Posts Tagged ‘Marguerite Kenner’

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Cast of Wonders 150: Little Wonders 7 – The Season of Goodwill

Show Notes

You’re listening to Little Wonders, our thematic flash fiction collections. This week we bring you our final episode for 2014, and lucky number 150 – a pair of stories for the inspired by the Season of Goodwill.


The Secret Ingredient Is

by Emmalia Harrington

Susan stirred the pot of soup, frowning. Hunger was supposed to be the best seasoning, but the jar was empty and there was no time to prepare more. Besides, Great-Aunt would hate it if they served something like that to guests.

Stepping away from the stove, she scanned the shelves yet again. There was salt, garlic, peppercorns, nutmeg, allspice…nothing spoke to her. Rocking back on her heels, she tried to think of what Great-Aunt would do.

The first order of business would be to run to the garden to pull up the biggest, freshest and most colorful vegetables, and see how many eggs she could muster from the quail. Once that was done, Great-Aunt would run to the shopping district to wrangle an excellent price for smoked tea. She would follow this victory by purchasing fish that still smelled of the water, and filling her basket with bread still steaming from the oven.

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Cast of Wonders 147: 30 Minutes for New Hell (Part 2)


30 Minutes for New Hell

by Rick Kennett

Part 2

He checked the clock again.

Twenty-nine, twenty-eight, twenty-seven …

From his vantage point at the weapons console at Com, Lieutenant Frank Peters looked first at the forward access hatch, then at the aft access hatch, speculating. Yes, he thought. Forward hatch. Definitely. It was slightly further from Scans, but more direct. And the Professor was nothing if not direct.

He leaned back and listened to the building power-song of the drive firing gravity rings down the hull, faster and faster, acting on every atom simultaneously, causing no g forces within.

Twenty-four, twenty-three, twenty-two …

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Cast of Wonders 146: 30 Minutes for New Hell (Part 1)


30 Minutes for New Hell

by Rick Kennett

Part 1

What are they doing?

Cy De Gerch leaned forward and peered at the scene on one of her repeater screens. A few minutes ago, there in the middle of a New Hell desert viewed from a high-orbit drone, the Dhooj’s vehicle had suddenly stopped – skidding on its six balloon tyres, spraying red dust. Yet none of its crew, clad in their vacuum suits and transparent helmets, had so far emerged.

Which was odd, and Cy knew it. Ever since their landing on New Hell two days ago the Dhooj had been trundling along, setting up experiments, making observations, reporting excitedly back to their home world thirty million kilometres sunward like the pioneers and explorers they were. Energetic creatures, the Dhooj, not ones to just sit. Didn’t they have geological samples to take? Water probes to drill? Low g sports to play?

On impulse Cy shivered and pulled her grey tunic closer about. There was a desert wind blowing down there. She could feel it even from so distant an orbit. The scene was too much like home, too much like Mars. And well she knew that Martian winds blew forever cold.

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Cast of Wonders 131: Survivor


Survivor

by Josh Roseman

Wen slumped against a crystal formation and stared up at the dark sky, lit only by greenish-gold auroras. Sweat ran down into her eyes and made her clothes cling in uncomfortable places. She wanted to sit down, wanted to take off the pack for a few minutes, but the last time she’d done that, her feet had ached even worse for the respite.

No. Better to stay standing.

She caught her breath before taking a measured swallow from the canteen that hung at her side. Gulping the water would be a mistake; in this state, she’d just throw up. Staying calm, that was the key.

One more swallow, though she ached to drain the whole thing, and then back onto its clip.

Wen’s borrowed comm pinged. Four hours to sunrise. Four hours until the witchlight above her head gave way to the burning white orb that would blast her with heat and radiation until she was nothing but a memory.

Four hours to live.
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2014 Parsec Finalists!


