Archive for June, 2012

PodCastle 214: We Never Talk About My Brother

by Peter S. Beagle.
Read by Malcolm Charles.
Originally appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, July 2007.

But back then, back then, Esau was just a little way south of a movie star. Couldn’t walk down the street, go out grocery shopping, he’d get jumped by a whole mob of his fans, his groupies. Couldn’t turn on the TV and not see him on half a dozen channels, broadcasting, or being interviewed, or being a special guest on some show or other. I mean everything from big political stuff to cooking shows, for heaven’s sake. My friend Buddy Andreason, we go fishing weekends, us and Kirby Rich, Buddy used to always tease me about it. Point to those little girls on the news, screaming and running after Esau for autographs, and he’d say, “Man, you could get yourself some of that so easy! Just tell them you’re his brother, you’ll introduce them — man, they’d be all over you! All over you!”

No, it’s not a nickname, that was real. Esau Robbins. Right out of the Bible, the Old Testament, the guy who sold his birthright to his brother for a mess of pottage. Pottage is like soup or stew, something like that. Our Papa was a big Bible reader, and there was…I don’t know, there was stuff that was funny to him that wasn’t real funny to anyone else. Like naming me and Esau like he did.

A lot easier to live with Jacob than a funny name like Esau, I guess — you know, when you’re a kid. But I wasn’t all that crazy about my name either, tell you the truth, which is why I went with Jake first time anybody ever called me that in school, never looked back. I mean, you think about it now. The Bible Esau’s the hunter, the fisherman, the outdoor guy — okay, maybe not the brightest fellow, not the most mannerly, maybe he cusses too much and spits his tobacco where he shouldn’t, but still. And Jacob’s the sneaky one, you know? Esau’s come home beat and hungry and thirsty, and Jacob tricks him — face it, Jacob tricks him right out of his inheritance, his whole future, and their mama helps him do it, and God thinks that’s righteous, a righteous act. Makes you wonder about some things, don’t it?

Rated PG

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PodCastle 213: Wane

by Elizabeth Bear.
Read by Marguerite Kenner and Alasdair Stuart.
Originally appeared in Interzone #203.


Garrett lowered her gaze from the beaten-copper diameter of a rising moon to regard the soft-eyed wampyr beside her. The dark fabric of his sleeve lay smooth under her fingertips. A breeze still tasting of winter ruffled the forensic sorcerer’s carefully arranged hair and shifted the jewels in her earlobes. “Thank you for coming, Sebastien.”
“On the contrary, Abby Irene,” the Great Detective murmured through lips that barely moved. “What man could refuse your company of an evening?” A lifted eyebrow made the double entendre express. The moonlight lay like a rush of blood across his cheeks, making Don Sebastien de Ulloa look almost alive. “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships/ And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?”
“Perhaps in my youth.”
“To a connoisseur, value increases with time.”
She permitted herself an unladylike snort.

Rated R for sex and violence.

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PodCastle 212: Squonk and the Lake Monster

by P.M. Butler.
Read by Wilson Fowlie (of the Maple Leaf Singers).
A PodCastle original!

Sometimes, you don’t realize how bad a bad idea _really_ is until your best friend is suddenly plummeting head over ringtail to his certain death.

Squonk and Slowfingers had been playing catch–well, _trying_ to play catch. You see, Squonk was a dragon, and his best friend Slowfingers was a raccoon. They were both apprentices to a wizard named Wendel. They liked hanging around each other, but there wasn’t a lot they could _do_ together. Unlike most of Squonk’s other friends, Slowfingers didn’t have wings; and unlike Slowfingers’ other friends, Squonk had to be very careful to not step on him.

But according to Wendel, being a wizard didn’t mean you ran away and hid from problems; it meant grabbing your problems and showing those problems who’s boss. So Squonk had come up with the idea of playing a nice game of catch.

It worked like this: Slowfingers would pick an acorn, and throw it as hard as he could–from the top of a tall tree, since his throws needed the head start. Squonk would try to watch the teeny tiny acorn as it bounced off leaves and branches and stick out his paw where he thought it would land. After inspecting his paw carefully to confirm he’d missed, Squonk would set another acorn in his paw and use a talon on his other paw to flick it at Slowfingers. If he was lucky, he’d get it somewhere near the tree Slowfingers was in, and Slowfingers could watch it go by.

This was every bit as frustrating and not-fun as it sounds.

Rated G.

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PodCastle 211: The Axiom of Choice

by David W. Goldman.
Read by Eric Luke, of the Extruding America podcast.
Originally appeared in The New Haven Review, Winter 2011.

The three of you have lingered outside the darkened club an hour beyond the show’s end. Your palms rest atop your guitar case, which stands vertical before you on the cracked sidewalk. Standing not quite as vertical, Paul steadies himself by pressing a hand against the club’s brick wall, just below a photocopied poster bearing an image of his face looking very serious. (DYNAMIC SINGER-SONGWRITER PAUL MURONI! says the poster. Your name appears lower down, in smaller type.) One corner of the poster has come loose. It flips back and forth in the unseasonably warm gusts that blow down the narrow street.

“But really,” says the guy, some old friend of Paul’s whose name you’ve already forgotten, “why should you two spend tomorrow driving way up the coast for one damn gig, and then all the way back the next day? I’ll fly you there tonight in my Cessna — tomorrow you can sleep in as long as you like.” His arms sweep broad arcs when he speaks, the streetlamp across the road glinting off the near-empty bottle in his grip.

Paul rubs the back of his hand against his forehead, the way he always does when he’s tired. You’re both tired, three weeks into a tour of what seem like the smallest clubs in the most out-of-the-way towns along the twistiest roads in New England.

Paul looks at you, his eyes a bit blurry. “What do you think?” There’s a blur to his voice, too. “I’m in no condition for decisions.”

Rated R for language, violence and sexual content.

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PodCastle Spotlight: Throne of the Crescent Moon

Anna and Dave discuss all the cool stuff Saladin Ahmed has filled his his exciting debut novel Throne of the Crescent Moon up with!

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