PodCastle Miniature 006: Eating Hearts

By Yoon Ha Lee
Read by Ann Leckie
First appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

“It’s about not seeing,” Chuan explained to her just after he brought the meal to the table. “The perfect magician is all-blind, all-unknowing. No sound reaches a wall to wake an echo; no touch bridges distance.” He leaned back against the wall where, Horanga imagined, the cloth of his shirt hung over the hollow curve of his back. He lived in a house in the city, by the river, and long ago the sound of fish swimming endlessly in that river would have distracted her from her purpose.

“Then what do you do in this house?” asked Horanga, looking not at his face or his hands, but at the plate between them. The plate was heaped with tender vegetables, slivers of rare meat, and sliced nuts; over the vegetables and meat and nuts, he had drizzled three different sauces in a tapestry of taste.

“A perfect magician, I said.” He smiled.

Rated PG. Contains sex between humans and those who only appear so.

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12 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Helen Keeble said,

    July 13, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

    I love this story so much – and now I can have it with me in my MP3 player wherever I go! Awesome!

  2. 2

    Tom said,

    July 14, 2008 @ 9:29 am

    Interesting story. Great symbolism.

  3. 3

    Archie said,

    July 16, 2008 @ 3:24 am

    There is a fine line between very clever and pointless. This sadly ended up over the line into pointless. Although I will offer the thought that perhaps I just ‘didn’t get it’.

    Nicely written with some nice turns of phrase but ultimately it lacked the punch at the end which would have pulled the ideas together.

    I would like to say that I have enjoyed most of the podcastle long stories but none of the miniatures so far. This was the best so far.

  4. 4

    scatterbrain said,

    July 16, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

    I like abstract crap, such as the work of Van Eekhout, but this was just pointless pseudo-sysmbolism.

  5. 5

    Ryan B said,

    July 18, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

    This one flew right over my head. I didn’t get it at all, and generally had no idea of what the heck was going on at any given moment in the story. Maybe I’d do better were I to listen again, but I’m not sure it’s worth it.

  6. 6

    Spork said,

    July 28, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

    Um…what the hell was this about? Repeating the same bad poetry at the end as was at the beginning of the story didn’t really help much, either.

  7. 7

    sarah said,

    August 3, 2008 @ 11:46 pm

    O, blah blah blah! Pretentious and overwritten.

  8. 8

    Ogion The Ski-napper said,

    August 6, 2008 @ 3:31 am

    The only good thing I can say about this story is that it was short. Even so, it was about ten minutes too long.

  9. 9

    The Fix | From the Podosphere: July 2008 said,

    October 17, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

    [...] “Eating Hearts” by Yoon Ha Lee is short, being a PodCastle Miniature, and Ann Leckie’s breathless reading makes it even shorter. As a fantasy-reading novice I would have preferred a more measured narration, as the structure, plot, and any references—symbolic or otherwise—entirely passed me by. [...]

  10. 10

    E.S.Quinton said,

    December 2, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

    I have listened to many podcasts here, and on the escapepod… this story is the only one that has inspired me to read the comments in order to find out what the writer was trying to convey.

    Out of the 9 comments before me, only 1 person enjoyed it, and they did not show me any illumination as to the meaning or purpose of this story.

    I really wanted to enjoy it, but it ended without an explanation that I could interpret.

    So, maybe it’s too short?

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