Archive for Rated PG-13

PodCastle 451: Or Be Forever Fallen

by A. Merc Rustad

read by Curtis C. Chen

First published in Issue 49 of InterGalactic Medicine Show in February 2016.

Rated PG-13.

The raven’s ghost follows first. It’s not a surprise, if I’m honest. I killed a raven once–intentional, cruel–some time ago. (I don’t remember why.) At first I saw it in the distance while I prowled the ruins of the once-majestic forest, hunting the men who robbed me. Yet the ghost never approached until now.
It perches on a petrified tree stump. The light from the campfire shimmers against its glossy feathers, blood etching razor-edged plumage. It should be indistinguishable in the night, banked in shadow. I only know it’s a ghost from the hollows of its missing eyes, how its shape bends in unnatural directions at the corners of my sight.

“I’ve naught for you.” I say it to the knives laid out on oiled canvas before me.
The raven’s ghost makes no sound. Its unnatural muteness tightens the muscles in my neck. Ghosts are never silent. Death is neither gentle nor kind.

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Picture of Author A. Merc RustadA. Merc Rustad is a non-binary writer who lives in the Midwest United States. Favorite things include: robots, dinosaurs, monsters, and tea. Their stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside Fiction, Apex, Escape Pod, Shimmer, Cicada, with reprints included in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, Wilde Stories 2016, and Transcendent 2016. Merc likes to play video games, watch movies, read comics, and wear awesome hats. You can find Merc on Twitter @Merc_Rustad or their website: amercrustad.com.

Picture of Narrator Curtis C. Chen

Once a Silicon Valley software engineer, CURTIS C. CHEN now writes speculative fiction and runs puzzle games near Portland, Oregon. His debut novel WAYPOINT KANGAROO is a science fiction spy thriller about a super-powered secret agent facing his toughest mission yet: vacation. The sequel, KANGAROO TOO, will be out in June of 2017.

Curtis’ short stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, MISSION: TOMORROW, and the 2016 YOUNG EXPLORER’S ADVENTURE GUIDE. He is a graduate of the Clarion West and Viable Paradise writers’ workshops. You can find Curtis at Puzzled Pint Portland on the second Tuesday of most every month.

You can find Curtis online at curtiscchen.com and on Twitter @curtiscchen.

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PodCastle 449: Piety, Prayer, Peacekeeper, Apocalypse

by Rati Mehrotra

read by Stephanie Morris

A PodCastle Original!

Rated PG-13.

Soru Khara had been hunting her death for many years before she arrived at the crumbling old port of Tyron. She camouflaged her skimmer and stalked up to the rusty gates as the sun set over the citadel, the fishy tang of the sea sharp in her nostrils. The smell of childhood – the smell of things best left buried. It was why she usually avoided ports. This time, though, she had no choice. She was to deliver a letter, like a common messenger. She had not questioned the inanity of her assignment. One did not question the Voice of the Star Emperor; one merely obeyed it.

“Halt!” Crossed spears barred her way into the passage under the city walls. A man with the insignia of the Umnia falcon stepped up to her. “No one enters the city between sunset and sunrise.”

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Rati Mehrotra lives and writes in lovely Toronto. Her short stories have appeared in AE—The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Apex Magazine, Urban Fantasy Magazine, and many more. Her debut novel “Markswoman” will be published in early 2018 by Harper Voyager. You can find her online at her website, ratiwrites.com and on Twitter @Rati_Mehrotra

Picture of Stephanie MorrisStephanie Morris is a professional fangirl by day and the lone library assistant staffing a college circulation desk at night. She has narrated short stories for PseudoPod, PodCastle, EscapePod, Cast of Wonders, and StarShipSofa, guest-blogged on subjects ranging from book recommendations to zombie turkeys, and performed Shakespeare in a handful of weird churches. Until she suppresses her inner perfectionist enough to create a website, you can find her on Twitter at @smaliamorris.

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PodCastle 446: The Rock in the Water

by Thoriya Dyer

read by Nathalie Cerin and Loulou Szal

First published in Lightspeed Magazine’s People of Color Destroy Fantasy.

Throw them in the water where nobody will see, the head cook told Yveline right before sunrise, but there’re already so many people washing their clothes in the river that Yveline holds the string bag of stinking, empty shells behind a banana tree and cries in dismay without making a sound.

She’s seven years old. Too big to be crying like a baby. Yveline scrubs at the tears with the back of her lambi-smelling hand and strains to see a place without people. Too many fishing boats with tyres hung over the sides. Too many men pulling their nets up onto the silver silt. Too many trucks in the pebbly shallows, filling containers with dirty river water while children who still have parents swim and laugh.

