It's Friday! There's fiction by smoe great contemporary writers, Jason Sanford, Mike Resnick, Cat Rambo, and others. Some cool podcasts and gaming items round things out. Have a great weekend and see you Sunday at latest (barring disaster or Gnaerkiean invasion).
@Daily Science Fiction: "The Blue Room" by Jason Sanford.
"The plains rolled out before Aiesha, all buffalo grass and forever sky drowning to the dusk's easy light. Aiesha sat on the weather-worn porch of her grandpa's farm house, flipping page after page of her history textbook--unread, the words blurring to elsewhere. Away! they whispered. Go! they sighed."
@Ray Gun Revival: "Catastrophe Baker Makes First Contact" by Mike Resnick.
"I was standing at the bar in The Outpost, the best drinking hole in the Plantagenet system, minding my own business and admiring some of the ladies who were in attendance, when my old pal Hurricane Smith rushed into the place, looked around, spotted me, and raced up to the bar."
Classic SF and Weird:
@Variety SF: A review with links to free online versions of "The Thirst Quenchers"by Rick Raphael, from Analog (Sept. 1963).
@Feedbooks: Odes and Sonnets by Clark Ashton Smith (1918). Written before Lovecraft and Howard.
"Triumphant, through what realms of elder doom, / Where even the swart vans of Time are stunned, / Seek thou some fit Cimmerian citadel, And mighty cities, desolate, unsunned, / Whose walls of horrent and enormous gloom / Make sharp the horizon of the light of hell."
@Munseys and Project Gutenberg: "All In The Mind" by Gene L. Henderson, from If: Worlds of Science Fiction (April 1954).
"When does life begin?... A well-known book says "forty". A well-known radio program says "eighty". Some folks say it's mental, others say it's physical. But take the strange case of Mel Carlson who gave a lot of thought to the matter."
@Munseys and Project Gutenberg: "The Model of a Judge" by William Douglas Morrison, from Galaxy Science Fiction (Oct. 1953).
"Should a former outlaw become a judge—even if he need only pass sentence on a layer cake?"
@Escape Pod: Episode #287 "A Taste of Time" by Abby Goldsmith, read by Mur Lafferty.
"Jane gagged on the sour taste in her mouth. She was so dizzy, she’d fallen . . . but she was sitting in an office chair, with no memory whatsoever of leaving her dark and quiet apartment."
@Pseudopod: Episode #224: "The Horror Of Their Deeds To View" by Lizanne Herd, read by Matt Weller.
"The door opens and we each press against the nearest wall. I lower my eyes. The police officer, the last one to be taken, had stood up and screamed at them, had taken a swipe at them, knocking one over. It hit the wall and made a sickening crunching noise, a crack in its shell, splat from several of its eyes smeared thick and brown as it slid to the floor. It took them only moments to turn on him."
@Cast Macabre: Episode #37: "The Sparrow" by Patrick Hurley, read by Graeme Dunlop.
"In late spring of 1794, villagers along the Gold Coast of Ghana discovered an abandoned merchant ship run aground on their shore."
@Kung Fu Action Theater: KFATales Episode #3: "The Paper Dragon Breathes Fire" by Winnie Khaw, read by Ty Konzak. Historic Adventure.
"The essence of a dynastic change, something that occurred frequently in Chinese history, and while such events are often times of triumph they are also equal parts tragedy caused by the all too mortal failings of man."
@Misfits Audio Productions: Strange Stories Episode #10: "Unicorn in the Closet" by Mike Murphy, performed by a full cast.
"Returning to her childhood home, a young woman finds herself drawn into a magical world of her youth."
@SFFaudio: Yesterday, I linked to LibriVox's The Mad Planet by Murray Leinster, check out the art, as well as a printable CD case for the story at SFFaudio.
@Brain Harvest: "The Break" By Amy McLane.
@Flashes in the Dark: "Mushroom Pizza" By Zach Owen
@365 tomorrows: "Sorry" by Richard Chins.
@10Flash Quarterly: "Accompaniment" fantasy by Keffy R. M. Kehrli.
@10Flash Quarterly: "A La Mode" fantasy by Karina Fabian.
@10Flash Quarterly: "Aliens" science fiction by D. J. Swatski.
@10Flash Quarterly: "As Is" science fiction by Sandra M. Odell.
@10Flash Quarterly: "Brown Bottle Nostrum" fantasy by Jay Lake.
@10Flash Quarterly: "Data de Morte" dark fantasy by Lorna D. Keach.
@10Flash Quarterly: "Open-Door Policy" horror by David S. Grant.
@10Flash Quarterly: "The Forbidden Stitch" fantasy by Cat Rambo.
@10Flash Quarterly: "The Misanthrope" fantasy by Janna Silverstein.
@10Flash Quarterly: "With Gleaming Blades" fantasy by Anne Patterson Friedman.
@Campaign Wiki: All One Page Dungeon Contest 2011 Submissions. Several one page dungeons in a zipped collection of PDFs [via Discourse and Dragons]
@Trollish Delver: "10 free RPGs you must play"
"Free RPGs are all over the major PDF download sites like DrivethruRPG and RPGNow, but the real task is to sift through the mud and find the best free roleplaying games."
Small but Cool Gaming Items
@A Character For Every Game: [1 page dungeon] Ember Crag.
@A Character For Every Game: [dungeon] Infinite Caves of the Shroom-Goblins (part 1 of 2).
@A Character For Every Game: [Encounter] Random Flowing Fountains.
@Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets: [New Spells] Everbloom and Ghosthaunt.
@The Land of NOD: [Encounter] Mu-Pan - Encounter XX.
@The Labyrinth: Reimagining the Goblin.
@Blog on the Borderlands: "Vodyanoi, Burrowing"
@Sea of Stars: [New Magic Items] Eos’ Lamp and Fama’s Talisman.