PodCastle 535: The Threadbare Magician — Part 1

Show Notes

Note that this is one part of a two-part episode. The second part will release on Tuesday, August 21, 2018.

Rated R, for cursing wizards and magical desires.

See below for links to Cat’s projects:

Cat’s Patreon.

The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, which offers live and on-demand classes aimed at fantasy and science fiction writers. Fun fact: co-editors Khaalidah and Jen met at one of Cat’s workshops. They are highly recommended!

Some books and collections for sale: Hearts of TabatNeither Here Nor ThereMoving from Idea to Finished Draft.

The Threadbare Magician

by Cat Rambo

Old fabric holds smells better than the cloth of more recent decades. New stuff is all chemicals. It rubs the roof of your mouth like steel wool if you sniff too hard, bites like a spell’s sting.

Older silks, wools, cottons — the organics — hold household odors. Cedar and cinnamon, turmeric and garlic. Perfumes you can no longer find, like L’Origan or Quelques Fleurs. Camphorated moth balls or talcum powder. Rarely the whiff of a person, a smell lingering long after every other scrap of their DNA has vanished from this earth.

Most often just the lilac assault left by a hasty dry-clean. But the other times make it worth it.

I pulled the green XL circle aside with my thumb and kept going widdershins, into the Ls. So far the Value Village’s rack had yielded only two possibilities: an XXL black with a bamboo-patterned weave, cream-colored dragons curled and coiled amid sun-ridden clouds and an XL crimson rayon whose flame-pattern suited it to throw-away magic. A protective cloak perfect for next week’s trip to Portland.

I fingered through the fabrics, searching for silk among the rayon and cotton. Nope, nope, nope. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 534: The Lamentation of Their Women

Show Notes

Rated X for sex, drug use, graphic depictions of violence with blood and gore and all it’s wet and slippery trappings, and general horror.

The Lamentation of Their Women

by Kai Ashante Wilson


“Hello,” answered some whiteman. “Good morning! Could I speak with—?” He mispronounced her last name and didn’t abbreviate her first, as nobody who knew her would do.

“Who dis?” she repeated. “And what you calling about?”

“Young lady,” he said. “Can you please tell me whether Miss Jean-Louis is there or not. Will you just do that for me?” His tone all floured with whitepeople siddity, pan-fried in condescension.

But she could sit here and act dumb too. “Mmm . . . it’s hard to say. She be in and out, you know? Tell me who calling and what for and I’ll go check.”

Apparently, the man was Mr Blah D. Blah from the city agency that cleaned out Section 8 apartments when the leaseholder dropped dead. Guess whose evil Aunt Esther had died of a heart attack last Thursday on the B15 bus? And guess who was the last living Jean-Louis anywhere? (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 533: The Choking Kind

Show Notes

Rated PG-13, for the donning of gory suits.

An old man sat behind the dilapidated counter of the country store humming Negro spirituals as Grace walked in, sweaty from standing in the sun. Her new black dress clung to her like a frightened child and she plucked at its neckline with irritation.

“Sun hot for all that there, enny?” He put down his newspaper, folded to the obituary page and nodded at her ensemble. She smiled at his words, the singsong of her native Gullah reaching her ears for the first time in almost a decade. English peppered with African dialects made a steamy fusion of language rich with chewy rhythms. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle Has Been Nominated for the World Fantasy Award!

The finalists for the 2018 World Fantasy Awards have been announced, and PodCastle has been nominated! Co-editors Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali and Jen R Albert are finalists in the Special Award – Non-Professional category for their work on the podcast.

Nominations were sourced from members of the current year’s convention, as well as attendees from the previous two years and a panel of judges. This year’s award judges are David Anthony Durham, Christopher Golden, Juliet E. McKenna, Charles Vess, and Kaaron Warren.

The winners of the 2018 World Fantasy Awards will be announced at the World Fantasy Convention, November 1-4, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The nominee list is bursting with incredible talent in every category, and we consider ourselves honored to appear alongside them. Jen and Khaalidah would like to extend their deep gratitude to PodCastle’s wonderful listeners, to the Escape Artists group of podcasts, and to the entire PodCastle team, past and present, who work tirelessly to bring you the best of fantasy fiction every week.