Author Topic: EP737: To the Knife-Cold Stars (Summer Flashback)  (Read 1188 times)


  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 175
on: June 25, 2020, 08:08:02 PM
Escape Pod 737: To the Knife-Cold Stars (Summer Flashback)

Author: Merc Fenn Wolfmoor
Narrator: Mat Weller
Host: Alasdair Stuart
Audio Producers: Adam Pracht and Mat Weller

To the Knife-Cold Stars originally appeared on episode 480 of Escape Pod on February 7, 2015.


When Grace opens his newly crafted eye, the first thing he sees is wire. Thick cords of braided wire snaking like old veins up the walls. It’s dim inside the surgical unit, but for all the black metal and mesh shelves, it feels clean, even in the heat. The air still has the unfamiliar taste of crude oil. Sweat sticks the borrowed clothes to his skin. He blinks, a flicker of pain in his head as the left eyelid slides down over cool metal buried in the socket.

He’s awake and he’s alive.

The anesthetic hasn’t worn off. It’s sluggish in his blood, an unpleasant burn at the back of his throat. It blurs the edges of his thoughts like too much bad wine. But it doesn’t dull the deep-etched fear still unspooling through his gut. He survived the demon, survived his own execution. It’s a hard thing to accept, even days later. He wants to touch the new eye, this machine part of his body, the forever-reminder what happened. Doesn’t dare, yet.

“Back with us, eh?” says a raspy voice muffled by a respirator.

Grace turns his head, slow and careful. He dimly recalls the wire-tech mumbling about whiplash in his neck and the horrific bruising along his ribs and back where the welts are still healing. “Guess so.”

The tech is a small man dressed in heavy surgical leathers that are studded with metal sheeting. Old blood speckles the apron and gloves; the metal and rivets are spotless. Only the skin on his forehead is visible under thick embedded glasses and a breather covering nose and mouth. “Nearly died on us, you did. Venom went right into the blood.”

The demon’s venom. Grace doesn’t reach to touch his face where the sunspawn’s claws took out his eye and split flesh to bone. He doesn’t look down, either. A new shirt and worn jeans cover whatever scars the demon left on his belly and thighs. He shivers in the heat. He doesn’t know if he can ever look at himself again; what will Humility think–


Grace trembles harder. Humility will never see him again.

Listen to this week's EscapePod.
Follow us on YouTube and Spotify!

Wouter Bjerg

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Reply #1 on: August 13, 2020, 03:28:56 AM
The mixture of a dreadful cyber future, mixed with a kind of heavy American evangelism (which can partially be excused, because of demons) makes for a terrific grit-filled distopia. I'm usually not a fan of mixing fantasy/religion with -punk of sci-fi stories, but here it works. Kind of reminded me of Meatpunk, a game made by Heather Flowers.

I started listening to the episode, but I noticed something peculiar: I enjoyed the story, but not the pace of presentation. The reader went a little too fast for my taste, which did not allow me to fully immerse into the world and the words.

Rather than slowing down the podcast, I turned it off and sent myself a reminder to instead read it in (digital) print.  Now, having found the time to do so, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Bravo to the good people at Escape Pod for hosting this story, twice!