundreds of equations in cold blue hyacinth ink and piled them away in the knitted stocking under your bed, where only Berenice would think to look. Equations that would tell you exactly where to slice a hole between worlds, if only you had the right knife. | Copyright 2021 by Phoebe Barton. Narrated by Judy Young.
04/02/202128 minutes 37 seconds
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D. Thomas Minton | The Memory Plague

In the beginning, we are one, and we are ignorance. Our skin is chaffed tender from the womb-sac and the exit ring. Out, we writhe blindly in the grit that cuts our softness until the dryness of the air hardens us. Slowly, receptors awaken. Muted colors curve across the night, outlining the glistening ribs of the drop chamber arcing over us like planetary rings. Instinctually, we grope through the hard stillness. Our tac-pads draw against lines of unmoving flesh, cold like a memory of interstellar vacuum. A dome of skin radiates faint warmth. | 2021 by D. Thomas Minton. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
21/01/202149 minutes 19 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | Answering the Questions You Might Have About the Kharbat

You have just been attacked by a Kharbat. It has sprung on you from hiding, in some place where you foolishly imagined yourself safe; and even as its many glittering fangs sink deep into the flesh and bone of your shoulder, you know that any attempt to save yourself is futile, that you were always fated to perish in this way, and this beast was always fated to usher you screaming into the world of the dead. What is a Kharbat? I don’t know. Why am I asking you? I am the world’s leading expert. | Copyright 2021 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
14/01/202117 minutes 41 seconds
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P H Lee | Ann-of-Rags

I have heard it on the rumors that when the tale-spinner’s guild gathers in their secret places, a full half of them are sworn to never tell the truth, and the other half to never tell a lie, even if it mean their life. Being one of that trade myself, I can tell you that that’s more or less the shape of it, and I tell you so you’ll know that this tale I tell you is true, just as I heard it and just as it happened, for I am one of the ones sworn to the truth. The name I’m called is Dusty Boots, I come from the valley of Erwhile, and I am in love with a girl that I can never have. Copyright 2020 by P H Lee. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
31/12/202026 minutes 34 seconds
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Andrew Dana Hudson | Your Mind is the Superfund Site

“Ever consider killing yourself?” the gecko said. “It’ll save you one hundred percent on your car insurance.” I was alone, but not. I tried to step on the creature, but my foot wasn’t there. I clenched my teeth, which felt like water. Alleyah’s Southie accent crackled a reminder of radio. “Tracey, are you paralucid yet? Need another poke of DMT?” I was back in high school---or somebody’s high school. The classrooms were vintage Sears catalogs and a spruce tree that grew sideways---not in a directional sense but just with a profound association with the concept of sideways. I climbed the tree and then fell. | Copyright 2020 by Andrew Dana Hudson and C. Y. Ballard. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
10/12/202047 minutes 55 seconds
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Kat Howard | The Lachrymist

It is not the dust that brings her tears. The Lachrymist’s house is dusty, fragments of time and memory fallen everywhere, a living blanket that drapes itself over tables and chairs and things even stranger. But time and memory are to be expected anywhere the dead gather, and even in this abundance, they do not drive her to weeping. Neither is her weeping caused by the voices, calling to each other from shadowy ceiling corners, memories still embodied, repeating phrases into the cold air. | Copyright 2020 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
19/11/202015 minutes 54 seconds
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Gene Doucette | Schrödinger’s Catastrophe [Part 2]

It took twice as long to get to the third deck from the first as it did to get to the first deck from the fifth. Alice was quite certain there was no mechanism in existence capable of adding fractional decks to the ship, and so was chalking this up to another aspect of the ongoing computer malfunction. She supposed a way to validate this was to ask that the elevator stop at, say, deck two-and-five-sixteenths, but she also didn’t want to encourage the computer’s departures from reality any more than necessary. | Copyright 2020 by Gene Doucette. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
12/11/202044 minutes 3 seconds
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Gene Doucette | Schrödinger’s Catastrophe [Part 1]

Things began to go badly for the crew of the USFS Erwin around the time Dr. Marchere’s coffee mug spontaneously reassembled itself. Dr. Louis Marchere was not, at that moment, conducting some manner of experiment. Well, he was, only not on entropy and the nature of time. He was running several other tests, of the kind that make perfect sense on a scientific vessel such as the Erwin. About half of them were biological in nature, concerning how small samples of cellular material react to certain deep-space factors. | Copyright 2020 by Gene Doucette. Narrated by Justine Eyre, Stefan Rudnicki.
05/11/202049 minutes 58 seconds
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Naomi Kanakia | Everquest

Gopal knew before he booted up the game---a Christmas present from his dad---that his character would be some form of elf or human, because the other races were all ugly, and he didn’t play games to be ugly. And he knew too, although he didn’t say it, that his character would be a girl. He always played girls online, although he’d be ashamed if anyone knew it, precisely because it played into the online belief that most girls in most games were “really” men. | Copyright 2020 by Naomi Kanakia. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
29/10/202025 minutes 14 seconds
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Jenny Rae Rappaport | Everything and Nothing

Start with a romance: a man and a woman who are wildly and irrevocably in love with each other. Or two men. Or two women. Or two people, because life is beautiful and complex. Just know that these Lovers are important. The fate of the galaxy rests on their shoulders---because, of course, the fate of an entire portion of known space can be determined by two people in love. The laws of physics are remarkably vulnerable to the laws of love. | Copyright 2020 by Jenny Rae Rappaport. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
21/10/202021 minutes 39 seconds
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Caroline M. Yoachim | The Shadow Prisoner’s Dilemma

Vivian sat at a café opposite Cass. Everything around her had a gritty, dingy quality. Even Cass looked run down, their face deeply tanned and distressingly wrinkled. They were old now, many decades past being the child that Vivian remembered. She looked down at her hands, so different than the black shadows that she’d grown accustomed to seeing during all her years as a Shade---the skin was covered in age spots and hung loose on the bones. | 2020 by Caroline M. Yoachim. Originally published in OR ELSE THE LIGHT, edited by John Joseph Adams, Christie Yant, and Hugh Howey. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
15/10/202048 minutes 45 seconds
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Stephanie Malia Morris | Forty Acres and a Mule

My parents’ farm has shrunk, as old things tend to do. The shed, the workshop, the paddock with its doubled wire fences and chicken coop---all squat and rain-blackened, coming into focus as I step from the car as if I have put on glasses or wiped rain from a window. The house itself stands straight-spined beyond the pear tree, gray in the drizzle, more withdrawn than the last time I visited. The tree has not changed. | Copyright 2017 by Stephanie Malia Morris. Previously published in FIYAH. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
08/10/202023 minutes 17 seconds
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Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam | Entanglement

Narrated by Judy Young.
24/09/202024 minutes 29 seconds
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Karen Joy Fowler | Persephone of the Crows

Isabelle Winters once saw a fairy. For real. It was little, like a hummingbird, with a hummingbird’s frantic wings, and it was moving through the garden, shaking the rosebuds open for the bees. She’s just told this to Polly, though not exactly in those words. The sarcastic for real, for instance, is all Polly. If there was ever a girl primed to see fairies, Isabelle Winters is that girl. | Copyright 2017 by Karen Joy Fowler. Originally published in ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Judy Young.
17/09/202031 minutes 51 seconds
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Caroline M. Yoachim | Shadow Prisons of the Mind

With the right overlays, the city was charming---apartment buildings done up like giant row houses, seamlessly blending Victorian and modern sensibilities, boutiques and cafés on tree-lined streets, parks bathed in sunshine. Vivian Watanabe had lived on this block, once, in a high-rise apartment painted cornflower blue with trim in teal and white. She couldn’t see it now, not the way she used to. | Copyright 2020 by Caroline M. Yoachim. Previously published in BURN THE ASHES, edited by John Joseph Adams, Christie Yant, and Hugh Howey. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
10/09/202049 minutes 8 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | The Author’s Wife vs. the Giant Robot

The year I turned five, my father got taken out by a giant robot. I was present and I took it very personally. You honestly don’t expect that kind of thing when you’re a kid, not even if you’ve seen the giant robot from a distance every day of your life and have been taught what random carnage the giant robot got up to. I had grown to that tender age knowing that the giant robot killed people at the rate of one a day. | Copyright 2020 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/09/202047 minutes 37 seconds
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Katherine Crighton | Sing in Me, Muse

O Mother, dear Mnemosyne! It is I, Anisah, fifteenth of my line! Here is my song. Long have I waited for this, the end of my first shift; at last I am a daughter grown old enough to sing. I have sat at my post---I have looked out my mirrored window---I have logged my report with the cousins who keep the histories. But for you, my mother, on my first night’s watch, I will confirm that, port and starboard, there is nothing out my window but the black and endless sea. | Copyright 2020 by Katherine Crighton. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
27/08/202023 minutes
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KT Bryski | The Bone-Stag Walks

The Bone-Stag walks at midwinter, sharp-antlered, hard-hoofed. Deep white snow spreads under deep black sky. Cold air slices lungs; rivers stand as stone. Over cresting drifts comes the Bone-Stag, leaving no mark of his passing. Down in the village, they draw their curtains fast against him. They bolt tight their doors. Garlic at the lintels and holly upon the sills. | Copyright 2020 by KT Bryski. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
20/08/202032 minutes 11 seconds
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Eden Royce | Miss Beulah’s Braiding and Life Change Salon

The chime above my shop door rings. It heralds a young woman wearing a head wrap boasting a network of silvery constellations on indigo, interspersed with the occasional yellow-gold moon. The wrap itself is made of silk---not the finest grade, mind you, but sufficient to conceal what she must see as a fault. None of her hair is visible, but the contorted celestial bodies show the fabric is at the end of its tether. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
13/08/202018 minutes 41 seconds
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Caroline M. Yoachim | The Shadow Prison Experiment

The shopping district was crowded on a Sunday afternoon, and Vivian Watanabe was out running errands with her sixteen-year-old, Cass. Together they wove through throngs of shoppers wearing customized skins or the generic default. Vivian wasn’t fond of Generics---they fell into that uncanny valley between a nondescript human and a silver android. Cold and impersonal, plus it was hard to keep track of who you’ve interacted with. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
06/08/202043 minutes 6 seconds
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Ray Nayler | The Swallows of the Storm

One of the Senators cleared her throat, turned on the microphone in front of her, and began. “Would you like to tell us when you first became aware of the phenomenon, Doctor? Perhaps that would be the best place to start. We can formulate our questions from there.” The hearing was not in the main Congressional building. It was in a building on another part of Capitol Hill, in a room overdue for remodeling, with drop-ceiling panels stained by leaking pipes. But the room, however humble, was crowded. Harlan sat near the front of the room. | Copyright 2020 by Ray Nayler. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
30/07/202048 minutes 46 seconds
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Mari Ness | Great Gerta and the Mermaid

That notorious ship that sailed to the wretched isle known as Neverland under the leadership of one James, self-styled Jas., Cook, called the Jolly Roger, has most naturally been a subject of intense study among historians. Yet even the most meticulous of these scholars have often failed to note that among that dreadful crew sailed at least one woman, Gerta, or, as she named herself, the Great Gerta, or, as she was named by others, Gerta the Girthy. | Copyright 2020 by Mari Ness. Narrated by Judy Young.
23/07/202052 minutes 29 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | The End of the World Measured in Values of N

Listen. The world ended thirty seconds ago. You greet this whisper with incredulity. After all, here you are, living and breathing. The people around you are living and breathing. You might be drinking coffee in lying in bed trying to decide whether to get up. You are reminding yourself of all the little life tasks awaiting you, things that need to be taken care of in order for you to continue going about your day. Thoughts of the apocalypse are a thousand miles away. Lunacy, they seem. | Copyright 2020 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
16/07/202017 minutes 52 seconds
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Kristina Ten | Baba Yaga and the Seven Hills

It doesn’t take long. She has few earthly possessions and her travel options are limited. There is a train that runs west through the Swamp Forest to the coast, but everyone knows and fears the old witch here, and on moving trains, she can cause quite a commotion. “Do not eat my children, Baba Yaga!” people cry when she steps onto the dining car. “Oh, please, have mercy! Do not use your pestle to grind up my bones!” She sits quietly in a booth, minding her own business. | Copyright 2020 by Kristina Ten. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
09/07/202044 minutes 22 seconds
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Em North | Real Animals

The bear has been stalking the taxidermy garden for ten weeks now, ever since Raffi showed up. Sometimes it disappears for a few days or a week, but it always comes back. Prowls the perimeter, looking for weak spots. From inside the taxidermy garden, Raffi feels the bear’s presence tugging on her, as though it has become the pole of her personal compass. The taxidermy garden isn’t a real garden. It’s a ski chalet, or what used to be a ski chalet, all hand-hewn logs and wood stoves. | Copyright 2020 by Em North. Narrated by Judy Young.
25/06/202057 minutes 42 seconds
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Benjamin Peek | Refuge

Dear Mr. Quilas: This morning, I began to read your new collection of essays, Forgotten Lives. I’ve enjoyed a number of your books previously, but this collection held a particular interest for me. Aned Heast, the subject of your third essay, “A Refuge in Juar,” held a personal interest and I looked forward to reading your piece about him. Sadly, I was disappointed. Your essay was riddled with misinformation and errors. I’m sure you do not wish to be told that. Few writers want to be told they are wrong. | Copyright 2020 by Ben Peek. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
18/06/202049 minutes 33 seconds
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Marie Vibbert | Single Malt Spacecraft

The first time Fresia tasted scotch, it was true love. She was twenty-two. Her boyfriend had just turned twenty-one and had gotten a bottle of Glen Livet from his dad. He poured a shot for himself and for his friend, but none for Fresia. “Come on,” she said, “I want to taste it.” “Girls don’t like whisky,” he said. “Trust me, you’ll hate it.” “Let me find out for myself.” “Not for what this costs, sorry.” The friend gasped over his empty shot glass. “Oh, that’s good.” Her boyfriend put the whisky on the top of the fridge where he knew Fresia was too short to reach. | Copyright 2020 by Marie Vibbert. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
11/06/202029 minutes 13 seconds
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Julianna Baggott | The Postictal State of Divine Love

My mother used to tell me we came from the matriarchal vampiric line that had been traced farther back than Queen Elizabeth. She only told me these things after a seizure. Many people with epilepsy talk about how, after a seizure, strange memories pop up---small but suddenly vibrant details; my mother would recall the small vibrant details of our collective vampiric past. What kind of mother would do this? Mine. And, when I was little, I loved her for it. | Copyright 2020 by Julianna Baggott. Narrated by Judy Young.
04/06/20201 hour 1 minute 2 seconds
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Alexander Weinstein | Destinations of Love

Your guidebook writers are---alas---very familiar with booking tickets in search of love. How many of us haven’t packed our bags for the new continent with this foolish goal in mind? We’ve stumbled through our travels, searching cities and villages for romance. In cafés, opera houses, and hotel rooms, we felt acutely alone. Why, even the most exquisite restaurants were dulled by the empty chair across from us. | Copyright 2020 by Alexander Weinstein. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
28/05/202025 minutes 36 seconds
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Ada Hoffmann | Melting Like Metal

When the quantum supercomputing systems of the God called Nemesis registered the sighting of the heretic Candor Gray---already tried in absentia and slated for termination, and assigned the serial number of HA3-940QK322PF-P---Enga Afonbataw Konum of Nemesis was already waiting, as she’d waited during the last few dozen stupid assignments. Enga was an angel of Nemesis, a no-longer-human cyborg built for a singular purpose: to hunt down and destroy the Gods’ enemies. | Copyright 2020 by Ada Hoffmann. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
21/05/202054 minutes 18 seconds
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Millie Ho | The Fenghuang

Narrated by Justine Eyre.
14/05/202037 minutes 59 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | The Time Traveler’s Advice to the Lovelorn

Time is best described as the thing that must crawl by before even the most unlikely events finally get around to happening. A lot of it had passed in the little village we now visit, drifting down its cobblestoned streets like loose papers carried away by the wind, before the most unlikely of all developments had finally occurred. Samael, the junk collector, had fallen in love. Nobody had ever expected this, in large part because Samael was as dull and unimaginative a man who had ever lived. | Copyright 2020 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
07/05/202028 minutes 57 seconds
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Rati Mehrotra | The Witch Speaks

As different as earth and sky. That is what they said about us. Yet even earth and sky meet at the horizon. Shade your eyes from the sun. Look, far in the distance. Do you see that line where brown merges into blue? I’m ready to walk there. But not before having told my story. | Copyright 2020 by Rati Mehrotra. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
30/04/202022 minutes 26 seconds
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Andrew Dana Hudson | Voice of Their Generation

On their ninth rewrite of the third act of Detective Pikachu vs. Predator, it occurred to Thicket that they might just be the voice of their generation. In a fever, they swiped together the final epic speech where Detective Pikachu refutes Predator’s cynical attempts to turn him against his human partner, arguing that the Pokémon relationship with humanity was one not of servitude but of guardianship, for every Pokémon can see within each human the potential to rise above their flawed nature. | Copyright 2020 by Andrew Dana Hudson. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
23/04/202022 minutes 35 seconds
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Celeste Rita Baker | Glass Bottle Dancer

When de words “glass bottle dancer” come to me as I was day-dreaming, listening to music on de radio, I thought it sounded like someting I’d like to see, didn’t tink it would change me whole life. I imagine it might mean taking a bunch of soda and beer bottles, laying dem on dey sides and stepping on dem widout having dem roll away. I thought a limbo dancer might do it to add someting special to dere act. | Copyright 2020 by Celeste Rita Baker. Narrated by Celeste Rita Baker.
16/04/202040 minutes 19 seconds
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Veronica Roth | The Least of These

Two women, Best and Least, woke in a bright room. Best did so as if surfacing in a pool of water, her eyes wide and observant. Least woke with a start, and immediately slammed her back against the wall behind her, her arms splayed. Where are we? asked Best. Who the fuck are you? demanded Least. Now, now, came a voice from the doorway. There’s no need to be coarse. A tall, graceful Being entered the room, diaphanous fabric afloat around its slender body. | Copyright 2020 by Veronica Roth. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
09/04/202031 minutes 41 seconds
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Tahmeed Shafiq | Love and Marriage in the Hexasun Lands

Every child knows the story of how King Adhamrya, Son of Suns, slew a demon to win the heart and hand of Schyan, the goddess of love and desire. But the story of what happened afterwards is not as commonly known. In this entry I will present to you the full account of that sad tale, for I believe it is one worth remembering.  —Excerpt from A History of the Hexasun Lands by Imperial Historian Nananaore | Copyright 2020 by Tahmeed Shafiq. Narrated by Kate Orsini.
26/03/20201 hour 7 minutes 25 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | Many Happy Returns

Gorman was on foot, crossing a frozen continent. It was not Antarctica. That was light years away, and so over. Nobody went there anymore. This continent he had chosen for his latest adventure was bigger, broader, colder, deadlier, nastier. It was not fun. Every step was an occasion for regret. He was probably going to die. He was glad he came. | Copyright 2020 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
19/03/202041 minutes 44 seconds
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Kristina Ten | Tend to Me

Nora is a serial becomer. She has become many things in her life, though rarely on purpose. The first time, it just sort of happened. The second time, it was a coincidence. Now, it is a habit she cannot seem to break. In the past, she has become a rock climber and a scuba diver, a beekeeper and a gardener and a mechanic specializing in European cars. For two months last summer, she was a stand-up comedian. Her senior year of college, she amassed New England’s largest collection of antique coins. | Copyright 2020 by Kristina Ten. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
12/03/202020 minutes 47 seconds
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Russell Nichols | Giant Steps

The Blue Marble is shrinking; as Orion II lifts off, ripping from the grasping tentacles of Earth’s gravity, the world gets smaller, smaller, a blot on the cosmic sheet of infinite blackness, which closes in like a camera iris in a classic film’s final shot. Picture the planet’s surface, where the wonders of the old world buckle at the top of the hour under the weight of new wars; where down below, all those little people fall to their knees, desperate voices crying, crying out to their deity-du-jour for deliverance. | Copyright 2020 by Russell Nichols. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
05/03/202038 minutes 47 seconds
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JT Petty | The Gamecocks

Leslie Anne Moore had known Hardy Devine since second grade, when he had bloodied her nose in a game of dodgeball and then the other boys caught him crying about it and beat him pissy. By the end of the school year, Hardy had picked a fight with each one of those boys individually and found more satisfactory results. He didn’t look Leslie-Anne square in the eye again until seventh grade when he asked her to the Boone County Middle School Homecoming Dance and she said no. | Copyright 2020 by JT Petty. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
27/02/202045 minutes 42 seconds
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Alexander Weinstein | Toxic Destinations

Since the discovery of the Eighth continent, your Tour Guide writers have received many letters from travelers and concerned individuals. We have heard, for instance, from the embattled New Zealand geologists who have long attempted to gain traction for their theory of the unrecognized continent of Zealandia. These hardworking scientists argue that the collection of partly submerged fragments off the coast of New Zealand comprise a much larger landmass, claiming this fits within standard definitions of continental attributes. | Copyright 2020 by Alexander Weinstein. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
20/02/202022 minutes 29 seconds
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Theodora Goss | A Statement in the Case

Sure, I know István Horvath. We met about a year before Eva died. That’s my wife, Eva. You knew that? Yeah, I figured you were pretty thorough. It was the year of the blizzard, when snow covered the cars parked on the streets and even the Post Office shut down. I didn’t have to go to work for a week. So one night, I think it was Thursday, Eva says, “Mike, I only have one of the blue pills left.” This was when we still thought the chemo was doing something. | Copyright 2005 by Theodora Goss. Originally published in Realms of Fantasy. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Kristoffer Tabori.
13/02/202039 minutes 27 seconds
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Kij Johnson | Noah’s Raven

Ten months after the ark first floated, and forty days after its keel snagged on a drowned mountain peak, Noah released a raven to look for land. Her name was ungraspable by humans, but might be translated as Bessary, plus a term ravens used for the taste of three-day-dead goat when the temperatures have stayed just above freezing, plus a color at the 327-nanometer wavelength, plus a sensation along the rictal bristles in a particular sort of cool air. Her feathers rustled like silk. | Copyright 2020 by Kij Johnson. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
06/02/202025 minutes 11 seconds
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N.K. Jemisin | The Ones Who Stay and Fight

It’s the Day of Good Birds in the city of Um-Helat! The Day is a local custom, silly and random as so many local customs can be, and yet beautiful by the same token. It has little to do with birds---a fact about which locals cheerfully laugh, because that, too, is how local customs work. It is a day of fluttering and flight regardless, where pennants of brightly dyed silk plume forth from every window, and delicate drones of copperwire and featherglass---made for this day, and flown on no other!---waft and buzz on the wind. | Copyright 2018 by N. K. Jemisin. Originally published in How Long Til Black Future Month. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
23/01/202030 minutes 46 seconds
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J.R. Dawson | She’d Never Had a Name Before

I never had a sister. Okay, so I did have a sister. She just died before she was born. No one talked about her, because sometimes a family looks ahead and sees through a veil into another universe where tomorrow is a given. But then we end up not living in that reality, and it creates a terrible break in our brains. Her name was Sarah. My dad finally told me her name on the deep black road between Omaha and Chicago, on my return to college for junior year. | Copyright 2020 by J.R. Dawson. Narrated by Chloe Amen.
16/01/202018 minutes 34 seconds
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Alexander Weinstein | Destinations of Joy

Ever since the discovery of the eighth continent, we’ve all had to come to terms with the presence of a landmass we never knew existed. In this age, wherein it often feels like every inch of mountain and valley has been charted, crossed, and geocached, how could we have been blind to a continent floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? We suppose, like the mapmakers of a millennium ago, we were blinded by our self-assured scientists and their navigational tools. | Copyright 2020 by Alexander Weinstein. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
09/01/202022 minutes 6 seconds
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Kij Johnson | Story Kit

The pain of losing something so precious that you did not think you could live without it. Oxygen. The ice breaks beneath your feet: Your coat and boots fill with water and pull you down. An airlock blows: Vacuum pulls you apart by the eyes, the pores, the lungs. You awaken in a fire: The door and window are outlined in flames. You fall against a railing: The rusted iron slices through your femoral artery. You are dead already. | Copyright 2011 by Kij Johnson. Originally published in Eclipse Four, edited by Jonathan Strahan. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
02/01/202031 minutes 4 seconds
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Matthew Baker | A Bad Day in Utopia

She’d had a hard day. Earlier that morning she’d discovered that the game her company was developing, which was already months behind schedule for release, had a glitch somewhere in the code that caused the game to crash if the player character was equipped with diamond armor on the level with the meteors, and nobody could figure out why. It didn’t make any sense. It was a total nightmare. Anna, her boss, was mad at her for leaving dirty dishes in the kitchen again. | Copyright 2019 by Matthew Baker. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
26/12/201930 minutes 19 seconds
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Cat Rambo | The Silent Familiar

The Wizard Niccolo was not happy. At the age of 183---youthful for a wizard, but improbable for an ordinary human---he had thought certain things well out of his life. Sudden changes in his daily routine were one. And romance was another---even if it was his familiar’s romance, and not his own. “Could make an omelet with it, I suppose,” he grumbled to that familiar, the tiny dragon Olivia. She sat on the cluttered mantle, wrapped around her egg, still marveling at its production and entirely too pleased with herself. | Copyright 2009 by Cat Rambo. Originally published in _Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight_. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
19/12/201936 minutes 34 seconds
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T.L. Huchu | Njuzu

Water looks the same everywhere. It’s only the background, lighting, and impurities that differ. I peer at the silver-gray surface of Bimha’s pond, calm and still, undisturbed by wind. It’s deep and the bottom is a black abyss. Midday here is like dawn on Earth in the middle of the Kalahari. Light shines through the transparent panelling of the pressurised geodesic dome that prevents the water boiling straight into vapour. “This is where it happened,” VaMutasa says to me on the crackling open channel. | Copyright 2018 by T.L. Huchu. Originally published in AfroSF, volume 3, edited by Ivor W. Hartmann. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
12/12/201928 minutes 3 seconds
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KT Bryski | The Path of Pins, the Path of Needles

In the very heart of winter, the forest holds its breath. Frozen earth sleeps without dreaming; brittle sunlight breaks and scatters in gasps between the trees. The girl walks through the woods, boots crunching the crusted snow. There is always such a girl, walking alone. Little footprints point the way back to a clutch of hovels; she peers half-dazzled through shadow and snow-flash. A basket hangs dispiritedly from her arm. Sausage end. Hardened loaf. The creeping doubt in spring itself. | Copyright 2019 by KT Bryski. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
05/12/201923 minutes 2 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | Eros Pratfalled, Or, Adrift in the Cosmos With Lasagna and Mary Steenburgen

