Archive for May, 2008

PC009: Wisteria

By Ada Milenkovic Brown
Read by Máia Whitaker (aka the Knitwitch)
Introduction by Rachel Swirsky
First appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show

Dirt cake brought Dahlia back to thinking about Garner. Dirt was his element. When they had married and moved into his Great Aunt Euphemia’s shotgun house in Grimesland, there’d been nothing around it but dead grass and dirt. Garner had dug and planted and weeded. And little by little, year after year, it all turned green.

Till his heart attacked him.

Now, all that was left of Garner was leaves — sycamores, hydrangeas, weeping willows, and wisteria. It was all Garner. It had his stamp. She’d just never thought to look for his face in it.

Rated PG. Contains memories, wistful leaves, and sensuality.

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PodCastle Miniature 004: Hippocampus

By M. K. Hobson
Read by Stephen Eley (of Escape Pod).
First appeared in ChiZine: Treatments of Light and Shade in Words.

I see a seahorse. It is curled like a question mark on the sand. I pick it up and show it to her.

“Ah!” she says, her delight surprisingly intense. She’s a woman who takes intense delight in very few things, I’ve found. “Your hippocampus! How clever of you to have found it!”

Rated PG. Contains immoral characters and crunchy dreams.

Why PodCastle miniatures? According to wikipedia, the word miniature is derived from the Latin minium, red lead, and is a picture in an ancient or medieval illuminated manuscript. We thought it was a good way to describe very short stories with a fantasy theme: a word that indicates brievity, manuscripts, and a medieval atmosphere.

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.

Discuss on the forums.

PC008: The Osteomancer’s Son

By Greg van Eekhout
Read by Ben Phillips (of Pseudopod)
Introduction by Ann Leckie
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction

“What’s that?” I ask.

His smile reveals several gold teeth. “Come from dragon turtle. You see giant dragon turtle wash up in San Diego? You see that on news?”

“I’m not really up on current events.” Especially not as regurgitated by state-controlled news organizations.

He nods enthusiastically and edges more powder into the envelope. “This come from San Diego dragon turtle. Wife’s younger brother, he lifeguard. He scrape some turtle shell before Hierarch’s men confiscate whole carcass.”

“What’s it for?” I ask, indicating the powder-filled envelope.

“All sorts of stuff. Rheumatism, kidney stones, migraine, epilepsy, bedroom problems … All sorts.”

“No, thanks,” I say as I try to shoulder my way back into the crowd.

“Get you girls,” he calls after me. “Make you animal! Guaranteed!”

Dragon turtle can’t do any of those things, of course. Not that it’s genuine turtle he’s selling. I figure it for flour and sulfur, with maybe the tiniest pinch of rhinoceros horn thrown in. You can’t even put a street value on the genuine stuff these days.

I know. I’ve experienced the genuine stuff. It’s in my bones.

Rated R. Contains yellowed bones and violence against children.

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PC007: Fear of Rain

By Robert T. Jeschonek
Read by Mur Lafferty
Introduction by Rachel Swirsky
First appeared in Postscripts

“Won’t be long now,” he says, his voice a gravelly tenor. “Not long till my
retirement party.”

If you didn’t know better, to look at him, you’d think he was just another little old man hobbling around downtown Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Just another Central Park bench sitting, Social Security check cashing, prescription picking up, stumbling on the curbs, taking too long to cross Main Street old timer. You’d never know the kind of power that boils inside him.

Maybe you’d see him bang his fork on the plate a second time, and you’d hear the thunder, louder than before, but you wouldn’t connect the two. You wouldn’t realize that he’d made it happen. You wouldn’t know what he was about to do next.

But I know. I know all about what’s coming.

Rated PG. Contains drops, trickles, drizzles, torrents, downpour, and flooding.

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PC006: Hotel Astarte

By M. K. Hobson
Read by Paul Tevis of (Have Games, Will Travel).
Introduction by Ann Leckie.
First appeared in Realms of Fantasy (full text online here).

There is a loud knock on the door of the farmhouse.

The Queen of the Midwest glances at her husband; strangers at night may bode ill, foreshadowing assassination or traveling salesmen.

“Who could it be?”

The King lifts his rifle from above the fireplace; the look on his face indicates that the visit is expected, but is no more desired for being so.

The Queen tucks away her yarnwork and goes to sit close to her son. Her son does not stir, but continues to stare out the window.

“A dark man,” he murmurs to his mother, without looking at her. “A dark man from the east. Walking through the corn. He has been summoned.”

The Queen’s breath seizes. She cannot swallow. Her hands become ice. The palace shudders with her anxious dread; muffin tins and cream separators and sheaf binding machines rattle.

But when the King opens the door, there is no one there, only the miles and miles of fields all around.

“Come in,” the King speaks to the darkness, gruffly. “Come in, damn it. I have been waiting for you.”

Rated PG. Contains hotel rooms where lovers tryst and spells are cast.

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.

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PodCastle Miniature 003: Pahwahke

By Gord Sellar
Read by C. G. Furst.
Introduction by Rachel Swirsky.
First appeared in Fantasy Magazine, 2008 (full text at link).

The smoke in my longhouse swirled thick, thicker still around their strange faces. They sat all around me on brightly-colored mats and frowned, wrinkled their big noses as they tried to speak our language. I offered them bone spoons and cedar plates loaded with salmon and seal oil and nuts and blackberries.

“We’ve brought many gifts,” they said, our words heavy like stones on their tongues. They opened the bags, and set down handfuls of colorful round beads, hard axes, pouches bursting with long-traveled pemmican, braided sweetgrass, and tobacco. They set these things down before me, and then one of them—their chief—stared across the fire at my eldest daughter.

They gave me so much that I couldn’t refuse their unsaid request. Pahwakhe wept and shivered when I offered her to them. Her sisters and mother beat their breastbones and cried, but what could I do? They could have stolen her away, or stolen all of them, if they wanted. I had no choice. So we married her to their young chief. Our women sang mourning songs as young men danced, feathers swirling in firelight as drums pounded in darkness.

Rated PG. Contains spirits, violins, dusty bones, and an old man’s regret.

Why PodCaslte miniatures? According to wikipedia, the word miniature is derived from the Latin minium, red lead, and is a picture in an ancient or medieval illuminated manuscript. We thought it was a good way to describe very short stories with a fantasy theme: a word that indicates brievity, manuscripts, and a medieval atmosphere.

Discuss on the forums.

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