Monday, July 21, 2014

Flash and Audio Fiction and Gaming Magazines

It's Monday, but there is hope. Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Mars, there was an age of free fiction undreamed of, when shining kingdoms and glittering starships lay free for those with imagination.

Flash Fiction:
• At Mad Scientist Journal: "The Greater Migration" by Christopher David DiCicco. Science Fiction.
• At Daily Science Fiction: "A Year and a Day" by Sean R Robinson. Fantasy. 
• At Every Day Fiction: "Rattlebone" by Bosley Gravel, read by Alexander Jones. Audio horror.
• At Leaves of Ink: "Undocumented Zombies" poem.

Audio Fiction:
• At Escape Pod: "EP455: Keep Your Shape" by Robert Sheckley, read by Nathaniel Lee. Science Fiction. First published in Galaxy, Nov 1953.
 "Pid the Pilot slowed the ship almost to a standstill, and peered anxiously at the green planet below.Even without instruments, there was no mistaking it. Third from its sun, it was the only planet in this system capable of sustaining life. Peacefully it swam beneath its gauze of clouds.It looked very innocent. And yet, twenty previous Grom expeditions had set out to prepare this planet for invasion—and vanished utterly, without a word." Audio and Text.


• At Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs: "Episode 18 - Tarzan the Untamed" Adventure.
"We last saw Bertha Kircher and Lt. Smith-Oldwick at the cave at the cliff base, as the pride of lions accompanied by odd looking humans has launched an attack upon their campsite."

Threshold Magazine. Issues 1-4
Four large free issues of Threshold "The Mystara Magazine."  They are all very nice looking issues filled with ideas for a Mystara (the world of the D&D Gazetteers) campaign.  However, as most old school players can tell you, anything can easily be adapted to anything else.  Give 'em a look - they're free and directly downloadable from the site.

• At DriveThruRPG: Brave the Labyrinth - Issue #4 [Pay what you want]
A very well made old school role-playing magazine the contains several useful articles for old school games, in particular Labyrinth Lord
  • -Two (2) new Dwarven races (Clockwork and Stone)
  • -Chaos magic to beef up your humanoid shamans
  • -The Demonologist class for Labyrinth Lord
  • -Two island maps (Player's and Labyrinth Lord's)
  • -New ideas for terrifying fantasy zombies
  • -Health insurance for adventurers
  • -One (1) adventure for 1st-3rd level characters (The Ruined Tower of Hilsosk the Mad)
  • -One (1) article on weapon mastery
  • -Six (6) new faerie magic items

• Audio at Crime City Central: "Courtesy Call" by Justin Gustainis, read by Summer Brooks.
• Audio at LibriVox: "The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel (Dramatic Reading)" Adventure.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Life is Like a List of Free Fiction; You Never Know What You're Gonna Get.

Hope you all had a good weekend. Back Monday - Dave T.

• At "A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon A Star" by Kathleen Ann Goonan. 

An "original rocket story. “A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon a Star”, by Kathleen Ann Goonan, is about the daughter of a rocket scientist in the post 1950s who wants to go to the moon, despite being discouraged because “girls don’t do that.” A novelette that’s science fiction by association."

• At WiFiles: "Ice Fishing" by Iulian Ionescu. Speculative Fiction.

"Jake tapped the ice with his foot. Usually he’d hear the lake answer, vibrate back like a violin string, but today the ice was harder than cement. The few inches of snow that landed over night swirled in the wind piling up like sand dunes."

Audio Fiction
• At Cast of Wonders: "Into The Forever Place" by Luke Thomas, read by Heather Welliver.YA Fantasy.
"We both examine his reflection in the slab of mirrored glass leaning against the wall. The mirror’s old tain yellows everything—the wood and mortar walls, my pale skin and Jad’s dark—it’s all yellowed except the braids of the sash. They wind around Jad’s lanky torso in blues and greens more vivid than life" Audio and Text.

• At Clarkesworld: "Soul's Bargain" by Juliette Wade, read by Kate Baker.
"Now that she considered it, she hadn’t entirely left behind Eyn’s inspiration. Surely the goddess would be disappointed in her now, though—bound by her people’s adulation and her own blindness into tiny orbits that held nothing but the known."

