by Michelle Ann King
read by Christiana Ellis
Hosted by Christie Yant
A PodCastle Original! Welcome back to Artemis Rising II!
The streets are more full of snow than people tonight, lending everything an enjoyably deserted, apocalyptic air. Isabel smiles as she walks home, humming happily to herself. Getting stood up never fails to put her in a good mood.
She always goes on the dates her mother sets up, but she much prefers it when the other person doesn’t show. That way, Isabel still gets credit for trying, while also getting to skip straight to the part where she doesn’t have to go on a second date.
Michelle Ann King writes science fiction, fantasy and horror from her kitchen table in Essex, England. Her work has appeared in various venues and anthologies, including Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, and Unidentified Funny Objects 2. She loves zombies, Las Vegas, and good Scotch whisky, not necessarily in that order. Her short stories are being collected in the Transient Tales series, and she is currently at work on a paranormal crime novel.
Christiana Ellis is the writer and podcaster responsible for Nina Kimberly the Merciless and Space Casey, as well as a variety of other podcasts. Her latest project is Phyllis Esposito: Interdimensional Private-Eye, a scifi serial with a new installment every day at christianaellis.com.
So, what is “Phyllis Esposito: Interdimensional Private Eye”?
It’s a fiction experiment that simultaneously excites and terrifies me.
For a long time now, I’ve flirted with the idea of doing a true, write-as-I-go serial fiction story. Something about the lack of the safety net really appeals to me, and the excitement of discovery has always been my favorite part of writing. In a way, it’s a bit like a webcomic, except I can’t draw, so I shall paint a picture with words instead.
When choosing the subject matter for the story, I wanted something that would be both in-keeping with the classic pulpy-serial vibe of the project, but also something with enough established tropes that it will give me a bit of a skeleton to improvise around and dress up as I see fit. So I chose detective story, but with a science-fantasy twist.
Enter Phyllis. I won’t say much about her here, because I don’t know her that well yet. I hope that she will introduce herself to me, and to all of you, as the project progresses. I have no outline, and only vague plans. That’s half the fun!
As I write this introduction, I have only written the first installment. There will be another one tomorrow. And another the day after that. How long can I keep this up? I guess we’ll see.
In the meantime, you can click the “Phyllis Esposito” tag on the right side of the screen to filter the blog to show only story entries. I hope you enjoy!
Not everyone is happy with the recent villain world takeover. Chief among those is absolute monarch of Strophia, COUNTESS CATA’STROPHY.
Her nation is just fine the way it is, and she’ll tell us all about it…at great length…whether we want her to or not.
Sponsored by: Space Casey Season 2 & Gonnigan Getaways
Written and Performed by: Christiana Ellis
Featuring: Veronica Giguere
Music by: Kevin MacLeod
- This story originally appeared in the anthology We See a Different Frontier
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Space Casey by Christiana Ellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://spacecasey.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://christianaellis.com.
“The Horse Lord” by Lisa Tuttle.
“The Horse Lord” was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in June 1977 and included in A NEST OF NIGHTMARES. This collection was first published in 1986 by Sphere Books and is now available as an e-book from Jo Fletcher Books; it is also included in STRANGER IN THE HOUSE, a collection of her early supernatural fiction published as a limited edition hardcover by Ash-Tree Press in 2010.
Lisa Tuttle began her career as a published writer in the early 1970s, and won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer of the year in 1974. She’s the author of seven novels and more than a hundred short stories. Born and raised in Texas, she has lived in a remote, rural part of Scotland for the past twenty-five years. Her first novel, Windhaven, was a collaboration with George R. R. Martin published in 1981. This was followed by a horror novel,Familiar Spirit, in 1983. Unable to stick to one well-defined genre, although most of her work features elements of horror and/or dark fantasy, she went on to write novels of psychological suspense (Gabriel and The Pillow Friend), science fiction (Lost Futures), and contemporary/mythic fantasy (The Mysteries and The Silver Bough) as well as books for children and young adults, and non-fiction (Encyclopedia of Feminism and Heroines).
Short stories were her first love, and remain important. Her first short story collection, A Nest of Nightmares was published in the U.K. in 1986, and two years later featured in Horror: 100 Best Books edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman. Her other collections include A Spaceship Built of Stone and other stories (1987), Memories of the Body: Tales of Desire and Transformation (1992), Ghosts and Other Lovers (2002) and Objects in Dreams(2012). A number of her short stories have appeared in “best of the year” anthologies and been nominated for awards; “Closet Dreams” won the 2007 International Horror Guild Award. She edited an influential anthology of horror stories by women writers, Skin of the Soul, first published in 1990.
She has just finished a new novel, to be published next year: THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE SOMNAMBULIST AND THE PSYCHIC THIEF — this is the start of a new detective series set in London in the 1890s. If you want a taste of what is to come, check out her stories in both theRogues and Down These Strange Streets anthologies and follow her author page on Facebook.
Your narrator this week is Christiana Ellis who is a Writer and podcaster living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of Nina Kimberly the Merciless as well as Space Casey. She also produces several non-fiction podcasts and videos that can all be found at Christianaellis.com. Most recent project is Space Casey Season 2, the sequel to the original audiodrama about a con artist in the future, which can be found on Podiobooks.com and SpaceCasey.com
The double barn doors were secured by a length of stout, rust-encrusted chain, fastened with an old padlock.
Marilyn hefted the lock with one hand and tugged at the chain, which did not give. She looked up at the splintering grey wood of the doors and wondered how the children had got in.
Dusting red powder from her hands, Marilyn strolled around the side of the old barn. Dead leaves and dying grasses crunched beneath her sneakered feet, and she hunched her shoulders against the chill in the wind.
‘There’s plenty of room for horses,’ Kelly had said the night before at dinner. ‘There’s a perfect barn. You can’t say it would be impractical to keep a horse here.’ Kelly was Derek’s daughter, eleven years old and mad about horses.
This barn had been used as a stable, Marilyn thought, and could be again. Why not get Kelly a horse? And why not one for herself as well? As a girl, Marilyn had ridden in Central Park. She stared down the length of the barn: for some reason, the door to each stall had been tightly boarded shut.
by Michelle Ann King
read by Christiana Ellis
First published in the anthology Unidentified Funny Objects 2, from UFO Publishing
As a life coach, Abby Fowler strongly discouraged magical thinking. It was better for people to take responsibility for improving their lives, rather than wait and hope for supernatural assistance. Better, and a lot more reliable.
So Abby would never advise anyone to use a spell, even one that came with impeccable provenance and the crackle of real power in every square inch of the ancient parchment it was inscribed on. Even one that was purely for divination, nothing more than a harmless bit of information-gathering that might, say, help someone with preparing a five-year business plan for their coaching practice in order to apply for a bank loan. She would never advise it because she knew that kind of thing never ended well.