Archive for January, 2012

PodCastle 194: Their Changing Bodies

by Alaya Dawn Johnson.
Read by Tina Connolly.
Originally published in Subterranean Online. Read the text there.

Judy had been painfully aware of him since her arrival two weeks ago, when she had seen him across the mess hall. They talked a little, but Judy hadn’t been prepared for his appearance or his popularity. She hadn’t expected him to change quite so much.

Judy had first met Brandon last summer in the woods of rural Michigan, at an institution the promotional brochures called Better Image! for Teens. The kids sentenced to this energetically punctuated camp had referred to it as the Penitentiary, but Judy’s sister Alice had more accurately called it Fat Camp. Judy came home thirty pounds thinner and possessed of a first kiss that had admittedly also encompassed some of her cheek. Still, at sixteen she had finally accomplished several of her goals in life: a) meet a boy, b) talk to the boy, c) impress him with her knowledge of esoteric subjects like grafting apple trees, and, finally, d) mack on him like crazy.

If pressed, Judy admitted that perhaps she still had a slight distance to travel until she fully accomplished d). Even though Brandon had attempted to insert his tongue in her mouth, the reality of it wagging wetly in the air had so disconcerted Judy that she turned at the exact wrong moment, thereupon forcing Brandon’s tongue to slither over her cheek until he realized what had happened and put it back in his mouth. How, she asked Alice, does anyone make out with so much spit? Alice just shrugged and said you got used to it.

Judy hoped she would get used to it.

Rated R for profanity, young adult themes.

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For Your Consideration: Award Eligible Stories Featured at PodCastle

Hey everyone! People have been asking us if any of the stories we ran over the last year-ish are are eligible for awards. And in fact, several of them are! Thanks for listening, and happy voting!

Short Story:

To Follow the Waves, by Amal El-Mohtar, read by Marguerite Croft, originally published in Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories

The Bear in the Cable-Knit Sweater, by Robert T. Jeschonek, read by Cheyenne Wright, A PodCastle Original

After October, by Ben Burgis, read by Eric Luke, originally published in Giganotosaurus

The Landholders No Longer Carry Swords, by Patricia Russo, read by Ann Leckie, originally published in Giganotosaurus

The Paper Menagerie, by Ken Liu, read by Rajan Khanna, originally published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

We Were Wonder Scouts, by Will Ludwigsen, read by Chris Reynaga, originally published in Asimov’s.

Still Small Voice, by Ben Burgis, read by David Rees-Thomas, A PodCastle Original

起狮,行礼 (Rising Lion—The Lion Bows), by Zen Cho, read by Tracey Yuen. Originally published in Strange Horizons.

Black Swan, White Swan, by Eugie Foster, read by Abra Staffin-Wiebe, originally published in End of an Aeon anthology.

This Strange Way of Dying,  by Silvia Moreno Garcia, read by Marguerite Croft. Originally published in Giganotosaurus

Ties of Silver, by James L. Sutter, read by V.O. Bloodfrost, originally published in the Beast Within 2: Predators and Prey anthology.

The Ghost of Christmas Possible, by Tim Pratt & Heather Shaw, read by Ian Stuart. A PodCastle Original!

A Window, Clear as a Mirror, by Ferrett Steinmetz, read by Rish Outfield. Originally published in Shimmer

Fruit Jar Drinkin’, Cheatin’ Heart Blues, by Patty Templeton, originally published in Steam Powered II

Their Changing Bodies, by Alaya Dawn Johnson, originally published in Subterranean Online (Next week’s episode!)

As a Novellete:

Balfour and Meriwether in The Vampire of Kabul, by Daniel Abraham, read by Paul S. Jenkins. Originally published in Subterranean Online

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PodCastle 193: Fruit Jar Drinkin’, Cheatin’ Heart Blues

by Patty Templeton.
Read by M.K. Hobson.
Originally appeared in SteamPowered II: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories

Cazy Tipple and Balma Walker were the two finest bootleggers for a god-step or more. The only two that lived in the Rotgut, instead of on its edge.

Balma hadn’t always hated the sour, sorrowing guts out of Cazy, but times changed with the rain.

Ten years and a piece with the same two hearts in a three room cabin and there’s bound to be here-and-there altercations. Balma’d call Cazy a no-good-jar-tipper, and Cazy’d have a sip and a swallow and name Balma a brain-big-hollerin’-bitch. Balma’d throw the grits and biscuits at Cazy and the frying pan after. Cazy’d bite a brushed-off biscuit and tell Balma how fine it was. Fairly soon, the two were hot eyes over hot coffee and the stills would have to wait until the sheets had another ruffle and wet.