Ellis Neider met his soulmate. The End. That’s his story. The rest is annotation. We would almost skip that part, were it not for the stone knowledge that any love story not about masturbation does require at least two characters. The object of his affection does deserve something approaching equal time. Ellis was a guy. Some men are guys, other men are dudes. Ellis was a guy. As a child, he was a little guy. As an adult, he was a bigger guy. Like most guys, he gave off the vibe that he knew the universe operated by a certain set of rules. | Copyright 2019 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/11/201929 minutes 2 seconds
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Melissa Marr | Knee Deep in the Sea

I woke early---or perhaps didn’t sleep. My body is still adjusting to the time zone hop from Southern California to the islands north of the Scottish mainland. Orkney. A series of islands, many of them uninhabited, in the cold North Atlantic Sea. To the east is Norway. To the West are Iceland and Greenland. In other words, it’s chilly even in the summer when there is endless light. It’s stunning, aside from the dead guy currently at my feet. | Copyright 2019 2019 by Melissa Marr. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
21/11/201954 minutes 42 seconds
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Dominica Phetteplace | Her Appetite, His Heart

It came to Javi in a vision while he was at Burning Man. There was something calling out to him, and he’d hoped an ayahuasca ceremony would help him figure out what it was. It was during the ceremony that she appeared to him. Isla. In his vision, she was a temple priestess and he was laid out on a sacrificial stone table. She was literally eating his engorged heart out of his chest cavity. It wasn’t as frightening as it sounded. It was only when the vision disappeared that he felt an aching in his chest. Isla, come back. | Copyright 2019 by Dominica Phetteplace. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
14/11/201950 minutes 53 seconds
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Yoon Ha Lee | The Second-Last Client

Forty-six minutes and a trickle of seconds remained before the end of the world---this world, anyway---and I was trying to evacuate the second-last client on my list. Some apocalypses come in with horns blaring and guns blazing and cascades of fire. Some apocalypses like to be obvious. This wasn’t one of them. The humans had various names for their world. My partner Rawk and I called it Seedworld 722.11.15, which was our superiors’ label. We’d seen a lot of Seedworlds perish, she and I. | Copyright 2019 by Yoon Ha Lee. Narrated by Judy Young.
07/11/201918 minutes 41 seconds
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Ray Nayler | The Death of Fire Station 10

“The death of Fire Station 10 affected me deeply. She had not been the smartest building, but she had been a friend for as long as I can remember. She was one story tall, the sole holdover from a much earlier time in the neighborhood---a piece of cinderblock nostalgia, of high-maintenance wood and plaster from an earlier age. Her brain and smart utilities were a retrofit, cobbled onto the cinderblock building later, in a clumsy addition on the back. When she was built, buildings had no minds." | Copyright 2019 by Ray Nayler. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
24/10/201943 minutes 55 seconds
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Isabel Yap | Windrose in Scarlet

Red slays the wolf, and another bursts through the kitchen window and bites her in the stomach. Glass gets in her hair. She smashes the chopping knife into its head, then runs out the back door, gulping for air. She doesn’t stumble. The wood must be at war with itself: Some trees let her pass, others scratch her. The howling recedes; the howling’s at her ear. Eventually her boots skid on marble and she falls, her heart a hammer against her ribs. She curls up to make herself small. At least I’m all bones. They won’t enjoy me. | Copyright 2019 by Isabel Yap. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
17/10/20191 hour 12 minutes 25 seconds
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Eli Brown | Nesting Habits of Enceladan Jade Beetles

The pink frost coating my face shield is, evidently, my own blood. The gas jetting from the pea-sized hole in my wrist spins me around, and for a panicked moment, I wonder if I have somehow been shot. I think I am screaming, but that would alert Station, and Ocampo is silent. Evidently, I am holding my breath, only wanting to scream, like the nightmare of being on the wrong side of the airlock. Now the hissing has stopped and pain nails me to the ice. | Copyright 2019 by Eli Brown. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
10/10/201943 minutes 33 seconds
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E. Lily Yu | The Valley of Wounded Deer

Once there was a prince of Ruyastan who was born in secret and hidden behind a false wall with a nurse to hush her and soothe and give suck. The prince and her nurse lived in narrowness for ten years, reading and watching the world through a crack no bigger than a needle. During those years, the dowager queen hunted down and killed, for jealousy, every one of the prince’s half-brothers and cousins, carelessly begotten in cities and villages and forgotten apart from notes in the royal genealogies. | Copyright 2019 by E. Lily Yu. Narrated by Pandora Kew.
03/10/201939 minutes 53 seconds
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Jenny Rae Rappaport | The Answer That You Are Seeking

It’s the lollipops that break you. The thought of your child sucking on one during a lockdown drill carries enough cognitive dissonance that your brain has trouble actually comprehending it. You know the purpose---the methodology behind it all---lollipops in their mouths will keep preschoolers quiet, and surely the sugar can’t hurt. But the fact that your preschooler needs to know how to behave in case there’s an active shooter is so disturbing that you wish there was a way to retreat into your shell, like a defiant hermit crab. | Copyright 2019 by Jenny Rae Rappaport. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
26/09/201918 minutes 21 seconds
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Seanan McGuire | Hello, Hello

Tasha’s avatar smiled from the screen, a little too perfect to be true. That was a choice, just like everything else about it: When we’d installed my sister’s new home system, we had instructed it to generate avatars that looked like they had escaped the uncanny valley by the skins of their teeth. It was creepy, but the alternative was even creepier. Tasha didn’t talk. Her avatar did. Having them match each other perfectly would have been . . . wrong. “So I’ll see you next week?” she asked. | Copyright 2015 by Seanan McGuire. Originally published in FUTURE VISIONS edited by Jennifer Henshaw and Allison Linn. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
19/09/201946 minutes 11 seconds
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Micah Dean Hicks | Flight of the Crow Boys

People around here never wanted our family. Crow boys, they called us, a flock of five brothers and our father, all of us with long black hair. Flapping our over-sized, garage sale sleeves and falling over the fences the neighbors put between us and them. And maybe too because of the feathers. Our father hung black feathers from the side mirrors of his truck, along the eaves of the house, and he dangled them from the shriveled limbs of our dying fruit trees. All those feathers spinning in the hot wind. Copyright 2014 by Micah Dean Hicks. Originally published in WITNESS. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
12/09/201927 minutes 8 seconds
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Brooke Bolander | A Bird, a Song, a Revolution

Before the flute is a flute, it is a bird. This is the first act of magic. This is the first lesson the girl learns, when the world is still young and shaggy-coated with lingering winter. Sometimes things can be other things. An axehead hides in a chunk of flint. Before it is a meal, a mammoth is a squealing calf tagging along behind its mother. A fox is a white spirit barking curses until an arrow finds it and turns it into a friend that shields your ears from the wind’s teeth. | Copyright 2019 by Brooke Bolander. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
05/09/201937 minutes 24 seconds
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Cassandra Khaw | A Leash of Foxes, Their Stories Like Barter

Lady Mary was young and Lady Mary was fair, and she had brothers who loved her and lovers who adored her. But she was savvy, sly as a vixen, with hair like the color of the butchered sun. And of all the people she knew, of all the people who’d pledged their heart to her pleasure, she cared for only one: Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox, of course, had ginger locks and sharp white teeth, freckles like a map across his fair face and when he smiled sometimes, it wasn’t hard to see why they called him Mr. Fox and not Edgar, or Edward, or Egan. | Copyright 2019 by Cassandra Khaw. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
29/08/201930 minutes 7 seconds
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Kendra Fortmeyer | No Matter

First, I want to give you this moment. You will understand why in the end. We were walking on the trail, the way we did on Sundays: the sun-washed gully, the open air, the shadows of last night’s rain staining the earth dark and slick beneath our boots. At the river’s edge, I caught my husband’s hand and pointed at a stack of topaz-eyed turtles that had piled themselves ancient and precarious as a cairn. Here are the shapes and shades that colored my life, before. Then we looked up and saw you. | Copyright 2019 by Kendra Fortmeyer. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
22/08/201933 minutes 45 seconds
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Scott Sigler | The Final Blow

Like the Isle of Lenas upon which it sat, the town of Lodorest had been dying for decades. The final blow, however, came all at once. Outside of his father’s home, Manil shivered in the night air. He heard shouts and cries and screams, the roar of burning houses. Other sounds, too, drifting up the dirt streets, coming from the shadows as if the darkness itself was a monster feasting on the town: laughter; barking commands; angry bellows from deep-voiced men. Manil stood with his mother and his uncle. Manil barely came up to Uncle Janeed’s hip. | Copyright 2019 by Scott Sigler. Narrated by Scott Sigler.
15/08/201935 minutes 38 seconds
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Brenda Peynado | The Rock Eaters

We were the first generation to leave that island country. We were the ones who on the day we came of age developed a distinct float to our walk, soon enough hovering inches above the ground, afterwards somersaulting with the clouds, finally discovering we could fly as far as we’d ever wanted, and so we left. Decades later, we brought our children back to see that country. That year, we all decided we were ready to return. We jackknifed through clouds and dodged large birds. We held tight our children, who still had not learned to fly. Behind us trailed rope lines of suitcases bursting with gifts from abroad. We wondered who would remember us. | Copyright 2015 by Brenda Peynado. Originally published in EPOCH. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Judy Young.
08/08/201931 minutes 6 seconds
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Senaa Ahmad | Ahura Yazda, the Great Extraordinary

The sunshine brings him to his knees. Every day he thinks, I am here, I am here, in this house that we raised above ourselves, with this woman who chose me. The girls are safe. The creatures are fed. The windowsill is pearled with dew. The spiders are friendly. We have made a life for ourselves, away from the world. We live in a church of infinite light. In these hours, he is left soft-footed and silent, walking the hallways in the farmhouse that he built with his wife Roksha. In their bedroom, she is nosedived into her pillow, and in the other one, his daughters’ silk hair feathers around them. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
25/07/201940 minutes 29 seconds
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Andrew Penn Romine | Miles and Miles and Miles

Noah Stubbs eyes the large white pill pinched between his thumb and forefinger, remembering the first time he hit golf balls on the moon with Gord. “I wonder,” Gord says to him as Noah lines up on the tee, “just how far these suckers’ll really go?” THWACK! Noah swings. The little ball hurtles into the Lunar day, a pinprick of speeding light bright against the velvet sky. Long after the ball becomes invisible to the naked eye, his suit’s visor tracks its trajectory until it drops towards the ground. They parked the hopper at the top of the Virgo Escarpment. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
18/07/201930 minutes 35 seconds
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Karen Lord | The Mysteries

“Light, dust, and water are the alchemy of the universe.” Ritual words murmured softly by myriad voices, powerful as a roar, effortless as a whisper. “I will consent to be made and unmade.” An initiate must never walk in. Many elders raise the cocooned body high upon their hands and process into the open space, to lasers alight in a pin-and-string arrangement of bright green on dark velvet. “To burn to ash and dissolve in dew.” The elders guide the still, surrendered form up and into the core of the lattice of light. “I am but dust and ashes; for me the world was created.” | 2018 by Karen Lord. Originally published in PARTICULATES edited by Nalo Hopkinson. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
11/07/201913 minutes 39 seconds
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Micah Dean Hicks | Song Beneath the City

For decades, the four plumbers had answered the call of old widows who’d dropped jewelry down their drains. Sometimes, the plumbers unscrewed the U-shaped trap under the sink, knocked out its splat of tobacco-colored crud, and fished out a golden ring. But other times, there was no reclaiming the lost diamonds and gold. They tumbled blind through the maze of pipes below the city, never to see the sun again. Whenever the plumbers left a house, the widows would ask, “Do you hear it too? The singing that comes rattling up from the pipes?” | Copyright 2018 by Micah Dean Hicks. Originally published in THE ADROIT JOURNAL. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
04/07/201920 minutes 22 seconds
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Yoon Ha Lee | Warhosts

The Warhosts sit in the lees of the starships while the sky grows less flushed with dawn, playing cards. At the same time, the regulators within the Red emissary and our own play their own game across a moist medium of flesh, chemical brew, and stench to determine where the next battle will be fought. We---the Purples---have been fighting the Reds for possession of this moon, jigsaw piece by slow jigsaw piece, as deliberately as a pavane or carved ice. The Reds have grown increasingly desperate. The moon has a certain strategic importance, and the Reds are very close to having to cede it entirely. | Copyright 2014 by Yoon Ha Lee. Originally published in War Stories, edited by Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
27/06/201938 minutes 2 seconds
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Ellen Kushner | When Two Swordsmen Meet

When two swordsmen meet, no one knows what to expect. It’s a cold night in a cold city. Cold stone under cold starlight. He walks down a deserted street, sure of himself, sure of the weapon he bears. He’s not altogether surprised when the stranger steps out of the shadows. “Hey,” he says to the newcomer. “You hungry? I’m going to friends with a fire and a big pot always bubbling on it.” By which we see that it’s not just his sword that defends him, whatever he may think. The other stands very still. “You’re not what I thought you’d be,” he says flatly. “Why not?” the swordsman asks, curious. | Copyright 2015 by Ellen Kushner. Originally published in Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
20/06/201916 minutes 43 seconds
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Isabel Cañas | The Weight of a Thousand Needles

A full moon silvers the stalls of the Light Markets, the bazaar of the living and the dead. Here, where jinn mix with mortals and gods, where sorcery sits thick on the air, blue as incense, a crow presides over its wares. Silver rings set with opals like apricot pits nestled in obsidian silk; human teeth peer out of the smoky glass of a tall vase. Mother-of-pearl dice wink in candlelight, their pale faces carved with symbols even the jinn are too young to know. A young man approaches the crow’s stall, gliding dark out of the shadows of the alley. His eyes and hair are jet moonless night, his shoulders bear the velvet raiment of eight heavens. | Copyright 2019 by Isabel Cañas. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
13/06/201949 minutes 42 seconds
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Deji Bryce Olukotun | Between the Dark and the Dark

Two hundred ships moved through the stars, leaving an iridescent trail of transmission beacons in their wake. Five billion kilometers long, the beacons stretched all the way to Earth, a desiccated and shaken planet that the passengers once called home. Sometimes simple messages from the ships arrived in the data. After a long time, images came and---after an even longer time---clips of the passengers going about their lives. But the vast distances meant these clips were rare. Normally an image arriving on Earth was cause for celebration, because it meant the crew was still alive, or at least the ship’s systems were still functioning. | Copyright Deji Bryce Olukotun. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
06/06/20191 hour 26 minutes 45 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | The Minor Superhero, at Home after His Series Ends

He has a superhero name. It’s as stupid as every other superhero name. It’s not something you can comfortably call another person in casual conversation. Just try to have a normal-sounding talk with some of the guys in the Liberty Force. “So, hello, uh, Pile-Driver Man. And, how are you doing, Dynamic Woman?” You can’t. You honestly can’t. You need to have a superhero name, and so he has one, bestowed upon him by others when he lagged too long in coming up with one for himself. It still seems vainglorious to him. | Copyright 2019 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
23/05/201920 minutes 8 seconds
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Max Gladstone | The Iron Man

The boy stopped playing after his Mom and Dad chained the iron man to the Kingdom’s heart. The boy used to run alone and brave through the welt within the walls, and even ranged as far as the borders of the wood. He tossed the ball his mother gave him into the sky, gold against blue with the sun behind, and laughing, caught it again. The ball purred in his grip. Sometimes he asked it questions---how to build a puppet, how to open the castle gates, how to change the color of the sky--- and it answered. | Copyright 2016 by Max Gladstone. Originally published in THE GRIMM FUTURE, edited by Erin Underwood. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
23/05/201933 minutes 42 seconds
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Rati Mehrotra | This Way to Paradise

The mountains were beautiful, even though the roads that took you there were broken. Even though the whole world was broken. Tara sat on the side of the pitted road, soaking in the autumnal sun, gazing at the distant snow-capped peaks in awe. Forgetting, for the moment, the ache in her feet and the emptiness in her stomach. “The Sivalik Range, children,” said Anju, pointing at the green hills that rose around them. “The word literally means the ‘tresses of Shiva.’ Cross the valley, and you stand at the feet of Pir Panjal, the inner Himalayas.” | Copyright 2019 by Rati Mehrotra. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
09/05/201955 minutes 17 seconds
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Kathleen Kayembe | The Ocean That Fades Into Sky

Although it takes constant effort for Coasts to mold herself into a human body when none live on her shores, and a far greater effort---even with her mother’s help---to sustain a flight of giant sea turtles across hundreds of miles, for once she is grateful; the focus required keeps her thoughts from the empty space beside her where Obsequies should be. There are three women Coasts loves more than anyone on the whole of Uloh-la, and Obsequies, her lover, is one of them. Her mother, in the guise of the turtle beneath her, is another. Both of them are mad at her. Dwellings, the third, would be angry too, if Coasts told her the truth. | Copyright 2019 by Kathleen Kayembe. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
02/05/20191 hour 25 minutes 17 seconds
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Shweta Adhyam | A Conch-Shell’s Notes

This is the story of a conch-shell, and the man who answered its call to adventure. The powerful and mysterious conch resided in a seaside temple on the outskirts of Peacetown. Whenever a resident of the town found themselves at life’s crossroads, wondering which path to take, notes from the conch-shell sounded in their ears and sang of what lay ahead in each direction. When danger lay in the town’s future, it called one of its young men, bright of mind and clean of limb, to fight it. That evening, it sounded in the ears of Kwa, a citrus-seller who was piling fruit upon fruit into neat pyramids, turning the best faces outwards. | Copyright 2019 by Shweta Adhyam. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
25/04/201922 minutes 4 seconds
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Matthew Corradi | Gundark Island, or, Tars Tarkas Needs Your Help

When Tommy Burke took me out to Gundark Island to see the alien, I wasn’t really expecting much. Maybe I was just going because I thought it would be cool to take a ride in Tommy’s canoe. Or maybe I was just hoping Tommy might turn out to be a friend. If there really was an alien there, too, then all the better. After passing a hand-painted sign that said “Please Don’t Feed the Alien,” we came to a clearing in the middle of the island where I saw a lump in the ground. At first it looked like a small boulder, except that it had a grayish-purple tint to it. Upon closer inspection it vaguely appeared to have scales. | Copyright 2019 by Matthew Corradi. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
18/04/201946 minutes 25 seconds
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Ashok K. Banker | The Seeds of War

Hastinaga was ablaze with word of Vrath’s amazing feat. Vrath’s stepmother, Dowager Empress Jilana, while taken aback at the manner in which it had been done, nevertheless bit her tongue when she saw what he had accomplished. That the two daughters of the king of Serapi were beautiful there was no doubt. At the wedding, they were the envy of every woman in the court. Tall, with full heads of thick, lustrous blue-black hair, fingernails and toenails painted blood red, heavy of hip and breast, heart-faced with a glow to rival the moon, they walked like queens already. | Copyright 2019 by Ashok K. Banker. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
11/04/201950 minutes 21 seconds
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Caroline M. Yoachim | The Archronology of Love

This is a love story, the last of a series of moments when we meet. Saki Jones leaned into the viewport window until her nose nearly touched the glass, staring at the colony planet below. New Mars. From this distance, she could pretend that things were going according to plan---that M.J. was waiting for her in one of the domed cities. A shuttle would take her down to the surface and she and her lifelove would pursue their dream of studying a grand alien civilization. It had been such a beautiful plan. | 2019 by Caroline M. Yoachim. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
04/04/20191 hour 16 minutes 19 seconds
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Woody Dismukes | My Children’s Home

My children do not dream and neither do I. But that does not mean our sleep is sound. Sometimes they wake in the middle of the night, eyes wide and wet, grasping for a reason they stare into the darkness. I wish I could tell them it was a nightmare, that whatever they are feeling isn’t real, but instead I tell them to close their lids and lay lightly back into sleep, which they always do. My children are good at taking orders. | Copyright 2019 by Woody Dismukes. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/03/201932 minutes 45 seconds
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Ashok K. Banker | A Hundred Thousand Arrows

After decades of warring, a time of peace came to the Krushan dynasty. The great armies of the Burnt Empire set aside their battle armor and weapons in exchange for flowers and rice. A great celebration lit up the streets of Hastinaga, the capital city. The marriage of Emperor Sha’ant and his unusual new Empress, Jilana. The daughter of a fisher chief married to the Emperor of the greatest empire in the known world! | Copyright 2019 by Ashok K. Banker. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
21/03/20191 hour 21 minutes 48 seconds
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Carolyn Ives Gilman | On the Shores of Ligeia

Seth Calder felt like he had barely dozed off when his alarm blared at 6:00 a.m. Level morning sunlight leaked through the blinds onto the birch and linen furniture of his Stockholm apartment. Amalia was already in the shower, so he lurched out of bed and went to check his news feed. NASA TO LAUNCH MARS CREW TODAY, said the first headline. The picture showed the ten crew members in flight suits, grinning at the camera. | Copyright 2019 by Carolyn Ives Gilman. First English language publication. Originally published in Chinese by the Future Affairs Administration. The story is inspired by “Technology and the Good Future” SF Workshop, which is jointly hosted by Future Affairs Administration (Guokr Publishing) and Ant Financial Services Group in Hangzhou, China. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
14/03/201949 minutes 2 seconds
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Maria Romasco-Moore | Self-Storage Starts with the Heart

You’ll notice how the commercials never mention the price. They’ve all got some lab-coated guy with chiseled cheekbones spouting dumbed-down drivel about how emotions have wavelengths, the same as light or sound, which are reflected and absorbed by the objects around us. How this discovery has the potential to revolutionize your life. Yes, you, the one glued to your screen at three a.m., binging YouTube videos. | Copyright 2019 by Maria Romasco Moore. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
07/03/201940 minutes 54 seconds
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Carrie Vaughn | Marlowe and Harry and the Disinclined Laboratory

Lieutenant James Marlowe watched a room full of grown, distinguished men act like young ladies at their first ball. Flustered, fidgeting, adjusting each others’ cravats, going back and forth from one table to another inspecting equipment and displays that were already perfect, they were exhausting to watch, and so he tried not to. He had only ever been to three balls in his life, before he ran off to join the Navy, and this was a reminder of why he hated them. | Copyright 2019 by Carrie Vaughn. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/02/201942 minutes 25 seconds
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Ashok K. Banker | The Terrible Oath

The nation greeted Vrath with great warmth and approval. The Burnt Empire regarded its liege as nothing less than a demi-god; in a sense, this was not far from the truth: Whether or not the Krushan dynasty was in fact born of stonefire, they were certainly something more than human. In the Krushan tongue, which was the official language of the capitol Hastinaga and the rest of the Empire, there was no word for “lie” or “falsehood.” | Copyright 2019 by Ashok K. Banker. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
21/02/20191 hour 35 minutes 34 seconds
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KT Bryski | Ti-Jean’s Last Adventure, as Told to Raccoon

Okay. So. There’s a time when I’m looking for Coyote, because I need to tell him this story. So, I walk the St. Lawrence River from one end to the other, and I cannot find him. Check the Rockies---he is not there. I even paddle to Baffin Island, because he likes to sleep on it. It is Coyote-shaped, a little. He’s not anywhere. But me, I have a story to tell, and so I look for someone else. Raven is not home, and Muskrat is doing Netflix and chill. | Copyright 2019 by KT Bryski. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
14/02/201924 minutes 4 seconds
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Matthew Baker | Life Sentence

Home. He recognizes the name of the street. But he doesn’t remember the landscape. He recognizes the address on the mailbox. But he doesn’t remember the house. His family is waiting for him on the porch. Everybody looks just as nervous as he is. He gets out. The police cruiser takes back off down the gravel drive, leaving him standing in a cloud of dust holding a baggie of possessions. | Copyright 2019 by Matthew Baker. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
07/02/20191 hour 5 minutes 33 seconds
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Meg Elison | Endor House

Meet Hermes Maleficarum, the reclusive force behind the multiverse’s biggest publishing house. A mystery generations in the making. The first thing I notice about Hermes was how unlike the rest of his family he seems. Hermes’ parents, Taliesin and his wife Morgana, were something of a power couple in the magic business, cutting a twin swath like obsidian blades at every fashionable event. | Copyright 2019 by Meg Elison. Narrated by Pandora Kew.
24/01/201922 minutes 10 seconds
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Tony Ballantyne | Midway

It’s not unusual to hear music in a spaceport arrival lounge. After all, if aliens didn’t enjoy music, I’d never have been able to travel. But this sounded familiar. Disturbingly familiar. Standing in line, I felt a sinking sensation as the tune wound its way to its conclusion. It was The Beatles. Millions of light years from Earth and I was listening to The Beatles. How did I feel? | Copyright 2019 by Tony Ballantyne. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
17/01/201936 minutes 32 seconds
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Ashok K. Banker | Son of Water and Fire

Born of water, into water, the boy knew no other world. It would not always be thus. Someday, he had been told, he would leave here for another place. His mother had told him this, in a quiet time, her body swollen and expanded to its widest, spanning banks miles apart, trailing enormous skirts of silt. He loved her at these quiet times, when her icy mountain rage had mellowed to a somnolent trawl, flowing majestically down to the ocean. | 2019 by Ashok K. Banker. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
10/01/20191 hour 8 minutes 37 seconds
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Merc Fenn Wolfmoor | With Teeth Unmake the Sun

Io Destiny is a rich planet, home to three billion lives, built as a faceted gem to honor the Seven Suns. All the gods are worshiped equally here in peace. Temples caress the lower atmosphere and ships dance in celestial orbit; the Seven Suns are honored in effigy in great statues and holograms that mortals adore. Io Destiny is the only neutral world. While the gods chafe and feud with each other, hovering on the cusp of war, this planet is sacrosanct. | Copyright 2019 by A. Merc Rustad. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/01/20191 hour 9 minutes 26 seconds
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Seanan McGuire | Under the Sea of Stars

We have traveled here, to this most innocuous of country landscapes, to make good on a promise made by my grandfather, Carlton Whitmore, to a girl he loved in his youth. How foolish that sounds, writ down so! But it is true. Grandfather met her on the banks of the Bolton Strid, where she stood naked and confused, water drying on her skin. His notes state that she knew no modesty, and that “she was pale as the belly of a deep-river fish." Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
27/12/201848 minutes 37 seconds
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Shaenon K. Garrity | Grandma Novak’s Famous Nut Roll

