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Cast of Wonders 279: Random Play All and the League of Awesome

Random Play All and the League of Awesome

by Shane Halbach

Cyrus sat on the couch and crunched on a bowl of frosted wheat. Normally he would have sat at the table, but the table was currently covered with papers, folders and charts. His mom was finalizing her budget with her new business partner, Herman. There wasn’t much room in the one bedroom condo, so Cyrus was bumped to the couch.

He was sick to death of business plans and marketing and how much will it cost, so he put in his ear buds and switched his mp3 player on. He hit next to get a random song.

Can’t trust me but it’s not about trust
I make no sense, I am the walrus

Cyrus sprayed milk all over the coffee table.

He had been looking directly at Herman when that line played. He always though Herman looked like a walrus, with his droopy mustache and big belly.

(Continue Reading…)

Episode 202: Henkie’s Fiddle by Vonnie Winslow Crist

• Narrated by Andrew Reid
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Originally published in Potter’s Field 4
• 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

Vonnie Winslow CristVonnie Winslow Crist is an author and illustrator living in a rural Maryland. She is editor of The Gunpowder Review and senior editor at Pole to Pole Publishing, a speculative fiction small press. Vonnie’s books include The Enchanted Skean (a Compton Crook Award Finalist), Owl Light, The Greener Forest, and Leprechaun Cake & Other Tales. Her short fiction has been published in Chilling Ghost Short Stories, Tales of the Talisman, Dia de los Muertos, Faerie Magazine, and elsewhere. Vonnie’s paintings have been featured on the covers of Bards and Sages, FrostFire Worlds, Outposts of Beyond, Illumen, and Scifikuest. A cloverhand who has found so many four-leafed clovers she keeps them in jars, Vonnie strives to celebrate the power of myth in her writing and art. You can find her work and portfolio online, or follow her on Twitter.

Andrew ReidBorn in Scotland, Andrew Reid is a teacher and author currently living in Sweden. He writes fantasy and alt-history, and harbours an unhealthy obsession with coffee. Not to mention being a damn fine Destiny team mate, if you’re looking for one. His first fantasy novel, Kingdom’s Fall, is currently available on Amazon. You can also follow him on Twitter and online.



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

Read along with the text of the story.

Episode 177: Foggy Planet Breakdown by Peter Wood

Narrated by John Hornor Jacobs
Audio production by Jeremy Carter
Originally published in Perihelion.

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Hello everyone, sorry we’ve been away for a while. Make sure you listen to the story for that important announcement we mentioned.

This week we present Foggy Planet Breakdown by Peter Wood. Peter is an attorney in Raleigh, NC where he lives with his surly cat and patient wife. He has had stories published in Asimov’s, Bull Spec, and Daily Science Fiction.

John Hornor Jacobs

The story is narrated by the dulcet tones of the amazing John Hornor Jacobs. JHJ has worked in advertising for the last fifteen years, played in bands, and pursued art in various forms. He is also, in his copious spare time, an excellent novelist. His first novel, Southern Gods, was published by Night Shade Books and shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Award. His young adult series, The Incarcerado Trilogy, is sitting on my to-be-read shelf having been lovingly hand carried back from Borderlands this summer. And if you like fantasy, westerns, or even better, fantasy westerns, you owe it to yourself to check out The Incorruptibles and its sequel, Foreign Devils. And if that wasn’t enough, he also has a quartet of horror stories, Fierce As The Grave, available through Amazon.

We’ll have links for all his titles, as well as to John’s website and Twitter account. He’s an all-around lovely guy, you should go say hello.

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

Click here to read the text of the story

Episode 152: Staff Pick 2014 – Captain Cleveland Grackle’s Galactic Cabaret vs. The Goblins of Vishnu 6 by Jamieson Ridenhour

Narrated by Norm Sherman

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 Barry’s favorite story from 2014, Captain Cleveland Grackle’s Galactic Cabaret vs. The Goblins of Vishnu 6 by Jamieson Ridenhour, which originally aired November 17, 2013 as Episode 104.

Jamieson is the author of the comedy werewolf murder-mystery Barking Mad, published by Typecast in 2011, the ghost play Grave Lullaby, and the award-winning short horror films Cornerboys and The House of the Yaga. He’s had fiction and poetry in Strange Horizons, Architrave, The Lumberyard, and Mirror Dance, to name a few, and audio fiction featured on Pseudopod and Radio Unbound. He lives and writes in Bismarck, North Dakota.

You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and various other places all over the Interwebs but the main station for all things Jamieson is his website.

His next novel, a sequel to Barking Mad, is called Mad Dogs and Englishmen, and it’s coming out in February of 2014. Watch his website, Facebook, and Twitter for detail, or just pester your local bookstore twice a week until they hand it to you. Do not accept defeat.

