PodCastle 315: Stranger vs. the Malevolent Malignancy
Rated R. Contains F-bombs, potty jokes, superheroes, and cancer.
Read by a full cast!
Rish Outfield as the Narrator
Dave Thompson as Stranger
Big Anklevich as the Tumor
M.K. Hobson as Scaramouche
Wilson Fowlie as Jarhead
Marguerite Kenner as Kelly Kane
LaShawn Wanak as Dr. April Alexander
Nathaniel Lee as Officer Conroy
and Tina Connolly as The Halloween Princess
C.S.E. Cooney, Steve Anderson, Rish Outfield, and Peter Wood as various inanimate objects, reporters, fans, etc.
Please consider donating to the Clayton Memorial Medical Fund, Cancer Research Institute, CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, or The American Cancer Society.
Thanks for the stories, and for bearing witness, Jay.
Stranger vs. the Malevolent Malignancy
by Jim C. Hines
Stranger shifted in the armchair and forced himself to make eye contact with his therapist: a decapitated head floating in an oversized jar of blue-tinged nutrient fluid. Long gray-blond hair drifted like tentacles. The base of the jar was decorated in a red and yellow floral pattern, reminiscent of the Hawaiian shirts Jarhead wore back in his full-bodied superhero days.
“In all my time on this planet, I’ve never killed anyone,” said Stranger. “I’ve never wanted to before.”
Jarhead’s voice emerged, slightly mechanical, from a speaker below his chin. “Given your history with Scaramouche, it’s no surprise she knows how to press your buttons.”
Jarhead was a former speedster, a superhero from the seventies whose career on the east coast had come to an abrupt end when his nemesis strung a high-tensile wire across the road at neck height. Only the hyperquick actions of Jarhead’s sidekick Robogirl had allowed him to survive . . . if you could call it survival.
“When do I get to talk? I’ve got traumas of my own, you know!”
Stranger did his best to ignore the taunts, which was difficult, considering they came from within his own bowel.
“It’s talking to you again, isn’t it?” asked Jarhead.
About the Author
Jim C. Hines
Jim C. Hines has written more than fifty published short stories. His first professional story sale was the award-winning “Blade of the Bunny,” which took first place in the 1998 Writers of the Future competition and was published in Writers of the Future XV.
Jim is an active blogger about topics ranging from sexism and harassment to zombie-themed Christmas carols, and won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2012.
About the Narrators
Her work includes Tor.com novella, Desdemona and the Deep, her short novel The Twice-Drowned Saint (found in Mythic Delirium’s most recent anthology The Sinister Quartet), and a poetry collection, How to Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes, featuring her Rhysling Award-winning poem, “The Sea King’s Second Bride.” Her forthcoming novel, Saint Death’s Daughter, will be out with Solaris in 2022. Cooney’s short fiction and poetry can be found in Jonathan Strahan’s Book of Dragons, Ellen Datlow’s Mad Hatters and March Hares: All-New Stories from the World of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and elsewhere.
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.
LaShawn M. Wanak
Big Anklevich is a writer, podcaster, and a father, but not in that order. He produces The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine podcast along with co-host Rish Outfield.
Marguerite Kenner (she/her) is a California transplant living in the UK city named after her favorite pastime.
She runs Escape Artists with her partner Alasdair Stuart, and practices as a technology lawyer in London. She loves to voice minor characters in podcasts and play video games, often where people can watch.
Her contributions to genre fiction include being a 2021 Hugo Award Finalist, editing Cast of Wonders from 2013 to 2019, project groups for too many industry orgs to count anymore, community organising, mentoring, and teaching business skills to creatives.
You can follow her adventures across various social media platforms.
Steve Anderson has narrated stories for all three Escape Artists podcasts (including a Parsec Award-winning story for PseudoPod). He narrates audiobooks and produces online videos out of a home studio at SGAcreative.com, and he writes and performs live history programs on tour at GreatTalesLive.com
M.K. Hobson recently decided to follow a time-honored authorial tradition and become a bitter recluse. She swore off all social media and left her website to go to seed. At the moment, she exists only as a voice on short fiction podcasts such as Podcastle and Cast of Wonders. She leavens the tedium of her vastly expanded free time with misanthropy, paranoia, and weight lifting.
Tina Connolly’s books include the Ironskin and Seriously Wicked series, and the collection On the Eyeball Floor. She has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Norton, and World Fantasy awards. She co-hosts Escape Pod, runs Toasted Cake, and is at tinaconnolly.com.
Dave Thompson aka the Easter Werewolf aka the California King is still uncomfortable with the notion of pumpkin beer, but don’t hold that against him. He lives outside Los Angeles with his wife and three children. Together with co-editor Anna Schwind, he ran PodCastle for five years. Dave is an Escape Artists’ Worldwalker and Storyteller, having been published in, and narrated for, all four EA podcasts.