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The TriWonders Flash Fiction Contest Is Here!

We are to have the honour of hosting a very exciting event over the coming months, an event that has not been held since the dawn of 2016. It is my very great pleasure to inform you that the TriWonders Flash Fiction Contest will be taking place at Cast of Wonders this year!

It’s true! The time for the next Escape Artists Flash Fiction Contest is here!

Cast of Wonders is happy to announce we are running the next installment of the much loved Escape Artists Flash Fiction Contest. We’re opening a special submission window from August 15 to September 30, and invite each author to submit a single brand new 500 word story. Our normal submission guidelines apply but instead of our slush team, it will be judged by our forum members.

Sharpen your pencils and get your 500 word story ready! Visit our forums to register as a member. Then, between August 15 and September 30, visit our Submittable page for contest rules and to submit your story. Voting will open to registered forum members only, so first publication rights are not spent for the stories that do not ultimately win. The three stories that receive the most votes will be purchased by Cast of Wonders and run as a Little Wonders episode in early 2017.

Voting will open on Sunday October 9, 2016. Again, only registered members of the forums will be able to read and vote on the stories!

Please blog, share on Facebook, tweet, email, send postcards, telephone, text, light smoke signals, and otherwise get the word out!

Announcing assistant editors Dani Daly and Katherine Inskip!

Hello everyone! Things have been quieter than I’d like lately at Cast of Wonders. Part of that has been some behind the scenes changes. Our good friend Jeff Hite has stepped away from the show to spend more time with his family and his own writing career, and we wish him all the best.

In addition, I am thrilled to announce that two long time and hard working members of the team will be stepping up into assistant editor roles. A giant hug and welcome to Dani Daly and Katherine Inskip!

Dani DalyDani has been involved with Cast of Wonders in various roles since it’s inception in 2011. In fact, she’s the only member of the team who predates me!

She narrates stories, reads slush, is the community manager on our forum and now is overwhelmingly proud to take on the role of co-assistant editor.

Dani says fiction, especially fantasy, science fiction and weird stories, has been important in her life since she was a child. So while she works with numbers all day to keep the lights on at home, it’s always been words and reading that kept the light on in her heart and mind. She also narrates audiobooks through ACX.

Katherine InskipKatherine teaches astrophysics and spends her (infrequent) spare time populating the universe with worlds of her own. She is a mother to two delightful boys, narrates for a variety of podcasts, and says she wishes she’d started slush reading decades ago.

You can full bios, and Twitter links, for both Dani and Katherine on the About Us page.


Closing to Submissions April 15th

Hi everyone, your editor here. Thanks to the HUGE influx of stories we’ve received over the last three months we’ll be closing to submissions on April 15th. In the meantime, polish up your ideas for our Banned Book Week call, dates for which we’ll be announcing soon.

As always, thanks for listening!

Wonder Tales – Not Just Fairies

Hi everyone, your editor Marguerite here.

This weekend has been the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. I’ve been following along as various members of my Twitter stream were in attendance.

One of the presentations that caught my attention was the history of the term ‘Fairy Tale’ and its use as an umbrella term for wonder and the supernatural in fiction. Neither concept is unique to Western Europe and the speaker, Cristina Bacchilega, posits that a shift away from using the label generically might help linguistically decolonize non-European based narratives.

I support this idea wholeheartedly: a small linguistic shift in support of greater diversity. In an effort to put Cristina’s theory to the test I’ve revised our submission guidelines to explain our use of this distinction. The relevant section is set out below.

Special thanks to Julia Rios for her livetweeting of Bacchilega’s presentation, and Julia for answering my follow-up questions.

Fairy Tales? Wondertales? Huh?

We use the word “wondertales” as the generic description of speculative fiction stories based on classic and/or historical cultural narratives. Synomyms include fairy tales, folklore and mythology – all academic terms with their own meanings, origins, distinctions and historical connotations.

