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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PodCastle 418: James and Peter, Fishing

by Anaea Lay

read by Thomas Busby

A PodCastle original!

“Last week was fun,” Peter said mid-morning.
“I’m sure,” James said.
“You’ve mended the sails already?”
Earlier that week, James had kidnapped the mermaid princess and trapped her in a tank suspended from the rigging of his ship. He’d felt oppressed by the weight of another day fishing with Peter, another piece of this alleged paradise conspiring against him. It was a futile gesture. Of course Peter would fly through the rigging, buzzing the crew like a rabid bat before shredding his sails and sending the lovingly crafted tank shattering against the deck. James could have killed the mermaid princess right then as she writhed amidst the mess of broken glass and metal, suffocating in the humid afternoon air, but what was the point? She was meant to be immortal. She belonged here. She was a victim of Peter’s thrall every bit as much as James.

Rated Pg-13.

Anaea Lay lives in Seattle, Washington where she sells Real Estate under a different name, writes, cooks, plays board games, takes gratuitous walks, runs the Strange Horizons fiction podcast, and plots to take over the world. Her work has appeared in a variety of venues including Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unidentified Funny Objects 4, and Escape Pod. She tweets as @anaealay and lives online at www.anaealay.com.

Thomas Busby is an up and coming Actor from South Wales, United Kingdom. He is just starting his acting career and eventually hopes to do voice work as well. Currently he is on a podcast called The Larp Book Podcast where he and three friends discuss LARPing and generally just have a good time. In addition, he streams online games at www.twitch.tv/redundantuk.

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PodCastle 417: Archibald Defeats the Churlish Shark-Gods

by Benjamin Blattberg

read by Norm Sherman

A PodCastle original!

My Dear Professor Stern,

While we’re all impressed with Georgie’s little scholarly article on Pacific Island folkloric sea life, with all of its precise details and analysis and whatnot, I fear she left out the thrilling heart of the matter. To wit: how I saved countless Hawaiians from gruesome death. Because of my quick thinking and pluck and heroism and charm and grace and quick thinking, I not only saved Hawaii from an oceanic scourge beyond the imagination of modern man, but also deserve a passing grade for this quarter’s Independent Study in Applied Folklore (PhD track).

Rated PG.

Ben Blattberg is a software developer, improviser, and writer currently living in Austin, TX, as long as there are no follow­up questions on any of those facts. His stories have appeared in Tina Connolly’s Toasted Cake, Crossed Genres, and Pornokitsch. You can find him on Twitter @inCatastrophe, and follow his adventures at his blog.

Your narrator is the the King of Kitsch, the Sultan of Strangeness, the Odin of Oddity, the Nadir of non­Normalcy, Mr. Norm Sherman. You’ve probably heard Norm over at our sister podcast, Escape Pod, where he is Editor. And if not there, you’ll surely have heard him over on his own podcast, the Drabblecast, strange stories by strange authors for strange listeners, such as yourself. And if not THERE, well, just about anywhere in the genre pod­-o­-sphere.

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PodCastle 416: Braid of Days and Wake of Nights

by E. Lily Yu

read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

First appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction.

With an immaculate thumbnail, Julia peeled open the ziplock bag in her lap. The coil of hair inside, wide as her thumb and nine feet long, was woven throughout with black and gold strands in equal proportion. When Vivian began chemo last May, her hair had skimmed the lower edge of her scapulae. Three weeks later, her purple stripes had rinsed to blonde, and she had not dyed them again. Vivian had smiled at Julia in the bathroom mirror, eyebrows high and brave, but after the first handful slithered to the floor, she handed the humming razor to Julia and covered her eyes.

“You do it,” she said.

Rated PG-13.

E. Lily Yu has received the 2012 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer as well as nominations for Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards. She is finishing revisions on a novel.

Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali  is our Assistant Editor here at PodCastle. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of twenty-five years and three children. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times she juggles, none too successfully, writing, reading, gaming and gardening. She has self-published one novel entitled An Unproductive Woman, has published a story at Escape Pod, and has a story in the An Alphabet of Embers anthology. Of her alter ego, K from the planet Vega, it is rumored that she owns a time machine and knows the secret to long youth. You can catch her posts at her website, www.khaalidah.com, and you can follow her on twitter, @khaalidah.

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