Supernova by Sam French

Our second installment of Strange Investigations features one of the most fucked up central characters we've ever had.  It figures, though, because it came from the brilliant mind of Sam French.  The basic story here is about a lawyer hired to oversee a legal issue.  But the lawyer is like no one you've ever met and the issue at hand... is out of this world.  

Image by Nydia Lilian 

Image by Nydia Lilian 

Arms Race by Josh Trapani

"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."
Fyodore Dostoevsky

Are you ready for a month long series of Strange Investigations?  In our ever expanding world of connectivity it's easy to see that the device we hold in our hands will eventually be embedded within our physical being.  It is, perhaps, fated to happen for better or worse.  This excellent story by Josh Trapani imagines that near future exists and how it might affect one aspect of our society: The American Prison system.

Image provided HERE

Image provided HERE

I Am The Road by Eric Del Carlo

The weather has savaged the landscape, megacorporations have circled the wagons, but mankind has found a way to strike back with the invention of the ultimate driving machine.  Engineered to withstand any hardship mother earth can throw at it, this vehicle proves mankind the ultimate survivor - except for one inherent flaw.  Step inside the passenger seat with Eric Del Carlo's ultimate high-speed riff on the family road trip.

Strangers in the Eye by Sam French

Our fourth release riffing on the theme of Climate Displacement.  This story by Sam French takes place in a future in which extreme weather has pinned society down in bunkers and shelters except for a daring few who have the skills, resources, and know-how to traverse the hostile land. In this case, we follow a mother, son, and a stranger on a harrowing journey through the Florida panhandle in the eye of a hurricane!

Music used in this episode -River of Io by Kevin MacLeod

Illustration by Jay Haldon

Illustration by Jay Haldon

The Scarabee by Kelseigh N.

What kind of car do you drive?  What kind of car do you drive when the environment has become do unpredictable, every ride is deadly?  And what kind of vehicle do you drive when the face of humanity on planet earth has turned desperate and tribal?  Answer:  You drive The Scarabee. We're super jazzed to feature the talents of new (to Brick Moon Fiction) writer, Kelseigh N.  Here she delivers a thought provoking, action-packed story that never stops moving.  Enjoy!

Artwork source found HERE

Artwork source found HERE

The Days of Gregor Spheeris by Eric Del Carlo

This is the final installment in our Tyranny of History prompt.  True to form, Eric Del Carlo delivers a bizarre and out-of-the box idea that makes its deceptively simple punchline that much more profound.  Pay close attention.  The destination is bigger than the road trip.  And sometimes we are victims of our own history.

Information on illustration HERE

Information on illustration HERE

Apoptosis,* or The Two-Headed Turtle Runs a Race

It's safe to say that we all have experienced bouts of depression and/or know someone who suffers from it.  When I had my own bout with it, my therapist recommended a book by William Styron called, "Darkness Visible."  The point was to get a real writer's point of view on what it's like to experience those dark moments, to shine a light on the emotional upheaval and reveal just what's happening inside someone's head (and to let others afflicted know they're not alone).  When writer Winnie Khaw delivered this short story to us, it reminded me very much of that book.  The theme this month is 'The Tyranny of History,' and although Winnie's story falls out of the realm of speculative fiction, there's an honesty here that can't be ignored. It's also worth mentioning that the empirical demons that control us are not always external. Sometimes they come from within. Take a listen to this very special work.  

Music in this episode: "Bittersweet" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Zen's Bloody Ears by Sam French

Continuing this month's theme Tyranny of History, writer Sam French delivers yet another fiendish, intelligent, and out-of-the box story - this one about a not-too-distant future classroom where every whim of kindergarten children must be indulged by powerless teachers in order to follow the blind faith motto "There is certainty in trust."  What kind of children are produced in this environment?  Zen is about to let you know.  Lean in.  Listen closely.  He wants to whisper something in your ear...

Image courtesy of Artstack

Image courtesy of Artstack

SEMantics by Brandon Easton

We love when this happens, it's what makes Brick Moon Fiction so exciting.  This month's prompt was Tyranny of History - our writers were to riff on the notion that we are beholden to the tenants of history and not always in a good way.  SEMantics is what one of our favorite writers Brandon Easton came up with.

It is a few moments into the future.  The race crisis in America explodes on the fulcrum of a heinous crime and as a result - an APP is developed.  Yes.  A simple APP.  It's free to download, free to the public.  It's function?  It allows people to scan African Americans to find where they rank on a scale of criminality.  Bullshit, right?  Except that people start volunteering their information to the APP and things snowball outrageously from there...  Enjoy, SEMantics, the first of four podcasts riffing on the Tyranny of History.

