PodCastle 417: Archibald Defeats the Churlish Shark-Gods

by Benjamin Blattberg

read by Norm Sherman

A PodCastle original!

My Dear Professor Stern,

While we’re all impressed with Georgie’s little scholarly article on Pacific Island folkloric sea life, with all of its precise details and analysis and whatnot, I fear she left out the thrilling heart of the matter. To wit: how I saved countless Hawaiians from gruesome death. Because of my quick thinking and pluck and heroism and charm and grace and quick thinking, I not only saved Hawaii from an oceanic scourge beyond the imagination of modern man, but also deserve a passing grade for this quarter’s Independent Study in Applied Folklore (PhD track).

Ben Blattberg is a software developer, improviser, and writer currently living in Austin, TX, as long as there are no follow­up questions on any of those facts. His stories have appeared in Tina Connolly’s Toasted Cake, Crossed Genres, and Pornokitsch. You can find him on Twitter @inCatastrophe, and follow his adventures at his blog.

Your narrator is the the King of Kitsch, the Sultan of Strangeness, the Odin of Oddity, the Nadir of non­Normalcy, Mr. Norm Sherman. You’ve probably heard Norm over at our sister podcast, Escape Pod, where he is Editor. And if not there, you’ll surely have heard him over on his own podcast, the Drabblecast, strange stories by strange authors for strange listeners, such as yourself. And if not THERE, well, just about anywhere in the genre pod­-o­-sphere.

Discuss on the forums.

PodCastle 416: Braid of Days and Wake of Nights

by E. Lily Yu

read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

First appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction.

With an immaculate thumbnail, Julia peeled open the ziplock bag in her lap. The coil of hair inside, wide as her thumb and nine feet long, was woven throughout with black and gold strands in equal proportion. When Vivian began chemo last May, her hair had skimmed the lower edge of her scapulae. Three weeks later, her purple stripes had rinsed to blonde, and she had not dyed them again. Vivian had smiled at Julia in the bathroom mirror, eyebrows high and brave, but after the first handful slithered to the floor, she handed the humming razor to Julia and covered her eyes.

“You do it,” she said.

Rated PG-13.

E. Lily Yu has received the 2012 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer as well as nominations for Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards. She is finishing revisions on a novel.

Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali  is our Assistant Editor here at PodCastle. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of twenty-five years and three children. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times she juggles, none too successfully, writing, reading, gaming and gardening. She has self-published one novel entitled An Unproductive Woman, has published a story at Escape Pod, and has a story in the An Alphabet of Embers anthology. Of her alter ego, K from the planet Vega, it is rumored that she owns a time machine and knows the secret to long youth. You can catch her posts at her website, www.khaalidah.com, and you can follow her on twitter, @khaalidah.

Discuss on the forums.

PodCastle Miniature 88: Communion

by Jei D. Marcade 

read by Jen R. Albert and Graeme Dunlop

A PodCastle original!

Leaving broken trails of damp across her skin, the mice climb the dark matted ropes of her hair, their fur the same magnolia white as the spell-struck thread that stitches shut her lips. They gnaw at the creepers binding her wrists and ankles and throat, nuzzle into the hollow of her collarbone, and chirp to her in the gloaming:

they will come again
when the brightsky breaks
to hew your limbs
to mine your bones for silver

Rated R.

Jei D. Marcade is a Korean-American speculative fiction writer, SFWA member, and graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. Ey is currently installed in the American Rust Belt with a hydrobot and a hedgehog, making monsters and poking ghosts.

Discuss on the forums.

PodCastle 415: Responsibility Descending

by G. Scott Huggins

read by Wilson Fowlie

A PodCastle original!

The Century Ship burned.

From her mainmast cell, Responsibility heard the screams, and the roar of the flames.

Flames engulfing square miles of sailcloth and rope. She scrabbled at the trapdoor, but it was bolted shut.

Outside, her mother burned the ship, searching for her.

Responsibility peered out the tiny windows, but smoke filled her eyes. She tried to cry out, to shout to the dragon that she was here, was burning. But what good would it do to shout that name? Her mother knew it not. Her mother had called her…

Responsibility hid under her wings from the flames, vainly trying to remember the name that would save her.

Rated PG.

G. Scott Huggins teaches history at The Independent School of Wichita, Kansas. His most recent publication is the standalone short story “When the Fleet Comes,” available on Amazon from Digital Science Fiction.

Wilson Fowlie has been reading stories out loud since the age of 4, and credits any talent he has in this area to his parents, who are both excellent at reading aloud. He has been narrating stories for more people than his own family since late 2008 and has narrated for PodCastle, Escape Pod and Pseudopod, as well as StarShipSofa, Protecting Project Pulp, Crime City Central, Tales To Terrify, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine and the Journey Into… podcast. In real life he’s a web developer and also the director of a community show chorus called The Maple Leaf Singers.

Discuss on the forums.

 

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