Archive for January, 2010

PodCastle Minature 46: Debris

by Kiini Ibura Salaam

Read by Ann Leckie

Originally published in Ideomancer

It is legend how my mother kept my grandmother’s eye sockets clean with the pure white feather of a cockatoo. She often sent me to the forests to pick marigolds to stack high around Grandmother’s skull. Grandmother loved the smell of the marigolds. She told me so every time I entered the house with an armful of fragrant weeds.

After my grandmother’s head had been sitting in the altar room for a month, my mother realized my grandmother was dying, not because of her missing body, but because she was bored. Mother brought Grandmother into the living room and positioned her right in front of the window. There Grandmother sat happily for a week until Dad caught her promising her skull to an epileptic candy vendor.

Rated R: For Skulls, Sweet and Otherwise, and Days of the Dead

PodCastle 88: Another End of the Empire

by Tim Pratt.
Read by Cheyenne Wright.
Originally Published in Strange Horizons.

“I am here,” Mogrash said. “Give me the bad news.”

“A child dwells in the village of Misery Chin, in the mountain
provinces to the east. If allowed to grow to manhood, he will take
over your empire, overthrow your ways and means, and send you from the
halls of your palace forever.”

Mogrash relaxed. This was, at least, not an immediate threat‚ not like
the pronouncement of metastasized bone cancer she’d given his
grandfather. He sighed. “So I’m expected to send my Fell Rangers to
the mountains, raze the village, leave no stone upon a stone, enslave
the women, and kill all the younglings to stop this dire prophecy from
coming to pass.”

“It’s what your father would have done.”

“Yes, but I’m more modern than he was. Besides, we’ve seen this happen
a thousand times‚ the attempt to stop the prophecy will make it come
to pass, won’t it?”

Rated PG for superseded oracles, despots past their expiration dates and probability witches.

PodCastle 87: Narrative of a Beast’s Life

by Cat Rambo

Read by Paul Jenkins (of the Rev Up Review)

Originally published in Realms of Fantasy.

We were taken to a market in a city. None of us had ever seen such a place before and there were sights and sounds and smells such as I had never witnessed. The buildings were made of clay brick, laid together so snugly that no mortar or cement was necessary. Some buildings were built on top of each other, and stairs meant for no Centaur led up and down the outside.

Here we were sold, each to separate masters. Mine fastened me in a coffle with other beings: a Sphinx of that city that had committed murder, two Djinni, and a snake-headed woman. Oxen drew the cart to which we were shackled, and chained on it was a Dragon, not a large one, but some eight feet in length. A small herd of goats marched behind us in turn, intended for the Dragon’s sustenance.

Rated PG: Contains the Enslavement of Magical Creatures

PodCastle 86: Tio Gilberto and the Twenty-Seven Ghosts

By Ben Francisco

Read by Brian Lieberman

Originally Published in Realms of Fantasy

Before I can even ring, Uncle Gilberto opens the door and gives me a
big hug and a kiss that smells of gin and menthol cigarettes.  His
dog, Ganymede, barks and snuggles his head between my legs.  The cat
eyes me suspiciously from the next room.  From behind me, someone
helps me slip off my jacket.  I look over my shoulder, but nobody’s
there.  “Who’s that?” I ask my uncle.

“That’s Daniel,” he says.

“Hey, Daniel,” I say.  “Been a while.”

Gilberto shakes a finger at the air behind me.  “No, you cannot also
take his shirt!  I told you to behave.”  Uncle Gil throws both hands
into the air.  “Dios mío, what have I done?  Bringing my innocent
nephew into a house with twenty-seven horny ghosts.  Qué barbaridad.
You tell me right away if any of them try anything, me entiendes,

Rated R: Contains Love, Ghosts, and San Francisco