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PodCastle 668: Circle of Memories

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

Circle of Memories

By Jessica Meats

Cara brought her hand up to her face and was surprised to find wetness there. She looked at the damp ghosts of tears glistening on her fingertips and wondered what she’d been crying about. On the other side of the ritual circle, the witch held a small crystal, which was still glowing with the magic it had just absorbed.

“That must have been a powerful memory,” the witch commented. The witch was younger than Cara might have expected, her hair a mess of untidy, endearing waves. She met Cara’s gaze with eyes full of sympathy.

Cara blinked away the last of her tears. The confusion was less easy to blink away.

“Do you know what the memory was?” she asked.

The witch shook her head. “I don’t see the memories during the ritual, and you didn’t tell me what it was.”

She held the crystal out and Cara, still feeling a little dazed, accepted it. It was cold in her hand, but tingled with the promise of magic. Cara’s magic, that she’d traded something powerful for, something she now didn’t know. Her memories of coming in here and asking for the ritual were vague, like looking through fog, all the details obscured. She looked about the room as though seeing it for the first time, noting the mess of cluttered jars, the herbs drying from the beams, stubs of old candles, cups and bowls that needed washing, and the big book open on a worktable. It was the room of someone too busy to be preoccupied with tidying. Cara itched to move the tea cup further away from the jars of strangely coloured liquids, just to ensure there was no absent-minded mishap there. But it wasn’t her place to start tidying some stranger’s workshop, or to braid those curls back so the ends didn’t dip into anything.

Cara shook herself before she lost herself in imagining running her fingers through that soft hair or anything else equally inappropriate. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle Has Won the British Fantasy Award!

We’re thrilled to announce that PodCastle has won the 2020 British Fantasy Award in the Best Audio category! We were so proud to have been nominated alongside other wonderful podcasts: Breaking the Glass Slipper, Speculative Spaces, and our sister podcast at Escape Artists, PseudoPod. We’re grateful to the British Fantasy Society for this honor and for running the online ceremony during these trying times. 

We have a large, amazing team of editors, producers, hosts, and talent who work to make PodCastle a success. Thanks to our associate editors over the last few years—Krystal Claxton, Matt Dovey, Aidan Doyle, Eboni Dunbar, Emmalia Harrington, Kai Hudson, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Devin Martin, Kathryn McMahon, Ace Ratcliff, Julian Jarboe, Craig Jackson, Julia Patt, Hamilton Perez, Eleanor Wood, Tierney Bailey, Sofía Barker, Shomari Kirkwood, Srikripa Krishna Prasad, Ziv Wities, and Kaitlyn Zivanovich—you are all unparalleled in your drive, passion, and talent. And to our incredible bosses, Marguerite Kenner and Alasdair Stuart, thank you for giving us the support and freedom we need to create this beautiful thing. 

And to the authors whose work is at the center of everything we do, to the narrators whose voices touch and sustain us, and to the listeners who keep us going by tuning in week after week (for over twelve years now!): thank you so much. Our accolades are also yours.


Cherae Clark, Jen R. Albert, Setsu Uzumé, Peter Adrian Behravesh

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PodCastle 667: Clouds in a Clear Blue Sky

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

Clouds in a Clear Blue Sky

By Matt Dovey

It were a clear blue day, what with the factory shut for the funeral and wake.

Colin was slumped in the pub garden’s swing, his straw hair sticking out every which way despite his mam’s best efforts with the Brylcreem. Me and Trev were stood by quiet, our hands lost in the oversized pockets of our borrowed suits. Trev’s cheeks had gone red and purple in the heat, his top button still done up and straining against his neck.

Mark came back out the pub with a plate of sausage rolls that he offered round.

“What’s it like in there?” I asked.

“Grim,” said Mark. “Your Uncle Gareth’s lost his jacket, and then he says it doesn’t matter compared to losing Colin’s dad, and then he starts crying again. Seen it happen three times while I were at the buffet.”

“Yeah, well,” I said. “Best mates, weren’t they?”

Colin grunted, swung himself a bit harder, but said nowt.

“Here, Colin,” said Mark, holding the plate out. “Fancy a sausage roll?”

Colin shrugged, carried on almost as if he hadn’t heard. Then he got up and stomped to the picnic bench and drank his Coke back in one go, then slammed the glass down so hard we all flinched thinking it’d smash.

“This is shit,” Colin said. “Really shit. Shit shit shit.” (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 666: Reading Dead Lips — Part 2

Show Notes

Rated R.

[Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part novelette. Visit our previous post to read Part 1.]

Reading Dead Lips — Part 2

By Dustin Steinacker

They must have razed the entire village, Alex said carefully, rather than admit that ordinary people had killed the officers living here. Better for the city to appear a battle casualty.

“Why does it matter?” she managed. “Whether it was military or rebels?”

“Czir military all captured or killed. Nobody there left, but still guerrillas fighting. No need to inspire them.”

“But you know it was rebels.”

“Everybody knows. Propaganda.”

“Then why?” she pled. For understanding, for any way to put order to this. Questions of politics seemed so distant and sanitary to this charnel town before her. “Why the coverup?”

“We pretend not to. Same thing. Propaganda still works.”

These streets of death brought names back to her memory. Her friend, little Tibor, he of the harelip scar. The Valentins, who both shouted and struck their children and made Noe glad for her gentle mother. Petr Mátyás, an oddly well-to-do peddler who’d had the misfortune of settling in Óste just before the end. A nice man with a hard-to-place accent who loved a foolish pun.

All dead or enslaved or worse. This was a graveyard, as much as any she’d visited coming here.

Snap. (Continue Reading…)