Archive for Rated R

PodCastle 334, Giant Episode: Quartermaster Returns

by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Read by Roberto Suarez

Originally published in Eclipse 1, Edited by Jonathan Strahan. Check out Prophecies, Libels, & Dreams – Ysabeau S. Wilce’s new collection coming soon from Small Beer Press!

When Pow walks into the hog ranch, everyone turns to stare at shim. At the whist table, the muleskinner gurgles and lets fall his cards. The cardsharp’s teeth clatter against the rim of his glass. The cowboy squeaks. At the bar, the barkeep, who had been fishing flies out of the pickle jar, drops her pickle fork. On the bar, the cat, a fantastic mouser named Queenie, narrows her moon-silver eyes into little slits. At the pianny, Lotta, who’d been banging out Drink Puppy Drink on the peeling ivory keys, crashes one last chord and no more.

Even the ice elemental, in the cage suspended over the whist table, ceases his languid fanning. He’s seen a lot of boring human behavior since the barkeep brought him from a junk store in Wal-nuts to keep the hog ranch cool; finally a human has done some- thing interesting. Only Fort Gehenna’s scout doesn’t react. He wipes his nose on a greasy buckskin sleeve, slams another shot of mescal, and takes the opportunity to peek at his opponents’ cards.

The bar-room is dead silent but for a distant slap and a squeal—Buck and the peg-boy in the back room exercising—and the creak of the canvas walls shifting in the ever-present Arivaipa wind.

Rated R. Contains lots of alcohol, some death, and some undeath.

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PodCastle 333: Argent Blood

by Joe L. Hensley

Read by Joe Scalora

Originally published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1967.

April 13: Today I made a discovery. I was allowed to look in the mirror in Doctor Mesh’s office. I’m about forty years old, judging from my face and hair. I failed to recognize me, and by this I mean there is apparently no correlation between what I saw of me in the mirror and this trick memory of mine. But it’s good to see one’s face, although my own appears ordinary enough.

I must admit to more interest in the pretty bottles on Doctor Mesh’s shelves than my face. Somewhere in dreams I remember bottles like those. I wanted the bottles so badly that a whirling came in my head.

But I didn’t try to take them, as I suspected that Doctor Mesh was watching closely.

Doctor Mesh said, “You’re improving. Soon we’ll give you the run of our little hospital and grounds, except, of course, the disturbed room.” He pinched me on the arm playfully. “Have to keep you healthy.”

Rated R. Contains…well, blood.

Check out the Journey Into…Kicktstarter to support Ken Scholes writing an Edgar Allan Poe-esque story here.

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PodCastle 331: Drowning in Sky

by Julia August

Narrated by Abra Staffin-Wiebe (of The Circus of Brass and Bone)

Originally published in Fantasy Magazine‘s Women Destroy Fantasy! Special Edition, Edited by Cat Rambo

Ann tracked the seabed rising for days, or hours, or minutes that felt like months, before the jolt of the ship knocking against the harbour wall jarred her eyes open. Water sloshed in the hollows of the hold. The salted ribs of the ship were singing, as were the tin ingots stacked twenty deep at her back. Under the nasal whine of wood and metal Ann heard the slow, deep hum of earth and stone.

She didn’t need the sailors to tell her they had arrived. She flattened her shoulders against the ingots and took a breath. Then another. Her lap was full of dust. The limestone slab that had weighed down Ann’s knees at the start of the voyage was only a pebble. Ann rolled it between her palms. She could hear Tethys scratching at the wooden walls.

If she got up, she could get out. She could bury herself in the earth, her hands and her head and her humming ears, and she could damp down her hair with dirt and never, ever go to sea again. Tethys had promised, she told herself. Ann had walked up and down the distant shore, and Tethys had crept over the sand on a skim of foam, and Tethys had promised.

The trapdoor opened. Ann crushed the pebble between the heels of her hands and experienced a flush of clearheaded energy. Tethys broke all Her promises. But not this one.


Rated R. Contains sex. With Gods.

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PodCastle 327: The Telling

by Gregory Norman Bossert

Read by Cian MacMahon

Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue #109, November 2012. Read it here.

Mel peered around Cook’s hip as the butler stepped out of the master bedroom and carefully shut the door. Pearse stood for a minute, one pale hand still on the glass knob, the other unconsciously stroking his neckcloth smooth. Mel thought the hallway seemed lighter, as if the butler had closed all the darkness in the house behind the heavy oak door. The entire staff of the House was there, lining the two long walls of the hall, even Ralph the gardener and Neff who turned the roast and would on any other occasion be beaten if found upstairs. Pearse looked up then, eyes worn to a pale sharpness under heavy white brows, and Mel leaned back into the cover of Cook’s wide flank, safety from the butler’s gaze, from the strangeness of the moment.

“Lord Dellus has passed,” Pearse said; the staff gasped and sighed, as if they had not known already from the cries that had haunted the house since evening last and had stopped so suddenly this morning. “Stopped without an echo,” Cook had said with heavy significance, and added, “That’s that, then,” as she did when a loaf went flat or a bird slipped from the spit to the ashes.

There had been no sighs then; the staff had exchanged weary nods and worried glances in the silence of a House without a head. And there had been a few curious glances toward Mel’s spot on the corner stool that had left Mel wondering what one was meant to feel, and if that dizzy burst of relief and fear was evident, was evil.

Rated R. Contains Disturbing Imagery, some of it sexual.

About the Author: Gregory Norman Bossert is an author, filmmaker, and musician, currently based just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

He spent twenty years doing sound design and music at night, while his career in the software industry took him from his native Cambridge, MA to Minnesota, Manhattan, New Jersey, Silicon Valley, and Berlin.

A decade ago, his passions overwhelmed his day job.  Since then, he’s done research, design, and layout for feature films including the Neil Gaiman/Roger Avary adaptation of Beowulf, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and Luc Besson’s Lucy, built experimental musical instruments, and worked on creating visuals and sounds for independent films.  He currently works as a layout artist for Industrial Light & Magic, wrangling spaceships and monsters.

Greg started writing in 2009, on a dare from film designer Iain McCaig.  His first published story came out Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in 2010, and he attended the legendary Clarion Writers’ Workshop that same year.  Since then he has published a dozen stories, branched out to fantasy and horror, won the World Fantasy Award, and been a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.  Look for upcoming stories from Asimov’s, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Kaleidotrope.

Samples of his writing, videos, and music can be found on his websites: and

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