Archive for Miniatures

PodCastle Miniature 76: Quiet Death Machines

by Gillian Daniels.
Read by David D. Levine.
A PodCastle Original!

The evil boy genius lives in a lighthouse with his handsome older brothers. They are loud and aggressively kind. He is neither. Instead, the evil boy genius wants to very softly destroy the world with quiet death machines. He edges knives in cork and skewers stuffed bears on meat hooks.

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PodCastle Miniature 75: Doctor Diablo Goes Through The Motions

by Saladin Ahmed.
Read by Roberto Suarez (of the trailerclash podcast).
Originally appeared in Strange Horizons. Read the text there.

So here I am again, sitting at a twelve-person steel table, going through the motions. The Society of Supercriminals’ new headquarters is impressive but not comfortable. You’d think that Overlord, with his ill-gotten dictator-industrialist billions, could afford some padding for these damn chairs. But as my Tío Cesar would say, assholes never shit flowers.

Rated R for language and hostility

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PodCastle Miniature 71: We Clever Jacks

By Greg van Eekhout

Read by Marshal Latham, of the Journey Into…Podcast! (Check out the rules for the Edgar Allan Poe Writing Contest)

Originally published on Greg van Eekhout’s blog: Writing and Snacks (read it here)

We all started introducing ourselves.

Laughing Jack.

Shrieking Jack.

Happy Jack.

Wailing Jack.

Screaming Munsch Jack.

All the neighborhood Jacks. We are such good Jacks, we Jacks.

“This year we’re not putting up with any of that stuff our patch fathers have always put up with,” says Grimacing Jack. “No smashing in the gutter, no tossing in the street. No blowing up with firecrackers. No being ignored into November, sagging and settling and getting mottled black and furry. No way, my Jacks. This year we’re gonna make it the Year of the Jacks.”

We love our Grimacing Jack.

Rated PG: Contains Pumpkins

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PodCastle Miniature 69: Wolves

By José Luis Zárate

Translated by Bernardo Fernandez

Read by Roberto Suarez (of Trailerclash)

Originally published (in English) in Three Messages and a Warning, edited by Eduardo Jimenez Mayo and Chris N. Brown

The wolves came at twilight, melted into the shadows. At first we thought they were mist coming down from the mountains—it was impossible to think that there were millions of white bodies, thousands of creatures sliding down the snow. Their voices convinced us it was them, their long, sad howls, the occasional growling and fights among them. We’ve never seen such a herd. It’s impossible to gather one on these lands. The wolves we know around here are solitary ferocious animals, always stealthy. We’ve never seen them trot into a village. They don’t run away from men out of fear, their temperament demands that they always hide—all carnivores are furtive. Once in a while they steal a sheep, a deer, some child left in the woods that surrounds us.

Rated R: Contains some Violence and Adult Themes

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PodCastle Miniature 67: The Madness of Andelsprutz

by Lord Dunsany

Read by Steve Anderson

I had said: “I will see Andelsprutz arrogant with her beauty,” and I had said: “I will see her weeping over her conquest.”

I had said: “She will sing songs to me,” and “she will be reticent,” “she will be all robed,” and “she will be bare but splendid.”

But the windows of Andelsprutz in her houses looked vacantly over the plains like the eyes of a dead madman. At the hour her chimes sounded unlovely and discordant, some of them were out of tune, and the bells of some were cracked, her roofs were bald and without moss. At evening no pleasant rumour arose in her streets. When the lamps were lit in the houses no mystical flood of light stole out into the dusk, you merely saw that there were lighted lamps; Andelsprutz had no way with her and no air about her. When the night fell and the blinds were all drawn down, then I perceived what I had not thought in the daylight. I knew then that Andelsprutz was dead.

Rated PG.

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PodCastle Miniature 66: The Witch’s Second Daughter

by Marissa K. Lingen

Read by Jen Rhodes (of  the Anomaly Podcast)

Originally published in Andromeda Spaceways #49.

The flowers of the forest outside the witch’s cottage bloomed black, with little shiny purple leaves.  The villagers tried to say the blossoms themselves were deep purple, not a true black, but Garren was the second daughter of a witch, schooled from birth that she must never, never call things what she knew they were not.

Telven, Garren’s older sister, had the other half of the witch’s training, and that was to always, always call things what she knew they were not.  Telven called an carven oak a man and made of him a husband, who was solid and dependable though not, perhaps, as swift as some.  She called a cave a home, and made it cozy and neat, though she could not keep cheese in it more than two days for the mold.  She called their mother wise and listened to her council.

The way of the second daughter was harder.

Rated PG.

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PodCastle Miniature 65: Blood Willows

by Caroline M. Yoachim

Read by Vashtriel Bloodfrost (Follow him on Twitter: @Vbloodfrost)

Originally published in Flash Fiction Online. Read it here!

“Bug bite?”

“It’s been like this for three days.  I’ve been nauseous, but I thought it was the twins.”  She picked at the bump with her fingernail and winced.

“Well that’s why it hasn’t gone away.  You’re picking at it,” he scolded, laughing and grabbing her hand.

There was a dot of blood on her fingernail.  He wiped it away and opened the medicine cabinet to look for a bandage.  When he turned around, Mara was crying.

A blood willow sapling was growing from her hip.

Rated PG

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PodCastle Miniature: The Trouble in Leafy Green Street

by Lord Dunsany

Read by Steve Anderson

She went to the idol-shop in Moleshill Street, where the old man mumbles, and said: “I want a god to worship when it is wet.”

The old man reminded her of the heavy penalties that rightly attach to idolatry and, when he had enumerated all, she answered him as was meet: “Give me a god to worship when it is wet.”

Rated PG.

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PodCastle Special: The Alphabet Quartet (A Primer)

by Tim Pratt, Jenn Reese, Heather Shaw, and Greg van Eekhout

Featuring:

“D is for De Gustibus,” read by Norm Sherman (of The Drabblecast).

“F is for Flotsam,” read by Dave Thompson.

“L is for Luminous,” read by Rish Outfield (of The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine)

“N is for Nevermore Nevermore Land,” read by Mur Lafferty (the Mighty, MIGHTY)

Be sure and check out Escape Pod and Pseudopod for other free Alphabet Quartet stories. While your at it, visit Daily Science Fiction, where you can read the all the original Alphabet Quartet stories, and get free SF/F stories delivered to your email, um, daily.

See you all July 1st!

Rated PG: Contains flash grenades

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PodCastle Miniature 62: The Transfiguration of Maria Luisa Ortega

by E. Lily Yu

Read by Julia Rios (of the Outer Alliance Podcast)

Originally published in the Kenyon Review Online (Read it online here)

The first time María Luisa Ortega cursed, after stabbing herself with a pair of steel tweezers, she turned into a sea urchin. Two weeks passed before a peripatetic priest found her lying in the sand and uncursed her. It was a frequent occurrence, he explained, and for this reason he always carried a squirt bottle of holy water in his bag, to bless the poor souls he found in the shapes of dolphins, fish, lobsters, or, in less fortunate cases, mollusks.

Rated G.

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