Archive for May, 2009

PodCastle Miniature 32: Chu-bu and Sheemish

By Lord Dunsany.
Read by Steve Anderson.

And all the people rejoiced and cried out, “There is none but Chu-bu.” And honey was offered to Chu-bu, and maize and fat. Thus was he magnified.

Chu-bu was an idol of some antiquity, as may be seen from the colour of the wood. He had been carved out of mahogany, and after he was carved he had been polished. Then they had set him up on the diorite pedestal with the brazier in front of it for burning spices and the flat gold plates for fat. Thus they worshipped Chu-bu.

He must have been there for over a hundred years when one day the priests came in with another idol into the temple of Chu-bu and set it up on a pedestal near Chu-bu’s and sang, “There is also Sheemish.”

Rated PG. Contains religious iconography, as described by the 18th Lord of Dunsany.

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PodCastle Episode 54: The Dreaming Wind

by Jeffrey Ford.
Read by Rajan Khanna and Paul Tevis (of Have Games, Will Travel).

Its name, The Dreaming Wind, was more indicative than you might at first believe. What is a dream, but a state founded enough upon the every day to be believable to the sleeping mind and yet also a place wherein anything at all might and often does happen. Tomes of wonders, testaments of melancholic horrors, wrought by the gale had been recorded, but I’ll merely recount some of the things I, myself, had been privy to in the years I’d witnessed the phenomenon.

The human body seemed its favorite play thing, and in reaction to its weird catalyst I’d seen flesh turn every color in the rainbow, melt and reform into different shapes so that a head swelled to the size of a pumpkin or legs stretched to lift their owner above the house tops. Tongues split or turned to knives and eyes shot flame, swirled like pin wheels, popped, or became mirrors to reflect the thing that I’d become – once a salamander man with Ibis head, once a bronze statue of the moon . In my wedding year, my wife Lyda’s long hair took on a mind and life of its own, tresses grabbing cups from a cupboard and smashing them upon the floor. Mayor Meersch ran down Gossin Street the year I was ten with his rear end upon his shoulders and muffled shouts issuing from the back of his trousers.

Rated R. Contains some imagery that might disturb the unprepared. Also, some readers may wish to protect their children from prevailing surrealism.

Due to a mix-up at PodCastle, two narrations were acquired from this story from two of our favorite narrators — Paul Tevis and Rajan Khanna. Readers are invited to listen to either, or to listen to both and compare. Enjoy!

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PodCastle 053: Change of Life

by K. Tempest Bradford.
Read by MA in PA.

It all started because I wanted a pet. All of us younger kids did. But Mom always said that there wasn’t room for any pets cuz there were so many kids. She had a point, I guess. There were nine of us. But then David, my oldest brother, left home when he was only seventeen and a half to join the Peace Corps. Mom cried for three days straight. Dad said it was only because she was going through the Change of Life.

The day after she stopped crying there was a bunny in the living room. No cage, just a bunny. I guess Dad bought him hoping it would cheer Mom up–and it did. She sat on the couch holding the bunny for hours and told us all that we had a new family member: David the bunny. Katherine, my oldest sister, said that Mom named it David out of a sense of displacement or some other big word she liked to use just because she wanted to be a psychologist or a psychiatrist or some kind of person who messes with your head.

I wasn’t impressed. I wanted a dog.

Rated G. Contains a menagerie.

Posted a day early in honor of Fen of Color United.

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PodCastle 052: The Nalendar

by Ann Leckie.
Read by M. K. Hobson.

“Down here!” the voice said, and she looked down at her feet, and then crouched, her dull green dress puddling behind and beside her on the gray stone. On the top of her foot was a tiny, black lizard, hardly as big as her thumb, and that only including its long, bright blue tail.

“Excuse me,” she said. “I didn’t see you at first. I’m sorry, but I’m not looking for protection, or a guide.”

“You are from the Silver Isles, I can tell by your accent.”

“I am. And I need to be on my way, good day to you.” She gently lifted the lizard onto her finger, and moved her hand aside to let it step into the road.

It stood firm. “Why are you going upstream? Your home is in the south.”

Umri searched her memory for advice on being rid of a persistent god. She found none. “I like to travel.”

“I suppose otherwise you’d never have come so far from home,” piped the tiny lizard. “Take me with you! The captain won’t charge for me.”

“I’m sorry, god whose name I don’t know, but I don’t make long-term deals.”

Rated PG. Contains a journey down a river (note: is not Huck Finn).

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