Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rish 'n Big Take Over The "Journey Into..." Podcast (Part Deux)

Recently, Marshal Latham over at the "Journey Into..." podcast edited and ran "The Gold Bug" by Edgar Allan Poe, and promptly had a nervous breakdown.  Anybody would.

So, he asked others if they would produce an episode of his show, sort of guest-hosting like Joan Rivers, Dave Letterman, and Jay Leno used to do for Johnny Carson.  Dave Thompson, Podcastle Enforcer did a show, and Marshal asked us to do one too, centered around "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson.

1948's short story is one of the classics of the 20th Century, and while I don't think the NBC 1951 version we "presented" on the show does it justice, it was still fun to talk about it.

I thought it would be amusing to tie Marshal up and stick him in the basement, and maybe it's only amusing to me, but we're over there, making his controlled, reverent show quite the opposite.

Check it out, if you wanna, at this link:

Also, back in January, we took part in a group poetry reading session scripted by Senor Latham, that should be enjoyable.  It's at this link:


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rish performs "Dead Men Don't Cry" by Nancy Fulda over at Audible

We've all heard that dead men poop, grow hair, and fingernails . . . but do they cry?

This musical question is answered in a short Science Fiction Mystery story by Nancy Fulda.  I really have no memory of auditioning for this story, or how I came to take this job, except that there was a weekend when I auditioned for a half dozen projects, just because I was bored with what I was currently doing.  I ended up reading Nancy Fulda's short story, and thinking it was pretty well-written, so I was happy to produce it in audio.

The Aldabaran colony has enjoyed independence from Earth, but now the Earthlings have come, like unwelcome landlords, with their list of demands.  When Kimball's old mentor is killed in a seeming attempt to assassinate the Earth ambassador, Kimball has only hours to prove his friend's innocence, and try to prevent retribution by those nasty imperialist Terrans.

I've said before (and I'll stand by it, fists tightly clenched), that the only person who gets closer to a short story or novel than the person producing it for audio is the writer herself, and having read this through again and again in the process of completing my version, I was surprised by how much depth was jammed in here. 

It's gonna sound insulting to any of you who aren't Nancy Fulda (and heck, maybe even to her as well), but this would've been a perfectly acceptable story without the emotion, thought, and subtext that lurks between the lines.  It was short, with a few well-defined characters, and was really tightly-written, but there was a lot going on, with politics between poor colonists and rich, powerful Terran imperialists, with Kimball's internal struggles about his mentor's true intentions, and some great world-building that, frankly, I'm surprised would be in such a short piece.

I like fun, simple Science Fiction stories (or maybe Space Opera is what I like, and eff you for pointing out the difference), and this one has intrigue and shoot-outs, but it also had nuance to it, stuff I didn't notice till I was editing it.  It made me want to seek out Ms. Fulda's other work, maybe hit her up for a story for my nearly-flatlined fullcast podcast.

Later I discovered it was a finalist for the Writers of the Future contest, so it ain't just me.

I don't make money from these short stories, it seems, so I suppose I'm really only doing them for fun.  Regardless, this was the last short story project I've taken on, everything else being either novels or paid works I don't get profit participation in anyway.**

Here's the link:

I've done a bit of audio work for stories that I have problems with, and a couple that just plain suck.  But this one was rock solid, and if I'm not careful, it'll make me look at my own work and say, "Might there be another level to this than simply A plus B equals C?"

Loki forbid that ever happens.

Rish Outfield

*Though the first Kristine Kathryn Rusch story I did, "Killer Advice," was definitely one of them.

**I probably ought to focus on pieces that will make me money in the future, but it's so tempting to take on these projects, since they're similar to what I've been doing for the Dunesteef and others these last six years, and so, foolhardy or not, I doubt this will be my last.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rish Performs "The Jester At Scar" by E.C. Tubb at

"The Jester at Scar" is the latest E.C. Tubb book about Earl Dumarest to become available to purchase.  This was the last book in my five-book contract with Wildside Press.  It was not terribly difficult (the hard ones were the first and fourth, for reasons I believe I've mentioned), but as it came in the month of December, I was distracted and otherwise occupied, and missed my deadline by several days.

In this one, Dumarest ends up on a planet called Scar, where the seasons are short, and the winters so deadly, the world basically shuts down.  During the spring and summer, though, the planet comes to life, because there are tons of fungi growing out there, and some are incredibly valuable.  Earl and his friend go out looking for The Golden Spore, which is so rare it makes anyone who finds it instantly rich.  He, of course, makes a ton of enemies along the way.
As I've mentioned before, this is simply the fifth book in a thirty-three book series (which I believe might have kept going if not for the death of the author*), but I was doing it at the end of last year, when I was busy, tired, and pretty darn sick of audiobooks.

Now that it's come out, though, and I've taken a bit of vacation from them (although I had to cut my holiday short to fix several errors in the edited recordings), maybe it's time to follow Earl around on another of his adventures.

