22 July 2018
The Poet and the Spider by Cynthia So (Cast of Wonders 306, narrated by Eliza Chan)
A young woman aspires to decidate her life to poetry and become the new Court Poet. Ignoring family expectation she embarks on a quest to find the poetry-loving Spider Sisters, and makes a deal to have a Spider as her mentor. Throughout the mentorship the girl learns a lot and develops a special bond. It's vividly told story, and one with a lot of beautiful imagery, as makes sense for a story about poetry. It's a great story about working to achieve a goal and discovering on the way that your priorities have changed.
Sidekicks Wanted by Laura Johnson (Cast of Wonders 307, narrated by Jason Arquin)
Frank Mattie, formerly an underling/minion for villains applies for a sidekick job, even though people with his background aren't ecouraged. He is really intimidated, but eventually able to demonstrate that he has experience that would be of use, because of his seemingly-undesirable background.
Every Drop of Light by Rachel Delaney Craft (Cast of Wonder 308, narrated by Mary Murphy)
One of the creepiest stories I have heard/read in a while, a sister that can't say no and one who has no compunctions about controlling. There are powers in the story, but it's the dynamic between the sisters that's the main focus. I was so tense wondering where this would go, from the start it was clearly nowhere good. It's tragic, but I feel like the ending was earned.
Never Yawn Under a Banyan Tree by Nibedita Sen (Podcastle 523, narrated by S. B. Divya)
A young Bengali woman is on a date that doesn't interest her, when it turns out that her grandmother's warning about ghosts jumping down her throat is actually a real thing. Meena has the ghost of an old man in her, and he just wants to eat the food he's been missing since he died. Unable to get him easily exorcised he agress to leave if she'll save his banyan tree, which is due to be destroyed. She contacts a journalist of her acquaintence and starts a campaign to save the historic tree, and the ghost tries to help with her lovelife. This is a warm and funny story, which shows a bit about life in India, and has a protagonist who is very relatable.
We Are Sirens by L S Johnson (Podcastle 521, narrated by Abra Staffin-Wiebe)
Mythological, woman-shaped beings roll into a small town, looking for any party where they can pick up men. They are a well-prepared hive mind, with outfits to fit a variety of situations. They sing their songs and lure men to a fatal crash, but on the way they also pick up a girl called Sarah who sees through their songs. This story is interesting, told from the perspective of the sirens their nature is never hidden, although theur methods are only gradually revealed. It's odd somehow to have a story where feminity, or at least various trapping of it, are used in a predatory way. Tension is created and gradually increased from the start as things start to go awry and the millennia-old hunters face a situation they weren't expecting. This is a story with many antagonists, and no clear hero, but it is compelling.
One Day My Dear I'll Shower You with Rubies by Langley Hyde (Podcastle 520, narrated by Jen R Albert)
A woman testifies against her father, a notorious mass-mudering autocrat whose experiments were horrific. She has to relive memmories of her happy childhood and attentive father, whilw now acknowledging the horror of what was happening in the background of her childhood. The story explores what happens to innocents who are close to monstrous people, and how a child has to deal with the ugly trith of a parent.