Author Topic: PC394: Ogres of East Africa  (Read 3092 times)


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on: December 15, 2015, 03:36:45 PM
PodCastle 394: Ogres of East Africa

by Sofia Samatar

Read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali and Troy L. Wiggins

First published in Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History from Crossed Genres.

2. Ba’ati

A grave-dweller from the environs of the ancient capital of Kush. The ba’ati possesses a skeletal figure and a morbid sense of humor. Its great pleasure is to impersonate human beings: if your dearest friend wears a cloak and claims to suffer from a cold, he may be a ba’ati in disguise.
Mary arrives every day precisely at the second hour after dawn. I am curious about this reserved and encyclopedic woman. It amuses me to write these reflections concerning her in the margins of the catalogue I am composing for my employer. He will think this writing fly-tracks, or smudges from my dirty hands (he persists in his opinion that I am always dirty). As I write I see Mary before me as she presents herself each morning, in her calico dress, seated on an overturned crate.

Rated PG.

Sofia Samatar is the author of the novel A Stranger in Olondria and winner of the John W. Campbell Award, the Crawford Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award. She co-edits the journal Interfictions and lives in California. Her new novel The Winged Histories, the sequel to A Stranger in Olondria, is forthcoming from Small Beer Press in 2016.

Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of twenty-five years and three children. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times she juggles, none too successfully, writing, reading, gaming and gardening. She has self-published one novel entitled An Unproductive Woman, has published a story at Escape Pod and has a story upcoming in the An Alphabet of Embers anthology. You can catch her posts at her website,, and you can follow her on twitter, @khaalidah.

Troy L. Wiggins is from Memphis, Tennessee. He was raised on a steady diet of comic books, fantasy fiction, and role-playing games. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Griots: Sisters of the Spear, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History, The Mash-Up Americans, Literary Orphans, and Memphis Noir. He is a contributor at Book Riot and Panels, and he blogs about the intersection of speculative fiction, race, and nerd culture at Afrofantasy. Troy lives in Memphis with his wife and their tiny expuptriate.You can find him on twitter @TroyLWiggins.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: January 06, 2016, 03:16:57 PM by Talia »


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Reply #1 on: December 24, 2015, 03:12:21 PM
Bestiaries with grotesqueries always make me thing of Brian Froud.

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


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Reply #2 on: December 28, 2015, 06:33:14 PM
So some months ago you were looking for some reader from Kenya, weren't you? ... Well played Podcastle!

I generally liked the story, though I would have preferred a more coherent story without the dictionary entries. I know it was necessary for the story, but at the time I tuned in I was hoping for some more linear story telling. That being said, I loved the setting. I always enjoy hearing about "non-Western" cultures, and I am still considering which ones to learn about in 2016. I am actually thinking about finally tackling the African continent, with one of the goals being to be able to differentiate between the diverse cultures, because that's really a gap in my cultural knowledge (in 2015, I mostly learned about general anthropology, the Pacific Islands, and India).

@ Khalidah: please stop saying "salam" in your feedbacks, it makes me want to shout out "wa alaikum as-salam" as a reply, which can be very inconvenient when listening to podcastle on a stuffed tram or... in the changing room of the sports studio   ;D


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Reply #3 on: January 04, 2016, 03:23:37 PM
I have heard this story recommended by quite a few people as a high spot in this particular anthology which I picked up last year. 

I liked the bestiary entries, but,  I liked them so much I kind of wanted it to be all bestiary entries.  I felt empathy for the main character in the other sections of the stories but to me it paled in comparison to the ogre myths that I found much more interesting in their intricacies.


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Reply #4 on: January 16, 2016, 04:36:57 PM
When I hear stories like this I am always fascinated to see how the author manages to interweave a story through the rigid structure. The more the story and the structure are related and comment on each other, the better! This one was definitely a winner for me.

I was especially amused by the narrator's commentary on the prejudices and resulting blind spots of his employer.