Archive for December, 2009

PodCastle Metacast #3

On the eve of the New Year, Rachel Swirsky and Dave Thompson talk about the Changing of the Guard and what’s in the works at PodCastle. An excerpt is included with the post. The full text of the metacast will be available at the forums. Feel free to extend your well wishes to any of the editors there.

from Rachel:
“I always knew that I wouldn’t be with PodCastle forever. Last summer, I decided that, as much fun as PodCastle was, I really needed more time to write. I’ve been very fortunate to enjoy some success with my writing career, from publishing two novellettes at Tor.com to signing a contract for an upcoming collection through Aqueduct Press, Through the Drowsy Dark.

So I went to Anna Schwind and Dave Thompson, who I had cleverly invited to the cast with this eventuality in mind, and asked if they’d be interested in taking over as editors. Happily they agreed, and they’ve been training with me for the last couple months.”

from Dave:
“Anna and I were asked to come aboard PodCastle earlier this year as deckhands, and I have to tell you, working with Rachel and Ann Leckie has been a dream come true for us. We’re both love Escape Artists in general – Anna fell in love with Escape Pod waaaaaaaaaaaay back when it was the only podcast in the family, and she heard Greg van Eekhout’s killer piece of flash “Airedale”. My first EP was Pete Butler’s “Squonk the Dragon”….

We’re going to miss Rachel. Rachel built this podcast from the sky up….

As for Anna and I? We’re not going to be sitting back in an underground hatch punching a button every 108 minutes. Nope. We’re thinking about raising ourselves an avanc, harnessing the monster, and seeing what this PodCastle has in her.

It’s gonna be a wild ride, and we hope you’ll continue on with us for the next chapter of this adventure.”

Discuss on the forums.

PodCastle 84: Restless In My Hand

By Tim Pratt
Read by Steve Anderson
Originally published in Realms of Fantasy.

“It is an axe, Mr. Selfry,” the man said. He produced a prybar — from where, Richard wasn’t sure — and, with a great squealing and popping of nails, pried the lid off the crate. Richard left the safety of the doorway and went out onto the porch just as the man set the lid aside. Peering into the crate, Richard saw only darkness, as if the box were full of ink, but then something glinted silver, and — as if his eyes were adjusting to a moonlit night, instead of midafternoon sun — he saw the great silver crescent of an axehead, nestled among styrofoam packing peanuts that were, inexplicably, black instead of white. It was a double-bladed axe, with a long three-sided pyramidal spike emerging from the top.

“Workmanship,” the man said approvingly. “Look at the blood-gutters on that spike. It’s not as if the spike was ever likely to be used for stabbing, but the smith allowed for the possibility. Truly, they were giants on the earth in those days.”

“I don’t understand,” Richard said. “This thing is a family heirloom? From Great Grandma Melody? It doesn’t even look old.”

Rated R: contains a weapon smarter than average, and more purposeful.

Discuss on the forums.

PodCastle 83: The Petrified Girl

By Katherine Sparrow
Read by Marguerite Croft
Originally published in Best Lesbian Romance.

Besides, Tucson was too hot in summer.

It was so hot, way up into the hundred and tens, that the only refuge was in Betty’s pool. We stayed out there the whole hot afternoon, and when the sun went down it didn’t even get all that much cooler. Neither of us had a stitch of clothes on as we lay submerged, lying on twin yellow plastic floatables. It was good to be naked with Betty, I could look over at her and see all the things a body could survive. She had that old desert skin that bore a million wrinkles and just hung off her. It made me feel like maybe I could survive in this world too. Betty kept our cups of Jim Beam and Mountain Dew full all afternoon and into the night, cause as she said it, it was too hot not to drink. On about midnight, the hot air was just starting to feel bareable again, but neither of us were keen on getting out.

Rated R: for desert weather, both heat and storms.

Discuss on the forums.

PodCastle Miniature 44: Uchronia

by Tim Pratt
Read by M.K. Hobson

When she couldn’t stand it anymore, Clio, the muse of history, decided to unhitch the present from the past and make a few changes….Let the Age of Damnfool Things come, and sweep retroactively through the past, every idiot misconception made real.

