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Cast of Wonders 353: Artemis Rising 5 – With Cardamom I’ll Bind Their Lips


With Cardamom I’ll Bind Their Lips

by Beth Cato

In the spring after the war’s end, the soldiers’ spirits began to wander home, and Lady Magdalena bound their lips with cardamom so that they could not speak. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 352: Artemis Rising 5 – 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.”

The bouncer taps a finger against his forearm. “What kind of bikes you mean? Motorcycles or the other ones?”

“No engines,” Gabe says, firm and deliberate. “The kind that’ll last when there’s no gas left.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 351: Artemis Rising 5 – 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.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 350: The Last Fifth (Part 2 of 2)


The Last Fifth (Part 2 of 2)

by Naru Dames Sundar

Anur cradled his face in his hands, his split lip still oozing blood.  It hurt, a kind of searing pain far greater than the dull ache of bruises he had suffered at the hands of the bullies at school.  He tried to run when the men had exited the van, tried to get away, but he had tripped and fallen amidst the smoke and the wreckage.  Bala, the man with the scraggly beard, hit him and dragged him by one arm back into the van.

The men had retrieved something from the wreckage.  Anur had only caught a glimpse of it, a charred sphere the size of a soccer ball, bits of wire dangling from it.  Tears welled in Anur’s eyes. He wanted to be at home, sitting on the big blue couch wrapped in a blanket while mummy fed him halwa and sweet tea with jasmine.  But his tears and his wants didn’t help him, they didn’t bring him any closer to freedom.

“Child.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 349: The Last Fifth (Part 1 of 2)


The Last Fifth (Part 1 of 2)

by Naru Dames Sundar

Anur slumbered under the ledge of the sloping walkway, leaning on the housing of a small flower strewn altar to Ganesh.  Rain plinked onto the jasmine-filled votive bowls that lined the altars on the opposite wall. Anur blinked his eyes open, looking sideways at shafts of light breaking across the falling drops, shimmering gold as they drizzled onto the row of Shiva-lingam jutting out from the wall.  The narrow street still looked dry, yet the rain continued. The voices of two men spoke across the pitter patter of the falling drops.

“Do you trust the buyer, Kalan?  Can he really get Pankaj out of that mountain hell-hole?”

“The buyer has a reputation to uphold, Bale.  And I promised Amma that I would get him out somehow –”

“It leaves us very… exposed.”

“We’re exposed by being who we are, Bala.  All or nothing, my friend, all or nothing.” (Continue Reading…)

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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…)

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Cast of Wonders 342: Staff Picks 2018 – An American Refugee

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 Emma Smailes.


An American Refugee

by Tiah Marie Beautement

I first spot the surfer as I run down the path that cuts below the lighthouse. I can’t believe it. The Point is full of holiday campers, so motors are banned on the water until eight a.m. and it is only six-thirty. I run down the steps; reaching the bottom of the peninsula, I find that the few souls that are awake are calm and content. Strange. But when I reach the part of the path that curves at the base of Inner Pool I realize why.

No sound. (Continue Reading…)