PodCastle 501: The Christmas Abomination from Beyond the Back of the Stars

The Christmas Abomination from Beyond the Back of the Stars

By Heather Shaw and Tim Pratt

“Mele Kalikimaka!” Uncle Ray shouted as Trish rushed down the steps from the little plane, sucking in great gasps of island air. The plane smelled like the trapped farts of three boys (maybe four; she wasn’t sure if the pilot had farted or not). The air here was humid and smelled of salt, which was better, but weird. Trish squinted around: palm trees, blue skies, the distant engulfing ocean. It was the opposite of a winter wonderland.

“That’s how you say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Hawaiian,” Ray added helpfully.

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PodCastle 500: Maiden, Mother, Crone

Maiden, Mother, Crone

By Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky

The mule nipped at Marjan’s hand as she burdened it with her packs. She pushed its nose away, careful not to hurt it. She needed the mule to be well. Her life — and her unborn child’s — depended on it.

She led the mule outside the stable and carefully latched the door behind them. She didn’t want the other animals to suffer from the cold. Bad enough she was stealing the mule. She didn’t want Iresna and Gavek to lose anything else.

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PodCastle 499: Flash Fiction Extravaganza — Flash Fiction Contest IV

Three Cats at the End of the World

By Aimee Ogden

On the heath at the beginning and the end of the world, a witch once built a cottage where she could live with the past, the present, and the future. They are hers, and she is theirs, for as long as life and as deep as death. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle Miniature 101: National Geographic on Assignment: The Unicorn Enclosure

National Geographic on Assignment: The Unicorn Enclosure

by Sarah Monette

In the unicorn enclosure, all five unicorns are clustered along the fence, batting their long eyelashes beguilingly at a troop of girl scouts. The girls ooh and aah and argue about which one is prettiest, and the unicorns trail them patiently down the perimeter line.

These unicorns are captive-born (two from San Diego, one from Brookyn, one from Mexico City, and the stud all the way from Manchester in an attempt to maintain genetic diversity in North America’s captive breeding program); they’ve never hunted anything but sides of beef. But they’re too smart not to recognize their natural prey, even through plexiglas. The zoologists call the behavior I’m witnessing “playing,” in the same way a domestic cat “plays” with a mouse. Seen from the mouse’s standpoint, it’s not much of a game.

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