Hello, family! As everyone who follows my sister on Facebook knows (and who isn’t reading Kat’s posts? Twenty lashes with a wet noodle, and you bet it’ll be Grandma’s kluski!), last weekend she and I visited Grandma Novak for . . . baking lessons! Though Grandma’s strong as she ever was (just try to tell her otherwise) she IS getting on in years. Kat and I agreed we ought to get her recipes down in writing while we can. | Copyright 2018 by Shaenon K. Garrity. Narrated by Judy Young.
20/12/201824 minutes 40 seconds
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Lizz Huerta | Mouths

Times were strange, and those who survived the collapse had a jarring mixtape of skills. Plumbers were holy men, exorcising the encampments of the demons of human waste. They brought forth, stored and dispensed the holiest sacrament of all, clean water. Warriors emerged from the strangest of places, sex workers commanded respect and were offered it gladly. | Copyright 2018 by Lizz Huerta. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
13/12/201831 minutes 22 seconds
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Ashok K. Banker | A Love Story Written on Water

Bhi’ash was a king of the Axe clan. Truthful and courageous, he was renowned for having performed one thousand Black Horse sacrifices and one hundred Fire sacrifices. For his devotion, upon his demise he attained entrance to the heavenly realms and was honored by the Stone Gods. One day, Bhi’ash—accompanied by many other king-mages and some of the Stone Gods themselves—went to pay homage to Agar, the highest of Stone Gods. | Copyright 2018 by Ashok K. Banker. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
06/12/20181 hour 31 minutes 47 seconds
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Stephen Graham Jones | Moonboys

You ask how my brother died on the moon that day, but that’s the wrong question. Ask instead what he spelled with his bootprints when we first stepped down from the platform. Ask instead the one song he listened to, the whole flight there. Ask why he wanted me there instead of Jess, his wife. It’s because we used to pretend the backyard at night was the moon. That we were astronauts. That gravity was different. | Copyright 2018 by Stephen Graham Jones. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
22/11/201812 minutes 19 seconds
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Matthew Hughes | Hapthorn’s Last Case

My assistant said, “You have received an invitation from Holk Xanthoulian. He is embarking on a new menu and invites, and I quote, ‘a select coterie of the cognoscenti to sample its superlative assemblage of tastes, textures, and titillations.’” “He has a flair for the alliterative,” I said. “Sadly, that is true,” my assistant said. “Shall I decline?” | Copyright 2018 by Matthew Hughes. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
15/11/20181 hour 16 minutes 5 seconds
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Theodore McCombs | Talk to Your Children About Two-Tongued Jeremy

His name was Two-Tongued Jeremy; he was a monitor lizard with a forked tongue, thick glasses, and a wild, wagging smile meant to convince children that learning could be fun, too. He came highly rated. He updated automatically. When our promising children propped their tablets against their stacks of textbooks, their glazy angelic eyes took on that ferocious determination we liked to see in ourselves. | Copyright 2018 by Theodore McCombs. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/11/201850 minutes 45 seconds
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Theodora Goss | Queen Lily

Once upon a time, there was a princess named Little Snowdrop, who had six brothers and four sisters. Her brothers were ravens, and her sisters were swans. Whenever they wished, they would fly around the castle on their black or white wings, but Snowdrop, not having any wings of her own, could not join them. She could only wave at them from the window of a high tower as they flew by. Her father was the King, and he loved her very much. | Copyright 2018 by Theodora Goss. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
01/11/20181 hour 7 minutes 13 seconds
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Mel Kassel | Ten Deals with the Indigo Snake

I’m fourteen the first time I bargain with the indigo snake. I find it basking on the rocks that are piled against the south side of our house, a lazily drawn line of black, like a cursive letter that has gotten away from itself. It lifts its head as I walk up. “Can you hurt Sam Mueller?” I ask. I’ve taken health class by this point, so I know that I’m not supposed to speak to snakes. There are videos about what happens to the kids who do. But they’re so poorly made, the actresses too peppy and the snakes no more than plastic-eyed puppets. Hardly sinister. | Copyright 2018 by Mel Kassel. Narrated by Judy Young.
25/10/201832 minutes 53 seconds
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Molly Tanzer | The Real You™

We were getting coffee, which we used to do all the time, when Tierney told me she was thinking of having it done. “Really?” I asked, half-laughing---I didn’t think she was serious. “Why?” “What do you mean, why?” Tierney looked annoyed. “Do I need a reason? Why did you get your tattoo?” I’d hurt her feelings. I hadn’t meant to. As I tried to think of what to say I followed the line of her eyes to a woman who’d just walked in and was ordering a latte. Her face was merely a suggestion, like a Cycladic head or a more abstract Brâncuși. | Copyright 2018 by Molly Tanzer. Narrated by Pandora Kew.
18/10/201833 minutes 6 seconds
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Cameron Van Sant | Super-Luminous Spiral

Even though your creative fiction professor fawns over Joyce, you don’t understand the copy of ULYSSES you checked out from the library, so you hide behind it while you stare at your classmate whose skin flickers. His blue and green skin is speckled in spirals of twinkling lights. When you stare long enough, you realize the spirals spin like galaxies. Part of your brain should tell you he is abnormal, but it does not. He stands up and reads his assignment. He reads poetry. This is not a poetry class. | Copyright 2018 by Cameron Van Sant. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
11/10/201827 minutes 3 seconds
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Dale Bailey | The Horror of Party Beach

All this happened a long time ago, in the summer when Blackboard Jungle ruled the screen, “Rock Around the Clock” shot up the charts, and Hal March asked the first $64,000 Question. That was the year our friend the atom lit up the streetlights of Arco, Idaho, the world’s first atomic city. Reddy Kilowatt had slain Bert the Turtle, who’d been telling us to duck and cover for years. | Copyright 2018 by Dale Bailey. Narrated by Norm Sherman.
04/10/20181 hour 6 minutes 21 seconds
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Maria Dahvana Headley | You Pretend Like You Never Met Me, and I’ll Pretend Like I Never Met You

The worst day of Wells the Magician’s life begins pleasantly enough, with a shot of whiskey at the Lost Kingdom bar. It’s a birthday party day, and as all low-rent magic men know, birthday party days begin with booze and move laterally through coffee, cake, and whichever divorcee can be convinced to unhook her bra, whether offsite or in a back bedroom. Onward from there into (dire case) helium, (better case) weed, or (best case) coke. | Copyright 2018 by Maria Dahvana Headley. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
27/09/201850 minutes 16 seconds
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Yoon Ha Lee | The Coin of Heart’s Desire

In an empire at the wide sea’s boundaries, where the clouds were the color of alabaster and mother-of-pearl, and the winds bore the smells of salt and faraway fruits, the young and old of every caste gathered for their empress’s funeral. In life she had gone by the name Beryl-Beneath-the-Storm. Now that she was dead, the court historians were already calling her Weave-the-Storm, for she had been a fearsome naval commander. | Copyright 2013 by Yoon Ha Lee. Originally published in ONCE UPON A TIME: NEW FAIRY TALES, edited by Paula Guran. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Judy Young.
20/09/201835 minutes 21 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | The Last to Matter

Kayn knew he was being rejected by the orgynism for almost a full year before it fully expelled him. He could easily live a million years past this humiliation and never understand what he had done to deserve such a rejection from the collective that had loved him so well, for so long. He had been one of the orgynism’s founders, the man who had provided its organizing principles and solicited the first participants. | Copyright 2018 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
20/09/20181 hour 1 second
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Cadwell Turnbull | Jump

Mike and Jessie were walking in the park. The trees high above their heads stretched to touch each other, their leaves letting only the tiniest slivers of light through. Mike watched the freckles of light spot Jessie’s brown face, her shirt, her arms. He tried to snub them out with his fingers. It was a long day for them. They’d spent a few hours walking around the park, just talking. About old dreams and new ones, black riots and urban decay, the secrets of their hearts and the mysteries of the universe. | Copyright 2018 by Cadwell Turnbull. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
13/09/201824 minutes 27 seconds
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Vylar Kaftan | Her Monster, Whom She Loved

Ammuya birthed five hundred gods, followed by a monster. That was her first mistake. The gods tormented the monster because they feared it. They bound it inside a black hole, and the monster’s hatred seethed. Eventually the monster raged so fiercely he escaped the event horizon. Then he hunted down his siblings, one by one. On a silent desert planet, Ammuya cried for her children. | Copyright 2018 by Vylar Kaftan. Narrated by Pandora Kew.
06/09/201825 minutes 1 second
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Kate Elliott | A Compendium of Architecture and the Science of Building

By the time he returned home after all his years of wandering, Magnus Diarisso had come to prefer a fire burning on cold days rather than the elaborate hypocaust system that heated the mage house. The sound of wood settling, sparks popping, and ashes sighing helped him relax. He told his nephew the mansa, the powerful cold mage who was head of Four Moons House, that he did not want to live in the main house with its comings and goings and the children’s chatter. | Copyright 2018 by Kate Elliott. Narrated by Jack Kincaid.
23/08/201844 minutes 40 seconds
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Alex Irvine | The Atonement Path

To think we used to put young criminals in jail. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to eavesdrop. Or should I say eaveswatch? What is the comparable term for using one’s visual sense in a surreptitious fashion? Dining establishments are a superb venue for such observations. But it is true, no? What good could their example do if they were shut away from public view? Ah. I am being rude. My name is Andrew Blankenship. Esquire, in the interest of completeness. | Copyright 2018 by Alex Irvine. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
16/08/201823 minutes 50 seconds
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Manuel Gonzales | Scavenge, Rustic Hounds!

The creatures come out at night, while we’re asleep. My husband says they are harmless. “Probably mice,” he says. “They’re not harmless,” I tell him. “They are very much not harmless,” I say. “They’re gathering information on us. They’re looking through our things, examining our lives, deciding if we are good or if we are not.” “That’s ridiculous,” my husband says. “They’re singling us out. Deciding which ones to take away.” | Copyright 2018 by Manuel Gonzales. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
09/08/201823 minutes 42 seconds
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Sarah Grey | A Bond as Deep as Starlit Seas

Don’t sell her. The thought rises like a tide in the back of Jeri’s mind, where she’s spent three Nikutan launch cycles struggling to contain it. It leaves her breathless, drowning in guilt, and trying to hide it from the krosuta-whitened stare of the Henza abbess. This is Cleo, not a load of ore. This will break her. And how could it not break her? She’s a lumbering old Juno-class cargo beast, poor Cleo, one of the earliest models. | Copyright 2018 by Sarah Grey. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
02/08/201858 minutes 47 seconds
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Kyle Muntz | Wild Bill’s Last Stand

Wild Bill “The Buck” Williams rode into town for a drink, but he stayed for the pretty boys. He was as mean as they said but not so tall: a lean, hard man with a rocky face and a broad mustache, slicked at both sides from a tin of fat he kept in a satchel round his waist. That first night he broke a man’s jaw for cheating him at poker. I didn’t just hear the story, I saw it---how Wild Bill clocked the fucker upside the face, emptied the last of his drink, and knocked out half the man’s teeth with his mug. | Copyright 2018 by Kyle Muntz. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
26/07/201822 minutes 50 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | Greetings, Humanity! Welcome To Your Choice Of Species!

Hello, there! If you have received this telepathic mailing, you are a member of the species currently self-designated Homo sapiens, as evolved on the planet locally known as Earth, orbiting the sun locally known, for some reason that escapes us, as Sol. Most of your kind is already aware of the legal proceedings just completed in Session 3,975,216.7b of the Exalted High Tribunal of the Interstellar Commission on the Minimum Standards for Worthiness of Indigenous Cultures. | Copyright 2018 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
19/07/201822 minutes 32 seconds
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G.V. Anderson | Waterbirds

Constable Kershaw has not uttered any overrides, nor issued a warrant to access her memory logs, but Celia understands nonetheless that she is expected to stay, to sit and answer his questions like a suspect. It surprises her, this treatment. Like she’s human. “Are you chilly, Constable? Shall I light the fire?” “Yeah, all right,” he says, removing his hat and settling into the armchair her employer always favours. Favoured. | Copyright 2018 by G.V. Anderson. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
12/07/201854 minutes 10 seconds
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James Beamon | A Song of Home, the Organ Grinds

The monkeys are white-faced capuchins. Small things, their lean, black-furred bodies stand in stark contrast to the white tufts of their faces and shoulders. The Russians have cannons that can blast an airship apart in ten minutes and armored steam knights called kolotar, but of the many dangers I face on a warship a mile above the Black Sea, I fear the monkeys I tend most. “Do not tarry,” a man whispers behind me. “They eat meat as well, boy.” | Copyright 2018 by James Beamon. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
05/07/201846 minutes 6 seconds
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Emma Törzs | From the Root

When I was sixteen, I sold my teeth each Thursday, and that is how I first met the doctor. This was before his celebrated school, his fame, his dogged pursuit of bodies for his collection, back when he was very young and took his income as a dentist. While the ladies of society ate cakes until their smiles were the same gappy gray cobblestone as our London streets, my own hungry mouth was full of pearls, and I let the doctor harvest them. | Copyright 2018 by Emma Törzs. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
28/06/201855 minutes 58 seconds
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Lina Rather | A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Lighthouse of Quvenle the Seer

Your guidebook says: Do not ask which ships the lighthouse guides. It’s the same old joke everyone makes when they come, and the sisters who care for their prophetess Quvenle will not laugh. The other pilgrims will not laugh. You will not feel any less uncomfortable, and you’ll feel silly for selling your house and all the memories left inside to buy your passage. To reach the edge of known space, you have shed it all. | Copyright 2018 by Lina Rather. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
21/06/201817 minutes 48 seconds
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Ashok K. Banker | The Quiltbag

Octavia was at the last gate when the alarm sounded. A small army of bristling weapons encircled her. The bag shuddered in her grip, panic rippling through its weave. She gripped it tighter, reassuring it. It’s your hair, it sent tremulously. Told you to straighten it and bind it tight; they don’t like big black hair. She squeezed it tight against her side: Hush, hush. “Step aside, ma’am,” said a man in a grey uniform. | Copyright 2018 by Ashok K. Banker. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
14/06/201840 minutes
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Merc Fenn Wolfmoor | I Sing Against the Silent Sun

In the Principality there rule the Seven Suns. Armored gods, they marched through the universe eons ago, wreathed in subjected angels, and left footprints of conquest on galaxies. They dragged beneath them the corpse-heat from a billion burning worlds. The sixth Sun, the Gray Sun, is a god of silence. There is no voice, no mercy, no music within the Gray Sun. Beneath the Gray Sun there is only emptiness. | Copyright 2018 by A. Merc Rustad & Ada Hoffmann. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
07/06/20181 hour 14 minutes 41 seconds
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Jane Lindskold | A Green Moon Problem

No one had ever seen Tatter D’MaLeon’s face. Even those who thought she was just a legend agreed that she was always masked. That was about all anyone agreed upon. Although the female pronoun was usually applied to “her,” even Tatter’s sex was in doubt, as was her humanity, her age, and whether or not she existed. But believe or not, there was scarce a one who didn’t love the stories. Anthropologists had tried to pin down exactly when the first Tatter D’MaLeon stories had been told. | Copyright 2018 by Obsidian Tiger Inc. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
24/05/201844 minutes 23 seconds
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Kodiak Julian | Our Side of the Door

It isn’t until I realize I can’t find my son---really can’t find him---that I think of all the other things I can’t see in the starlit orchard. “Cruz!” I yell. “Buddy! You win!” There is no moon. The trees are thick with blossoms. I hear Cruz in the tall grasses, rustling, giggling. He is six years old. This wouldn’t bother my wife. Alyssa believes that Cruz should learn to use a knife, to light a match, to walk beside a river without stumbling and drowning. | Copyright 2018 by Kodiak Julian. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
17/05/201824 minutes 40 seconds
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Carolyn Ives Gilman | We Will Be All Right

Tomorrow is Easter, and I will have to welcome into my home the woman who is going to murder my son. I need to prepare side dishes in advance. Take a heaping bowl of injustice, mash it to a pulp, season with tears of rage, bake, and serve in a dish speckled with four-leaf clovers. The question is, should I put the rat poison in hers alone, or would it be better for all of us to go together? | Copyright 2018 by Carolyn Ives Gilman. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
10/05/201812 minutes 53 seconds
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Martin Cahill | Godmeat

The godmeat stank of hibiscus and saltwater. Its noxious divinity threaded through the kitchen, the air itself feeling suddenly buoyant in its wake. If Hark closed his eyes, he could almost imagine himself on the beach where Spear had killed the Sea Mother; pale green water lapping at his feet, miles of white sand stretching into the distance, while pink blossoms bobbed in the surf. He could almost see Spear standing on top of the godthing, her weapon shimmering with the blue blood of the dying Beast. | Copyright 2018 by Martin Cahill. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/05/201852 minutes 29 seconds
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Steven Barnes | Mozart on the Kalahari

It took Michael “Meek” Prouder half an hour to magtube from Claremont to the Coachella Valley desert, near the Nestlé Reservoir entertainment pier. In this oasis of hot dogs, pinwheel fireworks, and whirlygigs, he could lounge and marinate himself, soak up rays as he listened to the music radiating from the dam wall, and sink under the rhythmic roar of artificial waves crashing against the artificial shore. He could walk out into the desert away from the city lights. | Copyright 2017 by Steven Barnes. Originally published in Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities, edited by Ed Finn, Joey Eschrich, and Juliet Ulman. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
26/04/201843 minutes 6 seconds
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Timothy Mudie | The Elephants’ Crematorium

Liyana had seen elephants form into protective circles when calves were threatened, but this was different. These days, animal behavior was all but impossible to predict, of course---prey turning to predator; trees turning to stone in moonlight---but this didn’t feel random. There was intent in the way the elephants moved. The seven of them---she counted three juvenile males, two juvenile females, and two adult females---plodded into a loose formation. | Copyright 2018 by Timothy Mudie. Narrated by Nan McNamara.
19/04/201835 minutes 49 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | A Place Without Portals

It was only then that she woke up in her nice warm bed and discovered that her entire adventure in the land of Nys had been nothing but a dream. Everything she had experienced from the very beginning, starting with the ancient soothsayer with the parchment skin and beclouded eyes appearing at her door to brush those gnarled fingers against her cheek and murmur, “Yes, you are the one, you are the chosen one, you are the one destined to defeat the great evil.” | Copyright 2018 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
12/04/201821 minutes 9 seconds
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Will McIntosh | What Is Eve?

I’d never been on a quieter school bus. Kids were whispering to each other, looking scared as hell as the bus clipped stray branches from the endless forest pressing in on both sides of us. “This isn’t even a two-way road,” I murmured to Flora, the girl sitting beside me. She was chubby and had braces. “I know. Where IS this school? My parents said this would be the greatest thing ever for my college applications, but I don’t know about this.” | Copyright 2018 by Will McIntosh. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
05/04/20181 hour 7 minutes 43 seconds
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Cassandra Khaw | You Do Nothing But Freefall

Once upon a time, a fox came across a cat in the forest. Or something very similar to a cat, at least. The thing was neither flesh nor fur, but pale enamel, the tip of its nose and the insides of its ears daubed with blood. It sat on its polished haunches atop a mossy log beside a babbling brook, paw metronoming in salute. “Hello,” said the fox to the cat, drawn to its gleam and its amiable expression, its bobbing foreleg, but mostly by the golden coin at its throat. | Copyright 2018 by Cassandra Khaw and A. Maus. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
22/03/201827 minutes
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Ken Liu | Cosmic Spring

Qubits resolve and superimpose; information entangles and de-couples; consciousness re-emerges. I don’t know for how long I’ve been asleep. There’s so little energy left in the island-ship’s reservoir that I’ve been conserving as much as possible. A faint glow in the abyss, perhaps several thousand kelvins. It’s why I’ve been awakened. I change course and head straight for perhaps the last star in the universe. | Copyright 2018 by Ken Liu. First English language publication. Originally published in Chinese by the Future Affairs Administration on Weibo and WeChat as part of their “Spring Festival Gala” celebration in February 2018. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
15/03/201821 minutes 58 seconds
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Beesan Odeh | Al-Kahf (الكهف)

There once lived a man who was stolen from the sea. Rare and magnificent, he lived in his cave, rising to the surface every so often to pluck the strings of his violin for the birds before retreating into the water to play for his kin. They spent their days enthralled by the doleful songs of the man who lived in the littoral cave. But there came a day when the songs ceased and the people stopped going and the man was nowhere to be seen. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/03/201825 minutes 3 seconds
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Bryan Camp | The Independence Patch

It is exam week, and Donny is 14 years 10 months 15 days 10 hours 16 minutes old. He is bored and hungry and his scalp itches and he hates school more than he’s ever hated anything before in his life. He hates exams in particular, and he hates his math exam most of all. 54 minutes and 20 seconds are left before he can leave, before he can take the damned dunce cap off and be himself again. | Copyright 2018 by Bryan Camp. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
01/03/201850 minutes 18 seconds
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Ashok K. Banker | The Goddess Has Many Faces

Pillai expected Kali border security to be much tighter than it was. All he got was a body search that was routinely thorough, and a few old-fashioned tests and checks. It reminded him of a visit he had made as a very young rightwing Hindu activist to an Indian nuclear weapon testing facility back in 1998, after the Pokhran atomic tests. His briefings had been correct in this respect: Kali did not seem to have much use for twenty-first-century Safe Care. | Copyright 2018 by Ashok K. Banker. Narrated by Rajan Khanna.
22/02/201830 minutes 41 seconds
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Naomi Kanakia | A Coward’s Death

Well, the 101,201st Emperor needed some levies to build a huge statue of himself, so he said, “Okay, all of my recently subjugated peoples: If you’ve got at least two sons, you need to give me your first-born. But don’t worry, I’ll give him back, assuming he can survive ten years of lifting these big heavy stones.” In some places, people weren’t happy about this. The city of Yashar revolted, and in response the Emperor’s legions killed the men, castrated the boys, and sold all the survivors into slavery. | Copyright 2018 by Rahul Kanakia. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
15/02/201818 minutes 6 seconds
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Bogi Takács | Four-Point Affective Calibration

Of course I can be angry. But I wear a headscarf. The moment I’m angry, you put me in your mental box labeled “TERRORIST” in neat, tidy small capitals. You store me under “Potential Danger” in the warehouse of your mind. When I cross the parking lot to the grocery store, sometimes people hit the gas, not the brakes. And this is a university town, supposedly liberal---or is it? I’m not a Muslim, but it’s not like most people around here can spot the difference. | Copyright 2018 by Bogi Takács. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/02/201814 minutes 32 seconds
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Cassandra Khaw | The Quiet Like a Homecoming

Travel to Scandinavia if you can, the older cats told me, the queens in their raftered kingdoms. The coffee there, they said, is bitter as an old lie. The Norsemen are beautiful, their women even more sublime, but most importantly, they are quiet. Preoccupied only with Nordic things, disinterested in the outside world. This is crucial. This is what makes them safe. But this is not the only reason I am here. | Copyright 2018 by Cassandra Khaw. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
01/02/201822 minutes 12 seconds
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Sarah Pinsker | The Court Magician

The boy who will become court magician this time is not a cruel child. Not like the last one, or the one before her. He never stole money from Blind Carel’s cup, or thrashed a smaller child for sweets, or kicked a dog. This boy is a market rat, which sets him apart from the last several, all from highborn or merchant families. This isn’t about lineage, or even talent. He watches the street magicians every day, with a hunger in his eyes that says he knows he could do what they do. | Copyright 2018 by Sarah Pinsker. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
25/01/201827 minutes 40 seconds
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Susan Jane Bigelow | The Eyes of the Flood

The river’s in flood again, and it feels like a blessing from God. You emerge from your home, built with wood and plastic scraps of ancient towns, and stand on the green hill high above the rushing waters. You remember from when you were young that the river would spill over its banks every year, submerging the low-lying land, turning fields that had lain fallow through the darkness and bitter cold of winter into lakes of rushing, wild water. And then when the waters had drained away, the corn could be planted in the deep sediments left behind. | Copyright 2018 by Susan Jane Bigelow. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
18/01/201817 minutes 38 seconds
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José Pablo Iriarte | The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births

I seem to make an outcast of myself every time I’m a teenager. Which is fine, I guess. I’ll take one good dog and one good friend over being a phony and fitting in. Alicia points. “There he is, Jamie!” A couple hundred feet away, our trailer park’s newest resident grabs a box from the van parked in front of his single-wide. He’s gray-haired and buff, like if The Rock were an old man. Alicia and I are sprawled on top of a wooden picnic table in the park’s rusted old playground. | Copyright 2018 by José Pablo Iriarte. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
11/01/201849 minutes
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Adam-Troy Castro | The Streets of Babel

The city surrounded him while he slept. He had been fleeing it for four days. Long before its walls became visible, it was a grayish smudge on the horizon, beneath which the air shimmered in silent testimony of its radiant heat. It was one of about ten living cities he knew of and he had avoided it for as long as he could, staying out of their usual migratory paths, contenting himself with the company of the small tribes who had also managed to keep out of the reach of the cities, living on roots and the small animals that fell to his bow. | Copyright 2018 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
04/01/201846 minutes 7 seconds
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Mari Ness | You Will Never Know What Opens

One of the doors in the closet, behind the boxes, leads to a harsh desert world. The first time you stepped through, you didn’t bring water, and nearly died as you crouched beneath the sun, waiting for the door to open again. You were saved only by the unexpected appearance of someone draped in gray, who gave you water before showing you a mottled face of lizard skin. You screamed. By the time you returned, you could barely stand. Your head pounded; your skin was badly burnt. | 2017 by Mari Ness. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/12/201718 minutes 28 seconds
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Cadwell Turnbull | A Third of the Stars of Heaven

Henrietta followed the receptionist down the hall of Schneider Hospital. The woman’s keys jangled as she walked, mixing with the echoing clicks of Henrietta’s blue church shoes. No other noises greeted them. Henrietta watched her shadow stretch itself in each unlit room, her form made large by the ultra-bright fluorescent lights of the hallway. One of the lights in the hall blinked on and off. Henrietta pinched her eyes closed to ward off dizziness. Her lower belly throbbed and she stifled a groan. | Copyright 2017 by Cadwell Turnbull. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
21/12/201738 minutes 27 seconds
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Merc Fenn Wolfmoor | The House at the End of the Lane Is Dreaming

Your name is Alex and you live in a small town at the edge of the sea. You have a sister and two parents and no pets. In your town, everyone follows their destiny: They cross the street, cook endless meals, stand in the same room, deliver the same mail every day. You can’t remember most of their names. It’s the way it’s always been. You’re different. You wake up one morning and know something’s wrong. It’s an unsettled ache in your chest. Bad things will happen soon. Unfortunately, you can’t articulate these feelings. No one but you knows anything is different about today. | Copyright 2017 by A. Merc Rustad. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
14/12/201751 minutes 45 seconds
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Rachael K. Jones | The Greatest One-Star Restaurant in the Whole Quadrant

