Archive for December, 2012

PodCastle 240: Seeking Captain Random

Show Notes

Rated R for strong language.

Seeking Captain Random

by Vylar Kaftan

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 coffee shop 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?”

PodCastle 239: Catching the Spirit

Catching the Spirit

by Heather Shaw and Tim Pratt

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.

PodCastle 238: Sleep and Wake

Show Notes

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

Sleep and Wake

by Holli Mintzer

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.”

PodCastle Miniature 74: The Book

The Book

by Lavie Tidhar

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.