This is to help distinguish wondertales as a whole from the subset of stories based on Western European ancestry, which we assign the label “fairy tales”. Good examples include Hans Christian Andersen stories, or older Disney movies.

Fairy tales are popular as a genre of young adult fiction to the point where they cross the line into tropes. We receive a lot of them. Unless a story succinctly retells one of these narratives in a new and unique way, we generally decline. A good example of one we liked was “Piper” by Ian Rose – a flash piece retelling ‘The Pied Piper’ from one of the rat’s point of view.

Wondertales, on the the other hand, are under-represented in short fiction and we’d love to receive more of them. For an example of one we liked check out “The Dun Horse” by Edward Ahern – the retelling of a Pawnee legend.

Writers, Start Your Engines: Submission Call Alert

September 25 through October 1st is Banned Book Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and raising awareness of the immense social value of free and open access to information. We’ve run special episodes spotlighting the event in the past, such as Alex Shvartsman’s The Things We Leave Behind.

To celebrate, later this year (tentatively scheduled for April/May), Cast of Wonders will hold a specific submission call for new YA stories focusing on themes of overcoming censorship, access to information and the transformative power of literature in all its forms.

Full details will be availaible before the submission window opens and will include:

  • Two week submission window to be announced in April or May 2016
  • New stories only
  • Open to both flash and short fiction
  • Our regular pay rates ($0.06/word), submission guidelines and contractual terms will apply
  • We plan to purchase up to seven stories to showcase the week

We hope this inspires you, and we can’t wait to see your stories!


Artemis Rising 2 Print Available Now

Artemis Rising is the month-long celebration of female and non-binary authors in genre fiction run across three Escape Artists podcasts PodCastle for fantasy, EscapePod for science fiction, and PseudoPod for horror.

This year we have commissioned a special art print by legendary ilustrator Galen Dara. The print will be available for purchase through Society6 until March 31, 2016.

Artemis Rising 2 FINAL
Galen likes monsters, mystics, and dead things. She has created art for Uncanny Magazine, 47North publishing, Skyscape Publishing, Fantasy Flight Games, Tyche Books, Fireside Magazine, Lightspeed, Lackington’s, and Resurrection House. She has been nominated for the Hugo, the World Fantasy Award, and the Chesley Award. When Galen is not working on a project you can find her on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, climbing mountains and hanging out with an assortment of human and animal companions. Her website is plus you can find her on Facebook and Twitter @galendara.

For Your Consideration

Hello everyone, this is Alasdair, the voice of Escape Artists. This is our 2016 metacast to present the stories we ran in 2015 which are eligible in the upcoming Hugo nomination season.

First, a quick plug four ourselves. All four EA shows – Podcastle, Pseudopod, Escapepod and Cast of Wonders – are themselves eligible in the SEMIPROZINE Hugo category.

Not Fancast. Not Fanzine. Semiprozine.

Yes, the categories are confusing and often overlap. Fancast as a category is traditionally dominated by commentary shows and sketch based audio programs. Take at look at the finalists over the last couple of years. Whereas the Semiprozine category is home to the types of publications we consider our publishing peers.

While there’s an argument to be made we could split the shows and compete in multiple categories to increase our chances, we don’t think benefits anyone. The division would be artificial at best, extremely difficult to explain given all four of our shows have harmonized pay rates and submissions policies, and smack of gamesmanship which doesn’t interest us.

Don’t get us wrong, we LOVED seeing Podcastle and Escapepod on last year’s Hugo long lists, and we’d be honoured for one of our shows to be a finalist. But that’s a decision that rests solely in the hands of you, our fans and supporters.

And just a note, Mothership Zeta doesn’t qualify this year because they’re too new.

Update: all of our editors (Graeme Dunlop and Rachael K. Jones at PodCastle, Shawn Garrett at Pseudopod, Marguerite Kenner at Cast of Wonders and Norm Sherman at EscapePod) are themselves eligible in the Editor, Short Form category.

