“Dakō” • Written and Narrated by Rob Dircks

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Hi guys! Today’s short story was inspired by an article I read in the New York Times about a couple of men who, many years after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011, still go diving every day looking for remains of their loved ones. It’s so sad, they understand I think the futility of the search, but something compels them to never give up, and it becomes a ritual to honor the dead, or sorts, or at least that’s what I thought of it. So as I’m reading this article, of course, I say to myself, “What if…?” and this story spilled out of my head, complete.

“Their DNA Was No Longer The Same” • Written and Narrated by Rob Dircks

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Hey guys! I just read an article yesterday, about Mark and Scott Kelly, the twin astronauts, and how Scott came back after a record length trip aboard the International Space Station, and they found that his DNA was no longer identical to his twin, Mark. What an intriguing premise for a story, right? And I’m also a twin, so the idea wouldn’t get out of my head. I decided to make this one a little more like a series on conversations I might have with my twin brother if we were astronauts and something like this happened, so it reads more like a radio play, with nothing but dialog. Enjoy!

“Tick Tick Tick” • Written and Narrated by Rob Dircks

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Last week I got a tick on me, and of course I freaked out, and did the whole doctor thing, they have to check your blood, check the tick, etc. And I started thinking: here’s this tiny little thing, hardly even there, and it can bring you to your knees. What if it went even farther? This one veers into sci-fi horror, so I apologize in advance if you have any tick nightmares. Enjoy!

“Out of the Blue” • Written and Narrated by Rob Dircks

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Hey, Rob here. I just read an article in The New Yorker titled “Did the Oscars Just Prove That We’re Living in a Computer Simulation?” about the recent spate of odd or unlikely occurrences, and it was full of awesome “what if?” questions about the nature of our strange-and-getting-stranger reality, so I decided to answer them with this story. Enjoy!

“Quick Fix” • Written and Narrated by Rob Dircks

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This story was originally the pilot for a new low-budget sci-fi TV series called Quick Fix – sort of a mashup of Quantum Leap, Star Trek, and little bit of Where the Hell is Tesla? thrown in. What happens when two routine, simultaneous repairs aboard a starship go haywire? The TV script is in a temporary limbo right now, so I figured I’d turn it into a short story. If you like it, let me know if this is a story you’d like to see with more episodes.

“November 8” • Written and Narrated by Rob Dircks

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I think it’s easy in the 2016 election to get obsessed with the news, and all the ups and downs, the role that technology and the media play now – and I have for sure. So I guess it’s seeping into my subconscious, because one morning I woke up with this story pretty much fully formed in my head. I don’t know if you’d even call it science fiction, but I’d say it still fits under the term “speculative fiction.” Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

“End Game” • Written and Narrated by Rob Dircks

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The phone felt heavy in Mark’s hand. Laden with possibility. Packed with enough distractions to get him through the weekend at his in-laws’ lake house up in Fleming. It would provide his escape from their incessant growling at each other, and their insistence that everything’s just wonderful, despite the swarm of invisible daggers flying through the air at all times. He loved being with Kate, of course – they were literally still in their honeymoon phase – but her folks?…

“Today I Invented Time Travel” • Written & Narrated by Rob Dircks

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Before the short story, I have to give you the setup: I was so excited to be invited to the Queens Library Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author’s Evening (reading from my novel Where the Hell is Tesla?) that I decided to write a short story just for the night. Maybe a time travel story. Sounded good. But what could I do to ratchet it up, make it something a bit more special?