Engineer’s meat wept and squirmed and wriggled inside her steel organ cavity, so different from the stable purr of gears and circuit boards. You couldn’t count on meat. It lulled you with its warmth, the soft give of skin, the tug of muscle, the neurotransmitter snow fluttering down from neurons to her cyborg logic center. On other days, the meat sickened, swelled inside her steel shell, pressed into her joints. Putrid yellow meat-juices dripped all over her chassis, eroding away its chrome gloss. It contaminated everything. | Copyright 2017 by Rachael K. Jones. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
07/12/201736 minutes 18 seconds
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Charlie Jane Anders | Cake Baby (A Kango and Sharon Adventure)

Kango and Sharon first met at a party, one of those lavish debauch-fests where people fly in from all over the galaxy wearing sentient fetishwear that costs a whole asteroid belt. The specially grown building had melted, causing toxic fumes that killed a few hundred people, and then the canapés on the appetizer table came to life and started mutilating bystanders with their razor-sharp mandibles. The party was going according to plan, in other words. The only thing that nobody could have predicted, even the most OCD of the party-planners, was that two of the party’s minor entertainers ended up standing around near the Best Dressed Dead Guest lineup. | Copyright 2017 by Charlie Jane Anders. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
23/11/201749 minutes 3 seconds
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Max Wynne | A Wound Like an Unplowed Field

When the witch came across the man whose leg had been shot through by the arrow he was hollering and disorderly and seemed like a bit of a nuisance. Still it could be said honestly that the man had a particular charm about him. For example when the witch asked if he was all right the man responded with only an agonized groan but beyond the groan there was also a look he gave her like the groaning in agony was a joke they alone were in on and she felt an immediate conspiratorial intimacy with the man with the shot leg. | Copyright 2017 by Max Wynne. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
16/11/201717 minutes 5 seconds
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Ashok K. Banker | A Vortal in Midtown

A Vortal ripped open in the heart of Manhattan. It began as a microscopic dot, invisible to the naked eye. Just hung there in midair, almost two meters above the street. People walked, drove, biked, rollerbladed, skateboarded, jogged, and one dude on his way to a Broadway audition even tap-danced by without noticing it. It grew. A day later, it was the size of a pea. A Metro bus struck it. It was still barely visible and the Sikh driver was hardly expecting to collide with a nearly invisible pea-sized obstacle suspended six feet up in the air. Narrated by Deepti Gupta.
09/11/20171 hour 5 minutes 24 seconds
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Kathleen Kayembe | The Faerie Tree

There’s a faerie tree in my front yard. Its branches are gnarled like an old woman’s fingers, knobbed like her knees, and the trunk hunches down like she’s reaching for my house. Mamaw said the hole at the base of faerie trees is where faeries come out or rush in or leave gifts if it’s big enough, though I was too young to remember. She says I was fussy in any arms that weren’t hers or the tree, least ’til I got used to everything. When I was real little, Sister says she could always find me curled half in the tree if I’d toddled off, like I fell asleep tryin’ to find Mamaw’s faeries. | Copyright 2017 by Kathleen Kayembe. Narrated by Jayme Joseph.
02/11/201751 minutes 55 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | What I Told My Little Girl About the Aliens Preparing to Grind Us Into Hamburgers

Pretty much everybody made peace with it very early on in the process. It wasn’t the most pleasant prospect in this world, or any other. But it had been explained to us in the most rational and persuasive terms imaginable, in sentences so simple that even the dumbest among us were capable of getting it; and once we swallowed that pill and incorporated it into our daily lives, it really didn’t make much of a difference in the scheme of things. We were adults about it. But that doesn’t make much of a difference when your four-year-old daughter looks up at you with her big brown eyes and asks you, “Daddy? Why are the space men going to grind us into hamburgers?” | Copyright 2017 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
24/10/201718 minutes 35 seconds
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Jeremiah Tolbert | The Dragon of Dread Peak (Part 2)

Back in originspace, Basher sobbed in Doom Maiden’s arms. Sparks stared at the ground. I didn’t know what to do with my hands. I wanted to punch something. Mostly I wanted to punch myself. Or maybe Domino. If only he had listened to me! Why did I ever think I could be a leader? Not even my best friend listened to me when it counted. How could I have been so stupid? How could he? “We’ll get him back,” Basher said. She was frantic. “He’s still alive. Right, Sparks? He’s still alive.” | Copyright 2017 by Jeremiah Tolbert. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
17/10/20171 hour 10 minutes 54 seconds
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Jeremiah Tolbert | The Dragon of Dread Peak (Part 1)

When I made the decision to take up an after-school job closing trans-dimensional portals into pocket-worlds full of dangerous monsters and traps, I thought it would be easier—or at least more fun—than working the counter at a fried cockatrice joint or selling newssheets on a street corner at the crack of dawn. My team’s first outing into dungeonspace—when we defeated The Cavern of the Screaming Eye on our first try—had gone pretty good. Since then, we’d been running low threat level, poorly synced dungeons as practice, the kind that don’t actually kill you if you take damage inside them. | Look for the thrilling conclusion on 10/17/17! | Copyright 2017 by Jeremiah Tolbert. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
10/10/20171 hour 24 minutes 54 seconds
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Merc Fenn Wolfmoor | Longing for Stars Once Lost

The ship dies in orbit above an abandoned world. Kitshan curses. Metal bones shudder around him as the last of the ship’s breath is sucked into vacuum. His skill at the helm and hasty patch jobs have kept the engines together, but luck is scarce out here, and his is gone. The ship is unminded. Lifeless metal, basic programming, and manual flight operations are things he can tolerate better than another consciousness wrapped against his. The viewscreen flickers and a cold vista stretches across the interior curve of the cockpit: the small star, bright and distilled against the void. | Copyright 2017 by A. Merc Rustad. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/10/201738 minutes 31 seconds
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Giovanni De Feo | Ugo

That’s how Cynthia and Ugo met. The Easter egg hunt had just started when little Cynthia noticed a dark, short-haired nine-year-old boy, all alone, sitting by the church steps. Her first impression of him was his quietness, and the way he stared at her. When she told him (well, shouted) that it was impolite to stare at strangers, and why wasn’t he running like all others?---the dark-haired boy walked quietly over and told her that they didn’t need to hurry. | Copyright 2017 by Giovanni De Feo. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
26/09/20171 hour 3 minutes 2 seconds
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Tony Ballantyne | A Pound of Darkness, a Quarter of Dreams

There was something sinister about the representative’s perfection. The oiled and combed dark hair, the even white teeth, the polished fingernails. His immaculate dark jacket and trousers, the pressed collar and cuffs of his shirt. He looked as if he’d dressed in the shop itself, not ridden up the damp valleys from Manchester on some dirty, smoking steam train, inevitably acquiring the grime and the dust from the tired upholstery of a grubby carriage. No one who had undertaken the walk down the wet high street should have kept their shoes so polished and shiny. | Copyright 2017 by Tony Ballantyne. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
19/09/201744 minutes 5 seconds
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Timothy Mudie | An Ever-Expanding Flash of Light

“Ladies and gentlemen, everyone you know---the entire world you know---is now dead.” Murmurs ripple through the assembled cadets. Not because they’re shocked---everyone knew what they were signing up for---but because it all happened without fanfare, a jump across light-years of space unaccompanied by any grand orchestral swell or roaring engine thrusts. The wiry guy with a shaved head standing next to Tone mutters, “Jesus, I didn’t even feel anything.” | Copyright 2017 by Timothy Mudie. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
12/09/201734 minutes 14 seconds
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Jaymee Goh | The Last Cheng Beng Gift

There was definitely something to be said about being Mrs. Lim, even into the Underworld: something about comfort, something about privilege, something about a status quo carried into the afterlife. The previous matriarch that bore the title of Mrs. Lim had moved on long before Mrs. Lim got there, but since Mrs. Lim had not liked the domineering nature of her predecessor, this did not bother her overmuch. One of things to be said about being Mrs. Lim was that during Cheng Beng, she received many, many presents. | Copyright 2017 by Jaymee Goh. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
05/09/201724 minutes 3 seconds
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Bruce McAllister | Ink

The American boy, whose name was David, had always collected things. Coins, minerals, seashells, insects, and even house-brand bars of soap from hotels in his family’s travels. His collections helped him know who he was when so much of life did not; and the things he collected did not make him bleed, when so much of the world—the sharp, angular things of it—did. When you bought an old coin in a store, the coin didn’t bruise your skin or scratch your fingers. | Copyright 2017 by Bruce McAllister. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
22/08/201731 minutes 50 seconds
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Christopher East | An Inflexible Truth

As the commuter jet descended toward the ruins of Las Vegas, Roland Zhang craned his neck at the window, watching the skeleton towers grow nearer. Billowing clouds of dust clogged the air, and wind-blown dunes partially buried the filthy, abandoned buildings. He’d viewed footage from the far corners of the Earth, every remote hellhole imaginable, but this was the first time he’d ever seen the real deal in person. He tugged at his collar, sweating in spite of the air conditioning. | Copyright 2017 by Christopher East. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
15/08/201758 minutes 53 seconds
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Susan Palwick | The Shining Hills

“Are you all right?” The voice, sharp and worried, shot out of the pocket of shadow to her left. Startled, she turned and found herself blinking at a cop, one of the ones who patrolled the park on foot. In the last light of dusk, she could just make out his half-frown, his badge, the hand resting on a nightstick. He reminded her of her father. She shivered and pulled her sweatshirt more tightly around her. She should have brought warmer clothing, but she wasn’t going to be here long. | Copyright 2017 by Susan Palwick. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
08/08/201736 minutes 57 seconds
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Ashok K. Banker | Tongue

Namaste, helloji, please to come in. First time visit, so nice you came. Thank you for removing gravity shoes. Please be comfortable, no formality. It is like your home only. What for I can get you? Mineral tea? Carbon Filter coffee? Gel Cola? If it is not in our supply ration, we can send Senthil to fetch from company concessionary on main asteroid. Senthil is our homebot, see, he is understanding our language fully now. Beginning time he was little confuse. Now he is fully understand. | Copyright 2017 by Ashok K. Banker. Narrated by Pooja Batra.
01/08/201726 minutes 52 seconds
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Debbie Urbanski | How to Find a Portal

I remember as children we were warned about the women who drove the unmarked white vans that circled around our neighborhood during those long hot summers, in particular creeping slowly down the boulevard which ran alongside the park, where if you positioned yourself at the right angle, I suppose in front of the swings, you might be able to see a flash of a child’s private yellow underwear as they pumped their legs upward. | Copyright 2017 by Debbie Urbanski. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
25/07/201758 minutes 52 seconds
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E. Catherine Tobler | Mix Tapes From Dead Boys

The derelict hangs in Neptune’s blue orbit, a chip of shadowy flint from a distance. Up close, it’s old and rusting, myriad old systems cobbled together, and Hadley swallows her nervous and exhilarated heart a dozen times as she latches the pod to its belly, makes a hard seal at the airlock, and geckos her team inside. The exterior of their spatulae suits—hands and knees and hips—permits them freedom of movement even in zero gee. Especially in zero gee. She glances back at their pod once. | Copyright 2017 by E. Catherine Tobler. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
18/07/201748 minutes 57 seconds
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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro | A Touch of Heart

Many years ago, in Shangdong Province, there lived an unfortunate farmer by the name of Dou Zhuo. Like most of us who walk this teeming Earth, he was trapped in the circumstances that fortune had provided him. He owned a patch of land that supported crops only after backbreaking effort, and then with results that betrayed its resentment of the demands he put on it. His cucumbers were bitter, his cowpeas difficult to boil, his leeks over-pungent, his pak choi stiff, and his edible amaranth hardly deserving of its name. | Copyright 2017 by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro and Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
11/07/201739 minutes 51 seconds
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John Grant | The Law of Conservation of Data

“Slots Palace,” says Suze. You all stare at her. Staring at her is worth doing. She’s moved into a new bod since coming here, and the change has been a big improvement. There wasn’t exactly anything wrong with the one she initially adopted for the pentagon’s pre-consensuality union, but she became dissatisfied with it and the dissatisfaction affected the rest of you---especially Kagura, who said it reminded him in all the wrong ways of a past consensual of his who turned out badly. | Copyright 2017 by John Grant. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
04/07/20171 hour 8 minutes 26 seconds
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Matthew Kressel | Love Engine Optimization

I rooted her system on the first day. It was the only way to be sure. Sure that she’d love me. Step by matching step, I walk her under the boughs of great elms in Prospect Park, while the slanting sun passes through the tangled mesh of leaves to dapple her smiling face. When her heart rate spikes, I know she’s excited. When it slows, she’s bored. | Copyright 2017 by Matthew Kressel. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
27/06/201738 minutes 55 seconds
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Elizabeth Bear | The Heart’s Filthy Lesson

The sun burned through the clouds around noon on the long Cytherean day, and Dharthi happened to be awake and in a position to see it. She was alone in the highlands of Ishtar Terra on a research trip, five sleeps out from Butler base camp, and---despite the nagging desire to keep traveling---had decided to take a rest break for an hour or two. Noon at this latitude was close enough to the one hundredth solar dieiversary of her birth that she’d broken out her little hoard of shelf-stable cake to celebrate. | Copyright 2015 by Elizabeth Bear. Originally published in OLD VENUS, edited by Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
20/06/20171 hour 24 minutes 34 seconds
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Scott Dalrymple | Marcel Proust, Incorporated

It’s 12:15, and Monica West is late for our lunch. We’re meeting at a trendy Greenwich Village bistro, one of the few to survive the depression that bankrupted the City, and so many of its residents, nearly two decades ago. There are few reminders of those trying times here now. The place is packed with the young power elite, the air thick with talk of mergers and screenplays and spring designer collections. I order a glass of Cabernet and wait. | Copyright 2017 by Scott Dalrymple. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
13/06/201733 minutes 46 seconds
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Shweta Narayan | World of the Three

Then the Bird of A Hundred and Eight Names gathered together her three new children, and she said, “You have passed our people’s tests and joined our ranks, and may leave if you wish. But leaving will take you among the Alabar, who collect salt in their bare hands and have no fear of rust, and call themselves merely people. Some among us speak slightingly of them, for their lives are short and easily ended, and they don’t protect one another as we do. You should be more wary." | Copyright 2017 by Shweta Narayan. Narrated by Twinkle Khanna.
06/06/201756 minutes 5 seconds
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Susan Jane Bigelow | The Heart’s Cartography

Jade was the sort of backwoods girl who had a map of the countryside tattooed on her heart, and she could feel it in her bones when the pieces of her world shifted. So when the new family moved into the house across the road that late summer, she felt ripples of wrongness radiating out from them and their too-bright clothes, their bizarrely old-fashioned wood-paneled station wagon, and their rolling words. | Copyright 2017 by Susan Jane Bigelow. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
23/05/201747 minutes 50 seconds
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Kendra Fortmeyer | Octopus vs. Bear

You woke up female this morning, so now you have a choice: do what other people want, or be a bitch. It is a thing you know without precisely knowing it. The knowledge is built into the muscle memory of this miraculous new body; it is draped across the bones like a weight. You shudder, stretching your delicate female limbs beneath the unfamiliar, sun-drenched sheets. Female for a day, you think. | Copyright 2017 by Kendra Fortmeyer. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
16/05/201746 minutes 37 seconds
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Bruce McAllister | This Is for You

There was one girl I really liked in school when I returned to Earth, but it took me three months to say hello. I wasn’t good with human beings. We’d just gotten back from Pitipek (a red-dwarf star system “just left” of Tau Ceti, as the joke goes). My father had been stationed there for two years with the TU’s Planetary Safety Agency, and living with the slow, enigmatic, bipedal Pitipeki---especially in one of their villages, and under those endless clouds---tends to make you lose your people skills. | Copyright 2017 by Bruce McAllister. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
09/05/201712 minutes 5 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | James, In the Golden Sunlight of the Hereafter

It took James Washington forever, almost literally forever, to remember that his wife and children were as dead as he was. For a while, he barely even realized that he was dead himself. Heaven, for lack of a better word, is bliss, and as anybody who has known euphoria can tell you, bliss doesn’t always allow room for rational thought. | Copyright 2017 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
02/05/201747 minutes 29 seconds
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Jess Barber | Maybe Look Up

You’re just stepping into the crosswalk when the SUV screeches to a stop with its bumper six inches from your hip. It’s sleeting. It wasn’t sleeting when you left your apartment, so you’re wearing canvas sneakers with holes beside the little toes, where all of your sneakers always get holes, and you haven’t been able to feel your feet for six blocks. It’s been weeks since you got more than four hours of sleep. | Copyright 2017 by Jess Barber. Narrated by Bonnie MacBird.
25/04/201723 minutes 54 seconds
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Lina Rather | Seven Permutations of My Daughter

I’ve sought a world with a higher-than-average ratio of sunny days and a pharmaceutical industry that developed a decade before my own. Sun, of course, improves mental health. And a more developed pharmaceutical industry implies a more liberal outlook towards chemical intervention, a more specific range of treatment plans. It isn’t easy to write equations for these variables. | Copyright 2017 by Lina Rather. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
18/04/201728 minutes 51 seconds
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Susan Palwick | Remote Presence

As usual, Win was late to work. Since he hadn’t had time to eat breakfast at home, he arrived at his office—tucked into the old wing of the hospital, now a maze of ancient files and obscure personnel—clutching a styrofoam vat of cafeteria coffee, a donut balanced atop it. He wore jeans and hiking boots and a wrinkled pinstripe dress shirt, from which his ID badge hung crookedly. “Winston Z, MDiv, LCSW, BCC,” it read. | Copyright 2017 by Susan Palwick. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
11/04/20171 hour 7 minutes 59 seconds
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Violet Allen | Infinite Love Engine

Beeblax beats its wings against a superlumic slurry of time and space, and the universe turns to liquid starlight in its periphery; inside rides Aria Astra---Stellar Champion of the Star Supremacy, Wielder of the Sister Ray, Spacetrotting Coolgal, and Humanity’s Last Hope---nestled within a blob of translucent pink jellymeat, and it is totally cool and only a little disgusting. | Copyright 2017 by Violet Allen. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
04/04/201752 minutes 6 seconds
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Greg Kurzawa | Soccer Fields and Frozen Lakes

Dear Sara: The official verdict that I am no longer classified as human arrived in a windowed envelope bearing the return address of the Bureau of Lineage Affairs. There is one envelope for me and one for you, although I haven’t opened yours. Except for the return address, these envelopes look like something from the bank, or perhaps an offer for home insurance, the kind we throw away. | Copyright 2017 by Greg Kurzawa. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/03/201746 minutes 50 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | Death Every Seventy-Two Minutes

Negelein is at his workstation working on the Lafferty file when the bone spear arcs over the sea of cubicles and strikes just above his right ear, penetrating his skull with a wet crunch. Oblivion is not quite instantaneous; his neurons all fire at the moment his brain goes soggy with blood, giving him, in his last instant, an overwhelming taste of peppermint. | Copyright 2017 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
21/03/201720 minutes 28 seconds
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Marta Randall | The Stone Lover

When word came that the king had died, Kyros began packing his tools. Agathon had been a fine patron, commissioning statues and friezes for his capital’s many temples and his own palace, but his wife had no reputation for piety or art. He was surprised, then, when one of her pages delivered a scroll requesting his services. | Copyright 2017 by Marta Randall. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
14/03/201715 minutes 32 seconds
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Indrapramit Das | The Worldless

Every day NuTay watched the starship from their shack, selling satshine and sweet chai to wayfarers on their way to the stars. NuTay and their kin Satlyt baked an endless supply of clay cups using dirt from the vast plain of the port. NuTay and Satlyt, like all the hawkers in the shanties that surrounded the dirt road, were dunyshar, worldless—cursed to a single brown horizon. | Copyright 2017 by Indrapramit Das. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
07/03/201741 minutes 25 seconds
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Jack Skillingstead | The Last Garden

The Surrogate walked past Casey’s window. She watched its shadow slip across the shade, then she stood and zipped up her flight suit. This was the day. No matter what. The doorbell rang. It was polite, the Surrogate. It had manners. It rang the doorbell. It said please and thank you. It had saved Casey’s life, twice, and the first time she had been grateful. | Copyright 2017 by Jack Skillingstead. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
28/02/201739 minutes 26 seconds
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Ashok K. Banker | Six-Gun Vixen and the Dead Coon Trashgang

Dead Gulch lived up to its name. A two-bit hick town that was little more than a dirt track flanked by a couple dozen wood shacks. My beast growled low and mean as I started through and then reared up in yet another fool attempt to unseat me. I had to dig those rusty spurs in long and hard, twisting the boot heel like I was squishing a scorpion. My Halfie let out that familiar nerve-gnashing howl and settled down real quick. | Copyright 2017 by Ashok Banker. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
21/02/20171 hour 1 minute 34 seconds
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Merc Fenn Wolfmoor | Later, Let’s Tear Up The Inner Sanctum

Still in the hospital. Radiation burns suck. Mom came to see me, though, which was nice. She probably had to argue with that dick of a boss she works for to let her off early. You’d think since I nearly died because superheroes were fighting above my school that I’d get some sort of benefits or medical insurance, but noooo, it’s all on me and Mom to foot the hospital bills because fights are not a novelty anymore. | Copyright 2017 by A. Merc Rustad. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
14/02/20171 hour 3 minutes 34 seconds
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Kelly Barnhill | Probably Still the Chosen One

“You must wait here,” the Highest of the High Priests told her. “We will return and bring you back to the Land of Nibiru once we have found the circlet to place upon your head.” The very mention of the circlet made the High Priest tremble with joy. Though the journey through the portal had been brief, the Land of Nibiru was many universes away from where Corrina now stood—in her own small kitchen, in her own small house. | Copyright 2017 by Kelly Barnhill. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
07/02/201759 minutes 39 seconds
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Molly Tanzer | Nine-Tenths of the Law

Donna had picked up Jared’s favorite--Romano’s to go, he liked the rosemary bread and the penne rustica---and was just putting it in the oven to keep warm when they brought him in. _They_ being EMTs, after pounding urgently on the door, and _brought him in_ meaning he was on a stretcher. He had an IV in his arm and his eyes were bandaged with thick layers of gauze. | Copyright 2017 by Molly Tanzer. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
24/01/201758 minutes 9 seconds
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Jeremiah Tolbert | The West Topeka Triangle

As much as the other kids in my neighborhood like to tell me I’m a know-it-all, I realize just how short the list of things I actually know is one cold winter morning in 1987. I know my vocabulary words, everything that can be known about the Bermuda Triangle, and how well-liked a kid is by who they walk to school with. | Copyright 2017 by Jeremiah Tolbert. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
17/01/201754 minutes 43 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | The Whole Crew Hates Me

They hate me. They have told me this, again and again, starting from almost the first day of the mission, and continuing every day since then, carrying their hostility well outside the confines of the solar system and into the realm of bentspace. Their hatred does not quite extend to the realm of murder, at least not yet; but it does include telling me every day, in every possible way, that they find my presence intolerable. | Copyright 2017 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
10/01/201726 minutes 18 seconds
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Kat Howard | Seven Salt Tears

When I was a child, my mother would tell me stories of the sea. When I couldn’t sleep, when I was restless, when I burned with some childhood fever, she would sit by my side, and conjure something wonderful and strange, something half-magic, from the ocean for me. “Mara,” she would say, smoothing the hair from my forehead as she tucked the covers around me, “did you know that to summon a selkie, you must shed seven tears into the ocean?” | Copyright 2017 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Bonnie Burgess.
03/01/201723 minutes 40 seconds
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Charles Payseur | The Death of Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan has died. Paul Bunyan has died and Johnny Appleseed is heading north. Not for vengeance, like Paul would have wanted. Not to beat the hills red or divert a river over those responsible for killing the legend, but because it finally seems time to revisit old scars, old pains. “We were the fire in the night,” Johnny remembers Paul saying one night, so long ago. | Copyright 2016 by Charles Payseur. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
27/12/201623 minutes 47 seconds
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Violet Allen | The Venus Effect

This is 2015. A party on a westside roof, just before midnight. Some Mia or Mina or throwing it, the white girl with the jean jacket and the headband and the two-bumps-of-molly grin, flitting from friend circle to friend circle, laughing loudly and refilling any empty cup in her eyeline from a bottomless jug of sangria, Maenad Sicagi. There are three kegs, a table of wines and liquor, cake and nachos inside. | Copyright 2016 by Violet Allen. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
20/12/20161 hour 3 minutes 22 seconds
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Carlie St. George | Every Day Is the Full Moon

There are things you know and things you don’t know. You find it helpful to make lists. For example: THINGS YOU KNOW: — A Wrinkle in Time is bullshit. You don’t care if it’s Riley Chu’s favorite childhood book, because she also identifies with Holden Caulfield, and thinks spiders are adorable. Riley’s opinions are not to be trusted. | Copyright 2016 by Carlie St. George. Narrated by Judy Young.
13/12/201644 minutes 32 seconds
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Rich Larson | The Cyborg, the Tinman, the Merchant of Death

Sarge knew before I did, of course, but I still had to take him the transfer orders. I didn’t know how to feel on my way to the officers’ mess. I would miss my unit and I would miss my Sarge, but it was an honor, everyone said, to get shifted up to Incisive Maneuvers. To work with the Cyborg. The Tinman. The Merchant of Death. | Copyright 2016 by Rich Larson. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
06/12/201630 minutes 44 seconds
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Helena Bell | I’ve Come to Marry the Princess

Before Jack can apologize to Nancy, she has to believe that dragons exist. Nancy’s mad at him because they were supposed to perform a skit at the talent show and he stood her up. They’ve been practicing it for two summers. It’s called “I’ve Come to Marry the Princess.” When Jack didn’t show, Nancy had to go on stage all by herself. He didn’t ditch her on purpose; his dragon egg was hatching and he needed to be there. | Copyright 2016 by Helena Bell. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
22/11/201639 minutes 52 seconds
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Alyssa Wong | Natural Skin

As I shrug on my jacket, moving across the carpet as quietly as I can, my sister Xuemei pushes her blankets aside and rolls over onto her belly with a soft murmur. “Liin jie. Where are you going?”Fuck. I glance at her across our shared bedroom, her pale skin glimmering in the near darkness. My shoes are already on; no use lying about it now. “Go back to sleep, kiddo.” | Copyright 2016 by Alyssa Wong. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
15/11/201638 minutes 2 seconds
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J.B. Park | Shooting Gallery

