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Cast of Wonders 363: 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!”

The thunder of his father’s roar shattered the late-afternoon quiet of the forest, as well as Clarence’s reverie. He clutched the real topaz windflower in his claws and frantically cast about for somewhere to hide it. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 362: Hare’s Breath

Show Notes

This episode is part of our 2019 Summer Spotlight, showcasing the work of the year’s major award finalists.

Shimmer is a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine.


Many thanks to Shimmer for the use of their issue cover art for this episode.


Sweden Admit to Racial Purification (from The Independent)

“The so-called sterilization laws were instituted by the Swedish parliament in 1934 and 1941. Both allowed sterilization without consent under certain conditions. The reasons (indications) to perform sterilizations were threefold: eugenics (race/genetic hygiene), social and medical. Of the total number of sterilized individuals, 93 percent were women.”

From the report “Steriliseringsfrågan i Sverige 1935 – 1975” / “The issue of sterilization in Sweden 1935–1975,” issued by Socialdepartementet / Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Sweden, March 2000.


Hare’s Breath

by Maria Haskins

1947, Västerbotten, Sweden

It’s Midsummer’s Eve and even this close to midnight there’s no darkness, only a long, translucent dusk that will eventually slip into dawn.

Britt and I are fifteen, and she has just come back from That Place, the one the adults won’t talk about even when they think I’m not listening. Something’s happened to her there, but I don’t understand what it is, and she can’t find the words to tell me. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 361: Heartless

Show Notes

This episode is part of our 2019 Summer Spotlight, showcasing the work of the year’s major award finalists.

Peadar’s YA novel The Invasion is a finalist for the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book.


Heartless

by Peadar Ó Guilín

“No one asks for death.” This was the proud boast of the city of Kalegwyn. “No one ever asks for it.” Until Malern did. A bad move for her, as it turned out. She awoke on Castellan Garvinger’s operating table with his favourite surgeon elbow-deep in her chest.

“This is going to hurt,” said Garvinger from somewhere in the background. “Scream all you want.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 360: Encore! Kulturkampf


Kulturkampf

by Anatoly Belilovsky

September 1, 1870

Most respected Feldmarschall von Moltke,

I wish to thank you for giving me the opportunity to put my theories to the test in the taking of Sedan. They were, of course, entirely correct, and our clear tactical victory I am happy to be reporting. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 359: Tiger, Tiger


Tiger, Tiger

By Drea Silvertooth

Echo had always thought that when the world ended, she’d either be running with a motley band of survivors or instantly vaporized. Not a single book, show or movie had prepared her for being apocalypse adjacent.

In the Tropical Asia building, protected by thick glass walls and a ventilation system designed to keep air warm in the winter and sticky in the summer, she hid with her animals. Warty pigs snuffled through the decorative undergrowth, a siamang family sung like sirens in the canopy overhead, and the Malayan tapir and small-clawed otters had taken residence around the cement-bottomed stream that wound through the exhibit. There was still no sign of the sloth bear or the orangutans. Echo wondered if, while she’d been lying face down in the public restroom fighting for consciousness, they might have been evacuated. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 358: A Singular Event in the Fourth Dimension


A Singular Event in the Fourth Dimension

by Andrea M. Pawley

Olive touched the tiny carbon fiber legs. They folded under her fingertip. The drone was dead. Its accumulator nodes held enough copper to get Olive through the next three days. Papa had always provided Olive with the inorganics she needed, but Papa hadn’t been home much since Mama stopped going to work and the second grandma arrived five days ago. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 357: Little Wonders 21 – 2018 Flash Fiction Contest Runners-Up


Grounded

by J. T. Nilson

 

“I can’t,” Sophie sulked. “I stayed out past curfew last week and I’m not allowed to go out.”

“But the gnome army marches onward!” cried Aithne, flitting in circles within Sophie’s window frame, her glowing wings a hummingbird-like blur. “The pixie tribes need our human champion to bring forth the magic. We must triumph!” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 356: Little Wonders 20 – 2018 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Show Notes

Dream Foundry is a new organization helping all professionals, especially beginners, working in the speculative arts. Back their Kickstarter to make sure they last and grow, and to get yourself some nifty rewards.

 

Website: www.dreamfoundry.org
Twitter: @dream_foundry
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dreamfoundryorg/
Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dreamfoundry/dream-foundry-2019-hatching


An Economy of Words

by Wendy Nikel

Growing up so far from the wordfields, I’ve learned to appreciate the few words I have, so as the fitting for Baron Kensington’s festival garments drag on, I cringe at each wasted remark. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 355: Artemis Rising 5 – 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. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 354: Artemis Rising 5 – Wordslinger, Wordwreaker


Wordslinger, Wordwreaker

by Amanda Helms

The wordslinger first came into Lasthope on the back of a scarab the size of a large pony, during the worst flaying-wind storm in a generation. (Continue Reading…)