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Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

Author Topic: PC481: What The Fires Burn  (Read 2029 times)


  • Castle Watchcat
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on: August 02, 2017, 03:10:13 AM
PodCastle 481: What The Fires Burn

by A. Merc Rustad
read by Brian Murphy
hosted by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

A PodCastle Original!

Rated R.

It’s near dusk when VanDrake Tage Rannheim trudges into the city to meet a friend. He sticks to the lee of buildings, smog and shadow wrapping his coat. Don’t like a lot of attention. Can’t help it, mostly, but he keeps his greatcoat pulled closed to conceal weapons. Ain’t wiped the mud off the back sigil, either.

Click here to read more

A. Merc Rustad is a queer non-binary writer who lives in the Minnesota. Their stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside, Apex, Uncanny, Shimmer, Cicada, and other fine venues. You can find Merc on Twitter @Merc_Rustad, Patreon or their website: Their debut short story collection, SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROBOT, is out now from Lethe Press.

Brian Murphy is a long time co-host of The Miskatonic University Podcast, He works at home in the tech industry and has far more time on his hands than he will admit. He would also like to ask his neighbors to stop building things with power tools in the middle of the day.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!


  • Lochage
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Reply #1 on: August 05, 2017, 09:08:00 AM
This story didn't work for me. It might have been the setting, it might have been the informal language, I'm not sure. I might have just not been in the mood for it.


  • Matross
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Reply #2 on: August 05, 2017, 02:24:19 PM
Apparently the fire burns everything... This was jam packed with just about everything - wizards, healers, street urchins, addict pseudo-zombies, an evil sentient factory, and a mad scientist! I thought is was an inventive mashup of fantasy tropes. Excellent visuals. The story didn't need the info dump of clan dynamics and sexual politics; the story didn't need it, though an exploration of that in this world would make an interesting story in its own right.

I did think that the story changed scenes awfully quickly. That may have had more to do with the narration. The narrator has an excellent podcasting voice, Podcastle should use him again, but geez he read this breathlessly!


  • Matross
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Reply #3 on: August 10, 2017, 12:45:15 AM
The setting was cool but I couldn't get a handle on how it worked and what was going on. As a fan of X-Men and YA sci-fi I do love a good old rescue-friend-from-scientific-experiments-tube story.

"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."

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  • Palmer
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Reply #4 on: August 15, 2017, 02:37:10 AM
I liked the story quite a lot, especially the orphan part and the dying wizard too, even if wheezing wizard seemed to avoid a factory full of cables and steel parts flailing about a bit easily. One thing though, I never understood what implement he was flailing about with himself, an empty pistol with a name is all I could guess at, perhaps I missed something while jogging. But voodoo zombies and mindless biting zombies ain't got nothing on coal zombies.