Posts Tagged ‘Modern Fantasy’

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Episode 259: Seer’s Salad by Barbara A. Barnett

Show Notes

 

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


Seer’s Salad

by Barbara A. Barnett

 

There would be no snatching my laptop back from Diya. She slapped my hand every time I reached across the café table for it. I had been a keystroke away from deleting the amateur-hour comic panels cluttering up my hard drive–months of wasted effort that Diya was now inexplicably determined to keep reading. Her gaze remained glued to the screen as she shoveled forkfuls of salad from bowl to mouth.

“Tam, these are awesome,” she said, voice pitched at a chirpy, bird-like frequency. “It’s like George Romero meets Dostoyevsky meets Thelma and Louise meets an alien invasion flick.”

I shrugged. As much as I wanted to believe I had enough talent to create a successful webcomic, it was hard to take Diya’s encouragement seriously. I had seen her get equally excited over blueberry pancakes, after all.

“They’re nothing special,” I said, ninja-seizing my laptop before she could dribble dressing all over the keyboard. “Just drafts, really.”

Diya responded with a chiding wave of her fork. “You need to publish this shit,” she said–at least that’s what it sounded like through her mouthful of salad. Another bite, and she erupted into a violent coughing fit that sent bits of lettuce and tomato spraying across the table.

“Are you all right?” I asked, half standing. “Do I need to Heimlich you or something?”

Diya grabbed her water bottle and chugged. “I’m fine,” she said between gulps. “I just wasn’t expecting that.”

“Expecting what?” I studied her meal for possible culprits, only to end up with a case of lunch-buyer’s remorse instead. The scent of mango vinaigrette made me wish I hadn’t opted for the same chicken noodle soup I always bought. “Is there something wrong with your salad?”

“No, the salad’s great. But the guy who made it? Total scumbag. We’re talking shoots-stray-cats-with-a-BB-gun levels of scumbaggery.”

Out-of-the-blue segues like that were why I loved hanging out with Diya. She was random. Unpredictable. One of those people who seemed to walk on fairy dust with her big flowered hats and the sparkly nose ring that set off her brown skin. The one time I tried dressing like Diya, people looked at me like I was a Christmas tree on display in July. So I accepted my lot in life: I was doomed to remain boring old Tamsin, trailing one step behind in Diya’s glittery wake.

Diya stared toward the café counter, neck craned. “I should find out where this guy lives and report him.”

“How do you know he shoots cats?”

Diya’s eyes went wide, like a sparkly deer caught in headlights. “Oh crap, I shouldn’t have said anything. It’s just that the cat thing caught me off guard and–“

“What are you talking about?”

Diya cringed. “If I tell you something, you have to promise not to make fun of me.”

Diya self-conscious? That was a first worth hearing more about. “I promise.”

“It was the salad. The romaine didn’t show me much–bad pickup lines at the bar, jerking off at the movies, that kind of crap.” With her fork, Diya pointed from one tomato to another, as if their positioning spelled out a secret code. “The really twisted stuff is in the tomatoes.”

She had to be messing with me. I had only known Diya for a couple months; we both belonged to the army of underemployed twenty-somethings slinging lattes down the street at the Bean There, Drank That Café. But it had been long enough for me to know that psychic salad visions were over the top, even for Diya.

“You know he shoots cats because of the tomatoes?” I said.

“I’m afraid to even touch the artichokes.” Diya downed more water. “Anyway, so I was telling my brother about that awesome ginger beer you made and–“

“Whoa, back up, I’m still on the salad and the cat shooting.”

Diya let out a dramatic sigh. “I see things about people, okay?”

“When you eat food?”

“Not just any food. Salad. Salad the person made.”

Definitely messing with me. But I decided to play along and see how far she was willing to take this new addition to her manic pixie dream girl routine. “So you knew seeing something awful about this guy was a risk, yet you ordered salad anyway?”

