My friends, if you haven’t been listening to the podcast, The Drabblecast, then you might be no friends of mine. I take that back I need all the friends I can get. But if you haven’t checked out the fabulous work done by the team at The Drabblecast, then you are missing out. Hosted by Norm Sherman, The Drabblecast is a weekly podcast that brings you full audio productions of some of the brightest and weirdest fiction out there. Anything from the diabolical floaters in your eyes becoming sentient organisms, to otherworldly entities possessing a teddy bear and saving an abused girl from her mother.
Great stuff here folks, and you shouldn’t be missing it. Below is a video that Norm and the family have posted on YouTube, entitled: The Parasite Parade: A children’s book. This is a proper example of how creepy/weird the imagination of Mr. Sherman really is and the production value that goes into every episode. Though the episodes are mostly heard, rather than seen, you won’t be disappointed while you listen to some of the most fantastical or horrifying literature read to you along with scores of music to accompany the tale while creating an ambiance that you just can’t get out of reading these stories.
The latest episode, Local Delicacies is out now and awaiting your ears. You can download The Dabblecast where ever you listen to podcasts (i.e. iTunes,) or you can just go to Drabblecast.org and browse their archives including over 300 episodes of weirdness and hilarity.
If you have checked out The Drabblecast, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer
Art by Bo Kaier
And Merry Christmas again! I feel I should have used my Christmas rant from the last Drabblecast post here, but instead I think I will talk about how awesome this episode is. Once again we are blessed to have Tim Pratt as our feature author this week. Tim is one of The Drabblecast’s favorite authors, and It shows too, because if being published by the same audio fiction outlet 11 times doesn’t mean something then I don’t know what’s going on. This weeks story carries on the Christmassy theme that was sparked in last weeks episode, “The Star” by Arthur C. Clarke, but goes the next step to show what happens to balance out those miracles that the Hanukah, Kwanza, or Boxing day season brings us.
Drabble and twabble this week hit it on the nose. “Last Christmas”, by Greg Winkler, was terrifyingly hilarious. Hope my mom doesn’t start “stuffing the turkey” without supervision. The twabble by Steve D. Lidster, aka ROU Killing Time on the DC forums, with this baby: “The sky grew dark and Quetzalcoatl beat leather wings against the sky. We were wrong about Y2K, but right about maYan2K.” Scary.
Like I was saying before Tim Pratt is a favorite at The Drabblecast, as well as one of my favorite authors too. He has a way with words, a way with wrapping someones mind in the elements he creates with his stories. I rarely find myself day dreaming or simply not paying attention when reading/listening to one of Pratt’s stories. He is the author of the urban-fantasy series based around his bad-ass character, Marla Mason, that he publishes under the name T.A. Pratt. Be sure to swing over to www.marlamason.net where he will soon be serializing, Grim Tides, a new addition to the Marla Mason series. I highly recommend any of those novels, or any of his short story collections; Hart & Boot & Other Stories, or Little Gods.
“A Fairy Tale of Oakland” is the second christmas story that Mr. Pratt has been commissioned to write for The Drabblecast and I must say that seems like a tradition worth keeping. Last years story was “Rangifer Volans“. In this episode we learn that there is a balance that needs to be kept. With light there must be dark, and with good there must be evil. That’s were the Krampus comes in. I had never heard of this before this episode. I mean don’t get me wrong, I had heard of the word, Krampus, but I just thought it was some silly reference to a Seinfeld joke. I’m glad it’s not.
With this whole new idea in my head I will be warning my kids about the Krampus for years to come. Just makes christmas more fun than it already is. Besides it’s just as creepy knowing that there is a creature that will stuff you in his sack and possibly eat you if your naughty, as an “elf on a shelf ” statue that is designed to sit in your living room and watch your kids only to report to santa if they’re naughty. Hmm, Maybe there should be a tiny Krampus elf that does the same thing. Just a satyrish goblin that watches ominously from a dark corner. Or hell go one step further and put that tiny monster in your kids room and tell them it watches them sleep. I can see the naughtiness slipping away already.
