written by David Steffen
Cast of Wonders is the YA branch of the Escape Artists podcasts, edited by Marguerite Kenner, covering all speculative genres and aiming to appeal to YA audiences. I think their definition of YA is significantly broader than most, which I see as a positive thing–I had very broad tastes when I was a young adult, so it makes sense to me anyway.
After Cast of Wonders joined Escape Artists in 2016, they increased their pay rates which helped them become qualified as a SFWA-qualifying market, which is a great sign of progress.
In 2017 they produced weekly episodes very regularly, and during their Banned Books week they published a story a day for an extra stretch of bonus content, for a total of about 63 stories
Cast of Wonders reprinted one of my own stories in 2017, titled “Always There”, about a grandmother who has maybe died but not yet admitted it (it is an episode on the subject of grief).
Every short story that is eligible for Hugo and Nebula nominations this year which were first published by Podcastle are marked with an asterisk (*)
1. “Lost In Translation” by Afalstein Kloosterman*
The ancient texts prophecying the chosen one are… hard to translate. This has caused some problems seeking the fulfillment of those prophecies.
2. “Random Play All and the League of Awesome” by Shane Halbach
Teenagers with debatable superpowers form a semi-superhero team.
3. “More Than Machines Will Fall to Rust” by Rachael K. Jones*
A pair of friends become superhero and archenemy, can they rekindle their friendship?
4. “The Scent that Treason Brings” by Holly Schofield*
A bookbinder in a hive society decides to rebel against the oppressive leadership.
5. “Cross the Street” by Marie Vibbert*
When city design makes it harder and harder for poor people to survive, it can become an obstacle to even get from place to place.
6. “Single Parent” by Sarah Gailey*
Great story about a widowed father trying his best who is called into his kid’s room and finds a real monster there.
“Contractual Obligations” by Jaime O. Mayer*
“Brothers in Stitches” by Dantzel Cherry*
“Strong as Stone” by Effie Seiberg