A science fiction podcast from Lightspeed Magazine
UPDATED! Having known many vegetarians — including some who worked in or even owned vegetarian restaurants — I thought I would post this podcast of a story called “The Greatest One-Star Restaurant in the Whole Quadrant,” by Rachael K. Jones. You might say it’s about the difficulties of the restaurant business, and the problems caused by meat. 😉 [Click to listen:]
More specifically, it’s about a bunch of cyborgs who are fleeing human beings; only their stolen spaceship is a food service vehicle, so they keep getting pinged by human ships wanting to place takeout orders.
To buy time, the cyborgs try and fill these orders. Despite having no experience as cooks, they eventually manage to flesh out a menu and expand their customer base. This leads them to the cusp of a momentous decision: Should they really lam it back to the cyborg factory, henceforth to live only among their own kind? Or should they continue to perfect their culinary skills and scoop out a place for themselves in the restaurant biz, catering to the hopelessly illogical tastes of humans? It’s really something of a head-scratcher…
In the meantime, they must wrestle with problems of low morale and scanty resources. The personality conflicts so common among kitchen staff inevitably arise.
Despite my deadpan synopsis, this is a laugh-out-loud funny story made even better by narrator Claire Benedek’s masterful voice acting. She creates a convincing contrast between Friendly — the most human of the cyborgs — and Engineer, who becomes most obsessed with cooking.
Rachael K. Jones is a gifted storyteller with an ear for dialogue and an unflagging sense of craft. She knows how to mix it up, too. Perhaps funniest are the restaurant reviews which trickle in, helping the cyborgs tweak their recipes:
Like the chefs closed their eyes and dumped handfuls of ingredients onto the grill. But they didn’t charge me anything, so I’m giving it two stars instead of one.
This impressive audio offering is brought to you by Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams. Click on their link to find out more about them, including their podcasts produced by Skyboat Media. Audio intro and outro by Jim Freund of Hour of the Wolf fame. Illustration by Christopher Park.
“The Greatest One-Star Restaurant in the Whole Quadrant” is from Lightspeed #91, where you can also read the story in text format.
Sidebar: Unusual Foods and Dinners from Hell
Movie & TV buffs have already made numerous lists comprising this category, leaving me very little, ahem — meat on the bone. But here are a couple of items which seem to have escaped the going lists: