300 episodes

PodCastle is the world’s first audio fantasy magazine. Weekly, we broadcast the best in fantasy short stories, running the gammut from heart-pounding sword and sorcery, to strange surrealist tales, to gritty urban fantasy, to the psychological depth of magical realism. Our podcast features authors including N.K. Jemisin, Peter S. Beagle, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Jim C. Hines, and Cat Rambo, among others.



Terry Pratchett once wrote, “Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can.” Tune in to PodCastle each Tuesday for our weekly tale, and spend the length of a morning commute giving your imagination a work out.

PodCastle Escape Artists, Inc

    • Fiction
    • 4.6 • 464 Ratings

PodCastle is the world’s first audio fantasy magazine. Weekly, we broadcast the best in fantasy short stories, running the gammut from heart-pounding sword and sorcery, to strange surrealist tales, to gritty urban fantasy, to the psychological depth of magical realism. Our podcast features authors including N.K. Jemisin, Peter S. Beagle, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Jim C. Hines, and Cat Rambo, among others.



Terry Pratchett once wrote, “Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can.” Tune in to PodCastle each Tuesday for our weekly tale, and spend the length of a morning commute giving your imagination a work out.

    PodCastle 736: The Gorgon’s Glass

    PodCastle 736: The Gorgon’s Glass

    * Author : M. E. Bronstein

    * Narrators : Rachael K. Jones and Dave Thompson

    * Host : Matt Dovey

    * Audio Producer : Peter Adrian Behravesh

    *

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    PodCastle 736: The Gorgon’s Glass is a PodCastle original.





    Rated PG-13

    The Gorgon’s Glass

    by M.E. Bronstein

     

    There are people who try to blame Oken’s unhappy demise on the Gorgon, but if you read Oken’s notebooks carefully (and it’s my job to read his notebooks carefully), you know that he was already dying when he first met her. In fact, that is why he sought the Gorgon out; he needed someone to craft his “monument more lasting than bronze” — i.e. a brilliant thing to preserve his memory.

    In his notes, Oken often revisits his first meeting with the Gorgon:

    . . . Certain denizens of the township nearest to the Gorgon’s workshop attempted to dissuade me from seeking her out. They called her a witch. It is disheartening, though hardly surprising that her style of artistic production would elicit such reactions. I ventured into the Swamp anyway, and rather enjoyed my solitary escapade into the wilderness, until I found myself caught in circles and stumbled across the same lightning-blasted yew, again and again.

    Then I heard a silken rustle, and beheld, in frightening proximity, a serpent — it unfurled from a ragged hole in the moss, a faint rainbow iridescence clinging to its scales. I stepped backwards in careless haste and a rock gave way beneath my foot; I fell upon my rear, something tore, and there was the snake, a line of wriggling calligraphy some demonic hand had written into the earth. It came closer and closer, and I realized with horror that my trousers were quite firmly caught upon a bramble. I struggled and cried out —

    I could not die in such a manner (so many intelligent medical men had already foretold another end for me, and how impolite to contradict them!).

    And then — the artist herself.

    A slight creature with flyaway black-and-gray hair and a grimly set jaw. She wore a ragged shawl and a basket across one shoulder.

    She stared fixedly at the serpent, then drew closer, careful not to make a sound, to stir any rocks, all the while untying her shawl — which she then tossed so that it fell across the beast. It writhed, confused by the sudden surrounding weight. The Gorgon pounced upon her quarry, bundled her shawl into a knot, and tossed it into the basket lashed across her back.

    To think that so wild a creature should be my object! But there are mysteries and powers beyond our understanding that often choose strange receptacles for their dearest secrets.

     

    A snake brought me to the Gorgon, too.

    I first met her glass when I was a girl. I’d chase sand fleas through riverside muck, and there was a worming thing, half buried. See-through, like a newborn squid or shrimp, but hard and motionless. Just one fragment of a larger glass serpent.

    That happens, sometimes. Although the Gorgon’s workshop in the Swamp rotted long ago, her sculptures still crop up, carried by the river. Like they want to crawl back ashore.

    I found the glass snake by stepping on it, and it sliced into the sole of my foot and glittered and I bled and yet it went on drawing my eye through my tears, and my mother had to work to pry it out of me. She sent the piece of sculpture to the Estate.

    Perhaps that is why I wound up here, too,

    • 44 min
    PodCastle 735: The Artists’ Colony

    PodCastle 735: The Artists’ Colony

    * Author : Patrick Freyne

    * Narrator : Eleanor R. Wood

    * Host : Matt Dovey

    * Audio Producer : Peter Adrian Behravesh

    *

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    Previously published by Winter Papers Volume 5





    Content warning for drowning, malnourishment, and extreme peril





    Rated PG-13

    The Artists’ Colony

    Patrick Freyne

     

    Dear ­­­­­­­______,

    I think you would love it here. It’s so peaceful and you were always saying, back in the city, that we needed to get away.

    So let me describe what I can see from my writing desk. Outside my window I can see a silver lake which is very still. Behind the lake there is a hill that is partly covered with coniferous trees. Above the hill there is a mottled grey sky. The trees on the hill look like they’ve been painted against that sky with vertical dashes of paint and their reflections in the lake look like inverted impressionist renderings of the same scene.

    There is no sound. No engines. No construction. No destruction. No children. No birds.

    Before the lake there is a lawn with a forking path. The lawn is very green. At the fork in the path there is a bare leafless tree that makes me think of death. One of the forks leads off into the dark woods to the left. The other leads to a boathouse that was damaged by a recent storm.

    Okay, today, there’s some noise. Today, over by the boathouse, Mr Conway is trying to drown himself. He is striding into the water trying to get out of his depth before the People can grab him. The People, as always, have emerged holding long poles with hooks on them and they are right behind Mr Conway. While he struggles terribly against the weight of the lake, they move swiftly and gracefully and seem completely unhindered by the water. He is trying to submerge his head before they can reach him but the water is only up to his waist and it just looks funny to be honest with you. Poor Mr Conway. It’s hard not to laugh at him.

    The People are wonderful. Salt of the earth. They never speak. They clean our rooms and turn up with food and ensure that everything works like clockwork. It makes me think about life in books where aristocrats had servants. That’s what the People are like. They’re like our servants and it makes me feel very posh and grand to find that my bed has been made or a fire has been set in my room. I am very productive here. Today already I have written two poems and the People have already taken them away to be appreciated by the Host. It’s lovely.

    Oh, they have Mr Conway now and he’s struggling and shouting. He’ll be quiet soon. I’m going down to get a cup of coffee from the kitchen while things calm down. I’ll resume this letter tonight.



    At dinner Mr Conway was completely silent. The People had dressed him up and he looked quite fine in his dark suit with the yellow pocket square, if just a little diminished. His lips were pulsing as though he was trying to say something but he never quite managed to part them. For the whole dinner he sat with his eyes darting and his hands shaking and his pores sweating. And he didn’t eat a thing. More fool him! The food here is wonderful, compared to what we’re used to. I felt quite annoyed with him actually. If he didn’t feel up to it, he really should have stayed in bed.

    But it was okay. Ms Chissom, in particular, has enough talk for everyone. She’s a prolific if not very good writer. She is an undeniably good talker. Today,

    • 28 min
    PodCastle 734: An Incomplete Account of the Case of the Bird-Talker of Yaros

    PodCastle 734: An Incomplete Account of the Case of the Bird-Talker of Yaros

    * Author : Eleanna Castroianni

    * Narrator : Alethea Kontis

    * Host : Matt Dovey

    * Audio Producer : Peter Adrian Behravesh

    *

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    Previously published by Fireside





    Content warnings for war, imprisonment, and torture





    Rated PG-13

    An Incomplete Account of the Case of the Bird-Talker of Yaros

    by Eleanna Castroianni

     

     

    PANAYOTIS M., interviewed by Eleni Haji, November 1975

    When I first saw her, she was covered in wings. Sea birds flocked to her as if she was honey and they were the bees. Watching from the men’s prison, we could always tell which was her cell window by the cluster of flapping, squawking gulls.

