Like episodes of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, the sixteen stories contained in Listen To The Signal, Short Stories Volume 1 ask questions like, “What would happen if an iPhone game was addictive – to everyone?” and “Are we all living inside a simulation? And if so, who’s running it?” and “When a pilot has to emergency land in a remote town near Area 51 what does he find?”
Hi, Rob Dircks here. I’m the #1 Audible bestselling author of Where the Hell is Tesla?, and I’ve been writing and narrating these stories since 2016 on my podcast, Listen To The Signal. But now I’ve made them available ONLY here in this book. They include: Dakō • Today I Invented Time Travel • End Game • November 8, 2016 • Quick Fix • Horatio Breathed His Last • Purgatory • Out of the Blue • Tick Tick Tick • Rose • Red Parka • Bloop • Their DNA Was No Longer the Same • The Last One • Mister Personality • Christmas in Silver Peak.
Back when I started this project, I was thinking what the heck, writing some short stories will keep me fresh, let me try things I might not try otherwise, act as a sort-of sketch book of my story ideas: the funny, the weird, the scary, the sappy, and sometimes all of that mashed up together. Well, two years later, I had no idea how proud I would be of this body of work, and how genuinely psyched I am to be sharing these stories with you in this format. I probably shouldn’t pump up the hype too much, and let you decide on your own, but man, going through these again for production, I felt like a proud papa, gathering up all my little babies, or like I was collecting a bag of gems.
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Wow, I just wrote “bag of gems” in all seriousness, like it’s a totally everyday phrase, like I might find myself out on horseback in some medieval European country and have the need to reach into my little leather sack for a gem to purchase an entire village.
Anyway, it feels like a bag of gems to me, and I hope it does to you, too.
P.S. Your enjoyment of these short stories doesn’t end with this book! I’ll continue to write more and publish them first free on the Listen To The Signal podcast, I try to do one a month (but you know how that goes). And if you’d like to be reminded when they come out, you can sign up for my very occasional and not-at-all spammy email newsletter.
P.P.S. The introduction music and some of the individual story music snippets were composed and performed by Danny Greenlees, and used with his permission. You can find his music at zebfrinar.bandcamp.com.
“★★★★★ Optimistic scifi – get yours here! There is no one writing scifi as well as Rob Dircks right now, and this short story collection proves it. I listened to all of these stories when they originally came out on his podcast, and was blown away every time by the quality of his writing and his mastery of the short story form. He knows the tropes and how to subvert them. He can build a world in a few paragraphs so that you understand it intuitively. He creates characters that are uniquely relatable and gosh darn it, he’s funny to boot. That is when he is not making me tear up. Add to all that the fact that he does a terrific job narrating his own stories and you have a very appealing package.
But now that I have been able to re-listen to all the stories again via this collection, hearing them all together rather than strung out over a series of months, I perceived something I had not noticed before. Something that unites not only these stories but also his novels. Something special that only Rob Dircks can deliver. It’s a sweetness, a love of life and humanity, that shines through all of his characters and all of his imaginary worlds. I feel instantly better when I finish something he has written, I feel uplifted and hopeful. What a wonderful gift Rob has to allow us to see the good in one another, and how lucky we are that he is sharing it with us through his art. Can’t wait for the next collection.”
“★★★★★ Never want them to end. Man I just love Rob’s writing and narration. so many great stories and ideas oh, I can’t wait for the next full book.”
“★★★★★ Small stories, big fun! This is a great selection of short stories written by one of my favorite sci-fi/comedy authors, Rob Dircks. As a bonus, he also narrates the audio version. In some cases, an author reading his own work can seriously be all kinds of tragic, but with Rob Dircks, he knows exactly the timing and snark to add to enhance the stories. I found every one of the stories in this “bag of gems” to be imaginative, entertaining, and well worth my time. My favorites were “End Game”, with its apocalyptically popular video game and “Purgatory”, which was just a little familiar, but with some nerdy twists. There was also the laugh out loud “Their DNA Was No Longer the Same”, which my son made me play twice in the car, just because. (It looks like you have a new fan in the millenial crowd, Rob!) I have yet to read anything written by Rob Dircks that wasn’t wildly enjoyable and didn’t take itself too seriously. I certainly hope more volumes of these cool little stories are on their way soon, because I can’t wait to geek out on every single one of them.”
“★★★★★ Fun and thoughtful Sci-Fi. I love Twilight Zone and Dark Matter. But this is different and a welcome addition. Dircks has a much more fun and sometimes softer style, but he doesn’t lose that mind-bending twist and turn feeling. Really well done. Narration and overall audio packaging is solid.”
“★★★★★ Best thing since Twilight Zone. I loved these stories. It was like watching the original series of the Twilight Zone by Rod Serling. All the stories make you think about what is going on and then have that really interesting twist at the end. I’m thinking that Rob Dircks is the modern day Rod Serling of short stories!”
“★★★★★ Wonderful. The stories contained within this book are varied and not unlike such series as Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. So, to those of you out there interested for exactly that, you’re in luck! I won’t go into much detail, the stories range from humorous to horrific, from somber to silly, and from awe-inspiring to awe-kward. The author also includes notes with each story to give an idea of what was going through his head as he wrote them. More importantly, this has served as a reminder to me that I need to take the time I’ve already set aside to write and actually use it to write.
“★★★★★ Rob Dircks is one of my favorite author finds of the last five years. He writes interesting SF with heart and usually narrates his own audiobooks. This specific book is a collection of short stories that came from his podcast, Listen to the Signal. He dares suggest that you listen to the stories one at a time, and I took that to heart. Some of the stories were more interesting to me than others. I would say the one with the most staying power was about the unicorn video game. No, it’s not sweet and cuddly. It’s scary. This is a good listen for those who want inventive short stories in modern SFF.
“★★★★★ I love Rob Dircks. This guys writing will lighten your day your mood and make you say Hmmmm. he makes you laugh he makes you cry.