Here's the link:

Rish Outfield, Audioboy

*Although that never stopped Brian Herbert, Michael Brandman, or Brandon Sanderson.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Babysitter of the Year 2014

I would not make a very good parent.  I can hardly produce a serviceable performance as an uncle.  But I try.

For example, today I picked my nephew up from school, and asked him if he wanted to go to lunch to get some chili fries at Del Taco.  Del Taco is a cheap fast food restaurant that serves the same chili fries the gods ate at Mount Olympus.  There are two within a five minute drive from the boy's school: one with an impressive indoor playland (where my nephew once told me he discovered a dirty diaper crawling around in the upper tubes).*  The other restaurant is right next to the high school, but has no playground attachment, and I don't have to try to cajole the child into coming down if we go to that one.

I guess we were early enough that there were a bunch of teenagers there, just crossing the street from the high school, including a kid with the most ridiculous afro this side of 1974 Harlem (except this boy was white, so I suppose it might qualify as a Jew-fro, if there were any Jews within a hundred miles).  My nephew is six, and in kindergarten, and he saw this teen's head and began to laugh and point.

I guess a normal adult would tell him it was impolite to point, but this kid's head looked like the private parts of the Biblical Goliath, so I just let it go.  Some people wear an "Ask me about my goiter" t-shirt around, and shouldn't be surprised if someone asks them about it.
A moment later, though, also from the high school, a teenage dwarf came into the restaurant, with one of his friends.  This poor kid looked to be about fourteen, but was smaller than my nephew, who isn't tall for his age.  I immediately averted my gaze, whether that's rude or polite, but my nephew zoned directly in on the small person, and said, "Hey, look.  Look at him."

Well, this one was a bit different from the kid with all the hair.  "Hush," I whispered.  "Don't be mean."

I don't think he thought he was being mean, but he gazed on in a sort of amused wonder.  The little student looked over at my nephew then and smiled at him, and I really pitied the dude, and appreciated that he recognized no ill will in the child's attention.

"Some people are small and some people are big," I said, not really sure if I should tell my nephew that because his own mother was born six weeks premature, she was smaller than anyone else she knew.

I bought my nephew a tostada, which is a hard tortilla, covered with beans, cheese, and lettuce (which you already knew).  He grabbed a packet of hot sauce and squirted it onto the tostada, then, before taking a single bite, put TWO MORE packets of hot sauce on it.  "You really like hot sauce, huh?"

"Yeah," he said, "I''m tough."

And the boy is tough.  But he took one bite of the tostada and winced.  "Yuck," he said.


"This tastes bad," he said.

"It's fine," said I, since I too had gotten a tostada, and mine was fine.

"No, the sauce makes it yucky," he said, and set down the food, never to pick it up again.  I tried to get him to wipe off some of the hot sauce, or just eat the sections where it was lightly doused, but he pretty much refused.  Sigh.

Loud, obscene, braying laughter drew my attention.  I think you know what I mean by that, and if so, it would come to no surprise to see three teenage boys, dressed in ill-fitting pants and t-shirts, making a lot of noise and grab-assing over at the order counter.  They were the kind of idiot teenagers that know darn well they're being noisy, and delight in the negative glances their way.

These boys (technically, one of them was the victim and the other two were the instigators, but I pronounce them all guilty by association) were teasing one another, trying to irritate the woman at the register, and pushing each other around.  They were the types to somehow think the lady saying, "Twenty-six cents is your change" is either an innuendo or a demonstration that she was mentally retarded, and had to respond in an overloud manner.

I gave my nephew a soft taco, telling him not to put any hot sauce in it until he'd tasted it first, then commanding he eat the whole thing without complaining.  In the back of my mind, I worried for the undersized boy sitting a couple of tables away from us, since the trio of loudmouths probably harassed him wherever they found him.

Instead, they continued taunting each other, and when they got their food, one of them actually slapped the bag out of the third kid's hands, knocking a churro onto the floor.  While this teen bent to clean it up, the other two congratulated themselves on the hilarity of their prank.  Then they headed to the door, where all three piled into a beat-up Jeep with the stereo blasting.

I looked at my nephew, all anger about the tostada forgotten.  "Those, my friend, were a bunch of fucking douchebags," I said, patting him on the back.

Unca Rish Outfield

*The boy was crawling around in the tubes, not the diaper.

**This story is 100% true.  Except that there's probably a jew or two in town, somewhere, not calling attention to themselves.  Sorry.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Rish Outcast 6: a little more conversation

There's no story in this one.  Actually, there used to be, but since I didn't get to it until the twenty-two minute mark, I figured I ought to split it in two.  If you don't want to know my thoughts on writing, rewriting, and podcasting, you can skip this one.

Right click HERE to download the episode, select Save Link As, and save the file to your hard drive.