Archive for December, 2012

PodCastle 240: Seeking Captain Random

by Vylar Kaftan

Read by Laura Hobbs

Originally published in Interzone. Check out the awesome art work Hobson mentioned here.

Dreams tell you what you really believe, deep down.  But sometimes it takes a while before you understand them.

“When I climbed the hill of bones, the shaman was waiting for me,” Darren said, stirring Nutrasweet into his herbal tea.  “Except now he was a giant rat.  Like ten feet tall.”

Darren’s always told me about his dreams.  Ever since he quit his office job to write comic books full time, his dreams have gotten weirder.  I figure he’s really dreaming about how to pay the rent next month, though I can’t see what the giant rat has to do with anything.  I was probably more worried about Darren’s rent than he was, even though we weren’t roommates anymore.

Around us, the coffeeshop was nearly empty.  We sat at our usual table–the four-seater with room for my wheelchair.  Darren’s backpack and bike helmet occupied the extra chair.  The late-September sunlight stretched through the window like it wasn’t ready to leave.  I asked, “So did the rat-shaman have the sword ready for you like he’d promised?”

Rated R: Contains some strong language.

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PodCastle 239: Catching the Spirit

by Heather Shaw and Tim Pratt

Read by Big Anklevich, of the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine

A PodCastle Original!

Pretty much nobody knows how, exactly, the Christmas Spirit started to spread. One theory goes that a child in Meridian Mississippi was bitten by an infected reindeer, and then spread the plague at her school Christmas pageant, where it jumped to a couple of long-haul truckers who hit the interstate on Boxing Day and took the condition nationwide. One epidemiologist is convinced it’s a prion disease, like Mad Cow, spread through tainted Christmas hams. I saw a neurologist on TV who believes it’s a brain disorder brought on by heavy metal poisoning, spread through tainted high-fructose corn syrup in the candy cane supply, and I met a man in a bar who drunkenly explained that it’s caused by an insidious parasite that lives in evergreen trees. And of course we’ve all heard the right-wing pundits screaming their conviction that the Christmas Spirit is a biological weapon invented by radical Kenyan socialists to force redistribution of wealth.

They’re all wrong. I know the truth about the Christmas Spirit, and how it started to spread. In a way, I’m the reason for the season.

Rated R. Contains some adult themes, and drug use.

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PodCastle 238: Sleep and Wake

by Holli Mintzer

Read by Brian Rollins

Originally published in The View From Here. You can read it at The Front View.

At the top of the Greenbriar Building, in Brooklyn, a girl has been sleeping for a hundred years. In fact, she may have been sleeping longer. But the Greenbriar was built a hundred years ago, and the room in which she sleeps was walled off and hidden, and ivy tangled its way up the sides of the building until even the window was lost. She would likely sleep there still, except that Rick wanted to know why his apartment was a hundred and fifty square feet too small.

It was a nice apartment– it had a breakfast nook, and a washer/dryer combo, and floor-to-ceiling built-in shelves in the living room and at the end of the hall. Rick liked it a lot. The building had never been renovated, not really, except to split the apartments up into smaller studios and one-bedrooms and to replace the stove and fridge. There were weird poky corners and weathered wooden floors and ornate brass fittings everywhere; Rick’s bathroom contained a massive claw-foot tub that, when she saw it, made Angela say “Oh, my God, no fair.”

Rated R, for an f-bomb or two, but really, it’s a sweet story.

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PodCastle Miniature 74: The Book

by Lavie Tidhar

Read by John Michnya

Originally published on the 42scifi-fantasy.com blog

There is a bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London and it’s never open. Its windows are covered in a thick film of dust and spiders grow webbed cities in its darkness. There are books inside that no-one’s ever read; books that human eyes had never seen, books where black ink spells secrets on black paper, books written in darkness that cannot be read in the light.

Rated PG.

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PodCastle 237: Crossroads

by Laura Anne Gilman.
Read by Malcolm Charles.
Originally appeared in Fantasy Magazine, August 2011. The text is available.

John came to the crossroads at just shy of noon, where a man dressed all in black stared up at another man hanging from a gallows-tree. No, not hanging; he was being hung, the loop still slack around his neck, his body dangling in mid-air. That, John thought, his pack heavy on his shoulder and his hat pulled low, was not something a wise man would get involved in. And yet, he could not resist asking, “What did he do?”

The man in black turned around and glared at John. “He asked too many impertinent questions.”

The man with the rope around his neck laughed at that, a rueful, amused sound, and John decided he liked the dead man.

“You might want to move on,” the man in black continued in a voice that wasn’t a suggestion. “This is a bad place to be for a lone traveler.”

Rated PG.

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