PodCastle 532: Vetala

Show Notes

Rated R for brutal visions.

The night I was to leave Delhi for Toronto, my grandmother told me I was making a big mistake.

“The vetala is going to follow you,” she said, as I stuffed my clothes higgledy-piggledy into the shiny new suitcase I had bought for my shiny new life. “Think of how lonely it will be.”

I slammed down the lid of my suitcase. “There are demons everywhere,” I said. “Even Toronto.”

My grandmother sniffed. “Not our kind.”

“How would you know?” I countered. “You hardly ever leave home.”

She looked at me out of her sharp, blackbird eyes. “And you hardly ever stay here. What are you looking for, Pooja?”

“A good job,” I said flatly. We had been over this many times in the last four months, ever since I’d gotten an offer to work for Recreated Realms, the biggest Timescape company in Canada. “Money. Peace. Security.” Freedom.

“None of which you will find until you stop running away,” said my grandmother. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 531: The Island of the Nine Whirlpools

The Island of the Nine Whirlpools

by Edith Nesbit

The dark arch that led to the witch’s cave was hung with a black-and-yellow fringe of live snakes. As the Queen went in, keeping carefully in the middle of the arch, all the snakes lifted their wicked, flat heads and stared at her with their wicked, yellow eyes. You know it is not good manners to stare, even at Royalty, except of course for cats. And the snakes had been so badly brought up that they even put their tongues out at the poor lady. Nasty, thin, sharp tongues they were too.

Now, the Queen’s husband was, of course, the King. And besides being a King he was an enchanter, and considered to be quite at the top of his profession, so he was very wise, and he knew that when Kings and Queens want children, the Queen always goes to see a witch. So he gave the Queen the witch’s address, and the Queen called on her, though she was very frightened and did not like it at all. The witch was sitting by a fire of sticks, stirring something bubbly in a shiny copper cauldron. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 530: Kin, Painted

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

This episode is run in honor of Non-Binary People’s Day on July 14.  If you are interested in reading more fiction by non-binary authors, check out A.C. Wise’s review series, “Non-Binary Authors to Read.”

Kin, Painted

by Penny Stirling


I brush water in thin lines down my right arm before adding green pigment. Colour spreads down each lane. I twist my arm to surface tension’s extent and then past it, letting the paint escape.

Think how lovely I could be covered in watercolours. Gradients with geometric patterns, perhaps, or precise stripes with thought-provoking colour-mixing drips. Now and then a performance piece, using my own sweat to blur and degrade my body’s art.

No I sloppily write in water across the smeared lines as disrelish seethes inside me, shaking my arm — no — and washing the brush — no — and writing no until my arm is clean.

I am running out of paints to try. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 529: Chesirah

Show Notes

Rated PG-13 for violent captivity and violent rebirth.


By L. D. Lewis

“It is almost time.” Chesirah smiled despite her screaming fingers. They were a blur, working feverishly to finish lacing together the last of her dark braids before Nazar the dollmaker made it home. She wove one braid into a dozen others and then a dozen more until she wore a high crown of them pinned in place by the dollmaker’s thick needles. She needed them to make her escape.

Fenox, as a rule, were kept creatures, usually by those of means, influence, and the odd eccentric streak. They needed a safe place to burn and someone to keep their ashes. Their keepers needed a conversation piece: something subservient and entertaining. By and large, it was a shit life, and Chesirah had a tendency to run, so she spent thirty of her adolescent years in the city of Kirjan, caged. (Continue Reading…)