The Customer Is Always Right, by Anna Salonen

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Customer service, amirite? One of the worst jobs in the world, because no one enjoys doing it, and no one enjoys making use of it. But when you find someone like our little-seen protagonist in Anna Salonen’s story, who knows what they are doing and can get the job done efficiently and pleasantly, they’re worth their weight in gold.

The Customer Is Always Right

by Anna Salonen

Performance review, employee #34677, Jobe Wallis.

Transcript of “The Incident.”


“Hello, you have contacted the AIs Incorporated customer service. How may I assist you?”

“This is Private Johnson calling from Arcadia, Bree’s World. I’m having trouble with the Annihilator5000 you sent me.” (Sound of explosions, screaming, gunfire in the background.)

“We are very sorry for any inconvenience you might have experienced pertaining to our product. Customer satisfaction is very important to us, and I will do everything I can to assist you. What is the problem, sir?”

“I’m in the middle of some heavy shit here, and it isn’t doing anything!”

“Did you try turning the android off and on again, sir?”

“Well, obviously! Do you think I’m an idiot, or something?”

“Of course not, sir. I apologize. Has it been connected to a power source for forty-eight hours, as recommended?”

“Yes, yes! The display says fully charged! Look, I’m kind of on the clock here. They’re coming, and I’m the only one left. I don’t get this thing working, I’m dead!”

“Let me check your order. Do you have your customer identification code?”

“No, I don’t have a goddam code! That piece of shit is paid for by the Coalition Marine Corps!”

“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to calm down.”
Continue reading…

Mothership Zeta, Issue 1

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Issue 1

We made it! Our October launch is secure!

It’s been a crazy few months here at MZHQ. Launching an ezine is very, very different from launching a podcast, and our team has been sweating bullets trying to make sure the i’s are dotted, etc. We are still getting the issue approved on our various methods of distribution, so we appreciate your patience!

We are so proud of issue 1, including our Frank Wu original cover. Coming this week, as we are still working on our website, we’ll be bringing you some of the content from the zine, for free. If you want all the awesome content we offer, you can subscribe to the magazine at Weightless Books, or buy individual issues for a mere $2.99 at the following locations:

Continue reading…

Issue 0 of Mothership Zeta is here!

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The magazine officially launches next month, but we are bringing you a sample Issue 0. A few of our favorite fun stories from 2014 are included, as well as an original flash piece and two nonfiction pieces about novels and other short fiction. We have amazing work from:

  • Ursula Vernon
  • Rhonda Eikamp
  • John Chu
  • Andrea G. Stewart
  • Elizabeth Hand
  • Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

The issue is available for FREE via PDF. And as soon as the official website launches, we’ll have the stories up for free there. Here. Whatever. But we hope you enjoy! Please share far and wide.

Extra thanks to our long-suffering designer, Mat Weller.

Read Issue 0 now!

EDIT: We failed to include that “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon originally ran in Apex Magazine in 2014. Apologies to Apex and Ursula; we have uploaded an edited file.

One week down, one to go. (More or less)

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The response to Mothership Zeta’s launch has been overwhelming! We’re getting lots of stories so far, as of July 20 we have over 440 stories submitted, and we still have five days of open submissions left!

A couple of things:

  • If we find more awesome stories that will fill Issue 1, we will still buy them and place them in another issue.
  • If you like the idea of fun fiction, remember that there’s another venue looking for it: our sister podcast, Escape Pod, wants fun science fiction, so check them out!
  • We have gotten some exciting and unexpected stories, and I can say no more until the issue comes out, but I’m super excited.
  • Mur, Sunil, Karen, and our publisher, Alasdair Stuart, will be at WorldCon in Spokane this year! August 19-23. Come see us!

Coming October 2015

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The new project from Escape Artists is coming: Mothership Zeta!

Edited by Mur Lafferty with assistance from Sunil Patel and Karen Bovenmyer, Mothership Zeta is a quarterly website/ezine that will feature fiction and nonfiction of interest to the speculative fiction-loving world. We’ll be featuring reprints from our sister podcasts, new fiction, and some really interesting stuff we’re keeping under our hats for now!

But right now we’re close to opening for fiction submissions for issue 1! From July 12-25 we will be looking for your stories that:

  • are original
  • are up to 6000 words long
  • manage to hit the “fun” button that we’ve long asked for in Escape Pod

We are offering $0.06 a word (pro SFWA rates) for new fiction and $30 for flash pieces (up to 1000 words). We will have more information next week, when it’s time to submit!