Archive for Giants

PodCastle 457: Blade and Branch and Stone


by Spencer Ellsworth

read by Graeme Dunlop (as Lassan), Wilson Fowlie (as Dhar), Kay Steele (as Kahirun)

hosted by Matt Dovey

First published in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly.

Rated PG-13.

The trees screamed. Mortars shattered white wood that bled golden sap. The Fei looked down from the ridge with cold blue eyes, raised their muskets and hailed lead onto the human lines. Blood blossomed on white shirts around Lassan, under black-coated Imperial jackets.

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Spencer Ellsworth wrote his first novel at seven years old. (It was called Super Tiger, and it was pretty lit.) He hasn’t stopped since. His short work has appeared or is forthcoming at Lightspeed, F&SF, Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the best market ever, Podcastle. His first novels, a space opera trilogy called Starfire, are coming at binge-read speed from Tor.com in 2017. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, artist & designer Chrissy Ellsworth, and three children of the apocalypse.

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 and has narrated for PodCastle, Escape Pod and Pseudopod, as well as StarShipSofa, Protecting Project Pulp, Crime City Central, Tales To Terrify, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine and the Journey Into… podcast. In real life he’s a web developer and also the director of a community show chorus called The Maple Leaf Singers.

Kay Steele is her own evil twin and has a secret identity where she writes stories and makes art but she’s not telling unless you ask nicely, or ask at all, or just sort of glance in her general direction. A nerd by awkward accident and a geek by choice, Kay is also a gamer, an innuendo specialist and thankfully gets by on very little sleep. Sharing a tiny house with a small child and cartoonish number of pets wasn’t really the plan but it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her. She absolutely loves doing voice acting and narration because she’s a ham.

PodCastle 396, Giant Episode: Spirits of the Wind


by Brendan Detzner

read by Wilson Fowlie

First appeared in the short story collection Beasts, by Brendan Detzner.

She was surprised how fast she’d caught herself missing the time that she lived here. She knew that she and Jessica and Rina had been driving each other crazy all cooped up together, and she remembered climbing up to the third floor and down again and how she thought she was going to slip and fall on the ice each winter when the landlord never laid down salt, and she missed it anyway, and could anticipate feel herself looking back and missing it more and more. A simple thing, gone now.

The truth, which she knew and thought everybody in the room had to know too,was that this had been a big year. They’d reached the top of a hill and were on their way down, and some of them were heading towards other hills and maybe some of them weren’t. People’s parents were dying. Guys were going bald, girls were covering up tattoos and using concealer. Mike, who was always a little crazy and fun to have around and who liked to drink, wasn’t around anymore, and still liked to drink and probably was drinking out there somewhere. Kat missed him, but she knew it was better that he was gone. She couldn’t afford to be around a guy like that anymore.

Rated PG-13 for some language.

Brendan Detzner lives, works, and writes in Chicago. His work is sometimes funny, sometimes scary, and usually very strange. His work has appeared in Pseudopod, Bizarrocast, Tales to Terrify, and other places. He still needs to get into Escape Pod to complete the hat trick. Check out his short story collection “Beasts”. He also runs a monthly reading series in Chicago called Bad Grammar Theater.

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 started narrating stories for more than just his own family in late 2008, when he answered a call for readers on the PodCastle forum. 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 PodCastle’s sister casts, EscapePod andPseudopod, as well as StarShip Sofa and other District of Wonder podcasts, 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 in Vancouver, 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, someday.

Read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

PodCastle 341, Giant Episode: Balfour and Meriwether in the Incident of the Harrowmoor Dogs


By Daniel Abraham

Read by Paul Jenkins (of the Skepticule podcast)

Originally published as a novella by Subterranean Press. Pick up your copy here!

