PodCastle 422: Golden Chaos

by M.K. Hutchins

read by Heath Miller

First published in Intergalactic Medicine Show #40

Being near Ingrid was the only good thing about living in a God-neglected frozen wasteland. Her face was round as the moon — a soft, pleasant face that suggested her cooking encouraged second helpings. Her face didn’t lie: light rye breads, sweet poached fruit, elk and wild onion stew that made my beard grow. Well, the bit of a beard I had. Ingrid always laughed and teased when she caught me finger-combing the handful of hairs sticking from my face. Her laugh — that was pure silver. For too long, she’d slaved away under Arbiter Elof’s guardianship. The day I signed a contract with Elof and became Ingrid’s betrothed was the happiest day of my life.

The next day was the worst.

Rated PG

Picture of M.K. Hutchins, author of "Golden Chaos"

M.K. Hutchins, author of “Golden Chaos”

M.K. Hutchins regularly draws on her background in archaeology when writing fiction. Her YA fantasy novel Drift was both a Junior Library Guild Selection and a VOYA Top Shelf Honoree. Her short fiction appears in IGMS, Podcastle, Daily Science Fiction, and elsewhere. A long-time Idahoan, she now lives in Utah with her husband and four children. Find her at on the web at www.mkhutchins.com and on Twitter @mkhutchins.


Picture of Heath Miller

Heath Miller

Heath Miller is an actor from Perth, Western Australia. Sometimes found in theatres, recording studios, comedy clubs, television sets, convention centres and YouTube videos – Heath currently finds himself living on an island off the coast of Maine with two improbably large cats, one improbably large dog, and a brace of regular sized chickens. You can follow him on twitter at @zaboots.

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PodCastle 421: Hatyasin

by Rati Mehrotra

read by Mahvesh Murad

First published in Abyss & Apex, Issue 52: 4th Quarter 2014

Friday was the last good day. On Saturday the hunters came and by Tuesday Mira was gone, swallowed in the maw of the crowd fleeing Chandipur.

Mira my older sister, the normal one. I look up at the stars glittering in the sky and pray that she is safe.

Why did they come? Chandipur is as far as it gets from the heart of the New World. Perhaps the capital wants to stamp out the border communities, make sure that the taint of the old blood never spreads. The taint I’ve lived with all my life.

I used to think I had it bad before. But I swear if I could turn back time, I’d keep it Friday forever. We’d go to school, someone would trip me up in the hallway, and the others would laugh. I’d sit alone during class, as usual. Nobody would die.

Rated R for violence and hearts suddenly appearing where they shouldn’t be.

Picture of Rati Mehrotra, author of "Hatyasin"

Rati Mehrotra, author of “Hatyasin”

Rati Mehrotra is a Toronto-based speculative fiction writer whose short stories have appeared in AE – The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Apex Magazine, Urban Fantasy Magazine, and many more. Her debut novel “Markswoman” is about an order of magical-knife-wielding lady assassins in a post-apocalyptic, alternative version of Asia. It will be published in early 2018 by Harper Voyager. You can follow Rati on Twitter @Rati_Mehrotra, and at her website http://ratiwrites.com/.

Mahvesh Murad is a reviewer, editor, rogue voice for hire and recovering radio show host from Karachi, Pakistan. She has written for Dawn’s Books & Authors, Tor.com, Strange Horizons and Pornokitsch.com, and is the editor of the Apex Book of World SF 4 (2015), co-editor of upcoming Jinnthology (2017). She hosts the weekly interview podcast Midnight in Karachi, published weekly on Tor.com.

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PodCastle 420: The Bee Tamer’s Final Performance

by Aidan Doyle

read by Amanda Fitzwater

A PodCastle original!

After my attempt to escape the circus fleet fails, the clowns imprison me in the hold of the asylum ship, along with the other performers who believe they aren’t real.

My legs are shackled and I sit next to a slug juggler and a fortune caller. The slug juggler’s hands move in an unceasing blur as he keeps half a dozen painted sea slugs spinning in a swirl of impossible reds and midnight sea blues.

The fortune caller looks at me with her mist-filled crystal ball eyes. “When you are ready, I will call your fortune.”

Before I have a chance to reply, I hear the low hum of bees. Black boots appear on the ladder leading to the deck.

Rated PG-13.

Aidan Doyle is an Australian writer and computer programmer. He has visited more than 90 countries and his experiences include teaching English in Japan, interviewing ninjas in Bolivia, and going ten-pin bowling in North Korea. His stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, and Fireside.

Amanda (AJ) Fitzwater is a dragon zipped precariously into a human meat suit from Christchurch, New Zealand. A graduate of Clarion 2014, her short fiction has appeared in Shimmer Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Crossed Genres Magazines, and other venues of repute. She won the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2015 for Best New Talent. She has performed spells and incantations across all the Escape Artists podcasts.

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PodCastle 419: Giants at the End of the World

by Leena Likitalo

read by Will Tulin

First appeared in Writers of the Future Volume 30.

It was the last caravan of the giant season.

Though the United Company had already started to build the railroad toward the End of the World, the path of iron and wood reached only as far as Halvington. Unlike the other drivers, I realized that the era of salt wagons was coming to an end. Perhaps Elai had expected the railroad to be ready to take her to find answers to all her existential questions. With pale hair and gray eyes, she looked about eighteen, definitely not a day older. She wore a full-length leather coat, buttoned all the way up to her chin, and boots that looked too new to be yet comfortable. Even so, when she glided down Halvington’s main street, the scrawny miners and shaggy railroad workers alike rushed to tip their hats, and some even bowed.

She noticed none of that.

Rated PG-13. CW: themes of suicide

Leena Likitalo is a writer from Finland, the land of thousands of lakes and at least as many untold tales. She’s a Writers of the Future 2014 winner and a Clarion San Diego graduate. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Daily Science Fiction, and Galaxy’s Edge. She dreams of being a published novelist one day.

Will Tulin is an actor, voice artist, writer, and speculative fiction fanatic. He recently completed work on the animated feature, “Eden,” and had an appearance in “The Grift,” for La Jolla playhouse. Will currently splits his time between Los Angeles and the Biggest Little City in the World.

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