Breathtaking Speculative Fiction from the Pacific Northwest and Beyond.
Overcast 165: Words of Power by Wendy N. Wagner
Words of Power by Wendy N. Wagner. Narrated by J.S. Arquin. Featuring an afterword by Wendy N. Wagner.
Kádár scrutinized the flake of clay on the blade of the screwdriver. "He's just getting too old to be a war truck," she said. "Look at this clay. The logos barely flickers in it."
Zugsführer Warren spat on the packed earthen floor of the machine house. "You know I can't see that magic shit," he growled. "And it wouldn't matter if I did. An order is an order, Gefreiter Kádár, and the Oberst needs every last golem out on the field."
The small woman wiped the screwdriver clean on her shirt tail and restrained a sigh. There was no point arguing with the big American; if anyone was a stickler for following orders, it was the Zugsführer. They'd butted heads before, and Kádár had come away with a headache.
She stroked the pitted side of the golem. Even the Amero-Hungarian state seal, painted on each of its shoulders, looked worn out. "Poor old Benchley."
"You name them?"
She didn't bother glancing at Warren. Instead, she studied the dull gray places where the field operators had patched the injured clay. She narrowed her eyes. "This patch clay is shit," she growled. "Even the clay I used to convert him from a fighting man to a war truck was better than this, and I wouldn't have used that crap to make a singing tea pot."
Wendy N. Wagner is the editor-in-chief of Nightmare Magazine and the managing/senior editor of Lightspeed. Her short stories, essays, and poems run the gamut from horror to environmental literature. Her longer work includes the novella The Secret Skin, the horror novel The Deer Kings, the Locus bestselling SF eco-thriller An Oath of Dogs, and two novels for the Pathfinder role-playing game. She lives in Oregon with her very understanding family, two large cats, and a Muppet disguised as a dog. https://winniewoohoo.com/
This is the final episode of The Overcast. Thank you so much for listening and for all of your support over the past 7 years!
Until we meet again... Keep dreaming,
Overcast 164: An Evil Not Forgotten by Erik Buchanan
An Evil Not Forgotten by Erik Buchanan. Narrated by J.S. Arquin. #fantasy #war #aftermath
The soft whickering of the horses, not used to his presence, penetrates into Tyler’s sleep. His eyes snap open and his hand claws for the knife beside his makeshift bed.
Still dark. Still raining. Still in the barn, the straw scratching his back through the thick blanket wrapped around his body. Still alone with his memories.
Pounding rain. Soaked powder. Men and horses fighting through the mud. Marching to the Mage's castle. Muskets gripped tight in cold fingers. The ground erupts under them and horrors crawl out, clawing at them. Lights in the sky become wraiths descending on them all. Cold iron to ward them off, cold steel to kill them. Death for those too slow.
Tyler lay with his wife the first night he arrived home, bodies thrusting hard into each other, hands grasping to reclaim a year's absence of flesh. Afterwards they lay together, sweat-soaked and laughing, nestling tight as sleep overtook them both.
Tyler woke when Kate’s fingernails clawed open the flesh of his forearms, saw her blue and gasping, eyes wide with horror and lack of air as his hands tightened around her neck.
After he let go, after he made sure she was all right and she said she forgave him, Tyler went out to sleep in the barn. She didn't argue.
Erik Buchanan is an author, ghostwriter, fight director, actor, black belt and parent. He is also a communications consultant, but that doesn’t sound as exciting. His newest books areThe Stalker Chronicles, including The Trials of Abyowith, The Wire Noose, and The Dead Trees (coming fall 2021) and are available on Amazon, Smashwords, and other online retailers. His trilogy, the Thomas Flarety Stories (Small Magics, Cold Magics and True Magics) is published by Canada’s Dragon Moon Press. He has also ghostwritten nine other books, acted on stage, TV and film, and has directed fights for more than 50 productions. Find out more at www.erikbuchanan.ca or follow him
Overcast 163: Seven Cups of Tea by Gwen C. Katz
Seven Cups of Tea by Gwen C. Katz. Narrated by J.S. Arquin. #fantasy #steampunk #fairytale
This cup of tea is weak and bitter. It’s made of boiled roots, and the taste of dirt is still there. Eliza looks dubiously into the wooden cup. She likes sugar in her tea, white sugar especially, two lumps if she’s allowed it. But she senses that she will have no sugar at all for a very long time.
The Prime Minister’s face hovers in her mind. His face is commanding rather than handsome, light-skinned, sharp-angled, with a clockwork acuity lens fixed over the left eye. His words echo in her ears: “Little girls don’t go to war. What will I do with you?”
Gwen C. Katz is a writer, artist, and retired mad scientist who lives in Pasadena, California with her husband and a revolving door of transient animals. She has loved Hans Christian Andersen since she was little and thinks there ought to be more fairy tales about the power of democracy, and she was happy to have a chance to bring both together in “Seven Cups of Tea.” Find out more at gwenckatz.com or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram @gwenckatz.