“He was hot. I wanted to find out if he was a decent guy.”

“Isn’t that kind of creepy stalker territory?”

Diya started to object, but snapped her mouth shut. Her face took on that pinched, tight-lipped look she got in the rare moments when someone got the upper hand on her. “You’re right,” she said. “It’s creepy. Lesson learned. But he’s a psycho, so in this case, I think it all evens out.”

I could have dropped the whole salad thing at that point; I had just scored a Diya concession, after all. How often did that happen? But no, I wasn’t going to let her off the hook that easily. “And you developed this power how? Exposure to a radioactive crouton?”

Diya shook her head in annoyance. “It’s a family thing, okay? Some people inherit blue eyes or curly hair. I got the psychic crap.”

“So does this family gift of yours work with pasta salad? Fruit salad? Or is this strictly a lettuce-based thing?”

“Great,” Diya snapped. “First I get the psycho cat-shooter salad, and now you’re making fun of me after promising not to. Thanks, Tam. Way to be a friend.”

Diya sank back in her chair. Instead of commanding the room with that larger-than-life way of hers, she looked deflated, her traffic-cone-orange jacket suddenly two sizes too big, her polka dotted scarf two feet too long. A sulky, Diya-style overreaction, sure, but she was right: I had broken my promise.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “But most people would have prefaced this whole salad thing with something like, ‘I know this sounds crazy, but…'”

Diya sniffed, shifted in her chair, glanced at everything but me. The café chatter became deafening in her silence, conversations about workplace drama and the latest episode of some hot new sitcom amplified beyond tolerance. But as I listened to those conversations–those normal­­ conversations–my pity for Diya turned to annoyance. How did she expect me to react when everything she said and did was as outrageously kooky as possible? And this salad thing–play along with it, and I’d end up the butt of the joke, silly Tamsin blushing furiously as Diya burst into a fit of giggles. But call Diya on her bullshit, and she’d assault me with those wide, watery eyes, like she was a child and I had just taken her favorite toy away.

“Bring on the eyes,” I said.

Diya cocked her head to one side, on the receiving end of confusion for once. “What?”

“That puppy-dog eye thing you do. You’ll pout and give me that face until I say I believe you, and then you’ll be the one laughing at me.” I hated how harsh my tone sounded, yet the words kept spilling out. “I love you, Diya, but there’s only so much randomness you get to drop on a person before you lose the right to get snippy when they don’t believe you. I’m tired of playing the boring, gullible sidekick to your Princess Whimsy Pants.”

Diya straightened in her chair, mouth agape. “Princess Whimsy Pants?”

“Salad, for Christ’s sake. You’re making me mad at you over salad.”

Diya gathered up her vintage purse and the duck-shaped notebook she doodled in when she was bored. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to make you mad. But if you feel boring next to me? That’s not my fault. That one’s on you.”

Diya stood and strode from the café.

This isn’t about me, I wanted to shout after her. You don’t get to be the righteous angry one! But then my gaze fell on my plain old soup sitting next to her half-eaten, cat-torture salad. The drab vs. the colorful. The perfect metaphor for our friendship.

Yet I still ordered the soup. Every. Damn. Time.

“Crap,” I said, burying my head in my hands. Coolest person I knew, and I had just driven her away with my own snarky insecurity. How the hell do I fix this?

 


 

When I showed up at her apartment the next morning, Diya promptly slammed the door in my face.

“That went well,” I muttered, then set to knocking again, another monotonous round of knuckles-to-wood.

Nothing.

“Please, Diya, just hear me out.”

More nothing. I pressed my ear against the door. Not a breath, not a rustle. Just lots and lots of nothing. Time for Phase 2.

I reached into my oversized messenger bag, pulled out a covered bowl, and held it up to the door’s peephole. I just had to hope Diya was still on the other side and not climbing out the fire escape–it wouldn’t be the first time she had avoided an unwanted visitor that way.

“I brought you a peace offering,” I said.

