Archive for July, 2010

PodCastle 115: Monstrous Embrace

Show Notes

Rated R: Contains Violence and Gore


Monstrous Embrace

by Rachel Swirsky

I am ugliness in body and bone, breath and heartbeat. I am muddy rocks and jagged scars snaking across salt-sown fields. I am insect larvae wriggling inside the great dead beasts into which they were born. Too, I am the hanks of dead flesh rotting. I am the ungrateful child’s sneer, the plague sore bursting, the swing of shadow beneath the gallows rope. Ugliness is my hands, my feet, my fingernails. Ugliness is my gaze, boring into you like a worm into rotting fruit.

Listen to me, my prince. Tomorrow, when dawn breaks and you stand in the chapel accepting your late father’s crown, your fate will be set. Do nothing and you will be dead by sundown. Your kingdom will be laid waste, its remnants preserved only in the bellies of carrion birds.

There is another option. Marry me.

PodCastle 114: Wolves Till the World Goes Down


Wolves Till the World Goes Down

by Greg van Eekhout

“Hey,” said my brother. “Down there.” Without waiting, he dove toward the sand where a dead Rotweiller rolled in the white foam. It had been a long flight and we were both ravenous. I angled in to follow, and soon we were absorbed in our feast.

A big gray gull challenged our salvage rights, screaming and beating us with his wings, but we tore him to shreds, ate him, then returned to the dog.

Later, my brother would be able to report every minute detail of the incident. He’d describe the precise markings on the gull’s bill, the way he favored his left foot over his right, the iron and salt taste of his blood.

But he wouldn’t be able to say why we’d killed him. He’s expert at the whats and whens and wheres, but he leaves the whys to me.

His name is Munin, Memory. I’m Hugin, Thought.

PodCastle Miniature 52: The Sphinx in Thebes (Massachusetts)

Show Notes

Rated PG: Contains Riddles, Greed, and Death

by Lord Dunsany, who is dead.
Read by Steve Anderson, who is not.


The Sphinx in Thebes (Massachusetts)

by Lord Dunsany

There was a woman in a steel-built city who had all that money could buy, she had gold and dividends and trains and houses, and she had pets to play with, but she had no sphinx.

So she besought them to bring her a live sphinx; and therefore they went to the menageries, and then to the forests and the desert places, and yet could find no sphinx.

PodCastle 113: Väinämöinen and the Singing Fish

Show Notes

Rated PG: Contains Charmers, and Charming Singing Fish (Naturally)


Väinämöinen and the Singing Fish

by Marissa K. Lingen

Whenever a foreigner came to the district, all of the neighbors would
tell him how lucky he was to be in the home of the legendary
Joukahainen, charmer for the ages.  But the foreigners would squint
and say, “Joukahainen?  Never heard of him.  Is he as good as
Väinämöinen?”  And Joukahainen would seethe.

Then he would do all of his best charms.  The birds would sing an
invocation to the spirits of the forest in such piercing beauty that
any man would weep to hear it, and the fire would glow white and blue
and paint pictures of splendor, and the flowers would all
spontaneously bloom, even if it was in the middle of the long night
and snow covered them all.

And then the foreigners would clap Joukahainen on the shoulder and
say, “Keep at it, lad, and someday you’ll be as great as Väinämöinen!”
Or, “When Väinämöinen’s not around, by the gods, you’ll do!”  They
meant to be kindly, but every time he heard the name Väinämöinen,
Joukahainen’s blood boiled.