It took a while, but in the end we bargained it down to a shot right on my chest, with his mom’s gun. I didn’t know anything about guns, but the thing he showed me looked safe enough, a little pistol that was smaller than the palm it rested on. Then we ran into another problem: Nick wanted to bring his buddies, or at least the ones he trusted. | Copyright 2016 by J.B. Park. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/11/201620 minutes 50 seconds
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Chris Kluwe | Dinosaur Killers

Another rock fell today. Jaurez, on 54b. Pretty sure that’s who it was. Maybe. Didn’t talk much during the daily vidcalls, brown eyes peering out from beneath his shaggy black hair, floating every which way in zee-g. Supposed to keep it short, but company regs don’t apply. Not anymore. His kids were on Croia Hab. Partner too. Three of thousands, now just clouds of matter joining all the other debris. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
01/11/201615 minutes 38 seconds
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Mary Anne Mohanraj | Plea

Three families ahead of them in line. Many more behind, stretching along the beach; it had taken most of the day to get this far, and Eris’s sun was now setting, casting red-gold rays across the sand. Gwen resisted the urge to remind Jon to stand up straight. Their hosts--potential hosts--couldn’t stand up at all, and there was no reason cetaceans would even notice a human’s posture, much less care. | Copyright 2016 by Mary Anne Mohanraj. Narrated by Adenrele Ojo.
25/10/201634 minutes 48 seconds
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Kat Howard | The Key to St. Medusa’s

My parents knew I was a witch before I was born. The signs were there, they told me. They were unmistakable. Well. Not all of the signs, or they never would have kept me as long as they did. But enough: My mother’s hair, previously sedate and well-mannered, turned curly and wild during her pregnancy, sometimes even grabbing forks from other people’s hands at meals. | Copyright 2016 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
18/10/201635 minutes 23 seconds
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Stephen S. Power | Fade To Red: Three Interviews About Sebold’s Mars Trilogy

I’ll be the first to admit that my homemade rover didn’t do the original justice and my color treatment was a better reflection of my Hollywood thinking than of the Martian landscape. What appealed to JPL was how I captured the tension of driving the rover across Gale, where every pebble can put years of training to the test. They were also impressed that I left my Curiosity outside Hanksville, Utah, not far from the Mars Desert Research Station, then controlled it and its cameras from a van several miles away. And they were amazed that my route for approaching the Mars Light almost perfectly mirrored their own. | Copyright 2016 by Stephen S. Power. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki; Jim Freund; Claire Benedek.
11/10/201633 minutes 47 seconds
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Jeremiah Tolbert | The Cavern of the Screaming Eye

“Is that the collapsible, carbon fiber ten-foot pole from TrunchCo?” I slammed my locker door and spun the combo lock, but it was too late; the fanboy already seen my gear. I didn’t know what his interest was, but I didn’t want to encourage him. I said nothing. He continued: “I’ve got the one from a couple of years ago that folds up. It sucks." Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
04/10/20161 hour 1 minute 57 seconds
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An Owomoyela | Unauthorized Access

Prison 17 had been built long enough ago that it got next to no natural light—before all the studies that said that light was good for prison behavior and morale. And of course the rest of its district had been remodded in the past ten years, so the view from outside was a phalanx of solar panels over heat-reflecting paint, making a headache-inducing pattern of black and white. Prisons and hydroponics. Narrated by Jayme Grant.
27/09/20161 hour 18 minutes 35 seconds
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Jaymee Goh | Crocodile Tears

Everything we crocodiles taste in the water has meaning. It tells us about the people who live here: who does the washing, who harvests the water crops, what they are growing in their fields and belukar. We even know littler details: who is pregnant, who is dying, what couple has been frolicking in the river, heedless of the risks we pose to them. | Copyright 2016 by Jaymee Goh. Narrated by Judy Young.
20/09/201619 minutes 13 seconds
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Sean Williams | The Lives of Riley

The sirens are growing louder. Riley doesn’t know how the peacekeepers found out---he was so careful, so sure he’d covered every trace of his existence, all of it---but that’s less important now than getting away. He cannot afford to make any more mistakes. The night seems dark and empty as he leaves the warehouse through the back door. | Copyright 2016 by Sean Williams. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
13/09/201615 minutes 22 seconds
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Maria Dahvana Headley | See The Unseeable, Know The Unknowable

There are woods, and the woods are dark, though there are lights hung from the trees. Many of the lights no longer light up. Around the edge of the clearing, someone has strung a long chain of origami animals on barbed wire, some gilded paper and some newsprint, some pages torn out of books, some photographs, each animal snagged on its own spike. The animals have been rained on, and more than once. | Copyright 2016 by Maria Dahvana Headley. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
06/09/201640 minutes 34 seconds
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Tristina Wright | The Siren Son

The day the dragons came, Neal kissed a boy. This span of months would later be remembered as the Awakening and condensed to precisely three pages in a tenth-cycle history text. Those three pages would lie nestled between twelve pages on the War of the Sea (when the merfolk rose up and attacked the trade ships in retaliation for an attack against their king) and twenty-four pages on the Reconstruction Age. | Copyright 2016 by Tristina Wright. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
23/08/20161 hour 27 seconds
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Jeremiah Tolbert | Taste the Singularity at the Food Truck Circus

“There’s a stall in the new market where they cook just about anything on a stick.” These were the words, spoken by coworkers returning to the office from an early lunch, that drew me from my cubicle and onto the streets one late April afternoon. Everyone has their weaknesses, and mine has always been food. Anything? I thought. We’ll see about that. | Copyright 2016 by Jeremiah Tolbert. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
16/08/20161 hour 5 minutes 34 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | The Assassin’s Secret

The world’s greatest assassin lives on a private island. That’s so much a given that you must have known it already. You’ve seen all those movies about master thieves, brilliant scammers, unflappable secret agents, dangerous people who live on their own tropical islands and must be lured into one last job. He was the source of the cliché. | Copyright 2016 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
09/08/201637 minutes 43 seconds
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Mercurio D. Rivera | Those Brighter Stars

The call came through as I paced outside the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, puffing on an e-cig and watching my breath turn to vapor in the chill. “Hello?” The bald, skeletal image of a stranger stared back at me on my phone. “Ava,” he whispered. “Oh, Ava.” It took me a few seconds to regain my composure. “Dad?” I said. | Copyright 2016 by Mercurio D. Rivera. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
02/08/201646 minutes 10 seconds
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Jilly Dreadful | 5×5

Dear Scully, I should’ve been suspicious of the girl in the lab coat offering me psychic ice cream. But with you and your ponytail, the psychic ice cream just seemed so harmless. After it gave me a brain freeze that’d make the Sierra Nevada Mountains jealous, imagine my surprise when I started hearing people’s thoughts—thank science it’s only temporary! Good call on that, by the way. | Copyright 2016 by Jilly Dreadful. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki and Justine Eyre.
26/07/201628 minutes 55 seconds
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Kenneth Schneyer | Some Pebbles in the Palm

Once upon a time, there was a man who was born, who lived, and who died. We could leave the whole story at that, except that it would be misleading to write the sentence only once. He was born, he lived, and he died, was born, lived, died, bornliveddied. The first few words of a story are a promise. We will have this kind of experience, not that one. Here is a genre, here is a setting, here is a conflict, here is a character. We don’t know what is coming next, but we do know what is coming next. | Copyright 2016 by Kenneth Schneyer. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
19/07/201623 minutes 42 seconds
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Ted Kosmatka | The One Who Isn’t

It starts with light. Then heat. A slow bleed through of memory. Catchment, containment. A white-hot agony coursing through every nerve, building to a sizzling hum---and then it happens. Change of state. And what comes out the other side is something new. The woman held up the card. “What color do you see?” | Copyright 2016 by Ted Kosmatka. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
12/07/201647 minutes 45 seconds
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Rochita Loenen-Ruiz | Magnifica Angelica Superable

A woman from the street came in laughing from the cold. It was funny to see her with her black hair blowing all about her face. Her face was red. Red from the cold, red from the laughing, red from the rage that fueled that laughter. There are funnier things than a woman like that, but, well, she was the only one we got to look at that afternoon. Her name was some kind of long. It was Magnifica Angelica something at the end. | Copyright 2016 by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
05/07/201623 minutes 36 seconds
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Vandana Singh | Delhi

Tonight he is intensely aware of the city: its ancient stones, the flat-roofed brick houses, threads of clotheslines, wet, bright colors waving like pennants, neem tree-lined roads choked with traffic. There’s a bus going over the bridge under which he has chosen to sleep. The night smells of jasmine, and stale urine, and the dust of the cricket field on the other side of the road. A man is lighting a bidi near him: face lean, half in shadow, and he thinks he sees himself. | 2004 by Vandana Singh. Originally published in So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy, edited by Uppinder Mehan and Nalo Hopkinson. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Vikas Adam.
28/06/201657 minutes 51 seconds
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Steven Barnes | Fifty Shades of Grays

Terrorist. That’s what they call me, but I am something worse: both successful traitor and failed saboteur. I want to die, for all of this to be over. For my last request, I asked to have paper and pen to write my last will and testament. They won’t let me have it, forcing me to use the mindsynch. Damned Traveler tech. Maybe they’re scared I’ll ram the pen up my nose, scribble on my brain, and cheat the hangman. | Copyright 2016 by Steven Barnes. Narrated by Vikas Adam.
28/06/20161 hour 33 minutes 39 seconds
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Terence Taylor | Wilson’s Singularity

Wilson woke in bed, back to back with his husband, as warm morning sunlight crept around the room and settled on his face like a lazy cat. He tried to stay asleep, tried to block it out by nestling deeper under the covers, but it was no use. Now that he was awake, Unity would pop up the time and temperature in midair before him, and offer news updates and messages. The news would be filled with his name and today’s ceremony, and he’d heard enough about that for the last week. | Copyright 2016 by Terence Taylor. Narrated by Miebaka Yohannes.
21/06/201640 minutes 20 seconds
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Sofia Samatar | The Red Thread

Dear Fox, Hey. It’s Sahra. I’m tagging you from center M691, Black Hawk, South Dakota. It’s night and the lights are on in the center. It’s run by an old white guy with a hanging lip—he’s talking to my mom at the counter. Mom’s okay. We’ve barely mentioned you since we left the old group in the valley, just a few weeks after you disappeared. She said your name once, when I found one of your old slates covered with equations. “Well,” she said. “That was Fox.” | Copyright 2016 by Sofia Samatar. Narrated by Lisa Renee Pitts.
21/06/201638 minutes 11 seconds
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John Chu | Double Time

Skaters in black practice outfits swerved around Shelly. Her music was playing over the PA system. She had right of way. A scattering of figure skating fans sat in the rink’s hard, blue, plastic seats. Even to a practice session, some had brought their flags. Her mom sat near the boards and waved her US flag as though if only it had shook more fiercely last night, Shelly would have landed her triple Lutz-triple toe jump combination in the short program. | Copyright 2014 by John Chu. Originally published in Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Letty Valladares.
14/06/201640 minutes 48 seconds
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Kevin Jared Hosein | Hiranyagarbha

Remember when I first see it while boating through the mangroves in Caroni Swamp. Was early morning—you coulda still see the flicker of a candlefly here and there. I was following a trail of dead tilapia floating belly-up in the water. Wasn’t the first time I see something like that—but not to this extent. Their lifeless bodies was washing up on the silt. Black halos of corbeaux circling overhead, like angels of death. | Copyright 2016 by Kevin Jared Hosein. Narrated by Vikas Adam.
14/06/201618 minutes 18 seconds
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Nick T. Chan | Salto Mortal

Three days ago, Paul had thrown Mary onto the kitchen floor and kicked her everywhere except her face. For the first two days, the only time she left her bed was to go to the bathroom, drops of clotted blood from her insides deposited like coins in the toilet bowl. On the third day, high on oxycodone, Mary dreamed about the lucha libre. She hadn’t thought about wrestling since she’d left Mexico, but the hallucination was as bright and sharp as grief. | Copyright 2016 by Nick T. Chan. Narrated by Jeannette Godoy.
07/06/20161 hour 10 minutes 13 seconds
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Karin Lowachee | A Good Home

I brought him home from the VA shelter and sat him in front of the window because the doctors said he liked that. The shelter had set him in safe mode for transport until I could voice activate him again, and recalibrate, but safe mode still allowed for base functions like walking, observation, and primary speech. He seemed to like the window because he blinked once. Their kind didn’t blink ordinarily, and they never wept, so I always wondered where the sadness went. | Copyright 2016 by Karin Lowachee. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
07/06/201657 minutes 27 seconds
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Wole Talabi | Wednesday’s Story

My story has a strange shape to it. It has a beginning and middle and, of course, I need not tell you that it has an end because it is the nature of all things to end, especially stories. But this story . . . well, it bunches up in places and twists upon itself in ways that no good story should. The sharpness of its arcs flare and wane in unexpected places because it is a story made of other stories. | Copyright 2016 by Wole Talabi. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
24/05/201648 minutes 49 seconds
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Mari Ness | Deathlight

Els wondered again if she should start recording her final words. If she could start recording her final words. There was cold, and then there was cold, and the Tolstar was cold. Dun had shut off every heating system that wasn’t absolutely needed to keep systems running outside of the main control room, and even that he left cold enough to let ice crystals form. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
17/05/201647 minutes 1 second
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Seanan McGuire | The Jaws That Bite, The Claws That Catch

Mist flowed through the Tulgey Wood like treacle, slow and thick and unyielding. Squeaks and muffled chitters came from the underbrush as rabbits, foxes, and adolescent toves that hadn’t sensed the weather changing were caught and drowned in the gray-white mire. It would clear by noon, burnt off by the sun, and then the scavengers would come, making a feast of the small mist-struck creatures. | Copyright 2016 by Seanan McGuire. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
10/05/201647 minutes 21 seconds
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An Owomoyela | Three Points Masculine

I was serving in Baxon just north of Hescher, guard-dogging a queue of first responders heading into the riot zones, and John caught my eye. Her beard caught my eye. Some troublemaker flaunting the rules, I thought, or a guy sneaking in under cover of audacity, thinking the Womens Volunteer Corps was a good place to get laid. If that was the case, he was looking to get roughed up, and it was my job to oblige. | Copyright 2016 by An Owomoyela. Narrated by Andrea Thompson.
03/05/201641 minutes 6 seconds
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Matthew Bailey | The Birth Will Take Place on a Mutually Acceptable Research Vessel

When they inform you the birth will take place on a mutually acceptable research vessel, you nod and smile as if it was your choice all along. Because smiling and nodding is what you’ve been doing since the beginning. Because this is bigger than you. Because at least this way it feels like you’re being honored and feted instead of herded and controlled. Mr. Kagawa, courteous and diplomatic by profession, does his best to make it all seem like a request. | Copyright 2016 by Matthew Bailey. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
26/04/201641 minutes 12 seconds
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Rudy Rucker | The Knobby Giraffe

My name’s Irit Ziv. I have a low-rent apartment in the East Village that I used to share with my girlfriend, Shirley Chen. It’s April now, and Shirley died four months ago. Ever since then, I’ve been visiting visit Ma and Pa’s flat in Brooklyn Heights a lot. An awesome spot, with a full view of lower Manhattan. The trees by the river are turning green. I’m a grad student at NYU, trying to finish a PhD thesis in the physics department. Physics was probably a bad choice for me, but it’s too late to change. | Copyright 2016 by Rudy Rucker. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
19/04/201628 minutes 28 seconds
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Carrie Vaughn | Origin Story

Living in Commerce City, odds are you’re going to get caught up in something someday---pinned down in the crossfire of some epic battle between heroes who can fly and villains with ray guns, held captive in a hostage crisis involving an entire football stadium, or even trapped by a simple jewelry heist or bus hijacking. When my turn came, I got stuck in a bank robbery. | Copyright 2016 by Carrie Vaughn. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
12/04/201634 minutes 57 seconds
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Nghi Vo | Dragon Brides

Dragon brides are notoriously difficult women. We have lived with dragons, after all, those strange and terrible animals with their curiously human eyes, and some of us come back down from the broken mountains with their hisses still in our ears. I was taken by the green dragon of Mahr when I was fifteen, and it was a full year before my lord brought me back down. Forty years would pass before I would come to those steep paths again. | Copyright 2016 by Nghi Vo. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
05/04/201627 minutes 15 seconds
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Marie Vibbert | Michael Doesn’t Hate His Mother

At rest, coiled up, Michael’s mother is about the size of a riding mower. Michael’s living room is not much bigger than her. With a shudder, she rises. Her little piston feet march, pulling her out of her coil. Lifters above the feet kick out like dancers in a line. She snakes into the kitchen. Julie shrieks in horrified delight. Their mother opens the refrigerator. Julie and Michael watch as she prepares them lunch. She nudges them into chairs at the table. They haven’t eaten at the table in a long time. Maybe she’s getting better. | Copyright 2016 by Marie Vibbert. Narrated by Larry Nemecek.
22/03/201631 minutes 47 seconds
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Craig DeLancey | RedKing

Tain held a pistol toward me. The black gel of the handle pulsed, waiting to be gripped. “Better take this,” she said. I shook my head. “I never use them.” We sat in an unmarked police cruiser, the steering wheel packed away in the dashboard. Tain’s face was a pale shimmer in the cool blue light of the car’s entertainment system. “Your file says you are weapons trained.” “Yeah,” I said, “I got one of those cannons at home, locked in my kitchen drawer.” | Copyright 2016 by Craig DeLancey. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
15/03/201646 minutes 1 second
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Rich Larson | Sparks Fly

“There’s a dark side to sloths,” she said, using her straw to plumb the ice at the bottom of her glass, flicking red-blonde hair out of blue-blue eyes. “Sometimes they go to grab a branch, but accidentally grab their own arm, and then fall to their deaths.” “Because of the mossy fur?” I guessed, also guessing at the best way to put my hand onto hers on the bubbled-glass patio table. I could see her suntanned legs underneath and it put sparks under my skin. | Copyright 2016 by Rich Larson. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/03/201626 minutes 52 seconds
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Caroline M. Yoachim | Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0

You take a shortcut through the hydroponics bay on your way to work, and notice that the tomato plants are covered in tiny crawling insects that look like miniature beetles. One of the insects skitters up your leg, so you reach down and brush it off. It bites your hand. The area around the bite turns purple and swollen. You run down a long metal hallway to the Medical Clinic, grateful for the artificially generated gravity that defies the laws of physics and yet is surprisingly common in fictional space stations. | Copyright 2016 by Caroline M. Yoachim. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
01/03/201619 minutes 44 seconds
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Karin Tidbeck | Starfish

On the third day of the sightseeing trip, among walrus-laden icebergs, they run into slurry. At the fore, Skipper sticks a boat hook into the water. “There are plenty of critters here,” he says. “It’s like playing grab bag. You’ll always catch something on the hook.” He thrusts the boat hook up and down a couple of times, stirs it in the slush, and pulls it out again. A transparent little rag is impaled on the tip. | Copyright 2016 by Karin Tidbeck. Narrated by Judy Young.
23/02/201623 minutes
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Sarah Pinsker | Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea

The rock star washed ashore at high tide. Earlier in the day, Bay had seen something bobbing far out in the water. Remnant of a rowboat, perhaps, or something better. She waited until the tide ebbed, checked her traps and tidal pools among the rocks before walking toward the inlet where debris usually beached. All kinds of things washed up if Bay waited long enough. | Copyright 2016 by Sarah Pinsker. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
16/02/20161 hour 7 minutes 43 seconds
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Jeremiah Tolbert | Not by Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass

The scent of fresh lilacs and the boom of a cannon shot muffled by distance prefaced the arrival of the rabbit hole. Louisa jerked upright in her seat, and her book fell from her lap to slap against the cold pavement of the station floor. Dropping a book would normally cause her to cringe, but instead she allowed herself a spark of excitement as a metal maintenance door creaked open on rusty hinges. Golden light spilled out onto dazed commuters. Was this it? Was this finally it? | Copyright 2016 by Jeremiah Tolbert. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
09/02/201640 minutes 2 seconds
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Rachael K. Jones | Charlotte Incorporated

At night she pores over the corpus catalogues online: Incorporated Incorporated, Modern Anatomy, and Shoulders, Knees, & Toes. She weighs the merits of femur length and belly fat, redundant kidneys, attached earlobes, and pronated feet. Most people buy pre-configured corpi with symmetrical faces and standard organ kits, but she wants a custom build. Something completely unique. | 2016 by Rachael K. Jones. Narrated by Karyn O'Bryant.
02/02/201633 minutes 7 seconds
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Keith Brooke | Beyond the Heliopause

As soon as the recorded message pinged in her peripheral vision, she accepted and listened to the call on her cochlear implant. “Suzanne, I need to see you. It’s urgent. I . . . well, I’ll tell you when I see you. All my love.” | Copyright 2016 by Keith Brooke and Eric Brown. Narrated by Bonnie MacBird.
26/01/201647 minutes 55 seconds
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Kat Howard | Maiden, Hunter, Beast

She had never intended to be a nineteen-year-old virgin. She wasn’t opposed to the idea of sex, didn’t think the simple act of having sex with someone had to be a big deal, and sure, she went to Mass and knew what the priests taught, but she figured God was actually a lot less concerned about that sort of thing than they were. She just hadn’t ever wanted to badly enough. | Copyright 2016 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
19/01/201622 minutes 22 seconds
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JY Yang | Secondhand Bodies

“Admit it, the only option left for that body is getting rid of it.” Cousin Aloysius says this as he sprawls uninvited along the length of my bed, and I hate him for that. | Copyright 2016 by JY Yang. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
12/01/201657 minutes 25 seconds
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Will McIntosh | The Savannah Liars Tour

My essence, my soul, whatever you wanted to call it, burst into that place beyond places. After dozens of trips, the ecstasy of the reverse-explosion was as intense as the first time. | Copyright 2016 by Will McIntosh. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
05/01/201632 minutes 6 seconds
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Jay Lake | Ex Libris Noctis

Beatrice’s heart skipped and skipped again, the tiny pistons clattering in their brassbound prison. Her ribs ached, and there were narrow darts of pain throughout her chest. She was dying. | Copyright 2015 by Jay Lake. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
22/12/201559 minutes 33 seconds
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Aidan Doyle | Beneath the Silent Stars

Jean-Paul crawled out of storage and stretched his arms and legs. He avoided going into storage whenever he could help it, but the ship had insisted this time. “Hello, Jean-Paul,” Unattributed Source said. “I woke you as soon as we arrived within visual range of Amala.” | Copyright 2014 by Aidan Doyle. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
15/12/201530 minutes 38 seconds
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Rachel Swirsky | Tea Time

Begin at the beginning: His many hats. Felt derbies in charcoal and camel and black. Sporting caps and straw boaters. Gibuses covered in corded silk for nights at the theatre. Domed bowlers with dashingly narrow brims. The ratty purple silk top hat, banded with russet brocade, that he keeps by his bedside. | Copyright 2015 by Rachel Swirsky. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/12/201538 minutes 50 seconds
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Merc Fenn Wolfmoor | Tomorrow When We See the Sun

Wolflord (title): nomadic, nameless survivors of destroyed warships; those who did not accept ritual immolation during the Decommission. No allegiance to the Principality; outlaws. The antiquated title is self-taken from the first deserter, whose name and memory were erased upon execution; precise origin unknown. | Copyright 2015 by A. Merc Rustad. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
01/12/201559 minutes 23 seconds
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Kameron Hurley | The Light Brigade

The war has turned us into light. Transforming us into light is the fastest way to travel from one front to another, and there are many fronts, now. I always wanted to be a hero. I always wanted to be on the side of light. It’s funny how things work out. | Copyright 2015 by Kameron Hurley. Originally published on Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
24/11/201536 minutes 8 seconds
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Toh EnJoe | Printable

Sometimes I set stories in San Francisco because I have friends who live there. No family yet, sadly. I like to imagine them reading what I write and maybe smiling. I’m setting this story in Tokyo-Tokyo for the same exact reason. Greg, for one, lives in Tokyo-Tokyo. | Copyright 2014 by Toh EnJoe (translated by David Boyd). Originally published in GRANTA. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
17/11/201532 minutes 39 seconds
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Helena Bell | When We Were Giants

There was a game we played at my primary school called “Giant in the forest.” Every day, even if it rained, the fourth and fifth grade teachers took us to this small playground with a jungle gym, swings, and a big grassy space where we could run if we wanted to. | Copyright 2015 by Helena Bell. Narrated by Judy Young.
10/11/201526 minutes 10 seconds
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Naomi Kanakia | Here is My Thinking on a Situation That Affects Us All

I am a spaceship. My insides are oozy, and my outsides are metal. If you were to cut me open with a laser-gun, then it would not precisely hurt, but it certainly wouldn’t be a nice thing to do. | Copyright 2015 by Rahul Kanakia. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/11/201520 minutes 28 seconds
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Nike Sulway | The Karen Joy Fowler Book Club

Ten years ago, Clara had attended a creative writing workshop run by Karen Joy Fowler, and what Karen Joy told her was: "We are living in a science fictional world." During the workshop, Karen Joy also kept saying, "I am going to talk about endings, but not yet." But Karen Joy never did get around to talking about endings, and Clara left the workshop still feeling as if she was suspended within it, waiting for the second shoe to drop. | Copyright 2015 by Nike Sulway. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
27/10/201558 minutes 6 seconds
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Gregory Benford | Time Shards

It had all gone very well, Brooks told himself. Very well indeed. He hurried along the side corridor, his black dress shoes clicking hollowly on the old tiles. This was one of the oldest and most rundown of the Smithsonian’s buildings; too bad they didn’t have the money to knock it down. Funding. Everything was a matter of funding. He pushed open the door of the barnlike workroom and called out, “John? How did you like the ceremony?” | Copyright 1979 by Gregory Benford. Originally published in UNIVERSE 9, edited by Terry Carr. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
20/10/201525 minutes 29 seconds
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Kevin Brockmeier | The Invention of Separate People

Once, not so long ago but before our time, all people were the same person. That’s not to say that they weren’t immersed in their own lives; they were, of course, as people always have been—millions of fish in their millions of bowls. It’s just that they were equally immersed in everyone else’s. | Copyright 2014 by Kevin Brockmeier. Originally published in UNSTUCK 3. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
13/10/201523 minutes 47 seconds
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Maria Dahvana Headley | Solder and Seam

There was a man who built a whale out of wood. He built it in the middle of a field out in the dry country, where nobody bothered him but birds and a couple of farm cats. The whale was white, and it took two years to build. He made it out of planks from old barns, which he stole in the night. He didn’t steal them from anyone who’d miss them. Most people were gone. There were a lot of things falling down. | 2015 by Maria Dahvana Headley. | Art © 2015 by Reiko Murakami. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
06/10/201534 minutes 24 seconds
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Heather Lindsley | Werewolf Loves Mermaid

