Hear That? #19: Algernon & Laidlaw

Picture of President Grover Cleveland.Crossposted from Sandra M. Odell’s Write or Gnorw:

Hi there! Welcome to another installment of HEAR THAT?, a review of fine audio fiction on the internet. I know there are any number of quality audio fiction podcasts out there, so if you happen across one that you think I might like then drop me a line and I’ll check it out. This time around we have two stories from two very different podcasts, not about heroes but about real people.

CAST OF WONDERS #66 brings us “The Egg Game” by S.R. Algernon, read by Graeme Dunlop. S.R. Algernon began reading science fiction at an early age, and honed his writing in North Carolina. He currently resides in Singapore. Graeme hails from Australia, is the host of CAST OF WONDERS, and can be heard on many a fiction podcast.

“The Egg Game” is the story of a family vacation at The Sun Spot, a resort just outside of Earth’s atmosphere and certainly not what the main character hoped when his parents agreed to a vacation in space. The character and his younger brother devise a game involving falling eggs in the variable-gravity lift tubes, and an elaborate point system that takes a wrong turn when matters go from boring to worse. I kept waiting for “something to happen”, but it didn’t take long to realize the joy of this story is the realistic portrayal of young teens looking for a bit of fun. The action comes in the form of the science behind their game, and the eventual solution to the sudden crisis. The main character is intelligent, likeable, and knows he’s definitely in for it if his parents ever find out what’s going on. This is a great story for pre-teen and teen readers who are just dipping their toes into the waters of good, short science fiction.

Next we have PSEUDOPOD #319, “Cell Call” by Marc Laidlaw, read by George Cleveland. Marc is a writer, gamer, thinker, and game designer who currently works at Valve Software. George lives in Tamworth, New Hampshire, and serves as the Executive Director of the Gibson Center for Senior Services in North Conway. And as an added bonus, he is the grandson of President Grover Cleveland.

“Cell Call” is the story of a man attempting to manage his new cell phone while finding his way home in the rain. Flustered by the phone, the weather, and his wife’s irritation, he misses his turn and ends up someplace unexpected. Here is a story about subtle terrors, the kind that curl around you when you think there is nothing wrong. Much like “The Egg Game”, the main character is not a hero, he’s just an ordinary guy who loves his wife, and Laidlaw’s understated use of setting and very realistic dialogue lent itself well to the chill down my spine as the story progressed. Definitely worth the listen.

And that’s a wrap for this installemtn of HEAR THAT? Drop me a line and let me know what you thought. Did you agree with the recommendations? Think I was way off base? Even better, if you liked what you heard with these podcasts, post a comment on the forums for either podcast, or donate a few dollars to keep great fiction alive and well on the web.

That’s all for now, gentle listeners. Until next time, kee your ears open!