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Author Topic: CoW Ep. 415: The Witches of Athens (And Ep. 443!)  (Read 391 times)

Languorous Lass

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on: January 06, 2021, 03:41:28 AM
Cast of Wonders 415: The Witches of Athens

Also, Episode 443! A Staff Pick for 2020! Hosted by Associate Editor William Heydt-Minor!

• Author: Lara Elena Donnelly
• Narrator: Nika Harper
• Host, Episode 443: William Heydt-Minor
• Host, Episode 415: KB Sluss
• Audio Producer: Jeremy Carter
• Artist: Alexis Goble

"The Witches of Athens" previously appeared at Strange Horizons, October 7, 2013.


Show Notes
This story page contains a statement from Cast of Wonders on the ongoing protests against police brutality and anti-Black racism, as well as links to suggestions for further reading for children, teens and young adults.

Click here to listen to Episode 443
Click here to listen to Episode 415

There are two diners in Athens, Ohio.

The Court Street Diner serves tuna melts and satin malts in silver mixing cups. The Court Street Diner says it is stuck in the 1960s, but it is too hip to be a throwback. The waitstaff are young and enticing, dressed in gingham and high-waisted jeans.

The Union Street Diner is the older of the two establishments, open every hour of the day, serving breakfast twenty-four seven. Potatoes fried in sour grease arrive on thick ceramic plates, borne by pockmarked servers whose lives have passed like white bread through the conveyor belt of an industrial toaster, burnt and slow.

There are two witches in Athens, too, and each holds court in her respective diner.

Tags:   2020, Advice, Alexis Goble, Athens, Barista, coffee, Coffee Shop, Jeremy Carter, KB Sluss, Lara Elena Donnelly, LGBTQ, love, magic, Nika Harper, Ohio, pride, relationships, sisters, Staff Picks, William Heydt-Minor, witches, Young Adult fiction

« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 04:33:58 AM by Languorous Lass »

Álex Souza

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Reply #1 on: January 28, 2021, 07:41:58 PM
Good story.

I like the fact that it takes place in Athens, Ohio, and that the witches are not conventional. The title makes you think that it would be in Greece, maybe in Ancient Greece, and that the witches would be of the kind that sacrifices babies or something. But I guess that being a diner owner is just the way witches are in Athens, OH. I don't know if that was the intent of the author, but art produces different effects on different people.

It reminded me that namesake cities are common in the U.S. Fun fact: there 18 cities in the U.S. called "Athens", and 23 cities called "Paris". Ohio alone has Dublin, Milan, and two (two!) Romes. You can visit the whole world inside the 50 states. You can hunt deer and drink tea while talking with a thick accent in London, Kentucky; have a taste of Spain's heat in Madrid, New Mexico; or perhaps you should go to St. Petersbourg, Florida, a town that has the biggest Salvador Dalí collection in the world, for some mysterious reason.

Now, about the story itself. There's pretty much no conflict in the first chapter, and that would normally be a downer for me, but it was interesting enough to keep listening. I found it hard to identify the sisters, for I couldn't see any traits that were memorable. They also didn't have names, which made it a little more difficult. Despite all that, it's a good rivalry between sisters to see who has the better magic,
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I just have these minor issues. The story itself is very self-contained, reminded a lot of My country is a Ghost, by Eugenia Triantafyllou. Like some other stories I read here on Escape Artists, this seems to be a love letter to one's hometown (I don't know if the author lived there though). I googled and saw that Athens (the one in Ohio!) is pretty much just students and diners. It's also a very poor town by the way, with more than 30% of residents being below poverty line; and Ohio is also known to be a precarious state with an opioid crisis, but I didn't see that in the story. That doesn't mean that these issues should've been featured though. I'm not gonna say how the story should've been written. Just trying to add something to the discussion.

And these are my two cents.

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