How They Met: They met at a wedding. He was in the wedding party. She was serving canapés at the reception. On some level, reclining in a fountain while holding a tray of canapés is more efficient than circulating through a crowd with them. On most levels, it isn’t. “Canapé?” the mermaid asked the werewolf when he wandered near the fountain. “Isn’t this just garnish?” said the werewolf, picking up a wilted stem of parsley. | Copyright 2015 by Heather Lindsley. Narrated by Harlan Ellison®.
22/09/201528 minutes 18 seconds
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Megan Arkenberg | All in a Hot and Copper Sky

I have written a thousand letters to her in my head. Part of me is always writing to her, while I sit in front of the dusty yellow windows in the coffee shops on Market Street, or roll sticky cinnamon dough on my cold granite counter, or stand in the smooth gray sand at the very edge of the sea. I never wrote to her while she was alive, not even at the end, when letters might have comforted us both. | Copyright 2015 by Megan Arkenberg. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
15/09/201543 minutes 24 seconds
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Sean McMullen | The Ninth Seduction

The sun had descended behind Lakefell as seven times seven goblin artisans gathered before the throne of Castellerine Lynder in the Serpentine Garden, their choicest and most enchanting creations for the year past held high. Chancellor Arrender walked slowly along the lines of scarlet cushions that glowed softly around the delights placed upon them, inspecting what the castellerine would soon consider. | Copyright 2015 by Sean McMullen. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
08/09/201556 minutes 24 seconds
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Caroline M. Yoachim | Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World

Mei dreamed of a new Earth. She took her telescope onto the balcony of her North Philadelphia apartment and pointed it east, at the sky above the Trenton Strait, hoping for a clear view of Mars. Tonight the light pollution from Jersey Island wasn’t as bad as usual, and she was able to make out the ice caps and dark shadow of Syrtis Major. | Copyright 2015 by Caroline M. Yoachim. Narrated by Karyn O'Bryant.
01/09/201553 minutes 35 seconds
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Sam J. Miller | Ghosts of Home

The bank didn’t pay for the oranges. They should have — offerings were clearly listed as a reimbursable expense — but the turnaround time and degree of nudging needed when Agnes submitted receipts made the whole process prohibitive. If she bugged Trask too much around the wrong things she might lose the job, and with it the gas card, which was worth a lot more money than the oranges. | Copyright 2015 by Sam J. Miller. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
25/08/201557 minutes 28 seconds
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Sarah Pinsker | And We Were Left Darkling

I don’t remember her birth. My dream baby, the baby I have in my dreams, the one who crashed into my head one night and took roost. She is a day old, a week old, a year old, eight years old, three weeks old, a day old. She has fine blond hair, except when she has tight black curls. Once she had cornrows that lengthened every time I looked away. “Her hair grows faster than I can cut it,” I said to my dream family. | Copyright 2015 by Sarah Pinsker. Narrated by Judy Young.
18/08/201529 minutes 37 seconds
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Genevieve Valentine | Given the Advantage of the Blade

Put them all in a room together, and give them each a knife. They’ll hardly notice the change of circumstances. Their tales are nothing but this struggle, and they’re well enough used to being run through. You begin. At first it would be chaos. Fragile beauty and a kind heart does you no good here. (Never does; that’s what made it fairy stories, that so many people would help them just for kindness.) | Copyright 2015 by Genevieve Valentine. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
11/08/201526 minutes 7 seconds
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Chen Qiufan | The Smog Society

Lao Sun lived on the seventeenth floor facing the open street, nothing between him and the sky. If he woke in the morning to darkness, it was the smog’s doing for sure. Through the murky air outside the window, he had to squint to see the tall buildings silhouetted against the yellow-gray background like a sandy-colored relief print. The cars on the road all had their highbeams on and their horns blaring, crammed one against the other at the intersection into one big mess. | Copyright 2015 by Chen Qiufan. Translated by Ken Liu and Carmen Yiling Yan. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
04/08/201537 minutes 26 seconds
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Taiyo Fujii | Violation of the TrueNet Security Act

The bell for the last task of the night started chiming before I got to my station. I had the office to myself, and a mug of espresso. It was time to start tracking zombies. I took the mug of espresso from the beverage table, and zigzagged through the darkened cube farm toward the one strip of floor still lit for third shift staff, only me. Zombies are orphan Internet services. They wander aimlessly, trying to execute some programmed task. | English translation copyright 2015 VIZ Media. Translated by Jim Hubbert. Japanese version copyright 2013 by Taiyo Fujii. Originally published in SF MAGAZINE in Japan. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/07/20151 hour 2 minutes 31 seconds
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Andrea Hairston | Saltwater Railroad (Part 2)

For the next few weeks Delia wrestled with hope. She walked the Island talking with Rainbow, who always lashed the tube to her back and stuffed cornbread in one pocket and a peach in another. Delia didn’t show Rainbow the hidden valley, just the inhospitable perimeter. An occasional ship passed in the distance. Nothing got close to the Island. | Copyright 2015 by Andrea Hairston. Narrated by Lisa Renee Pitts.
21/07/20151 hour 12 minutes 12 seconds
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Andrea Hairston | Saltwater Railroad (Part 1)

Miz Delia’s Island was protected by deadly reefs on the Georgia/Florida side and nine hundred feet of jagged cliffs on the other. Indians called it Thunder Rock, a place where the wind and sea played rough and tumble. Spaniards named it Ghost Reef because of whirlpools, deadly fog, and wailing drowned folk who wouldn’t rest. English sailors claimed that Delia was a vengeful slave haint, howling demon talk and luring men to a bloody death. | Copyright 2015 by Andrea Hairston. Narrated by Lisa Renee Pitts.
14/07/20151 hour 9 minutes 28 seconds
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Carrie Vaughn | Crazy Rhythm

George was about to declare his undying love for Annabell when the front of the train station fell over. Ross, the actor playing George, yelped and dashed away, his army cap flying off. Arlene — Annabell — merely put her hands on her hips and glared at the offending backdrop, a piece of dressed-up plywood that looked very much like the front of a train station, until it collapsed and revealed the braces behind it. | Copyright 2015 by Carrie Vaughn, LLC. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
07/07/20151 hour 1 minute 58 seconds
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AMJ Hudson | Red Run

Hinahon didn’t belong in that hotel. On that Monday, she should have been at her apartment on East Bradford Street preparing to meet Natalie at a cozy restaurant downtown. It was their two year anniversary, and she was expected in a few hours. | Copyright 2014 by AMJ Hudson. Originally published in ARDEN, VOLUME XVI. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
23/06/201541 minutes 13 seconds
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Amal El-Mohtar | Madeleine

Madeleine remembers being a different person. It strikes her when she’s driving, threading her way through farmland, homesteads, facing down the mountains around which the road winds. She remembers being thrilled at the thought of travel, of the self she would discover over the hills and far away. She remembers laughing with friends, looking forward to things, to a future. | Copyright 2015 by Amal El-Mohtar. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
23/06/201547 minutes 19 seconds
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Chaz Brenchley | The Astrakhan, the Homburg, and the Red Red Coal

“Paris? Paris is ruined for me, alas. It has become a haven for Americans — or should I say a heaven? When good Americans die, perhaps they really do go to Paris. That would explain the flood.” “What about the others, Mr. Holland? The ones who aren’t good?” “Ah. Have you not heard? I thought that was common knowledge. When bad Americans die, they go to America." | Copyright 2015 Chaz Brenchley. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
16/06/201558 minutes 33 seconds
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K.M. Szpara | Nothing is Pixels Here

“System Error ahead. Please turn around,” the Concierge’s voice speaks over the metallic growl of my dirt bike. I rev the throttle and lean into the warm wind. My seat bounces as mud ricochets up around me. Ahead, knobby limbs and crisp leaves dissolve into broken pixels. The SimGrid mutes as the soft voice fills the space between my ears, again. “System Error ahead. Please turn around.” | Copyright 2015 by K.M. Szpara. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
16/06/201543 minutes 8 seconds
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RJ Edwards | Black Holes

“What do you think it would feel like to die in a black hole?” Joey asked, then immediately added, “Not being morbid.” Kant laughed. He had a loud belly laugh that made the bare bedroom feel full and bright. The mattress they were lying on had no bed frame, and, at the moment, no sheets. The only set not being used as makeshift curtains were drying in the basement. | Copyright 2012 by RJ Edwards. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
09/06/201527 minutes 33 seconds
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E. Saxey | Melioration

Gramophone music crackles out over the quad. “Read that last part again, Jay,” Professor Norris says. I raise my voice. “‘They’ has been used as a singular pronoun since Chaucer: whoso fyndeth hym —” A champagne cork pops, the drinkers cheer. I can’t compete. “Oh, for goodness’ sake.” “You don’t approve?” asks the Prof. “This college isn’t a theme park.” | Copyright 2015 by E. Saxey. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
09/06/201516 minutes 7 seconds
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John Chu | 勢孤取和 (Influence Isolated, Make Peace)

Jake acquired his target as soon as he stepped into the cafeteria. For the good of the war, he had passed without a trace through forests and mountains to reconnoiter and assassinate. For the good of the subsequent peace, Jake now needed to have lunch with a random stranger and emulate a human being. | Copyright 2015 by John Chu. Narrated by Vikas Adam.
02/06/201555 minutes 57 seconds
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Kate M. Galey | Emergency Repair

I work the tip of a flathead screwdriver into the barely visible notch along the sternum and pry up the aluminum polymer casing covering the android’s chest. My fingers burn when they make contact with the exposed skeletal components — no time to let it cool down. If I were back in the R&D lab at Hess Industrial, I’d spray the unit with a liquid nitrogen compound to get it down to temperature quickly and use therma flec gloves to handle the carbon-nanotube motors. | Copyright 2015 by Kate M. Galey. Narrated by Cassandra Campbell.
02/06/201526 minutes 44 seconds
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Matthew Hughes | The Blood of a Dragon

The moment Erm Kaslo’s flesh touched the substance of the entity, he understood everything — but only for that moment. Then it turned out that everything was far, far too much for a human brain to take in all at once. He felt as if his skull was straining not to burst its seams, and as if the mind it housed was a thimble into which someone had crammed a barrel’s worth of knowledge. Just sorting all the information into gross categories would be the work of several lifetimes; subdividing it into manageable portions would take millennia. | Copyright 2015 by Matthew Hughes. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
26/05/20151 hour 3 minutes 45 seconds
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Seanan McGuire | The Myth of Rain

Female spotted owls have a call that doesn’t sound like it should come from a bird of prey. It’s high-pitched and unrealistic, like a squeaky toy that’s being squeezed just a little bit too hard. Lots of people who hear them in the woods don’t even realize that they’ve heard an owl. They assume it’s a bug, or a dog running wild through the evergreens, beloved chewy bone clenched tightly in its jaws. | Copyright 2015 by Seanan McGuire. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
19/05/201541 minutes 36 seconds
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Annie Bellet | Goodnight Earth

Karron leaned over the rail of her boat, the Tarik, and watched the meteor shower from its reflection in the river below. The bright streaks of light looked like underwater fireflies and the Ring more like a soft blue disk, a monochromatic rainbow that ruled their lives in constant reminder of how broken the world was. “Water, water, everywhere,” she murmured to herself. | Copyright 2015 by Annie Bellet. Originally published in THE END HAS COME, edited by John Joseph Adams & Hugh Howey. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Emily Rankin.
12/05/201538 minutes 26 seconds
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Merrie Haskell | Sun’s East, Moon’s West

I shot the sparrow because I was starving. Though truthfully, I was aiming at a pheasant; the silver snow and the silver birches played tricks with the light, and as if by magic, pheasant turned into sparrow. When I saw what my arrow had done, I cried with empty eyes, too dry to make tears. | Copyright 2009 by Merrie Haskell. Originally published in ELECTRIC VELOCIPEDE. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Judy Young.
05/05/201559 minutes 3 seconds
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Dale Bailey | The Ministry of the Eye

Mornings were queues and cigarettes. Queues for the underground turnstiles and queues for the train, queues for stale bagels and queues for lukewarm coffee at the kiosk outside the station. By the time he queued up at the west gate of the pit, Alexander Gerst — tall and grizzled at forty-five, slope-shouldered and running slowly to fat — was lucky if he wasn’t already halfway through his daily ration of tobacco. | Copyright 2015 by Dale Bailey. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/04/20151 hour 30 minutes 37 seconds
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Jason Gurley | Quiet Town

She was in the laundry room, bent over a basket of Benjamin’s muddy trousers and grass-stained T-shirts and particularly odorous socks, when a rap sounded on the screen door. She didn’t hear at first; she’d noticed, bent over there, a cluster of webbed, purplish veins just below her thigh, beside her knee. She didn’t like seeing them there. They were like a slow-moving car wreck, those veins, a little darker, a little more severe each time she looked. | Copyright 2015 by Jason Gurley. Narrated by Kimberly Farr.
21/04/201525 minutes 3 seconds
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Violet Allen | We’ll Be Together Forever

Audrey took her dinner quietly, without words beyond the obligatories (please, thank you, no, work was fine), and I obliged her the silence. We just ate, together but not together, in that way that you do when there are too many things to say. The meal in question was on the bad side of decent, days-old stir-fried noodles from the Japanese place down the street from her apartment, reheated and reconstituted into a slimy Pan-Asian gruel with the addition of fish sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, curry powder, chili powder, and neglect. | Copyright 2015 by Violet Allen. Narrated by Peter Alzado.
14/04/201538 minutes 30 seconds
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Kat Howard | The Universe, Sung in Stars

There is music in the stars. The stars, the planets, the asteroids, the galaxies. Everything that is flung, whirling in orbit through space and time. We dwell inside an enormous, ever-changing symphony, and each of the many universes sings a song of its own. I replicate them. | Copyright 2015 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
07/04/201521 minutes 32 seconds
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Ursula K. Le Guin | The New Atlantis

Coming back from my Wilderness Week, I sat by an odd sort of man in the bus. For a long time we didn’t talk; I was mending stockings and he was reading. Then the bus broke down a few miles outside Gresham. Boiler trouble, the way it generally is when the driver insists on trying to go over thirty. It was a Supersonic Superscenic Deluxe Longdistance coal-burner, with Home Comfort, that means a toilet, and the seats were pretty comfortable. | Copyright 1975 by Ursula K. Le Guin. Originally published in THE NEW ATLANTIS AND OTHER NOVELLAS OF SCIENCE FICTION, edited by Robert Silverberg. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
24/03/20151 hour 23 minutes 46 seconds
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Cat Sparks | Hot Rods

The winds blow pretty regular across the dried-up lake. Traction's good — when luck's on your side you can reach three hundred KPH or faster. Harper watches the hot rods race on thick white salt so pure and bright the satellites use it for colour calibration. Harper doesn't care about souped-up hot rods. | Copyright 2015 by Cat Sparks. Narrated by Cassandra de Cuir.
17/03/20151 hour 2 minutes 28 seconds
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Matthew Hughes | A Face of Black Iron

Diomedo Obron and the Archon Filidor passed the evening and much of the night in the latter’s study, discussing the next day’s journey into the wastes of Barran and the expected confrontation with whatever survivor of the Nineteenth Aeon wizards’ cabal still lurked in the Seventh Plane. Erm Kaslo struggled to try to understand the concepts the two thaumaturges threw onto the table — sometimes literally. | Copyright 2015 by Matthew Hughes. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
10/03/201558 minutes 45 seconds
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Linda Nagata | The Way Home

The demon, like all the others before it, appeared first in the form of a horizontal plume of rust-red grit and vapor. Almost a kilometer away, it moved low to the ground, camouflaged by the waves of hot, shimmering air that rose from the desert hardpan. Lieutenant Matt Whitebird watched it for many seconds before he was sure it was more than a mirage. Then he announced to his squad, “Incoming." Copyright 2015 by Linda Nagata. Originally published in OPERATION ARCANA, edited by John Joseph Adams. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/03/201545 minutes 20 seconds
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David Barr Kirtley | Veil of Ignorance

Something strange is happening to me. We’re at Conrad’s vacation house, a sprawling mansion that orbits the gas giant Hades-3. (His father owns both the house and the planet.) Conrad is in the living room watching sports. His girlfriend Alyssa is standing by the mirror in the bathroom, fixing her hair. Her friend Kat is sitting near the bay windows, watching the stars and the roiling vermeil clouds on the world below. | Copyright 2004 by David Barr Kirtley. Originally published in ALL THE RAGE THIS YEAR, edited by Keith Olexa. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
24/02/201532 minutes 14 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | Cerile and the Journeyer

The journeyer was still a young man when he embarked on his search for the all-powerful witch Cerile. He was bent and gray-haired a lifetime later when he found a map to her home in the tomb of the forgotten kings. The map directed him halfway across the world, over the Souleater mountains, through the Curtains of Night, past the scars of the Eternal War, and across a great grassy plain, to the outskirts of Cerile’s Desert. | Copyright 1995 by Adam-Troy Castro. Originally published in 100 WICKED LITTLE WITCH STORIES, edited by Stefan Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg, and Martin H. Greenberg. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
17/02/201518 minutes 50 seconds
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Maria Dahvana Headley | And the Winners Will Be Swept Out to Sea

I’m in your house, wearing one of your shirts. I’m sitting on your floor, with all the drawers of every desk and dresser open. I have them poured out and I’m looking at what you’ve kept. Your old laptops and love letters, your hard drives full of photos and emails, your string and wire tangled into little knots, hard and tiny, twisted so tightly that I can’t crush them more than they’ve already been crushed. | Copyright 2015 by Maria Dahvana Headley. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
10/02/201547 minutes 40 seconds
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Brooke Bolander | And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead

The mobster has a gun pressed to Rack’s forehead. The mobster has a god-shitting GUN pressed to her partner’s fucking forehead, and the only thing Rhye can do is watch and scream as the man smiles at her and pulls the trigger and blows Rack’s perfect brains out from between his ears. | Copyright 2015 by Brooke Bolander. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
03/02/20151 hour 25 minutes 22 seconds
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Jeremiah Tolbert | Men of Unborrowed Vision

We are not terrorists. We have not done this because we wish to terrify or instill fear. We do what we have done in order to bring the truth to everyone, a truth that burns away the lies and leaves only itself. We are no more terrorists than the invisible hand of the market is a terrorist. | Copyright 2015 by Jeremiah Tolbert. Narrated by Jamye Grant and Stefan Rudnicki.
27/01/201557 minutes 1 second
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Matthew Hughes | The Archon

“What do we call this thing?” Erm Kaslo said, gesturing to the smooth opaque walls. “It’s not a spaceship.” Diomedo Obron tapped the green leather-bound tome he was studying. “Testroni’s Impervious Conveyance, it says here.” They were inside an object that had looked to Kaslo like nothing so much as an oversized version of the silver dome that a butler would whisk away from an aristocrat’s meal. It even had a large ring on top — a ring that was now grasped by the talons of an honest-to-goodness dragon. | Copyright 2015 by Matthew Hughes. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
20/01/201547 minutes 27 seconds
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Aliette de Bodard | The Lonely Heart

It was towards mid-afternoon that Chen became aware of the girl. She stood before Chen’s stall, watching the fake-jade effigies of the Buddha and the coloured incense sticks, her eyes wide in the sunlight — she was no more than thirteen or fourteen, with the gangly unease of that age. To her left, children shrieked as they passed the Bridge of Impossibility, holding each other’s hands, and went into the temple complex. | Copyright 2009 by Aliette de Bodard. Originally published in BLACK STATIC. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
13/01/20151 hour 15 minutes 4 seconds
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Theodora Goss | Beautiful Boys

You know who I’m talking about. You can see them on Sunday afternoons, in places like Knoxville, Tennessee or Flagstaff, Arizona, playing pool or with their elbows on the bar, drinking a beer before they head out into the dusty sunlight and get into their pickups, onto their motorcycles. Some of them have dogs. Some of their dogs wear bandanas around their necks. | Copyright 2012 by Theodora Goss. Originally published in ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
06/01/201524 minutes 12 seconds
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Damien Angelica Walters | A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take

Don’t be fooled by the breadcrumbs in the forest. This is not a fairy tale. The first lie is pretty and spirals from your mouth like candyfloss; sweet, so sweet, and I’m melting under your tongue. Baby, baby, baby, you say, and I gobble it up, unaware that every word you say comes with a candy thermometer and you’ve made me your latest caramel bonbon. | Copyright 2014 by Damien Angelica Walters. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
23/12/201428 minutes 40 seconds
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Vandana Singh | Wake-Rider

This is a story from the time before she was famous. In the early days, she was known as Leli, or Lelia, a tease-name that had stuck. On her first mission for the revolution, she sat cramped, fists clenched with tension, waiting in the tiny scabship Tinka, out of sight in a radar deadzone. The salvage ship Gathering Moss, which she was stalking, lay like a giant, rusting silver slug in the docking bay. | Copyright 2014 by Vandana Singh. Narrated by Cassandra Campbell.
16/12/201438 minutes 49 seconds
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Nik Houser | The Drawstring Detective

The Drawstring Detective is heavier than he appears. When Char picks him up off the shelf, she almost drops him. He is a foot tall and made entirely of tin. He is dressed in charcoal-colored slacks, a white shirt and black tie, a black greatcoat, loafers, and a bowler hat, all of which are also made of tin. White gloves hold a folded umbrella. A small, tightly curled mustache stands in place of a mouth. | Copyright 2014 by Nik Houser. Narrated by Judy Young.
09/12/20141 hour 3 minutes 2 seconds
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Shale Nelson | Pay Phobetor

8:00 PM: Congratulations! Your MindPlant has been successfully updated to version 5.0. You can now enjoy enhanced versions of all of your favorite think-apps, including text, email, social networking, and GPS, all delivered directly to your brain at lightning speeds. Platinum users enjoy access to our full library of XP technology apps: movies, games, books, and TV shows you can “experience” with all five senses. | Copyright 2014 by Shale Nelson. Narrated by Judy Young.
02/12/201429 minutes 35 seconds
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Annalee Newitz | Drones Don’t Kill People

I was always already a killer. There was no hazy time in my memory before I knew how to target a person’s heart or brain for clean execution. I did not develop a morbid fascination with death over time; I did not spend my childhood mutilating animals; I was not abused by a violent parent; I did not suffer social injustice until finally I broke down and turned to professional violence. From the moment I was conscious, I could kill and I did. | Copyright 2014 by Annalee Newitz. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
25/11/201441 minutes 43 seconds
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Matthew Hughes | Enter Saunterance

Back in Obron’s workroom, Kaslo told the wizard his theory that the reason their enemy had sent a fire elemental against them was because he wanted the fiery spirit to seize the noubles the op had originally acquired from the murderous thaumaturge, Asrat Gozon. “Fire cannot harm them,” he finished. | Copyright 2014 by Matthew Hughes. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
18/11/201437 minutes 28 seconds
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Kat Howard | A Flock of Grief by Kat Howard

The woman’s dress was perfectly correct. Indeed, it, and she, would have been utterly unremarkable, were it not for the bird perched upon her shoulder, black-feathered, eyes with the seasick luminosity of moonstones. “Vulgar,” Sofie said to me under her breath. “Why go out in society at all, if you are going to appear like that? No one wishes to have a party disturbed by such reminders of grief and mortality." | Copyright 2014 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
11/11/201428 minutes 25 seconds
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Sunny Moraine | What Glistens Back

Come back. You hear the call as the lander breaks up around you. You’re aware of the entirely arbitrary concepts of up and down before you realize what’s happening, and then they’re a lot less arbitrary. Down is not so much a direction as a function of possibility, of what might happen to you, of what is happening now. You finally get down as an idea. | Copyright 2014 by Sunny Moraine. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
04/11/201429 minutes 53 seconds
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Megan Kurashige | The Quality of Descent by Megan Kurashige (narrated by Stefan Rudnicki)

The trick begins like this: The magician throws an egg up into the air, where it flies — small and white and full of import — up and up, high into the black reaches of the proscenium. We await the descent, holding our breaths, expecting at any moment the crash of slapstick hilarity, exploding like a bomb. But the egg simply vanishes. | Copyright 2014 by Megan Kurashige. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/10/201434 minutes 19 seconds
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Marie Vibbert | Jupiter Wrestlerama

Two-Ton Tony had a hard body, and though Karen knew the facts of life cold and backward by the time she got her chance to push him against a wall, she’d never had anything so sweet. Biceps like boulders, arms to swing on and hips to ride: a body like a playground. She’d held on to him and never quite believed her luck that he let her. | Copyright 2014 by Marie Vibbert. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
21/10/201444 minutes 43 seconds
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Steve Hockensmith | The Herd

As long as we’re waiting, why don’t I tell you a little story? You look like the kind of man who could profit by it. Don’t take offense, now. I meant that as a compliment. You remind me of me, that’s all. I’m a cowhand myself. Or was, anyway. I’ve been up and down the Chisholm Trail so many times I could walk it blindfolded from Brownsville to Abilene. | 2014 by Steve Hockensmith. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
14/10/201435 minutes 3 seconds
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Daniel José Older | Dust

Very late at night, when the buzz of drill dozers has died out, I can hear her breathing. I know that sounds crazy. I don’t care. Tonight, I have to concentrate extra hard because there’s a man lying beside me; he’s snoring with the contented abandon of the well-fucked and all that panting has heavied up the air in my quarters. | Copyright 2014 by Daniel José Older. Narrated by Cassandra Campbell.
07/10/201444 minutes 44 seconds
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Sam J. Miller | We Are the Cloud

Me and Case met when someone slammed his head against my door, so hard I heard it with my earphones in and my Game Boy cranked up loud. Sad music from Mega Man 2 filled my head and then there was this thud like the world stopped spinning for a second. I turned the thing off and flipped it shut, felt its warmth between my hands. Slipped it under my pillow. Copyright 2014 by Sam J. Miller. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
23/09/201456 minutes 12 seconds
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Matthew Hughes | Under the Scab

It was too late in the day to start back to Indoberia. Kaslo tried to find ways to busy himself about the castle, but his thoughts would not leave him alone. Finally, he went up to the flat roof of one of the larger towers and leaned against the parapet as the planet’s sun sank below a horizon no longer broken by the Commune’s skyline. In the opposite direction, the stars were coming out, but Kaslo saw only a handful of the glittering orbitals that used to stretch in a sparkling, glinting arc across the night sky. | 2014 by Matthew Hughes. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
16/09/201452 minutes 10 seconds
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Saundra Mitchell | Starfall

