Archive for January, 2011

PodCastle Miniature 58: Before the Uprising

Show Notes

Rated G: Contains Bicycles

Before the Uprising

by Katherine Sparrow

We fly out into the unseen world, biking as hard as our muscles allow, and then pushing on, faster, onward, go. It’s dark and all the sisters wear black, which is the color of night, which is the color of freedom.

Everything looks better now, the little sisters whisper from the backseat of our bikes, even though they mean they see only darkness as they cling and breathe into the sweat of our necks.

PodCastle 141: The Bear in the Cable-Knit Sweater

Show Notes

Rated PG: Contains Some Violence

The Bear in the Cable-Knit Sweater

by Robert T. Jeschonek

How’d you like to go through life looking like a werewolf, right down to the hair on your palms?  All thanks to the miracle of hypertrichosis, the disease that blasts hair growth into perpetual overdrive.

Welcome to my world.

Imagine the constant ridicule and abuse I put up with from day one.  Imagine being abandoned by my parents at age three, then juggled like a hot potato from one foster family to the next.  Always the freak, always the outcast, always the dog-faced boy.  Growing up to scrape by as a home-based telemarketer.  Hardly ever leaving my apartment, and then only with everything under wraps.  Always just hanging on to life and sanity by the skin of my teeth.

Imagine living like that, and maybe you’ll get it.  Maybe you’ll understand just how happy I was with Stan and the bears.

And why it hurt so unbelievably bad when I lost them.  Why that birthday party turned out to be my last happy night on Earth.

PodCastle 140: Terrible Ones

Terrible Ones

by Tim Pratt

Someone coughed, and Zara opened her eyes and lifted her head. “Holy shit,” she said.

The Greek Chorus was back—when had they gotten on the train? They must have come from another car, creeping quietly, sliding open the adjoining doors without a squeak. Or, more likely, Zara had fallen asleep, and just hadn’t noticed them. They stood in the middle of the aisle, holding onto the grabrail above their heads, though there were any number of empty seats. They all stared at her, silently, swaying a little with the movement of the train.

Zara thought about getting up and going to another car, but what if they followed her? “This had better be a coincidence,” she said. “We just happen to be going in the same direction, right? You aren’t following me, are you?”

(Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 139: To Follow the Waves

Show Notes

Rated R

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To Follow the Waves

by Amal El-Mohtar

Building a dream was as complex as building a temple, and required knowledge of almost as many trades—a fact reflected in the complexity of the braid-pattern in which Hessa wore her hair. Each pull and plait showed an intersection of gem-crafting, metal-working, architecture and storytelling, to say nothing of the thousand twisting strands representing the many kinds of knowledge necessary to a story’s success. As a child, Hessa had spent hours with the archivists in Al-Zahiriyya Library, learning from them the art of constructing memory palaces within her mind, layering the marble, glass, and mosaics of her imagination with reams of poetry, important historical dates, dozens of musical maqaamat, names of stars and ancestors. Hessa bint Aliyah bint Qamar bint Widad

She learned to carry each name, note, number like a jewel to tuck into a drawer here, hang above a mirror there, for ease of finding later on. She knew whole geographies, scriptures, story cycles, as intimately as she knew her mother’s house, and drew on them whenever she received a commission. Though the only saleable part of her craft was the device she built with her hands, its true value lay in using the materials of her mind: she could not grind quartz to the shape and tune of her dream, could not set it into the copper coronet studded with amber, until she had fixed it into her thoughts as firmly as she fixed the stone to her amber dopstick.