Still no response. Just a long, uncomfortable stretch of non-reaction that had me peering under the door for signs of movement, then looking up and down the hall out of fear that a neighbor would emerge and think me some kind of creepazoid stalker. Which I was kind of starting to feel like.

I could tell them about my cat-shooting habit and my BB gun named Diya. Yeah, that would smooth things over real nice.

Finally, the door opened. Diya regarded the bowl in my hands with narrowed eyes. “It’s salad, isn’t it?”

“I made it. Because I’m sorry I upset you, and I’m willing to believe you about the salad thing, but you have to cut me some slack and prove it.”

“Been there, done that. No one ever likes what they hear.”

“Well, there is absolutely nothing scandalous or even remotely interesting about my life to see, so bon appétit, girlfriend.”

Diya waved me inside, where I immediately felt like a dark splotch of normalcy intruding upon her magical world of pink beanbag chairs and cinnamon-scented incense. But that was my problem; Diya had been right about that. The only thing stopping me from wearing nose rings and sparkly feathered boas was my own self-consciousness.

I peeled the lid off the salad and handed the bowl to Diya. She didn’t bother getting a fork. Just grabbed a clump of lettuce and popped it into her mouth.

“You didn’t make this,” she said, chewing.

“You sure?”

Diya barely finished swallowing before following up the lettuce with a slice of cucumber. “Yeah, this is from the deli on the corner. The chick with the bird tattoo made it. I just really wish she had washed her hands first.”

“Eeew,” I said, though a jolt of anticipatory excitement overshadowed the gross factor. I couldn’t verify the lack of hand washing, but the girl at the deli did have a mean-looking blue jay stamped on her right bicep. Still, Diya could have seen me in the deli earlier. Or it could have been a lucky guess.

I reached into my messenger bag and pulled out another container. “This one I really did make.”

“You sneaky little . . .”

I’m sure Diya was aiming for mad with the look she gave me, but there was no hiding the half-smile that snuck onto her lips. Perhaps I could salvage this friendship, after all.

Diya traded me the bowl for the new container. Apprehension quickly sent my brief moment of hope packing. If she wasn’t faking the psychic thing, then forget about whatever embarrassing slips of hygiene she might see. My dread stemmed from the vast amounts of boring restraint that had been my life to date. One leaf of lettuce might prove coma-inducing.

Diya frowned at the container’s contents. “No dressing?”

“Dry salad seemed about right to sum me up.”

Diya rolled her eyes. She plucked a cherry tomato from the salad and studied it as if it were a crystal ball. “Oooooo,” she intoned.

“Oh, would you just eat it already?”

Diya snickered, then slipped the tomato into her mouth. Instead of chewing, she pushed it from side to side with her tongue, making each cheek puff out in turn.

I glared; she smirked.

At last, Diya started to eat. First the tomato, then a sliver of carrot, next a clump of avocado. My stomach engaged in a series of somersaults as more and more bits of salad passed between Diya’s lips. Cucumbers, onions, olives, croutons. Her jaw moved up and down with careful, excruciating slowness, as if mastication were a sacred rite that had to be performed ever just so. Diya could have been dragging it out just to screw with me, yet with each swallow, I grew more certain and fearful that she simply hadn’t found anything of interest in her visions, for her expression remained an unchanging, blank-eyed look of veggie-inspired ennui.

“For the record,” Diya said, “it’s kind of insulting that you think I’d have spent all this time hanging out with a boring person. Granted, your social comfort zone is this teeny-tiny microscopic little thing that could use expanding, but boring people don’t teach themselves how to brew their own beer out of every random ingredient under the sun. They certainly don’t create comics about a badass lesbian couple fighting alien zombies in Russia.”

A slight smile found its way onto my lips. I didn’t sound nearly so dull when she put it like that. “So is that what you got from the salad?” I asked. “That I’m cool but insecure?”

