Episode 15: Same-Day Delivery by Desmond Warzel

Show Notes

Now, last week, I professed ignorance of U.S geography, then went straight on to prove it by locating Virginia on the west coast! It is, in fact on the east coast. My humble apologies to all Virginians for shifting your fair state so far afield! My only defence is that I live in Australia where right now we’re heading into Spring, Christmas is in the middle of Summer, we walk upside-down, navigating our way through hordes of kangaroos, and everything is generally backwards.

Today we present Same-Day Delivery by Desmond Warzel. The story first appeared in issue #11 of On the Premises. Desmond lives in northwestern Pennsylvania, and that his most recent short story publications appeared 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.


Same-Day Delivery

Desmond Warzel

Renninger looked like trouble.

Of course, they’re all trouble, or they wouldn’t be coming to me. By definition.

But it’s a sliding scale.


My office was at the end of what most people would consider an excessively long and narrow corridor. It had no door, affording me a clear view of the entire passageway; a necessary concession to my unique brand of paranoia. I need to see them coming, and from as far away as possible. (Continue Reading…)

Episode 14: Bad Kitty by Jason Dextradeur


Narrated by Marguerite Kenner and Alasdair Stuart

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present Bad Kitty by Jason Dextraduer. He lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. If, like me, you know little about the US, Virginia Beach is the largest city in the state of Virginia; Virginia is on the West Coast. He works as a courier to pay the bills, and writes to keep the stories in his head from driving him crazy. Should he happen to have free time, he likes to spend it with friends, or outdoors letting the wind blow through him, or with a good story. Some of his other stories have appeared in The Hogglepot Online Fantasy Journal, The Absent Willow Review, and 5923 Quarterly.

Your narrators this week are the “Girl Friday Extraordinaire” Marguerite Kenner, who is becoming a welcome regular ‘round these here parts, and The Dark King of podcasting, Alasdair Stuart. Alasdair is a writer and journalist from a small island in the middle of the Irish Sea protected, the legends say, by a wizard who rolled wheels of fire down the central hill to dissuade invaders. Also it rained a lot, and he’s pretty sure that helped too.

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

Episode 13: The Name-Day by Saki

Show Notes

Today I wanted to present The Loot of Bombasharna by Lord Dunsany. However, I didn’t check the copyrights well enough. Lord Dunsany’s works are only in the Public Domain in the US, and certainly not in the UK and Australia. My apologies.

However, another very well-known writer was Hector Hugh Munro who used the pen-name Saki. Today we present his story The Name-Day. Saki’s works frequently satirised Edwardian society and culture and often had a mischievous twist, sometimes leaning toward the bizarre. An example of the mischievous is Down Pens, a story about the trials of responding to gift-givers with notes of gratitude, for politeness’ sake.

You can find out more about Saki at the ultimate arbiter of absolute truth, Wikipedia.


The Name-Day

by Saki

Adventures, according to the proverb, are to the adventurous. Quite as often they are to the non-adventurous, to the retiring, to the constitutionally timid. John James Abbleway had been endowed by Nature with the sort of disposition that instinctively avoids Carlist intrigues, slum crusades, the tracking of wounded wild beasts, and the moving of hostile amendments at political meetings. If a mad dog or a Mad Mullah had come his way he would have surrendered the way without hesitation. At school he had unwillingly acquired a thorough knowledge of the German tongue out of deference to the plainly-expressed wishes of a foreign-languages master, who, though he taught modern subjects, employed old-fashioned methods in driving his lessons home. It was this enforced familiarity with an important commercial language which thrust Abbleway in later years into strange lands where adventures were less easy to guard against than in the ordered atmosphere of an English country town. The firm that he worked for saw fit to send him one day on a prosaic business errand to the far city of Vienna, and, having sent him there, continued to keep him there, still engaged in humdrum affairs of commerce, but with the possibilities of romance and adventure, or even misadventure, jostling at his elbow. After two and a half years of exile, however, John James Abbleway had embarked on only one hazardous undertaking, and that was of a nature which would assuredly have overtaken him sooner or later if he had been leading a sheltered, stay-at-home existence at Dorking or Huntingdon. He fell placidly in love with a placidly lovable English girl, the sister of one of his commercial colleagues, who was improving her mind by a short trip to foreign parts, and in due course he was formally accepted as the young man she was engaged to. The further step by which she was to become Mrs. John Abbleway was to take place a twelvemonth hence in a town in the English midlands, by which time the firm that employed John James would have no further need for his presence in the Austrian capital.

