PC023: Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge – PodCastle Giant

By Richard Parks.
Read by Steve Anderson.
Introduction by Rachel Swirsky.
First appeared in Realms of Fantasy.

Note: This PodCastle Giant is longer than a normal episode. PodCastle Giants will air once every three months. Other episodes will remain our customary length.

The full moon cast the man’s shadow across the thin screen that was my doorway. It wasn’t a mistake; he wanted me to know he was there. I pulled the screen aside, but I was pretty sure I knew who would be waiting.

He kneeled on the veranda, the hilt of his sword clearly visible. “Lord Yamada? My name is Kanemore.”

“Lord” was technically correct but a little jarring to hear applied to me again. Especially coming from a man who was the son of an emperor. I finally realized who he was. “Prince Kanemore. You were named after the poet, Taira no Kanemore, weren’t you?” I asked.

He smiled then, or perhaps it was a trick of the moonlight. “My mother thought that having a famous poet for a namesake might gentle my nature. In that I fear she was mistaken. So, you remember me.”

“I do. Even when you were not at Court, your sister Princess Teiko always spoke highly of you.”

He smiled faintly. “And so back to the matter at hand: Lord Yamada, I am charged to bring you safely to the Imperial compound.”

Rated PG. Contains adventuring.

For those listeners looking for a good point to pause the episode, Steve Anderson recommends minute 48 as a good time for an intermission.

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.

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40 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Randomtime said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 6:30 am

    This episode didn’t show up with tags, which means I had to tag to get onto my Mp3 player, was this just me?

  2. 2

    Vanamonde said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

    iTunes shows an ID3 tag on my download.

  3. 3

    Randomtime said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 4:33 pm

    Weird, enjoyed the story – the length and the reader, nothing much more to ask, however a different theme music than the Minature and the metacast would be nice, as it’s a weekly story then breathing (used for PC main) would be ok.

  4. 4

    rubyredster said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 5:24 pm

    fantastic detective fiction!

  5. 5

    Juniper said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

    I didn’t get the tags either. I didn’t download it via iTunes, if that makes a difference.
    Only ten minutes in… enjoying it so far!

  6. 6

    Rachel said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

    “breathing (used for PC main) would be ok.”

    This wasn’t deliberate, to my knowledge. We’re switching audio editors — there will be some mix-ups.

  7. 7

    Randomtime said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 1:07 am

    That’s fine, I use it when I’ve built up a playlist to check the track without looking at the screen, I skipped the episode by mistake once.

  8. 8

    Mark said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 8:36 am

    I loved this story. What a great detective story. I also loved that it was longer and the story was able to develop more naturally and less rushed.

  9. 9

    Amaster said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 9:58 am

    I can’t wait for the next Podcastle Giant! This was a great combination of mythical Chinese and Sherlock Holmes.

  10. 10

    Travis said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

    Awesome! Awesome awesome awesome!
    What a wonderful story to kick of the new “Giants” installations of Podcastle, tragic as the story itself was. I love Japanese mythology with the demons and monsters summoned with runes on scraps of paper… the only thing missing was an ancient luck-dragon, but that wouldn’t have fit in with this story very well anyway.
    -And bravo for introducing Podcastle Giants, by the way. I was great to hear a story that felt complete in itself as opposed to seemling like a chapter or two extracted from a larger story.

  11. 11

    Jennifer said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

    Hah, I just added it to TV Tropes under “Xanatos Funeral.” And wow, the last line!

  12. 12

    thomasowenm said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 3:54 pm

    Wow! An incredibly beautiful story. I loved Mr. Parks developing a samurai detective, something I have not come accross before. The summation at the end was pretty transparant, however. I guess, leaving clues in the story is what makes a good mystery. I would definitley like to see Mr. Parks expand the universe and write more with this protaganist.

  13. 13

    Dave (aka Nev the Deranged) said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 8:20 pm

    MORE RICHARD PARKS!! I’ve loved every story of his I’ve read in Realms of Fantasy, they are all comparable in quality to this one, although this happens to be one of my favorites. Good pick!

  14. 14

    Me said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 9:08 pm

    No tags. others have said.
    crashed my mp3 player when I tried to copy it over.

    sorry to gripe but that’s how it is.

