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PodCastle 733: Flash Fiction Extravaganza – Rough Patches

Show Notes

“Water We Made to Breathe” Rated PG-13

“Secret Keepers” Rated PG

“A Partial Record of Enchanted Cheeses I’ve Fed My Wife” Rated PG

Water We Made to Breathe

By Marisca Pichette

When we were fourteen we went looking for the ocean at the heart of the woods. I remember the smell: earth and algae and damp, air thick as water. Our sweat mixing with the summer sun, our clothes in a pile on the shore. Max jumped in, his shoulders swallowed by green waves.

I could never tell Max’s parents why I came back alone. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 732: Fire in His Eyes, Blood on His Teeth

Show Notes

Rated R

Fire In His Eyes, Blood On His Teeth

By R.S.A. Garcia


He comes to me with fire in his eyes and blood on his teeth. Sometimes the blood is his enemies’. Sometimes it’s mine. Eventually, it’s mine. Always.

He is different today, striding across the sandy soil toward my home with scuffed, much-mended boots. Often, he’s charming and beautiful, like the first time I met him. Smooth brown skin and white smiles, smelling of freshly scraped coconuts. Sometimes he is fierce and tall and smells of the salty sea, with a glorious shining beard braided around the fuses he hides beneath his battered hat. His teeth are longer, yellow, and his skin burned from the sun. They call him a pirate then, and men on land and sea tremble to speak his name. He has harsh words, but there are no teeth for me yet. They come later.

They come with the fire and a shadow on the sun. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 731: The Travel Guide to the Dimension of Lost Things

Show Notes

Rated PG-13

The Travel Guide to the Dimension of Lost Things

By Effie Seiberg


Have you ever felt so tired that you just don’t feel anymore? Where you wake up, burrowed under the covers with a shaft of light somehow piercing through them and right into your brain, and realize that here comes one more day you need to endure, to wait through, until you can blessedly sleep again and stop experiencing this whole existence thing?

This is where I am. I’m deeply considering whether it’s worth just snaking my hand out of my bed-burrito to grab my phone, bring it in, and then just play solitaire until I can fall asleep again instead of even considering what I need to get done today . . . until I realize that the light piercing through is bright green. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 730: The Augur and the Girl Left At His Door

Show Notes

Rated PG-13

The Augur and the Girl Left at His Door

by Greta Hayer

The augur looked at the bridegroom’s back and sighed. He bent close to the bridegroom’s skin, examined every bump and line in his flesh. Most apparent were the red lines, claw marks from fingernails. A less experienced fortune teller would have seen those marks and spoken of the satisfaction of the young man’s new bride, perhaps suggested the imminent birth of a child, but the augur had done this for many years. He knew how to read the skin of a person, living or dead. He knew that there would be no happiness for the couple. There would be a child — there was already a child quickening in the belly of the bride; that much was obvious by the angles of the cuts, the swell of the muscles by the shoulder blades — but that child would be the end of them. It was as clear as dark moles on pale skin; as obvious as the ridge of a spinal column.

The augur told the bridegroom to put his clothes back on. He did not tell the bridegroom about the darkness in his future. The augur had seen other soothsayers punished when they told people things they did not want to hear when he worked for the emperor many years ago. But the augur did not lie. He never lied. And to not tell the whole truth — that was no lie. (Continue Reading…)

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Hugo Award 2022 Finalist!

We’re over the moon to announce that PodCastle has been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine for the second year running. We’re once again honoured to share this nomination with our spacefaring sister, Escape Pod, and we’re humbled and delighted at this recognition of our hard work over the past year. We’re amongst some stellar company in this category – congratulations to our fellow nominees!

The full list of nominees in all categories can be found here.

We’re so grateful to everyone who nominated us, and we’re thankful to all of our staff for their hard work and to our authors for entrusting us with their wonderful stories.

Winners will be announced at ChiCon8, which takes place between 1-5 September 2022.

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PodCastle 729: Bride, Knife, Flaming Horse

Show Notes

Rated PG-13

Bride, Knife, Flaming Horse

by M. L. Krishnan


To Kalavati, it was well known that if one reached marriageable age, parents and aunties and cousins thrice-removed would clump themselves into anthills of worry. Missiles of relationship managers and matrimonial websites would then be launched to nab a match. It would be a process of adjustments — of settling and tucking and hiding. Of second-rate suitors with second-rate mustaches and identical beige shirts. That was what Kala had always believed, had always known to be proper and true as an oft-repeated lie.

