Author Topic: PC490: The Names Of The Sky  (Read 3941 times)


  • Castle Watchcat
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on: October 04, 2017, 12:04:23 AM
PodCastle 490: The Names Of The Sky

by Matthew Claxton
read by Tanja Milojevic

A PodCastle Original!

Rated PG-13.

Zoya wished one of her flying instructors could have seen her land on that muddy field. Always she had been criticized for her landings. “Light as a feather in the air, lands like a brick,” one had written on his assessment. But this time she brought the bullet-riddled fighter in perfectly, despite the dead engine, despite the ruts that tried to fling her sideways. She bumped to a halt where the field ended and a bare-branched forest of white birches began.

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Matthew Claxton is a reporter near Vancouver, British Columbia. His day job has, at times, involved biplanes, barn fires, toxic spills, live bears, and tricky grammar problems. His stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Mothership Zeta, and the 2017 edition of The Year’s Best Science Fiction.

Tanja Milojevic is originally from Serbia but has been in the U.S. since the age of 5. She has been voice acting since her senior year of high school and can be heard all over including Koach Studios’ Ancestry, You Are Here, 11th Hours’ Heavenly Deception, What’s the Frequency, Broken Sea Audio Productions, Greater Boston, 19 Nocturne Boulevard, and Edict Zero. She produces her own radio dramas and posts them to her podcast LightningBolt Theater of the mind (click the link – we dare you). She says “I’m visually impaired and have ROP and Glaucoma, but use gold wave and Sound Forge to record and post-produce my audio.”

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!


  • Palmer
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Reply #1 on: October 16, 2017, 02:10:22 AM
Needs a better title, this one doesn't work well imho.  Story was great!  I love that the baba yaga was ancient enough to actually be having some senility issues.  I was expecting, from the moment "witch" was mentioned, that the pilot would be turned into a bird.  I wonder if that was the 'other ending' Graham alluded to in his commentary.  I do prefer the ending it had.  Excellent narration as well.

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." A.Einstein

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  • Palmer
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Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 04:46:11 PM
A fun story and unusual which I liked quite a lot. 
I believe there was one instance in describing early flights that the wrong voice was used, but still a good narration.
Is there a better kind of witch (or reason to become one) than a flying witch? The parallels with the fighter pilot were really cool.


  • Matross
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Reply #3 on: October 28, 2017, 08:42:16 PM
Not really sure what happened at the end, but I’m a fan of Baba Yaga aiding the female pilots of Russia.

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


  • Palmer
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Reply #4 on: November 25, 2017, 04:58:36 PM
I didn't expect to like this one at all (I'm usually not a fan of fantasy stories set in wartime), but I loved it. The confirmation of Baba Yaga's true identity was beautifully done, and the ending with the two fliers one again airborne was perfect.


  • Palmer
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Reply #5 on: November 25, 2017, 05:00:30 PM
Not really sure what happened at the end, but I’m a fan of Baba Yaga aiding the female pilots of Russia.
As I understood it, Baba Yaga gave Zoya a fragment of her magic flying mortar, which restored her plane's power of flight.