Archive for Staff Picks

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Cast of Wonders 396: Staff Picks 2019 – Bunny


Bunny

by Amy Brennan

You are crying.

Salty tears dripping into my fur and steaming off in the dry heat.

You hug me tightly, I feel your ragged breathing, your shivers as you hold in the sobs that want to be free.

I want to offer more comfort, but what am I? – Just bits of fabric with plush stuffing, a pink button nose and a pair of beaded eyes. I can do no more than be hugged, do no more than silently offer sympathy, wish to the legendary stuffed toys of the past – and to Veleveteen most of all – that I can do more.

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Cast of Wonders 395: Staff Picks 2019 – Barter Queen


Barter Queen

by Sarah Pauling

Soledad lets Gabe do the introductions because most strangers see him as the more respectable sibling. His attentive green eyes stare from under thick lashes, and his hair lies flat even when it’s desperately in need of a cut.

“We want Queen Mary’s protection,” he says, brazen as anything. Soledad tries not to stare at the ground. Gabe squeezes her hand.

“What can you give her?” the man at the door asks. Huge firearms dangle from his sides.

“We got guns, for one thing. And we’re mechanics. We can fix things. Bikes.”

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Cast of Wonders 394: Staff Picks 2019 – Five Functions of Your Bionosaur


Five Functions of Your Bionosaur

by Rachael K. Jones

1.

Your parents first activate your bionosaur when they bring you home from the hospital. The bionosaur was a baby shower gift from your mom’s favorite aunt. They were nervous about its size, the stainless steel maw, the retractable razorclaws inside its stubby little arms, but the aunt had insisted. She’d programmed it herself, covered its titanium-alloy skeleton in top-grade synthskin featherscales, and pre-loaded it with educational apps.

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Cast of Wonders 393: Staff Picks 2019 – Soul Cleaver Clarence

Show Notes

Matthew told us, “This story began life as a PodCastle flash fiction contest entry. While it only made it to the semi-finals, Katherine Inskip commented that she’d love to see a longer version submitted to Cast of Wonders. Armed with this encouragement, I worked to fill out the characters, their struggles, and a plot. It took a fair amount of feedback and editing, but I was delighted that the finished story was one that Cast of Wonders was interested in publishing!”


SOUL CLEAVER Clarence

by Matthew J. Jarvis

“My dear dragon,” the princess announced as she held aloft Clarence’s topaz windflower, its gemstone petals glinting beautifully in the sun. “These are, without doubt, the finest sculptures in all the land!” Around him the humans attending the faire clapped enthusiastically. “State your name, dragon, and ask any favor in my power to grant, for you have truly won first prize.”

Clarence glowed with pride. “My name is–“

“SOUL CLEAVER!”

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Cast of Wonders 392: Staff Picks 2019 – The Angel


The Angel

by Kate Cobey

I: Sterile

“Just don’t treat her like anything less than a person,” Mama fretted from the front row of the cab. Never mind that this was the fourth time we’d come to see her, and we’d heard the same plea every single time. Cautiously, Mama asked the white hospital archway next to her, “May we enter?”

“Card?” responded the building.

“You don’t need to be so formal. It’s just a robot,” Nina complained from the back. “It’s aaaall robots, here.”

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Cast of Wonders 391: Staff Picks 2019 – Why I Spared the One Brave Soul Between Me and My Undead Army


Why I Spared the One Brave Soul Between Me and My Undead Army

by Setsu Uzume

I am loathe to admit that the ambush was masterful. Not only had the bounty hunters slain my contacts, but they had done so in the right order — dispatching the Ritualist before she had any corpses to animate. Had I come on horseback, they would have had me, too.

In addition to my dead allies and their hobbled wagon, I counted four hunters lumbering through the dark. Big lads, experienced and well-equipped, but given the style of their breastplates they had come from the west — tracking the cultists and not me. It made them slow and ill-prepared to face me in my glory. I whirled, my shadow splitting off to pierce kidneys and slice the backs of their knees while I led them a merry dance through dead leaves and bracken. One of them even turned, his blade slashing a wide arc, but shadows have no heads to remove. Him, I killed the quickest.

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Cast of Wonders 348: Staff Picks 2018 – Radio Free Heartland

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders highlights some of our favorite episodes from the previous year. It’s a great chance for us to take a bit of a breather, and let you, our listeners, catch up on any missed back episodes with new commentary from a different member of the crew.

Our final Staff Picks 2018 episode is hosted by editor Marguerite Kenner.


