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Episode 236: Beats by Brent C. Smith

Show Notes

 


February is Women in Horror Month, an international, grassroots initiative, which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre. Check out the hashtag WiHM8 for plenty of suggestions. Or if you have the stomach for stronger fair, our sister show Pseudopod.

You can find all our own Women in Horror episodes here!


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


Beats

by Brent Smith

 

“Both his parents got killed in a fire when we were in junior high. He’s been a freak ever since.” Missy Jenkins paused, and I waited, letting her build the drama. Finally she grabbed my shoulder and pulled me so close I could smell her strawberry lip gloss. “I heard he started it.”

David McKee, or “Beats” as he was called in the high school hallways, slouched at a table in the farthest corner of the lunchroom. I’d only been at Ridgefield High for a year and had never talked to him, but I knew his reputation. Everyone did. No one sat near him. That would be social suicide. Even the math whizzes and band geeks hung out one step above the level of high school outcast hell Beats had claimed.

“Now he lives with his grandparents. They’re like a hundred years old. Can you imagine? No wonder he’s so weird.”

(Continue Reading…)

Episode 232: Staff Pick 2016 – Twenty-One by Michael Merriam


• Narrated by John Meagher
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Afterburn SF (September 2007)
• Discuss this story on our forum
• For a list of all our stories, authors and narrators, visit our Wikia page
• Come visit us on Facebook and Twitter


Listen above or download here.

Content Warning: This week’s story involves more profanity than usual. Parents listening with younger children may want to join us again next week.

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge, plan the year ahead and highlight some of our favourite episodes. A different member of the Cast of Wonders crew will present their favorite story of 2016 each week in January.

We hope you enjoy assistant editor Katherine Inskip’s favorite story from 2016, Twenty-One by Michael Merriam, narrated by John Meagher. The story originally aired April 2, 2016 as Episode 204.


Michael Merriam is an author and spoken-word performer living in Hopkins, Minnesota. His novella, Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep, was long-listed for the Nebula Award in 2010, and his novel, Last Car to Annwn Station was named a Top Book in 2011 by Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction. Michael has appeared on stage in the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Minnesota Storyfest, Story Slam Minnesota, and over the air on KFAI Radio and Minnesota Public Radio. He’s also the co-organizer of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers. Visit his homepage or follow him on Twitter.

John MeagherJohn Meagher is the writer and narrator of Tales of the Left Hand, an ongoing fantasy series offering “swashbuckling, intrigue, and a dash of magic.” You can learn more about his work at www.talesofthelefthand.com or on Twitter. In his secret identity, he’s a graphic designer living outside Washington DC with his wife, daughter and two cats.

 

 

 


Read along with the text of the story.

Theme music is Appeal to Heavens by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Supernatural Radio and Tempting Secrets by A Kevin MacLeod are licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Episode 230: Staff Pick 2016 – Planar Ghosts by Krystal Claxton


• Narrated by Paul Cram
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Writers of the Future (Volume 31)
• Discuss this story on our forum
• For a list of all our stories, authors and narrators, visit our Wikia page
• Come visit us on Facebook and Twitter

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge, plan the year ahead and highlight some of our favourite episodes. A different member of the Cast of Wonders crew will present their favorite story of 2016 each week in January.

We hope you enjoy former assistant editor Jeff Hite’s favorite story from 2016, Planar Ghosts by Krystal Claxton, narrated by Paul Cram. The story originally aired across two episodes in April 2016, Episodes 205 and 206. The story is presented here in its entirety.


 

Krystal ClaxtonKrystal Claxton writes speculative fiction in the sliver of time between being a parent and a full-time computer technician. She lives in Georgia with her long-suffering spouse, a dog who thinks she’s a cat, and a number of children that is subject to change. She enjoys breaking Heinlein’s Rules, getting distracted by DragonCon, and feverishly researching whichever random topic has just piqued her interest. You can keep up with her online at and on Twitter.

