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PodCastle 503: Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Under the Still Waters

Show Notes

Rated R; contains language, violence, and disturbing imagery circa Hurricane Katrina.

This episode is a reissue of PodCastle 154.


Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Under the Still Waters

by N.K. Jemisin

Tookie sat on the porch of his shotgun house, watching the rain fall sideways.  A lizard strolled by on the worn dirt-strip that passed for a sidewalk, easy as you please, as if there wasn’t an inch of water already collected around its paws.  It noticed him and stopped.

“Hey,” it said, inclining its head to him in a neighborly fashion.

“‘Sup,” Tookie replied, jerking his chin up in return.

“You gon’ stay put?” it asked.  “Storm comin’.”

“Yeah,” said Tookie.  “I got food from the grocery.”

“Ain’ gon’ need no food if you drown, man.”

Tookie shrugged.

The lizard sat down on the sidewalk, oblivious to the driving wind, and joined Tookie in watching the rain fall.  Tookie idly reflected that the lizard might be an alligator, in which case he should maybe go get his gun.  He decided against it, though, because the creature had wide batlike wings and he was fairly certain gators didn’t have those.  These wings were the color of rusty, jaundiced clouds, like those he’d seen approaching from the southeast just before the rain began.

PodCastle 502: Zilal and the Many-Folded Puzzle Ship — Live at Can-Con!


Zilal and the Many-Folded Puzzle Ship

By Charlotte Ashley

When Zilal Saleebaan Kamal was six years old, she built her first ship in a bottle. It was a fully-articulated craft of sandalwood and brass with eighteen oars that rowed in unison when the bottle was tipped to and fro. Her father presented it to the Suldaan on her behalf, and it sits in the winter palace still.

When she was nine, Zilal received her first commission from the Emir. The musical dhow she built as a gift for his young son played lullabies with the flow of the tides and could be heard singing low, fine raagas while at anchor, the drifting waters playing the ship’s reeds and pipes.

When she was eleven, Zilal redesigned the Suldaan’s xebec to carry a third mast and wider sails, making the Tidebreaker the strongest ship in the Ajuran fleet. She took formal apprenticeship with her father, the artificer Saleebaan, and moved into the Suldaan’s palace.

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PodCastle 501: The Christmas Abomination from Beyond the Back of the Stars


The Christmas Abomination from Beyond the Back of the Stars

By Heather Shaw and Tim Pratt

“Mele Kalikimaka!” Uncle Ray shouted as Trish rushed down the steps from the little plane, sucking in great gasps of island air. The plane smelled like the trapped farts of three boys (maybe four; she wasn’t sure if the pilot had farted or not). The air here was humid and smelled of salt, which was better, but weird. Trish squinted around: palm trees, blue skies, the distant engulfing ocean. It was the opposite of a winter wonderland.

“That’s how you say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Hawaiian,” Ray added helpfully.

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PodCastle 500: Maiden, Mother, Crone


Maiden, Mother, Crone

By Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky

The mule nipped at Marjan’s hand as she burdened it with her packs. She pushed its nose away, careful not to hurt it. She needed the mule to be well. Her life — and her unborn child’s — depended on it.

She led the mule outside the stable and carefully latched the door behind them. She didn’t want the other animals to suffer from the cold. Bad enough she was stealing the mule. She didn’t want Iresna and Gavek to lose anything else.

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