First Story: “Lazy Taekos” by Geoffrey A. Landis
Once there was a boy named Taekos who lived on a heart farm.
His parents were hardworking people: they grew new hearts for old men, and tiny hearts for babies; they grew strong hearts to plant into young men who had crashed their air-scooters and needed replacements; and they grew rugged working hearts for androids who were grown in a vat.
But Taekos didn’t want to live on the farm. He was lazy, and wanted to do something that was more fun and less like work.
One day he slung his pack over his shoulder and told his parents he was off to seek his fortune in the big city. He hitched a ride with a passing businessman driving an old-fashioned one-wheeled gyro-car, and in a few minutes he was in the big city.
Geoffrey A. Landis is a scientist and a science fiction writer. As a scientist, he is researcher working at the NASA John Glenn Research Center. He works on projects related to advanced power and propulsion systems for space and planetary exploration, and development of technologies for future missions. He is currently a member of the science team for the Mars Exploration rovers mission, which is directing the operation of the “Opportunity” rover on the surface of Mars, and was a member of the Sojourner rover team on the Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997. In 2005 and 2006, he was the Ronald E. McNair Visiting Professor of Astronautics at MIT. He holds eight patents, and is the author of 400 scientific papers on subjects ranging from interstellar travel to semiconductor physics.
As a writer, Geoffrey Landis won the Hugo award for best short story in 1992 for the story “A Walk in the Sun,” and again in 2003 for the story “Falling Onto Mars”. He won the Nebula award in 1990 for “Ripples in the Dirac Sea”. His novel Mars Crossing from Tor books won the Locus award for best first novel in 2001. His many science fiction stories has been translated into twenty-two languages, ranging from Chinese through Swedish. His short story collection Impact Parameter (and Other Quantum Realities), published by Golden Gryphon Books, was named as a notable book of 2001 by Publisher’s Weekly. His most recent book is the poetry collection Iron Angels.
He lives in Berea, Ohio, with his wife, writer Mary A. Turzillo, and his cats Azrael and Tyrael.
More information can be found on his web page, www.geoffreylandis.com.
Second Story: “Courting the Lady Scythe” by Richard Parks
Jassa son of Noban was a handsome young man of limited ambition, which was to say he had only one–to woo and to win the girl called Lady Scythe. It was a frustrating ambition, to say the very least.
It was noon on Culling Day and the crowd along the Aversan Way was barely a crowd at all, by the standards of the city. Most citizens kept off the streets of
Thornall during this time if they could. Those who didn’t were either the unfortunates who had friends and relatives given to Lady Scythe or the unfortunates with business that could not be delayed or the triply unfortunate with lives so wretched they enjoyed the spectacle of any sorrow they did not share. Whatever their reasons, they made way quickly for the Watchers, the traditional Guardians of the Emperor’s Justice.
Richard Parks has been writing and publishing sf/f longer than he cares to remember… or probably can remember. His work has appeared in Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and several Year’s Bests. The third book in his Yamada Monogatari series, The War God’s Son, is due out in October 2015 from Prime Books.
He blogs at “Den of Ego and Iniquity Annex #3”, also known as richard-parks.com.
About the Narrators:
Matthew Frederickson is in his mid-30s, living in Memphis, Tennessee, with a rockstar plastic surgeon wife. He reads and writes and runs in his spare time. He loves to brew beer, and he’d love to make that his career. He will soon start the second season of his podcast, Freddy’s Fan Fiction. You can find him on Twitter as @swami.
Graeme Dunlop is a software solution architect and voice actor living in Melbourne Australia. He is the co-editor of the fantasy podcast Podcastle, and used to host the YA podcast Cast of Wonders. You can find him on Google+ and he occasionally tweets as @kibitzer on Twitter.