Episode 45: Finding the Blue Door by L. Lambert Lawson

Show Notes

Today we present Finding the Blue Door by L. Lambert Lawson. L. Lambert Lawson writes from his library in Southern California. From 2005-2007, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. He is the publisher of Kazka Press, an independent SFF press with a monthly flash fiction contest. He can be found online or on Twitter.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Narrated by Marguerite Kenner

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present Finding the Blue Door by L. Lambert Lawson. L. Lambert Lawson writes from his library in Southern California. From 2005-2007, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. He is the publisher of Kazka Press, an independent SFF press with a monthly flash fiction contest. He can be found online or on Twitter.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Episode 44: Lizzy Viscera and the Quest for the Perfect Sandwich by Spencer Koelle

Show Notes

Today we present Lizzy Viscera and the Quest for the Perfect Sandwich by Spencer Koelle. Spencer tell us, “This is the first story I wrote at Susquehanna University. I’d transferred into the college as a creative writing major, and when I found out I hadn’t been registered for any creative writing classes, I pledged to make up for that deficit by writing at least two new short stories that term.

You can find out more about Spencer here.

Your narrator is is our own regular reader, Danielle Daly. Welcome back Dani!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Narrated by Dani Daly

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present Lizzy Viscera and the Quest for the Perfect Sandwich by Spencer Koelle. Spencer tell us, “This is the first story I wrote at Susquehanna University. I’d transferred into the college as a creative writing major, and when I found out I hadn’t been registered for any creative writing classes, I pledged to make up for that deficit by writing at least two new short stories that term.

You can find out more about Spencer here.

Your narrator is is our own regular reader, Danielle Daly. Welcome back Dani!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Episode 43: The Great Game, Part 1 – Khyber by James Vachowski

Show Notes

Tags: Cast of Wonders; Fantasy; Young Adult fiction; James Vachowski; Barry J Northern; The Great Game

Khyber is part of a series of stories called The Great Game. There’s seven in the series and we’ll be running all seven on Cast of Wonders over the coming months, probably once a month. This is our first series; we hope you’ll look forward to it as much as we are!

The Great Game is by James Vachowski. James works as a “quality assurance technician” for airport Duty Free Shops, where he strives to ensure that your next tax-exempt purchase meets or exceeds your high standards. When not living out of a suitcase and hopping between glamorous international terminals, he writes fiction. You can find out more about James at his website or on Twitter, Goodreads or Facebook.

Your narrator is Cast of Wonders’ Editor, Barry J Northern.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Great Game, Part 1 — Khyber

by James Vachowski

So it’s a story you want, is it?

Then be gone from here. Stories are but lies, gift-wrapped in sugary coatings that tickle the listener’s ear. If it is stories you want, run along to the lending library with the other children, where you can waste your days reading of wizards and faeries and their ilk.

But if your heart seeks the truth… then I may indeed have a tale for you.

Of course you know that I was in the Great War? Well, those of us fighting, we never thought that someday our actions might be considered great. But then, historians have the luxury of being nearsighted. War is terrible, child. It seems senseless. So many men struggle to understand it, but they cannot. For now, it will suffice you to know that for whatever the reason, in war, men and women do things that they must. There is no more to it than that, but certainly no less.

Thankfully my job kept me away from the ghoulish fronts, as I dealt in information. Today they would call me a spy, but back then my proper title was Messenger. Field Marshals and their Adjutants would not dare to act without first seeking my counsel.

I remember one mission particularly well. The Armies of the Crown had just been ordered west, towards war, leaving behind but a skeleton force in the Indies. The quiet that followed was brief, as the Bengals soon began plotting an uprising. As the fastest runner in the service of the Maharajah, I was chosen to travel to Kabul immediately, to contact the Khan and beg for the help of his armies.

There was no time to waste. I dressed quickly, donning the salwar qameez with a pakol on my head. I laced my lightest sandals snugly, while my men readied a sack of provisions. As the sun rose, I set off at a run towards the peaks of the Karakorum Range.

All day and into the night I ran, over the rolling crests and valleys, until finally I paused to catch my breath at the summit of the Khyber Pass. Before me, so deathly quiet, stood the village of Landi Kotal. Imposing by itself, to be certain, it became even more so when I saw who stood guard within: none other than those legendary Untouchables themselves, the Bandit Children of Karachi.

