Author Topic: CoW Ep. 204: Twenty-One (& Ep. 232 Staff Pick)  (Read 4005 times)


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on: April 12, 2016, 05:03:08 PM
Episode 204: Twenty-One by Michael Merriam

(edit: This is also Episode 232, as Assistant Editor Katherine Inskip’s Staff Pick for 2016!)

• Narrated by John Meagher
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Afterburn SF (September 2007)

Content Warning: This week’s story involves more profanity than usual. Parents listening with younger children may want to join us again next week.

Michael Merriam is an author and spoken-word performer living in Hopkins, Minnesota. His novella, Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep, was long-listed for the Nebula Award in 2010, and his novel, Last Car to Annwn Station was named a Top Book in 2011 by Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction. Michael has appeared on stage in the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Minnesota Storyfest, Story Slam Minnesota, and over the air on KFAI Radio and Minnesota Public Radio. He’s also the co-organizer of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers. Visit his homepage or follow him on Twitter.

John Meagher is the writer and narrator of Tales of the Left Hand, an ongoing fantasy series offering “swashbuckling, intrigue, and a dash of magic.” You can learn more about his work at or on Twitter. In his secret identity, he’s a graphic designer living outside Washington DC with his wife, daughter and two cats.

Wednesday, January 6th, 2009, dawned bright and clear for the twenty-first time.
"Are we ready?" Aaron Burnett asked the group surrounding him, all of them cold and shivering in the pre-dawn light.
"Yeah, yeah. We can do this," Thomas Pinchly said. The short, thin teenager chewed nervously on a plastic straw.
Aaron's older sister, Sharon, gave him a reassuring smile. "We don't really have a choice, do we?" The smile on her plump face widened. "And if we screw it up—"
"We start over at December 23rd and take another crack at it," Sharon's friend Teri finished.

Click here to listen to Episode 204
Click here to listen to Episode 232
Click here to read the text of the story

Tags: apocalypse, Cast of Wonders, friends, growing up, Jeremy Carter, John Meagher, Michael Merriam, Science Fiction, survival, time loop, time travel, war, Young Adult fiction
« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 01:05:27 AM by Languorous Lass »


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Reply #1 on: April 26, 2016, 02:05:14 PM
Interesting idea, the world is on a loop of doom and only the young with their neuroplasticity are able to fight against it (though the boundary of the age of 18 is pretty arbitrary, only really defined by legal definitions not be any particular mental development level) and prevent the bad decisions of the older generation.  One hopes that the ending isn't really the ending, that there will be a new loop and a new younger generation to fight against it, but we're just seeing one iteration because we're from the POV of an older person.


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Reply #2 on: May 28, 2020, 03:56:00 PM
I thought this was very good.