 

 

 

Paul CramThe very first story Paul Cram ever narrated was here at Cast of Wonders, and he seems to have been bit by the bug. While Paul still considers his voice to be somewhat new to the world of audio, he now has a few full-length novels under his belt, including the Zombie-filled love story Flirting With Death, sci-fi action story The Face Stealer and the soon-to-be-released Kidnapped, A Jarek Grayson Private Detective Novel due out in the spring 2016. Find them online at Audible, Itunes, & Amazon.

Paul grew up performing on stage and in more recent years traveling the United States working on independent films. This summer keep an eye out for Paul alongside actor Woody Harrelson in the movie Wilson.

When not on a movie set or recording booth, Paul can be found deep-frying chicken wings & cream cheese wontons with his older sister, or arguing about pop culture with his little brother around one of the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota. You can find Paul online and on Twitter.


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

Read along with the text of the story.

Episode 206: Planar Ghosts (Part Two) by Krystal Claxton


• Narrated by Paul Cram
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Writers of the Future (Volume 31)
• Discuss this story on our forum
• For a list of all our stories, authors and narrators, visit our Wikia page
• Come visit us on Facebook and Twitter

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Krystal ClaxtonKrystal Claxton writes speculative fiction in the sliver of time between being a parent and a full-time computer technician. She lives in Georgia with her long-suffering spouse, a dog who thinks she’s a cat, and a number of children that is subject to change. She enjoys breaking Heinlein’s Rules, getting distracted by DragonCon, and feverishly researching whichever random topic has just piqued her interest. You can keep up with her online at and on Twitter.

 

 

 

Paul CramThe very first story Paul Cram ever narrated was here at Cast of Wonders, and he seems to have been bit by the bug. While Paul still considers his voice to be somewhat new to the world of audio, he now has a few full-length novels under his belt, including the Zombie-filled love story Flirting With Death, sci-fi action story The Face Stealer and the soon-to-be-released Kidnapped, A Jarek Grayson Private Detective Novel due out in the spring 2016. Find them online at Audible, Itunes, & Amazon.

Paul grew up performing on stage and in more recent years traveling the United States working on independent films. This summer keep an eye out for Paul alongside actor Woody Harrelson in the movie Wilson.

When not on a movie set or recording booth, Paul can be found deep-frying chicken wings & cream cheese wontons with his older sister, or arguing about pop culture with his little brother around one of the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota. You can find Paul online and on Twitter.


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

Read along with the text of the story.

Episode 205: Planar Ghosts (Part One) by Krystal Claxton


• Narrated by Paul Cram
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Writers of the Future (Volume 31)
• Discuss this story on our forum
• For a list of all our stories, authors and narrators, visit our Wikia page
• Come visit us on Facebook and Twitter

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Krystal ClaxtonKrystal Claxton writes speculative fiction in the sliver of time between being a parent and a full-time computer technician. She lives in Georgia with her long-suffering spouse, a dog who thinks she’s a cat, and a number of children that is subject to change. She enjoys breaking Heinlein’s Rules, getting distracted by DragonCon, and feverishly researching whichever random topic has just piqued her interest. You can keep up with her online at and on Twitter.

 

 

 

Paul CramThe very first story Paul Cram ever narrated was here at Cast of Wonders, and he seems to have been bit by the bug. While Paul still considers his voice to be somewhat new to the world of audio, he now has a few full-length novels under his belt, including the Zombie-filled love story Flirting With Death, sci-fi action story The Face Stealer and the soon-to-be-released Kidnapped, A Jarek Grayson Private Detective Novel due out in the spring 2016. Find them online at Audible, Itunes, & Amazon.

Paul grew up performing on stage and in more recent years traveling the United States working on independent films. This summer keep an eye out for Paul alongside actor Woody Harrelson in the movie Wilson.

When not on a movie set or recording booth, Paul can be found deep-frying chicken wings & cream cheese wontons with his older sister, or arguing about pop culture with his little brother around one of the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota. You can find Paul online and on Twitter.


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

Read along with the text of the story.