KV-62 went supernova today. Well, according to the news, it went supernova on March 14, 1592, but we’re just now finding out about it. Other things that happened on this day in history: Eli Whitney got a patent for the cotton gin, Charles I granted a royal charter to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and I was fished out of a trash can in the Union Square subway station. | Copyright 2014 by Saundra Mitchell. Narrated by Judy Young.
09/09/201443 minutes 47 seconds
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Sarah Pinsker | No Lonely Seafarer

On the nights Mrs. Wainwright let me work in the barn instead of the tavern, I used to sing to the horses. They would greet me with their own murmurs, and swivel their ears to follow my voice as I readied their suppers. That was where Captain Smythe found me: in the barn, singing a song of my own making. | Copyright 2014 by Sarah Pinsker. Narrated by Alex Hyde-White.
02/09/201444 minutes 19 seconds
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Kat Howard | A Meaningful Exchange

Quentin told lies to people for money. Or drugs. Or kittens. Or anything, really. The particular currency didn’t matter, so long as what was being offered had value to the person who needed the lie. | Copyright 2014 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
26/08/201420 minutes 57 seconds
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E. Catherine Tobler | A Box, a Pocket, a Spaceman

The spaceman shows up on a hot summer afternoon, not in the dead of night when you’re crouched in the garden peering through a telescope that shows you the endless glories and wonders of the night sky. There’s no spaceship making a bright arc against a star-spangled sky. Just a man in a spacesuit, standing at the edge of your hammock. | Copyright 2014 by E. Catherine Tobler. Narrated by Judy Young.
19/08/201431 minutes 31 seconds
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Tahmeed Shafiq | The Djinn Who Sought To Kill The Sun

They travelled all day, and at night came to rest by one of the large rocks that jut from the desert. The last caveat to voyagers before the plains of windswept sand. Here is what the boy heard: “Long ago, almost fifty years by official counting, there was a boy named Alladin." | Copyright 2014 by Tahmeed Shafiq. Narrated by Nicholas Guy Smith.
12/08/20141 hour 23 minutes 50 seconds
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An Owomoyela | Undermarket Data

A drink arrived that Culin hadn’t ordered. No one sent drinks to the crowded annex where Culin sat, crammed in with seven other people, all with contagion bands on their sleeves and matching tattoos on their arms. Sending drinks was an affectation Culin didn’t see much in the Dead Engine at all. | Copyright 2014 by An Owomoyela. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
05/08/201444 minutes 18 seconds
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Emma Bull | De La Tierra

The piano player drums away with her left hand, dropping all five fingers onto the keys as if they weigh too much to hold up. The rhythms bounce off the rhythms of what her right hand does, what she sings. It’s like there’s three different people in that little skinny body, one running each hand, the third one singing. But they all know what they’re doing. | Copyright 2004 by Emma Bull. Originally published in THE FAERY REEL: TALES FROM THE TWILIGHT REALM. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
22/07/201445 minutes 44 seconds
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Howard Waldrop | All About Strange Monsters of the Recent Past

It’s all over for humanity, and I’m heading east. On the seat beside me are an M1 carbine and a Thompson submachine gun. There’s a special reason for the Thompson. I traded an M16 and 200 rounds of ammo for it to a guy in Barstow. | Copyright 1980 by Howard Waldrop. Originally published in SHAYOL. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
15/07/201423 minutes 59 seconds
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Theodora Goss | Cimmeria: From the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology

Remembering Cimmeria: I walk through the bazaar, between the stalls of the spice sellers, smelling turmeric and cloves, hearing the clash of bronze from the sellers of cooking pots, the bleat of goats from the butcher’s alley. Rugs hang from wooden racks, scarlet and indigo. In the corners of the alleys, men without legs perch on wooden carts, telling their stories to a crowd of ragged children, making coins disappear into the air. | Copyright 2014 by Theodora Goss. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/07/201448 minutes 46 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | The New Provisions

Phil called the toll-free number he’d been given, and after the usual twenty-minute hold time, reached a human being who explained that the tow truck driver really did have the right to haul away his car. It didn’t matter that the car had been parked in his driveway or that it had been completely paid for, and it certainly didn’t matter that it was the only form of transportation he and his wife had for getting back and forth from work. | Copyright 2014 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
01/07/201417 minutes 46 seconds
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Tananarive Due | Like Daughter

I got the call in the middle of the week, when I came wheezing home from my uphill late-afternoon run. I didn’t recognize the voice on my computer’s answer-phone at first, although I thought it sounded like my best friend, Denise. There was no video feed, only the recording, and the words were so improbable they only confused me more. | Copyright 2000 by Tananarive Due. Originally published in DARK MATTER, edited by Sheree R. Thomas. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Emily Rankin.
24/06/201442 minutes 15 seconds
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Heather Clitheroe | Cuts Both Ways

The kids know he’s coming to visit. They’ve been texting him to tell him about the snow and how cold it is, and they helpfully send links to their Amazon wish lists with pages of moon-eyed dolls and odd sets of dueling robots and creatures sold according to series. The things they like are incomprehensible to him, but they know he’s good for it. | Copyright 2014 by Heather Clitheroe. Narrated by Grover Gardner.
24/06/201456 minutes 29 seconds
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Rhonda Eikamp | The Case of the Passionless Bees

Of all the strange sights I had been privy to during my acquaintanceship with that illustrious detective, none was as disturbing as seeing my old friend covered in bees. Naturally I was not concerned; his manaccanite skin was impervious to harm and I myself was at a safe distance, ensconced behind the clerestory window at Shading Coil Cottage. | Copyright 2014 by Rhonda Eikamp. Narrated by Jonathan L. Howard.
17/06/201441 minutes 51 seconds
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Carrie Vaughn | Salvage

“You two ready?” I ask. “Yes, ma’am,” Gert says with forced brightness, and Rally nods quickly, a shake of motion behind her helmet’s faceplate. She’s nervous, but she always seems to be a little nervous, so I’m not too worried. | Copyright 2014 by Carrie Vaughn. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
17/06/201422 minutes 16 seconds
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N.K. Jemisin | Walking Awake

The Master who came for Enri was wearing a relatively young body. Sadie guessed it was maybe fifty years old. It was healthy and in good condition, still handsome. It could last twenty years more, easily. | Copyright 2014 by N. K. Jemisin. Narrated by Bahni Turpin.
10/06/201451 minutes 19 seconds
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James Tiptree, Jr. | Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death

—I am hugely black and hopeful, I bounce on six legs along the mountains in the new warm! . . . Sing the changer, Sing the stranger! Will the changes change forever? . . . All my hums have words now. Another change! | Copyright 1973, 2001 by the Estate of Alice B. Sheldon. Previously published in THE ALIEN CONDITION and HER SMOKE ROSE UP FOREVER. Reprinted by permission of Jeffrey D. Smith and the Virginia Kidd Agency, Inc. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
10/06/20141 hour 2 minutes 26 seconds
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Seanan McGuire | Each to Each

Condensation covers the walls, dimpling into tiny individual drops that follow an almost fractal pattern, like someone has been writing out the secrets of the universe in the most transitory medium they can find. The smell of damp steel assaults my nose as I walk the hall, uncomfortable boots clumping heavily with every step I force myself to take. The space is tight, confined, unyielding; it is like living inside a coral reef, trapped by the limits of our own necessary shells. | Copyright 2014 by Seanan McGuire. Narrated by Janis Ian.
03/06/201455 minutes 50 seconds
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Kris Millering | A Word Shaped Like Bones

The dead man sits in the corner of the chamber enclosed by spaceship on all sides. He takes up a lot of space. He has been there for three days. | Copyright 2014 by Kris Millering. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
03/06/201441 minutes 13 seconds
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Sandra McDonald | Selfie

If you ask me, I’m more like my mom than my dad. She and I love astronomy and the mysterious origins of the universe. Dad’s not only stuck on the past, he literally would move there if he could. Every summer he drags me along on his research trips to eras where sweaty-smelling people with wool bathing suits hole up in seaside deathtraps. | Copyright 2014 by Sandra McDonald. Narrated by Judy Young.
27/05/201448 minutes 30 seconds
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Fred Van Lente | Willful Weapon

The torch of the Statue of Liberty blazed with an unearthly light. The steamship lumbered through the retina-stinging nimbus which draped the colossal lady and her fortress pedestal in a luminescent haze. Cellach mac Rath crowded with the rest of the bedraggled masses on the deck and watched his destiny loom ever closer: the towers of Manhattan, garlanded with gargoyles and lit with the fires of a million lanterns. | Copyright 2014 by Fred Van Lente. Narrated by Sile Bermingham.
20/05/201456 minutes 50 seconds
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Rajan Khanna | Second Hand

Quentin Ketterly stood in the Gold Star Saloon and lit his cheroot with one hand, the other resting lightly on his hip, very close to his waistcoat pocket. He stared across the room at the five men playing poker at a nearby table. His eyes tracked the movement of the cards that they held and played, though his mind was on another set of Cards entirely. | Copyright 2014 by Rajan Khanna. Originally published in DEAD MAN'S HAND, edited by John Joseph Adams. Reprinted by permission of the author. | Podcast Audio courtesy of Brilliance Audio, publisher of the audiobook edition of DEAD MAN'S HAND. Narrated by Phil Gigante.
13/05/201452 minutes 21 seconds
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Seth Dickinson | A Tank Only Fears Four Things

The surgery makes Tereshkova into a tank. In the war, she never showed any fear, not at Fulda, not even in the snows of Vogelsberg when the Americans dropped the first bomb. When Clinton and Yeltsin shook hands at Yalta, when the word came down to the 8th Guards Army to yield Frankfurt and withdraw to Soviet soil, Tereshkova spat into the dirt and said: “Too bad." | Copyright 2014 by Seth Dickinson. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
06/05/201427 minutes 53 seconds
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Thomas Olde Heuvelt | The Day the World Turned Upside Down

That day, the world turned upside down. We didn’t know why it happened. Some of us wondered whether it was our fault. Whether we had been praying to the wrong gods, or whether we had said the wrong things. But it wasn’t like that—the world simply turned upside down. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
29/04/20141 hour 10 minutes 13 seconds
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Shaenon K. Garrity | Francisca Montoya’s Almanac of Things That Can Kill You

If you get ill after eating or touching something that didn’t make anyone else sick, you may be allergic to it. Especially if there’s a rash. Allergies are caused by your body rejecting substances it doesn’t like. There is no treatment but to avoid those substances. Fortunately, only a few types of allergies can kill you. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
22/04/201438 minutes 41 seconds
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Linda Nagata | Codename: Delphi

“Valdez, you need to slow down,” Karin Larsen warned, each syllable crisply pronounced into a mic. “Stay behind the seekers. If you overrun them, you’re going to walk into a booby trap.” | Copyright 2014 by Linda Nagata. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
15/04/201435 minutes 51 seconds
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Carmen Maria Machado | Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa

1. Lord, it’s hot in this cabin. I could hard-boil an egg inside my mouth. What’s your name? 2. Have you ever poached an egg? The trick is white vinegar. Everyone forgets the white vinegar, and the blasted thing falls apart, and then they miss one of the greatest wonders of the world. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/04/201417 minutes 56 seconds
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RoboNinja | The Legend of RoboNinja

RoboNinja. A name for garbled tongues and garbled times. Interstate mudlarks peer at him from beneath grotty brows as he passes, eyes the size of headlamps reflecting the gelid glow of his visor. He once tried obscuring the light with handfuls of ash, smeared across LEDs and his shining silver carapace like the penitential marks of a sect long forgotten. It had worked for a time, until the monsoon came mocking once more. Copyright 2014 by Lightspeed Magazine. Narrated by Lex Wilson.
01/04/201416 minutes 13 seconds
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Matthew Hughes | Phalloon the Illimitable

The estate of Phalloon the so-called Illimitable was in most respects much like that of the budding thaumaturge Diomedo Obron, Erm Kaslo’s new employer: It had a large, solid house, some remote outbuildings, lawns and a lake, clumps of mature trees, and an all-enclosing wall. What made it different, Kaslo saw as he surveyed it from a hill in the middling distance, was a rocky prominence that stood in the estate’s northeast corner. Narrated by Alex Hyde-White.
25/03/20141 hour 53 seconds
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Chen Qiufan | The Mao Ghost

I still remember that evening: In the heavy air, the plastic dragonflies hovered just below the eaves like miniature helicopters, drifting about slightly even though there was no wind. I came home, and Dad was already in the house but kept the lights off. The setting sun came in through cracks in the window, and his face seemed indescribably thin in the dim, yellow light, like a stranger’s. | Copyright 2014 by Chen Qiufan (translated by Ken Liu). Narrated by Alex Hyde-White.
18/03/201438 minutes 20 seconds
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Sofia Samatar | How to Get Back to the Forest

“You have to puke it up,” said Cee. “You have to get down there and puke it up. I mean down past where you can feel it, you know?” She gestured earnestly at her chest. She had this old-fashioned cotton nightgown on, lace collar brilliant under the bathroom lights. Above the collar, her skin looked gray. Cee had bones like a bird. She was so beautiful. She was completely beautiful and fucked. Narrated by Emily Rankin.
11/03/201445 minutes 43 seconds
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Kat Howard | A Different Fate

We are one. We are three. We are sisters, together and individual. Past, present, future. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. One of us must have been born first, but the stories say there were always three, and so there were. Fate is too weighty a thing to be dealt by only one. | Copyright 2014 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
04/03/201424 minutes 1 second
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Ken Liu | None Owns the Air

“Push! Push! Damn it, put your backs into it!” Kino Ye’s voice rose to a panicked screech as the four sweat-drenched soldiers strained against the spokes of the giant winch. “Push!” But one of the spokes snapped as the man leaning against it fell face-first into the sand, and the winch whipped around and tossed the other three men through the air to land sprawling on the beach a few paces away. | Copyright 2014 by Ken Liu. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
25/02/20141 hour 6 minutes 20 seconds
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Carrie Vaughn | Harry and Marlowe and the Intrigues at the Aetherian Exhibition

Finally, Harry arrived at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington with her mother and her older sister Victoria. Once they entered through the great gilt doorway, a friendly attendant waited to show them to the royal salon. Harry glimpsed, through another ornate archway, the main hall and the exhibition installed there. | © 2014 by Carrie Vaughn. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
18/02/20141 hour 10 minutes 47 seconds
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Sunny Moraine | So Sharp That Blood Must Flow

In the end, the water goes black with the witch’s blood. Before this happens, the little mermaid understands that a deal is a deal, a bargain a bargain, and there can’t be reneging. But this isn’t reneging, she tells herself as she sinks down, down, down into water so black that in truth it would be difficult to discern witch’s blood within it even had a hundred witches been slaughtered in its depths. | © 2014 by Sunny Moraine. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
11/02/201426 minutes 59 seconds
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Jess Barber | Coma Kings

So I guess the story begins, fittingly, with someone handing me a Coma rig and saying, play me. Two a.m. and I’m at this party in somebody’s trailer out in the trashy part of town. I’m stoned out of my mind and there’s something on the television, either one of those cheesy infomercials or some sort of comedy thing making fun of those cheesy infomercials, and I’m trying to figure out which. | © 2014 by Jessica Barber. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
04/02/201431 minutes 3 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | The Thing About Shapes to Come

Monica’s new baby was like a lot of new babies these days in that she was born a cube. She had no external or internal sexual organs, or for that matter organs of any kind, being just a warm solid filled with protoplasm. But she was, genetically at least, a girl, and one who resembled her mother as much as any cube possibly could. That wasn’t much in that she had no eyes, no nose, no mouth, no chin, no hair, nothing that could be charitably called a face or bodily features, not even any orifices larger than pores. | ©2014 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
28/01/201448 minutes 45 seconds
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Ursula K. Le Guin | Elementals

No one knows how many airlings there are, most likely not a great many, whatever a great many means. They inhabit the atmosphere, generally between a hundred and ten or twelve thousand feet above the ground, seldom clearly visible to human eyes, and leaving almost no trace of their presence. They swim in air as we do in water, but with far more ease, air being their native element. Slight motions of the whole body and the arms and legs move them gracefully through their three dimensions. | © 2012 by Ursula K. Le Guin. Originally published in TIN HOUSE. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
21/01/201430 minutes 31 seconds
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Terry Bisson | Bears Discover Fire

I was driving with my brother, the preacher, and my nephew, the preacher’s son, on I-65 just north of Bowling Green when we got a flat. It was Sunday night and we had been to visit Mother at the Home. We were in my car. The flat caused what you might call knowing groans since, as the old-fashioned one in my family (so they tell me), I fix my own tires, and my brother is always telling me to get radials and quit buying old tires. | © 1990 by Terry Bisson. Originally published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
14/01/201430 minutes 59 seconds
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Jeremiah Tolbert | In the Dying Light, We Saw a Shape

.@neiltyson calls them “space diatoms,” but I say “space whales.” They’re beaching themselves on our interstellar shores. Question is: why? —Tweet by @lilmeyer, January 7, 2021 | © 2014 by Jeremiah Tolbert. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
07/01/201446 minutes 58 seconds
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William Browning Spencer | The Foster Child

I came, the hope of my tribe, to the City of Absolutes, in the year of the zero plus two big and a nine. I sought Lena, the girl I had dreamed of as my fingers grew back and I drifted in the waters of Nagoda. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
24/12/201332 minutes 19 seconds
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Maureen F. McHugh | Dead Fads

The dead have fads. I work in Deadtown, at a bar mostly frequented by the Dead. They call me PD for Pre-Dead. The Dead tip for shit because they just aren’t all that interested. That’s what I think. Cory, one of my regulars, says it isn’t like that. The Dead are interested fine, he said. They’re just poor. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
17/12/201339 minutes 26 seconds
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James Patrick Kelly | Miss Nobody Never Was

Everybody thinks that bartenders steal. You know what? They’re right. Maybe there’s an upright bartender someplace where it’s all parking lots and cornfields and traffic lights flashing yellow, but I doubt it. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
10/12/201347 minutes 37 seconds
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Hao Jingfang | Invisible Planets

Chichi Raha is a fascinating place, its flowers and lakes unforgettable to all visitors. There, you cannot see a single inch of exposed soil because the land is covered by vegetation: the anua grass, as fine as silk thread; the kuqin tree, tall enough to scrape the clouds; and many varieties of unnameable, unimaginably strange fruits, exuding seductive aromas. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/12/201347 minutes 13 seconds
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James Stoddard | The Battle of York

Young General Washington rode alone on his white stallion through the vast forest of Yoosemitee. His battle-axe, Valleyforge, hung glistening from the pommel of his saddle, the blood fresh-scrubbed from its edge. He had slain too many soldiers in the war against the Gauls and American Natives, and was glad to be going home. Narrated by Vikas Adam.
26/11/20131 hour 23 seconds
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Ian McDonald | Tonight We Fly

It’s the particular metallic rattle of the football slamming the garage door that is like a nail driven into Chester Barnes forehead. Slap badoom, slap badoom: that he can cope with. His hearing has adjusted to that long habituation of the rhythm of wall-to-foot-to-ball-to-wall. Slap baclang. With a resonating twang of internal springs in the door mechanism. Slap baclang buzz. Behind his head where he can’t see it. But the biggest torment is that he never knows when it is going to happen. A rhythm, a regular beat, you can adjust to that: The random slam of ball kicked hard into garage door is always a surprise, a jolt you can never prepare for. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
19/11/201340 minutes 25 seconds
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Kelly Barnhill | The Insect and the Astronomer: A Love Story

The Insect has never been in love. The Astronomer has never been alive. It is important that you understand this. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
12/11/201350 minutes 16 seconds
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Sean Williams | Death and the Hobbyist

It wasn’t enough for my mother Juliet to be crazy. Of course not. She was always going to find a uniquely inconvenient way to drive us mad along with her. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
05/11/201333 minutes 55 seconds
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Ken Liu | Ghost Days

Ona watched her Teacher turn around. The helmetless Ms. Coron wore a dress that exposed the skin of her arms and legs in a way that she had taught the children was beautiful and natural. Intellectually, Ona understood that the frigid air in the classroom, cold enough to give her and the other children hypothermia even with brief exposure, was perfectly suited to the Teachers. But she couldn’t help shivering at the sight. The airtight heat-suit scraped over Ona’s scales, and the rustling noise reverberated loudly in her helmet. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki & Gabrielle de Cuir.
22/10/20131 hour 5 minutes
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Charlie Jane Anders | The Master Conjurer

Peter did a magic spell, and it worked fine. With no unintended consequences, and no weird side effects. Two days later, he was on the front page of the local newspaper: “The Miracle Conjurer.” Some blogs picked it up, and soon enough he was getting visits from CNN and MSNBC, and his local NPR station kept wanting to put him on. News crews were standing and talking in front of his house. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
15/10/201341 minutes 44 seconds
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Dylan Otto Krider | The Five Deaths of Marvin Dimitri

I first met Marvin several years ago, but you don’t have to know Marvin to know his story. That’s the sort of thing that’s just understood, that comes from living in Beaumont, Texas, where Marvin lived most all of his lives. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/10/201313 minutes 3 seconds
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Keffy R. M. Kehrli | HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!!

As late as ten years ago, a mad scientist with a dream could expect to turn a decent profit with his lesser inventions and build enough capital to put his (or her!) real plans into play. Those days are sadly over, although my father, fool that he was, claimed that they never existed. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
30/09/201317 minutes 5 seconds
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Matthew Hughes | And Then Some

Erm Kaslo came to Cheddle on the Adelaine, a tramp freighter that didn’t mind taking passengers who didn’t mind the quality of the accommodations. He could have come on a liner, but he preferred, when working, to make his entrances unnoticed. Narrated by Barry J. Northern (for StarShipSofa).
24/09/20131 hour 7 minutes 4 seconds
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Will McIntosh | Dry Bite

Josephine had been up all night, her heart pounding, thinking about this day, about whether she would survive it. Now, out on the road and exposed on all sides, she was so scared she could barely breathe. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
24/09/201359 minutes 56 seconds
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Lisa Tuttle | Ragged Claws

Last night, after a short struggle, I went out. It’s like that most evenings, the slow, silent battle between my desire to stay in, with my thoughts and dreams and memories, and the need to go where other people gathered. Much as I preferred my own company, no one, these days, was paying me to keep it. I lived as frugally as I could on what I’d saved, but the price of electricity had soared recently, and I was in the red again. If I went out, there was at least the chance of making money. Narrated by Alex Hyde-White.
17/09/201332 minutes 22 seconds
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Seanan McGuire | Homecoming

The locker room is always tense before a game. Alisa is trying to get her uniform to stay in place, counting more on safety pins and prayer than she probably should, and Birdie—true to her name—keeps whistling, which is probably going to get her slapped if she doesn’t stop soon. Cram twenty girls from opposing squads into one small space and tensions are going to flare. Narrated by Judy Young.
10/09/201337 minutes 59 seconds
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Gene Wolfe | Suzanne Delage

As I was reading last night—reading a book, I should explain, which was otherwise merely commonplace; one of those somewhat political, somewhat philosophical, somewhat historical books which can now be bought by the pound each month—I was struck by a certain remark of the author’s. It seemed to me at the time an interesting, if almost self-evident, idea; and afterward, when I had turned the page, and many other pages, and was half through a new chapter bearing very little relation to what had gone before, this idea found its way back into my consciousness and there acted as a sort of filter between my mind and the book until I put it down and, still thinking, went up to bed. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
03/09/201319 minutes 10 seconds
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Sean Williams | Face Value

News of the disappearance of inventor Felix Frey spread through the Air with electric ease. It was exactly the kind of distraction I needed. There are only so many quaint old thefts and counterfeit scams I can pluck from policing archives while my girlfriend Billie works in her studio, adjusting facial nerves, muscles, and skin cells to fit her clients’ desires. Narrated by Alex Hyde-White.
27/08/201335 minutes 6 seconds
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Cory Skerry | Breathless in the Deep

When Jantz spotted a black skeleton jutting up above the water, at first she thought it was just a tide-battered tree, but before long she could make out the shredded ropes and scraps of sail. The wooden bones were the charred yardarms of a sunken ship. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
20/08/201337 minutes 21 seconds
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Ken Liu | The Litigation Master and the Monkey King

The tiny cottage at the edge of Sanli Village—away from the villagers’ noisy houses and busy clan shrines and next to the cool pond filled with lily pads, pink lotus flowers, and playful carp—would have made an ideal romantic summer hideaway for some dissolute poet and his silk-robed mistress from nearby bustling Yangzhou. Narrated by John Chu.
13/08/201355 minutes 9 seconds
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Yoon Ha Lee | The Knight of Chains, the Deuce of Stars

The tower is a black spire upon a world whose only sun is a million starships wrecked into a mass grave. Light the color of fossils burns from the ships, and at certain hours, the sun casts shadows that mutter the names of vanquished cities and vanished civilizations. It is said that when the tower’s sun finally darkens, the universe’s clocks will stop. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
06/08/201346 minutes 44 seconds
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Ursula K. Le Guin | The Stars Below

The wooden house and outbuildings caught fire fast, blazed up, burned down, but the dome, built of lathe and plaster above a drum of brick, would not burn. What they did at last was heap up the wreckage of the telescopes, the instruments, the books and charts and drawings, in the middle of the floor under the dome, pour oil on the heap, and set fire to that. The flames spread to the wooden beams of the big telescope frame and to the clockwork mechanisms. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
23/07/201354 minutes 30 seconds
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Ryan North | Cancer

This certifies that HELEN FRANCES LAWRENCE, sex FEMALE was born to JOHN DENISON LAWRENCE and VIRGINIA MATILDA LAWRENCE on SATURDAY at SIX TEN PM, this EIGHTEENTH day of AUGUST, 1990 at the MONTFORT HOSPITAL in OTTAWA, ONTARIO and will die of CANCER. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
16/07/201345 minutes 15 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | The Boy and the Box

The boy looked like any other boy his age, except that, thanks to him, there had been for some time now no other boys his age, or of any other age. The elimination of all others had transformed him into the entirety of a subset that had once numbered billions. He was now the platonic ideal of his type, not just a boy, but the boy. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
09/07/201336 minutes 9 seconds
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Benjamin Roy Lambert | Division of Labor

No one said anything, but Sull could tell they were all a little jealous when he lost his arms and legs. The arms went first, the left one during a bath and the right one a few days later, while he was being fed. Then both legs went at once, which was rare, and Sull was proud of it. He was sitting in a marketing meeting with Glenda and Farook when suddenly his legs quivered and then turned into a slightly viscous liquid that ran out of his trousers like toothpaste from a tube. The liquid ran down the drain under the table with a soft slurping sound. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
02/07/201331 minutes 4 seconds
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Sylvia Spruck Wrigley | Alive, Alive Oh

