Episodes

10 – The Agent & Keys to the House

This is the final episode of the first series of The Short Story Cast. This episode features two stories, one from me, James Winterbottom and a guest author called Thomas McColl.

Both stories, though different, are about outsiders and dealing with people in positions of power. One is set in the literary world, the other in the not-so-glamorous world of the stock photography model. Read More

09 – A Punch In The Face, Persephone Speaks & Faithful Weeds

Welcome to the ninth episode of The Short Story Cast, the penultimate episode of the first series. This one is packed with stories, three to be precise. One by me, James Winterbottom, and two by guest contributors. I hope you enjoy them.

A Punch In The Face by James Winterbottom

A man receives a knock at the door, it’s his punch in the face. He’d voted for it months before but didn’t think it would lead to anything happening. This is a ham-fisted attempt at political satire. Apologies if you’re pro-Trump or pro-Brexit as it may offend your political leanings.

Persephone Speaks by Lynn Bauman-Milner

A fresh take on Greek mythology from Lynn Bauman-Milner. A tale of many headed beasts and family disputes.

You can find out more about Lynn on Facebook, Twitter on her website, darkdoors.co.uk. You can also read her collection of short stories, Dark Doors on Amazon (UK* / US*) or The Book Depository.

Faithful Weeds by Rachel Connor

This is a story about a flat block with feelings. Unfortunately things haven’t gone so well for this block of flats. Find out all about it by listening to the story.

Rachel Connor is a novelist, short story writer, comic book writer and money blogger. You can find her on Twitter or you can check out her blog at itsrachelconnor.com. She’s also written a few Regular Show graphic novels which you can buy on Amazon (UK* / US*), you can find more details on Rachel’s website.

 

*The links to Amazon are affiliate links, so I make a small percentage on any purchases made through these links.

08 – Christmas special – EXCLUSIVE interview with Santa & The Round-Robin Letter

Welcome to the Christmas special of The Short Story Cast. A festive podcast for people that love short stories with a Christmassy twist. Hosted by James Winterbottom.

This episode features two stories that have a festive theme. The first is an exclusive interview with Father Christmas. Don’t think that he’ll get an easy ride just because he’s Santa though.

The second story is one of those round-robin letters that smug families have a tendency to send around this time of year, only this family don’t have that much to be smug about.

Language warning

I’d like to warn you that this podcast contains bad language and mature themes. It also plays around with the idea that Father Christmas may not be real. Or is real, but isn’t as nice a guy as you think. Anyway, probably not one to listen to with young children around.

EXCLUSIVE interview with Santa

Father Christmas appears on a hard hitting news show and is grilled about some of the criticisms that have been coming out of the North Pole lately. Are these accusations just disgruntled ex-elves whining to the media or is there a sinister side to old Saint Nick? Listen to the story and make up your own mind.

The Round-Robin Letter

This round-robin letter starts out like all the rest, full of self-congratulatory garbage, but beneath the surface, there are more sinister tones. Listen as the seemingly idyllic life of the author crumbles away as their recap of the year progresses.

Merry Christmas

Thank you for listening and Merry Christmas to all my listeners. I hope that you are all well, wherever you are and whatever Christmas means to you. I’m genuinely humbled by all the people that listen to these stories. I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

07 – Hello Shoppers, All Growed Up and Cryogenically Punished

Hello! This is episode seven of The Short Story Cast. This episode features three stories, the most ever! They’re short ones though, so it’ll be about the same length as usual.

Hello Shoppers!

Written by James Winterbottom

Performed by Claire Winterbottom

This is a very short story of a woman in charge of the PA system in a supermarket. She hates her job and uses the microphone as her platform to tell the world exactly what she thinks. Warning, contains some strong language.

All Growed Up

Written and performed by Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips is an emerging Leeds-based writer. He often writes with a minimalist, idiosyncratic, rhythmical prose that utilises damaged grammar and crumpled punctuation to mimic the way the common folk talk. But these rules are also often broken to insinuate death, loss, time passing by, or even just to give better rhythm acoustically as his work is primarily written with performance in mind. Kevin lands emotion-evoking and thought-provoking stories in and around a thousand words.