  15. 15

    Mumblebear said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 12:32 am

    About the Giants feature: One of the things I love about the Escape Artists podcasts is the willingness to experiment and try different things. Podcastle just provided another example of this experimentation, and I’m glad to see it.

    About the story: This was a good detective story. The set-up was engaging, the characters were interesting and the writing was good.

    In some mysteries, the resolution depends on the detective channeling knowledge directly from the author that didn’t appear anywhere else in the story. In this story, the resolution made perfect sense given the clues that were left, and provided you understood the culture as it was portrayed. It threw me for a loop at first, but then it clicked. Any trouble I had with the resolution of this mystery was entirely my own fault: I really need to read more awesome stories set in a fantasy version of medieval Japan!

  16. 16

    Shawn said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 11:29 am

    Perfect, I give this 4 crushed serpent heads!

    Keep the fantasy giants coming, I appreciated how the story was able to unfold and develop at its own pace.

  17. 17

    Randomtime said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 6:12 pm

    Podcastle is outdoing itself, almost every week I think “this is the best one yet”, Keep it up!

  18. 18

    Audita Sum said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

    This story didn’t entirely gel with me. I had trouble remembering which character had which name because my language-brain is is structured around romance languages. I think I understood the story as a whole, though, and I liked how it all came together in the end. It was heartening to see that the the princess whom I’d thought was unrealistically stupid was actually believably conniving. Some of the imagery was cool, too. I liked the body hitting the water like ice cracking bit. And the flowing sleeves.

    I think the ‘giant’ thing could be cool. I mean, the more fiction, the better.

  19. 19

    Bingorage said,

    September 8, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

    Great story, great mystery. Liked the story length.

  20. 20

    Kasey said,

    September 8, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

    I enjoyed the story and I liked the length. I loved the Japanese setting.

  21. 21

    Kasey said,

    September 8, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

    I really like the theme music. Just tracked down the artists and bought the album.

  22. 22

    aaron said,

    September 9, 2008 @ 12:17 am

    It seemed the fantasy element of this story was limited and extraneous, I felt it could easily have been replaced by more mundane elements without significantly affecting the story. The extra length seemed mostly devoted to explaining the elaborate social relationships rather than another world. I’m not sure I’d classify this story as fantasy, however, I’d certainly classify it as excellent, the characters and plot were great and this is definitely one of my favourite podcastles.

  23. 23

    PK said,

    September 9, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

    Hardboiled private samur-eye!

  24. 24

    Mike Wills said,

    September 10, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

    I was going to skip this because of the length, but decided to at least give it a bit of a listen. I really liked the story.

  25. 25

    L33tminion said,

    September 14, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

    Great. Although I did see that last line coming from a mile away.

  26. 26

    8mph Ansible said,

    September 15, 2008 @ 3:48 am

    Except for a few spirits floating about it didn’t feel strongly fantasy as most would expect fantasy to be. But I don’t have a mark against it for that.

    Though greatly wishing the female lead wasn’t so predictably typecasted and had a much better part in the story as result, I adored the characterizations of her and the other characters nonetheless. I enjoyed how this Heian period gumshoe (or bu-shoe) was set on Earth in a particular moment and time rather than a ‘fantasy-Japan-land-with-merging-history.’ Having the story set on the crux of upheaval added a rather lovely subtext to many of the events in the story as well, along with giving us westerners a glimpse of something more to pre-modern Japan other than samurai, ninja and shoguns–to which would arise out of the coming upheaval this story takes place before.

    A good, solid detective story (with court intrigue) that allows the reader a chance to actually solve it (and even guess at both political and character machinations) with clues left both in foreground and background to be picked up and at if you want to play along.

    Makes me glad I ever came across this podcast and continue to listen to it. =)

  27. 27

    Gail said,

    September 15, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

    I really enjoyed this story, for its content and for its length. thank you!

  28. 28

    Dave (aka Nev the Deranged) said,

    September 20, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

    @ thomasowenn (12): Richard Parks has written at least 4 Lord Yamada stories, including Fox Tails, Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge, River of Three Crossings, and most recently, Hot Water. All four tales are excellent, and all four can be found in issues of Realms of Fantasy magazine, and possibly elsewhere. Happy reading (and listening!) -D.