Anyway, good stuff as usual from Tim Pratt. This story, like the one last week, made me think about justice and how it’s meaning has changed over the years. The tales of the Krampus were probably abolished for the same reason you can’t spank your kids these days. If your kid cries to someone that Mommy and Daddy are terrorizing them with a tiny monster that will come and eat them if they’re bad, well, then that someone will probably turn you in and then the real Krampus (aka the government) comes , and your kids get eaten by a system that is unstable and has cracks the size of the Grand Canyon. Just saying, something to think about.
Good fiction usually gets my vote, but throw Mr. Pratt in the salad and I really like what I see/hear. I give this episode 5 out of 5 stars in alignment, mainly though for Norm’s line, “Like you really want to piss of a bad kid and then give him some coal. terrible idea.”
Oh and be sure to jump over and take a look at Tim Pratt’s new novel, Briarpatch.
Art by Adam S. Doyle
Happy late boxing day folks! I hope all of your boxes were happy and well-tended, and I also hope you all had a merry Christmas too. Here it is December 27th and this guy cant help but have the blues. No, no, I got all the things I wanted, sure, I just can’t help but feel the warmth that only a Christmas season can bring slipping away. It begins right after presents are opened, you feel this string of uneasiness beginning to creep into your head. Then the classic Christmas breakfast, were it doesn’t matter how many home-made biscuits you eat, you realize that emptiness is the feeling of awesomeness leaving you slowly. The day trickles on with family visitations, and chatty banter about how you’re so happy to be with everyone today. It’s true too, you are happy, at this point you think the food, or the eggnog is the cause of the uneasiness. Like a dying lite inside that you can’t help but let go out.
You go to bed, reminding your self the whole time that today was great, the food was great, the family is great, and the presents were great. Then as you abruptly wake up in the middle of the night and strain your ears for the yuletide music that you left playing on your clock radio, you scowl as you see the time is 1:15 and the station has switched to its normal playlist, why couldn’t they just play it through Boxing day?
The warning signs are there when things begin to die out or slip away, and when those signs are left without notice, people feel hurt and broken from the sudden change. The jolliness has left us, like some life has left us. And that is what I felt before I began to listen to this weeks Drabblecast, episode 227, The Star by Arthur C. Clarke.
Due to holiday obligations I was unable to listen to this episode until only yesterday. I was feeling those blues begging to really sink in, until the dulcet tones of Norm Sherman’s voice perked me up, as I knew I was in store for a great story. But the show isn’t complete with out Norm’s witty banter, and the talented Drabbles and Twabbles that are featured every week. The Drabble this week, Creator by Nathan Lee, went very well with the main feature, and the twabble by Algernon Sydney is Dead went like this: “Joy to the World the Beast is come! It’s time for reckoning. Let every heart prepare for doom and crime upon nature bring.”
He, he, he good one. The Star, by Arthur C. Clarke was a fabulously futuristic story that got me to thinking pretty heavily. I am no atheist, yet I would not consider myself a devout christian either. I have never been baptised, yet I believe in a higher power. Whether I believe in a buff aged bearded fellow in the clouds, or in something that flies around in space ships, hell maybe Lovecraft had it right and we were spawned by a race of aliens that created us as a joke! Either way, like Norm says, it gets you thinking, wondering, that if there is a God then what are we to him? What stops him from smiting us or destroying our civilization?
Something else I got out of this one is that miracles are miraculous, yes, but what may have been sacrificed to become that guiding light, or that miracle.
Good to have some thought-provoking fiction to make us think, and that’s why The Drabblecast is a great charm to add to that bracelet your sister gave you this Christmas. They’re always there folks, plain and simple. Week in and week out delivering not only thought-provoking fiction, but the kind of stuff that turns you on to new things, concepts, ideas. So that’s why if you enjoyed this weeks episode or just like the pretty art, done this week by Adam S. Doyle then you should drop on by the donations page of The Drabblecast and show some love.
Good stuff this week topping off an awesome christmas weekend. Unspeakable Gibberer gives this one 4 out of 5 stars in alignment.