It was early in April, two months after the installation of Abbleway as the young man Miss Penning was engaged to, when he received a letter from her, written from Venice. She was still peregrinating under the wing of her brother, and as the latter’s business arrangements would take him across to Fiume for a day or two, she had conceived the idea that it would be rather jolly if John could obtain leave of absence and run down to the Adriatic coast to meet them. She had looked up the route on the map, and the journey did not appear likely to be expensive. Between the lines of her communication there lay a hint that if he really cared for her…

Abbleway obtained leave of absence and added a journey to Fiume to his life’s adventures. He left Vienna on a cold, cheerless day. The flower shops were full of spring blooms, and the weekly organs of illustrated humour were full of spring topics, but the skies were heavy with clouds that looked like cotton-wool that has been kept over long in a shop window.

“Snow comes,” said the train official to the station officials; and they agreed that snow was about to come. And it came, rapidly, plenteously. The train had not been more than an hour on its journey when the cotton-wool clouds commenced to dissolve in a blinding downpour of snowflakes. The forest trees on either side of the line were speedily coated with a heavy white mantle, the telegraph wires became thick glistening ropes, the line itself was buried more and more completely under a carpeting of snow, through which the not very powerful engine ploughed its way with increasing difficulty. The Vienna-Fiume line is scarcely the best equipped of the Austrian State railways, and Abbleway began to have serious fears for a breakdown. The train had slowed down to a painful and precarious crawl and presently came to a halt at a spot where the drifting snow had accumulated in a formidable barrier. The engine made a special effort and broke through the obstruction, but in the course of another twenty minutes it was again held up. The process of breaking through was renewed, and the train doggedly resumed its way, encountering and surmounting fresh hindrances at frequent intervals. After a standstill of unusually long duration in a particularly deep drift the compartment in which Abbleway was sitting gave a huge jerk and a lurch, and then seemed to remain stationary; it undoubtedly was not moving, and yet he could hear the puffing of the engine and the slow rumbling and jolting of wheels. The puffing and rumbling grew fainter, as though it were dying away through the agency of intervening distance. Abbleway suddenly gave vent to an exclamation of scandalised alarm, opened the window, and peered out into the snowstorm. The flakes perched on his eyelashes and blurred his vision, but he saw enough to help him to realise what had happened. The engine had made a mighty plunge through the drift and had gone merrily forward, lightened of the load of its rear carriage, whose coupling had snapped under the strain. Abbleway was alone, or almost alone, with a derelict railway waggon, in the heart of some Styrian or Croatian forest. In the third-class compartment next to his own he remembered to have seen a peasant woman, who had entered the train at a small wayside station. “With the exception of that woman,” he exclaimed dramatically to himself, “the nearest living beings are probably a pack of wolves.”

Before making his way to the third-class compartment to acquaint his fellow-traveller with the extent of the disaster Abbleway hurriedly pondered the question of the woman’s nationality. He had acquired a smattering of Slavonic tongues during his residence in Vienna, and felt competent to grapple with several racial possibilities.

“If she is Croat or Serb or Bosniak I shall be able to make her understand,” he promised himself. “If she is Magyar, heaven help me! We shall have to converse entirely by signs.”

He entered the carriage and made his momentous announcement in the best approach to Croat speech that he could achieve.

“The train has broken away and left us!”

The woman shook her head with a movement that might be intended to convey resignation to the will of heaven, but probably meant noncomprehension. Abbleway repeated his information with variations of Slavonic tongues and generous displays of pantomime.

“Ah,” said the woman at last in German dialect, “the train has gone? We are left. Ah, so.”

She seemed about as much interested as though Abbleway had told her the result of the municipal elections in Amsterdam.

“They will find out at some station, and when the line is clear of snow they will send an engine. It happens that way sometimes.”

“We may be here all night!” exclaimed Abbleway.

The woman nodded as though she thought it possible.

“Are there wolves in these parts?” asked Abbleway hurriedly.

“Many,” said the woman; “just outside this forest my aunt was devoured three years ago, as she was coming home from market. The horse and a young pig that was in the cart were eaten too. The horse was a very old one, but it was a beautiful young pig, oh, so fat. I cried when I heard that it was taken. They spare nothing.”

“They may attack us here,” said Abbleway tremulously; “they could easily break in, these carriages are like matchwood. We may both be devoured.”

“You, perhaps,” said the woman calmly, “not me.”

“Why not you?” demanded Abbleway.

“It is the day of Saint Mariä Kleophä, my name-day. She would not allow me to be eaten by wolves on her day. Such a thing could not be thought of. You, yes, but not me.”

Abbleway changed the subject.

“It is only afternoon now; if we are to be left here till morning we shall be starving.”

“I have here some good eatables,” said the woman tranquilly; “on my festival day it is natural that I should have provision with me. I have five good blood-sausages; in the town shops they cost twenty-five heller each. Things are dear in the town shops.”

“I will give you fifty heller apiece for a couple of them,” said Abbleway with some enthusiasm.

“In a railway accident things become very dear,” said the woman; “these blood-sausages are four kronen apiece.”

