Morning everyone! Welcome to the first Artemis Rising 2 roundup! It’s been an amazing month of stories and one I’ve loved listening to. To get you caught up, I’ll be running a round up of each show’s stories for the month here every day this week. First up, Podcastle!
The Color of Regret by Carrie Patel, read by Setsu Uzume and hosted by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
This is an early frontrunner for story of the year for me and it’s not the only one on this list. The worldbuilding is wonderful, subtle stuff and the complex, impossible knots the central characters struggle to untie are all too real. Also one of the best endings I’ve read in years and great narration and hosting from Setsu and Khaalidah.
Opals and Clay by Nino Cipri, read by The Word Whore and hosted by Aliette de Bodard
Another phenomenal story that wraps ideas of identity, sexuality and personal freedom around one of those worlds that you just know is deep, wide and complex. The ending, again, here was a personal favorite but the central relationship is just staggeringly well written.
Send in the Ninjas by Michelle Ann King, read by Christiana Ellis and hosted by Christie Yant
Again, the Podcastle AR2 stories demonstrate some of the best landings I’ve seen in short fiction in years. The idea of alternate selves as expressions of different parts of us is great. The idea that the outliers will find each other, and something gentle and protective when they do, is flat out wonderful. And again, the ending is great.
Territory by Julie Steinbacher, read by Maura McHugh and Kim Rogers and hosted by Amal El-Mohtar
This is the highlight of the month for me. Maura and Kim do an amazing job with the readings, Amal’s endcap is great and the story itself is, like it’s characters, whatever you want it to be. There’s a romance here, and the story of a curse. Wild magic and simple, complex real life drama. A spinning prism of probability, different versions of the same two women and the things they do and become. Simple, complex, heartfelt and poignant in a way that’s as hopeful as it is powerful. Brilliantly done.
Beat Softly, My Wings of Steel by Beth Cato, read by Elizabeth Green and hosted by MK Hobson
MK, to the surprise of absolutely no one, nails why this story is so great in her host spot. It’s steampunk but presented in a way that’s entirely original, fresh and light on its feet. Beth trusts us to fill in the larger world she expertly draws and focuses instead on the relationships between mother and daughter, rider and horse, soldier and enemy, young and old. It’s the most humane story I’ve heard this month and, perhaps, this year. A war story wrapped around a story about intimacy and duty, it’s expertly read by Elizabeth Green. Brilliant, haunting, perceptive storytelling.
And that’s Podcastle for February. Check back tomorrow for Pseudopod, and remember, if you liked these stories please donate and help out if you can.