PodCastle 330: DRINK ME (A Flash Fiction Extravaganza)
Rated PG. Contains alcohol. Lots of alcohol. But no hangovers.
DRINK ME (A Flash Fiction Extravaganza)
Presenting an Intoxicating and Delicious Flight of Fantasy Fiction for Listeners with Discerning Palettes! Please indulge in the following tastes:
“The Wine,” by M.C. Wagner
read by C.S.E. Cooney
A PodCastle Original!
It’s always the wine. A glass at my elbow, or a servant tottering after, stoppered flask in hand. Marvelous… rich and dark or light and fruity by the season. I could subsist on it alone, although I am always in place at the royal banquets, sneaking ladylike bites… and there’s the fruit of the orchard, clipped with slivered shears as I wander those primrose paths.
“I Wrung it in a Weary Land,” by Kenneth Schneyer
read by Dave Thompson
A PodCastle Original!
The tiny interior was cool, smelling of earth and the first hint of mildew. Bottles lined the walls floor to ceiling; a few I recognized — a 55-year-old Macallan or a 2009 Chateau Margaux — but most were strange and whimsical, garnet or cobalt glass with labels that might have been Icelandic or Tibetan. A single lamp on the far counter granted just enough light for me to read them if I got close.
“The Forgetting Shiraz,” by E. Lily Yu
read by John Chu
Originally published in the Boston Review. Read it here!
I had always found it strange that in a world as advanced as ours, in an age when we shot men to the moon and mapped the planets around alien suns, we still lacked a true anodyne. Alcohol’s soft fog burns off by morning, at best, and at worst holds a magnifying glass to what we try to forget: her name, her voice, her face, her smell. Nor do we have surgeries precise enough to slice off specific memories. Whatever form it took, chemical, neurological, or psychological, the inventor of the anodyne would be rich in a blink, and the journalist who broke the story would never want for assignments again.
“The Rag Man Mulls Down the Day,” by Amal El-Mohtar
Read by Marguerite Croft
A PodCastle Original!
At the edge of the world is a rag-man, a thin man, a man wisped in grey, with a great iron pot and an even greater stick. Morningtimes he leans on his stick and watches the light change, watches it flood your sky with fire and heat. But before it can get too hot, before it can burn your cheeks to a ruddy cinder, he raises his stick, tilts the sky-pan just so, and coaxes the great slow pour of it all into his iron pot.
While it gathers there, he mulls it.
“Behemoth Brewing and Distribution Company,” by Tim Pratt
read by Dave Thompson, Roberto Suarez, Mur Lafferty, Graeme Dunlop, M.K. Hobson, and Cheyenne Wright
Originally published in the Fortean Bureau
Brewery tours available by appointment only.
About the Authors
M.C. Wagner is not an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas, nor a high acidity.
Ken was a finalist for both the Nebula and Sturgeon Memorial Awards for his story “Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer,” which also appeared on PodCastle. Fairwood Press released his second collection, Anthems Outside Time and Other Strange Voices, in 2020, including both of his PodCastle stories and 24 others. His short fiction can be found in Uncanny, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, the Clockwork Phoenix anthologies, and many podcasts. In his other life, he is a professor of humanities & legal studies at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he teaches everything from constitutional law to Shakespeare to science fiction. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter, as well as at his web site, kenschneyer.com
E. Lily Yu
E. Lily Yu is the author of On Fragile Waves, published in 2021, and the librettist of Between Stars, with composer Steven K. Tran, for the Seattle Opera’s 2021 Jane Lang Creation Lab. She received the Artist Trust LaSalle Storyteller Award in 2017 and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer in 2012. More than thirty of her stories have appeared in venues from McSweeney’s to Tor.com, as well as twelve best-of-the-year anthologies, and have been finalists for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards.
Amal El-Mohtar is an award-winning author and critic. She is the science fiction and fantasy columnist for the New York Times Book Review and the co-author, with Max Gladstone, of This Is How You Lose the Time War, which to date has won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards for Best Novella. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Ottawa, and you can find her on Twitter @Tithenai or subscribe to her newsletter at amal.substack.com.
Tim Pratt is the author of over 30 novels, most recently multiverse adventures Doors of Sleep and Prison of Sleep. He’s a Hugo Award winner for short fiction, and has been a finalist for Nebula, World Fantasy, Sturgeon, Philip K. Dick, Mythopoeic, Stoker, and other awards. He’s also a senior editor and occasional book reviewer for Locus magazine. He tweets incessantly (@timpratt) and publishes a new story every month for patrons at www.patreon.com/timpratt.
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.
John Chu is a microprocessor architect by day, a writer, translator and podcast narrator by night. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Uncanny, Lightspeed and Tor.com. He is the winner of the 2014 Hugo for Best Short Story, for “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere.”
He blogs (occasionally) at blog.johnchu.net. You can find him on Twitter @john_chu.
Cheyenne Wright is the color artist on the Hugo Award winning graphic novel series Girl Genius. A freelance illustrator of many fine table-top projects; Like “Deadlands Noir”, and the “Professor Elemental” edition of the “Pairs” card-game. He is NOT the Lord of a subterranean colony of Mole-people bent on world subjugation. Such claims are libelous and unfounded. As is the ground beneath those who repeat them. [You have been warned sun-sucking dirt walkers]. More info about Cheyenne’s current plans for a better world [all of them… better worlds] can be found at www.ArcaneTimes.com.
Roberto Suarez has had the privilege of narrating stories for PodCastle, PseudoPod, Cast of Wonders, and Escape Pod. He has co-hosted and produced fan podcasts for the TV shows Spartacus, Game of Thrones, and Westworld. You can find Roberto online @PuertoGeekan.
Mur Lafferty is the co-editor and sometime-host of Escape Pod.
She is an American podcaster and writer based in Durham, North Carolina. She is the host and creator of the podcasts I Should Be Writing and Ditch Diggers. Her books have been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Philip K. Dick, and Scribe Awards. In the past decade she has been the co-founder/co-editor of PseudoPod, founding editor of Mothership Zeta, and the editor or co-editor of Escape Pod (where she is currently).
She is fond of Escape Artists, in other words.
Mur won the 2013 Astounding Award for Best New Writer (formerly the John W. Campbell Award), and the 2018 Hugo Award for Best Fancast for Ditch Diggers. She’s been nominated for numerous other awards and is always doing new things, so check her website for the latest.
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.
Marguerite Croft lives by the ocean just south of San Francisco. She has read stories for Podcastle and Escape Pod, and provided the audio narration for Tim Pratt’s The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl. She makes regular appearances on the Point Mystic podcast where she is also a story developer and script editor.
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.
Graeme has been involved with Escape Artists for many years, producing audio, hosting shows, narrating stories and keeping the websites going. He was born in Australia, although people have identified him as English, American and South African, amongst other nationalities. He loves the spoken word. Graeme lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife Amanda, and beautiful boy dog, Jake.