Jamieson’s inspiration for this story is the episode art for this week, a fair-haired young girl piloting a large mechanical fish. This arresting image was created by the exceptional artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith. You can find her work online here. Please go check it out! It’s well worth your time, and she has our thanks for allowing us to use the piece as this week’s episode art.

Your narrator is the fabulous Norm Sherman. Norm is the host and editor of the weird and wonderful — and Parsec award winning — Drabblecast, which publishes “strange stories by strange authors for strange listeners, such as yourself.” In addition he is the editor and co-host of the long running science-fiction podcast EscapePod. Both podcasts server excellent fare, some of it quite adult.

His disturbingly smooth yet always compelling tones may be heard all around the pod-o-sphere such as on PodCastle, The Guild of the Cowry Catchers, The Fullcast Podcast and many other fine audio productions. You can find Norm on Facebook, of course at the Drabblecast itself.

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

Read Along

Click here to read the text of the story

Episode 139: Little Wonders 6 – A Little Laughter

Authors: James Vachowski, Charity Tahmaseb and Terry L. Mirll
Narrators: John Cmar, Princess Scientist and Dave Robison

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

You’re listening to Little Wonders, our thematic flash fiction collections. This episode we bring you A Little Laughter.

To start things off, we bring you Continue? by Cast of Wonders alumnus James Vachowski. You may remember James from The Great Game, a multi-part story we ran in 2012. He works as a quality assurance technician for an independent traveling circus, where he strives to ensure that your next ride on the Cyclone is in full compliance with most, if not all, applicable state safety regulations. When he’s not living his dream of seeing the world from the parking lots of local shopping malls and Moose lodges, he writes fiction. You can find James surfing all sorts of corners of the social media space, including Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon, as well as his website.

To narrate this story, we welcome back the dulcet tones of podcasting’s favorite infectious diseases doctor, John Cmar. John splits his time between treating horrors such as syphilis, 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.

Our next story is The Girl With The Piccolo by Charity Tahmaseb. Charity was a part of our last Little Wonders collection, Trope Twists, with her story Sleeping Beauty. She also has one of my favorite bios.

Charity Tahmaseb has slung corn on the cob for Green Giant and jumped out of airplanes (but not at the same time). She’s worn both Girl Scout and Army green. These days, she writes fiction (long and short) and works as a technical writer. You can find her on Twitter at @geekgirlX2, and at her Writing Wrongs blog.

Your narrator for this story is a new friend I made at LonCon this year, Princess Scientist. She has a new blog you can check out at Creeper Gazette. And I’m hoping she does her video advent calendar again this year, so check out her site around December. While you’re there, ask her about her Gordon Ramsey theory…

Finally this episode, we’ve saved what may be the best for last with Some Assembly Required by Terry L. Mirll. Award-winning author Terry L. Mirll has written three novels, a novelette, and numerous short stories as well as non-fiction articles. Most recently, his short story Astrafugia took first place in science fiction for Writer’s Digest magazine’s Ninth Annual Popular Fiction Awards. A native Texan, he currently lives in Oklahoma with his wife and three daughters. “Some Assembly Required” is his first publication with us, and we hope to read many more. You can find Tim on Facebook.

Why do I say we saved the best for last? Because we asked Dave Robison to narrate the story for you, and he did so very much more than that. I won’t ruin the surprise, but you’re in for a real treat. Dave hardly needs an introduction in the wide world of podcasting, or to Cast of Wonders fans. In fact, Dave was involved in our very first Little Wonders collection, with Influx Capacitor. When he’s not busy with Writer’s Roundtable, he’s forwarding his life’s goal of being an Agent of Awesomeness armed only with a theater degree. Since arriving on the scene of audio fiction, he’s had the privilege of lending his voice to numerous dramatic readings for such notables as StarshipSofa, The Drabblecast, Tales to Terrify, and the trifecta of Escapepod, Pseudopod, and Podcastle. Say hello to him on Twitter when you get a chance.

Special thanks to Kevin McCloud and the Free Sounds Project for providing music and special effects.

Theme music is “Neversus” by Alexye Nov, available at

Read Along

Continue?: Click here to read the text of the story

The Girl With the Piccolo: Click here to read the text of the story

Some Assembly Required: Click here to read the text of the story

Episode 99: Little Wonders 3 – Scary Stories

Authors: Beth Hull, Ian Rose, and J. A. Ironside
Narrators: Alasdair Stuart, Barry J. Northern, and Ian Stuart

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

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

Read Along

Come With Me: Click here to read the text of the story

Piper: Click here to read the text of the story

The Boatman: Click here to read the text of the story