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PodCastle 600: Flash Fiction Extravaganza — Flash Fiction Contest V

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


The Cost of the Revolution in Three Marvelous Confections

By R. K. Duncan

. . . Do you know what we really lost when Tarvagost’s corpse went over the railing and we got the republic?

I managed an invitation to the Spire that last night. I was out on the balcony when it started. You could see the whole city rise, the blue witchfire lights going out where the streetlamps toppled and the orange of the bonfires that replaced them.

They hurried us inside before the singing started in the streets and met us with pastries.

It was a nest of phyllo, full of hollow nuts, painted like robins’ eggs and filled with pepper-honey. They burst in my mouth like sweet fire, and the richness of the nut lingered, like the honeyed nuts the gleaners sell now but ten times more intense.

We all had to smile while Tarvagost watched us from his throne with its halo of gold and silver palm leaves. He had the guild leaders paraded up on a stage to pretend the city still supported him, and they all had to give speeches, and everyone clapped, because the whole of his guard was there. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 599: The Two-Choice Foxtrot of Chapham County

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

Please check out the Kickstarter for a new anthology, Vital: The Future of Healthcare, featuring work by David Brin, Seanan McGuire, James Patrick Kelly, Annalee Newitz, Paolo Bacigalupi, Caroline M. Yoachim, Alex Shvartsman, Eric Schwitzgebel, Congyun (“Mu Ming”) Gu, and more!


The Two-Choice Foxtrot of Chapham County

By Tina Connolly

There were two things we girls all knew that summer.

One, that Tony Latham had turned into the finest drink of water ever to strut this two-bit one-horse no-account town.

And two, that Suzie Appleby was gonna have a stone-baby.

Suzie never was one for chasing the boys, that was the funny thing. She told me later she’d been sent to get a packet of tobacco for her da at the general store. And there was Tony, sorting out the threepenny nails from the fourpenny screws, and their eyes met over the hogshead fulla metal and that was that.

There’s only two choices if you’re gonna have a stone-baby, a course. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 598: The Sound of His Voice Like the Colour of Salt

Show Notes

Rated PG-13 for ghosts and the terrors that make them.


The Sound of His Voice Like the Colour of Salt

By L. Chan

The ghost boy was the colour of bone, of gossamer spider web, of salt trails of dried tears. He still had his shape, his outline. No one had said his name in thirty years, even though he’d scarred the house with it, carved onto a tree in the garden, scratched into the paint under the outdoor kitchen. Scars unseen, name unspoken. The house had stood for close to a century, waking to kiss the sea breeze decades before, still standing when the red dirt roads had hardened to dark tarmac and the state had stolen the sea from it.

The house called the dead unto itself, and so the boy persisted, him and the others, outnumbering the living. Walls skinned with the colour of the ocean meeting the sky, a driveway of parched and cracked stone, girded with the garishness of bougainvillea and the shyness of orchids. The newest owners had furnished the house with a television screen the same size as a car door, computers in every room, tiny bulbs the size of candles with the glare of lighthouses; ripped out the old worm-eaten flooring in favour of inky Burmese teak. Now, you can do that, strip a house down to the bone, flay the walls from it and pull tiles like teeth. But the marrow of the house remained, so the living never stayed and the dead never left.

On the thirtieth anniversary of his death, a new ghost came to the house. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 597: The Satyr of Brandenburg — Part 2

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


The Satyr of Brandenburg

By Charlotte Ashley

[Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part novelette. Please visit last week’s post to read Part 1.]

Donshead Doombellows accompanied La Héron to confront Piacere, for she knew better than to go alone. “Witnesses,” she told the ogre. “We can remember each other. That will help.”

The satyr was in the villa’s common room entertaining a party of young nobles from the castle, fiddle at his chin and wine at hand. There was an air of camaraderie in the room, the warm togetherness of a family feast, cloying and intimate. One by one, guests drifted into the satyr’s orbit, their expressions and demeanors softening as Piacere’s presence enchanted them. The smell of roast boar and uncorked wine embraced them, delicious on undertones of crackling cedar logs.

“This really is a fine tavern, though,” Doombellows murmured, moving to sit at a table by the fire. La Héron pulled the chair away from him before he could settle into it. (Continue Reading…)