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.

Science Fiction
Published: April 23, 2020, 10:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: April 16, 2020, 10:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: April 9, 2020, 10:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: March 26, 2020, 10:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: March 19, 2020, 10:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: March 12, 2020, 10:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: March 5, 2020, 11:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Feb. 27, 2020, 11:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Feb. 20, 2020, 11:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Feb. 13, 2020, 11:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Feb. 6, 2020, 11:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Jan. 23, 2020, 11:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Jan. 16, 2020, 11:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Jan. 9, 2020, 11:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Jan. 2, 2020, 11:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Dec. 26, 2019, 11:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Dec. 19, 2019, 11:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Dec. 12, 2019, 11:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Dec. 5, 2019, 11:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Nov. 28, 2019, 11:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Nov. 21, 2019, 11:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Nov. 14, 2019, 11:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Nov. 7, 2019, 11:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Oct. 24, 2019, 10:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Oct. 17, 2019, 10:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Oct. 10, 2019, 10:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Oct. 3, 2019, 10:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Sept. 26, 2019, 10:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Sept. 19, 2019, 10:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Sept. 12, 2019, 10:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Sept. 5, 2019, 10:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Aug. 29, 2019, 10:02 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Aug. 22, 2019, 10:01 a.m.

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.

Science Fiction
Published: Aug. 15, 2019, 10:02 a.m.

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