• At Radio Drama Revival:  "Embarking on A Prophets Guide" Part 1 of 2

"When Karl gives up his appointed quest to chase after the Muffin Girl from the local coffee shop, three prophets, Zoe, Morgan, and Destin team up with a six-foot silverfish named Bob and find themselves on a real quest in which a prophet-turned-hero is allied with a villain-turned-mentor to defeat a prophet-turned-villain to save their society from its own absurd facades."

• At Tales to Terrify: No 132 Matt Cowen and Paul Jessup Horror.
Paul Jessup’s "Post Flesh" and Matt Cowen’s "The Immaculate Particle"

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hoody Hoo, It's Friday

Q. What is best in life?
A. To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to read and listen to all their free fiction.

• At Daily Science Fiction: "The Rift Cell" by Chris Batchelor.  Fantasy.
"It roared at him. Waves of heat and noise blasted up the blackened walls from a surging lava flow in the bottom of the chasm. He scowled at the thing, etched in the Earth in defiance of nature, in a perfectly straight line, exactly a hundred feet wide and a hundred feet deep. It pushed everything apart. The house on Cavanaugh's right had been split to reveal street after street of interrupted roads, sidewalks, and lawns, all the way to a gap in the distant hills."

• At Paizo: "Queen Sacrifice- Chapter One: Lord of Summer" by Steven Savile. Fantasy. Pathfinder.

"It was easy to see why the range was known as the World's Roof. Even here, far from their loftiest heights, the snowcapped peaks were spectacular to behold, intimidating as they clawed up at the sky. Some of the mountains, like the Mhar Massif off to the east, pierced the clouds and kept on climbing until their summits were far out of sight. There was something primal, elemental, about the mountains' presence in the world. They seemed to taunt the fleeting nature of humanity and promise that no matter what, the land would abide."

 Audio Fiction
 At  Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs: "Tarzan the Untamed" Adventure, Parts 1-17.
"Chapter XVII – The Walled CityTarzan, Bertha Kircher and Lt. Smith-Oldwick are seeking water in the parched landscape where the aeroplane has crashed.  They are surrounded and attacked by a great pride of huge lions accompanied by odd humans. Tarzan is knocked unconscious. When he awakens, Bertha Kircher and Lt. Smith-Oldwick have disappeared."

• At PodCastle: "Baba Makosh" by M.K. Hobson, read by Eric Luke. Fantasy.
"This had been going on for quite some time. While they quarreled, the sky had faded from ice-blue to bruise-purple, and the moon had risen cold as a ball of clenched snow. Dark pooled in low hollows beneath the ink-stroke birches and shadows moved within the frosty mist. Stag-like shapes that moved like men."

• At Pseudopod:  "Pseudopod 395: Fishhead" by Irvin S. Cobb, read by Maui Threv. Horror.
"And in the midst of the retching of the land and the vomiting of the waters it depressed to varying depths a section of the earth crust sixty miles long, taking it down — trees, hills, hollows, and all, and a crack broke through to the Mississippi River so that for three days the river ran up stream, filling the hole."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Is Not Free Fiction the Best of All?

More great free fiction from a few of my favorite sites.

[Art from "The Angelus Guns" by Max Gladstone.]

• At Baen: "A Thing of Beauty" by Charles E. Gannon. Science Fiction.
"The Indi Group isn't known for its humanitarian principles. They're all about the bottom line, even if that means taking steps that most would find appalling. But the higher-ups are about to find out that when you put human lives on a balance sheet, you may not get the results you're after. And that the intangible things in life-loyalty, compassion, and beauty-sometimes conquer even the most cold-hearted financial equations. An all-new story, set in the Trial By Fire universe"

• At Enchanted Conversations: "Into Gold" by Russ Bickerstaff. Fantasy. 
"The data was impossibly complicated. She saw all of the data. She saw how it could be combined to make something more than it was. Raw numbers and readings and things. And she could spin it all into raw profit. She could turn all of that data into gold. This was what she had discovered she could do"

• At Enchanted Conversations:"The Seven Fated Wishes" by Sarah Hausman. Fantasy.
"When the Princess tired of her castle, she could mount her lovely white steed and ride freely through the villages and countryside, where she was always well-received by all of those she met. Her life was carefree and happy, as were the lives of all the people in her kingdom because there was only Goodness in the world. Evil was not yet known."

