Archive for March, 2012

PodCastle 202: The Rugged Track

by Liz Argall.
Read by Tina Connolly.
Originally appeared in Strange Horizons. Read the text beginning here.

Once upon a time there was a plucky young woman called Princess Bite. She loved to roller-skate, and Roller Derby was her community.

Her mother, Lady Push Comes to Shove, had felt her daughter jamming from inside the womb.

“I had to keep the sounds of whistles away from you,” Lady Shove would say as she helped Princess Bite into her aqua and purple quads. “The slightest peep and you were off, bouncing around my insides like the joyous devil you are. The only way I could get you to be quiet was to zoom around the track.”

Princess Bite learned to skate as she learned how to walk. Lady Push Comes to Shove and Princess Bite would hurtle around the track so fast it felt like flying. Princess Bite and Lady Shove skated together every day until Lady Shove’s illness made it too difficult and painful.

Princess Bite loved everything about Roller Derby. She even loved cleaning up after a game, sweeping the floor with a broom twice her size, coiling cables and emptying endless garbage cans. Princess Bite loved the spectacle, the makeup, the glitter and ferocity. She loved crashing into people and trying to keep her feet when they crashed into her. She loved watching the teams train and playing with the other kids of roller mums.

Rated R for language.

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PodCastle 201, Giant Episode: Golden City Far

by Gene Wolfe.
Read by Kane Lynch.
Originally appeared in Flights: Extreme Visions of Fantasy, edited by Al Sarrrantonio.


This is what William Wachter wrote in his spiral notebook during study hall, the first day.

Funny dream last night. I was standing on a beach. I looked out, shading my eyes, and I could not see a thing. It was like a big fog bank was over the ocean way far away so that everything sort of faded white. A gull flew over me and screeched, and I thought, Well, not that way.

So I turned north, and there was a long level stretch and big mountains. I should not have been able to see past them, but I could. It was not like the mountains could be looked through. It was like the thing I was seeing on the other side was higher than they were so that I saw it over the tops. It was really far away and looked small, but it was just beautiful, gold towers, all sizes and shapes with flags on them. Yelllow flags, purple, blue, green and white ones. I thought, Well, there it is.

Rated PG.

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PodCastle 200: In The Stacks

by Scott Lynch

Read by…well, A LOT of cool people! How about a full cast list?

Norm Sherman as the Narrator
Peter Wood as Lazlo
Dave Thompson as Casimir
Wilson Fowlie as Master Molnar
M.K. Hobson as Astriza
Graeme Dunlop as Lev Bronzeclaw
Anna Schwind as Yvette
Ann Leckie, Alasdair Stuart, Talia, Occicat, and Marshal Latham as the Librarians, Indexers, and Vocubavores
and Rachel Swirsky as the Head Vocabuvore

Originally Published in Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery,

On the clock outside the gate to the Manticore Wing of the library, the little blue flame was just floating past the symbol for high noon when Laszlo and Casimir skidded to a halt before a single tall figure.

“I see you two aspirants have chosen to favor us with a dramatic last-minute arrival,” said the man. “I was not aware this was to be a drama exam.”

“Yes, Master Molnar. Apologies, Master Molnar,” said Laszlo and Casimir in unison.

Hargus Molnar, Master Librarian, had a face that would have been at home in a gallery of military statues, among dead conquerors casting their permanent scowls down across the centuries. Lean and sinewy, with close-cropped gray hair and a dozen visible scars, he wore a use-seasoned suit of black leather and silvery mail. Etched on his cuirass was a stylized scroll, symbol of the Living Library, surmounted by the phrase Auvidestes, Gerani, Molokare. The words were Alaurin, the formal language of scholars, and they formed the motto of the Librarians:

RETRIEVE. RETURN. SURVIVE.

Rated R: Contains violence, some language, and the coolest, most dangerous library ever!

Thank you, listeners, for an amazing two hundred episodes!

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PodCastle 199: A Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet

by Garth Nix

Read by Paul Tevis

Originally published in Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery

Sir Hereward sighed as he turned another page. His enthusiasm for reading had diminished in the turning of several hundred pages, with its concomitant several hundred finger lickings, for he had found only two entries worth reading: one on how to cheat at a board game that had changed its name but was still widely played in the known world; and another on the multiplicity of uses of the root spice cabizend, some surprising number of which fell into Hereward’s professional area of expertise as an artillerist and maker of incendiaries.

In fact, Hereward was about to give up and bellow to the housekeeper who kept the tower to bring him some ale, when the title of the next commonplace caught his eye. It was called “On the Propitiation of Sorcerous Puppets.”

As Sir Hereward’s constant companion, comrade-in-arms, and one-time nanny was a sorcerous puppet known as Mister Fitz, this was very much of interest to the injured knight. He eagerly read on, and though the piece was short and referred solely to the more usual kind of sorcerous puppet—one made to sing, dance, and entertain—he did learn something new.

Rated PG: Contains some violence.

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