Posts Tagged ‘Staff Pick 2013’

Episode 114: Staff Pick 2013 – Now Cydonia by Rick Kennett


Read by Marguerite Kenner

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today, we present Now Cydonia, the story that won us a 2013 Parsec award, a fact of which we’re immensely proud.

Now Cydonia ran as Episode 71 back in March of last year. One reason I’m personally so proud of our win is the story’s author, Rick Kennett. Although I’ve never met him, he’s from my home town of Melbourne, Australia and I love that a fellow countryman writes such kick-arse stuff. I narrated one of his ghost stories for Pseudopod, the immensely creepy The Dark and What It Said which is flat-out the best evocation of how spooky and lonely the Australian bush can be. Rick is a talented writer and I’m always happy to hear his stories when they appear in the pod-o-sphere.

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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Episode 112: Staff Pick 2013 – Kulturkampf by Anatoly Belilovsky


Read by Hans Fenstermacher

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Barry’s staff pick is the story of war by music, “Kulturkampf”. I had tremendous fun working with Anatoly on picking the appropriate music for this story. It’s a very clever and entertaining steam-punkish tale of battling classical composers. And thanks also to Anatoly for suggesting his friend Hans Fenstermacher as narrator. Hans’ German pronunciation is prefect… unlike mine.

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

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Episode 111: Staff Pick 2013 – The Giant Who Dreamed of Summer by Jess Hyslop


Read by M K Hobson

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

As our longtime listeners know, Cast of Wonders takes the month of January off each year, so we can recharge our batteries, and get out in front of the next year’s production schedule. And this year is no exception. However this January instead of leaving you with an empty playlist, Cast of Wonders is proud to present our Staff Picks!

Graeme, Barry and I (Marguerite) have selected our personal favorite story from 2013, and even further back in one case. Each of us will introduce the story, and talk a bit about we found so memorable about that particular tale.

But “Ahhh!”, I hear you say, “January has four weeks, and there’s only three of you! What are you going to do the last week of the month?” Well I’m glad you asked, because we’ll re-play our Small Cast, Short Form Parsec award winner, “Now Cydonia” by Rick Kennet, to transition you into a new year of what we hope to be even more award winnings stories, week after week.

And since I’m here, I guess that means I get to go first!

Barry and Graeme invited me to become the Editor of Cast of Wonders right before Christmas in 2012. I had just moved to the UK a few months prior, and the shorter days and significantly colder weather was starting to affect my mood. In January, while juggling a crushing course load in law school and frantically reading slush to be ready for the February episodes, I read the first submission that made me cry.

Jess Hyslop’s wonderful first-person narrative of a frost giant yearning for the touch of summer cut straight through my winter blues and reminded me of how good, how life affirming that first truly hot day of summer feels. Not just spring and rolling forward the clocks, but summer and that prickly, sizzling sensation on the tops of your shoulders when you wear a tanktop outside for the first time each year. Maybe, if you’re lucky, on the way to spend a day on the beach.

“The Giant Who Dreamed of Summer” is also the first story where the choice of narrator wasn’t really a choice so much as a lightning bolt of inspiration. I’ve been a fan of MK Hobson as a guest host and reader on Podcastle for years. I backed “The Warlock’s Curse”, the sequel to her smash hit debut novel “The Native Star”, on Kickstarter. The giant’s sense of humor, the gentle way it scolds as well as instructs the child, and the sensation of wisdom immediately brought MK’s warm and rich-yet-worn-around the edges voice to mind. I was thrilled when she accepted my request. Thanks MK!

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

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