Kevin has read on local radio, had an appearance on local TV, and can be found at many of the open mic venues in and around Leeds.

Here’s a link to All Growed Up on the Fictive Dream blog.

You can also catch up with Mark on Facebook (Page of Danger), Twitter (Page of Danger) or YouTube (Page of Danger).

Cryogenically Punished

Written and performed by James Winterbottom

This story is set in the office of a private detective on her first morning on the job. She meets with a strange man with an even stranger request. She’s asked to investigate a murder from years ago because the person convicted is shortly going to be thawed out from his cryogenic prison sentence.

This story is actually a small part of a much bigger story that I had the idea for. There’s a possibility that I might come back to this story world in a future episode, or the idea might just stay tucked away in the mental equivalent of a bottom draw.

Thank yous

Thanks to Kevin Phillips for writing, performing, recording and sending in his story. He’s the first ever guest author on the podcast, but I hope he won’t be the last. I’d also like to thank him for his patience as I’ve procrastinated in putting together this episode.

Also thanks to my wife Claire Winterbottom for narrating Hello Shoppers! The story was recorded in between trying to get our son off to sleep, so I apologise if you hear any tiny cries in the background of the recording!

The future of the podcast

I’m aware that I’ve not been posting new episodes very frequently so far, and I’m looking to change that. I’ll be posting two podcasts a month for the next couple of months until we get to episode ten. That will be the end of the first season of the podcast and I’ll take a little break to work on some more stories.

The podcast will be back for a second series later in 2017 and within a much more regular schedule. Hopefully with a few more guest authors and their stories too. Please go to the contribute page if you’d like to submit a story.

Thanks for listening!

06 – Stolen Valor & Sentient Toaster

Thank you for downloading episode six of the Short Story Cast, a podcast for people who love short stories. This is the sixth episode and, as with episode five, features a guest narrator on one of the stories. I hope you enjoy it and please get in touch if you’ve got anything you’d like to say.

Stolen Valor

What happens when you pretend to be a US Marine so you can get a discount at a restaurant? Well, firstly, you might get a discount but the deal gets a lot less sweet if people work out that you’re faking. This story explores the idea of “stolen valor” and looks at the consequences that come from this kind of behaviour.

As I mention in the podcast, impersonating military personnel is a really bad thing to do and I don’t even slightly endorse it. In fact, I think you’re a bit odd if that’s the kind of thing you enjoy doing. It’s fine to admire people serving in the military but it’s not OK to pretend you’ve served when you haven’t.

This story mentions a book called House to House by David Bellavia. I’d recommend it if you’d like to know what it was like to fight in Iraq. Here’s a link to get it on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

A note on spelling – I’ve deliberately used the American spelling of valour for this story despite being English because “stolen valor” seems to be more of an American issue. So it’s not a mistake but a deliberate choice, even though it feels strange to deliberately spell something incorrectly.

Written by James Winterbottom

Performed by Ashe Russell

Sentient Toaster

As technology advances, we’re going to see more and more technology become smart. The “internet of things” means that every possible appliance in your house could eventually get online and gain access to immense processing power. Is it such a stretch of the imagination to think those appliances could start to think for themselves?

This story looks at what would happen if a toaster become sentient and we get a glimpse at the frustrations that come from being able to write beautiful poetry when all people want from you is a perfectly toasted piece of bread.

This story was partly inspired by reading the book The Impossible by Kevin Kelly. Here’s a link to get it on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Written and performed by James Winterbottom

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Ashe Russell for contributing his considerable vocal talents to the narration of Stolen Valor. If you’d like to hire Ashe to narrate any of your projects then you should contact him by sending an email to voodoojones@hotmail.co.uk

Contribute a future episode of Short Story Cast

If you’d like to get involved with a future episode by either writing or performing a story then please get in touch with us. It would be excellent to showcase aspiring or experienced writers and performers on the podcast. There isn’t currently any money to share around but I’m happy for contributors to plug whatever projects they’d like to promote on the show.

Thanks for downloading, goodbye!

05 – Seeing Things & Aspirational Henchmen

Welcome to the fifth episode of The Short Story Cast. This episode marks us reaching the half-way point in the first series. Well done for making it this far!

