Archive for Rated PG

PodCastle 323: The Ascent of Unreason

By Marie Brennan
Read by Wilson Fowlie (of the Maple Leaf Singers)
Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Read it here!

“I want to make a map of Driftwood.”

Watching Last cough up his wine at the words wasn’t the only reason for Tolyat’s declaration, but he had to admit it was part of the appeal.  The man was a guide, and had seen so much, experienced so much, gone so many places, that it was hard to crack his shell of burnt-out weariness.  One pretty much had to say something so outrageous it should never be uttered by a sane man.

Tolyat leaned back, and nearly fell out of his hammock.  They were in Kyey, where the local people had given over most of what remained of their world to the cultivation of some plant with an unpronounceable name, whose chief virtue was the production of tough fiber.  The Kyeyi ate a little of it, sold a lot, and used the rest to make practically everything around them.  Even the walls were mostly fiber, woven between the occasional piece of imported timber.

Despite coughing, Last balanced on his hammock like he’d been born Kyeyi.  He wiped his chin and set his wine horn on the table — more fiber, mixed with mud and baked hard.  Even the wine was a byproduct of that damned plant, from the liquid drained off during fiber extraction.  Tolyat thought it tasted like fermented rope, but Last, for some inexplicable reason, liked it.

Last said, “Only idiots bother trying to make maps of Driftwood.”

Rated PG. Contains Dying Worlds, Flying Monsters, and Other Fun Stuff

 

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PodCastle 322: Saving Bacon

by Ann Leckie

Read by Alasdair Stuart (of Pseudopod, Escape Pod, and Many Other – Possibly All – Good Things)

A PodCastle Original!

The continuation of the race is of course the first and highest priority of those privileged to be born into the ancient family of Vachash-Troer, and I, Slale Vachash-Troer, am so privileged. As a male, I am unable to perpetuate the family name, but one still likes to promote connections to other families of similarly distinguished ancestry, connections that, so I’m told, increase the wealth and influence of our noble line.

Still, I had a distinct lack of enthusiasm for it when Aunt Eone tried to marry me off.

Rated PG. Contains pigs and marriages (or at least, attempts at marriages)

Editor’s Note: Due to some technical errors, we’ve removed the original file. We’ll correct it, and repost it tonight.

Editor’s Note 2: An updated file has been posted. Enjoy Bacon!

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PodCastle 317: Bee Yard

By Cole Bucciaglia
Read by Sue Brophy
Originally published in Timber Journal, Volume 3, February 2014

I grew up next to a fire-haired girl whose sister was made of paper. You can only imagine what sort of trouble this caused. My own sister and I built castles in our living room, castles of blankets and upright pillows, with the electric flame of a flashlight illuminating them from within. We bent our heads together, her golden curls against my straight, black hair, and we giggled into the night. Of course the fire-haired girl couldn’t do this with her paper sister. If they had bumped foreheads, the girl made of paper would have gone up in flames. It was difficult enough for them to be in the same room together. I don’t think they spoke much.

The girl made of paper was mild-mannered and well-liked. Her eyebrows, her nose, the braided strands that made up her lips: they were all made of paper. Her features were expressive: they folded and crinkled into all of the positions that people made of flesh would have come to expect. She ran and played with all of the other children in the neighborhood. She must have read a lot because she seemed to know a lot about the world for someone so young. On rainy days, everyone on our street would gather into one person’s living room, build a castle from blankets and upright pillows, and listen to her tell us stories about monsters as big as bridges who lived under the sea or birds that could turn into men once they had flown into their lovers’ bedrooms.

The fire-haired girl never joined us. Everyone was too afraid of her to invite her to play, and she never asked. Her sister rarely mentioned her. The girl made of paper did once tell us that the fire-haired girl had never learned to read. Every time she tried to hold a book, the orange flames that whipped around her shoulders sent the pages curling backward and away from her.

What the girl made of paper didn’t tell us—what we observed—was that her sister could play in the rain. Of course, this was something which was too dangerous for the girl made of paper: her paper eyebrows, nose, and lips would have turned to mush and fallen right off her face, I’m sure. The fire-haired girl, however, seemed to love the rain. We sometimes heard her singing while within our living room castles, and we lifted our eyes discreetly over the window sill to spy, like cats watching for a bird.

Rated PG. Contains Fire, Bees, and Sisters.

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PodCastle 312: Enginesong (A Rondeau)

By Nathaniel Lee
Read by Bob Eccles (Check out his book Tiny Terrors!)
Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Read it here!

I missed all the excitement the day the trains walked away. Just up and stomped away on great metal feet, to hear Eddie Hartford tell it.

“Trains ain’t got legs,” I told him. I had a pair of jackrabbits dripping on my belt, my hunting rifle on my shoulder, and a powerful thirst tickling my throat, so might be it came out harsher than it ought. Young Edward was always a sensitive soul, though, least when it came to slights against his manhood.

“What do you know, Bose? You wasn’t here. I’m telling you they walked away, and I dare you to find a man who’ll say different.” He tossed his head, hair flashing like copper, looking more like his mother than ever.

The town seemed in an awful tizzy, that was certain. I could see little knots of folks here and there, whispering rushed and dark like the ghost of a river. I could also see the marks in the dust, enormous circles pressed in the ground, as if God had dropped His pocket change. They were six, maybe eight inches deep, even in the hard-packed dirt along the thoroughfare. If I was to speculate on what a train’s footsteps might look like, I’d probably have speculated something near enough to that for spitting.

Rated PG. Ride those rails!

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