As a huge science fiction and fantasy fan, I recognize the importance of short stories. They were largely responsible for the growth of SFF in the last century and bring to mind legendary authors like Isaac Asimov and stories like “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison.
Even so, lately I’ve been drawn to longer works of fiction and epic tales that I can’t devour in one sitting. Blame the commitaholic in me that just can’t let go.
Then came Story Tale Podcast.
It features short stories by budding and established authors narrated by future star KC Johnston. The tone of KC’s voice and the selection of stories harkens back to the radio age when people crowded around the box and shushed each other and I felt a little bit of magic when it began. I listened to more than one episode but the latest, a performance of “Leaving Bordeaux” by Lou J Berger is the one that created a devoted subscriber in under twenty minutes.
KC is a talented voice actor and his timely pauses increased the tension and emotion I felt listening to the story. He brought the main character, Randy, to life and did a bang-up job with a female French accent, too. He’s one to watch!
Lou J Berger’s story stands on its own…
whether you listen to the podcast or read it. I recommend you do both because they are two different, worthwhile experiences. If you’re really aiming for greatness, you could listen to the podcast, read the short story, then listen AND read at the same time. 😛
“Leaving Bordeaux” reminded me of the dread and mystery in “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury. Berger seamlessly interweaves the beauty and mystery of the setting, 1940’s France, with future-dwelling soldiers, death, vulnerability, wine, and aliens that look like cows. I can’t say this enough: it works. The story stuck with me long after I read it like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth and I immediately bought a copy of Alex Acks’ anthology No Shit There I Was so I could treasure it again and again.
“Thirty-five thousand kilometers up, one of our cloaked satellites, geostationary and vigilant, spat a stream of data into my implants.”
“Anyway, I acted afraid when he first spoke to me. I mean, who wouldn’t be surprised when a cow speaks in French?”
“Forbidden pleasures seem sweeter when death is lurking just around the corner.”
“I wondered, then, exactly where Michelle had gotten the steak.”
Story Tale Podcast: free on a multitude of channels including Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Find it here: Storytalepodcast.libsyn.com and follow them on Twitter @storytalecast, and Facebook and Instagram @storytalepodcast.
Lou J Berger: visit Lou’s website at www.loujberger.com/ or follow him on Twitter @LouJBerger.