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Author Topic: PC437: The Cruelest Team Will Win  (Read 2240 times)

Ocicat

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on: October 11, 2016, 11:12:06 PM
PodCastle 437: The Cruelest Team Will Win

by Mike Allen

read by Setsu Uzume


First printed in the anthology CORVIDAE, edited by Rhonda Parrish (World Weaver Press, July 2015).

A spider with a leg span wider than my outstretched hand squeezed out from the space behind the light switch, and spread its wings.

I froze, my finger still on the toggle. Behind me the dust-draped ceiling fan hummed to life, the light bulb beneath it flicking on to paint the monster with my shadow.

The marks on its body formed a single staring eye above a screaming mouth. Two more false eyes glared red across its dragonfly wings. Another hideous little soul turned demonic, yearning to grow into something far worse.


Rated PG-13.



Mike Allen edits the acclaimed anthology series Clockwork Phoenix and the long-running magazine Mythic Delirium. His books include post-apocalyptic dark fantasy novel The Black Fire Concerto, steampunk western The Sky-Riders (co-written with MG novelist Paul Dellinger), career-spanning poetry collection Hungry Constellations, and short fiction collections Unseaming and The Spider Tapestries. His poetry has won the Rhysling Award three times, and his fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia, with his wife Anita and two quirky cats. You can find him online at his website http://descentintolight.com or on Twitter @mythicdelirium.



Setsu Uzume spent her formative years in and out of dojos. She also trained in a monastery in rural China, studying Daoism and swordplay. She is a member of Codex and SFWA. While she has dabbled in many arts, only writing and martial arts seem to have stuck. Find her on Twitter @KatanaPen, or her website katanapen.wordpress.com.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: November 02, 2016, 02:26:34 AM by Talia »



Khaalidah from Vega

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Reply #1 on: October 17, 2016, 10:56:52 PM
I loved this story. So creepy and twisted. It was made even better by Setsu's masterful narration.

K from Vega


Devoted135

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Reply #2 on: October 20, 2016, 06:56:53 PM
Quote
Buttercup: And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.

Westley: They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.


Okay, so I hate spiders. But people who can turn into Bluejays and eat nasties are cool! I thought for sure that she was a goner when she had to fight Lilith, especially when it was revealed that this was way more personal than a simple case of "we're on different sides." So it was a great twist at the end, and I'd love to hear more adventures from this character.


Also, how does that voice come out of that face?? Amazing. :)



Not-a-Robot

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Reply #3 on: October 24, 2016, 01:04:38 PM
Anyone that knows me, knows that I love birds. Especially intelligent birds. Especially corvids.

So it may suprise you all that I had mixed emotions on this one. Although birds get a bad image as being dumb, spiders have a worse image as being threatening.

Oh, who am I kidding? Not every story can be Charlotte's Web.

Anyway, some story. I enjoyed it, and I'll have to check out Corvidae.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 01:14:47 PM by Not-a-Robot »



Fenrix

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Reply #4 on: October 26, 2016, 03:58:46 PM
Great story. Flying spiders should all have their heads cracked open like an acorn.

There's also some implications of future problems here. Recreational drug use was mentioned as being within the bluejay's life. The feelings elicited by the demon consumption/poison were better, so the world could easily go in a dark way for our bluejay as she chases the dragon of that last high.

Finally, thanks Devoted135 - Came here to make sure this was present. Glad you got to it first.

Quote
Buttercup: And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.

Westley: They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.



All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Devoted135

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Reply #5 on: November 04, 2016, 02:35:57 AM

Finally, thanks Devoted135 - Came here to make sure this was present. Glad you got to it first.

Quote
Buttercup: And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.

Westley: They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.


My pleasure! ;D



Unblinking

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Reply #6 on: November 29, 2016, 02:52:45 PM
Really cool worldbuilding here!  The power of her abilities in the spirit world but the new dangers that opened her up to, the growing understanding of the world as the story goes on, as she understands what the spider-things really are, Lilith as adversary.  Well done, very tense, exciting, interesting stuff.