• At HiLobrow:  King Goshawk (Parts 1-29 so far) by Eimar O'Duffy. 1926. Science Fiction.
"set in a future world devastated by progress. When King Goshawk, the supreme ruler among a caste of “king capitalists,” buys up all the wildflowers and songbirds, an aghast Dublin philosopher travels via the astral plane to Tír na nÓg. First the mythical Irish hero Cúchulainn, then his son Cuanduine, travel to Earth in order to combat the king capitalists."

• At Nightmare Magazine:  "Death and Death Again" by Mari Ness. Horror.
"That evening, she kills him again. This time, she works slowly, exquisitely slowly, taking frequent stops for food, for wine, for blood. Once or twice she even excuses herself to go to the bathroom, apologizing for leaving him alone." Audio and Text.

• At "The Angelus Guns" by Max Gladstone.
"During a celestial civil war, an angel-like soldier searches for her missing brother in the Crystal City.  . . .  She expected a fight when she confessed her plan. Instead her young mother closed her eyes, and opened them, and asked, “Can you bring him back?” They sat together at their outpost’s small kitchen table, and drank tea, and curled their wings close about themselves, though the late summer night was warm."

Audio Fiction
• At Drabblecast: "Bum's Rush" by Nathan Lee. Comedy. Strange.
"'I was fourteen, maybe fifteen years old, and I was a Aztec or a Mixtec or somethin’,' said the sheriff. “Anyways, I was buck naked, and I was standin’ on one of them ball courts with the little bitty stone rings twenty foot up one wall, and they was presentin’ me to Moctezuma. I was real proud, and the sun was shinin’, but it was real still and cool down there in the Valley of the Mexico." Audio and Text.

• At StarShipSofa: "No 346 Suzanne Palmer and Rachel Swirsky" Science Fiction.
"If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love," by Rachel Swirsky. 
"if you were a dinosaur, my love, then you would be a T-Rex. You’d be a small one, only five feet, ten inches, the same height as human-you. You’d be fragile-boned and you’d walk with as delicate and polite a gait as you could manage on massive talons. Your eyes would gaze gently from beneath your bony brow-ridge."
and “Shatterdown” by Suzanne Palmer.
"Four moons dotted the distant horizon, pale ghosts half-lost in shadow and framed on either side by Cjoi’s heavy black boots propped up against the observation glass. She slouched in her chair, mute earpiece dangling at the base of her neck, her eyes and attention on the gas giant below. Ammonia clouds seethed and spun endless bright rivers of gold across its radiant face, deadly and compelling. Her dive-sphere was rolled toward the oncoming night, engines in stand-by, no interior lights except the tiny blips of critical systems to break the spell."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I'm in the Dark, I'd Like to Read Free Fiction

"But I'm frightened of the things I might find" As always, there are some quite good free fiction links today. 


• At The Colored Lens: "Wild Blue Roses" by Jeff Suwak.
"Tiernan discovered the dead dogs outside the trapper’s camp at the base of Mount Storm. The animal’s frozen carcasses hung impaled upon the trunks of black oaks, branches bursting out of their flanks and eyes and mouths. The moment he saw the grim spectacle, the druid knew that Bril’s mind was too far gone. There could be no bringing him back, now."

• At Lightspeed:  "All About Strange Monsters of the Recent Past" by Howard Waldrop. Science Fiction.
"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." Text and Audio.

• At Lightspeed: "A Hole in the World" by Matthew Hughes. Fantasy.
"'I’m taking Bodwon with me,' Erm Kaslo said. 'He’s handy.' Diomedo Obron did not look up from the ancient tome in which he had been immersed when his security chief entered his work room. 'All right,' he said."

• At Strange Horizons: "The World Resolute" by E. Catherine Tobler. Speculative Fiction.
"The trees are growing hollow here. The trees are long dead, striping the snowy land with dark shadows. The hag sits among shadows and trees alike." Text and audio versions.