Overcast 162: Twentyone Twentytwo Seven by dave ring
Twentyone Twentytwo Seven by dave ring. Narrated by J.S. Arquin. #fantasy #urbanfantasy #magicrealism
“Drink, sir?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said. “I thought I had to go to the cafe car for some reason.”
“We are happy to accommodate you,” he said, and then mumbled something else through a pointed smile. His teeth gleamed white against the stubbled growth of beard on his jaw.
“Sorry, what was that?” I asked, plucking the effervescent glass from the tray. Tiny pinpricks of coolness splashed against my wrist.
“We are happy to accommodate you,” he said again, then quieter: “Andtakethephonefromunderthetray.”
I heard him this time, barely, but I don’t think I reacted quickly enough. He strategically released his hand and a cell phone tumbled into my lap.
“Thank you?” I said.
He whisked past me, abruptly distant. “Twentyone twentytwo seven,” he said.
A chill ran across my neck. That was my lock code. The phone was a basic iPhone. I pushed the button on the side and a photo of me and some dude I didn’t recognize shone back at me from the screen.
dave ring is a queer writer of speculative fiction living in Washington, DC. His short fiction has been featured in publications such Fireside Fiction, Podcastle, and A Punk Rock Future. He is also the publisher and managing editor of Neon Hemlock Press, and the co-editor of Baffling Magazine. Find him online at www.dave-ring.com or @slickhop on Twitter.
Overcast 161: Winter's Flowers by K.T. Wagner
Winter's Flowers by K.T. Wagner. Narrated by J.S. Arquin. #fantasy #magic #winter #snowqueen
The late September sun warms Gerda’s arthritic knees while sparrows chirp from the roof. Her knitting needles slide and click, keeping rhythm with the squeak of her rocking chair against the porch floor. Across each row, she knits in the present, then purls back in her memories.
She learned to purl after Nan died. Every day since, Gerda remembers Kay.
Today, her daydream is about their childhood garden in the garrets and gutters of a faraway town.
Her hands turn the row, and the sweet scent of fall roses wafts by.
She brings the yarn to the front, and remembers the roses of her childhood. They flourished in wooden rooftop boxes.
“We’re happier here, planted in the ground,” the present-day roses sing when she knits a row.
Gerda lives on the other side of the world from where she lost Kay so long ago. Now she knits her memories of the boy she loved into every garment she makes. The elaborate lace patterns had been impossible in garter stitch. They require the memory purls.
Initially, the memory of grief drowned her, but she now knows Kay’s still alive. The flowers told her.
Surrounded by gnomes, gargoyles and poisonous plants, KT Wagner writes Gothic horror and op/ed pieces in the garden of her British Columbia home. She enjoys day-dreaming and is a collector of strange plants, weird trivia and obscure tomes. KT organizes writer events and works to create literary community. A number of her short stories are published in magazines and anthologies. She’s currently working on a novel. KT can be found online at www.northernlightsgothic.com and on Twitter @KT_Wagner.
Overcast 160: Grief by K.G. Anderson
Grief by K.G. Anderson. Narrated by Rebecca Stern. Hosted by J.S. Arquin. #scifi #aliens #grief #therapy
“Out of the question.” I drew back from the speakerphone on my mahogany desk, shaking my head, relieved that Kathleen Wilson couldn’t see my reaction to her request. Kathleen was a former client, a close friend—and the director of the Extraplanetary Relations Council in Washington D.C.
“Please, Moira! The exopsychologists here at the Council want to study the ambassador, not help zhirm. Please—anything you can do."
I closed my eyes, opened them again, and looked across the room to the green leather armchair where my clients usually sat. I was trying to imagine an alien in that chair and failing utterly.
K.G. Anderson is a Seattle-based journalist and a late-blooming science fiction writer. She grew up in the Washington, D.C. area where her family worked in early rocketry, technology, and space programs. K.G. holds degrees in psychology and journalism. Her recent fiction appears in magazines, anthologies, and podcasts such as Galaxy’s Edge, More Alternative Truths, and The Overcast. Find her at writerway.com/fiction and on Twitter: @writerway.
Rebecca Stern has a voice that has been described as expressive, articulate, song-like, and evocative of warm bourbon and milk…if you like that kind of thing. Her forty plus years as a professional violinist has instilled in her a deep appreciation for music of all kinds, including the music of language. She loves nothing more than exploring the rhythm and flow of a script…from short narrations and poetry to novels…and sharing that with the listener. Find out more at www.verysternword.com and on Twitter: @verysternword.
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Professionally narrated speculative fiction!
JS does a fantastic job reading a wide array of speculative fiction from established and up-and-coming writers alike. (scifi, fantasy, and even some horror) Check it out for yourself!
Good readings of very interesting stories
I like this podcast of short SciFi/Speculative Fiction stories and I enjoy that not only does it include an "audiobook" of the stort, but a bit of discussion and postscript from the authors themselves. Definitely on my regular listen list! (Also appreciate the good audio qualiy, unlike a lot of other "story" podcasts out there... and NO COMMERCIALS!)
Smartly curated collection of weird & wonderful fiction!