Episode Art By Skeet Scienski
This week we are saved by the powers of The Drabblecast as we capture episode 226, “The Heroics of Interior Design”, by Elise R. Hopkins. Things look pretty good this week all around. First up with the drabble, “Imaginary Runner” by Tesseract McCrea, a great short short that reminds me that sometimes imaginary friends aren’t so imaginary. The feature story, “The Heroics of Interior Design” by Elise R. Hopkins, in which we discover that every once in a while we want to stand out and be remembered for the things we’ve done. And when that desire is never fulfilled and we are left wanting any sort of attention we act out against the grain of the world to embed our mark on our own merits. That’s something to think about, is it necessary to take action into your own hands and leave your mark, or is it best to earn the respect and build a reputation that may someday become your legacy. I give this episode, 3 out of 5 starts in alignment.
I know I say it a lot, but I really liked this one. The Drabblecast is an efficient machine that may have its glitches every once in a while, but for the most part do a great job of pressing out fine audio fiction on a semi-regular basis. Cheers to Norm and Bo Kaier, and the rest of the denizens of Drabblecast land. Check them all out and drop them a donation if you like the work they do.
Oh and before I forget I jumped by Norm’s kickstarter page to check out the results and it looks like he surpassed his goal. Hang tight for some awesome tunes crawling your way soon!
Art by Steve Santiago
My apologies for missing a post for episode #224 folks, but here we are at #225 of the year. So far that means that we have been blessed with 31 episodes so far this year, and hopefully we get a couple more to round it out. I know for sure we’ve got one more coming up for christmas thanks to Tim Pratt. Yes, Thanks to Tim Pratt, Drabblecast is running a holiday contest. The gig is to post any thing anywhere Drabblecast is featured (example: Facebook, Twitter, DC Forums, Donations, Donating to Norm’s new CD “The Esoteric Order of Sherman“, things like that) and if you’re the lucky winner your name will appear in Tim Pratt’s new Christmas story commissioned by The Drabblecast. Awesome, my only question is how are we to know that Norm wont just make up a name, and send it along? Well we trust good ol’ Norm here, and I think its safe to say that “Unspeakable Gibberer” wont be a likely choice. *Sigh* Oh well.
I am especially excited for this weeks episode, mostly because I need my weekly fix, but also because our pal Steve Santiago (the creator behind the creepy thing you see at the top of this page) did the episode art. But before this great artwork was created, three excellent stories were written and placed so perfectly together. As it is a Trifecta, there is a theme to this weeks episode and disturbingly enough its child abduction. Not tales about drunken perverts, or sadistic serial stalkers (Which by the way is my band name for the week.) but ones with unexpected outcomes and enough whimsy to balance the uncomfortable feeling of nefarious forces that seem to always be pursuing children. Our stories are: “David is Six” by Amanda C. Davis, “The Best Boy, the Brightest Boy” by Megan R. Engelhard, and “Broken” by Steven Saus. Get ye over to The Drabblecast or ye’s closest podcast provider for this one kids.
No drabble this week, but a very appropriate twabble by Chris Monroe: “Jesus Christ!” Mary yelled when she saw the muddy sandal prints across the living room, “What were you, born in a barn?”
He he, that rascal Jesus, always leaving doors wide open, and leaving his tracks all over everything, and I mean everything. Don’t forget to donate children, and if you’re a good boy or girl, santa might bring you something in return for your generosity. Like I said I really liked this episode so were giving this one: 5 out of 5 stars in alignment, ooohhh nooo!!
Art by Mike Dominic
Hello again kids, here is your weekly review, of your favorite weird fiction podcast. The Drabblecast episode #222 – Rules for Living in a Simulation, by Aubrey Hirsch. A great one this week folks, and it was once again brought to you by J.R. Hamantaschen’s anthology of dark fiction called “You Shall Never Know Security “, check this one out people. The drabble this week was “Duck Hunt”, by John Murphy, a clever little 8bit tale to surface old memories of wanting to kill that damn giggling dog.