The 2014 Parsec finalists have been announced, and Cast of Wonders has again made the cut! This year we’re finalists in two categories:

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Long Form

Broken by Cedric Johnson and Veronica Giguere
Camp Myth: Phoenix Watching by Chris Lewis Carter (from Cast of Wonders)
Fire on the Mound by William J. Meyer
The Guild of the Cowry Catchers, Book 5: Shores beyond the World by Abigail Hilton
Secret World Chronicle by Mercedes Lackey, Dennis Lee, Cody Martin, Larry Dixon, and Veronica Giguere
Tales of the Left Hand, Book 3 by John Meagher

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

Cast of Wonders edited by Marguerite Kenner
The NoSleep Podcast edited by David Cummings
Pseudopod edited by Shawn M. Garrett
Seminar: An Original Anthology Show edited by Pendant Productions
Toasted Cake edited by Tina Connolly

Congratulations to all the finalists, and especially Cast of Wonders alumns Tina Connolly and Veronica Giguere, and our good friends at Pseudopod!

The winners will be announced August 31 at DragonCon.

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Cast of Wonders 120: Master Madrigal’s Mechanical Man


Master Madrigal’s Mechanical Man

by Scott C. Mikula

I tried to shut out the crowd’s roar, but the thunder of a thousand feet pounding above us in the arena stands rose until I could feel the breastplate of the mechanical swordsman vibrate beneath my touch.  Master Madrigal gestured with his palsied hand for me to replace the automaton’s helmet, but I hesitated to examine the delicate inner workings. Just one small adjustment

A cuff to the back of my head arrested my motion.  “We have spoken of this, Cetta,” said Madrigal. “There is no problem with the balance.”  He crossed his arms, tucking his useless right hand out of sight beneath his sleeve.

I persuaded my mother to send me to her uncle Madrigal after his illness, when I was just twelve years old.  The word apprentice was never used. Girls did not apprentice to craftsmen like Madrigal, and I don’t think he would have taken an apprentice in any case.  He referred to me as his hands. My deft fingers did the work his no longer could.
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Cast of Wonders 119: Pictures in Crayon


Pictures in Crayon

by Elizabeth Shack

At recess the Arks dot the sky like unwinking stars. Ally and her friends aren’t supposed to talk about it, eyes wide above the breathing masks that muffle their voices, but they do. Where they’ll go, what they’ll bring. Every kid Ally knows has a suitcase packed, just in case they win. Hers has photos from the zoo and a birthday card her little brother Rafe drew in red crayon. He called the scribble Mars.

The only time they don’t talk is after the monthly drawing, when no one can bear it. Some kids, somewhere, were chosen, but it’s not anyone they know. At recess no one looks up. Those nights, Rafe crawls into her bed. He doesn’t understand–at four he’s barely old enough to enter the lottery–but he knows something’s wrong. Their parents are crying, and Ally will keep him safe.

Ally lies awake with her arms around her little brother. In the morning she repacks his suitcase for next month and tells him stories about Mars.
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Cast of Wonders 118: Perihelion

Show Notes

Today we present Vajra Chandrasekera’s story, Perihelion.

You may know that we usually pay our authors using PayPal. We were amazed to discover that it is not possible to receive PayPal payments in Sri Lanka! There are many individuals and small businesses that provide online services like web development, graphic designing and more in Sri Lanka. But Sri Lanka not supporting PayPal has become a barrier for them to continue and progress in their careers. If you’d like more information about this and to help support creative people like this week’s author, please go to https://sites.google.com/site/ppforsrilanka/enable-receiving-money-to-sri-lanka-through-paypal.


Perihelion

by Vajra Chandrasekera

Hold on tight, we’re coming around again.

This thing crumbles a little every time we hit perihelion. Almost lost my footing again. You okay? Good. We’ve got a moment to catch our breath, except we don’t breathe any more. Words stick in language like vestigial tails in the womb. Not that we have either of those any more, either.

We still have eggs, though. And if you’re ready to leave yours behind, now would be a good time. We’re about as far from the sun as we’re going to get.

No? It’s okay, it’s okay. Take your time. You’re all right, I got you. Don’t worry, all right? If you can’t bring yourself to make the jump, I’ll carry you. I just think you’ll like to look back later and remember your first time flying.

