Archive for Rated PG-13

PC 478: A Ghost Among The Mangroves

by Naru Sundar
read by Arun Jiwa
A PodCastle Original!
Rated PG-13.

“They must have executed me while I waited in the mangrove shadows. Here, amidst the cicada trill, amidst the basso rumble of distant ships in the Trincomalee harbor. The Seiko at my feet, my brother Vasanthan’s parting gift, lies broken. Its broken hands mark my passage into this juddering, flickering, solitary awareness. I am but one ghost, with not even Vasanthan for company, no matter how much I want him to be here. But how can that be? Sri Lanka must throng with ghosts, hundreds and thousands of them, monsters and innocent both.” 

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Naru Dames Sundar writes speculative fiction and poetry. His fiction has appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons & Nature Magazine. He is a recipient of the 2016 Prix Aurora award for best poem. He lives in Northern California amid redwoods, moss and the occasional turkey. You can find him online at www.shardofstar.info or on twitter as @naru_sundar.

Arun Jiwa is a speculative fiction writer with work in The Drabblecast, Easy Street Magazine, and Tesseracts 19. He is a graduate of the Viable Paradise Writing Workshop, and currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta. You can find him online at www.arunjiwa.com and on Twitter @aruninations.

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PC 477: Crickets Sing for Naomi

by Eden Royce

read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

PodCastle Original!

Rated PG-13.

“If these danggone crickets don’t stop following me,” Naomi grumbled as the insect bounded out of the path of her wedge heel. Another of the bugs scuttled across the top of her foot, its spiny legs pricking her exposed skin. Under the streetlight, moths danced in the circle of brightness on the otherwise dim road. Heat ebbed from the asphalt, making her wish she’d worn flip-flops.

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Eden Royce Author PhotoEden Royce is descended from women who practiced root, a type of conjure magic in her native Charleston, South Carolina. She’s been a bridal consultant, reptile handler, and stockbroker, but now writes fiction about the American South from her home in the English countryside.

Eden is the recipient of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Worlds grant and is a regular contributor to Graveyard Shift Sisters, a site dedicated to purging the black female horror fan from the margins. Her fiction has appeared in or is forthcoming from FIYAH Literary Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, Truancy, and Abyss & Apex.

Find her online at http://edenroyce.com/ or @EdenRoyce

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PC 476: Clay and Smokeless Fire

Welcome to PodCastle’s first Eid issue.

by Saladin Ahmed
read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
hosted by Farah Rishi
First published in Slate Magazine

Rated PG-13

Qumqam stood upside-down atop a cellphone tower, twirling at its pinnacle on his fingertip. When the humans had first started to besmirch the Earth with the things, Qumqam had thought them hideous. But he’d come to love dancing on them the way he’d once loved dancing on ziggurats. Click here to continue reading.

Saladin Ahmed was born in Detroit. His debut novel THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON, praised by George RR Martin as ‘a rollicking swashbuckler,’ received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal, and was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and the Nebula Award for Best Novel. THRONE won the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and has been translated into a half-dozen foreign languages.

Saladin’s poems and short stories, nominated for numerous awards, have appeared in  publications ranging from Slate to Callaloo to BuzzFeed, and have been widely anthologized and translated. His essays on politics, geek culture, and Muslim American issues have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Salon. He lives near Detroit, and is currently writing BLACK BOLT for Marvel Comics.

Picture of Khaalidah Muhammed-AliKhaalidah Muhammad-Ali lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and three children. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times she juggles, none too successfully, writing, reading, gaming, and gardening. She has written one novel entitled An Unproductive Woman available on Amazon. She has also been published  in or has stories upcoming in Escape Pod, Diabolical Plots, and Fiyah! Magazine. Khaalidah also coedits Podcastle.org where she is on a mission to encourage more women to submit fantasy stories. Of her alter ego, K from the planet Vega, it is rumored that she owns a time machine and knows the secret to long youth. She can be found online at http://khaalidah.com and on Twitter at @khaalidah.

 

 

An interview with Saladin Ahmed:

How has your faith/culture influenced your writing?