“Screw the salad; this is me talking. I love you, Tam, and I don’t want you to be anyone but you. But sometimes I get the feeling that you won’t let you be you. Like you think you have to be me or something.”

Bam. Salad visions or not, Diya had nailed it. My obsessive coveting of her flashy style had sucked away every last bit of confidence I had in my own. But I didn’t need to wear sparkly clothes to be interesting. Hell, I didn’t even like sparkly clothes. What I did like was the would-be webcomic wasting away on my computer. I had the domain and the hosting secured, the site designed, at least six months’ worth of strips ready to publish–all I had to do was launch the damn site. But nope, I kept chickening out, convinced no one would be interested.

Diya chomped on a withered shred of iceberg lettuce. Her eyes widened and she squealed, pointing at the salad as if it held the cure for cancer. “Oh my god, this is exactly what I’m talking about!”

“What?”

“Your comic! You’ve had the whole site ready to go for like months now. And Siberian Genome? You told me you didn’t even have a decent title, you liar. What the hell are you waiting for?”

“Whoa.” I gaped at Diya. I hadn’t shared those details with anyone, making me suddenly certain of two things: my friend really did have psychic salad powers, and I didn’t have a damn thing to lose. Because seriously, psychic salad powers? That was kind of mind blowing. That was the kind of thing that spends hours sinking in before the full impact of it slugs you like a brick-loaded boxing glove in the middle of the night. So if I could hold the interest of a person who received salad-based visions, then I sure as hell could get some eyeballs on my comic on a regular basis.

“What the hell am I waiting for?” With a little squeal of my own, I plopped onto a beanbag chair and whipped out my laptop. “Let’s get this puppy online already.”

“About damn time, girlfriend.” Diya squeezed onto the beanbag with me. “One suggestion, though?”

“I’m all ears.”

“Sparklier background on the web page. As in, it currently has no sparkles. Just purpleness.”

“You’re the sparkly one, salad girl.” I knocked Diya off the beanbag with a playful shove. “This is gonna be my thing, and my thing doesn’t include sparkles.”

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 223: The Oulough by Francesca Forrest


• Narrated by Julia Rios
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• A Cast of Wonders original!
• 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

Francesca Forrest has lived in the United States, England, and Japan and used to boast about having given birth to children on three continents. If she’d started earlier, she might have tried for births on the rest. Currently she works as a copy editor, spending as much of her free time writing as possible. She’s had short stories and poems published both online and in print, along with one novel, Pen Pal. She also volunteers as a tutor in a medium-security jail. She loves knowing which plants in a landscape are edible and the folk names of wildflowers. You can follow her online and on Twitter.

 

 

Julia Rios is a writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator. Her fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in several places, including Daily Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, and Goblin Fruit. She is a fiction editor for the Hugo-nominated magazine, Strange Horizons, and co-editor with Alisa Krasnostein of Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, and the Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2013. Follow her 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 216: Banned Books Week – This Story Begins With You by Rachael K. Jones


• Narrated by Jen R. Albert
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• A Cast of Wonders original!
• 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

Rachael K. JonesRachael K. Jones grew up in various cities across Europe and North America, picked up (and mostly forgot) six languages, an addiction to running, and a couple of degrees. Now she writes speculative fiction in Athens, Georgia, where she lives with her husband. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in many venues including Shimmer, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons, EscapePod, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and The Drabblecast. She is a SFWA member and a secret android. Follow her on online or on Twitter.

 

 

jen-r-albertJen R. Albert is an entomologist, writer of science fiction and fantasy, gamer, and (in her own words) all around geek. She is co-editor at PodCastle and submissions editor at Uncanny. Her first story appeared in Mad Scientist Journal in June 2015. You can follow her online or on Twitter.

 

 

 


The Comic Book Legal Defence Fund is a non-profit dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics medium and is an annual sponsor of Banned Books Week. Founded in 1986, the CBLDF has managed and paid for the legal defense of artists, worked with libraries to resist challenged to comics and graphic novels, and undertaken advocacy work against unconstitutional proposed legitlation at the state and Federal level.


