Our pal Kit sometimes write for the site! This is one of those times.
I’ve been meaning to get into the habit of writing more for this site, unfortunately until now inspiration has escaped me for something a bit more unique I can produce on a regular basis. I’ll still thrown in the odd rant or review of whatever takes my fancy but I wanted something a bit different for what I hope will be a bi-weekly endeavour! This is why I’ve set my sight on short stories I listen to, I really enjoy and find they fit into my day to day life incredibly easily, be it something to put on when I have to walk to the shops or put on in the background when I’m tidying the house I’ve found that short story podcasts or audio books help pass the time so much quicker.
Traditionally this would be more my brother’s shtick than mine so if you’re reading this Jonny then I hope you don’t mind me having a crack at it!
Now, the way this will work is every other week I’ll provide a short review or discussion of two or three short stories or one audio book. These are likely to not exactly be ‘up to date’ so if you’re into this sort of thing you may well have come across them before. Also, I won’t provide a score for any of them, purely because if I’m commenting on what could add up to a lot any numerical score could easily lose meaning over time. I’ll provide links where I can to these in the hope you’ll check them out and enjoy them yourselves! Most short stories are 30 minutes – an hour, though some can go on to three or four.
The websites I’ll link to provide this content for free and really are amazing. You’ll see most of them crop up each week so please support them if you can. Some do have the option to pay to get extra stories, though I’ll let you know if you’d need to pay to hear it in each review.
I’ll try to keep things general every time but some slight spoilers are inevitable to slip through.
So with this intro I’ll keep each review fairly short today and without further over explaining myself I’ll start today with three of my favourites!
This is the one that really got my addiction to listening to short stories started. It’s a two part sci-fi adventure based loosely on Lovecraftian lore that in a short space of time manages to create a wonderful and fascinating universe. Set in the future, it follows an adventure of Izreal Izzary and his ‘Cheshire Cat’ Mongoose who are pest controllers of a sort accepting a job on a spaceship to deal with an infestation of low level otherworldly monsters. Well, otherworldly pests but of course things don’t go to plan.
The story itself is engaging and fun and exciting, the characters feel very fleshed out and characterisation given to the adorable little tentacled horror that is Mongoose is fantastic and the otherworldly monsters described in the story are left crystal clear in your imagination and are truly fantastic. There’s a lot that’s only mentioned in passing during this episode that you just wish they’d explore and you’re left wanting much more from this universe.
It’s a good thing there are two great sequels to this story, but those are for another time.
Written by: Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear.
Another End of the Empire
Imagine you are the evil overlord Morgash, Emperor and feared tyrant. Imagine you have your very own oracle. Imagine she prophesises a chosen one will soon be born in your empire and this will lead to your fall. What would you do? Kill everyone born in the coming months? Seek them out and destroy them? Go into hiding? Or… Heavily invest in and make great efforts to improve the lives of the average citizens and try to make them happy?
This one is a lot of fun and I’m sure has the potential to inspire a Dungeons and Dragons game of some description. It’s only half an hour long and kept me smiling throughout. Needless to say it’s a very different take on a common fantasy scenario and well worth a listen to if you like your fantasy and want to try things from the villain’s perspective.
Written by: Tim Pratt
The amount of bureaucracy and red tape we all have to deal with in our day to day lives is ridiculous and one thing comics tend to step around is how much worse it would be for a super hero (unless you’re She-Hulk). Not Captain Confederation though. No fly zones, having to apply to get the best super hero jobs in each city and so much more keep getting in the way of his work! This is the story of how he deals with it when he’s had enough!
This is another quick and easy one so it doesn’t require all of your attention if you need to multitask, I recommend it if you like your super heroes but some sick part of you wants to see them struggle and get infuriated by day to day things. It pokes a lot of fun at the genre and makes jokes of some common tropes we’re used to seeing. Much as I enjoyed it I wouldn’t say this amongst the best short stories I’ve ever listened to but for super hero fans it’s a good bit of fun.
Written by: Jim Robb