We’re all afraid the first time.
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Metacast 2: State of the Union 2013

Show Notes

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


Hello everyone! This is your editor, Marguerite Kenner.

Every year, one of my favorite game companies publishes a Stakeholders Report. As Steve puts it, while the company only has one shareholder, lots of people have a stake in its success and so he writes them an annual report about how well the company has done, what projects it tackled, and its plans for the future.

But we’re a podcast. Rather than writing you a long blog post, I’m taking a tradition from my American homeland. Welcome to Cast of Wonders’ first State of the Union address for 2013.

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Cast of Wonders 114: Now Cydonia (Staff Pick 2013)

Show Notes

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.


Now Cydonia

by Rick Kennett

Cadet Cy De Gerch bounced forward into the desert darkness, raised her arms in a defensive posture and, as best as a fourteen year could, barked, “Halt! Who goes there!”

There was no one there. There never was.

Cy jumped back, a slow leap in the low gravity, to her original position on the perimeter, her vacsuit moving easy like a second skin, to watch and wait and break the boredom as best she could until relieved. Out there was the desert she had trekked the past two years with her section of Martian Star Corps cadets. Out there was the countryside of Mars – cold and red and a billion years dead, littered with rocks, pocked with craters, filled with myths and ghost stories, most of which Cy didn’t really believe. Sergeant Kreeng – Old Get-It-Right – had known what he was doing when he’d set them perimeter guard duty consisting mostly of doing nothing. It was, she knew, a discipline of the mind.

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Cast of Wonders 111: The Giant Who Dreamed of Summer (Staff Pick 2013)

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!


The Giant Who Dreamed of Summer

by Jess Hyslop

What’s this–another visitor? How tiresome. I thought I had seen the last of you when the guards departed. I thought I had finally been left to meet my end in peace.

Wishful thinking. I thought I was beyond that, too.

Well, you must excuse me if I do not get up. These chains, you see…

What is such a tiny thing as you doing here all alone, anyway? Do your parents know that you are up here? I doubt that they’d approve. The hillside is steep and treacherous, and there are all sorts of dangers for a little flake like you. How your mother will scold if you tear your skirts! How your father will tut if you scrape your dainty ankle! How they will weep if you tumble from a bluff! And, my, how they will curse and stamp and rage if you end up in the belly of a starving frost giant.

I jest, child. Despite what you have been told, we giants do not eat people. It is only in your stories that such loathsome things occur.

Nevertheless, you should run along. Your parents are doubtless sick with worry, and I do not want to be blamed for your disappearance. Your King has made me miserable enough already. The last thing I need is to suffer more of his so-called justice.
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Camp Myth: Phoenix Watching (Chapter 11)

Show Notes

Camp Myth: Phoenix Watching is a Cast of Wonders production brought to you by Wolfsbane Publishing. It features the voice talents of Kate Baker, Adam Black, Tina Connolly, Graeme Dunlop, Christiana Ellis, Marguerite Kenner, Alethea Kontis, Alasdair Stuart, Ian Stuart, and Barry J. Northern. You can learn more about the world of Camp Myth at our website, castofwonders.org.

The Camp Myth theme music, “August”, is by Cast of Wonders’ favorite musical artist Alexye Nov, at MusicAlley.com.


Camp Myth: Phoenix Watching (Chapter 11)

By Chris Lewis Carter

Welcome back, campers! Ready for Chapter 11?

Last week we met Asterion, the founder of Camp Myth, and took the camper pledge. It sounds like the opening ceremony is drawing to a close. I wonder what Felix, Argee and Moxie will be doing next…

Now where were we? Ah yes…


This week’s camper spotlight is Natious, the Cyclopean Sharpshooter.

Felix says “Ugh, Natious wouldn’t stop talking about his Basilisk encounter in the Forgotten Forest. I’m not sure how much of the story I believe, but I’m not crazy enough to tell him that. Instead, I drew him this picture in honour of his “triumphant” victory. (Note: that was sarcasm.)”

Natious was invented by Nathan Pettigrew. You can find the picture of her on the Camp Myth webpage.