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 200: Running on Two Legs by Eugie Foster


• Narrated by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in The 3rd Alternative, Issue #40 (2004)
• 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

Eugie FosterEugie Foster was an American short story writer, columnist, and editor. Her stories have been published in a number of magazines and book anthologies, including Fantasy Magazine, Realms of Fantasy, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and Interzone. Her collections of short stories include Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, published in 2009.

After receiving her master’s degree in psychology, she retired from academia to pen flights of fancy. She also edited legislation for the Georgia General Assembly, which from time to time she suspected were another venture into flights of fancy. She was also a director for Dragon*Con and edited their onsite newsletter, the Daily Dragon.

Eugie won the 2009 Nebula Award for Best Novelette for Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast. She’s also been a finalist for the Hugo, Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press, and British Science Fiction Association awards.

Eugie died at Emory University Hospital on September 27, 2014 from respiratory failure, a complication of treatments for Large B-Cell Lymphoma. The day Foster died, Daily Science Fiction published her last short story, nominated for the Nebula award, When it Ends, He Catches Her. The story ran on PseudoPod, and includes the Escape Artists’ tribute to this prolific and diverse author, and personal friend of many EA staff.

Eugie is another proud member of the Hat Trick club – she both narrated and published stories in all three Escape Artists’ podcasts. I’d like to think that running her story here, as our 200th episode, helps her maintain that record.

Her website and wiki pages detail the full range of her work.

Links to all the episodes mentioned above will be available in the show notes for you. We’ll also include a link to Eugie’s entry in the EA wikia, which has a complete listing of her stories and narrations, along with her own wiki page that details all her fiction.

Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali‘Running on Two Legs’ is narrated by Podcastle’s assistant editor Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali. Khaalidah lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of twenty-five years and three children. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times she juggles, none too successfully, writing, reading, gaming and gardening.

She has a self-published novel entitled An Unproductive Woman, has published at EscapePod and has a story upcoming in the An Alphabet of Embers anthology, STRAEON 3, and Diabolical Plots.

As Assistant Editor at PodCastle, she’s on a mission to encourage more women to submit SFF stories. Of her alter ego, K from the planet Vega, it is rumored that she owns a time machine and knows the secret to immortality. You can catch her posts at her website and you can 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 199: Leapling by Nicole Feldringer


• Narrated by Michelle Ristuccia
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• A Cast of Wonders original!
• 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

Nicole Feldringer holds a PhD in atmospheric sciences and a master in geophysics. In 2011, she attended the Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop, and her fiction has previously appeared in the anthologies Press Start to Play and Loosed Upon the World both edited by John Joseph Adams. She currently lives in Los Angeles. Find her on Twitter. ‘Leapling’ is a Cast of Wonders original.

 

 

 

Michelle RistucciaFor your narrator this week we welcome back Michelle Ristuccia, who listeners may remember from a previous pair of really excellent stories. Michelle enjoys slowing down time in the middle of the night to read and review speculative fiction, because sleeping offspring are the best motivation. You can find out more about her writing and her rabid love of science fiction and fantasy at her website, stalk her on Twitter, or read her reviews at Tangent Online.

 

 

 


Since this is a leap year, that means you have one extra day to use the special promo code DF0DICMWES to get Issue 1 of Mothership Zeta for just a buck from Payhip! And while you’re there, check out Issue 2 featuring stories from Sonja Natasha and T. Kingfisher, artwork from Elizabeth Leggett, plus The Story Doctor column by James Patrick Kelly and much much more. Better yet, as a discerning EA listener why not subscribe and get Mothership Zeta delivered fresh to your inbox every quarter. Available from Amazon, Smashwords, Payhip and Weightless Books.


