A Trip Aboard the Flying Castle
As a child, I read all the time. Literally. I remember one Christmas, at my uncle’s house. A book-shaped parcel lay under the tree and I just knew it was meant for me. Asking to open the gifts would only result in a longer wait so I bit my tongue and politely ate a dinner I no longer remember. Dessert was probably ice cream cake. But all I could do was count down the minutes until presents would be handed out.
It was another Roald Dahl book. My second, after Matilda. By the time we drove home, I’d finished the book. As I grew up, college took away a lot of reading time, though I persisted in reading on my daily one hour train commute. I could always study later. This girl had her priorities straight.
But then life got even busier. With work, a growing collection of pets, and now an ambitious renovation project, not to mention my own writing endeavours, reading began to feel more and more like a luxury. An indulgence. Something to feel guilty for.
Then I had an epiphany.
For a few months now, I’ve been reclaiming my reading time in little stolen moments here and there. I read while biking to work. While walking through the grocery store. While shoveling shit (ah, the glamorous joys of horse ownership). But I read with my ears.
Podcastle became my second podcast addiction since discovering the joys of audio content.
Podcastle one of four siblings in the Escape Artists podcasts, and they encompass the fantasy aspect of the speculative spectrum. They prefer a clean, sober narration style, and they go to the stars and beyond to find the voice and accent that fits the story each and every time.
What’s more, this dedicated group of volunteers are constantly pushing to promote diversity and inclusivity on all fronts. They value their staff as well as their contributors and audience, and they are a constant, positive and encouraging presence on social media. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter @Podcastle_org.
For the new listener, they have over a decade of backcatalogue to navigate, so you’ll have no shortage of awesome stories. On their website, you can find a beginner’s guide to the castle, but I have compiled a little list of my own with my favourite pieces of theirs.
- The Waters of Versailles, by Kelly Robson
- The Aunties Return the Ocean, by Kris Kuriata
- Baby Teeth, by Lina Rather
- The Last Exorcist, by Danny Lore
- One More Song, by Eliza Chan
- The Guitar Hero, by Maria Haskins
- The Bone Poet and God, by Matt Dovey
- Temptation, by Karuna Riazi
- Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic, by José Pablo Iriarte
- Strange Waters, by Samantha Mills
- The Horrible Deaths of Helga Hrafnsdóttir, by Christine Tyler
If you enjoyed these stories–and those in Podcastle’s beginners guide–as much as I did, please consider showing your support to this most worthy crew via Patreon, PayPal, or one of the other options they have available. If that is not an option for you, share the word, as I do, so they can reach even more listeners.
Thanks, Podcastlers, for endless hours of great fiction, and thank YOU, dear reader, for joinging me and (re)discovering Podcastle.