Episode 92: Plague Birds by Jason Sanford

A plague bird has come to Cristina de Ane. What does it want? To punish her old boyfriend for attacking and crippling her? To punish someone in the next town over for their savage ways? To punish Cristina’s own town for some new misdeed? Or something else entirely?
Afterward, Rish gets violently ill, and he and Big talk about vomiting for waaay too long. Plus, they ask the musical question, can Hilton help the hopeless?

Special thanks Bryan Lincoln for producing today’s story, and to L. “Scribe” Harris, Abigail Hilton, Norm Sherman, R.E. Chambliss, Stacy Dooks, John Riendeau, and Liz Lincoln for lending their voices to today’s episode.

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


Related Links:
Jason Sanford’s Site
Bryan Lincoln’s Fullcast Podcast, and his Iocane Project Podcast.
L. “Scribe” Harris’s Pendragon Variety Podcast
Abigail Hilton’s Guild of the Cowry Catchers Podcast Novel
Norm Sherman’s The Drabblecast
R.E. Chambliss’s Dreaming of Deliverance Podcast Novel
Stacy Dooks on Twitter
John Riendeau on Twitter
Liz Lincoln on Twitter
Some sound effects were provided by freesound.org. The rest were created by Bryan Lincoln.
Music was from the album The Hut In The Wood by Mdtmusic.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


24 Responses to “Episode 92: Plague Birds by Jason Sanford”

  1. Wow. Quite the 4-star team you assembled for this one! :)

  2. Very cool. I want AI nanoswarm blood.

  3. Reading for this was almost as fun as listening to it! Although the vomit stories made me glad I have earbuds rather than headphones…

    And did I hear talk of sequels….*rubs hands together*

    • We didn’t actually get the Author’s Note until Monday, so we had no idea he’d written more “Plague Bird” stories when we taped the show, but that’s definitely good news. I have in my mind what happens next in the tale, but I’m sure Jason has a different idea.

      Of course, just because he writes ’em doesn’t mean he’ll let us do them on the show. You never know how much he liked this production. I guess I should get Bryan to send us a full cast list . . . just in case.

  4. Loved this one, great characters, enjoyed the length of the story as well. Voices excellent! Would be great to hear the continuation by this author, I am intrigued!

    My worse “barf” story. I was out with my highschool date who I thought had only had a
    couple drinks. As his brother drove us home my boyfriend turned to me, leaned in closely to give me a soft warm kiss, but instead puked hotly all over me. Blech!!! Really enjoyed your stories!

  5. Fun story! More of a Fur-pocalypse, really. I could have done without the multiple explanations (which were redundant and also veered towards As-You-Know-Bob), but overall it was cool.

    RE: Vomit
    I do the same thing as you, Rish. I was badly traumatized by nausea when young, and I will go to nearly any length to avoid actually throwing up now that I’m an adult. Many an hour I have spent staring grimly straight ahead, jaw locked, teeth gritted, breathing shallowly through my nose, engaged in a battle of will with my guts. I do not care if I will feel better afterward, because I. Will. Not. Vomit.

    On that note, I heartily endorse the 52/25 project; it’s helped me immensely, more than doubling my usual production rate. Even that tiny bit of accountability is useful beyond all reason.

    • Marshal Latham Says:

      Yes, Nathan here puts us all to shame as far as the 52/25 challenge goes. Well, he and Liz. It was funny that Rish used my name in context with successful story writing. I have yet to start my second story. Hopefully the challenge will help us all improve from what we wrote last year.

  6. This was probably my least-favorite Sanford story because, as Nathaniel said above, there was an awful lot of explanation, which made it feel longer than it should have been (regardless of whether or not that is actually true). I think, in my head, I was also comparing it to the other Sanford AI story I read, “Sublimation Angels” (you may have heard it on Starship Sofa). The world is very rich, and I’d like a more concrete (or even ceramic) explanation of why no one is using metal except the plague birds. I imagine such a thing is coming.

    It was still a pretty good story though.

    Some other notes:

    WRITING PREP: I rarely ever prep before I write. Even when I start writing something longer than a short-story, I just have to jump in and do it. I usually have a pretty good idea of where I’m going to go, but I don’t outline or write scenes.

    ABBIE: Is it just me, or does she sound a little like Barbara Clifford? http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1965526/

    SNOWBOUND STORY: How about making it this year’s BMSE — two people who hate each other, but used to be friends, are stuck somewhere for a prolonged period of time, and must learn to cooperate or they’ll never escape.

    BARF STORIES: My wife is paranoid about throwing up — less so now that she’s had morning sickness — but she still can’t handle it like a normal person (that is, get to the bathroom or outside in time). To wit:

    * She had the flu once, so I drove her to the doctor, and then to the store to pick up a prescription. She sat in the car (with it running) while I went inside. When I came back, she had thrown up on herself and part of the front seat because she was apparently incapable of taking three seconds to open either the door or the window. She also refused to help me clean it up. (She felt better immediately after.) Contrast that to when I was very drunk; I told her to pull over as she drove us home, and I got it all out of the car, onto the pavement.

    * During morning sickness, she once threw up on the bedroom floor instead of into the trash can — because I had offered to put an empty, clean trash can by the bed so she could barf into it. But no, that would be too easy. She never cleaned the carpet — I had to do it. To this day she still lies about ever having done it.

