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PodCastle 692: When the White Bird Sings

Show Notes

Rated R

When the White Bird Sings

by KT Bryski

Bones show best in cold weather.

Sharp lines cut under skin; bare branches crack against the sky; snow drives on snow. In a land wiped clean, only the essential remains.

The village freezes, and hungers. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 691: The Healer of Branford

Show Notes

Rated PG-13

The Healer of Branford

by C. A. Barrett

After twenty years, Maud decided that it was safe to return to her hometown. She had never personally known a cat to live to the age of twenty, and even if someone had taken one inside and cosseted it into old age it would be too feeble to recognize her now. So Maud tied a scarf over her aching face and found a straight walking-stick. She went up to Branford by the old cobbled road. Her path rose alongside ample hills of heath spangled with flowers, bright purple and yellow reminders of the magic flowing underneath the soil. She saw a distant flock of birds wheeling in the air, and felt just as light. Branford, City of Magic-on-the-Moor, would be home again. Branford would take away her pain.

She was almost at the city gate when a small orange tabby-cat sprang up from his napping. He leaped to the top of a hitching-post and stared at her, blinked twice, then cried out “Maud Coffand! Maud Coffand, the cats know what you did!” (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 690: The Gannet Girl

Show Notes

Rated PG

The Gannet Girl

by Frances Rowat

They said Castermay’s mother had held sea-glass in her mouth when she’d lain with the girl’s father, and that was why Castermay was standoffish and still, tongue weighted by salt and sand, and eyes the colour of the leeside lichen found on the chalk rocks in the saw-bladed grass. Castermay was not warmly welcome in the village longhouse where she lived with the other children who had no brothers or sisters, but her mother’s work was too valuable for her to be turned away.

Her mother lived down on the beach in a small hard house built on a flat rock between high tide and low, the roof of which was a favored perch for gannets. Four times a year, clear sky or storm, she walked into the waves and cut herself to bleed for the sea with a heavy bone knife, and so the sea within a day’s sailing was thick with life. The village sustained itself, and had more to cure with smoke or salt and trade uproad and inland, and losses to the sea were lighter than they might otherwise have been.

Castermay worked like any other child of an age to do so; she pulled in her own weight and more on the days she worked the nets, and her fingers were sure and her knots were firm, if ungainly. When she did not work, she walked the strip of rough beach between high tide and low with her mother, or spoke with the gannets that rested on the roof. (Continue Reading…)

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British Fantasy Award Nominations

The 2021 British Fantasy Award shortlist has been announced, and we’re honoured to have been nominated once again in the Best Audio category! Our tentacled sister, PseudoPod, has also been nominated again in this category, so we’re in the very best company.

As if that wasn’t enough lovely news, one of our stories has also been nominated for Best Short Fiction. We’re delighted that “8-Bit Free Will”, by John Wiswell (PodCastle 654), is up for the award, and we’ll be on tenterhooks for John as well as ourselves.

And yet more news! Escape Artists’ Head Honcho Alasdair Stuart is also up for Best Nonfiction for his weekly pop culture newsletter, The Full Lid. Cake and balloons for everyone!

Winners will be announced at FantasyCon, which takes place this year on September 24th – 26th in Birmingham, UK.

Please join us in congratulating PseudoPod, John, Alasdair, and all the other nominees. Huge thanks from us here at the Flying Castle to all our listeners, our narrators, and our wonderful authors, and to our superb editorial team for all their hard work.