  29. 29

    Dave (aka Nev the Deranged) said,

    September 20, 2008 @ 3:36 pm

    Oops! I forgot one- A Touch of Hell, which can also be found in RoF. So that makes five- you’ve got a lot to catch up on, so get to it! -D.

  30. 30

    Hyperion said,

    September 22, 2008 @ 1:23 am

    Wow. Just…..Wow.

    I’ll say it backwards….woW.

    I’ll say it upside-down…..Mom.

    I’ll say it upside-down and backwards…..moM.

    That’s the best I can do. Just….Wow.

    (Oh, and “Priavate Samur-eye” = Hilarious)

  31. 31

    Spork said,

    September 22, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

    This was an extremely enjoyable, and well-read, story. I love feudal detective stories, but I thought the last sentence was a bit overkill, and painfully obvious anyway.

    I could have used more ghosts and magic, but that’s a personal preference only as I must admit that the subtlety and minimalism of the magic worked exceptionally well.

  32. 32

    AlienSniffer said,

    September 23, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

    I was a bit apprehensive about the length of this one at first. But I was immediately drawn into the story. Richard Parks did a wonderful job of balancing the story with description. The story line really kept me guessing right ’til the very end.

    Steve Anderson did a great job reading it. I always enjoy hearing him read. Anderson unobtrusively becomes part of the story, which is an enhancement.

    This story stands out as one of my favorites. If your future “Giants” are as well-crafted and skillfully-read as this one, I’m going to look forward to each one. Thanks!

  33. 33

    thermonuclearpenguin said,

    September 29, 2008 @ 1:00 am

    This is my new favorite. I love the idea of a detective samurai. This would make a great series. Thank you for the story.

  34. 34

    Shock said,

    September 29, 2008 @ 10:46 am

    I loved this story! My previous favorite was “Goblin Lullaby”, but this story was so enjoyable I had to come chime in. The reading was good. I have to admit that I didn’t like all of the events portrayed in the story, but taken as a whole I found the story an enjoyable experience.

    Yeah, I like a lot of the Asian style movies/stories even though there are weird tragic events in the story (from my cultural viewpoint).

  35. 35

    The Fix | From the Podosphere: September 2008 said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 8:34 am

    […] marks September with its first PodCastle Giant—a venture into longer audio fiction. “Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge” by Richard Parks is as long as a feature film, and requires some commitment to settle down […]

  36. 36

    Archie said,

    October 23, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

    Brilliant. More a straight story than fantasy but I loved it and have listened a couple of times.

    Well done.

  37. 37

    Sabre Runner said,

    March 24, 2009 @ 7:59 am

    I liked the detective story. “Good show,” as they say. I also like Japanese stories (actually studying Samurai Martial Art) and the culture. This had good intrigue, not obvious until pointed and overall great novelette.

    One thing. I don’t think it qualifies as fantasy. The ghost could easily have been replaced by another informant, the constructs with hired killers and then all the rest is folk tales and Japanese legends. When that’s obvious, it’s still a good story but one only wearing a fantasy disguise.

  38. 38

    Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge « Writing Every Day said,

    October 30, 2009 @ 11:49 pm

    […] close to horror lately, but there are a few ghosts and monsters floating through a nice long reading at Podcastle of “Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge,” by Richard Parks. Lord Yamada is drawn […]

  39. 39

    TSS: Short Story Podcast Reviews: June 2012 | Fyrefly's Book Blog said,

    May 3, 2015 @ 1:32 pm

    […] Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge by Richard Parks is a story of imperial politics and inheritance in a feudal-Japan-esque setting. It involves a letter of questionable provenience being used to prove that the imperial consort had a lover and her son, who now stands to inherit, was illegitimate. This story felt more historical fiction-y than fantasy (there were a few spirits/ghosts, but they weren’t at all pivotal to the story), and reminded me quite a bit of Across The Nightingale Floor, in tone and setting if not in plot. I also figured out several of the twists well ahead of time, but even so, I found the story engaging and enjoyed it overall. Listen to it […]

  40. 40

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