Archive for November, 2009

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Podcastle 79: Marsh Gods

Show Notes

Rated R: For Gods, Mortals, Frogs, and Other Potential Sacrifices

Marsh Gods

by Ann Leckie

Irris was a changed man. When he went out fishing, he didn’t spend the day drunk or asleep in the boat and then come home with nothing, the way everyone expected. Instead he made a full day’s catch early, and then picked up an axe and went to cut wood. He sat down to dinner sober, played with the baby, spoke pleasantly to his wife and sister. In the evening, instead of drinking, he sat in front of the fire and knotted nets, or carved fishhooks. It’s because he almost died, the neighbors whispered. Everyone had seen the scar. Everyone wondered how long the change could last.

There were other things, little strangenesses that never made their way out of the house for the villagers to be aware of them. For instance, one afternoon Ytine brought him a dish of vetch, and he said, “My dear, it amuses me to call this gravel. So the next time I ask you for a bowl of gravel, you’ll know what I want.” Water was poison, working was sleeping. The list of changed names seemed to grow every day. Voud wasn’t sure why Ytine went along with it, except that the new Irris was kind and hard-working, and doted on the baby. And maybe, thought Voud, that was reason enough. The crane had said not to waste her grief on Irris, and she hadn’t cried when she’d heard the whispery-voiced god say he was dead.

But one evening Irris came home in an especially good mood. “Good fishing means good trading,” he said. He had needles, and fiber — dyed and spun — for Ytine, and a tiny, wheeled cart for the baby. “And Voud,” he said, “I hear you’re a hunter.” He handed her a bronze knife. It was small and its plain haft was dented, but it was a real metal knife and it was hers.

That was when she knew for certain that her brother was dead. Irris would never have thought to buy her something she wanted so much. Not without her telling him, and likely not even then. She sat there with the knife in her hand and cried.

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Podcastle Miniature 42: Change

Show Notes

Rated PG: For the Kids in the Yard


by Greg van Eekhout

My ex-wife tells me on the phone that she thinks she saw a kid in her yard last night. She’s got a lot of stuff in the shed that’s worth money, like her boyfriend’s tools and some nice bikes, and she’s always going on about how her neighbors are coming over to steal stuff.

“It couldn’t have been a kid,” I say. “Maybe that old guy from across the street? He’s pretty small.” I’m encouraging her, I know, but it’s possible it was that old guy. I once caught him peeping into the dining room window, and when I confronted him, he said he thought he smelled gas. That was when Steph and I were still together.

“I know how an old man moves,” Steph says. “I know how a kid moves. This was a kid.”

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Podcastle 78: The Tinyman and Caroline

Show Notes

Rated PG: For Dark Deeds done in Dark Places

The Tinyman and Caroline

by Sarah L. Edwards

The sun had set while he’d been below—the stabbing light was the glow of a streetlamp. Pressing himself into the shadows of a carriage house, Jabey peered upstreet and down at the dark, massive forms of the istocrats’ castles.
The west hill, right. He’d never been this close before. From where he stood it was castles all the way up, or so the chatter said, castles built of diamond windows and brownstone flecked with gold, and livedolls hung from the doors instead of knockers.
Just one pretty was all he needed. One sparkling trinket to buy himself into the clubber chief’s service—and to buy his protection.
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Podcastle Miniature 41: East of Chula Vista

Show Notes

Rated R: Ghosts are Unhappy for a Reason

East of Chula Vista

by Samantha Henderson

I rock in the bentwood chair on the porch and wait. I know about the bodies in the arroyo, in the mesquite ash between the charred trunks of the live oaks. The grass beneath the mesquite had grown long in winter rains and was shriveled dry by the summer heat. Fire had crisped it quickly, and the oaks were dense hard wood, old fuels, burning long and hot and all-consuming.

Eventually they all come to me like homing pigeons, those unlucky ones who die in the unforgiving desert, short water or caught out at night with no fire and not enough of them to huddle together to keep warm, not thinking how cold the badlands get in the middle of the night with nothing to keep in the day’s heat. They come to me at dusk, hollow-eyed and bewildered to my front yard, all of them. They stand, wavering in the moonlight, waiting for me to let them go.