The best short fiction, handpicked by the best voice in podcasting. In every episode, host LeVar Burton (Roots, Reading Rainbow, Star Trek) invites you to take a break from your daily life, and dive into a great story. LeVar’s narration blends with gorgeous soundscapes to bring stories by Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury and more to life. So, if you’re ready, let’s take a deep breath...
Immersive Remix: "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu
A new immersive remix of a season one classic. An immigrant mother tries to bond with her American-born son by creating a magical paper menagerie. This story appears in Ken Liu's collection THE PAPER MENAGERIE AND OTHER STORIES, available now from Saga Press.
Content advisory: Hospitals, death of a parent
"Afterlife" by Stephen King
William Andrews, an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, dies on September 23, 2012, and finds himself confronted with his life after death.
"Afterlife" appears in Stephen King's collection THE BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS.
Content advisory: Descriptions of death, illness, sexual assault
"The Last Truth" by AnaMaria Curtis
This week: the first place winner of the LeVar Burton Reads writing contest, as co-presented by FIYAH Literary Magazine and Tor.com! A runaway and indentured thief, Eri must provide a new secret to open each new lock, at the cost of her own memory.
"Troll Bridge" by Terry Pratchett
An aging barbarian sets out to battle a bridge troll, mano a mano, and thus prove his mettle. “Troll Bridge” by Terry Pratchett, was first published in 1992. © Dunmanifestin Limited.
"John Dillinger and the Blind Magician" by Allison M. Dickson
Public Enemy Number One, John Dillinger, looks to escape the feds with the help of a cunning wizard.
Content advisory: Gunfire
"Open House on Haunted Hill" by John Wiswell
A sentient house, haunted by its own loneliness, exercises its powers on a skeptic. This story was published by Diabolical Plots.
Content advisory: Brief discussion of death
Made me appreciate my own culture
I used to read so many books when I was younger, but after I started working, I just didn’t seem to have the time. I tried audiobooks, but the joy of blasting through an epic saga in one sitting is almost impossible when listening to a much longer audio version. These short stories read by Mr. Levar Burton are exactly the right length for a quick breather from the daily toil of life, and give me the escape I used to enjoy when lost in a paperback novel.
When Levar read “A Kite of Stars” by Dean Francis Alfar, I was shocked at never having heard of the story, although Alfar is a well-known author in my country. I was in the mall where I had been listening to the podcast, and had to retreat to a public bathroom to cry for a while at the impact the ending made on me. From what I have heard so far, a common theme of the stories Levar likes is that life is hard, often unfair, and you often question the meaning of it all, but there is beauty in this world, and you can still do great things, even though your heart aches.
This podcast is very well-produced and Mr. Burton reads beautifully, even though it was amusing to hear him place the emphasis on the wrong syllable of ‘tikbalang’ and some other Filipino words, which is obviously excusable and his effort highly commendable. I was so happy he picked a story from our country to read and realized I don’t give enough credit to my own culture and history (colonial mentality is still strong here). I can not recommend this podcast enough to people who have fallen out of the habit of reading, as these short stories are manageable little episodes to get you back in the groove.
Love this podcast. Perfect for literature fans
I grew up watching Reading Rainbow and it instilled in me a love of stories. This is a wonderful podcast to run into now, continuing Mr. Burton's wonderful work in making literature accessible.
I enjoy not just the well produced readings but also the author interviews. Great listening.