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

Liberty Watch by Eric Del Carlo

A new month, a new theme.  This month's theme is LIBERTY, a first of three thematic prompts that will, collectively, tie in to reflect the current state of affairs in America.  There's no need to go into great detail here - if there's anything the country can agree on is that we are in a state of chaos.  So, after taking a break in February with some escapist fantasy fare, we wanted to get "extrospective" with some themes that are directly influencing our lives.  But we're here to entertain, too, so it's not gonna get too heavy.  Case in point, our theme of Liberty comes with a cool twist.  Yes, we asked our writers to explore the central theme of liberty and what it means, but included in this was the mandate that they had to riff on a classic sci-fi trope - they have to fuck with the Statue of Liberty in some way.  

Hitting it out of the park, and launching off the first of our four March podcast releases is Eric Del Carlo's "Liberty Watch."  Considering how merciless and shocking some of Eric's story beats can be, there is also a remarkable sensitivity on display, especially in this story.  We'll be talking more about this in the upcoming weeks over on our BLOG, but for now, please enjoy "Liberty Watch."

The Storm Starts Over by Rudolfo Serna

This is the last story in our "Fantasy February" series.  Written by Rudolfo Serna this is a captivating, moody piece with a dark, seaside setting and a slithering creature that should please any fan of Lovecraft (and even those who aren't).

Familiar Street by Eric Del Carlo

For years, Fzzft the cat has stood by his Master - a wizard who lives in the modern world protecting us from shadowy invaders.  But all that's about to change when Fzzft's Master suffers a stroke, and Fzzft's world is revealed to be - something else entirely.  This marks the third story for our Fantasy February and it's a real fun one.  Enjoy!

"Ascending the Vale" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

"Myst on the Moor" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Familial Duties by Jason D'Aprile

A castle under siege.  A child in danger.  And an action-packed, blood-soaked rescue mission from a most unexpected source.  Jason D'Aprile takes on our Familiars theme for the third podcast in our fantasy series.  It's a great one, so please enjoy!

Art courtesy CUA

Art courtesy CUA

The Other One by Lauren A. Forry

This month Brick Moon is taking a detour into the world of fantasy.  We've always been fascinated by stories within stories and so we decided to take the typical side-kicks and put them front and center.  In the four podcasts we're releasing this month, we're giving center stage to The Familiars, you know, the little critters that typically accompany witches, wizards and sorcerers.  Our first release, The Other One, writer Lauren A. Forry gives us an incredibly unique take on a classic pair - the owl and the pussycat.  Enjoy!

My Atlantis by Sam French

"My Atlantis" by Sam French follows a climate refugee fleeing their home state of Florida as it is slowly swallowed by the ocean.  This bittersweet story is a moving reflection on life, action, and one of our possible futures.

Image courtesy of Kecky

Image courtesy of Kecky

With Lovers to Extinction by Eric Del Carlo

Writer Eric Del Carlo knows a little something about Climate Displacement - he had to flee his home when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.  (He's actually written about that here.)  So when we told him the theme of January's Brick Moon podcasts was "Climate Displacement" he was completely onboard.  This story is a great representation of Del Carlo's talents - it's immersive, occasionally brutal, and buried in there somewhere is heart and humanity.  We think you'll really dig "With Lovers to Extinction."