The waves crash onto the blood-red shore, sounding just like the surf on Earth: a dark rumbling full of power. It’s been seventeen years since we left. Narrated by Sile Bermingham.
25/06/201327 minutes 14 seconds
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Paul Park | Get a Grip

Here’s how I found out: I was in a bar called Dave’s on East 14th Street. It wasn’t my usual place. I had been dating a woman in Stuyvesant Town. One night after I left, I still wasn’t eager to go home. So on my way I stopped in. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
18/06/201334 minutes 51 seconds
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Megan Arkenberg | The Huntsman

“It’s the best bargain you’ll get in this town,” the faery woman says. She’s standing by a cracked kitchen sink with mold between the tiles, rinsing diced tomatoes and crooked green jalapeño rings. “A heart for a heart. And my heart’s more than what she’s used to, I’ll tell you that. You couldn’t find better if you went door-to-door from every house in the tithe-projects.” Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
11/06/201319 minutes 5 seconds
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Theodora Goss | Princess Lucinda and the Hound of the Moon

When the Queen learned that she could not have a child, she cried for three days. She cried in the clinic in Switzerland, on the shoulder of the doctor, an expert on women’s complaints, leaving tear stains on his white coat. She cried on the train through Austria, while the Alps slipped past the window of her compartment, their white peaks covered with snow. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
04/06/201355 minutes 55 seconds
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Dennis Danvers | Leaving the Dead

Darwin thought he might be more alive than other people. Not a whole lot, but ever increasingly, until finally, in a checkout line at Target, he was the last person left alive but his checker. Gabriella, her nametag said, and she was drifting off. Good for her he was the sort of person who reads nametags. Good for them both. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/05/201349 minutes 50 seconds
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Holly Black | The Aarne-Thompson Classification Revue

There is a werewolf girl in the city. She sits by the phone on a Saturday night, waiting for it to ring. She paints her nails purple. Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
21/05/201331 minutes 46 seconds
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Sean Williams | The Missing Metatarsals

His head swiveled to track me as we walked in lockstep through security. A birth defect called Möbius syndrome inherited from distant Nepalese ancestors left him with underdeveloped VI and VII cranial nerves, so he can’t blink, bite, or form expressions without the help of a series of tiny implants. My girlfriend Billie is a muscle artist, and she’s tweaked the inspector’s presets a couple of times, giving him conscious control of his face, but that’s not the same as the real thing. Not the same at all. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
14/05/201333 minutes 40 seconds
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Maria Dahvana Headley | The Traditional

By your first anniversary, the world’s stopped making paper, and so you can’t give your boyfriend the traditional gift. You never would have anyway, regardless of circumstances. You’re not that kind of girl. You pride yourself on your original sin. It’s the hot you trade in. Narrated by Kathe Mazur.
07/05/201336 minutes 1 second
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Hugh Howey | Deep Blood Kettle

They say the sky will fill with dust in a bad way if we don’t do something soon. My teacher Mrs. Sandy says that if the meteor hits, it’ll put up enough dirt to block the sun, and everything will turn cold for a long, long while. When I came home and told Pa about this, he got angry. He called Mrs. Sandy a bad word, said she was teaching us nonsense. I told him the dinosaurs died because of dust in the sky. Pa said there weren’t no such thing as dinosaurs. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
23/04/201319 minutes 44 seconds
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Karin Tidbeck | A Fine Show on the Abyssal Plain

On a beach by the sea stands a gutted stone tower. A man is climbing up the remains of a staircase that spirals up the tower’s interior. Vivi sits on the roof, oblivious, counting coins that have spilled from her breast pocket: one fiver, three ones, one golden ten. She’s only wearing a worn pair of pajamas, and the damp breeze from the sea is making her shiver. She has no memory of how she arrived, but is vaguely aware of the sound of footsteps. Narrated by Kelly Catey.
16/04/201329 minutes 46 seconds
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Kathleen Ann Goonan | A Love Supreme

Ellie Santos-Smith grabs a clean white coat as spring dawn brightens her worn Oriental rug and streaks with sun her only luxury, a grand piano. She runs a comb through her jet-black hair, cut short because she thinks that makes her look older. Her smooth skin glows with 20-ish health, though she is 47. Narrated by Claire Bloom.
09/04/201336 minutes 16 seconds
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Christopher Barzak | Smoke City

One night, I woke to the sound of my mother’s voice, as I did when I was a child. The words were familiar to my ear, they matched the voice that formed them, but it was not until I had opened my eyes to the dark of my room and my husband’s snoring that I remembered the words were calling me away from my warm bed and the steady breathing of my children, both asleep in their own rooms across the hall. “Because I could not stop for death,” my mother used to tell me, “he kindly stopped for me.” Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
02/04/201342 minutes 6 seconds
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Angélica Gorodischer | The Sense of the Circle

Have you seen those houses on Oroño Boulevard, especially the ones that face east, those dry, cold, serious, heavy houses, with grilles but without gardens, maybe at the most a tile patio paved like the sidewalk? In one of those houses lives Ciro Vázquez Leiva, Cirito. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
26/03/201355 minutes 33 seconds
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Rich Larson | Let’s Take This Viral

Default hadn’t been down in the nocturns for some time, probably half an orbit, but he had just dissolved the geneshare contract with his now-ex-lover and needed to get completely fucking perforated to take his mind off things. His lift was full of revelers all laughing and widecasting the same synthesized whalesong from Old Old Earth. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
19/03/201336 minutes 51 seconds
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Sarena Ulibarri | The Bolt Tightener

“There are one thousand eight hundred bolts total,” the old man said. “You’ll work every night until sunrise. Always go in order. Never skip a bolt.” Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
12/03/201320 minutes 2 seconds
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Karen Joy Fowler | Lily Red

One day Lily decided to be someone else. Someone with a past. It was an affliction of hers, wanting this. The desire was seldom triggered by any actual incident or complaint but seemed instead to be related to the act or prospect of lateral movement. She felt it every time a train passed. Narrated by Kimberly Farr.
05/03/201348 minutes 2 seconds
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M. Bennardo | The Herons of Mer de l’Ouest

A loon called this morning, loud and clear in the cold hours before dawn, but it was not that which woke me from my sleep. As I opened my eyes, the bay and the beach were wrapped in heavy blackness, invisible clouds shutting out any hint of starlight above. For a moment, I lay in my lean-to, breathing heavily under the shaggy bison skin blanket. Narrated by Adam Paul.
26/02/201336 minutes 53 seconds
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Carrie Vaughn | Harry and Marlowe Escape the Mechanical Siege of Paris

Harry looked out the window and thought: At least I saw Paris one more time before it was destroyed in the bombardment. Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
19/02/20131 hour 15 minutes 18 seconds
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Robert Reed | Eight Episodes

With minimal fanfare and next to no audience, Invasion of a Small World debuted in the summer of 2016, and after a brief and disappointing run, the series was deservedly shelved. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
12/02/201332 minutes 34 seconds
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Marly Youmans | Prolegomenon to the Adventures of Chílde Phoenix

Perhaps you’ve heard an anecdote about a child named Cresencio who was skipping barefoot between hills of corn when a shallow bowl in the field, long turbulent with mutterings, broke into pieces. Cresencio spied a tongue of smoke, like the mockings of a demon; he bent, staring into the jagged mouth that was about to spatter the nearby trees with sparks and set his childhood on fire. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
05/02/201340 minutes 20 seconds
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Kristine Kathryn Rusch | Purity Test

My feet are scraped and bleeding, my slippers shredded and almost useless. The dress hangs in tatters around me. No longer white, it still bears the pearls along the bodice, and I hope I can keep them close and sell them in whatever town I find myself in. Provided I find a town. Provided I ever leave these woods. I have traveled for two days, surviving on puddle water and berries, hoping that the sounds I hear behind me aren’t my father, Roland, and the dogs. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
22/01/201353 minutes 9 seconds
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Jeffrey Ford | Daltharee

You’ve heard of bottled cities, no doubt—society writ miniscule and delicate beyond reason: toothpick spired towns, streets no thicker than thread, pin-prick faces of the citizenry peering from office windows smaller than sequins. Hustle, politics, fervor, struggle, capitulation, wrapped in a crystal firmament might reclaim the land, stoppered at the top to keep reality both in and out. Those microscopic lives, striking glass at the edge of things, believed themselves gigantic, their dilemmas universal. Narrated by Christian Beeman.
15/01/201325 minutes 12 seconds
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Cherie Priest | Addison Howell and the Clockroach

Addison Howell didn’t so much arrive in the town of Humptulips as appear there sometime around 1875. He had money, which set him apart from everybody else—because everybody else was working for the logging company, and mostly they didn’t have a pot to piss in, as my Daddy put it. Narrated by Emily Rankin.
08/01/201320 minutes 9 seconds
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Matthew Kressel | The Sounds of Old Earth

Earth has grown quiet since everyone’s shipped off to the new one. I walk New Paltz’s empty streets with an ox-mask tight about my face. An acidic rain mists my body, and a thick fog obscures the vac-sealed storefronts. Last week they hauled the Pyramids of Giza to New Earth. The week before, Stonehenge. The week before that, Versailles and a good chunk of the Great Wall. But the minor landmarks are too expensive to move, the NEU says, and so New Paltz’s Huguenot Street, seven centuries old, will remain here, to be sliced to pieces in a few months when the planetary lasers begin to cut the Earth apart. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
01/01/201339 minutes 56 seconds
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Sarah Langan | Family Teeth (Part 6): St. Polycarp’s Home For Happy Wanderers

Sheila Halpern got her looks from her Momma, who died pushing her out. Died before, even, but still kept pushing. “You’re the prettiest thing in the whole darn world,” her daddy told her the day he put her on the train for the St. Polycarp’s Home for Happy Wanderers, his age-soft teeth all chipped so everything sounded muffled. She was eight years old, lice riddled, and 90% liar like her daddy. Narrated by Carrington MacDuffie.
25/12/201242 minutes 40 seconds
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D. Thomas Minton | Dreams in Dust

The arrival of the dust-covered girl caught Keraf by surprise. The girl’s slender face, sun-beaten to a deep brown, blended seamlessly into the cloth wrapped around her head. She couldn’t have been more than seventeen, but she wielded her rifle with ease. Narrated by Rajan Khanna.
18/12/201216 minutes 22 seconds
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JT Petty | Family Teeth (Part 5): American Jackal

He watched her legs approach in the mirror and smiled down at the butter melting on his pancakes when she sat on the stool beside him. “You’re free to sit anywhere you like, but I can’t much promise to be good company,” he said. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
11/12/201242 minutes 18 seconds
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Ken Liu | The Perfect Match

Sai woke to the rousing first movement of Vivaldi’s violin concerto in C minor, “Il Sospetto.” He lay still for a minute, letting the music wash over him like a gentle Pacific breeze. The room brightened as the blinds gradually opened to the sunlight. Tilly had woken him right at the end of a light sleep cycle, the optimal time. He felt great: refreshed, optimistic, ready to jump out of bed. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
04/12/201254 minutes 33 seconds
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Tobias S. Buckell | A Game of Rats and Dragon

Moonlighting as a non-player character was a hell of a way to earn a living. Never made much sense to spend all that time garbing up in a virtual uniform that matched gamespace, but Overton took pride in the details. So getting punched in the stomach by someone so caught up in an augmented reality fantasy they couldn’t tell real from script, that left him in a foul mood. All the man had to do was ask the right questions, get Overton’s responses, and move on. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
27/11/201227 minutes 32 seconds
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Carrie Vaughn | A Princess of Spain

Catherine of Aragon, sixteen years old, danced a pavane in the Spanish style before the royal court of England. Lutes, horns, and tabors played a slow, stately tempo, to which she stepped in time. The ladies of her court, who had traveled with her from Spain, danced with her, treading circles around one another—floating, graceful, without a wasted movement. Narrated by Karesa McElheny.
20/11/201248 minutes 44 seconds
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Jeremiah Tolbert | La Alma Perdida de Marguerite Espinoza

Marguerite Espinoza took her last breath as the sun slipped behind the Salt Mountains outside the expansive windows of her third floor bedchamber. Alvardo nearly missed the moment, eavesdropping to the gathered family’s whispered conversations. He had falsely predicted her passing four times in the past three days, but the passing was unmistakable. As Maestro Eusebio had said many times, “When the moment comes, you will know.” And he did. Narrated by Steven Memel.
13/11/201246 minutes 51 seconds
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Sandra McDonald | Searching for Slave Leia

A slip, slide, falling through icy coldness, white noise like TV static. A breeze of hot buttery popcorn. Giddy laughter, sweaty bodies, fanfare music over the intercom, and what’s this? A ten-foot-wide movie poster of young, pale, undernourished Carrie Fisher, posed seductively in a gold metal bikini with a collar and chain around her neck. Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
06/11/201249 minutes 28 seconds
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Megan Arkenberg | The Suicide’s Guide to the Absinthe of Perdition

You cannot stop an angel who truly wants to fall. This is the first thing you learn in Pandemonium. The second thing you learn in Pandemonium is how to drink absinthe. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
23/10/201226 minutes 10 seconds
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Nancy Kress | Art of War

“Return fire!” the colonel ordered, bleeding on the deck of her ship, ferocity raging in her nonetheless controlled voice. Narrated by Rajan Khanna.
16/10/201248 minutes 41 seconds
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David Barr Kirtley | The Black Bird

The black bird on the mantelpiece spoke. It said, “Nevermore.” Spade looked up from cleaning his pistol. The bird, a black-lacquered falcon statuette, sat motionless. Spade placed the pistol down on his desk, pushed back the brim of his hat, and approached the bird. “You talk?” Narrated by Arte Johnson.
09/10/201214 minutes 57 seconds
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Robert Reed | Flowing Unimpeded to the Enlightenment

Kartar is forty and Irish-Indian, blessed with an avatar’s sterling looks and a fine deep voice that lingers in the mind. He wears a piezosuit and a bright necktie advertising Chinese wetware, and a new Everything is pinned to his broad lapel. Twenty admirers have him surrounded. Narrated by Nathan Dana Aldritch.
02/10/201251 minutes 16 seconds
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Nina Kiriki Hoffman | Monster, Finder, Shifter

My father’s family had produced monster-finders for several generations. More monsters were being born than ever; our village didn’t have enough finder power to track them all, or shaper power to abort or fix those the finders found, so many people had to offer their offspring to the Shadows. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
25/09/201248 minutes
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Peter Sursi | The Seven Samovars

“The first samovar, the silver one at the end with the little bird perched atop the key, is filled to the top with Life,” she says, “freshly brewed each morning at sunrise exactly. A few drops will perk up most customers on a Monday morning, to be sure. And most of them need it, don’t you think?” Narrated by Cassandra Campbell.
11/09/201229 minutes 54 seconds
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Harry Harrison | The Streets of Ashkelon

Somewhere above, hidden by the eternal clouds of Wesker’s World, a thunder rumbled and grew. Trader Garth stopped suddenly when he heard it, his boots sinking slowly into the muck, and cupped his good ear to catch the sound. It swelled and waned in the thick atmosphere, growing louder. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
11/09/201250 minutes 48 seconds
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Adam-Troy Castro | My Wife Hates Time Travel

From the very beginning—which I guess is also the middle and the end if you follow the bent logic involved and arrange events by some scheme other than strict chronological order—there was never any way of knowing which one of us, my wife or myself, was going to invent time travel. Narrated by Rajan Khanna.
04/09/201223 minutes 36 seconds
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Kat Howard | Breaking the Frame

The photograph is of a woman at the center of a forest. She is slim and tall and pale as the birches she stands among. The shadows turn her ribs and spine into branches, into knots in the wood. Around her arms, the peeling white bark of the birches, curved in bracelets. Between her thighs, the hair is dense and springy like moss. She is turning into a tree. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
28/08/201220 minutes 30 seconds
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Charlie Jane Anders | Love Might Be Too Strong a Word

Here’s how I remember it: A touch shocked me. I was reaching for a flash-seared bog-oyster, and then a fingertip, softer than I’d ever felt, brushed my knuckle. The softness startled me so much, it took me a moment to realize the hand had seven fingers, three more than mine. Narrated by Hillary Huber.
21/08/201242 minutes 3 seconds
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Linda Nagata | A Moment Before It Struck

He felt death coming a moment before it struck. In the lingering gray twilight, Smoke lay on his bedding, eyes not quite closed and mind adrift, only half-aware of the sounds of the encampment around him: steel on whetstone, the rattle of dice, a soft song, and loud bragging. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
14/08/201235 minutes 46 seconds
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Ken Liu | The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species

There is no definitive census of all the intelligent species in the universe. Not only are there perennial arguments about what qualifies as intelligence, but each moment and everywhere, civilizations rise and fall, much as the stars are born and die. Time devours all. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
07/08/201223 minutes 22 seconds
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Maria Dahvana Headley | Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream

In the middle of the maze, there’s always a monster. If there were no monster, people would happily set up house where it’s warm and windowless and comfortable. The monster is required. The monster is a real estate disclosure. Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
24/07/201244 minutes 8 seconds
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Peter S. Beagle | Gordon, the Self-made Cat

Once upon a time, to a family of house mice there was born a son named Gordon. He looked very much like his father and mother and all his brothers and sisters, who were gray and had bright, twitchy, black eyes, but what went on inside Gordon was very different from what went on inside the rest of his family. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
17/07/201228 minutes 8 seconds
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Joe Haldeman | Four Short Novels

Eventually it came to pass that no one ever had to die, unless they ran out of money. When you started to feel the little aches and twinges that meant your body was running down, you just got in line at Immortality, Incorporated, and handed them your credit card. As long as you had at least a million bucks—and eventually everybody did—they would reset you to whatever age you liked. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
10/07/201225 minutes 34 seconds
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Jake Kerr | Requiem in the Key of Prose

There is such a thing as an antifuse. This device is used to maintain the ongoing flow of electricity when there is local failure. The antifuse works similarly to a fuse in that it is designed to be sacrificed for a specific goal. But while a fuse is sacrificed to stop electricity from flowing, an antifuse is sacrificed to guarantee that the electricity does not stop. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki & Gabrielle De Cuir.
03/07/201221 minutes 7 seconds
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George R.R. Martin | The Way of Cross and Dragon

“Heresy,” he told me. The brackish waters of his pool sloshed gently. “Another one?” I said wearily. “There are so many these days.” Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
26/06/201253 minutes 47 seconds
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Kelsey Ann Barrett | My Teacher, My Enemy

My enemy’s body is still warm when I take my knife to him. Stripped to his skin and lain upon his back, he looks much less frightening than he had when he was alive, armed, and desperate to kill me. But there is still power in the shape of his relaxing muscles and the size of his cooling frame, and, as he is a foot taller than I am, I feel a surge of pride in my accomplishment that is even greater than the hot pleasure of the kill. Narrated by Emily Janice Card.
19/06/201235 minutes 16 seconds
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John Langan | Renfrew’s Course

Six feet tall, the statue had been carved from wood that retained most of its whiteness, even though the date cut into its base read 2005, seven years ago. Jim thought the color might be due to its not having been finished—splinters stood out from the wood’s uneven surface—but didn’t know enough about carpentry to be certain. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
12/06/201250 minutes 26 seconds
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Simon McCaffery | The Cristóbal Effect

The wooden detour barricade is barely in place when I spot the car closing fast from the east. Just a glint of light against the desert hills, yet I know it is his car. I ignite the last flare and toss it onto the centerline of the lonely rural two-lane highway. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
05/06/201242 minutes 26 seconds
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Melanie Rawn | Mother of All Russiya

She paced the stones, her feet separated from the chill by sable-lined slippers. She was cold despite them, cold from her toes to her crown. Perhaps it was the vengeance of the fire, that she had not joined her husband in its embrace. Long ago, he had decided that he wished to be immolated in the manner of their ancestors. Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
22/05/20121 hour 1 minute 57 seconds
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C.C. Finlay | The Cross-Time Accountants Fail To Kill Hitler Because Chuck Berry Does The Twist

Mabel blurred through the Doorway and stumbled into a wall. She groped for a fingerhold, anything to prop herself up until the gut-twisting vertigo passed. Every time she experienced the blur it got a little worse. All that worse added up to worst because she had made hundreds of auditing trips to the past during her thirty-nine year career in cross-time accounting. Narrated by Mirron Willis.
15/05/201241 minutes 41 seconds
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Catherynne M. Valente | A Hole to China

Tristram was certain she would never have made the attempt had she not heard that it was a thing other children often did. She did so want to be like other children—lolling about like great striped cats, batting at moths with oversized paws, snapping at dust-motes with wet pink jaws. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
08/05/201257 minutes 27 seconds
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Linda Nagata | Nightside on Callisto

A faint, steady vibration carried through the igloo’s massive ice walls—a vibration that shouldn’t have been there. Jayne heard it in her sleep. Age had not dulled her soldier’s reflexes, honed by decades spent on watch against incursions of the Red. Her eyes snapped open. She held her breath. The vibration hummed in the walls, in the bed frame, in the mattress, perceivable even over Carly’s raspy breathing. Narrated by Hillary Huber.
01/05/201250 minutes 3 seconds
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Kim Stanley Robinson | Our Town

I found my friend Desmond Kean at the northeast corner of the penthouse viewing terrace, assembling a telescope with which to look at the world below. He took a metal cylinder holding a lens and screwed it into the side of the telescope, then put his eye to the lens, the picture of concentrated absorption. How often I had found him like this in recent months! It made me shiver a little; this new obsession of his, so much more intense than the handmade clocks, or the stuffed birds, or the geometric proofs, seemed to me a serious malady. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
24/04/201224 minutes 57 seconds
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Eric Gregory | The Sympathy

The apartment was in his name, and the Accord was in hers. It took Lauren less than a minute to step out one door and into the other. She put her suitcase in the floorboard and her laptop bag in the passenger seat. Her container garden fit snugly in the back. Narrated by Heather Scott.
17/04/20121 hour 3 minutes 42 seconds
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Caitlín R. Kiernan | The Steam Dancer (1896)

Missouri Banks lives in the great smoky city at the edge of the mountains, here where the endless yellow prairie laps gently with grassy waves and locust tides at the exposed bones of the world jutting suddenly up towards the western sky. She was not born here, but came to the city long ago, when she was still only a small child and her father traveled from town to town in one of Edison’s electric wagons selling his herbs and medicinals, his stinking poultices and elixirs. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
10/04/201237 minutes 59 seconds
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Vandana Singh | Ruminations in an Alien Tongue

Sitting on the sun-warmed step at the end of her workday, Birha laid her hand on the dog’s neck and let her mind drift. Like a gyre-moth finding the center of its desire, her mind inevitably spiraled inward to the defining moment of her life. It must be something to do with growing old, she thought irritably, that all she did was revisit what had happened all those years ago. Yet her irritation subsided before the memory. She could still see it with the shocking clarity of yesterday: the great, closed eyelid set in the enormous alien stronghold, opening in response to her trick. Narrated by Vikas Adam.
03/04/201252 minutes 25 seconds
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Steven Utley | Test

Something is eating the starship Stephen W. Hawking, chewing it slowly and efficiently to pieces. Hurtling through hyperspace, or merely hanging suspended therein (who can really tell about hyperspace?), the vessel has become entangled with an unknown entity that exhibits at least one recognizable attribute: curiosity.stev Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
27/03/201228 minutes 37 seconds
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David Barr Kirtley | Beauty

Nicole Sanders was beautiful. One night after work, she stopped off at a bar downtown, which is where she met the beast. “Hi,” the beast said, in a gentle voice. “Can I buy you a drink?” Narrated by Janis Ian.
20/03/201218 minutes 17 seconds
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Kathleen Ann Goonan | Electric Rains

Ella sat by Nana’s body for two days before she pushed it out the window. She had spent the first half-day realizing what death was, the next half-day grieving, the following morning waking and feeling reverent if somewhat nauseated, and trying to decide what to do. It was three in the morning when she finally did it, and it was almost the season of electric rains. Narrated by Christie Yant.
20/03/201245 minutes 26 seconds
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Mary Rosenblum | My She

I wait outside the speaking chamber, where the young Speakers learn to Hear and Speak. The walls and carpeted floor are purest white, the color of this God place and the Speakers who live here walk by, all dressed in white like the walls and the floor, their palms on the shoulders of their guides. Narrated by Kathe Mazur.
13/03/201246 minutes 48 seconds
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S. L. Gilbow | Alarms

My curse is that I set off alarms. Smoke alarms. Car alarms. House alarms. It doesn’t matter what kind; I set them all off as soon as I get close to them. Close is usually about thirty feet. I don’t know why I set them off. I haven’t always been like this. I used to be fairly normal. Narrated by Cassandra Campbell.
06/03/201246 minutes 32 seconds
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Carrie Vaughn | Harry and Marlowe and the Talisman of the Cult of Egil

Carefully, with gloved hands, she removed the object from its stone niche, where it had rested for centuries deep underground, inside the dormant volcano where the mysterious Icelandic cult that guarded it made its home. It hardly weighed anything. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
28/02/201250 minutes 51 seconds
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Gregory Benford | Dark Sanctuary

In the asteroid belt you either have fast reflexes or you’re a statistic. I slammed into the airlock bulkhead and stopped dead, waiting to see where the laser beam would hit next. Narrated by John Rubinstein.
13/02/201234 minutes 12 seconds
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Brooke Bolander | Her Words Like Hunting Vixens Spring

The fox shoulders and wriggles from between her jaws, first the whiskery, pointed muzzle and then all the rest. Finally free, it shakes its sodden coat and shoots Rosa a disgusted look. Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
07/02/201252 minutes 32 seconds
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Ken Liu | The Five Elements of the Heart Mind

The Dandelion lost structural integrity so quickly that I doubt the bridge even had time for a distress call, and this escape pod’s radio is only sub-light. Narrated by Ted & Heather Scott.
24/01/201254 minutes 56 seconds
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Marissa Lingen | On the Acquisition of Phoenix Eggs (Variant)

Lloyds was not willing to insure a phoenix egg, not even of the most impeccable pedigree. Hence the inspection of the purchase became a great deal more important. Narrated by Hillary Huber.
17/01/201250 minutes 47 seconds
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Sarah Monette | Blue Lace Agate

Jamie Keller and his partner hadn’t found the shoggoth larva smugglers yet, but his boss, the head of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigation’s southeast hub, had other things on his mind. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
03/01/201245 minutes 23 seconds
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Megan Arkenberg | How Many Miles to Babylon?

It’s getting harder and harder to pretend we aren’t racing along the edge of a knife, one box of flashlights and a fistful of batteries away from the mercy of the things in the darkness. Narrated by Cassandra Campbell.