Archive for July, 2012

PodCastle 218: Insect Joy

by Caspian Gray.
Read by Julie Hoverson of 19 Nocturne Boulevard.
Originally appeared in Interzone.

The crickets started screaming after Luis came back from the war. Theirs was the lowest form of communication; they did not so much exchange ideas as alternate between different ways of expressing alarm. When Amy noticed they were out of water gel and took their bowl to refill it, they screamed. When she sprinkled calcium powder on their food, they screamed. When she cleaned the tiny bodies of their dead brethren out of the cage, they screamed.

It was tiresome.

Outside, now that each night brought frost, the world was quiet. There were the last dying flutters of cecropia moths, blown along the sidewalk like dead leaves. The swarms of ladybugs were already burrowed deep into schools and churches and people’s homes, where occasionally she heard them chirring to each other. She’d met a single dragonfly, perhaps the last one of November, perched in the sun on her front door, but that dragonfly was too tired or too old to speak.

Only the feeder crickets at the store were still trying to express their mangled lives.

Rated R for sex, language and adult themes.

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PodCastle 217: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Part 2

Authorship uncertain.
Translated by Sir Richard Burton, text available here.
Read by Steve Anderson (of SGAcreative).


Hearing these words, Ali Baba rejoiced with exceeding joyance and said to her: “I am well pleased with thee for this thy conduct, and say me what wouldst thou have me do in thy behalf. I shall not fail to remember thy brave deed so long as breath in me remaineth.” Quoth she: “It behooveth us before all things forthright to bury these bodies in the ground, that so the secret be not known to anyone.” Hereupon Ali Baba took with him his slave boy Abdullah into the garden and there under a tree they dug for the corpses of the thieves a deep pit in size proportionate to its contents, and they dragged the bodies (having carried off their weapons) to the fosse and threw them in. Then, covering up the remains of the seven and thirty robbers, they made the ground appear level and clean as it wont to be.

Rated PG.

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PodCastle 216: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Part 1

Authorship uncertain.
Translated by Sir Richard Burton.
Read by Steve Anderson (of SGAcreative).


And when he came to the aforesaid rock and to the tree whereon Ali Baba had hidden himself, and he had made sure of the door he cried in great joy, “Open, Sesame!” The portal yawned wide at once and Kasim went within and saw the piles of jewels and treasures lying ranged all around, and as soon as he stood amongst them the door shut after him, as wont to do. He walked about in ecstasy marveling at the treasures, and when weary of admiration, he gathered together bags of ashrafis, a sufficient load for his ten mules, and placed them by the entrance in readiness to he carried outside and set upon the beasts. But by the will of Allah Almighty he had clean forgotten the cabalistic words, and cried out, “Open, Barley!” Whereat the door refused to move. Astonished and confused beyond measure, he named the names of all manner of grains save sesame, which had slipped from his memory as though he had never heard the word, whereat in his dire distress he heeded not the ashrafis that lay heaped at the entrance, and paced to and fro, backward and forward, within the cave, sorely puzzled and perplexed. The wealth whose sight had erewhile filled his heart with joy and gladness was now the cause of bitter grief and sadness.

Rated PG.

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PodCastle Miniature 70: Accompaniment

by Keffy R.M. Kehrli

Read by John Meagher

Originally published in 10Flash Quarterly. Read the story online here!

“You’re making me crazy,” Jonas said. “Can’t you play the fucking thing any quieter?”

I didn’t speak. I just kept playing the damn guitar while my cracked fingers bled rivulets that clung to the strings and dripped down the lacquered wood. Eventually I did say that I was sorry, that I couldn’t stop, but he’d already gone out for a smoke. He left the shed door cracked open, so the nicotine-laden winter air flooded in and froze my lungs.

Outside, Jonas’ phone trilled. He answered with a sharp, “Yeah?”

Rated R: For Fairies and F-Bombs!

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PodCastle 215, Giant Episode: Ours is the Prettiest

by Nalo Hopkinson.
Read by Nalo Hopkinson.
Originally appeared in Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner. You can find out more about Bordertown here.


The camel bus had a black banner draped around it. The lettering on it was made to look ike bones, and read “We Dead Awaken.” Through the windows we could see the musicians, all of them wearing funereal black suits, including top hats tricked out with black lace veils. Even the musicians were playin’ mas’. It was a brass band, instruments shouting out the melody to a song I almost recognized.

Today was Jou’vert; the daylong free-for-all we were pleased to call a “parade” ushered in the week of bacchanalia that was Bordertown’s more or less annual Jamboree. Word had gone around town that thi year’s theme was “jazz funeral.” I was dressed as a Catrina from the Dia de los Muertos — a gorgeous femme skeleton in sultry widow’s weeds, complete with a massive picture hat.

I suppressed a sneeze; my sinuses were tingling. Juju breeze for true, blowing a withcy front of magic from the Realm into Bordertown. Juju weather always made things in Bordertown especially…interesting.

Rated R for language, sex.

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