But this time, Cazy’d done enough wrong for Balma to prop the grudge on a pulpit and preach.

Rated R for profanity, violence.

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PodCastle Miniature 67: The Madness of Andelsprutz

by Lord Dunsany

Read by Steve Anderson

I had said: “I will see Andelsprutz arrogant with her beauty,” and I had said: “I will see her weeping over her conquest.”

I had said: “She will sing songs to me,” and “she will be reticent,” “she will be all robed,” and “she will be bare but splendid.”

But the windows of Andelsprutz in her houses looked vacantly over the plains like the eyes of a dead madman. At the hour her chimes sounded unlovely and discordant, some of them were out of tune, and the bells of some were cracked, her roofs were bald and without moss. At evening no pleasant rumour arose in her streets. When the lamps were lit in the houses no mystical flood of light stole out into the dusk, you merely saw that there were lighted lamps; Andelsprutz had no way with her and no air about her. When the night fell and the blinds were all drawn down, then I perceived what I had not thought in the daylight. I knew then that Andelsprutz was dead.

Rated PG.

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PodCastle 192: The Interior of Mr. Bumblethorn’s Coat

by Willow Fagan.
Read by MarBelle of the Director’s Notes blog, audio and video podcast.
Originally appeared in Fantasy Magazine. Read the text there.

Mister Bumblethorn slept through the morning, as he usually did,
rising from his dry-as-dust bathtub just after noon. He stood in the
weak light of the shaded window, his massive blue coat rumpled but
still imposing. He did not even remember getting into the bathtub the
night before, much less falling asleep in it. He yawned and shook out
his arms. An antelope or a gazelle, tiny as a beetle, tumbled out of
his coat sleeve and splatted on the floor below. Mister Bumblethorn
studiously ignored this.

Bleary-eyed, he walked across his tiny apartment to rummage through
the cupboards, finding no food except some stale crackers. Worse, his
water flask was empty as a thimble; he held the thing upside down for
a full minute and not a drop appeared, not a whiff of moisture.

Mister Bumblethorn sighed heavily. Into the blank space of his empty
stomach, memories began to flow like saliva. Once, adoring folk had
thrust gifts of cheese and honeycakes at him wherever he walked:
through the streets of grand Abadore, through the humble thoroughfares
of nameless hamlets. Fingers shaking, Mister Bumblethorn rolled
himself a fat spliff of redleaf. No matter how little the peasants
had, they shared their suppers with him and refused any offer of
payment. Damn it, light already. After all, he was–Ah, there it
was, that sweet smoke filling his mouth, translating the stream of
memories into a language as meaningless to him as the clicking prayers
of the insectile priests in their hive temple on Wingcleft Avenue, his
old life grown as insubstantial as their flowery incense, drifting
away in the wind.

Rated R for graphic violence, drug use.

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PodCastle 191: Balfour and Meriwether in The Vampire of Kabul

by Daniel Abraham.
Read by Paul S. Jenkins of the Skepticule podcast.
Originally appeared in Subterranean Online. Read the text there.

It was the third of December in 188-, and snow swirled down grey and damp upon the cobblestones of London. Meriwether paced before the wide window of the King Street flat impatiently. Balfour sat before the roaring fire, correcting a draft monograph he had written on the subject of Asiatic hand combat as adapted to the English frame.

“I cannot understand how you can be so devilishly placid,” Meriwether said at last.

“Practice,” Balfour grunted.

“Every winter it’s the same,” Meriwether said, gesturing at the falling snow. “The darkness comes earlier, the cold drives men from the roads, and I have this…stirring. This unutterable restlessness. The winter traps me, my friend. It holds me captive.”

Rated R for violence.

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PodCastle 190: A Window, Clear as a Mirror

by Ferret Steinmetz.
Read by Rish Outfield, of the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine.
Originally appeared in Shimmer.

Malcolm Gebrowski returned from his job at the stamp factory to discover his
wife had left him for a magic portal. He stared numbly at the linoleum
floor of his apartment’s walk-in kitchen, all scuffed up with hoofprints,
the smell of lilacs gradually being overpowered by the mildewy stink of the
paper plant next door. All that was left of eight years of marriage was a
scribbled note on the back of the telephone bill.

He’d crumpled the note in his fist without thinking. He smoothed it out
against the refrigerator to read Julianne’s last words again:

Remember when I said you could sleep with Dakota Jewel if she ever dropped
by? I sure hope so. ‘Cause if you had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to sleep with the most beautiful movie star in the world, I’d want you to
take it. And remember when you said that if I ever found a magic portal, I
could go?

Guess what? A magic portal opened.

Rated R for profanity, sex.

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