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Cast of Wonders 291: If Only Kissing Made it So

Show Notes

PodCastle wants you to nominate your favs! We’re asking fans and frequent listeners of the podcast to nominate up to five of your favorite-ever PodCastle episodes. These nominations will be used to create a “Best of PodCastle” ballot so everyone can vote for their favorites in the final round, starting on February 14th. The top five PodCastle episodes, as voted by fans, will be featured in a special later this year!

Nominations will close at 11:59 p.m. PST on February 13. What are you waiting for? Get nominating!


The Hugo Awards have these things they call nominations tallys but they are commonly referred to as The Long Lists. These include the top fifteen nominees, and show who just missed making the finals. For example, Escape Pod, PodCastle, and Mothership Zeta all made the long list last year for Semiprozine.

One of the great values of these long lists is that it allows readers even more excellent works to add to their “to read” pile. David Steffen has worked to make mining those lists significantly more convenient for you. For the third year in a row, David has published a volume of The Long List Anthology. In this most recent version are included works from names familiar to fans of Escape Artists. Lavie Tidhar, Ursula Vernon, Caroline M. Yoachim, and Ken Liu, among a host of amazing others.

Want to know what sort of story makes it to this anthology? Go listen to episode 607 of Escape Pod and catch Red in Tooth and Cog by Cat Rambo. Been procrastinating picking up Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw or Run Time by Escape Pod’s S.B. Divya? This anthology will assuage your guilt. You can find The Long List Anthology Volume 3 at all the usual purveyors of books. If you’re already the proud owner of this book, become a subscribing supporter of Diabolical Plots which is also edited by David Steffen. Subscribing there puts you in line early for not only the ebooks of the original stories published in Diabolical Plots, but also gets you in line early for The Long List Anthology Volume 4. Go support this fantastically creative human being.


If Only Kissing Made It So

by Jason Kimble

This afternoon, the boy I’ve had a crush on for years told me two things: he loves me, and he’s a time traveler. I’m not sure if I feel crazier believing the first or the second.


If I’d known Lucas Medina had rung the doorbell, I would have thrown on a good shirt. At the very least, I would have dumped my snack in the garbage. Instead, I opened the door wearing a stained Atari T and sucking on a bright green ring pop, and instantly wanted a do over. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 281: Little Wonders 16 – Siblings in Space

Show Notes

The Little Wonders theme “Neversus” is by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Houston, Houston, Do You Read James Tiptree?

by Rachael K. Jones

After two hours of work, Daria got the space station’s recycler back online without Hugh there to help her. If he had just waited ten minutes while she tried resetting power. If he had let her double-check his gear before his spacewalk, like he was supposed to by all protocols.

If. If. If. (Continue Reading…)

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Episode 256: Phalium Arium Ssp, Amans by Victoria Sandbrook

Show Notes

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Phalium arium ssp. anams

By Victoria Sandbrook

 

Nora tugged her gloves down further over her freckled wrists. Every other couple in line had linked arms, but John Reidy had not so much as inched his elbow towards her. She wasn’t sure what pained her more: the ache in her hands screaming that this parish carnival sideshow hid more magic than most or her inept suitor. The line could not move fast enough.

But nothing about this show was fast. Patrons shuffled between intricate, though fraudulent, displays: palm-sized peacocks with visible clockwork, chicken-sized dragon eggs wiggling as a hidden steam boiler hissed, monkeys that might as well have still had their old organ-grinder parts attached. Nora struggled not to roll her eyes. Dull, boring, badly engineered. And not a true cryptid to be seen. Everyone else had sighed, pointed, marveled. Only John Reidy seemed as disappointed as Nora. He’d polished his glasses, refolded his handkerchief in his pale fingers, and said “hmm,” three times.

(Continue Reading…)

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Episode 243: The Tentacles Never Lie by J.W. Alden

Show Notes

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


The Tentacles Never Lie

By J.W. Alden

 

In Connie’s line of work, you had to massage the truth from time to time. A stretch here, a bend there–even human clients expected a fib or two at the negotiation table. But when trading with the Hygoelus, you always lied. It just made things easier.

“My friends,” she said to the hygos across the table, who were not her friends, “you won’t regret this deal. One day, when you’re bouncing great-grandspawn on your knee-like appendages, still in perfect health in your august years, you and your people will look back on this meeting and thank me.”