These show notes contain links to a few different aggregation projects, where fiction fans are building cumulative lists of those eligible in the various categories. They’re great tools, and we’d like to thank David Steffen in particular for his efforts. We’ll also link to our Wikia page, containing links to all the stories mentioned.

And with that, we present the following for your consideration:

Editor, Short Form:

Marguerite Kenner

Cast of Wonders 2015 Short Story first publications:

Aisha Bets Her Life on Magic by Jarod K. Anderson
There Are No Marshmallows in Camelot by Christian McKay Heidicker
Lost Socks by Lisa Montoya
Above Decks by Terry Ibele
Fairy Bones by Guy Stewart
A Troll’s Trade by Sandra M. Odell

2015 reprints:

The Mothgate by J.R. Troughton – originally published by Shimmer
The New Kid Is Not An Alien by Bert Lowe originally published in the July 2015 issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk from Nomadic Delirium Press

A Huge Announcement: Cast of Wonders is joining Escape Artists!

Hello everyone, Marguerite here!

Two years ago, Graeme and I had an idea. I was taking over as editor and host, and along with Barry we were trying to come up with ways of expanding our audience as well as the formats and types of episodes we could produce.

Some of those changes you’ve already seen, like the introduction of the Little Wonders flash episodes and our Camp Myth serial. Others haven’t been as visible – bringing aboard additional audio producers and slush readers. We stepped up our convention presence in 2015, with appearances at Nine Worlds in London, WorldCon in Spokane, and we’ll be at FantasyCon later this month in Nottingham.

All leading up to what today I am thrilled and humbled to announce. Cast of Wonders is about to take one giant step out into the larger genre fiction world, arm in arm with some of the best respected podcasters in the business. In 2016, Cast of Wonders will be joining the Escape Artists family of podcasts, home to Podcastle, Escapepod, and Pseudopod. Did you know that the three shows combined currently have a listenership of over a quarter of a million downloads a month? Combine that with the newly launched Mothership Zeta digital magazine, and EA is one of the largest genre fiction markets out there. There’s no place better suited for Cast of Wonders’ unique and wonderful young adult stories.

You can listen to EA’s owner, Alasdair Stuart, and myself talk about the announcement in Part 1 of their annual metacast. (Listen to Part 2 and Part 3 as well – free stories!)

This also means that, as far as I know, Cast of Wonders is about to become the first PRO RATE paying young adult short fiction audio market. That’s right everyone, once the transition is complete, Cast of Wonders will be offering SFWA pro rate payments on all new fiction. Plus stepping up our reprint rates. We’ll have new contracts as well, which we’ll post an example of for our authors to review as part of the migration.

We don’t have exact dates available to share just yet. To prepare for the change-over we’ve closed to submissions, and we’ll announce when we’ll be re-opening as soon as possible; I’m thinking December is likely right now. There are lots of details still to iron out, and I’d like to prepare a list of great example stories for the EA audience to get to know what we’re about here at Cast of Wonders. If you have some favorites you think should be included, let us know.

Thanks everyone. From all of us, we hope you’re as excited as we to finally be able to take Cast of Wonders to a new professional level of audio fiction and entertainment. We’ll keep you posted as the details are confirmed. And as always – thanks for listening!

Closing For Submissions September 15th

Hello everyone!

I’m pleased to report Cast of Wonders has received a HUGE uptick in submissions since WorldCon! As we only have a few 2015 episode spaces left to fill, we’ll be closing to submissions as of September 15th to allow for timely processing of the current pile.

And stay tuned… we have a HUGE announcement coming shortly.

As always, thanks for listening!

2015 Parsec Finalists!

The 2015 Parsec finalists have been announced, and Cast of Wonders has again made a fine showing!

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

Cast of Wonders edited by Marguerite Kenner
Pseudopod edited by Shawn M. Garrett
Seminar: An Original Anthology Show edited by Pendant Productions
The Uncanny Magazine Podcast edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
The NoSleep Podcast edited by David Cummings

Note: Due to errors by the Parsec Committee, “Shimmer” by Amanda Ca. Davis is no longer a finalist in the Small Cast (Short Form) category.

