Hello everyone, and welcome to our last episode of 2015. To round out the holidays and the year, we have one more steampunk winter tale for you. Make yourself a lovely beverage, curl up in front of the fire or under a cozy blanket, and enjoy the Dickensian prose of ‘Marley and Cratchit’ by David Steffen.
David is a software engineer and writer living in Minnesota. He is the editor of Diabolical Plots, a zine on the topic of speculative fiction which publishes, among other things, original fiction as of this year and Best Of fiction podcast lists. Check out the 2014 list he created for us.
David is the administrator of the Submission Grinder, a web tool for writers to track their submissions and find markets for their work. His fiction has been published in Escapepod, Daily Science Fiction, and previously here on Cast of Wonders, among others.
David is also the editor of the Long List Anthology, a collection 21 stories collected from this year’s Hugo Awards lengthier nomination list. You don’t need to be familiar with the controversy surrounding this year’s awards to enjoy this excellent collection of tales from all corners of the world.
And what would a steampunk Christmas tale be without the Radio 4 stylings of Ian Stuart? Ian is a writer and performer from Northern England, and a regular and enthusiastic narrator for Pseudopod. He’s done voice-over work ranging from corporate videos to audio museum guides. You can find him at Voices, on Twitter or at his blog.
Thanks for listening, and from all of us we wish you the merriest of holidays and a happy new year!
Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.
Argee and Moxie have returned! And Lil has told Felix all about collecting merit badges. But before out trio could plan their next adventure, the opening ceremony began.
Everyone quiet down, let’s listen to the presentation! Where were we? Ah yes…
This week’s camper spotlight is Plato, the Four Legged Idol.
Felix says “Plato is the kind of Centaur who makes me ashamed to be a two-legger. He’s a great athlete, loves to read, and has more fans around camp than some of the actual fan clubs. He’d be easy to hate – if he wasn’t so darn nice! I wonder if he wants to hang out later…”
Plato was invented by Riley Krill. You can find the picture of him on the Camp Myth webpage.
Camp Myth: Phoenix Watching is a Cast of Wonders production brought to you by Wolfsbane Publishing. It features the voice talents of Kate Baker, Adam Black, Tina Connolly, Graeme Dunlop, Christiana Ellis, Marguerite Kenner, Alethea Kontis, Alasdair Stuart, Ian Stuart, and Barry J. Northern. You can learn more about the world of Camp Myth at our website, castofwonders.org.
The Camp Myth theme music, “August”, is by Cast of Wonders’ favorite musical artist Alexye Nov, at MusicAlley.com.
Today we present Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, The Tell-Tale Heart. Edgar Allan Poe needs little introduction. He was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre. Born in January 1809, he was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story. His works influenced literature around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography.
Though best remembered for horror, Poe also wrote satires, humor tales, and hoaxes. For comic effect, he used irony and ludicrous extravagance, often in an attempt to liberate the reader from cultural conformity. Poe also dabbled in science fiction, responding in his writing to emerging technologies such as hot air balloons in The Balloon-Hoax.
He died at age 40 in October 1849. The cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, amongst other things.
Your narrator for this iconic story is the fabulous Ian Stuart. Ian is a writer-performer living and working in York in the UK. In the past he has worked for BBC local radio in Manchester, the Isle of Man and York. As well as providing voice tracks for hotels, businesses and foreign language courses, he is a tourist guide for The Ghost Trail of York. He is has been a resident voice artist for Pseudopod for some years. You can read more about his poetry and his dog, Digby, on his blog, The Top Banana, or follow him on Twitter.
Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.
You’re listening to Little Wonders, our collection episodes featuring flash fiction and poetry centered around a theme. And since it’s Halloween, that means it’s time for scaaaaaary stories!
Our first story is Come To Me, by Beth Hull. Beth lives in Northern California with her artist/scientist husband, their two children, and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. Beth writes young adult novels and the occasional short story. To learn more about Beth, her work, and the things that annoy her (windy days, ticking clocks), and scare her (black widow spiders lurking in the mailbox), you can visit her website or find her on Twitter.
Come to Me is narrated for you by podcasting’s Dark Overlord, Alasdair Stuart. Alasdair is the host of Pseudopod, the weekly horror fiction podcast by Escape Artists. He also co-hosts Escape Pod, their weekly science fiction show. He blogs about lots of things for lots of people, including himself, his website. You can listen to him talk about cooking things, reading things, watching things or training in things like martial arts and baking on Twitter.
When most people thing of young adult fiction, they think of fantasy with a heavy sprinkling of science fiction. Horror doesn’t seem to be a popular genre, and I can understand why: thinking about younger people in frightening or dangerous situations isn’t very comforting. When you think of Harry Potter, you probably think of the fun times Harry, Ron and Herminoe have, and you glaze over the very real danger they were in.
But growing up can be scary, with or without the presence of the supernatural. And unlike a book, you can’t put your life down and come back to it later. Learning how to deal with an ugly reality is an important skill.
Which brings us to our second story, Piper by Ian Rose. Ian is a web developer and former field biologist living in Portland, Oregon. He loves oceans and mountains and rain, and is very pleased to have found a place that offers him all of these, though he does have to visit his native east coast every year to fill up on bagels, pizza, and other bread products that Oregon just can’t seem to get quite right. He blogs here and can be found on Twitter. Ian also has a story about to be published by New Myths.
Your narrator is our very own Barry J. Northern. Barry is a game developer based in Bournemouth, England making freemium games for clients such LEGO and the BBC. His latest game is breaking all records on iOS, not surprising with a title like “LEGO Star Wars Yoda Chronicles”. It’s for younger kids, but if you fancy blasting alien brains check out LEGO Hero Factory Brain Attack. All this game developing has meant Barry hasn’t been as active in the podcasting and fiction world as he used to be, but he still works behind the scenes at Cast of Wonders. He also guest narrates on occasion at The Drabblecast and StarShip Sofa.
Ian told us the inspiration for Piper was, that in of all the fables and fairy tales I was read as a child, the pied piper was the only one that ever really scared him. Not only the power that the Piper, over both the rats and the children, but the willingness to use it was terrifying. He was a sort of avatar for all the threats and dangers in the world that Ian didn’t yet understand but still knew to be afraid of.
And speaking of things you should be afraid of, how about cowled figures rowing tiny boats on dark rivers late at night? Should you ever find yourself in need of such, maybe you shouldn’t pick the one with the skeletal face…
For our final scary short, we bring you The Boatman by JA Ironside. Jules Anne Ironside started writing as a child. She grew up in Dorset in a house full of books, fed on a diet of myths, legends and spooky tales. She particularly likes to take well known myths and turn them on their heads. Jules is a keen martial artist having taught karate for fifteen years now. In her free time she likes to read and add to her collection of dead or little use languages. She has had several other short stories published in the anthologies Reading is Magic and Stories for Homes both available from Amazon. Her next published story will appear in the A Chimerical world; Unseelie anthology. You can follow her on Twitter.
To complete our trio of narrators, The Boatman is read for you by the very talented Ian Stuart. Ian Stuart is a writer, poet and performer living and working in York. In the past he has worked for BBC local radio in Manchester and the Isle of Man, where he taught English. As well as providing voice tracks for hotels, businesses and foreign language courses, he is a tourist guide for The Ghost Trail of York. (I’ve been on his tour, you don’t want to miss it!) And Ian has been a resident voice artist for Pseudopod for some years. You can read more about his poetry and his dog, Digby, on his blog, The Top Banana, or follow him on Twitter.
The Little Wonders theme, “Neversus” is by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.