(Continue Reading…)

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Episode 241: Artemis Rising 3 – Mr. Quacky in Space by Amanda Helms

Show Notes

Illustration by Mat Weller. Artemis Rising logo designed by Scott Pond.


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Mr. Quacky in Space

by Amanda Helms

 

At least Mr. Quacky hadn’t maimed anyone. If Olivia went by her predecessor’s logs, it was only a matter of time.

She pulled her rabbit-ear hat over her head–It helps you blend with the scenery, Vivian, the ship’s entertainment director, had told her–and waited for the guests to evacuate Mr. Quacky’s Splash Zone, the collection of three kiddie pools located on the Space Farm Deck. A few hobby-horse-sized mini-steamducks–the Quacklings–bobbed in the farthest pool. The wall screens played loops of a marsh featuring cartoonish, wide-eyed birds, rabbits, and deer that gamboled and giggled and, worst of all, joined wing to paw to hoof to sing songs about the power of friendship.

(Continue Reading…)

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Episode 240: Artemis Rising 3 – Cross The Street by Marie Vibbert

Show Notes

Illustration by Mat Weller. Artemis Rising logo designed by Scott Pond.


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Cross the Street

by Marie Vibbert

 

I was on the sofa, wallowing in self-pity and blankets, when my sister answered the door.

“Sadie, honey,” old Mr. Smith said from the hallway, “I beg your pardon. So sorry for your loss, again, but are you going to cross the street soon?  It’s just that I haven’t had anything to eat since Thursday.”

Now, I was sitting in the exact same spot the day before when Sadie gave him a can of beans after he said the exact same words, but Sadie just smiled and spoke receptionist-polite to him.  “I’ll have to ask my momma, Mr. Smith, but I’m sure it’ll be soon.”

(Continue Reading…)

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Episode 239: Artemis Rising 3 – Hackers’ Faire by Rati Mehrotra

Show Notes

Illustration by Mat Weller. Artemis Rising logo designed by Scott Pond.


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Hackers’ Faire

by Rati Mehrotra

Some jerk in a speeding racer had wrecked Tiya’s cat. I was all for recycling its remains, but Tiya would have none of it. She wept until I gave in and promised to get it fixed at Hacker’s Faire.

I’d sworn not to go back there, not unless our lives depended on it. Everything at the Faire has a price, and I had little left to sell or barter. I had optioned my useful parts years ago, before I met Hanna and settled down – if squatting in an abandoned warehouse with eight other families can be called settling. Anyway, I had left my old life behind, and I kept quiet about my Truthtelling skills.

(Continue Reading…)

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Episode 238: Artemis Rising 3 – The Absolute Temperature of Outer Space

Show Notes

Illustration by Mat Weller. Artemis Rising logo designed by Scott Pond.


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


The Absolute Temperature of Outer Space

by Sandra M. Odell

Dwanda watches her dad bound across the lunar landscape and shivers inside her jacket.  The Moon lifts him higher than anyone on Earth could jump and sets him gently down again, a kangaroo in a space suit.  Sunlight flashes bright white across his helmet.  She chooses not to notice the ragged tear down the right side of his bulky suit, or the way she can see through him to the gray, airless expanse beyond.

The shuttleport crowd paces around the clear observation dome to make room for their excitement and boredom.  They talk softly amongst themselves or watch the swarm of service bots making a final safety check on the shuttle Io.  A few browse the souvenir stands for last minute gifts or keepsakes from their lunar vacation.

Her mom settles beside Dwanda on the couch.  “Brought you some cocoa.”

(Continue Reading…)

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Episode 201: Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class by Dantzel Cherry

Show Notes

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class

by Dantzel Cherry

Darcy walked up to the gilded starship door and it dissolved, revealing what had to be the gaudiest room in the galaxy. Gold, silver, bronze, and minerals that probably didn’t even exist on Earth covered the high ceiling and walls in panels, interlaced throughout with precious stones – and was that tinsel? – depicting who-knows-what. The effect was much like a wild animal had eaten all the jewelry at Tiffany’s and then vomited all over the walls.  

Clearly the ability to travel through all the worlds in the galaxy and kidnap a fifty-two year old ballet teacher didn’t grant good taste in interior design.

The blue blob Overlord guard accompanying her spoke, its voice wobbling with each syllable, and Darcy jumped as a split second later her newly installed gray earslugs wriggled and translated:

“Behold, your students.”

(Continue Reading…)