“Practially every one of the top 40 records being played on every radio station in the United States is a communication to the children to take a trip, to cop out, to groove. The psychedelic jackets on the record albums have their own hidden symbols and messages as well as the lyrics to all the top rock songs and they all sing the same refrain: its fun to take a trip, put acid in your veins.”
“Darwinism”: “I never had a gender in mind for either the narrator or the listener. Does it change the story a great deal if the narrator in particular is male or female?”
“The Last Bombardment”: “In 2013, I participated in Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s annual “Art and Words Show”, in which writers base new stories on works of visual art, and visual artists base new works on stories and poems. Bonnie gave me an arresting drawing by Kris Goto which showed an infant suspended by red balloons whose strings threaded through its head. This story was the result.”
by Lynette Mejía
Lucinda sniffed the air, wrinkling her nose. Another smoker, she thought, though the sign on the door was as clear as could be: a circle with a burning cigarette in its center, bisected by a thick, black line. The smell was faintly industrial, like burning chemicals. Annoying.
She lugged the heavy commercial vacuum cleaner into the room, plugging it into the nearest wall outlet and dragging it back and forth across the floor in a series of ever-widening, slightly overlapping strokes. As it slid beneath the bed, however, the ancient machine coughed and heaved, gasping like an end-stage emphysema patient. Turning it off with a sigh, Lucinda dropped to her knees and lifted the scratchy, floral coverlet hanging nearly to the floor.
by Rachel Verkade
Come here a moment. I want to talk to you about evolution.
Don’t be shy. It’s not that scary a subject, no matter what your local priest might tell you. It’s really very simple. The idea is that some creatures are born with “mutations”; new features that can be detrimental or advantageous to the animal. Say, for example, that at one time an antelope gives birth to a calf that has a slightly longer neck than its fellows. And because that calf has a longer neck, it is able to reach leaves that are higher in the trees. These leaves are more succulent, richer, and it does not have to fight with its herdmates to reach them. And so this animal has an easier time finding food, and thus becomes stronger and is better equipped to breed with the females. This long neck is passed on to its progeny, and each of them can reach these higher leaves as well, and so they too are better able to survive and breed. And so eventually a longer-necked male breeds with a longer-necked female, and their calf has a longer neck still, and an even greater advantage. This continues and continues through the generations, and millions of years later, you and I marvel over the beauty of Giraffa camelopardis, the African giraffe.
The Last Bombardment
by Kenneth Schneyer
Nobody noticed the first bombardment, not when it happened. It came at night without a sound. That was early in the war, and we were miles from the front; no one was watching for anything.
One morning we woke up, brewed our cups of coffee (there was coffee then), poured the cream, and took a sip while it was still hot, and went out to search the bushes and ravine for badly thrown newspapers. For most of us, that was all that happened. But a few, maybe fifty or sixty, found toddlers on our doorsteps.
About the Authors
In 2014 Kenneth was nominated for the Nebula Award, and was a finalist for the Sturgeon Memorial Award, for his story ‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer,’ which appeared on our sister podcast Podcastle. His first collection, The Law & the Heart, was released by Stillpoint Digital Press last year, and his stories also appear in Analog, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clockwork Phoenix 3 & 4, Daily Science Fiction, and elsewhere. With the present story, Ken has now achieved is longtime goal of having works on all three of the Escape Artists podcasts. Ken teaches business law and science fiction literature in Rhode Island.
Rachel is a Canadian writer whose background is in wildlife biology. Previously she’s been published in The Escapist, The Future Fire, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, Under the Bed, The New Accelerator, Romance Magazine, 365 Tomorrows, and On the Premises. Currently she lives in England with 3 cats, a parrot, and a husband. She works as a writer and editor for the website Nerds Raging under the pseudonym “Here be Dragons” or “The Drunken Dragon Lady”. She’s working on an ongoing comedic review of the works of John Everson, titled “Rape-Rape, the Rapening”
Lynette Mejía writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror prose and poetry. Her work has appeared in Nature: Futures, Daily Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, and many other venues. Lynette Mejía has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Million Writer’s award and the Rhysling award.
About the Narrators
Andrea Subissati is a sociologist and writer on horror and cultural studies. In 2010, her masters thesis on the social impact of zombie cinema was published under the title When There’s No More Room In Hell: The Sociology of the Living Dead. Since then, she has been published in The Undead and Theology (2012) and The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (2015). She joined the staff of Rue Morgue magazine in 2014,and became Executive Editor in 2017. In addition to writing, Andrea has appeared on the TV horror documentary Why Horror?(2014) and is co-curator of the Toronto-based horror lecture series The Black Museum, which she founded with Paul Corupe. In 2015, she launched the horror YouTube channel THE BATCAVE.
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