PodCastle 361: Traveller, Take Me

by Kate Heartfield

read by Wilson Fowlie

First published in On Spec.

The Canadian National Railway wants to know what to call the copper town tucked into the dogleg on the border between Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The radio operator says they’re threatening to call it Flin Flon – if they don’t hear any different from us.

We all laugh ourselves giddy at that, all of us in the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co. Ltd. Go ahead, we say, call it Flin Flon. Bad luck to call it anything else. It’s the only name the place has had for its 15 years now, and if that’s not the judgment of history in these uncertain times I don’t know what is.

All of us in the mine company know the story of how Tom Creighton named the place for a character in a dime novel, back in 1914. Tom himself tells it to anyone who’ll half listen.

But he never tells the story of how he found the novel in the first place, and what that book did, once he started to read it. He never says where the book is now. I hope it’s fallen apart, battered into mush by the rain and snow. Unreadable.

Rated PG.

Kate Heartfield is a journalist and fiction writer from Manitoba who now lives in Ottawa, Canada. Her stories have appeared recently in places such as Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, Crossed Genres and Lackington’s. She is on Twitter as @kateheartfield and her website is heartfieldfiction.com.

Wilson Fowlie has been reading stories out loud since the age of 4, and credits any talent he has in this area to his parents, who are both excellent at reading aloud.

He has been narrating stories for more people than his own family since late 2008, when he answered a call for readers on the PodCastle forum from PodCastle’s then-editor, Rachel Swirsky.

The first story he recorded for PodCastle was episode 51, “The Cambist and Lord Iron” by Daniel Abraham, which is still one of his favourite narrations. Oddly, due to circumstances that he’s still not entirely clear about, his first *published* narration was episode 41, “Dragon Hunt” by Sarah Prineas.

Since then, he has gone on to become PodCastle’s most prolific narrator, reading or appearing in nearly 30 episodes. He’s also narrated for many other podcasts, including, of course, PodCastle’s sister ‘casts, Escape Pod and Pseudopod, as well as StarShip Sofa, Protecting Project Pulp, Crime City Central, Tales To Terrify, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine and the Journey Into… podcast.

He fits in all this narrating between his day job as a web developer for a tech company in the Greater Vancouver area in Canada, and being the director of a community show chorus called The Maple Leaf Singers.

He’s still hoping to find a paying gig narrating stories, or maybe, since he doesn’t really have the time to go looking for it, that one will find *him*.