Weird is Beautiful: The Drabblecast – A Podcast of Speculative Fiction

I came to know The Drabblecast while driving to work one morning. I’d downloaded exactly one episode, being slightly skeptical of the name but strangely attracted by the tentacle. As I bumped along the dusty road, I was subtly drawn in by the distinctive voice of the show’s founder and host, Norm Sherman. I was still only half-listening, thinking about whatever I had to do at work that day. But then, Norm said something so subtly hilarious I almost missed it. Trying not to drift into the ditch, I reached for my iPod and skipped back fifteen seconds. Yep, he said that. A bit off-color and non-PC, delivered in that purring tone that more seasoned fans had already come to know and love over the years. Swerving away from the ditch, I thought to myself: Shit, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Since that morning, I’ve downloaded and listened to every single episode—some two or three times (e.g., “Jimmy’s Roadside Café,” “Baby Head,” “Primary Pollinator,” “Love in the Pneumatic Tube Era,” “Bears Discover Fire,” and I could go on…).

I recently gathered the courage to offer to create some cover art for the show, and was fortunate enough to be paired with a master of Southern gothic horror and speculative fiction, Eden Royce. Her short story, “Witches for Mars,” became The Drabblecast’s 404th episode. It’s a beautifully written tale about escaping to freedom, narrated by Sara Daise. The best part is the ending, but I will not spoil it.

drabblecast_shoshana_sumrall_frerking_witches_for_marsI’m not a professionally trained or educated artist. I just like to draw. I sometimes use anonymous photos of people as a starting point. For this story, however, I couldn’t find a photo of a black woman in the pose I envisioned. So, I had my husband take a photo of me and used that instead. (My husband also graciously becomes my model when I can’t find whatever odd pose I’m in search of.)

It was loads of fun to do, and I hope someday to do another pod piece.

If you’ve never listened to an episode of The Drabblecast, try just one. They are like Lays potato chips. Once you pop, you can’t stop. I recommend jumping into the middle of it all with episode 249: “Jimmy’s Roadside Café.”

Or, do whatever the hell you want.

One last word of advice: If you have to drive a long distance with a disgruntled cat, cue up a few episodes of The Drabblecast—ones narrated by Norm himself, like episode 130: “Bears Discover Fire.” I can almost guarantee the cat will quiet down.

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