The Bandit Children were indeed youngsters, but they bore such slight resemblance to you, my child. They were children by virtue of age alone. Urchins born without families and suckled on an infancy of thievery, they were cast out of their packs and into the world of men once they turned eleven.

The Bandit Children spotted me and recognized my mission. The pack held no affection for the Crown, nor anyone or thing else for that matter. They set upon me immediately, their dirty little paws snaking into my pockets, clawing and grasping for whatever they could steal.

I feared for a moment that my time on this mortal plane was over, but just then the morning sun crested over the peaks of the Hindu Kush. By night, the Bandit Children were bloodthirsty beasts, but in the light of day they withered back into sad, pitiful children. While the Untouchables were tearing at their rags and wailing laments towards the Sun, I ran by them and down the Pass in a burst of energy.

As I ran, I feared that my mission had been placed in the gravest jeopardy. Just at that moment, as if I truly needed another obstacle, a huge brown bear burst forth from the woods and charged me! Alas, I had no choice but to kill him with my two hands.

I looked down at the dead behemoth, and inspiration struck. With a cut and a snip, I removed the bear’s skin and wore it as a disguise. I then continued my run along the Pass, with my best effort at mimicking a bear’s shambling gait. Other Bandit Children, entire packs of lost souls, fled in fear from my approach.

I ran on. The day passed. As night fell, I found myself nearing the base of the Khyber Pass, the Torkham Gate in view. A feather of hope rose in my chest, but this fell all too soon when I saw that my path to the Gate was blocked. A lone Bandit Child stood in the road before me. He was slight in stature and unremarkable in appearance, save for the curious fact that he seemed to be made entirely out of wood.

Wood sneered with his oaken mouth. “I am not fooled by your disguise. You are no fierce bear, merely an errand boy of the King’s.” He scoffed. “Give me something to eat, and perhaps I will allow you to live for a few minutes longer before I summon my pack of thieves.”

I must admit, dear child, I was terrified. I dumped out my sack in a panic and set about fixing a meal for him. Wood crossed his twiggy arms and eyed me suspiciously. I cut open a flat piece of bread and stuffed it full with fig leaves, butter, marmalade, porridge, taffy, and honey. Wood snatched the sandwich from my hands and began to chew noisily, ripping off bites and smacking his pulpy lips with the worst manners! Oh, the way he ate! I wagered that he had not had such a fine meal in a long time, if ever at all.

While he chewed with his knotty teeth, I quietly edged further along the path… and took off past him at a run!

Wood was furious at my escape! He tried to shout to his gang of Bandit Children, but the sticky sandwich had glued his mouth shut! I ran through the Gate and down the road just as fast as my legs could carry me, which in those days was quite a pace.

And what of my mission, you ask? Well, I reached Kabul, mustered three companies of the Khan’s dragoons, and returned in force. The Bengals fled at our approach and the uprising was crushed, and just in the nick of time, I might add. I hesitate to use the word ‘hero’, but of course the King himself insisted on presenting me with the Victoria Cross.

Ah, but the road from India to London is a long and dangerous one, my child. And that journey is another tale entirely…

Episode 42: Campfire Story by Mark Brandon Allen

Show Notes

Today we present Campfire Story by Mark Brandon Allen. Mark began writing Science Fiction and Fantasy purely for the amusement of his friends, children and grandchildren. He lives in Valparaiso, Indiana where a vicious three pound Yorkshire terrier holds both he and his wife hostage. His work has been published in the pages of Demon Minds Anthology, Bull Spec, The Last Man Anthology, Sounds Of The Night, Indiana Science Fiction Anthology 2011 and Polluto amongst others. You can find out more about Mark at http://markbrandonallen.com/.

Mark also has a book out on the Lulu Books website — ifs IMAGINE FANTASY SCIENCE FICTION issue #1. Within the context of Fantasy and Science Fiction pulps, ifs IMAGINE FANTASY SCIENCE FICTION has much to recommend itself to the speculative fiction reader. The nineteen ifs within the book’s lineup make a meaty and satisfying read. For more about the book, go to lulu.com and search for “ifs IMAGINE” or “Mark Brandon Allen”. Available as an ePub file or a paperback. Also available as a Kindle edition from Smashwords.

