Author Topic: PC410: The Saint Of The Sidewalks  (Read 5052 times)


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on: April 05, 2016, 07:36:25 PM
PodCastle 410: The Saint Of The Sidewalks

by Kat Howard

read by Eve Upton

First appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine. Read it here!

Joan wrote her prayer with a half-used tube of Chanel Vamp that she had found discarded at the 34th St. subway stop. It glided across the cardboard—the flip side of a Stoli box, torn and bent—and left her words in a glossy slick the color of dried blood: “I need a miracle.”

You were supposed to be specific when asking the Saint of the Sidewalks for an intervention, but everything in her life was such a fucking disaster, Joan didn’t know where to start. So, she asked for a miracle, non-specific variety.

She set her cardboard on the sidewalk, prayer-side up. Then lit the required cigarette—stolen out of the pack of some guy who had been hitting on her at a bar—with the almost empty lighter she had fished out of the trash. You couldn’t use anything new, anything you had previously owned, in your prayer. That was the way the devotion worked: found objects. Discards. Detritus made holy by the power of the saint.

Rated R

Kat Howard lives in New Hampshire. Her short fiction has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, anthologized in year’s best and best of collections, and performed on NPR. Her debut novel, Roses and Rot, will be out from Saga Press in May. You can find her on twitter at @KatWithSword.

Eve Upton is your narrator today. You may have heard her previously on Pseudopod where she’s narrated several stories to chilling effect.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 12:35:33 PM by Talia »

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Reply #1 on: April 13, 2016, 02:41:19 AM
Man, I fell behind this week!

But this was worth it. I love how this story played with ideas about magic and miracles without explaining what they were or how they worked. I felt like the Saints ended up just as confused about things at the end as they were at the beginning; and yet, the two we see seem to have gotten over that confusing bit and decided to do something constructive.

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Reply #2 on: April 13, 2016, 02:38:50 PM
I heard this over on Clarkesworld before and it made one of my lists for that year.  So no surprise that I really enjoyed this one.  I like stories that take religious ideas and go a new direction with it, and I enjoyed how this one made sainthood a practical everyday thing that had tangible effects.  Great stuff.


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Reply #3 on: April 21, 2016, 02:48:08 AM
Oh this poor girl! All she wanted was a bit of a pick-me-up, and instead her whole life got turned upside down! I'm not sure that even gaining the ability to smite people with lightning would make that worth it. :D


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Reply #4 on: April 24, 2016, 02:48:33 PM
I'm quite surprised this story didn't elicit more comments. 

This is a terrific story!  There are not alot of stories that are new, insightful and provide lessons to apply to real life. 
How the heroine took matters into hand was encouraging.  Of course the new found fame (and superpowers) were overwhelming, and it could easily have been more than she wanted to/could bear.  I was glad to see she took time and considered what to do.  That she decided to take what had happened and not let it control her life, but also use it for the betterment of others
I also appreciated that the author did not bother to uncover the how of it.  Sometimes the need to explain how clever you are crumples an otherwise smooth story.


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Reply #5 on: April 29, 2016, 09:06:21 PM
This is one my favorite stories of all time.


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Reply #6 on: May 02, 2016, 02:48:52 PM
Super interesting extension of musings I myself have had regarding the power of belief. Weird, but I liked that about it.   

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


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Reply #7 on: May 02, 2016, 11:29:24 PM
I've been listening to Escape Artists podcasts for a while now, but never quite got around to joining the forums.

Personally, I adored this story. The themes of a character not *quite* being comfortable with their own divine power is a fascinating one, and this story reminded me a little of 'Trixie and the Pandas of Dread' by the late Eugie Foster, which I am also very much fond of.
I'd love to see more stories like this, or set in similar worlds. :3
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 11:36:41 PM by Kittenpox »


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Reply #8 on: May 03, 2016, 11:10:13 PM
I've been listening to Escape Artists podcasts for a while now, but never quite got around to joining the forums.

Welcome! Glad to have you on board.


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Reply #9 on: May 09, 2016, 08:13:42 PM
I felt like this story was slow to start, but when we got two-thirds of the way through it, things started to really become more interesting.  Two saints talking to one another, one learning a little about how things work from the other.

Failure is an event, not a person.