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Ten Years of Wonder


Ten Years of Wonder: what wonder means to us.

Cast of Wonders is a pro-paying, SFWA qualifying market and part of the Escape Artists family of podcasts, but beyond that we are principally a Young Adult speculative fiction market. Generally speaking, we aim to produce stories that a 12-year-old reader would have no trouble following, but that a 17-year-old wouldn’t find childish. We hope adult readers would enjoy our stories, too.

Being a Young Adult, speculative fiction podcast means we want to receive stories that include the hallmarks of Young Adult fiction. One of the chief characteristics of the YA genre is that its stories generally contain a sense of “wonder”. It’s no coincidence that “Wonder” is in the title of our podcast. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 457: Just Like the Speeding Heart


Just Like The Speeding Heart

by Osahon Ize-Iyamu

It’s seven A.M. and you’re making akara and tea, just for yourself and not for the two of us. You ask if it’s time, and it is, but I won’t tell you that. Let you be silent and make your tea and not speak. Let you be as you are—unhearing as ever, keeping this energy as I keep this information from you. Mama—Let you be blissful in ignorance, and let’s keep the silence of the morning as a beautiful thing, a hallowed memory.

Let this be true.
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 456: Armed With Such Stories, I Roamed Into The Woods


Armed With Such Stories, I Roamed Into The Woods

by Evan Marcroft

Never trust a wolf’s promise, Atticus, my mother once told me. Remember the tale of Smiling John and Baron Icepelt. They lie between fangs, and their promises will only ever lead you into their belly. She was full of such morsels of wisdom. There was a fable for every lesson I should know. Not all pertained to talking wolves, but this was most relevant to my task. Remember how Smiling John escaped. If you should find a wolf at your heels, throw meat behind you. Wolves are clever but lazy creatures. They will stop for the easier meal.

Armed with such stories, I roamed into the woods to save her life. (Continue Reading…)

alien and human

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Cast of Wonders 455: Little Wonders 30 – Not So Alien After All


Toward the Sploff Zone

by Brenna Harvey

“Kids, you’re switching bodies today!” said Coach Sningarax.

Our whole gym class groaned.

“Why?” I asked.

“To build character! Now, what’s the number one rule of neuroswapping?”

Respect,” we droned in unison. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 454: The Fairy Queen


The Fairy Queen

by Lynn Buchanan

She made the first fairy by accident, with a twig she found under a hawthorn tree. It was a stick possessing the general shape of a human, with offshoots that resembled arms and legs, and a knot she called a head. Sitting in the shade of the tree, she wrapped a bit of twine around the twig’s torso, tearing off a piece of thread from the cuff of her sleeve and decorating the “arms” in tight white lines. With a ribbon pulled from her hair she clothed the stick, folding the silk into a tunic tied at the back with a bow. For hair she picked up a strand of leaves from the grass beside her, fastening the stem down the slope of the wooden face with three pieces of her own hair, pulled with a jerk and grimace from her skull and braided into a cord the color of sunsets. Last of all she attached to the twig’s back a set of butterfly wings, collected earlier that day from a trip to the garden. (Continue Reading…)

Barn owl at night

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Cast of Wonders 453: Langsuir


Langsuir

by Nadia Mikail

The langsuir is a woman who has died giving birth. Malay folktales have a multitude of women featured as wrathful, devious spirits: the hantu kum-kum thrives on the blood of virgin girls, desperate to maintain her youth even in death; the hantu kopek lures men to cheat on their wives, jealous that their afterlife contains no husband of their own; the pontianak goes after the people who have wronged her, tearing out their organs.

People usually shake their heads, they think: oh, well, that is the envious, terrible nature of Eve. Personally I think it is more how humans are treated in life that influences how they behave in death, and in this culture the women are angrier than most. (Continue Reading…)

magic butterflies

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Cast of Wonders 452: Little Wonders 29 – Flash Fiction Contest Winners


Porch Light for the Lonely

by Alyson Grauer

When the wide western sky is black, embroidered with thousands of silver stars, and crickets sing unseen in the dry grass, critters come to the porch of the old house. The rug has long since lost its color from years of harsh sun. The wrought-iron bench is rusted, enamel flaking away like tree bark. The mailbox is crooked, and the torn curtains blow gently in the wind. Though it’s the sturdiest house left on the block, it sits unlived in, untrespassed. Only the flies and spiders know how empty it truly is inside.

Many cats come: strays, abandoned pets, and feral. They drape themselves about the empty porch, meowing with quiet yearning. (Continue Reading…)

Banned Books Week 2021


Banned Books Week 2021

Books Unite Us; Censorship Divides Us

This year, CoW takes its theme for Banned Books Week from the American Library Association:

 https://bannedbooksweek.org/banned-books-week-2021-books-unite-us/

Have you ever made friends with someone who loved the same book you did? You started the conversation as strangers, but you feel so passionately about the ideas expressed in this book that you end as comrades in arms?

It’s a book that speaks to shared experience, shared pain—and therefore lights the way to shared learning, shared hope, and shared healing. Perhaps it’s powerful enough to make former enemies into allies, and you would defy an empire to protect this book.

It could be a history that’s been silenced, a book that propounds an outlawed ideal. It’s a book you teach your own children or anyone else you love, and they love it because you loved it.

It’s so dangerous a text that intergalactic armadas are launched to destroy it, or at least keep the book from spreading its readership, and mages would craft elaborate castles to safeguard.

Send us your stories of books that unite the geekiest con-goer, the most curmudgeonly asteroid-pirate, the steampunk bot that’s been asleep for a hundred years. Send us your stories of books that swordmasters would talk over with dragons. Send us tales of books that turn the unlikeliest beings into friends in speculative worlds. Send us tales of books that transcend time and space to gather the disparate into families.

We’re not quite looking for books as “macguffin” stories, but a demonstration into how a book could forge bonds with others. Therefore, the book should feature prominently in the story rather than be a prop, and we love yarns that hit us in the feels. A tale that makes us ugly cry while meaningfully addressing this theme of uniting is very likely to get accepted.

As an example, consider the Saga comic, how a novel featuring a wreather and a landfallian getting along peacefully inspires Alana and Marko to fall in love. Or if a lowly treach-bat teaches an eldritch terror how to read… would that not inspire a friendship? We would love to see how you, author, interpret this theme!

We do see how the dual nature of the theme “unite” and “divide” could be hard to do in one story. Feel free to focus on one of these two aspects.

Our sweet spot this sub window is under 5,000 words, with the absolute limit being 6,000 words.

Submissions will be accepted from June 13th to June 26th, through our Moksha portal.

We anticipate making final decisions on stories by the end of July.


If you’re still looking to submit, we are looking for HOLIDAY STORIES! Submissions for Holiday themed stories will open on June 27, 2021 and will close on July 3, 2021 (Do Not Send Holiday Stories During Banned Books Week Submissions!!!).

We already have our Halloween story picked out and can’t wait to show it to you!

But we are looking for

ONE WINTER STORY

And

ONE VALENTINE’S STORY

With respect to both these BBW and Holiday Stories calls:

Yes to LGBTQ+ stories. Yes to Ace/Aro stories. Yes to non-binary stories. Yes to BIPOC stories. Yes to stories featuring disability, neurodiversity, and all the previously mentioned groups in nuanced, sensitive, and authentic ways. We must be missing some groups, but please know WE WANT AND WELCOME ALL FACETS OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.

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Cast of Wonders 451: Unnamed


Unnamed

by Monte Lin

Huìhuì Gāo’s homeroom teacher squinted at his roll call. He wore a slight smile that conveyed no joy. After a few seconds, he said, “Ms…?”

Her hand hovered over her desk, hesitant, ready to catch her name. Her teacher squinted and furrowed his brow and looked about the classroom, finally settling his gaze on her. “Here,” she said, her voice cracking a little. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 450: Little Wonders 28 – Metaphors & Allegories


Three monsters that are not metaphors

by Dani Atkinson

1. The kelpie is not a metaphor for depression.

“You’re kind of like a metaphor for depression, though,” I tell her, and she snorts angrily. Her hide twitches, dark and sticky as tar pits.

Just because she’s deceptively appealing, and wants to trap me and drag me down into cold grey waters, means nothing. Just because I am already drowning does not make it a metaphor. (Continue Reading…)

Cats Cast

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CatsCast 341: Bargain


Bargain

by Sarah Gailey

Malachai loved his work. He loved wandering among the trappings of enormous wealth and influence, seeing the baubles that humans excreted to express their status. He especially loved watching those wealthy, influential mortals tremble before the might of his inescapable superiority.

Malachai worked exclusively with those humans who had found themselves at the limit of how much power they could possess. They called him to bend the rules of time and space around their whims, so that they might be even more feared and loved by the other mortals. Their desires were predictable—money, knowledge, talent, authority. These were the kinds of people who hunted down ancient parchments with the Words of Invocation inscribed upon them. These were the kinds of people who did not concern their consciences with the compensation Malachai required for his services.

They appreciated a bit of theatrical flair.
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 449: This is How You Remember (Staff Picks 2020)


This is How You Remember

by Phong Quan

I see the crowds before I see you, before I see even the flickering white of your flame. Your culture’s everywhere now—your music, your art, your words—but not your people, and not you, not in this tiny airport in this little place between San Diego and LA. So I hear the whispers—A Torch! A Speaker’s on the flight. Why here? There’s nothing here—and prepare myself to see you for the first time since the War. (Continue Reading…)