A purchase would help this writer stave off abject poverty.

Due to our website crash in April 2014, we are in the process of reconstructing our back catalog. Please enjoy listening to the episode – we’ll have the show notes up as soon as we can!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Narrated by Graeme Dunlop

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present Campfire Story by Mark Brandon Allen. Mark began writing Science Fiction and Fantasy purely for the amusement of his friends, children and grandchildren. He lives in Valparaiso, Indiana where a vicious three pound Yorkshire terrier holds both he and his wife hostage. His work has been published in the pages of Demon Minds Anthology, Bull Spec, The Last Man Anthology, Sounds Of The Night, Indiana Science Fiction Anthology 2011 and Polluto amongst others. You can find out more about Mark at http://markbrandonallen.com/.

Mark also has a book out on the Lulu Books website — ifs IMAGINE FANTASY SCIENCE FICTION issue #1. Within the context of Fantasy and Science Fiction pulps, ifs IMAGINE FANTASY SCIENCE FICTION has much to recommend itself to the speculative fiction reader. The nineteen ifs within the book’s lineup make a meaty and satisfying read. For more about the book, go to lulu.com and search for “ifs IMAGINE” or “Mark Brandon Allen”. Available as an ePub file or a paperback. Also available as a Kindle edition from Smashwords.

A purchase would help this writer stave off abject poverty.

Due to our website crash in April 2014, we are in the process of reconstructing our back catalog. Please enjoy listening to the episode – we’ll have the show notes up as soon as we can!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Episode 41: The Living Earth by Jake Walters

Show Notes

Today we present The Living Earth by Jake Walters. Jake has been published in several journals. He has recently returned to the United States after working for three and a half years in Romania, a place where the Earth, along with its history and memories, sometimes really does seem to be alive.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Narrated by Graeme Dunlop

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present The Living Earth by Jake Walters. Jake has been published in several journals. He has recently returned to the United States after working for three and a half years in Romania, a place where the Earth, along with its history and memories, sometimes really does seem to be alive.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Episode 40: The Morandini Genie by Michael Haynes

Show Notes

Today we present The Morandini Genie by Michael Haynes. Michael lives in the United States with his wife and children. Besides his interest in fiction he enjoys movies, watching hockey games, and cooking. You can find out more about Michael on his blog.

 

Due to our website crash in April 2014, we are in the process of reconstructing our back catalog. Please enjoy listening to the episode – we’ll have the show notes up as soon as we can!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Narrated by Graeme Dunlop

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present The Morandini Genie by Michael Haynes. Michael lives in the United States with his wife and children. Besides his interest in fiction he enjoys movies, watching hockey games, and cooking. You can find out more about Michael on his blog.

And now, we’ve a tale to tell…

Due to our website crash in April 2014, we are in the process of reconstructing our back catalog. Please enjoy listening to the episode – we’ll have the show notes up as soon as we can!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Episode 39: Living Clay by Lucy Oliver

Show Notes

Today we present Living Clay by Lucy Oliver. Lucy has had short stories published in Take a Break, Fiction Feast, and Stories for Children magazines. She also has work in numerous anthologies and won the Stylist magazine Microfiction competition. Currently working on an historical novel, she lives with her husband and young children who provide inspiration for her work.

You can read a short interview with Lucy from just a few days ago.

Your narrator is the ever-stupendous Marguerite Kenner.

Due to our website crash in April 2014, we are in the process of reconstructing our back catalog. Please enjoy listening to the episode – we’ll have the show notes up as soon as we can!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Narrated by Marguerite Kenner

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present Living Clay by Lucy Oliver. Lucy has had short stories published in Take a Break, Fiction Feast, and Stories for Children magazines. She also has work in numerous anthologies and won the Stylist magazine Microfiction competition. Currently working on an historical novel, she lives with her husband and young children who provide inspiration for her work.

You can read a short interview with Lucy from just a few days ago.

Your narrator is the ever-stupendous Marguerite Kenner.

Due to our website crash in April 2014, we are in the process of reconstructing our back catalog. Please enjoy listening to the episode – we’ll have the show notes up as soon as we can!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Episode 38: In The Cemetery of Frozen Ships (Part 2) by Suzanne van Rooyen

Show Notes

Today we present Part 2 of In The Cemetery of Frozen Ships by Suzanne van Rooyen.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Narrated by Graeme Dunlop

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present Part 2 of In The Cemetery of Frozen Ships by Suzanne van Rooyen.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Episode 37: In The Cemetery of Frozen Ships (Part 1) by Suzanne van Rooyen

Show Notes

Today we present Part 1 of In The Cemetery of Frozen Ships by Suzanne van Rooyen. Suzanne is a freelance writer and author from South Africa, currently living in Finland. She is the author of the cyberpunk novel Dragon’s Teeth, and has had several short stories published by Golden Visions Magazine, Earthbound Fiction and others. Her non-fiction articles on travel, music and other topics can be found scattered throughout the Internet. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers writings strange tales of the SpecFic persuasion and playing in the snow with her shiba inu. You can find out more about Suzanne here.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Narrated by Graeme Dunlop

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present Part 1 of In The Cemetery of Frozen Ships by Suzanne van Rooyen. Suzanne is a freelance writer and author from South Africa, currently living in Finland. She is the author of the cyberpunk novel Dragon’s Teeth, and has had several short stories published by Golden Visions Magazine, Earthbound Fiction and others. Her non-fiction articles on travel, music and other topics can be found scattered throughout the Internet. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers writings strange tales of the SpecFic persuasion and playing in the snow with her shiba inu. You can find out more about Suzanne here.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Episode 36: The Next Joe Jones by Russ Colson

Show Notes

Today we present The Next Joe Jones by Russ Colson. He lives with his wife, Mary, on a farmstead in northern Minnesota, far enough from city lights to see the Milky Way and the aurora borealis. He teaches planetary science, meteorology, and geology at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He writes a variety of speculative fiction and non-fiction pieces that have appeared in in Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine, Clarkesworld Magazine, NewMyths.com and others. You can find out more in a NewMyths.com interview done with Russ.

The picture is by hotsoup25 on Flickr, who kindly gave us permission to use it.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Narrated by Graeme Dunlop

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present The Next Joe Jones by Russ Colson. He lives with his wife, Mary, on a farmstead in northern Minnesota, far enough from city lights to see the Milky Way and the aurora borealis. He teaches planetary science, meteorology, and geology at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He writes a variety of speculative fiction and non-fiction pieces that have appeared in in Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine, Clarkesworld Magazine, NewMyths.com and others. You can find out more in a NewMyths.com interview done with Russ.

The picture is by hotsoup25 on Flickr, who kindly gave us permission to use it.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Episode 35: The Most Precious of Treasures (Part 2 of 2) by Desmond Warzel

Show Notes

Today we present Part 2 of The Most Precious of Treasures by Desmond Warzel.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Most Precious of Treasures (continued)

Desmond Warzel

Cardia aimed the wand and shouted an arcane word; the jewel at the instrument’s tip glowed and spewed forth a tremendous sphere of fire, which sped across the room and spent itself against the demon’s trunk, leaving the fiend unharmed. As she and the demon circled one another warily like festival prizefighters, she tossed the wand aside and chose another; this time, lightning. The bolt shot forth and found its home, but was absorbed into the demon’s body as if it had never been. (Continue Reading…)

Episode 34: The Most Precious of Treasures (Part 1 of 2) by Desmond Warzel

Show Notes

Today we present The Most Precious Of Treasures by Desmond Warzel. You may remember Desmond from Episode 15 Same-Day Delivery. The Most Precious Of Treasures first appeared in issue #5 of Shelter Of Daylight. Desmond lives in northwestern Pennsylvania, and has had stories published in Daily Science Fiction, the anthology Candle in the Attic Window from Innsmouth Free Press, and at Tor.com.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Most Precious of Treasures

Desmond Warzel

When Cardia entered the Talking Carp, Melorin was situated in the far corner, at a table which already bore two depleted pint mugs and an empty plate. She was the establishment’s only occupant except for old Chen himself, who fussed about the open kitchen slicing various odds and ends of meat and fish for the exotic foreign fare that made up much of his menu. When he looked up from his work, Cardia ordered herself a cup of tea, as well as a third beer for Melorin. A drink in each hand, she made her way across the empty dining room and joined her former colleague. (Continue Reading…)