    The guards were furious. They would thrash around to drive the birds away or even keep her locked in isolation in windowless rooms. But I know she still spoke to them, all of them. A chirrup here, a cry there. You can’t stop them. Birds carry words, my father used to say. Their wings are speech.





    “Packages and other mail from relatives are not accepted, given that the inmates are not in need of additional food items or other material.” — Pavlos Totomis, Minister of Public Order, May 9th, 1967



    CHRYSSOULA K., diary excerpt

    April 21st, 1972

    Three months in prison; five years of the Colonels’ regime. April 21st is my birthday, you know. Five years ago, on my birthday, we became this unfree country.

    My father disappeared immediately. Mother was smarter. She knew our family was too political, too vocal, and that she had to look after us. They came one day at the school where she worked and took her. She was tortured for a week in Perissos, yet never revealed our whereabouts.

    I wasn’t smart like her or like my siblings. I itched to join the anti-Junta action. I was caught along with other students after a failed bombing attempt. We had targeted the foreign cars, the French Embassy. To make them do something. To force them to act and stop looking the other way like nothing’s happening to us. And here I am: earned myself three months and counting in Yaros, the Death Island, on a steady diet of humiliation and deprivation. The food, I can handle. The beatings too.

    But not the letters. They’re taking our letters. No prison ever was so cruel.



    “Greece and France have different approaches to Democracy. This, however, is completely irrelevant, because every state is free to govern in different ways. The French government has adopted the principle of not interfering with other countries’ internal affairs.” — French State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, during a visit to Greece, January 27th, 1972



    PANAYOTIS M., interviewed by Sotirios Iakovidis, 1986

    The island was a place forgotten by the gods: time had stopped, life had stopped. A place where everything was grey and dry. The little we saw of it, you could say it was like every other island, really — rocky, low vegetation, blazing sun. And a smell of death everywhere. It was small — just big enough for a red-bricked prison and little else. Can you imagine a tiny island that has a giant prison on it and nothing else but rocks? It’s like a prison within a prison.

    The Junta never wanted the outside world to know what they were doing. Many knew, of course. All the world’s elite, the governments, the oligarchs. All these had excellent relations with the Junta — business deals and so forth.

    • 25 min
    PodCastle 733: Flash Fiction Extravaganza – Rough Patches

    PodCastle 733: Flash Fiction Extravaganza – Rough Patches

    * Authors : Marisca Pichette, Dafydd McKimm and Devin Miller

    * Narrators : Scott Campbell, Matt Dovey and Kelly Robson

    * Host : Matt Dovey

    * Audio Producer : Peter Adrian Behravesh

    *

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    “Water We Made to Breathe” and “A Partial Record of Enchanted Cheeses I’ve Fed My Wife” are PodCastle originals

    “Secret Keepers” was previously published by Flash Fiction Online





    Content Warnings in “A Partial Record of Enchanted Cheeses I’ve Fed My Wife” for terminal illness.





    “Water We Made to Breathe” Rated PG-13

    “Secret Keepers” Rated PG

    “A Partial Record of Enchanted Cheeses I’ve Fed My Wife” Rated PG

    Water We Made to Breathe

    By Marisca Pichette

    When we were fourteen we went looking for the ocean at the heart of the woods. I remember the smell: earth and algae and damp, air thick as water. Our sweat mixing with the summer sun, our clothes in a pile on the shore. Max jumped in, his shoulders swallowed by green waves.

    I could never tell Max’s parents why I came back alone.



    Eight years later I find myself in the woods again. Mosquitoes circle my face and sweat runs down my back. I haven’t stopped sweating since we found the pond, since Max jumped in and didn’t climb back out. I sweat, I drool, I cry. Water pours from me in every way it can.

    Sometimes I think I’m melting. Turning into my own pond: an ocean in the middle of the street, seeping into the polyester carpet in my apartment, running between the driver’s seat and console in my car. I wonder what will happen then, if I’ll evaporate or freeze or fill with algae and water-striders.

    I tried to forget our ocean. I went to therapy, sought the driest places and watched them dampen with my presence. I sweat in winter and drool in the desert, cry in my sleep.