Audio Fiction:
• At Beam Me Up: "Beam Me Up # 414: Sojourn Chronicle book 1 chapter 1 part 1" by Kelly Christiansen. Fantasy.
". . . Dale, a member of a large space fleet, who is marooned on a world similar to 18th-century Earth. He discovers very quickly that being stranded is the least of his problems; the world he is on is about to be destroyed and he's the only one that can save it. Without any clear direction, or the tools to do so, he sets out to try, encountering magic, mayhem and chaos at every turn"

• At Escape Pod: "EP454: Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One" by KC Ball, read by Dani Cutler. Science Fiction.
"Lori Meeker pushed her hair out of her eyes and leaned back against the sink. She squeezed the cold porcelain edge to still her trembling hands and focused on the pair of plainclothes cops shoehorned into the women’s can with her."

• At The Horrors of it All:  "The Hunter and the Hunted!"
"big game hunters who find the terror tables turned on them gorily and ironically in the final panel-- but you ain't ever seen a bat shit crazy ending like this one" Originally presented in Mysterious Adventures #15, art by Doug Wildey.

• Audio at Protecting Project Pulp: “The Weight of Reputation” by Harrison R. Howard, read by Shawn Robertson. Western.
• Mythology at Project Gutenberg: Stories from Northern Myths by Emilie Kip Baker.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Above Our Life We Love Free Fiction

Mondays are undeniably bad, but perhaps a bit of good free fiction will lessen the pain.

• At Enchanted Conversations: "The Goblin Players" by Ross Smeltzer. Fantasy.
"A long time—but not so long ago that men still remembered the olden gods—there was a town near here. It is gone now, but you can find its crumbled foundations hidden under orange and brown leaves if you look in the right places. It is a lonely place now, and is rarely visited."

• At Mad Scientist Journal: "Data Crabs" by Deborah Walker, Science Fiction.
"I reached for my handbag. I looked at Dinah and Pete. They’d be okay without me. The house would run smoothly, the food would arrive, the machines would keep the rooms nice and clean. A thought occurred to me, 'Will there be data streams under the sea?'"

• At The WiFiles: "Aces High" by Holly Day. Speculative Fiction.
"Holes had been drilled in her arms, strung through with metal threads. Her veins had been drained of blood, the marrow stripped from her bones and replaced with alloy. Her skin had been removed completely. What remained of her organic form had been dipped in metal lighter and more flexible and infinitely stronger than aluminum foil."

• At Amazon: The Amazing Morse by James Rozoff. Horror.
 "When Dave Morse was young, magic meant everything to him. But as he grew up, the magic seemed to slip away from his life. Until a chance encounter with a spiritualist changed all that. Then there was magic again, magic and mystery...and terror. Now Dave is just praying it will end."

 Audio Fiction:
• At Cast of Wonders: "Episode 128: Robots Don’t Cry" by George Edwards, Read by Pete Milan. YA SciFi.
"He regarded me skeptically. 'Space Robot, huh? So you came from space, down to earth, to save a girl?'"

• At Cthulhu: "Dreams in the Witch House" Parts One and Two. by H. P. Lovecraft. Horror. 
"He was in the changeless, legend-haunted city of Arkham, with its clustering gambrel roofs that sway and sag over attics where witches hid from the King’s men in the dark, olden days of the Province. Nor was any spot in that city more steeped in macabre memory than the gable room which harboured him—for it was this house and this room which had likewise harboured old Keziah Mason, whose flight from Salem Gaol at the last no one was ever able to explain."

• At Toasted Cake: "Second Chance" by Ken Liu. Science Fiction.
I think they got it right. I don't see how they can stop him from playing. It's not his fault that he's cloned from Babe Ruth, you know? The kid just loves the game. Maybe he'll have a better record than even the original.

 • Fantastic Heroes & Witchery by Dominique Crouzet.
 A interesting looking, and well illustrated "simulacrum of the well known role-playing game that features fighters, clerics and magic-users prowling mysterious dungeons, and combating dragons to take their treasures. It is not a clone of a particular edition  [. . .] but a combination of several editions from “classic” to “3e,” to which were added a lot of options."  Tis free version lacks only an index of spells.