Episode 204: Twenty-One by Michael Merriam


• Narrated by John Meagher
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Afterburn SF (September 2007)
• Discuss this story on our forum
• For a list of all our stories, authors and narrators, visit our Wikia page
• Come visit us on Facebook and Twitter


Listen above or download here.

Read along with the text of the story.

Show Notes

Content Warning: This week’s story involves more profanity than usual. Parents listening with younger children may want to join us again next week.

Michael Merriam is an author and spoken-word performer living in Hopkins, Minnesota. His novella, Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep, was long-listed for the Nebula Award in 2010, and his novel, Last Car to Annwn Station was named a Top Book in 2011 by Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction. Michael has appeared on stage in the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Minnesota Storyfest, Story Slam Minnesota, and over the air on KFAI Radio and Minnesota Public Radio. He’s also the co-organizer of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers. Visit his homepage or follow him on Twitter.

John MeagherJohn Meagher is the writer and narrator of Tales of the Left Hand, an ongoing fantasy series offering “swashbuckling, intrigue, and a dash of magic.” You can learn more about his work at www.talesofthelefthand.com or on Twitter. In his secret identity, he’s a graphic designer living outside Washington DC with his wife, daughter and two cats.

 

 

 

 


Happy birthday, Podcastle! Our fantasy sister show is celebrating it’s 8th anniversary. Pop on over and join the party with Graeme Dunlop, Rachael K. Jones and the rest of the castle’s inhabitants.

Our good friend Alex Shvartman’s Unidentified Funny Objects 5 has just successfully completed it’s Kickstarter and is now open for submissions through the end of April.


Theme music is Appeal to Heavens by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Supernatural Radio and Tempting Secrets by A Kevin MacLeod are licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Episode 183: Hat Trick by Beth Cato


Narrated by Rachael K. Jones
Audio production by Jeremy Carter
Originally published in Oomph: A Little Super Goes A Long Way by Crossed Genres Publications


Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Beth CatoBeth Cato is the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER steampunk fantasy series from Harper Voyager. Her short fiction is in Urban Fantasy Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Daily Science Fiction. Her story Reading Time appeared in Episode 141 last year. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. You can follow her online and on Twitter.

 

 

 

Rachael K. JonesThe story is narrated for you by Podcastle co-editor Rachael K. Jones. Rachael grew up in various cities across Europe and North America, picked up (and mostly forgot) six languages, an addiction to running, and a couple degrees. Now she writes speculative fiction in Athens, Georgia, where she lives with her husband. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a variety of venues, including Shimmer, Lightspeed, Accessing the Future, Strange Horizons, Escape Pod, Crossed Genres, and Daily Science Fiction. She is an editor, a SFWA member, and a secret android. Follow her on Twitter.

 


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

Read along with the text of the story.

Episode 153: Staff Pick 2014 – Shimmer by Amanda C. Davis


Narrated by Lizzie S

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Every year in January Cast of Wonders takes a break to catch our breath, plan out the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes from the year just passed.

We hope you enjoy Jeff’s favorite story from 2014, Shimmer by Amanda C. Davis, which originally aired November 30, 2014 as Episode 148.

Amanda has an engineering degree and a fondness for baking, gardening, and low-budget horror films. Her short fiction has appeared in print and around the web. For a collection of dark fairy-tale retellings, check out Wolves and Witches, co-written with her sister Megan Engelhardt. You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her work at her website.

Shimmer is narrated for you by Lizzie S. Lizzie works in data visualisation, and her work hours are consumed with thinking about data, how it fits together and how to visualise it in a simple manner for others. To escape this she is a keen gamer, writer and reader vanishing off into fantasy worlds for hours at a time. She currently lives with her husband and dreams of a time when they might have space to own a cat or a dog. You can follow her on Twitter.

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

Read Along

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Episode 148: Shimmer by Amanda C. Davis


Narrated by Lizzie S.

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Amanda C. Davis has an engineering degree and a fondness for baking, gardening, and low-budget horror films. Her short fiction has appeared in print and around the web. For a collection of dark fairy-tale retellings, check out Wolves and Witches, co-written with her sister Megan Engelhardt. You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her work at her website.