    * A few years ago, I had really bad heartburn and threw up a late-night snack of M&Ms. I did so right into the toilet, where it goes. But around the same time, she had an experience similar to Rish’s bus stop adventure (although she was in our bathroom, which was a separate poo room — a toilet and nothing else). It was shortly after Halloween, so she had a fair bit of chocolate in her stomach. The urge to throw up hit while she was seated, but instead of changing directions or running for the sink, she lost complete control. And then, when she felt better an hour later, refused to help clean it up.

  7. Jon Anders Says:

    Best. Dunesteef. Story. Ever!

  8. Marshal Latham Says:

    Hey, I did enjoy this story. Great reading by everyone. Fantastic production, Bryon. I hope to one day be as good as you.

    For the story, I would feel as tricked and cheated as Christina. I liked the AI aspect of the story, especially since I tire quickly with human/animal hybrid stories, but the Sanford’s world, and the concept of the Plague Birds, was good enough to overcome it.

  9. Nicole Suddeth Says:

    Great story Jason! I enjoyed it very very much!

    Re: Vomit

    I’m one of those people who has absolutely no problem doing the deed and then going on with my life. I think I can attribute that to my lengthy college binges on hard alcohol. However, what gets me is dry heaving. It feels ten times worse when nothing comes up when you really need something to. I recently had food poisoning, and it was mostly me dry heaving into the trash can while sitting on the toilet and cursing all the gods that ever were in existence. That’s more traumatizing to me than puking.

  10. Is this where all the comments are made, or is there a forum?

    Anyway, just started listening to The Dunesteef as recommended by a few as the “usual suspects” around here. I enjoyed this one tremendously! It was a great balance of high- and no-tech, an intriguing premise, well-drawn and believeable characters and a great storyline. Wonderful!

  11. rechambliss Says:

    No forums, Kibitzer. This is the place to comment!

    Great job, Bryan! I loved how you did the AI voices–they were understandable, while still sounding AI-ish. Now I’m going to listen to Fullcast and see how you did it!

    I really enjoyed the story and didn’t think the explanation was overdone, at all. In fact, I’m wondering how that information could have been given to us without explaining. “Blue” being the one to do the explaining, seemed perfectly logical and definitely fit within the context of the story. It certainly didn’t seem gratuitous or unnecessary, and I was glad to know more about the background of the society.

    As for vomit stories, anyone who’s had to take care of a sick toddler can probably trump them all! I’ll refrain from sharing some of my experiences in that regard. Bleck!

    My favorite part of the after-story commentary was Hilton Helps the Hopeless!

  12. I have really enjoyed every Jason Sanford story I’ve heard, and this is no exception. A fascinating world, one which I totally look forward to revisiting!
    An interesting use of AIs – they’re seemingly in charge, but it wasn’t quite like they were viewed as evil overlords.. yet.

    As previously mentioned, ‘Sublimation Angels’ on SSS is another excellent Sanford AI story, where the AIs are a good bit more sinister. Worth checking out.

    I have no vomit stories I’d like to share. I’m sure you are all crushingly disappointed.

  13. This was one of the best ever. Go Jason. Go the Dunesteaf Team.

  14. I’m glad people like the story. I also love the job Dunesteef did on this episode–Big and Rish really outdid themselves this time. And I must bow down in humble praise before Bryan Lincoln and everyone who voiced a character for creating a hell of an exciting story.

    As Rish and Big mentioned during the podcast, I have indeed written a sequel to “Plague Birds.” I’m doing some final rewrites to it right now and hope it will be published soon.

    Finally, the vomit stories were good but not overwhelming. But as a former Peace Corps Volunteer maybe I’m simply jaded. I mean, if you want to hear amazing stories about bodily eruptions, hang around a group of PCVs. You haven’t experienced vomit until you’ve had it coming out of your mouth and nose at the same time as you squat over a toilet with the runs. Ugh. :-)

  15. Bob Metzger Says:

    I did really like this story, the reading and the cast. My enthusiasm was tempered over time by the 45-minute scatological riff (turns out that I only need about seven minutes to be completely satisfied). I will, however, forgive you as it was clearly the 900-pound barfing gorilla in the room that needed to be dealt with. I hope that everyone is feeling better. Perhaps next time we can turn the conversation back to something lighter (like death and dismemberment).

    • Bob, I totally meant to have Announcer Man say something at the beginning of the episode to warn people off in case that sort of thing wasn’t to their liking. Clearly, he must’ve ignored my instructions (again), and I’m sorry that you were inadvertently repulsed by the show.

      Do not worry; he will be dealt with.

      • Bob Metzger Says:

        Thanks, Rish. It’s true that I prefer my revulsion to be well planned (of course, it should be noted, too, that I could have stopped listening at any time, so don’t be too hard on Announcer Man, who likely has some vivid vomit stories of his own).

  16. Loved every minute of it! Keep it up guys.

  17. This has to be my favourite Dunesteef episode. Great production, stellar cast, and of course the story. Ah, the story! It had me by the short and curlies so much I missed my floor in the elevator. What really hit me though was the setting. It’s been a while since a fantasy or sci fi world made me sit up and take notice, and this one was just awesome. I really, really want to hear about it.

    Jason, you have a fan here.

  18. Wow, that was amazing!

    Bryon, you did an awesome job putting everything together!

    Production quality was top notch!

    Kudos once again to ALL the voice actors.

    Well done!

    Big & Rish I thank you for another entertaining episode.

    P.S. If you’ve not donated to the Dunesteef, please do! (I did)

  19. This was the first Dunesteef episode I heard – and it made me into a convert straight away. Such an amazing story – the world-building in this was incredible. I really want to hear / read the sequel now. Thanks so much guys !

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