The Escapepod flash fiction contest has landed. Come to our forums and follow the tracks to see if these are the droids you have been looking for. Vote to determine which three winning stories will be purchased and run as a special bonus episode of EscapePod. Stories will be published on a members-only section of the forums, so come join and participate today.


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

Read along with the text of the story.

Episode 198: The Authorized Biography (Part 2) by Michael G. Ryan


• Narrated by Brian Rollins
• Audio production by Rikki La Coste
• A Cast of Wonders original!
• 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

This week we present the conclusion of The Authorized Biography by Michael G. Ryan, narrated by Brian Rollins. We provided Michael and Brian’s full biographies last week.


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

Read along with the text of the story.

Episode 197: The Authorized Biography (Part 1) by Michael G. Ryan


• Narrated by Brian Rollins
• Audio production by Rikki La Coste
• A Cast of Wonders original!
• 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

Michael G. RyanWe present this week part one of The Authorized Biography by Michael G. Ryan. Michael considers himself a late bloomer as a published author–but not as a writer. He’s been writing for over 40 years, but is only now taking all those short stories and novels out of the digital bottom drawer and submitting them for consideration.

He’s planning a Kickstarter in early 2016 for his novel None of This Has Happened Yet, a fictional biography told in short stories presented in reverse order. He’s been an editor in the gaming industry for twenty years, working now as the director of publications for Privateer Press.

Brian RollinsThe story is narrated by Brian Rollins. Brian is a voice actor living in the Denver, Colorado area with his wife, two kids and a Great Dane. He has narrated for a variety of podcasts as well as several audiobooks, including the Glen & Tyler series. When he’s not in the soundbooth, he works as a web developer and can occasionally be coaxed out into public and onto the stage (usually with Dr. Pepper or chocolate). You can find Brian online and on Twitter.

 

 


Galen Dara’s amazing print for Artemis Rising is available on Society6.


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

Read along with the text of the story.

Episode 196: She Sleeps Beneath the Sea by Shveta Thakrar


• Narrated by Mahvesh Murad
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Faerie (Issue 31, Summer 2015)
• 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

Shveta ThakrarOur story this week is the haunting and lovely She Sleeps Beneath the Sea by Shveta Thakrar. Shveta is a writer of South Asian–flavored fantasy, social justice activist, and part-time nagini. She draws on her heritage, her experience growing up with two cultures, and her love of myth to spin stories about spider silk and shadows, magic and marauders, and courageous girls illuminated by dancing rainbow flames. When not hard at work on her second novel, a young adult fantasy about stars, Shveta makes things out of glitter and paper and felt, devours books, daydreams, draws, bakes sweet treats, travels, and occasionally even practices her harp. You can find more of her work in Uncanny and the excellent Kaleidoscope anthology, and her poems have appears in Mythic Delirium and Strange Horizons. Learn more on her website and Twitter.

Mahvesh MuradYour narrator is the extremely talented Mahvesh Murad. Mahvesh is a voice artist, editor, book reviewer and recovering radio host. She’s the editor of the Apex Book of World SF 4, as well as the co-editor of a forthcoming anthology of jinn stories from Solaris. She lives in Karachi, Pakistan. You can follow her on Twitter and her website.

 

 

 

 

 


Shveta’s inspirational image, La Dormeuse, by Alain Lacki.


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

Read along with the text of the story.

Episode 192: Staff Pick 2015 – There Are No Marshmallows in Camelot by Christian McKay Heidicker


Narrated by Marguerite Kenner
Audio production by Rikki LaCoste
A Cast of Wonders original!


Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge our batteries, plan the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes. As part of joining the Escape Artists family, this year we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re running 10 staff pick episodes over the month, each one hosted by a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew.

We hope you enjoy slush reader Alexis’ Goble’s favorite story from 2015, There Are No Marshmallows in Camelot by Christian McKay Heidicker and narrated by Marguerite Kenner. The story originally aired March 15, 2015 as Episode 159.


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

Read along with the text of the story.