Shimmer is narrated for you by Lizzie S. Lizzie works in data visualisation, and her work hours are consumed with thinking about data, how it fits together and how to visualise it in a simple manner for others. To escape this she is a keen gamer, writer and reader vanishing off into fantasy worlds for hours at a time. She currently lives with her husband and dreams of a time when they might have space to own a cat or a dog. You can follow her on Twitter.


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

Read Along

Click here to read the text of the story

Episode 144: The Middle Rages by Joseph L. Kellogg


Narrated by John Cmar

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Joseph L. Kellogg is an environmental chemist by day and SF writer by night. He has been published in venues such as Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, and has work upcoming in Space and Time magazine and Lakeside Circus. He lives in Northeast Tennessee with his wife, and absolutely, positively no cats. You can find him on Twitter.

For your narrator we welcome back podcasting’s favorite and, sadly these last few weeks busiest, infectious diseases doctor, John Cmar. John splits his time between treating horrors such as syphilis and now ebola, and molding the next generation of doctors, while repeatedly washing his hands in between. When not herding his five cats or going fanboy over the space endeavors of his wife Moon Ranger Laura, John infectious various podcast and radio projects with his voice. He is the Chief Medical Officer and Bad Doctor in Residence at his personal blog, where he consults and ruminates over all manner of things.


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

Read Along

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Episode 124: Old People Rules by Holly Schofield


Narrated by Melissa Bugaj

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

This week we present Old People Rules, by Holly Schofield. Holly travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of a prairie farmhouse and her writing cabin on the Canadian west coast. Her work has been published in Perihelion and AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review. She also has stories in three anthologies: Tesseracts 17, Oomph: A Little Super Goes A Long Way, and The Future Embodied. She is very pleased to have work forthcoming in Lightspeed’s Women Destroy Science Fiction issue which will be out in June and hopes that the stories there will speak to the unique experiences and abilities of teenage girls. You can find out more on Light Speed’s site under their Special Issues section. For more of Holly’s work, see her wesbite.

Your narrator is Melissa Bugaj. Melissa is a proud mom of an eight-year-old boy and five-year-old girl. She is a special educator in her fourteenth year of teaching. Melissa has taught all grade levels from preschool to grade five in both general and special education. Recently, she’s taken a leap in her teaching as she enters the high school level as a Conceptual Physics teacher. She co-writes and co-produces an original children’s story podcast with her husband, Chris, called Night Light Stories. She also writes a personal blog called According to Mags, about her children’s silly antics that keep her and her readers entertained. Melissa enjoys presenting with her husband at different state conferences on the subjects of audio stories and podcasting.

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

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Episode 113: Staff Pick 2013 – The Malthus Alternative by Jamie Mason


Read by Graeme Dunlop

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Graeme’s staff pick for 2013 is The Malthus Alternative by Jamie Mason. I guess the staff pick is meant to be from 2013 but I couldn’t resist looking over our whole back-catalogue. From the time this idea was floated, two stories were foremost in my mind. At first I thought I wouldn’t go with them because I narrate both and it seemed self-serving. But honestly I love both stories and so I went with my favourite, which is The Malthus Alternative by Jamie Mason. It ran as Episode 48, way back in August 2012.

Why did I like it so much? I think the foremost reason is the main character, Michael. He feels himself an outsider, an observer, a thinker. His path through life has been set by his father and he feels ensnared. Through martial arts and his mat sister Glenda, he senses that he can take a different path if he has the courage to choose. And choose he does, despite the personal sacrifice. And even in that sacrifice, we see at the end he is still fighting.

I find that both inspiring and challenging. It’s easy to follow an expected path. It’s easy to look around and see there is much with the world that isn’t right. It’s even easy to see what to do to make a difference, set some things right. But it can be hard to come to those conclusions and act. I respect Michael’s decisions and actions and I’d like to think I’m capable of them too.

Jamie has packed a lot of ideas and thoughtful introspection into a small space, something that’s not easy to do. Jamie, thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us.

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

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