Rated PG: for mischievous muses

Discuss on the forums.

Podcastle 82: The Twa Corbies

by Marie Brennan

Read by Elie Hirschman

In all the fairy stories, when the hero is magically gifted with an understanding of the speech of birds, it actually does him some good.  A robin brings him a message from his true love, or a bluebird tells him about buried treasure, or a starling warns him of a traitor among his companions.  It doesn’t really work that way, though — not in real life.  Birds mostly talk about seeds and worms and the breeze and nest-building and the state of their eggs.  I should know; I’ve been listening to them for seven years.

In all that time, they’ve only ever said one thing that interested me, and that one almost got me killed.

Rated PG: For Hungry Ravens, Corpses, and Curses (Not the Profane Kind)

Discuss on the forums.

Podcastle 81: On Bookstores, Burners, and Origami

By Jason D. Wittman

Read by Brian Rollins

Originally published in SciFi.com (Yes, we know. We’re still pointing at it and calling it Fantasy)

Hitomi waited on the sidewalk, uncomfortably aware of the police dirigibles hovering overhead.  Their hulking mass was made even more ominous by the glare of their searchlights, fueled by kerosene, panning back and forth along the streets.  A constant hiss of steam emanated from their engines, softer now that they were idling, but all the more menacing for that.

It was a chill autumn morning, and Hitomi’s breath misted in the air, colored orange by the sun peeking over the Minneapolis cityscape to the east.  Likewise colored orange were the smoke and steam rising from the bookstore across the street — the bookstore where Hitomi worked.  The store had been broken into last night and set afire.  As far as anyone could tell, no money or merchandise had been stolen.  This was all in accordance with the modus operandi of the Burners.

Rated PG: Contains dirigibles, printing presses, and Edgar Allan Poe

Discuss on the forums.

Podcastle Miniature 43: In Order to Conserve

by Cat Rambo

Read by Mur Lafferty

Originally Published in Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight

In order to conserve color, the governments first banned newspaper inserts, the ones where dresses and dishwashers and plastic toys and figurines of gnomes with wary smiles tumbled across glossy surfaces.  Readers faced columns of type interspersed with dour black and white line drawings, no slick sheets cascading on their laps as they unfolded the newsprint to gaze at the reports of latest developments in The Color Crisis. Others turned to the Internet, monochromatic monitors scrolled by blogs denouncing the Administration, the liberals, the conservatives, the capitalists, alien spiders, and a previously obscure cult known as the Advanced Altar of the Rainbow Serpent.

The change had been almost imperceptible at first.  Only artists, fashion designers and gardeners noticed the dimming of shades, the shadows of reds, blues, purples that blossomed from less verdant stems.  They brought the shift to the attention of white-coated scientists, who measured the changes in angstroms, then announced that laboratory results proved it true.  Somewhere, somehow, color, once thought an inexhaustible natural resource, was running out, and doing so quickly.

Rated PG: For Bleeding Colors

Discuss on the forums.

Podcastle 80: Superhero Girl

by Jessica J. Lee

Read by Jack Mangan

Originally published in Fantasy Magazine.

Ofelia was a superhero.  She told me so without reserve.  “It’s safe for me to tell you,” she said.  “I can sense you’re not a villain.  Besides, it would be unfair to keep it from you.  It won’t be easy, you know, being involved with a superhero girl.”

It did take some getting used to.  She received her mission briefings in birdsong, in radio static, encoded in every third word backwards from a breaking news bulletin on the televisions in a specific store window.  She saw battle plans drawn out for her in cloud patterns, coffee cup rings, the movement of players on a soccer field.  During these moments she would stand frozen in mid-motion, her head cocked to the side, listening intently.  Then she would drop—literally drop—whatever she was doing and dash away, calling apologies over her shoulder.

Rated PG: For Superheroes, Secret Identities, and Wham! Pow! BOOM!

Discuss on the forums.

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