    Water, water, everywhere. And every drop reminds me of Max.

    I let the air guide me through the woods, following the mosquitoes into deeper and deeper humidity. Water drips from my fingertips and chin. My clothes are soaked. I stop under a willow and take them off like we did that day, dropping them in a puddle of fabric.

    I carried Max’s clothes back with me after. Did I think he would come back? If he had, he would’ve had to walk naked through the trees.

    I searched the woods for days. The ocean was gone. Max was gone.

    Mosquitoes thicken around me. Their buzz fills my head and I realize that they haven’t bitten me once. Is it sweat or memory that keeps them away?

    Down between reeds, my feet sink into mud. The mosquitoes abruptly disperse, leaving me naked and dripping, staring at the place I’m unable to forget.

    In my memory, the pond was small, a little puddle in the middle of the trees. We called it the ocean as a joke. But now I look out across an expanse of still green water. There should be trees on the other side — I know there are; the woods go on for miles. Searching for their shapes, all I see is water. Endless water.

    “Max?”

    The part of me that combed the woods and found nothing, not even a puddle, knows it’s ridiculous to think he’s still here — still alive,

    • 32 min
    PodCastle 732: Fire in His Eyes, Blood on His Teeth

    PodCastle 732: Fire in His Eyes, Blood on His Teeth

    * Author : R.S.A. Garcia

    * Narrator : Omega Francis

    * Host : Matt Dovey

    * Audio Producer : Peter Adrian Behravesh

    *

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    Previously published by Devil’s Ways anthology





    Content warning for domestic violence





    Rated R

    Fire In His Eyes, Blood On His Teeth

    By R.S.A. Garcia

     

    He comes to me with fire in his eyes and blood on his teeth. Sometimes the blood is his enemies’. Sometimes it’s mine. Eventually, it’s mine. Always.

    He is different today, striding across the sandy soil toward my home with scuffed, much-mended boots. Often, he’s charming and beautiful, like the first time I met him. Smooth brown skin and white smiles, smelling of freshly scraped coconuts. Sometimes he is fierce and tall and smells of the salty sea, with a glorious shining beard braided around the fuses he hides beneath his battered hat. His teeth are longer, yellow, and his skin burned from the sun. They call him a pirate then, and men on land and sea tremble to speak his name. He has harsh words, but there are no teeth for me yet. They come later.

    They come with the fire and a shadow on the sun.

    He has seen much. Done much. He forgets, and then the hunger comes and the call to be free and he wrenches himself from me. Tears us apart with fists and teeth and hate for all my kind. What used to be my kind.

    ( . . . what is my kind? Women? Women like me? Human? I no longer know. I no longer care . . . )

    He wears purple today. A royal colour. His colour. The waistcoat is battered, the once-gold buttons faded, the shirt beneath grimed as his patched pants. But the purple is bright: bright as he becomes when the shadow is on the sun.

    The daylight is beginning to shift; the time is drawing near. I had no real hope of staying hidden. I left our home, but not the islands. There are many of them here, scattered like broken pieces of jade across the Caribbean Sea. I found one with water, one with food, and I built my own place. Sometimes my hands bled from the work, but at least it was my blood shed for me.

    For her.

    Not him.



    A shadow falls on the village, but I can’t see the cause. There are clouds, but the sky is blue and clear above the forest clearing. I hear a strange wind, but feel no breeze. People run and scream. We feel fear, but we don’t know why. There is nothing to see. Then he lands, with a crash of wings and broken trees, and belches fire, and I drop my bucket of water from the river and run too.

    We all hide in the forest for days before we go back in small groups. When I do, he’s in my undamaged hut, alone and naked and smiling, smelling of faraway places. He holds out his arms and I go straight into them without a thought. He whispers honey in my ears and I’m lost and found, awake and aware. I see the world with new eyes and he is the beauty in it. We sneak out of the village that night. He’s dressed in the clothes I stole for him. I carry what food I have. I never go back. I have a new home now.



    His skin is black as night now. His head is tied with a faded red cloth and there are gold loops in his nose and ears. Rings crowd fingers and chains rest on a sweaty neck. His stomach is barrel-round beneath the purple waistcoat, his bare arms corded with muscle. He has a knife in his belt. It’s all he needs.

    He smiles. “Beloved,” he says, and though he is still to reach me, it’s as if his hands have grasped my shoulders.

    • 36 min
    PodCastle 731: The Travel Guide to the Dimension of Lost Things

    PodCastle 731: The Travel Guide to the Dimension of Lost Things

    * Author : Effie Seiberg

    * Narrator : Summer Fletcher

    * Host : Matt Dovey

    * Audio Producer : Peter Adrian Behravesh

    *

    Discuss on Forums







    PodCastle 731: The Travel Guide to the Dimension of Lost Things is a PodCastle original.





    Content warning for depression





    Rated PG-13

    The Travel Guide to the Dimension of Lost Things

    By Effie Seiberg

     

    Have you ever felt so tired that you just don’t feel anymore? Where you wake up, burrowed under the covers with a shaft of light somehow piercing through them and right into your brain, and realize that here comes one more day you need to endure, to wait through, until you can blessedly sleep again and stop experiencing this whole existence thing?

    This is where I am. I’m deeply considering whether it’s worth just snaking my hand out of my bed-burrito to grab my phone, bring it in, and then just play solitaire until I can fall asleep again instead of even considering what I need to get done today . . . until I realize that the light piercing through is bright green.

    I shove down enough of the covers to pop my head out and wince as the light hits my eyes directly. I blink, trying to shake the sleep from my head. It’s one of those lights that projects moving stars or confetti or whatever, like the ones we had at the roller rink I worked at in high school. It’s floating in the air, bobbing as though it were stuck in a current, with its power cable floating behind it. It’s not plugged into anything, but it’s projecting with all its might.

    And it’s not alone. In the adjacent airspace above my bed, high up in the sky, float several mismatched socks, a small plastic trophy that says “[Your Name Here] Completed Kindermusic”, a bewildered hamster trying its best to flail its way towards solid ground, a sticky-note with “Don’t forget! Friday lunch!” written in red Sharpie. Pen caps, jar lids, shoelaces . . . just floating detritus everywhere. Like an underwater junkyard without the water. It goes on in all directions.

    Behind them is a gray sky, that sort of bright white that has the world laughing at you for ever thinking you might see the sun again. It’s consistent and uniform from horizon to horizon, where it meets an endless sea of flat concrete tiles. This sure isn’t where the sidewalk ends.

    I don’t smell anything, which might be because projectors and sticky notes aren’t particularly fragrant, or maybe because it’s a f*****g dream and who the hell smells things in dreams.



    * Lucid dream means I should make the most of it. I stand up on my bed, stretch my arms out and try to fly. I jump, creaking the bedsprings. And fall to the ground, banging my knee on the hard concrete. It hurts.



    You’re not supposed to feel pain in dreams.

    Which brings us to: what the f**k.

    I stand up shakily. My knee hurts and the concrete is cold on my one bare foot. (The other one still has the gym sock I’ve been wearing for a few days.) None of this makes any sense, and by god I am in no place to handle whatever it is. I’m so unbelievably tired. I haven’t gone to work in two weeks. They’ve probably fired me, but I haven’t checked my email to find out. I haven’t showered in . . . five, five days. And I’m wearing the same sweats I’ve been wearing all week, the gray ones I politely stole from my dad the last time I went home to visit and forgot to pack pajamas. Do I honestly look like the sort of person who can handle some kind of m...

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
464 Ratings

464 Ratings

DavidCFar ,

Fantasy mixture

Great mix of high literary fantasy and some fun low brow stuff. Good audio quality.

FinalSpace ,

Good story selection, poor audio

Podcast has a nice variety of fantasy stories from around the globe.

Audio quality is poor. Even at maximum volume on my phone, home or car speakers, I frequently have to strain to hear the narrator. Recommend addressing this issue.

Twistingly Fun ,

Super!

Late to this Pod, but am loving it as I binge stories - creative and curious with twists Really enjoyed the story White as Soap!

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