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Short Story Podcast Reviews: Feb-May 2012

June 22, 2012

Time for another installment of mini-reviews of short stories podcasts! Previous installments: 1, 2, 3

As I’ve said before, I’m doing these mini-reviews partly because I just think it is so neat that there is all of this fiction available for free, online, and that people will read it to you! For free!

…and also because I am apparently incapable of consuming fiction of any kind without blathering my opinion about it all over the internet.

All of my mini-reviews today are for fantasy short story podcasts from Podcastle.

The Yeti Behind You by Jeremiah Tolbert. A young couple prepares for the birth of their first child, but the man begins seeing fantastical creatures trailing behind everyone he meets, menacing but seemingly invisible. This story had an interesting premise, and it wasn’t bad, but it also didn’t really speak to me… perhaps because I’m not a parent?
Listen to it | Read it

Magnificent Pigs by Cat Rambo. A farmer’s son dreams of moving away to become a tattoo artist, but he stays at home to take care of his ill younger sister. This story was perfect: sweet, and sad, and taking its inspiration from one of my favorite childhood novels Charlotte’s Web. It’s not very long, but it made me cry and smile, at the same time.
Listen to it | Read it

Goblin Lullaby by Jim C. Hines. This is a story of a young man out on a quest who runs afoul of a goblin… except it’s told from the point of view of the goblin, who wants nothing more than to get her infant charge to go to sleep so that she can have a rest. Very funny, and I appreciate any fantasy that can turn the conventions of the genre on their head. There were a few elements that cropped up out of nowhere part way through the story, but overall very enjoyable.
Listen to it

Illuminated Dragon by Sarah Prineas. This is a great story about a man with a special talent of bringing painted images to life, a dangerous talent to have in a city where art and imagination are slowly being outlawed. I enjoyed this story a lot; it’s maybe a tad heavy-handed with its message about the importance of art and imagination and the dangers of censorship, but it captured the rhythm of a fairy tale well, and I was left really wanting to hear what happened next.
Listen to it | Read it

Galatea by Vylar Kaftan. A young woman moves from a small town to the city, where everyone is dying from the inside, and losing pieces of themselves… in the most literal way. Not my favorite. Well written, but too gross, and leaning too hard on what I thought was a too-obvious metaphor.
Listen to it | Read it

Cup and Table by Tim Pratt. A story of the Knights of the Round Table, and the search for the Grail, except the Knights are no storybook knights but possessed of strange abilities, and the grail grants a power beyond imagining. This is a story you have to pay attention to – the main character lives in a fractured timeline, so things are never straightforward. It took me a few tries to get into it, and I think it would benefit from re-reading when I was less distractable, but even though I didn’t entirely get it, I could sense that there was a nugget of something very interesting at its core.
Listen to it

Hallah Iron-Thighs and the Change of Life by K. D. Wentworth. Similarly to “Goblin Lullaby” (above), this story takes the typical fantasy conventions and tweaks them – in this case, the chain-mail wearing mercenary barbarians, and a pack of bandits and thieves they come across. Except in this case, the mercenaries are female, older, and not in the prime of their fighting ability, and the bandits want nothing more to confess – at length – to the travelling monk that the mercenaries are supposed to be protecting. This story was entirely silly, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Listen to it

Dead Girl’s Wedding March by Cat Rambo. A girl in the city of the dead receives a wedding proposal from a rat. I didn’t really get into it, maybe because it was so short, and maybe because zombies aren’t really my thing, even when they’re not gross and shambling.
Listen to it | Read it

What about you, readers? Listened to (or read) any good short stories lately?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2012 10:36 am

    I’ve been listening to Podcastle for several years now, though I’m always three or four casts behind the curve. I love them and don’t know why we don’t see more about them on the book blogs.

    The recent one that I really enjoyed was The Axiom of Choice, though I’m not really sure why they picked it since it’s very difficult to spot the fantasy elements in it.

    • July 2, 2012 9:53 am

      CB – You’re three or four casts behind, I’m three or four years’ worth of casts behind! I would skip around, but they way they do the format, with the feedback from previous stories at the end, makes it hard for me not to listen in order. :)

  2. June 23, 2012 5:46 am

    I have recently started listening to more podcasts, but I haven’t had a chance to branch out to short story ones. I keep book-marking your posts in order to do so, so one day I will get there!

    • July 2, 2012 9:54 am

      Kailana – What other podcasts do you listen to? I’m not exactly hurting for listening material, but I’m always willing to try branching out.

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