Until she met the man that was a ghoul, but also a knife. Until she met the woman that was a deity, but also a mare.

(Continue Reading…)

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Special Submissions Call: Indigenous Magic

PodCastle is incredibly excited to announce our call for Indigenous Magic stories of Global homegrown mythologies and legends. We want stories that center Black, Brown, and Indigenous cultures, histories, belief systems, philosophies, and perspectives. These are the stories of fireside tellings that are tied to the land on which they are written, the stories that reflect our cultural and historical trajectories in the wivestales and gossip on the tongues of our mothers and grandmothers.

While our general guideline of receiving stories primarily in English still applies, we especially encourage stories that incorporate more than one language or dialect, stories that offer alternative structures to the expected linear standardized arc, and stories that offer a fresh take or new perspective on a history that has not been considered universal.

This is an opportunity to draw on the softly surreal and the deeply fantastical in oral histories that have been passed down.

It is important that these stories are told by the people they belong to. We respect the traditions they are drawn from and honour the need to make space for marginalized voices to tell their version of any given story. We welcome authors who are writing from indigenous perspectives that are within their realm of experience and personal history. If you’ve written a story about a culture that is not your own, please refrain from submitting it to this particular call.

We’re a fantasy publication, so all stories must have a fantasy element that’s crucial to the tale, though it can be subtle. We are unable to consider science fiction or straight-up horror, though dark fantasy is more than welcome. We will consider both originals and reprints for this call, paying our standard rate of 8 cents per word for originals and $100 for reprints. We’re looking for stories between 2,000-6,000 words, though we will consider up to 7,000 words for reprints. These upper limits are strict: unfortunately we cannot consider reprints above 7,000 words or originals above 6,000 for this submissions call.

We’ll be open to Indigenous Magic submissions for the month of July 2022. Please submit through our Moksha portal. Our standard guidelines apply to anything we haven’t specified here.

We can’t wait to see your stories!


~Shingai Njeri Kagunda and Eleanor R. Wood, PodCastle Co-Editors

CatsCast 1: The Cat Lady and the Petitioner

The Cat Lady and the Petitioner

by Jennifer Hudak

Laurie stands in front of a door. It’s old but solid, as many old things are. Whatever paint once covered it has long since worn away, and the wood beneath is striped, and furred with splinters. It is her very first door, of her very first day, of her very first job.

Her ankles wobble over brand-new high heels, and her smart jacket is slightly itchy and entirely unsuited for the warm weather. She lifts one aching foot and then the other out of her stiff, uncompromising shoes. Her life stretches out before her, a long walk down an endless road hemmed in on either side by door after closed, splintery door.

Reaching out two pink-lacquered fingers and one pink-lacquered thumb, she delicately lifts up the knocker—brass, cat-shaped, with a tail curled in a circle. When Laurie raps the knocker three times against the base, the tail twitches underneath her fingers.

Read the rest on Patreon.

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PodCastle 728: The Fireman

Show Notes

Rated R

The Fireman

by Christoph Weber


I face the forested mountains, raise my hands like a conductor readying an orchestra, and point to my first section. A glow flickers to life in the inky darkness beneath a grove of trees. Arms of flame climb the bark and the canopy explodes, turning trees into torches, illuminating my canvas.

I sweep my hand from left to right and a mile-long slash appears like a knife wound in the mountains, bleeding fire. The flames crawl upslope. Not fast enough. A few twists of my wrists and I sculpt a stampede — orange bulls of fire, a few charging tigers, and one galloping zebra striped red and blue. I pause to appreciate the canvas come to life. It’s my best work.

And I’m just getting started. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 727: [NOWRUZ SPECIAL] “Two Siblings, Seven Fish”

Show Notes

Rated PG-13

Two Siblings, Seven Fish

by Rebecca Zahabi


Maybe this story started when Dad inherited the calabash; or maybe when my great-grandfather ran his thumb along its rugged surface, listening to the coins rattling within; or maybe even before then, when it was still green and growing, waiting to be plucked, carved and dried.

But for me, it started with an argument with my sister, Shadi. (Continue Reading…)