It was the twenty-eighth of April, 188- and a day of warmth, beauty, and commerce in the crowded streets of London, but Lord Carmichael’s features had a distinctly wintery aspect.  He stood by the front window of the King Street flat, scowling down at the cobbled streets.  The snifter of brandy in his left hand was all but forgotten.  Behind his back, Meriwether caught Balfour’s gaze and lifted his eyebrows.  Balfour stroked his broad mustache and cleared his throat.  The sound was very nearly an apology.  For a long moment, it seemed Lord Carmichael had not so much as heard it, but then he heaved a great sigh and turned back to the men.

The flat itself was in a state of utter disarray.  The remains of the breakfast sat beside the empty fire grate, and the body of a freshly slaughtered pig lay stretched out across the carpeted floor, its flesh marked out in squares by lines of lampblack and a variety of knives protruding from it, one in each square.  Meriwether’s silver flute perched upon the mantle in a nest of musical notation, and a half-translated treatise on the effects of certain new world plant extracts upon human memory sat abandoned on the desk.  Lord Carmichael’s eyes lifted to the two agents of the Queen as he stepped over the porcine corpse and took his seat.

“I’m afraid we have need of you, boys,” Lord Carmichael said.  “Daniel Winters is missing.”

“Surely not an uncommon occurrence,” Meriwether said, affecting a lightness of tone.  “My understanding was that our friend Winters has quite the reputation for losing himself in the fleshpots of the empire between missions.  I would have expected him to have some difficulty finding himself, most mornings.”

“He wasn’t between missions,” Lord Carmichael said.  “He was engaged in an enquiry.”

“Queen’s business?” Balfour said.

“Indirectly.  It was a blue rose affair.”

Balfour sat forward, thick fists under his chin and a flinty look in his eyes.  Among all the concerns and intrigues that Lord Carmichael had the managing of, the blue rose affairs were the least palatable not from any moral or ethical failure — Balfour and Meriwether understood the near-Jesuitical deformations of ethics and honor that the defense of the Empire could require — but rather because they were so often lacking in the rigor they both cultivated.  When a housewife in Bath woke screaming that a fairy had warned her of a threat against the Queen, it was a blue rose affair.  When a young artist lost his mind and slaughtered prostitutes, painting in their blood to open a demonic gate, it was a blue rose affair.  When a professor of economics was tortured to the edge of madness by dreams of an ancient and sleeping god turning foul and malefic eyes upon the human world, it was a blue rose affair.  And so almost without fail, they were wastes of time and effort, ending in conformations of hysteria that posed no threat and offered no benefit to anyone sane.  Meriwether took his seat, propping his heels on the dead pig.  As if in response, a bit of trapped gas escaped the hog like a sigh.

Rated R: Contains violence and monsters in the Victorian fashion.

 

PodCastle 334, Giant Episode: Quartermaster Returns


by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Read by Roberto Suarez

Originally published in Eclipse 1, Edited by Jonathan Strahan. Check out Prophecies, Libels, & Dreams – Ysabeau S. Wilce’s new collection coming soon from Small Beer Press!

When Pow walks into the hog ranch, everyone turns to stare at shim. At the whist table, the muleskinner gurgles and lets fall his cards. The cardsharp’s teeth clatter against the rim of his glass. The cowboy squeaks. At the bar, the barkeep, who had been fishing flies out of the pickle jar, drops her pickle fork. On the bar, the cat, a fantastic mouser named Queenie, narrows her moon-silver eyes into little slits. At the pianny, Lotta, who’d been banging out Drink Puppy Drink on the peeling ivory keys, crashes one last chord and no more.

Even the ice elemental, in the cage suspended over the whist table, ceases his languid fanning. He’s seen a lot of boring human behavior since the barkeep brought him from a junk store in Wal-nuts to keep the hog ranch cool; finally a human has done some- thing interesting. Only Fort Gehenna’s scout doesn’t react. He wipes his nose on a greasy buckskin sleeve, slams another shot of mescal, and takes the opportunity to peek at his opponents’ cards.

The bar-room is dead silent but for a distant slap and a squeal—Buck and the peg-boy in the back room exercising—and the creak of the canvas walls shifting in the ever-present Arivaipa wind.

Rated R. Contains lots of alcohol, some death, and some undeath.