Archive for Miniatures

PodCastle Miniature 011: The Fable of the Moth


By Peter S. Beagle
Read by Stephen Eley (of Escape Pod)

Once there was a young moth who did not believe that the proper end for all mothkind was a zish and a frizzle. Whenever he saw a friend or a cousin or a total stranger rushing to a rendezvous with a menorah or a Coleman stove, he could feel a bit of his heart blacken and crumble. One evening, he called all the moths of the world together and preached to them. “Consider the sweetness of the world,” he cried passionately. “Consider the moon, consider wet grass, consider company. Consider glove linings, camel’s hair coats, fur stoles, feather boas, consider the heartbreaking, lost-innocence flavor of cashmere. Life is good, and love is all that matters. Why will we seek death, why do we truly hunger for nothing but the hateful hug of the candle, the bitter kiss of the filament? Accidents of the universe we may be, but we are beautiful accidents and we must not live as though we were ugly. The flame is a cheat, and love is the only.”

Rated G. Contains philosophical meanderings.

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PodCastle Miniature 010: The Desires of Houses


By Haddayr Copley-Woods
Read by Rachel Swirsky
First appeared in Strange Horizons (full text online)

The floor is sulking. She almost always wears shoes in the basement, and the cement lies all day in agony listening to the first floor’s boards sighing loudly in ecstasy at the touch of her bare heels.

All it can hope for in its slow, cold way is that the woman will scoop the cat boxes, squatting on her heels, after she starts a load of laundry. Today oh joy oh joy she does. The floor is practically writhing at the smell of her (she always showers after the scooping, so her scent is thick)—the tangy rich odor. The cement feels (or maybe it’s just wishful thinking) just a bit of her damp warmth.

But then she is sweeping the floor, oblivious as always to the swooning house around her, ruining the floor’s pleasure with the horrible scented litter she sweeps up and tosses back in the box.

She yanks open the dryer, who feels violated and then guilty for enjoying it, dumps the hot, panting shirts and shorts into a basket, and heads back upstairs, carefully turning off the lights to avoid the lecture about electricity the man will give her later if she doesn’t. Even minutes later, the cords are still shaking in the darkness.

Rated R. Contains desire.

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PodCastle Miniature 006: Eating Hearts


By Yoon Ha Lee
Read by Ann Leckie
First appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

“It’s about not seeing,” Chuan explained to her just after he brought the meal to the table. “The perfect magician is all-blind, all-unknowing. No sound reaches a wall to wake an echo; no touch bridges distance.” He leaned back against the wall where, Horanga imagined, the cloth of his shirt hung over the hollow curve of his back. He lived in a house in the city, by the river, and long ago the sound of fish swimming endlessly in that river would have distracted her from her purpose.

“Then what do you do in this house?” asked Horanga, looking not at his face or his hands, but at the plate between them. The plate was heaped with tender vegetables, slivers of rare meat, and sliced nuts; over the vegetables and meat and nuts, he had drizzled three different sauces in a tapestry of taste.

“A perfect magician, I said.” He smiled.

Rated PG. Contains sex between humans and those who only appear so.

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PodCastle Miniature 005: Directions


By Caleb Wilson
Read by Chris Furst
First appeared in Diagram (full text at link).

Some things you will need are a full tank of gas, a flashlight, an axe, a bicycle.

Heading north on Route 110, turn left onto Entwhistle. The street will be paved in dark, fresh asphalt and tree-lined. The web of shadows, light dark light, will fall through the teeth of the leaves onto the windshield. Drive through four lights and beneath an iron railroad bridge.

Rated G. Contains a journey into rampant surrealism.

Why PodCastle miniatures? According to wikipedia, the word miniature is derived from the Latin minium, red lead, and is a picture in an ancient or medieval illuminated manuscript. We thought it was a good way to describe very short stories with a fantasy theme: a word that indicates brievity, manuscripts, and a medieval atmosphere.

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.