Author Topic: PC416: Braid Of Days And Wake Of Nights  (Read 3349 times)


  • Castle Watchcat
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3719
  • Anything for a Weird Life
on: May 17, 2016, 06:43:39 PM
PodCastle 416: Braid Of Days And Wake Of Nights

by E. Lily Yu

read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

First appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction.

With an immaculate thumbnail, Julia peeled open the ziplock bag in her lap. The coil of hair inside, wide as her thumb and nine feet long, was woven throughout with black and gold strands in equal proportion. When Vivian began chemo last May, her hair had skimmed the lower edge of her scapulae. Three weeks later, her purple stripes had rinsed to blonde, and she had not dyed them again. Vivian had smiled at Julia in the bathroom mirror, eyebrows high and brave, but after the first handful slithered to the floor, she handed the humming razor to Julia and covered her eyes.

“You do it,” she said.

Rated PG-13.

E. Lily Yu has received the 2012 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer as well as nominations for Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards. She is finishing revisions on a novel.

Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali is our Assistant Editor here at PodCastle. She 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 in the An Alphabet of Embers anthology. Of her alter ego, K from the planet Vega, it is rumored that she owns a time machine and knows the secret to long youth. You can catch her posts at her website,, and you can follow her on twitter, @khaalidah.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!


  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #1 on: May 20, 2016, 03:03:22 PM
I enjoyed this one.  Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of detailed thoughts about it to write much more than that (maybe I'm coming down with something).


  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 305
Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 04:36:27 AM
I first read this in F&SF and liked it pretty well. For some reason I'm too fidgety to listen to it now - I don't know if it's the somewhat languid pace of the first section, or just "life stuff." I've noticed lately I'm listening to a lot of non-fiction "NPR" style podcasts where I can just let it run in the background until it catches my attention. Not an effective way to listen to stories.


  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Reply #3 on: June 01, 2016, 08:50:46 AM
Glad co-workers were out of the office yesterday to not see me suddenly crying.  :'(


  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1252
Reply #4 on: June 07, 2016, 01:45:29 AM
Yeah, this was pretty tear-inducing. I was really glad that the unicorn came back, that he didn't ruin her chance to get its help. I also really liked that this was so centered on a deep love of friendship, that love is too often overlooked in favor of romantic love.


  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Reply #5 on: June 16, 2016, 05:05:19 PM
(This is the first time I've actually felt like commenting on an episode, despite listening to and supporting PodCastle for a while now. Hi all!)

Anyway, I wasn't all that impressed by this story, to be honest. Part of it might be that it felt more like magical realism than regular fantasy, but the big flashing neon "THIS STORY WILL TOTALLY MAKE YOU CRY" warning at the beginning totally undermined that aspect for me. It felt like I was being told "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE SAD! BE SAD!" without being given any kind of reason. I'm a bit contrary by nature - the more fervently an author or a story's fans insist on something I happen to disagree with, the more I'll dig in my heels. I understand why this story sad, but telling me that before hand (and with all the grace and subtlety of a brick thrown through a window) rather than letting me discover that for myself completely killed any emotional resonance I might have had.