I grew up in an Arab immigrant enclave in the US rust belt, a kind of particular culture unto itself. The sounds of Arabic, the smells of Lebanese and Yemeni food, the call to prayer — these were all part of my fabric of being growing up, and they remain so to this day. We write who we are even when we think we’re doing otherwise. So it was almost inevitable that the sounds and tastes and brown faces that were such a part of forging me would emerge often when I write.

The question of faith is a different one. I’m very unorthodox in my practice of Islam, but I am a person who believes in God. As a person who considers himself part of an divinely ordered universe, I think I approach questions of plot and causation and narrative framing a bit differently than the average secular writer.

Have you ever worried that your faith/culture would be a barrier to other people enjoying/accepting your writing or your ability to publish? How did you overcome that?

Yes, and it’s not a baseless worry. If you are a Muslim writer you WILL encounter skittish publishers, clueless editors, well-meaning readers expecting you dispel their racist stereotypes, and hardcore hate-spewing jerks. You have to be ready for that. Sadly, many Muslims in the west ARE ready for skittishness, cluelessness, and hate because we’ve lived with it our whole lives.

Everybody finds their own way to fight this darkness. For me it has helped to connect with other ‘Other’ writers – Black writers, women writers, Asian writers, queer writers, trans writers. To try to stand together even when that camaraderie is imperfect. And to remind myself that there are thousands of curious, open-minded, empathetic readers out there looking to hear different stories than the ones they’ve been told. If you’re going to survive you HAVE to listen to these people harder than you listen to the haters.

Is there a topic or style you have yet to tackle but would like to in future writing? If yes, elaborate.

TV or film would be great! But I’ve been pretty blessed in that I’ve had a a chance to try out and publish in a pretty wide variety of forms and styles. For instance I’m working on a project right now that goes further in the direction of horror than I’ve gone before, and that’s fun and challenging. I will say that I am trying do a better job of writing characters who aren’t heterosexual men. But that sort of thing is a lifetime’s work.

What’s next for you regarding your writing?

Each week, I chip away at a sequel for THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON, but it’s very very slow going and it will be years before that’s done. In the meantime, I’ll be publishing more short stories, essays, and even poems. I’m currently writing BLACK BOLT for Marvel, and there are other possible projects on the horizon. The best way to keep up with all this is my twitter feed @saladinahmed.

 

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PC 475: The Dauphin’s Metaphysics

by Eric Schwitzgebel

read by Tatiana Grey

First published in Unlikely Story

Rated PG-13.

“— which suggests possible applications, if the cobbler is much younger. Don’t you think, Miss Professor?”

The Dauphin sat twelve rows back — teenage heir apparent to the throne, playing at Academy student — smug smile, a ring of vacant seats around him, his speech casually slurred, ostentatiously humble with plain quill and standard-issue student gown (expensively pressed).

I intended my gaze to crucify him. Softness to students is a graybeard luxury; a young woman can only be hard. All the more so, I was sure, in this particular case. I nursed silence to the edge of discomfort, coiling the spring. “It is a thought experiment that depends on immaterial souls transferred by miracle,” I said. “There can be no practical applications.”

I paused again, as if gathering my thoughts. “Or do you perhaps mistake yourself for God?”

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Picture of Author Eric SchwitzgebelEric Schwitzgebel is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, and a cooperating faculty member in UCR’s program for Speculative Fiction and Cultures of Science. (Yes, you can get a PhD in Speculative Fiction at UC Riverside.) His short fiction has appeared in F&SF, Clarkesworld, Nature, The Dark, and elsewhere. He has published bunches of academic articles and op-eds on what it means to believe something; on people’s failure to understand their own character and experiences; on robot rights, group minds, and A.I. consciousness; on ancient Chinese philosophy; on whether we might all be living in a giant computer simulation; and on the mediocre moral behavior of professional ethicists. He blogs about all this stuff and more at The Splintered Mind.

Picture of Narrator Tatiana GreyTatiana Grey is a critically acclaimed actress of stage, screen, and the audio booth. She has been nominated for dozens of fancy awards but hasn’t won a single damned thing. She does, however have a feature film hitting the festival circuit called Serious Laundry. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. See more about Tatiana at www.tatianagrey.com.

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