Congratulations to all the finalists! It’s an amazing list this year, with lots of friends and colleagues from the podcasting community represented.

The winners will be announced September 5 at DragonCon.

2014 Parsec Award Nominations are Now Open!

Hello everyone!

The 2014 Parsec Awards nomination window is now open, and every one of the stories listed below is eligible for nomination in the Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form) category.

The nomination window is open until May 31st, 2015, so spread the word on whatever social media platforms you like. Cast of Wonders itself is eligible in the Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast category and we’d love your support.

Thank you all!



123: Taxidermy and Other Dangerous Professions by JR Johnson, read by M K Hobson

124: Old People Rules by Holly Schofield, read by Melissa Bugaj

125: The Clasp by Jarod Anderson, read by Elie Hirschman

126: The Perfect Prom by Kat Otis, read by Mur Lafferty

127: Learning the Game by Michael Haynes, read by M K Hobson

128: Robots Don’t Cry by George Edwards, read by Pete Milan

129: Into The Forever Place by Luke Thomas, read by Heather Welliver

130: The Phobos Monolith by Preston Dennett, read by Amy Robinson

131: Survivor by Josh Roseman, read by Marguerite Kenner

132: The Collector by Jameyanne Fuller, read by Alasdair Stuart

133: A Well-Lit Dungeon by Mark Mills, read by Adam Black

134/135: Flowers For the Dead by Jamie Mason, read by Paul Cram

136: Flotsam by Rebecca Schwarz, read by Jeff Hite

137: The Filigreed Cage by Krystal Claxton, read by Andrew Clarke

138: Things We Leave Behind by Alex Shvartsman, read by the author

139: Little Wonders 6: A Little Laughter. Continue? by James Vachowski, read by John Cmar; The Girl With The Picollo by Charity Tahmaseb, read by Fiona “Princess Scientist” Van Verth; Some Assembly Required by Terry L. Mirll, read by Dave Robison

140: Of Pumpkin Soup and Other Demons by Natalia Theodoridou, read by Katherine Inskip and The Ghost of Grammy Goneril by Austin H. Gilkeson, read by Christiniana Ellis

141: Reading Time by Beth Cato, read by Dave Thompson and A House In The Forest by Shawn Bailey, read by Lizzie S

142: Marrow by Mav Skye, read by Barry J. Northern

144: The Middle Rages by Joseph L. Kellogg, read by John Cmar

145: Tell Them Of The Sky by A. T. Greenblatt, read by Pete Newman

146/147: 30 Minutes for New Hell by Rick Kennett, read by Marguerite Kenner

148: Shimmer by Amanda Davis, read by Lizzie S

149: Bricks and Sunlight by M. K. Hutchins, read by Dani Daly

150: Little Wonders 7: The Season of Goodwill. Christmas Lights by Jamie Lackey, read by Marguerite Kenner and The Secret Ingredient Is by Emmalia Harrington, read by Anne Fortune

155: Aisha Bets Her Life on Magic by Jarod K. Anderson, read by Julia Rios

156/157: The Seal King by Jennifer Noelle Welch, read by Paul Cram

158: This Is Your Problem, Right Here by David Steffen, read by Graeme Dunlop

159: There Are No Marshmallows in Camelot by Christian McKay Heidicker, read by Marguerite Kenner

160: The Haunted Jalopy Races by Matthew Bennardo, read by Alasdair Stuart

161: The Rum Cake Runner by Jessi Cole Jackson, read by Michelle Ristuccia

162: Sister Winter by Jenni Moody, read by Melissa Bugaj

163: Speaking to Skull Kings by Emily Cataneo, read by Katherine Inskip and Jeremy Carter

164: Amicae Aeternum by Ellen Klages, read by Rikki LaCoste, Isis LaCoste and Fiona “Princess Scientist” Van Verth