“Four kronen!” exclaimed Abbleway; “four kronen for a blood-sausage!”

“You cannot get them any cheaper on this train,” said the woman, with relentless logic, “because there aren’t any others to get. In Agram you can buy them cheaper, and in Paradise no doubt they will be given to us for nothing, but here they cost four kronen each. I have a small piece of Emmenthaler cheese and a honey-cake and a piece of bread that I can let you have. That will be another three kronen, eleven kronen in all. There is a piece of ham, but that I cannot let you have on my name-day.”

Abbleway wondered to himself what price she would have put on the ham, and hurried to pay her the eleven kronen before her emergency tariff expanded into a famine tariff. As he was taking possession of his modest store of eatables he suddenly heard a noise which set his heart thumping in a miserable fever of fear. ‘There was a scraping and shuffling as of some animal or animals trying to climb up to the footboard. In another moment, through the snow-encrusted glass of the carriage window, he saw a gaunt prick-eared head, with gaping jaw and lolling tongue and gleaming teeth; a second later another head shot up.

“There are hundreds of them,” whispered Abbleway; “they have scented us. They will tear the carriage to pieces. We shall be devoured.”

“Not me, on my name-day. The holy Mariä Kleophä would not permit it,” said the woman with provoking calm.

The heads dropped down from the window and an uncanny silence fell on the beleaguered carriage. Abbleway neither moved nor spoke. Perhaps the brutes had not clearly seen or winded the human occupants of the carriage, and had prowled away on some other errand of rapine.

The long torture-laden minutes passed slowly away.

“It grows cold,” said the woman suddenly, crossing over to the far end of the carriage, where the heads had appeared. “The heating apparatus does not work any longer. See, over there beyond the trees, there is a chimney with smoke coming from it. It is not far, and the snow has nearly stopped, I shall find a path through the forest to that house with the chimney.”

“But the wolves!” exclaimed Abbleway; “they may — ”

“Not on my name-day,” said the woman obstinately, and before he could stop her she had opened the door and climbed down into the snow. A moment later he hid his face in his hands; two gaunt lean figures rushed upon her from the forest. No doubt she had courted her fate, but Abbleway had no wish to see a human being torn to pieces and devoured before his eyes.

When he looked at last a new sensation of scandalised astonishment took possession of him. He had been straightly brought up in a small English town, and he was not prepared to be the witness of a miracle. The wolves were not doing anything worse to the woman than drench her with snow as they gambolled round her.

A short, joyous bark revealed the clue to the situation.

“Are those—dogs?” he called weakly.

“My cousin Karl’s dogs, yes,” she answered; “that is his inn, over beyond the trees. I knew it was there, but I did not want to take you there; he is always grasping with strangers. However, it grows too cold to remain in the train. Ah, ah, see what comes!”

A whistle sounded, and a relief engine made its appearance, snorting its way sulkily through the snow. Abbleway did not have the opportunity for finding out whether Karl was really avaricious.

Episode 12: To Be True (Part 2) by Jess Hyslop

Show Notes

Today we present Part 2 of To Be True by Jess Hyslop.

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 To Be True by Jess Hyslop.

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

Episode 11: To Be True (Part 1) by Jess Hyslop

Show Notes

Today we present Part 1 of To Be True by Jess Hyslop. Jess lives in London has recently been ejected from the cosy realm of academia into the perils of ‘the real world’, where she is trying to survive the life of an aspiring writer. She studied English at the University of Cambridge and three years later, emerged with her passion for sci-fi and fantasy still fully intact. Extraordinary!

In 2010 she was awarded the University’s Quiller-Couch prize for creative writing, for Augury, a short story set during the Nazi occupation of Guernsey in WWII. You will soon be able to purchase the story from Shortfire Press.

You can find out more about Jess at her blog.

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 To Be True by Jess Hyslop. Jess lives in London has recently been ejected from the cosy realm of academia into the perils of ‘the real world’, where she is trying to survive the life of an aspiring writer. She studied English at the University of Cambridge and three years later, emerged with her passion for sci-fi and fantasy still fully intact. Extraordinary!

In 2010 she was awarded the University’s Quiller-Couch prize for creative writing, for Augury, a short story set during the Nazi occupation of Guernsey in WWII. You will soon be able to purchase the story from Shortfire Press.

You can find out more about Jess at her blog.

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

Episode 10: Mrs. Jai by Wendy Bradley

Show Notes

Today we present Mrs. Jai by Wendy Bradley. Wendy was the TV critic for Interzone magazine for a time. She edited and published Farthing magazine, described by Ursula le Guin as “cooler than Asimov’s.” She went to the Clarion West writers’ workshop in 2003. She has been a hotel receptionist, bookseller, drama teacher, secretary and Civil Servant. Wendy lives in Yorkshire and works in London. She can be found on Twitter as wendybradley (check the show notes) where apparently she is “influential about football, business and drugs”. And she’s not sure what drugs they mean!

