PodCastle Episode 288: Flash Fiction Contest Strikes Back!

This week we’re back with a special episode collecting the winners of our recent flash fiction contest! A huge congratulations to our winners – we’re looking forward to hearing more stories from them!

3rd Prize:
“Georgina and the Basilisk,” by Leslianne Wilder
Read by LaShawn Wanak

Georgina has not moved the newspapers in years, only let them pile one on top of the other, showing assassinations and exploding towers, skinny white girls with fake breasts- probably singers or actresses, wars in countries she doesn’t know. She’s too old to bother learning names or places. Twice a day, the woman who is not a real nurse comes to Georgina’s house to empty Georgina’s catheter bag and paw through Georgina’s silverware. The non-nurse barely speaks English. She insists she’s tidying, but Georgina knows she’s picking for cash, jewelry, heirlooms. The agency won’t send someone different; they use words like “false reports” and threaten not to send anyone at all. When the non- nurse leaves, Georgina sits alone in the stale heat of the old house with the basilisk.

2nd Prize:
“The Bear,” by Taven Moore

Read by Christiana Ellis

“I haven’t seen the bear in months,” I lie.

My lips curve into the smile of a sane woman. A smile practiced in a mirror late at night. White teeth against red lips. Just the right amount of crinkle at the edges of my eyes.

1st Prize:
“Wuffle,” by Chantal Beaulne
Read by Nathaniel Lee

The wizard entered the barber shoppe the way most did – with great effort, feet planted on either side of the doorframe, and assisted by the barber’s two beefy arms. Resisting their combined labour was the wizard’s beard. It clung to a lamppost outside, whining like a devildog sensing his oncoming castration.

About the Authors

Chantal Beaulne

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Chantal Beaulne was born in Calgary, Alberta at a very young age. She grew up immersed in high quantities of speculative fiction in the form of books, ghost stories, films, and NFB specials. This caused irreversible damage to her reality perceptors, making it impossible to achieve her dream of becoming a professional lint collection appraiser or the Chairwoman of the Domestic Appliances Appreciation Society. Instead, she settled for becoming an animator, following that passion to Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver. In the few moments not dedicated to pursuing animation, she splits her time between the pen and the sword as a fencer and short story author.

Find more by Chantal Beaulne


Taven Moore

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“Taven” Moore is the pseudonym for the married writing team of Tami and Steven Moore. In addition to writing, they also play a perfectly healthy number of video games and spend a lot of time cooking. They grew up in the wild cowfields of Texas, dodging prickly pear cactus and cowpatties while learning how to properly use the word “y’all” in a sentence.

Find more by Taven Moore


Leslianne Wilder

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Leslianne Wilder was born in Austin, Texas. Since then she has lived in Osaka, Miami, and San Antonio before coming to rest in Oxford, England. Her work has appeared in Shock Totem and Black Dog and Leventhal’s Psychos anthology. She blogs at lesliannewilder.blogspot.com.

Find more by Leslianne Wilder


About the Narrators

Nathaniel Lee

Nate puts words in various orders. Sometimes people give him money afterward. No one knows why. You can follow his writing at www.mirrorshards.net.

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LaShawn M. Wanak

LaShawn M. Wanak
LaShawn M. Wanak lives in Madison, WI with her husband and son. Her short fiction and essays can be found in Strange Horizons, PodCastle, and Uncanny Magazine. She reviews books for Lightspeed Magazine and is a graduate of the 2011 class of Viable Paradise. Writing stories keeps her sane. Also, pie. Visit her at her blog, The Cafe in the Woods.

Find more by LaShawn M. Wanak

LaShawn M. Wanak

Christiana Ellis

Christiana Ellis is an award-winning writer and podcaster, currently living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her podcast novel, Nina Kimberly the Merciless was both an inaugural nominee for the 2006 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction: Long Form, as well as a finalist for a 2006 Podcast Peer Award. Nina Kimberly the Merciless is available in print from Dragon Moon Press. Christiana is also the writer, producer and star of Space Casey, a 10-part audiodrama miniseries which won the Gold Mark Time Award for Best Science Fiction Audio Production by the American Society for Science Fiction Audio and the 2008 Parsec Award for Best Science Fiction Audio Drama. In between major projects, Christiana is also the creator and talent of many other podcast productions including Talking About SurvivorHey, Want to Watch a Movie?and Christiana’s Shallow Thoughts.

Find more by Christiana Ellis