06 – Stolen Valor & Sentient Toaster

Thank you for downloading episode six of the Short Story Cast, a podcast for people who love short stories. This is the sixth episode and, as with episode five, features a guest narrator on one of the stories. I hope you enjoy it and please get in touch if you’ve got anything you’d like to say.

Stolen Valor

What happens when you pretend to be a US Marine so you can get a discount at a restaurant? Well, firstly, you might get a discount but the deal gets a lot less sweet if people work out that you’re faking. This story explores the idea of “stolen valor” and looks at the consequences that come from this kind of behaviour.

As I mention in the podcast, impersonating military personnel is a really bad thing to do and I don’t even slightly endorse it. In fact, I think you’re a bit odd if that’s the kind of thing you enjoy doing. It’s fine to admire people serving in the military but it’s not OK to pretend you’ve served when you haven’t.

This story mentions a book called House to House by David Bellavia. I’d recommend it if you’d like to know what it was like to fight in Iraq. Here’s a link to get it on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

A note on spelling – I’ve deliberately used the American spelling of valour for this story despite being English because “stolen valor” seems to be more of an American issue. So it’s not a mistake but a deliberate choice, even though it feels strange to deliberately spell something incorrectly.

Written by James Winterbottom

Performed by Ashe Russell

Sentient Toaster

As technology advances, we’re going to see more and more technology become smart. The “internet of things” means that every possible appliance in your house could eventually get online and gain access to immense processing power. Is it such a stretch of the imagination to think those appliances could start to think for themselves?

This story looks at what would happen if a toaster become sentient and we get a glimpse at the frustrations that come from being able to write beautiful poetry when all people want from you is a perfectly toasted piece of bread.

This story was partly inspired by reading the book The Impossible by Kevin Kelly. Here’s a link to get it on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Written and performed by James Winterbottom


Thanks to Ashe Russell for contributing his considerable vocal talents to the narration of Stolen Valor. If you’d like to hire Ashe to narrate any of your projects then you should contact him by sending an email to voodoojones@hotmail.co.uk

Contribute a future episode of Short Story Cast

If you’d like to get involved with a future episode by either writing or performing a story then please get in touch with us. It would be excellent to showcase aspiring or experienced writers and performers on the podcast. There isn’t currently any money to share around but I’m happy for contributors to plug whatever projects they’d like to promote on the show.

Thanks for downloading, goodbye!

One thought to “06 – Stolen Valor & Sentient Toaster”

  1. Thank you for taking the time to approach stolen valor as a problem. So few people do it that it can be easily forgotten by those who don’t serve. I’m also sorry to see the company go, it’s given me some great experiences over the years so thank you for those.

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