Yveline wants to shriek at them not to drink the water. Not to swim in it. Don’t they know anything? Her parents drank the dirty water and died. Now Yveline belongs to Msye Maurice. She works in his big house, sleeps on the floor, and answers to a new name. The head cook is supposed to send her to school but instead sends her to hide the lambi shells.

Msye Maurice ships things to Miami. Bad powder to make people crazy. Trays labelled frozen fish that are really frozen lambi. He swaps them for things from Miami that nobody else in Port-de-Paix can get. Radios and bicycles. Parts for cars. They’re stolen, but Msye Maurice says he’s like Robin Hood, stealing from the rich.

They don’t even notice what’s missing, he laughs. The rock in the water doesn’t know the pain of the rock in the sun.

Rated PG-13.

Thoraiya Dyer is an Aurealis and Ditmar Award-winning, Sydney-based science fiction writer and lapsed veterinarian. Her work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Apex, Cosmos, Analog and various US and Australian anthologies. Four of her original stories are collected in “Asymmetry,” available from Twelfth Planet Press. Her first novel, “Crossroads of Canopy,” a big fat fantasy set in a magical rainforest, is forthcoming from Tor in January 2017. You can listen to a short story set in the same world, “The Chimney-Borer and the Tanner,” at PodCastle and/or follow her @ThoraiyaDyer on Twitter. Her website is thoraiyadyer.com.

Nathalie Cerin is a Philadelphia based singer-songwriter, teaching artist and blogger originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She likes to think of herself as the class clown all grown up. Nathalie has a deep passion for Haiti and the arts, especially wherever these two topics converge. She is the editor for Woy Magazine (woymagazine.com).

Loulou Szal is a school teacher specializing in English and medieval History, but is also a lifelong fan of fantasy, romance and historical fiction. She is also fluent in both English and Arabic. Besides trying to pen her own stories, she is delighted to have multiple narration credits at StarShipSofa and now Podcastle. When she was eighteen she managed to track down and interview Mark Hamill for her school magazine. She lives with her husband and two children (one of whom is a writer and editor of science-fiction) in sunburnt Sydney, Australia where she’s always on the hunt for antique books to add to her ever growing collection.

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PodCastle 444: The Giant’s Lady (Aurealis Month)

by Rowena Cory Daniells

read by Barry Haworth

First published in the Legends 2 anthology, Stories In Honor of David Gemmell.

Part of our Aurealis Month, celebrating the Australian Aurealis Awards.

Hosted by Graeme Dunlop.

As we entered the white-walled courtyard, the music stopped and every islander turned.Wyrd, they whispered.

Wyrd, they whispered. My lady stood tall, her pale hair glinting in the hot noonday sun. A full-blood T’En throwback, she

My lady stood tall, her pale hair glinting in the hot noonday sun. A full-blood T’En throwback, she did not try to hide her hair or her six-fingered hands, and her distinctive wine-dark eyes held quiet defiance. As for me, I was not a Wyrd, not even a half-blood, just a freakishly big True-man, and an ugly
one at that.

My lady headed for two seats at the end of a trestle table. By the time we reached it, the table was empty. She sat, turning her long legs to the side. Dropping our travelling bags, I took the opposite seat, where I could watch the courtyard gate.

Rated PG-13.

Picture of Author Rowena Corey DaniellsRowena Cory Daniells is a fan of the genre who has been going to Conventions since she was eighteen. Over the years she has been involved in Indy Press, run a bookshop, then a graphic art studio. She reared a family of six kids, served on numerous arts committees at a state and national level and went back to study where she did a Masters then taught at University. In her spare time she studied Tae Kwon Do, Aikido and Iaido, the art of the Samurai Sword.

And she’s written a pile of books. On the Internet, you can find her website at www.rowena-cory-daniells.com, or find her on Twitter @rcdaniells.

Rowena Cory Daniells’s series King Rolen’s Kin has just been released (with stunning new covers) in the US by Solaris Classics. Head on over to amazon to pick up the series now!

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Picture of Narrator Barry HaworthBarry Haworth works as a statistician for the Australian Taxation Office, which is more interesting than you might think. He holds a Masters degree in Statistics. Outside of work he is a keen reader of science fiction, and enjoys choral singing and taking part in amateur theatricals, having performed such roles as Prospero in The Tempest and Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance.

Barry has narrated episodes of Escape Pod and also the Cheap Astronomy podcast. He lives in Brisbane, Australia with his wife Sylvia, those of his children who haven’t left home yet, and whatever the current quota of pets is. He also says, “I am a Statistician. One false move and you’re a Statistic.”

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