PodCastle logo

PodCastle 641: TALES FROM THE VAULTS — And Their Lips Rang with the Sun

Show Notes

This episode is a part of our Tales from the Vaults series, in which a member of PodCastle’s staff chooses a backlist episode to rerun and discuss. This week’s episode was chosen by associate editor Tierney Bailey. “And Their Lips Rang With The Sun” originally aired as PodCastle 111.


And Their Lips Rang with the Sun

by Amal El-Mohtar

There was once a Sun-woman, glorious as any of them, named Lam. She was nimble, lithe; she was all of eighteen, quite in her prime, while her bright-eyed acolyte had only just learned the sacred alphabet off by heart. She was a sensible teacher, and differed from her sisters in only one respect.

It was her custom, once the dawn-dance was done, to look out to the very farthest reaches of the horizon and imagine how far the fingers of the Rising Sun could reach, what they touched where her gaze failed. And when the evening was shaken out like a sheet between the arms of her sisters, then, too, rather than look to the closing of her palms, she would chase the last ray of the Sun as it vanished over the desert and the mountains, and wonder where She went, where She slept, and in whose bed.

These were unnecessary thoughts for a Sun-woman to have, to be sure, but perhaps none had loved the Sun quite so completely as she.

It happened one afternoon that Lam looked out, as was her wont, towards the west, and wondered. But while she thought her puzzle-thoughts, she became aware of eyes on her, and looked down to the great square before the temple of the Sun.


To continue reading, please visit Strange Horizons.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Has Been Nominated for the Ignyte Award!


The finalists for the inaugural Ignyte Awards have been announced, and PodCastle has been nominated for this prestigious accolade! Co-editors Cherae Clark and Jen R. Albert, former co-editor and special editions editor Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, host & assistant editor Setsu Uzumé, and audio producer Peter Adrian Behravesh are finalists in the Best Fiction Podcast category for their work on the podcast. 

The Ignyte Awards both broaden and deepen the genre awards scene, including not only short story, novel, and art categories, but also awards for poetry, middle-grade, podcasts, and others as well as two separate awards that celebrate contributions to genre in the pursuit of inclusiveness and equity. The Ignyte Awards reflect the business models, values, and imagination of the SFFH field, lighting a path of possibility for both new and veteran creators.

We’re excited to be nominated alongside such an amazing group of diverse creators. FIYAH has created a truly wonderful thing in such a short time frame and they’ve managed to capture perfectly the variety of perspectives that the genre community has to offer. We are so honored.

We would like to extend our deep gratitude to PodCastle’s wonderful listeners, to the Escape Artists group of podcasts, and to the entire PodCastle team, past and present, who work tirelessly to bring you the best of fantasy fiction every week.

The team joins several other wonderful podcasts on the shortlist: NIGHTLIGHT (Tonia Thompson), LeVar Burton Reads (LeVar Burton), Beneath Ceaseless Skies (Editor Scott H. Andrews), and OBSIDIAN (Co-Creators, Producers, and Writers Adetola Abdulkadir & Safiyah Cheatam).

Nominations were sourced from the Ignyte Awards Committee: 15 BIPOC voters on FIYAHCON staff of varying genders, sexualities, cultures, disabilities, and locations throughout the world. Voting is open to the wider SFF community until September 11, 2020. Visit the convention’s website to vote now!

The winners of the 2019 Ignyte Awards will be announced virtually at FIYAHCON, October 17-18, 2020.

 

— Cherae Clark, Jen R. Albert, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, Setsu Uzumé, and Peter Adrian Behravesh

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 640: Mist Songs of Delhi

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


Mist Songs of Delhi

By Sid Jain

Rajaji had listened to three songs of the deceased that morning. He couldn’t help himself. Whenever he walked past a flickering portrait floating in the air — static, sanguine, and phosphorescent — the urge to reach out and touch the cloud with his fingers was more than he could resist. The cloud portrait would unspool itself into the departed’s soul song and fill the air around Rajaji with the lilting music of their lives.

The last of those three songs had left Rajaji in a heavy stupor. The voice of the departed sang but three lines in Urdu. The translation into Hindi seized some beauty as tax, but the words thundered in Rajaji’s heart in all the seven languages he knew:

I tolerated his passing as he had taken Hindustan as his second wife,

But my hummingbird had not yet learnt to fly when you clipped her wings.

O Tyrant, what sin did I commit that you saved me for last?

They rarely told the life’s story of the subject as if they were epic poems. No, most soulsongs captured a sliver of the lives, a representative snippet that encapsulated the life and times of those lucky enough to be turned into song by the Goddesses of Raagas.

And they were lucky. Seekers made pilgrimage from around the world to the temples of music in Delhi and Ajanta and even the little one in Calcutta. Germanic Persians, Frankish Egyptians, and some even traveling over ocean and continent from the Americas, hoping — praying — that they reach the temples still alive and with stories remarkable enough to be granted the gift of eternal music. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 639: Kiki Hernández Beats the Devil

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

The destinies of two women — one, a soldier; the other, a princess — become intertwined in C. L. Clark’s debut, The Unbroken. This is a story about war, betrayal, intrigue, and some truly sexy fight scenes in a desert kingdom inspired by North Africa. The cover art was released on io9 in July. Check out this incredible debut by PodCastle‘s co-editor!

You can pre-order The Unbroken by C. L. Clark now!


Kiki Hernández Beats the Devil

By Samantha Mills

Kiki Hernández, rock legend of the Southwest, had seven devils on her tail.

They scurried through the roadside scrub, not even trying to sneak. She could hear their scrabble-claws and clacker-tails, their dripping maws and teeth. If they were trying to round her up for a crossroad deal-making, they were going about it all wrong.

That’s what happened when devils got hungry. They made mistakes.

Kiki hummed as she walked, watching eddies of dust form tornadoes on the road ahead. It was a swagger of a walk, born of a perfect record: Kiki 72, Devils 0. She would have been bored, if she hadn’t been so eager for an encore.

“Come on out!” she hollered.

They tumbled forth in a gray-green tangle of many-jointed limbs, an acrid smell preceding them: sulphur and grave dirt and candy apples stuffed with razorblades. Their voices tangled like a nest of snakes: Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Are you vengeful? Are you sad?

For a moment she felt it—the thirst like three weeks eating salted pork, the grief that could only end in retaliation—and then Kiki popped open her molded-plastic carrying case and pulled out her guitar: Mona Lisa. (Continue Reading…)