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The News From Bewilder Pond

Storyworld: The Sovereign Era | Series Name:
Reading Order: 6 | Stand Alone? Yes
Genres: Alternate History, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | Editions: E-Book

It’s the Sovereign Era, when the sudden appearance of men and women with remarkable powers — Sovereigns — changes the course of history and threatens the balance of power in the late 20th century… but not every incident involving metahumans has global significance. Some stories are more… homespun.

Harrison Wheeler’s folksy “The News From Bewilder Pond” public radio show ran from 1974 until 1989 as a platform for Wheeler’s stories of a fictional Nebraska town (based on the host’s own boyhood Minnesota home). The broad cast of characters were as gently flawed as they were charmingly human. In 1987, Wheeler revealed that some residents of Bewilder Pond had been quietly… super-human… all along.

In this partial transcript from an episode that first aired on Sunday, October 4, 1987, Wheeler spins a tale of a father with a singular gift who is determined to impress his adult son’s new super-powered girlfriend. Is acceptance in the cards?

“The News From Bewilder Pond” is a stand-alone short story set in Matthew Wayne Selznick’s ongoing Sovereign Era cycle. You don’t have to have read any other Sovereign Era works to enjoy it. But you should!

THE SOVEREIGN ERA is Matthew Wayne Selznick’s ongoing alternate history series presenting a mosaic of novels and stories detailing how the presence of super-humans changed the last decades of the twentieth century and the future of humanity.


0) Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights: “How It All Got Started” (free online serial)
1) Brave Men Run
2) “The World Revolves Around You”
3) The Sovereign Era: Year One
4) “Canary In A Coal Mine”
5) Pilgrimage
6) “The News From Bewilder Pond”

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An Excerpt from
The News From Bewilder Pond


This broadcast of “The News From Bewilder Pond” is sponsored by the Slumber Number bed from ChooseSnooze. It’s the only bed that lets you select your level of comfort: your “Slumber Number!”

And by Milkpowder Buttermilk Biscuits. Look for the bright pale box with the picture of a biscuit on the cover. Milkpowder Biscuits: they’re tasty… and… alacritous!



It’s been a quiet week in Bewilder Pond, my home town, out there on the edge of the wide open plains.



Autumn is in the air – it’s sweater weather, especially in the afternoon – and the wind is picking up leaves from people’s lawns… beautiful oranges and yellows and reds, moist with dew, a little soft from sitting on the old, fading summer grass, waiting for that wind to rush in and spread ’em around, usually right after you’re done raking for the day…

It’s the time of year folks start to think about winter, even though Halloween’s not quite come… it’s time to buckle down, to slow down, to not do anything too expansive… you don’t want to plan anything that takes you out-of-doors for too long.

Summer is fine for big things, for long plans, like the days are long… but Autumn is coming. It’s time to be sensible; to be happy with what you have; live off your stocks. Soon enough there’ll be snow, maybe… not a lot of snow, it’s not like we live in Minnesota or anything… but it’s coming all the same.

Karl Kraebach over at Kraebach’s Handy Hardware wasn’t quite ready for Fall… he wanted to do one last Big Thing before he could let go of Summer. His wife Hazel is never surprised by this; it’s what Karl does, going on thirty seven years, now, and she’s used to him getting this itch, this urge, this desire to have one more reason to wear short sleeves.

That doesn’t mean she won’t cross her arms on her bosom and put a little frown on her face, a single line between her eyebrows that appears right around the same time Karl starts pacing the house and… thinking…

That vertical marker is a kind of barometer for their friends. They see Hazel scowling in the grocery store and they just know: Karl’s going to do something, and soon, and, well… we’ll all just see.

Karl had Big Ideas. He was also a Nominal Class Sovereign – had the paperwork direct from the folks in Montana and everything – and that made him something special, but in a modest way, you understand.

Karl Kraebach could build remarkable structures out of playing cards, and no amount of wind could upset what he built. When he was a younger man, he thought this might be a marketable skill – after all, he could position and balance very thin things, very carefully… very exactly.

He tried his hand at being a watchmaker, for example, but that didn’t work out. Sure, he could make the little gears and springs sit exactly as he wanted… so long as he and his handiwork stayed in the same room.

Perennially undeterred, Karl tried making different things, every year around this time. Come October, he’d bring home a box of tools and parts and this-and-thats from the hardware store… and every year around November, there would be another half-finished something abandoned in his basement workshop.

Every year, Hazel would ask him why he doesn’t just build something out of cards. Like he’s made to do.

That always seemed too flashy for Karl. Leave that to the big-name Standard and Exceptional Sovereigns, he always said. He was nothing special, is what he’d tell Hazel. No need to draw attention; no need to show off.

This year, though… this year was a little different.

Name Your Price!