Balticon this past Memorial Day was a hectic blast, as usual. One of the highlights of this year’s con for me was participating in the first ever live full cast recording of Escape Pod, the podcast that singlehandedly established the donation-based professional paying market for audio science fiction short stories. If you don’t listen each week for some unfathomable reason, you truly must get over that reason and do so.
Balticon’s guest of honor this year was Charlie Stross, and Steve Eley was able to secure his story Rogue Farm for the live recording. While he couldn’t stay for the whole panel due to a schedule conflict, Charlie was able to stop by at the beginning to to make introductions and give his blessing to the whole affair. Rogue Farm is an excellent story, and without any sort of prior rehearsal, the performance went off exceedingly well. Many thanks to both Steve Eley and Paul Fischer for making this a rousing success.
And what is the tale about, you ask? I’ll let this exerpted bit from Escape Pod’s site say it all:
“Buggerit, I don’t have time for this,” Joe muttered. The stable waiting for the small herd of cloned spidercows cluttering up the north paddock was still knee-deep in manure, and the tractor seat wasn’t getting any warmer while he shivered out here waiting for Maddie to come and sort this thing out. It wasn’t a big herd, but it was as big as his land and his labour could manage – the big biofabricator in the shed could assemble mammalian livestock faster than he could feed them up and sell them with an honest HAND-RAISED NOT VAT-GROWN label.
“What do you want with us?” he yelled up at the gently buzzing farm.
“Brains, fresh brains for baby Jesus,” crooned the farm in a warm contralto, startling Joe half out of his skin. “Buy my brains!” Half a dozen disturbing cauliflower shapes poked suggestively out of the farms’ back then retracted again, coyly.
“Don’t want no brains around here,” Joe said stubbornly, his fingers whitening on the stock of the shotgun. “Don’t want your kind round here, neither. Go away.”
Still not convinced? I voice an elderly boy-toy to Laura‘s even-more-elderly bio-rocket scientist. Seriously. This obligates you to listen.