PodCastle 432: The Beautiful Bird Sits No Longer Singing in the Nest

by Kate Lechler

read by Stephanie Morris

My husband has hired Grace to come each morning, bringing food, medicine, and, as she puts it, “comp’ny.” She isn’t truly a witch—my father taught me that a belief in augury is the sign of an untutored mind—but I loathe her just the same. Each day, she drags the rocking chair from the adjacent room and sits knitting in it, her heavy breathing filling the space. At the end of the day, she scrapes the chair back through the door.

Who knows what trouble I might get up to with unfettered access to a rocking chair?

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A PodCastle original!

Rated R for adult content, disturbing imagery.

Picture of Kate LechlerKate Lechler teaches British Literature at the University of Mississippi and writes science-fiction and fantasy from her home in in Oxford, MS, where she lives with her husband, a dog, a cat, and seven fish. Her work has been previously published in the NonBinary Review, Dear Robot: An Anthology of Epistolary Science Fiction, and Illumen, and she reviews fantasy and science fiction for FantasyLiterature.com. She loves gardening, singing jazz, and watching bad (and good!) TV. You can find her online at http://www.therediscoveredcountry.blogspot.com/ and on Twitter @katelechler.

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 Is Open to Submissions for Artemis Rising 3!


PodCastle is now OPEN for submissions to celebrate ARTEMIS RISING, a special month-long event across the Escape Artists podcasts featuring stories by women and nonbinary authors in genre fiction.

Head on over to our special ARTEMIS RISING Submittable portal for more details. The portal will be open for the month of September.

All Escape Artists podcasts are currently accepting submissions for ARTEMIS RISING, so be sure to check out Escape Pod for science fiction, Pseudopod for horror, and Cast of Wonders for YA.

Thanks, and we look forward to reading your stories!


Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, Guest Editor

And the PodCastle team

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PodCastle 431: La Héron

by Charlotte Ashley

read by Nadia Niaz

The lead rider was a man dressed head to toe in shiny red leather with a sword on either hip and a grotesque black mask like the face of the devil. He tipped his hat at her as he passed, his demon’s face curling into a smile, flashing sharp, dog-like teeth.

Herlechin. There could be no mistaking the creature. La Héron watched as the party pulled up in front of the inn, dismounted, and entered. When the last of the strange riders had crowded through the door, she continued toward her destination with little more than a shrug.

These were the Black Bouts of Caen, after all. Duelists and mercenaries had come from all over Christendom to compete for the glory and the purse that would be awarded to the winner. It did not matter to La Héron what creatures of the otherworld entered the lists as well. Come they from Hell, fairyland, or anywhere else, she planned to best them and to win as she had so many times before. She only needed a second.

Originally published in Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Rated PG-13.

Picture of Charlotte AshleyCharlotte Ashley is a writer, editor, critic, and bookseller living in Toronto, Canada. She is also an Alexandre Dumas fanatic who won the National Book Collecting Prize for her collection of his work, which includes 18 editions of The Three Musketeers, one of which is a purse.

Nadia Niaz is a writer, academic, language nerd, creative writing teacher and third culture kid who now lives in Melbourne, Australia. She divides what little downtime she has between cooking, knitting, painting, dancing, powerlifting and, now, narrating stories for PodCastle.

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EP198a: Eugie Award Re-Post of Urchins, While Swimming

Picture of Eugie FosterEscape Artists would like to draw your attention to a fantastic event happening next week at DragonCon, the Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction.

This annual award will be presented for the first time in 2016—for works published in 2015.

The Eugie Award honors stories that are irreplaceable, that inspire, enlighten, and entertain. It will shine the spotlight on stories that are beautiful, thoughtful, and passionate. That change us and the field. The recipient will be a story that is unique and will become essential to speculative fiction readers.

The finalists for this year’s award are:

  • “The Deepwater Bride” by Tamsin Muir
  • “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong
  • “The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild” by Catherynne M. Valente
  • “Pocosin” by Ursula Vernon
  • “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight” by Aliette De Bodard

To highlight the work of these authors we are re-running three stories on Escape Pod, PodCastle, and Pseudopod:

Escape Pod 408: Immersion by Aliette De Bodard

Podcastle 198: Urchins, While Swimming by Catherynne M. Valente

Pseudopod 492: The Fisher Queen by Alyssa Wong

Also, be sure to check out Ursula Vernon’s story “Jackalope Wives” available to read for free at Mothership Zeta. And mark November on your calendar for an upcoming story by Tamsin Muir.


Ms Foster has been featured as an author and a narrator on nearly all of the Escape Artists podcasts. We encourage you to revisit them all.

Escape Pod

EP017: The Life and Times of Penguin

EP039: My Friend is a Lesbian Zombie

EP121: The Snow Woman’s Daughter

EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast

EP229: Littleblossom Makes a Deal With the Devil

EP261: Only Springtime When She’s Gone

EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread


Pseudopod 91: Caesar’s Ghost

Pseudopod 137: The Reign of the Wintergod

Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun

Pseudopod 343: Magdala Amygdala


PC028: The Tanuki-Kettle

PodCastle 63: Daughter of Botu

PodCastle 105: Honored Guest

PodCastle 184: Black Swan, White Swan

PodCastle Miniature 45: When Shakko Did Not Lie

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