 • At Rended Press: Two lists of links. "Links to All of Paizo's FreeRPG Day Stuff" and "Scavenging Free d20 Material from"

Audio Fiction: At Crime City Central: "Courtesy Call" by Justin Gustainis, read by Summer Brooks. Crime Fiction.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Time and Free Fiction Wait for no One.

A few good free items.

• At Online Pulps!: "Spirit of the Keys" by Chester S. Geier. Speculative Fiction.
"Somehow, Kirby knew, Elaine's life and that of the typewriter were one . . .

Kirby heard the rhythmic clatter of a typewriter as he walked down the hall toward his apartment door. He paused with his hand on the knob and listened, smiling, forgetting the anxiety that lay like a dark weight over his mind." First published in Fantastic Adventures, March, 1948.

At Amazon: Daughter of the High Lords by David K Scholes. Science Fiction.

"Daughter of the High Lords pits the High Lord race and the Brell super power empire against the Coordinator of All Realities as Garthhe an enigmatic entity from an equally enigmatic race seeks to rescue, Raechelle, daughter of the High Lords. In 'The Search for Humanity' the far flung human race disappears without explanation from the upper reaches of time. By law the fearsome Xelk in “Human Hunter” should not be plying their trade on Earth. Should they?"

Free free on Amazon for 2 days - 12 and 13 July (US Pacific Time) and again for 3 days on 18, 19, 20 July

Audio Fiction
• At The Dunesteef: "What Could Be Worse Than Murray’s Chinese Cuisine?" by Void Munashii. Comedy Horror.
"On their way home from what possibly could have been the worst Chinese restaurant of all time, Marty and Liza miss a hairpin turn on an icy road, and get to find out just what exactly could be worse than Murray’s Chinese Cuisine."

• At PseudopodPseudopod 394: "Summer Girls" by Caspian Gray, read by Robert A.K. Gonyo. Horror.
"Something brushed his leg. For a moment he felt the sensation of fingers closing on his ankle. Dan started, then floundered away, panicked as a little kid at the first touch of seaweed. He composed himself in case Kayla was watching, but she was treading water further out, eyes on the horizon. Dan swam out to her, accidentally swallowing a mouthful of salt water, then splashed water on her back to get her attention. Kayla turned, pulling long strands of hair out of her eyes." first appeared in Black Static #35.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Free Friday Audio Fiction

Some very good free audio fiction this morning, including the Jules Verne classic Around the World in 80 Days, now complete. I'm having some minor formatting issues this morning so if things look a bit off, sorry. 

Audio Fiction
• At Clarkesworld: "Stone Hunger" by N. K. Jemisin, read by Kate Baker.
"Once there was a girl who lived in a beautiful place full of beautiful people who made beautiful things. Then the world broke. 

Now the girl is older, and colder, and hungrier. From the shelter of a dead tree, she watches as a city—a rich one, big, with high strong walls and well-guarded gates—winches its roof into place against the falling chill of night. "

• At The Classic Tales PodCast: Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. Adventure.
Now complete: Parts ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT, and NINE.
"Phileas Fogg, a gentleman of stringent and inflexible habits, proposes that he can circumvent the globe in 80 days.  He wagers half of his fortune to this effect. But are his motives really as straightforward as he would have you believe?  Jules Verne, today on The Classic Tales Podcast."

• At PodCastle:  "America Thief" by Alter S. Reiss, read by John Michnya. Fantasy.
"I looked around the table. Most of the people there weren’t paying much attention. Lansky looked a little embarrassed, and Siegel shook his head. “You want me to find out if Chaim Goldberg can turn lead into gold, or if he’s running some sort of scam,” I said."

• At Tales to Terrify: Episode No. 139:His Pale Blue Eyes” by David A. Riley narrated by Antoinette Bergin and “Suicide Chef” by Bill Ferris. Horror.

In "His Pale Blue Eyes," a young girl must save her parents from zombies and in "Suicide Chef," "a chef finds a way to save his struggling restaurant, but with deadly consequences."