Radio Free Heartland

by Corey Mallonee

When the car was just a distant cloud of dust above the corn fields I turned to Smoke and told him, “You ought to know I shot someone.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 347: Staff Picks 2018 – Your Words There for the World to See

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders highlights some of our favorite episodes from the previous year. It’s a great chance for us to take a bit of a breather, and let you, our listeners, catch up on any missed back episodes with new commentary from a different member of the crew.

Today’s episode is hosted by audio producer Jeremy Carter.


Your Words There for the World to See

by Aimee Ogden

The school library doesn’t have the book you want. No surprise there. There are a few dozen volumes on its shelves; plenty of other books are out there in the cloud, but the part of the cloud with your book is partitioned off too. It’s in the Premium Access tier and a Title X school in Ass-Nowhere, Wisconsin is not exactly Premium Access quality. The librarian apologizes for that, but apologies don’t put the words in your hands. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 346: Staff Picks 2018 – The Librarian

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders highlights some of our favorite episodes from the previous year. It’s a great chance for us to take a bit of a breather, and let you, our listeners, catch up on any missed back episodes with new commentary from a different member of the crew.

Today’s episode is hosted by assistant editor Katherine Inskip.


The Librarian

by Maria Haskins

The library hadn’t been there the day before, Ella was sure of it. That patch of dirt beside the rusting piles of spaceship debris outside the refugee camp had been bare, with nothing but weeds and rocks on it. Now, there was a library there. She knew it was a library because it said LIBRARY right on it, painted in glittery letters. The word was spelled out in the twelve most commonly spoken languages and dialects in the camp. Ella recognized them all from school, even if she could only read and understand five of them. .

The building was small and rectangular. It looked like a brightly painted version of one of the metal shipping containers Ella would see at the spaceport when she went there with her friends to scavenge for leavings. Of course, you weren’t supposed to go scavenging there, but everyone did anyway. You could find anything there – scraps of metal and junky electronics for the trader, even food, if you were lucky.

Ella squinted at the library’s sign. She was supposed to come straight home after school, but school had ended early since the power went out, and Pappa wouldn’t notice she was gone until later. And who had ever heard of anyone offering books around here? Better take the chance when it was offered.

Ella opened the door and stepped inside. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 345: Staff Picks 2018 – Pocosin

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders highlights some of our favorite episodes from the previous year. It’s a great chance for us to take a bit of a breather, and let you, our listeners, catch up on any missed back episodes with new commentary from a different member of the crew.

Today’s episode is hosted by assistant editor Alexis Goble.


Pocosin

by Ursula Vernon

This is the place of the carnivores, the pool ringed with sundews and the fat funnels of the pitcher plants.

This is the place where the ground never dries out and the loblolly pines grow stunted, where the soil is poor and the plants turn to other means of feeding themselves.

This is the place where the hairstreak butterflies flow sleekly through the air and you can hear insect feet drumming inside the bowl of the pitcher plants.

This is the place where the old god came to die. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 344: Staff Picks 2018 – The Temple of the Whale

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders highlights some of our favorite episodes from the previous year. It’s a great chance for us to take a bit of a breather, and let you, our listeners, catch up on any missed back episodes with new commentary from a different member of the crew.

Today’s episode is hosted by associate editor Alicia Caporaso.


The Temple of the Whale

by Karissa Sluss

Late in the morning I find Terren in our palm tree shelter, packing his few possessions: his bone knife; a collection of coral carved into various whale poses; a square of cloth he uses as a blanket on rare, cool evenings; a flask of water; a day’s supply of food, enough to carry him until he reaches the village. His intent to leave me is clear. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 343: Staff Picks 2018 – Ten Things Sunil and I Forgot to Prepare for, When Preparing for the Apocalypse

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders highlights some of our favorite episodes from the previous year. It’s a great chance for us to take a bit of a breather, and let you, our listeners, catch up on any missed back episodes with new commentary from a different member of the crew.

Today’s episode is hosted by associate editor Shawn Proctor.


Ten Things Sunil and I Forgot to Prepare for, When Preparing for the Apocalypse

by Shane Halbach

1. We didn’t prepare multiple contingencies

When Sunil and I made our plan, we always thought it would be zombies. I mean, we literally imagined nothing else. It just made sense.

Now that I think about it, there are tons of other ways the world could end: aliens from space, nuclear war, some kind of non-zombie disease, maybe nanobots or something. But even then, I wouldn’t have thought of portals to other worlds. I mean, I literally could not have imagined it. (Continue Reading…)