Finally we got a grand tour/introduction to the newly improved, for about a month now, official Drabblecast site. Norm named off a list of generous people who were responsible for how incredible the site looks now. Everything from switching servers, new site design, new episode art, and new information for each episode, has been updated for your pleasure. A lot went into updating everything, and like any good transformation, The Drabblecast came out looking like a mutated moth hatching from a greying cocoon hidden behind the eyes of an old man. See what I did there? If not, check out Trifecta XII.
Rules for Living in a Simulation, our feature story, is exactly what it sounds like. The world is as you assumed, a massive simulation designed to fit our needs. Really enjoyed this one. As a rattling list of what not to do’s and other guidelines, I felt as if I was being told how to live my life, which is exactly how some people feel about our government. An entity that if figured out, recognized, takes notice of those who are aware, and deals with those who have too many questions. If only Neo listened to this before swallowing that damn pill. Yep I just made a crappy Matrix reference… come on! You had to see it coming.
Great art work this week by, Mike Dominic, as well as an amazing reading done by, George Hrab. This one came together nicely, I wasn’t a big fan of the past couple episodes, not disappointed, I just didn’t think they were up to the snuff that DC usually produces. This one gets 3 out of 5 stars in alignment
Upon receiving my copy of J.R. Hamantaschen’s anthology, “You Shall Never Know Security” (Published by West Pigeon Press) I did as I do with most new books, and that is examine the cover. No book should be judged by its cover, or so they say, but I believe that a good glance at not only the cover art, but the words surrounding the literature, are important to take in before you begin. After all, that’s why they are there. I was pleased to see what I was getting myself into. Like the back of the book states, “in the finest tradition of H.P. Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti, Dennis Etchison, and T.E.D. Klein,” all of which are authors who have time after time been able to portray the feeling, that life is a losing proposition. And after reading through this masterpiece of unnerving literature, I must also agree that these stories are truly what 21st century dark fiction is all about.
This collection of thought-provoking literature is part of a new turning point in modern fiction. The world is no longer yearning for horrific old pens to cover the same feeling of dread paragraph after paragraph. No, even though one must not forget the classics, we must also understand this is not a new ballpark ready for the same players; this is a different game altogether.
A young writer from Queens, NY, Mr. Hamantaschen has successfully been able to filter the best themes of modern Sci-fi, horror, and speculative fiction, and has efficiently modernized a genre filled with dread, and uncertainty. As a young writer myself, I appreciated the characters established in each story. All containing relatable problems, and sharing the same thought process that I have seen people my age share as we try to discover our place in this world.
A spectrum of emotions are covered throughout this book and span from social awkwardness, jealousy, ignorance, determination, desire, hate, pain, embarrassment, and love. These are emotions that as new adults fuel our needs and motivate us to grow up confused and hurt, because it never turns out as we wish.
When I sat down to write this review, I opened the book and looked at the table of contents trying to decide which story was my favorite. To be honest, I can’t even properly decide. Each story has a specific feeling that overtakes me as I read them. As a
must I would suggest the last three stories of the anthology. These tales are some of the best thought out dark fiction that I have read, and all share a tangential theme. For those on a quick track to see if you like this work, any of the first five stories will lube your brain and get you thinking.
I review a weekly fictional podcast called, The Drabblecast, in which the host, Norm Sherman, has been featuring work from J.R. That is what truly turned me on to this stuff. If you have been checking those out, you’ll see that I have also been mentioning J.R.’s work as well with little quips like: “A seriously creepy book that everyone should buy, borrow, and beg to read
it.” and “I must say this book is a must to have tucked under the pillow, you know, to have something to clench when you wake with unease in the middle of the night. Yeah, it will do that to yah.” And it will folks, it will.
The anthology is available through Amazon.com, and is a book that will be immortalized on my book shelf, and should likewise be on everyone else’s. Whenever I have that moment to sit down and read a story, well let’s just say that I will be grabbing my hand-worn copy of “You Shall Never Know Security”. The stars are in alignment for this baby, 5 out of 5.
Furthermore, if you are extremely satisfied with this anthology, and wish to contact the author, you can reach him at, JRtaschen@gmail.com. He answers every email.