Your narrators this week include Marguerite Kenner, who narrated The Unicorn Tree in Episode 2, and Danielle Daly who narrated A Proof of Unicorns in Episode 6.

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


Narrated by Graeme Dunlop, Marguerite Kenner and Dani Daly

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present Mrs. Jai by Wendy Bradley. Wendy was the TV critic for Interzone magazine for a time. She edited and published Farthing magazine, described by Ursula le Guin as “cooler than Asimov’s.” She went to the Clarion West writers’ workshop in 2003. She has been a hotel receptionist, bookseller, drama teacher, secretary and Civil Servant. Wendy lives in Yorkshire and works in London. She can be found on Twitter as wendybradley (check the show notes) where apparently she is “influential about football, business and drugs”. And she’s not sure what drugs they mean!

Your narrators this week include Marguerite Kenner, who narrated The Unicorn Tree in Episode 2, and Danielle Daly who narrated A Proof of Unicorns in Episode 6.

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

Episode 9: Alienation (Part 2) by Katherine Sparrow

Show Notes

Today we present Part 2 of Alienation by Katherine Sparrow.

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 Alienation by Katherine Sparrow.

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

Episode 8: Alienation (Part 1) by Katherine Sparrow

Show Notes

Today we present Part 1 of Alienation by Katherine Sparrow. Katherine lives with her partner in Santa Cruz which she says “is a bit too sunny and mellow for her over-caffeinated Seattle soul.” She’s a graduate of the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop, where she learned many excellent things. She has been selling short stories here and there and is currently writing a book about teenagers and the monsters who love them. Katherine especially likes writing books, because that’s where you get to do big things. Her work has been published in Escape Pod, PodCastle, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and many others. You can find out much more about Katherine on her website.

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 Alienation by Katherine Sparrow. Katherine lives with her partner in Santa Cruz which she says “is a bit too sunny and mellow for her over-caffeinated Seattle soul.” She’s a graduate of the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop, where she learned many excellent things. She has been selling short stories here and there and is currently writing a book about teenagers and the monsters who love them. Katherine especially likes writing books, because that’s where you get to do big things. Her work has been published in Escape Pod, PodCastle, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and many others. You can find out much more about Katherine on her website.

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

Episode 7: Damnation by Chris Stamp

Show Notes

Today we present Damnation by Chris Stamp. Chris is an interesting guy, he’s had some pretty cool jobs. Right now his company Oakleaf Web Design offers a full range of web design services but he’s also been a game designer and worked for British Aerospace Military Aircraft Division on cockpit design. You can find out more about his exploits, including Mountain Biking and Writing Science Fiction at his website.

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 Damnation by Chris Stamp. Chris is an interesting guy, he’s had some pretty cool jobs. Right now his company Oakleaf Web Design offers a full range of web design services but he’s also been a game designer and worked for British Aerospace Military Aircraft Division on cockpit design. You can find out more about his exploits, including Mountain Biking and Writing Science Fiction at his website.

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

Episode 6: A Proof of Unicorns by Elizabeth Creith

Show Notes

Today we present A Proof of Unicorns by Elizabeth Creith. She is an award-winning writer living and working in rural Northern Ontario with her husband, dog and cat. SHe’s been published since around 1990 and her work has appeared in many places including Murky Depths, Misfit Magazine, Enchanted Conversation and Brain Harvest. For more information swing by her site, Elizabeth Creith’s Scriptorium.

Your narrator is Danielle Daly. Danielle — Dani for short — is a 30-something woman from Long Island, NY, living with a patient husband and two cats, who works for the man during the day and escapes from reality at night. She has no blog, and she hasn’t written a novel, but she loves reading what other people write.

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 A Proof of Unicorns by Elizabeth Creith. She is an award-winning writer living and working in rural Northern Ontario with her husband, dog and cat. She’s been published since around 1990 and her work has appeared in many places including Murky Depths, Misfit Magazine, Enchanted Conversation and Brain Harvest. For more information swing by her site, Elizabeth Creith’s Scriptorium.

Your narrator is Danielle Daly. Danielle — Dani for short — is a 30-something woman from Long Island, NY, living with a patient husband and two cats, who works for the man during the day and escapes from reality at night. She has no blog, and she hasn’t written a novel, but she loves reading what other people write.

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

Episode 5: Tír na nÓg (Part 3) by Nathaniel Lee

Show Notes

Today we present Part 3 of Tir Na Nog by Nathaniel Lee.

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 3 of Tir Na Nog by Nathaniel Lee.

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

Episode 4: Tír na nÓg (Part 2) by Nathaniel Lee

Show Notes

Today we present Part 2 of Tir Na Nog by Nathaniel Lee.

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 Tir Na Nog by Nathaniel Lee.

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