Archive for Rated G

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PodCastle Miniature 52: The Sphinx in Thebes (Massachusetts)

Show Notes

Rated PG: Contains Riddles, Greed, and Death

by Lord Dunsany, who is dead.
Read by Steve Anderson, who is not.


The Sphinx in Thebes (Massachusetts)

by Lord Dunsany

There was a woman in a steel-built city who had all that money could buy, she had gold and dividends and trains and houses, and she had pets to play with, but she had no sphinx.

So she besought them to bring her a live sphinx; and therefore they went to the menageries, and then to the forests and the desert places, and yet could find no sphinx.

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PodCastle 89: The Queen’s Triplets

Show Notes

Rated G for the travails of princes who seek to be kings and much astonished reproofing.

Colloquially referred to as Ann Leckie month, February 2010 is the month in which all the story selections were made by our slush reader, Ann Leckie. Enjoy!


The Queen’s Triplets

by Israel Zangwill

On the last day of the year the King summoned the three Princes to the Presence Chamber. And they came, the Green Prince, and the Blue Prince, and the Black Prince, and made obeisance to the Monarch, who sat in moir antique robes, on the old gold throne, with his courtiers all around him. ” My sons,” he said, ” ye are aware that, according to the immemorial laws of the realm, one of you is to be my heir, only I know not which of you he is ; the difficulty is complicated by the fact that I have covenanted to espouse him to the Princess of Paphlagonia, of whose imminent arrival ye have heard. In this dilemma there are those who would set the sovereignty of the State upon the hazard of a die. But not by such undignified methods do I deem it prudent to extort the designs of the gods. There are ways alike more honourable to you and to me of ascertaining the intentions of the fates. And first, the wise men and the magicians recommend that ye be all three sent forth upon an arduous emprise. As all men know, somewhere in the great seas that engirdle our dominion, somewhere beyond the Ultimate Thule, there rangeth a vast monster, intolerable, not to be borne. Every ninth moon this creature approacheth our coasts, deluging the land with an inky vomit. This plaguy Serpent cannot be slain, for the soothsayers aver it beareth a charmed life, but it were a mighty achievement, if for only one year, the realm could be relieved of its oppression. Are ye willing to set forth separately upon this knightly quest?”

Then the three Princes made enthusiastic answer, entreating to be sped on the journey forthwith, and a great gladness ran through the Presence Chamber, for all had suffered much from the annual incursions of the monster. And the King’s heart was fain of the gallant spirit of the Princes.

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PodCastle 070: The Dybbuk in the Bottle


by Russell William Asplund.
Read by Wilson Fowlie.

Avram had no more talent for wonder working than for farming. No matter how hard he prayed, he could not call even a sparrow down from a tree. His Sabbaths were spent at a small synagog in the town, and the rabbi there had no idea of the way to Paradise save the path of a good life. As for Avram’s attempt to animate a golem, the less said about it the better.

Still Avram did not give up. After all, without his books there was only the farm, and the more he worked the farm, the more he wanted to work wonders instead. There was very little glory in cleaning a chicken coop.

And that is how Avram came upon the dybbuk in the bottle.

Rated G. for child-safe dybbuk romping.

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PodCastle Miniature 34: The Orange

Show Notes

Rated G. with playful, fruity flavors.


The Orange

by Benjamin Rosenbaum

It was an unexpected thing, the temporary abdication of Heavenly Providence, entrusting the whole matter to a simple orange.

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PodCastle Miniature 33: The Sad tale of the Tearless Onion

Show Notes

Rated G. — but don’t listen while chopping onions.

This story was one of the honorable mentions named and purchased by Stephen Eley after the Escape Pod Flash Fiction contest for short fiction under 300 words.


The Sad tale of the Tearless Onion

by Ann Leckie

Matthias Fenstermacher loved onions, but hated slicing them, and so he labored to produce a tearless variety. His first attempt was indeed tearless–instead of weeping, the slicer was overcome by fits of uncontrollable giggles. The potential hazard was obvious.

