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Archive for Rated PG

PodCastle 372: The Character of the Hound

by Tony Pi
read by John Chu

First published in The Dragon and the Stars, a DAW anthology that appeared in 2010.

Unlike the other wheel-ships in the fleet, which had been rigged with trebuchets, this squat vessel held on deck only a windowless cabin with a door slightly ajar. I gathered my courage and entered.

Two men stood in heated argument in the lantern-lit chamber. I recognized the wispy-bearded man in his early fifties as Admiral Zhang, bedecked in his imposing lamellar armor. A veteran of the war against the Jin, Zhang had been given the command of our river fleet by the Spirit General himself.

The other, a balding man in his thirties, bore a deep diagonal scar crossing both lips. His uniform marked him as a Yongdui, a platoon commander.


Rated PG.

Dr. Tony Pi is a writer based in Toronto, Canada, with a Ph.D. in linguistics. Originally from Taiwan, he was nominated previously for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and is a double nominee in the 2015 Aurora Awards for Best English Short Fiction and Best English Poem/Song.

He has a story in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk from Running Press. It’s called “Cosmobotica” and was co-written with Costi Gurgu.

You can follow Tony’s adventures at tonypi.com.

John Chu is a microprocessor architect by day, a writer, translator and podcast narrator by night. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Uncanny, Lightspeed and Tor.com. He is the winner of the 2014 Hugo for Best Short Story, for “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere.”

He blogs (occasionally) at blog.johnchu.net. You can find him on Twitter @john_chu.

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PodCastle 371: The Fairy Ring

by Joe Pitkin

read by Steve Anderson

A PodCastle original!

I noticed another person in the room, the only other person, peering at me through a monocle. That was when lots of people in the city were wearing monocles—this wasn’t the first monocle I had seen today. The barista with the neck tattoos and the barbershop quartet moustache had a monocle when he served my tea. But this new person looked a little old for a hipster: short, slender, angular, wearing a three-piece cream colored suit, a fedora just taken off to reveal close-cropped thick black hair, barely graymy first impression (which is everybody’s) was that the antiquarian was a person of great power. In fact, for a moment I thought Leonard Cohen was standing in front of me.

The antiquarian gestured at the chair opposite me to inquire whether it was free. With a sinking feeling I offered it: I foresaw small talk with a lonely old person. Not that I was especially interested in reading, but I was sitting there with a book—shouldn’t that have signaled something?

The antiquarian, I learned, was not much for small talk. “You are looking for a job, I see.” The voice was high and cracked, but still quite beautiful. “I am in need of a factotum.”

Rated PG.

Joe Pitkin has lived, taught, and studied in England, Hungary, Mexico, and most recently at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. He has done biological field work on the slopes of Mount St. Helens, and he lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and daughters. You can follow his work at his blog, The Subway Test: thesubwaytest.wordpress.com.

Steve Anderson has narrated stories for all three Escape Artists podcasts (including a Parsec Award-winning story for PseudoPod).  He narrates audiobooks and produces online videos out of a home studio at SGAcreative.com, and he writes and performs live history programs on tour at GreatTalesLive.com. Steve says, “If that sounds like an odd patchwork of things to piece together to do for a living… well, it is.  But thanks to this story, I finally have a succinct and impressive way of describing it: I’m a freelance factotum.”

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PodCastle 370: Congratulations On Your Apotheosis

by Michelle Ann King
read by Christiana Ellis

First published in the anthology Unidentified Funny Objects 2, from UFO Publishing

As a life coach, Abby Fowler strongly discouraged magical thinking. It was better for people to take responsibility for improving their lives, rather than wait and hope for supernatural assistance. Better, and a lot more reliable.

So Abby would never advise anyone to use a spell, even one that came with impeccable provenance and the crackle of real power in every square inch of the ancient parchment it was inscribed on. Even one that was purely for divination, nothing more than a harmless bit of information-gathering that might, say, help someone with preparing a five-year business plan for their coaching practice in order to apply for a bank loan. She would never advise it because she knew that kind of thing never ended well.

Rated PG.

Michelle Ann King writes science fiction, fantasy and horror from her kitchen table in Essex, England. She loves Las Vegas, zombie films and good Scotch whisky, not necessarily in that order. Her short stories are being collected in the Transient Tales ebook series, and she is currently at work on a paranormal crime novel. Find more details at www.transientcactus.co.uk.

Christiana Ellis is a Writer and podcaster living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of Nina Kimberly the Merciless as well as Space Casey. She also produces several non-fiction podcasts and videos, all of which can be found at www.christianaellis.com. You can also find her on Twitter @christianaellis.

She’s just begun Space Casey Season 2, so it’s a great time to go visit Christiana’s site and subscribe! This season, Casey, the fast-talking con-artist, continues her thrilling tale of adventure, fraud, and time travel!

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PodCastle 367: The Washerwoman and the Troll

by Julian Mortimer Smith

read by M.K. Hobson

Originally appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, May 2013.

Bunchunkle was magnificently ugly. The trollmothers said there hadn’t been such an ugly child since Grimshik’s day, and Bunchunkle wore it with the pride and mirth befitting a troll. He could pull a face to make you void your bowels and howl with terror. He had a genius for mischief that rivaled even that of old Quillibim, the Arch Rascal of Moldy Stumps. There was much speculation about what would happen if a human ever laid eyes on Bunchunkle, but as far as anyone knew it had never happened, for Bunchunkle was as quick and sly as he was ugly.

When the faefolk decided it was time to drive the old washerwoman from the Blinking Woods, they did not come to Bunchunkle immediately. He was reclusive and cantankerous and did not like to be disturbed. Besides, they were loath to seek him out for fear of laying eyes on his revolting face. But nobody doubted that he would succeed if all else failed. They knew he was there as a last resort.

Rated PG.

Julian Mortimer Smith lives in Southwest Nova Scotia in a small lobstering town called Yarmouth. His short fiction has appeared in Terraform, Daily Science Fiction, and AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review. He has stories upcoming in Pulp Literature and Asimov’s Science Fiction, and you can find him online at julianmortimersmith.com.

M.K. Hobson is hard at work on a few writing projects, all of which are going more slowly than she’d like. Her latest written offering is The Ladies and the Gentlemen, a novella in the Veneficas Americana series. It’s currently in production by Audible, and is also available in e- and paper book format from Amazon.com.

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