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PodCastle 602: Franken-Puppy

Show Notes

Rated PG-13, for revivified urges and the joys of transgression.


Franken-Puppy

By Derek Künsken

In the third yard, the puppy darted a suspicious look back at its tail. Then, as if remembering what he’d been doing, he swung his head forward, panted, and sat in the grass. Beyond the ratty picket fence, patched skyscrapers stood in the hazy blue distance like uneven teeth. The puppy delighted himself with a high bark. The red bricks of the house behind him were re-mortared, but straight. The puppy’s tail thumped the ground. He lay down, rolled onto his back, then looked at her, barking as his tail resumed thumping. Child fingers — some bright pink, others brown, sewn with tiny stitches to a strong dark hand — brushed wonderingly at the soft fur before wriggling and tickling.

“Who’s a good boy?” Francesca said.

The puppy stretched, then playfully wrapped his paws over her wrist and nipped at the tough skin with teething canines. Francesca giggled and yanked her hand away. The puppy yipped and followed her fingers, his swinging tail swaying his whole body. Two skinny arms, scarred and mismatched, lifted and hugged him. Her brown hair brushed the top of the puppy’s head. The puppy wriggled a bit, his tail stilling. One arm was across his belly and one was under his snout. He struggled uncertainly, his mouth opening wide.

“I love you sooooo much!” Francesca said, eyes closed, cheek against the softness of his head as she hugged him with all the love in her revivified heart. A snap sounded and the puppy stopped struggling. She loosened her grip. The puppy was limp.

“Mommy!” Francesca wailed.

“Oh no!” her mother said from the kitchen doorway. “Francie, I told you to be careful with real puppies! Dennis! It happened again!” (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 601: A Thousand Tongues of Silver

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


A Thousand Tongues of Silver

By Kate Heartfield

I am a book. My pages are purple.

This is how they made me. First, they flayed the calves, stretched and scraped their wet skins. Then they mixed lichen and leaves, rotted in human urine, to mimic the purple that comes of torturing sea snails to force the desperate spew of sedative. Soaked my pages in all that stink until they turned the colour of violence.

Then I was ready to receive the quill. Letters of suspended silver ink, with plenty of copper to prevent tarnish.

Why silver, you may ask?

Well, look how beautifully it shines against the purple. Isn’t that reason enough? It was reason enough for Amalasuintha. She didn’t question it. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 600: Flash Fiction Extravaganza — Flash Fiction Contest V

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


The Cost of the Revolution in Three Marvelous Confections

By R. K. Duncan

. . . Do you know what we really lost when Tarvagost’s corpse went over the railing and we got the republic?

I managed an invitation to the Spire that last night. I was out on the balcony when it started. You could see the whole city rise, the blue witchfire lights going out where the streetlamps toppled and the orange of the bonfires that replaced them.

They hurried us inside before the singing started in the streets and met us with pastries.

It was a nest of phyllo, full of hollow nuts, painted like robins’ eggs and filled with pepper-honey. They burst in my mouth like sweet fire, and the richness of the nut lingered, like the honeyed nuts the gleaners sell now but ten times more intense.

We all had to smile while Tarvagost watched us from his throne with its halo of gold and silver palm leaves. He had the guild leaders paraded up on a stage to pretend the city still supported him, and they all had to give speeches, and everyone clapped, because the whole of his guard was there. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 599: The Two-Choice Foxtrot of Chapham County

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

Please check out the Kickstarter for a new anthology, Vital: The Future of Healthcare, featuring work by David Brin, Seanan McGuire, James Patrick Kelly, Annalee Newitz, Paolo Bacigalupi, Caroline M. Yoachim, Alex Shvartsman, Eric Schwitzgebel, Congyun (“Mu Ming”) Gu, and more!


The Two-Choice Foxtrot of Chapham County

By Tina Connolly

There were two things we girls all knew that summer.

One, that Tony Latham had turned into the finest drink of water ever to strut this two-bit one-horse no-account town.

And two, that Suzie Appleby was gonna have a stone-baby.

Suzie never was one for chasing the boys, that was the funny thing. She told me later she’d been sent to get a packet of tobacco for her da at the general store. And there was Tony, sorting out the threepenny nails from the fourpenny screws, and their eyes met over the hogshead fulla metal and that was that.

There’s only two choices if you’re gonna have a stone-baby, a course. (Continue Reading…)