PodCastle Miniature 18: Scar Stories

By Vylar Kaftan.
Read by Jack Mangan (of Jack Mangan’s Deadpan).

The fourth of our Halloween features, which will be continuing through October 31.

We’re mixing punch when he asks us about scars.

“Everyone has at least one,” our guest says. “They’re always good stories, too.”

Rated R. A touch of horror.

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12 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Amaster said,

    October 24, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

    I have three short scars on my stomach from having my appendix removed. I believe everyone has some sort of scar, be it mentally or physically.

  2. 2

    yicheng said,

    October 24, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

    The best PodCastle Miniature. I loved this story.

  3. 3

    Carl said,

    October 24, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

    Not much of a fan of this one. While the idea is cool, the choppy dialogue took me out of the story. I’m not sure if that was how it was written or how it was read. The scene with the punch bowl was strange, but for some reason, I liked it.

  4. 4

    Christie said,

    October 25, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

    Strange, surreal and sharp. I have yet to hear or read a Vylar Kaftan story that doesn’t shake me up in some meaningful way. Truly wonderful.

  5. 5

    Mari Mitchell said,

    October 26, 2008 @ 2:04 am

    I think it is wonderful that you are running stories like these for my favorite holiday. People tend to think of only at this time of year, when it lends itself so well to fantasy.

  6. 6

    phignewton said,

    October 26, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

    ah death, where is your sting?

  7. 7

    Hyperion said,

    October 27, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

    At first I thought I had accidentally stumbled into the New Yorker fiction podcast, maybe one of their flashbacks to the 1960. Then the language started, and maybe it was half of a Kevin Smith scene that didn’t make CHASING AMY.

    Shift again, and I felt like I was in Euopean Cinema, maybe Bergman at his bleakest or Jean-Pierre Mellville. One more shift and I thought Chuck Palahniuk had shown up.

    Then things got downright surreal, and I quit trying to pull literary and cultural influences (homages?) from the characters, and just tried to soak it all in.

    I like it. We think of Halloween Tales as Extra Bloody with a Wink, or maybe just the Essence of Dread, but I like the idea of Despairing us to Oblivion. After all, there’s more than one way to scare a psyche. Great job to all involved!


    On another, more uncomfortable note, I fear I must second a comment from a few podcasts ago, taking issue with the “warnings” for more adult entertainment. “Immature listeners of any age” just rubs me the wrong way. I’m not judging motives, but it comes across (to me) as a bit elitest and defensive, as if anticipating problems from controversial subject matter, and already spinning those complaints as coming from prejudice.

    I don’t doubt for a minute that there are subjects that veer into politics or views of morality, and some people will react in a knee-jerk close-minded way. However, I think you should give people the benefit of the doubt, that there might be a whole host of reasonable and legitimate reasons to object.

    I guess what I’m asking is if maybe the Warnings could be more along the lines of, “This Podcast is rated R for a, b, and c reasons, so strong viewer discretion advised.” I know it’s a minor quibble, but PodCastle has become one of my favorite sites on the Net, and I want it to be a Shining City on a Hill.

  8. 8

    Rachel said,

    October 28, 2008 @ 8:36 pm

    I’m pretty sure I copied the warning after seeing it on Escape Pod. I presume his motives were because he refuses to say “not recommended for kids” since kids are a broad category, some are mature as hell, and parents vary in their protectiveness anyway. It’s basically the flip side of “enjoyable for ages 8 through 99.” I know that’s my reasoning, at any rate.

    When we start recording new warnings, I’ll take this into account, but unfortunately, we’ve done all our recording through the end of January.

  9. 9

    Vylar Kaftan said,

    October 28, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

    Thanks for leaving some comments, everyone. Bandersnatch (where this story first appeared) is a strange and creepy book, and maybe some of you would enjoy the whole anthology.

    My favorite scar is the one line which remains on my left arm. It used to be a grid pattern all the way up the inner arm from wrist to shoulder, but everything healed except that spot.

  10. 10

    Scar Stories - nora at inkstain said,

    October 29, 2008 @ 12:16 am

    […] think a lot of you would enjoy this PodCastle flash fiction piece. It’s only about 10 minutes, and it’s about how people have […]

  11. 11

    LaShawn said,

    November 7, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

    I have a scar on my arm, shaped like a tiny teardrop, from when I burned myself with a curling iron.

    What I liked about this story was how strangely ‘comfortable’ it felt to hear all these stories from the characters. Even when the cat and the house started talking, I wasn’t surprised, because it fit in with the mood of the party. Having had a miscarriage myself, I was very touched to hear the unborn child speak as well. Her take on scar brought tears to my eyes.

    Okay, things *did* get a little weird after that, but I truly, truly enjoyed this flash!

  12. 12

    Jack Mangan said,

    November 8, 2008 @ 8:27 pm

    It was a privilege and honor to be offered the opportunity to read this one for Podcastle. And kudos to the editors for not pigeonholing the definition of “Fantasy”.

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