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PodCastle 053: Change of Life

Show Notes

Rated G. Contains a menagerie.

Read by MA in PA.

Posted a day early in honor of Fen of Color United.


Change of Life

by K. Tempest Bradford

It all started because I wanted a pet. All of us younger kids did. But Mom always said that there wasn’t room for any pets cuz there were so many kids. She had a point, I guess. There were nine of us. But then David, my oldest brother, left home when he was only seventeen and a half to join the Peace Corps. Mom cried for three days straight. Dad said it was only because she was going through the Change of Life.

The day after she stopped crying there was a bunny in the living room. No cage, just a bunny. I guess Dad bought him hoping it would cheer Mom up–and it did. She sat on the couch holding the bunny for hours and told us all that we had a new family member: David the bunny. Katherine, my oldest sister, said that Mom named it David out of a sense of displacement or some other big word she liked to use just because she wanted to be a psychologist or a psychiatrist or some kind of person who messes with your head.

I wasn’t impressed. I wanted a dog.

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PodCastle Miniature 28: Elf Aware

Show Notes

Rated G. The last story of elf month.


Elf Aware

by K. Tempest Bradford

“I am an elf,” you say to yourself. “I am an elf, I am an elf, I am an elf…”

You keep saying it, first in your mind, then aloud. Over and over. A mantra. “I am an elf.”

You are not an elf. You know this. You do not have pointed ears, you cannot do any sort of magic, you aren’t even the right hue. You’ve never heard of a black elf. Everything is against you. But you think that if you keep saying this to yourself, maybe it will come true. Maybe.

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PodCastle Miniature 27: Faery Cats: The Cutest Killers

Show Notes

Rated G. Contains… well, faery cats. Which are killers, but you know. Cute.


Faery Cats: The Cutest Killers

by Lucy A. Snyder

San Francisco, CA—From country homes to urban server farms, faery cats are taking America by storm as the hottest trend in pets.

16-year-old Melissa Eager’s bedroom is decorated entirely with paintings and statuettes of winged cats, which she has acquired at science fiction conventions around the country.

“I love love love faery cats,” says Eager. “And I had no idea they were for real until I saw one at a shop in Mill Valley. It was all black, and it had long, shiny wings like a raven. So pretty! I was all like, ‘Mom, I will totally die if you don’t get me that!'”

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PodCastle Miniature 26: Up the Chimney

Show Notes

Rated G. Contains cats and fairy land.


Up the Chimney

by Cat Rambo

I should have known better. There we were dozing by the fireside, old Tom and me, and there’s a stranger telling some story of funerals and cats. Old Tom, he leaps up, whiskers abristle. Shouting “Then I’m the King of Cats” and disappearing up the chimney!

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PodCastle 41: Dragon Hunt

Show Notes

Rated G. Contains dragons, knights, and deputy archivists.


Dragon Hunt

by Sarah Prineas

The king shrugged. “What news do you bring us from West Cornhold?”

The peasant fell to his knees on the rush-covered floor before the high table. “Your Majesty, it is a dragon!” He dropped his hat to gesture widely with his hands. “We-we’ve seen it, My Lord! Huge it is, breathing great gobs of fire, shining in the sun, flying over our fields and houses, sharp c-claws, teeth, and–“

“Silence!” Prickett shouted. In a sharp voice, he continued. “To talk of dragons, sirrah, living ones, in the court of King Kenneret Death-of-Dragons, is to talk treason. It cannot be a dragon.”

The peasant stared. “It bloody well is a dragon,” he shouted, climbing to his feet, spittle flying from his lips. “Claws! Wings, great wide wings, like sails! Stealing sheep, and–“

“That’s enough,” ordered the counselor.

“–And goats!” the headman added.

Well. There was going to be trouble. The court held its breath and stared at his Royal Majesty. Someone was for the headsman’s axe.