The City: 018: Abner

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Abner arrived late to work.  Even in The City, the trains wouldn’t run on time.  There was still so much human error, still so few backup systems.  And it had to be during rush hour.  Of course in The City, it was always rush hour someplace.  But naturally it was during his commute, on the day of his evaluation.  He braced for a siren as he badged in.  He was going to climb up to the 48th floor and kick someones teeth in.  He froze in the lobby.  “Sizemore Sells Shares to International Investors” was plastered on every monitor.  Awesome.

The City: 017: Iva

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Iva was jogging through Sizemore’s Grove, the upscale, suburban neighborhood where well-off Citizens started their day.  She was a Daytripper herself, but she liked it for her route.  The occasional presence of guards, dogs, or even once a security drone which hovered behind her for half a mile and took pot-shots at her made training more invigorating.  Her Messenger flashed and squawked before turning on in automatic mode.  This was a public safety message.
“Attentional all City Residents.  Mass Transit will be shut down for routine maintenance until further notice.  Thank you for your patience.”  Iva smirked.  Commuters.

The City: 016: Govad

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From his office on the 48th floor, Govad read the reports.  They were not good news.  He was looking at a situation so outlandish, so downright impossible, that he didn’t even have the barest bones of a response for it.  To make matters worse, he could not get ahold of his superiors for instructions.  It was like the entire Board of Directors took a vacation at once.  Things like this didn’t happen in The City.  But he was Director of Mass Transit, and this was what they paid him to do.  He called up the messaging system and began typing.

Hugh Likes Podcasts: The Roundtable Podcast

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Hosted by Dave Robison, plus guests


The Roundtable Podcast is one of my favorite writing podcasts.  There are a lot of really excellent podcasts about writing, both podfaded and current, but The Roundtable is something else.  I like podcasts that introduce me to new authors.  I like podcasts that delve into the craft and business of writing, helping me to improve my own work.  I really like podcasts that are fun, and show a more personal side of my favorite authors.  The Roundtable podcast is all three.
Originally hosted by Dave Robison and Brion Humphrey, The Roundtable is a bridge between aspiring and professional authors.  They divide the show into two types of episodes: “Twenty Minutes With” interview segments, and Roundtable Workshop sessions.  In the former, Dave and a second chair conduct an informal interview with a professional writer.  These are always fantastically inspiring and entertaining rap sessions, although they always go at least twice as long as advertised.  Theres’ so much goodness in each one that I’d feel cheated if they trimmed it down, though.  In the Brainstorming sessions, they bring on a less experienced writer, and help them brainstorm a story idea.  These are also great.  Not only is it a rarely-seen peek on the creative process, it is an affirmation that perseverance and hard work pays off in an industry that all too often seems governed by luck and chance.
Every second of The Roundtable Podcast is infused with Dave’s vibrant and effervescent personality.  Combining a wonderful talent for research and an otherworldly skill for promotion, he introduces each guest writer and host with a flare that is uniquely his own, and relentlessly positive.  The show is firmly rooted int the philosophy that with enough effort, thought, and encouragement, every writer can transform their story ideas from dross to literary gold.
I myself have benefitted from taking a story on the show.  It isn’t finished yet, but someday I hope to publish it, and be ‘knighted’ by the hosts.
Find The Roundtable Podcast on the web, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

The City: 015: Julia

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Julia had been a cop in The City for over five years.  Some of her friends had chided her for taking such a safe assignment, but she didn’t care.  The City had rules just like anyplace else, and of course special care had to be applied in enforcing them.  But this was nothing she’d trained for.  She called dispatch.
“Marcy, this is Julia out in Commerce Station..  I’ve got one hell of a case here.”
“What’s up?”
“Jane doe jumped at a moving train as it was entering the platform.”
“That shouldn’t happen.”
“That’s not the weird part.  There’s a body.”

The City: 014: Ingmar

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Dawn hadn’t been very specific, but it sounded like they would need a car, at the very least.  The only friend Xue knew that had one was Ingmar, but he and Dawn did not get along.  Great.  She booted her phone’s translator and connected.
“Hi, it’s Xue.  I need you to do me a favor…”
Traffic was glacial all throughout the city.  It took them nearly two hours to reach the financial district.  The sight of Dawn dangling helplessly from a gargoyle was worth it though.  Ingmar laughed so hard he could barely record her annoyed frown without camera shake.

The City: 013: Cleopatra

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Cleopatra watched the commotion in the train station with interest.  She liked these kinds of gatherings.  All the people, the noise, the chaos.  This was why she was in The City.  Citizens and Daytrippers ignored her, and she preferred it that way.  All the better to watch them in their rushing patterns.  The City was a different beast to her, and she knew all it’s hidden passages.  Maybe that is why only Cleopatra saw the man with the smile frozen on his lips.  Then he turned and quite impossibly, vanished.  The little calico cat did not understand, but only watched.

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