The Basic Tenents of War by Abbi Waxman

There is dark speculative fiction and then there is downright pitch black.  This is the latter. Author Abbi Waxman holds up a black funhouse mirror to humankind's ability to justify our most vile behavior.  A thoughtful, but astonishing story about the eternal struggle to civilize what might be our fated nature. These are - The Basic Tenents of War.

Music for this episode by Kevin MacLeod :
"Simplex" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Moments With The Dead by Jason D'Aprile

A few month's back we tried an experiment with our writers.  Usually we give them prompts that revolve around a very generalized notion.  The resulting variety of stories can be witnessed in our various ANTHOLOGIES.  Usually, no two stories are alike.  But for the month of Halloween, er, sorry, the month of OCTOBER we gave a group of writers very finite parameters to see if we could get the stories to link.  The results?  Well you can read (and now hear!) for yourselves.  This particular entry came in too late in the production schedule but it's from one of our favorite writers, Jason D'Aprile, and it's a perfectly horrific piece.  So, let's have a little bit of Halloween in May and when you finish with this, check out Lauren A. Forry's "Window Seat" and Sam French's "Plunged."  Then head over and read Amy Weaver's "The Legend of Blackwater Bridge."  Decide for yourself how well our little experiment worked.  We promise it'll be a nice ride... 

Art courtesy Manuel Regalado

Art courtesy Manuel Regalado

Fourth Grade by Nicholas Thurkettle

From Brick Moon Fiction's very first anthology VISIONS ON VISIONS: Stories from the World of Augmented Reality - comes a profound and heartfelt story from writer Nicholas Thurkettle (Yes, he writes as well as narrates!).  The story follows young Cael who is suspiciously excited about going into the Fourth Grade.  This could be because he might be getting implants this year - or it could be something else entirely... 

(Note:  we're giving away a free digital copy of Visions on Visions from MAY 3 - MAY 7TH! CLICK HERE to get your read on.)

Power Through by Lauren A. Forry

Our final story on the theme of Gaslighting comes from Lauren A. Forry who has written many of our favorite BMF stories. Here, she sets the stage for the very definition of what a modern-day Gaslighting would not only look like, but feel like. 

Oakvista Pastures by Eric Del Carlo

Our third podcast on the theme of Gaslighting comes from the wicked brain of writer Eric Del Carlo.  Here, Del Carlo has set the story in a future-world, but with a central character whose ideals one might find completely timeless.  We're great admirers of Eric's work and this journey into the collision of ideology and paranoia doesn't disappoint.

Played by Josh Trapani

Our second podcast for the month of April continues the theme of Gaslighting.  We're proud to welcome a new voice to the BMF Podcast, Josh Trapani, who - with his story "Played" - has delivered on the premise to a startling degree.  Part of what makes what we do at Brick Moon so fascinating is that we strive to bring to life abstract concepts in a visceral and emotional way.  Trapani has created a chilling and frightening slice of the reality we're all living right now.  Think you're not being gaslit in some way?  Think again.  This is the kind of story that blurs the line between speculative fiction and reality in a way that will change the way you see the world around you.  Please enjoy, "Played" by Josh Trapani.

Photo by Kyle Hodges

Photo by Kyle Hodges

Kids by Sam French

Gaslighting.  It's the theme of this month's series of podcasts.  "Kids" by Sam French is the first entry and wow - what a stunner.  Sam has an extremely high batting average around here in that he consistently knocks his stories out of the park.  For this story Sam takes a slightly archaic icon and puts a futuristic spin on it.  We defy you to listen to this and walk away unfazed by the sucker-punch surprise at the end.  Sam went dark on this one - and it's all to the benefit of the listener.  Enjoy!

Image courtesy Brownstone Detectives

Image courtesy Brownstone Detectives

Deer Eat Flowers by Rudolfo Serna

Rudolfo Serna returns to the Brick Moon Fiction podcast for our final piece riffing on the theme of Liberty.  In the typical Serna style we are presented with emotion and imagery first making for a rich, moving, and in this case, dark mood-piece.  It's an appropriate final story in our homage to Liberty and the iconic landmark science fiction stories can't get enough of.  Enjoy Deer Eat Flowers by Rudolfo Serna.

Art created by Michael James Canales

Art created by Michael James Canales

The Migration by Wally Rudolph

Continuing our March theme of "Liberty," writer Wally Rudolph has turned in something truly extraordinary.  This impressionistic, frequently poetic work deserves to be read (or listened to) multiple times.  The moving story follows the memories of an old man who has created something that has either destroyed the world or liberated it.  Or both.  

Image courtesy Craig Alan Art

Image courtesy Craig Alan Art