There are two stories in this episode:

Seeing Things

Have you ever thought you’ve seen something in the corner of your eye, turned around and nothing was there? Imagine what would happen if instead of nothing, you saw a dancing goblin or the grim reaper. That’s the reality for the star of this story, he’s seeing things and doesn’t know what to do about it.

Written and performed by James Winterbottom

Aspirational Henchmen

Henchmen are some of the hardest working people in the criminal world. They bury the bodies, intimidate the witnesses and clean up the mess but rarely get the credit they deserve. How do they make the leap into becoming criminal masterminds? They sign up for a course! This story is the opening speech of a course aimed at henchmen that want to climb the ladder to criminal success.

Written by James Winterbottom

Performed by Claire Winterbottom

Thanks for this episode

I’d like to thank my wife Claire for reading out Aspirational Henchmen, for editing both stories and generally being an understanding wife.

Thank you for downloading this episode. I hope to be along with another one very shortly. If you’d like your story to feature in an episode then please email contact@theshortstorycast.com.

04 – Optimised & The Banker

Hello! After a short break we’re back with another couple of short stories to keep you entertained. This episode features a story set in the not-to-distant future where robots are taking all the work away from humans, and another story about an unlikely CEO of an investment bank. Enjoy!

Optimised

When robots take over all the human work we have to find new ways to find meaning in our lives. That’s the basic issue at the centre of this story where our hero is “optimised” out of the workforce and has to make sense of the new world he lives in. It may sound far-fetched at first but there’s increasing chatter about the potential for technology to make a lot of jobs obsolete in the next fifty years.

This is the story of the humans left behind when the robots take over. It asks the question, “Can compassion be outsourced to robots?” Listen to the story to find out the answer.

The Banker

Inadvertently inspired by Trading Places and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perin, this story covers the unlikely success of a CEO for an investment bank that was plucked out of the unemployment line. Despite being set up to fail, he finds a way to succeed in a world completely hostile to him, with the help of his charming personality and a nasty incident involving a stapler.

Music credits

Thanks to Nikolai Heidlas for the background music, called Pacific Sun. You can find more of his work on Soundcloud.

Want to contribute?

I hope to feature a wide range of authors on the podcast in the future. If you’re interested in reading out a short story on a future episode then please visit the contribute page of the website to find out more.

03 – Late For Your Own Funeral & Agony Uncle

Hello! Here’s the third installment of the Short Story Cast, a podcast that showcases great short stories.

This episode features:

Late for your own funeral

Ever wondered what it would be like to attend your own funeral? Just me? Ah well, never mind. This story explores the idea anyway. It was inspired by a post I saw on Reddit from a guy that claimed to have actually attended his own funeral.

Agony Uncle

I always think Agony Aunts and Uncles give awful advice to people, so I thought it would be fun to write a few questions to a fictional agony uncle that is a bit different. The advice is still terrible but in a different kind of a way.

Music credits

Thanks to Nikolai Heidlas for the background music, called Background Blues. You can find more of his work on Soundcloud.

Want to contribute?

I hope to feature a wide range of authors on the podcast in the future. If you’re interested in reading out a short story on a future episode then please visit the contribute page of the website to find out more.

02 – Keep Breathing & The Troll

Thank you for downloading the second episode of the Short Story Cast, a podcast that showcases great short stories.

This episode features:

Keep Breathing

A guided meditation that goes a bit wrong. The relaxing background music is there, the soothing tones are too but the words aren’t what you might expect. Inspired by the Calm meditation app.

The Troll

A dip into the murky world of online trolls. Melanie lets her ambition get the better of her and it leads to disastrous consequences for her. If you enjoy this story you’ll probably also like the TV show Mr Robot.

Music credits

Thanks to IPREB205 for the background song, called Ukelele 30. You can find more of their work on Soundcloud.

Want to contribute?

I hope to feature a wide range of authors on the podcast in the future. If you’re interested in reading out a short story on a future episode then please visit the contribute page of the website to find out more.

01 – No more heroes & Dominating the digital space

Welcome to the first episode of the Short Story Cast, a podcast that showcases great short stories.

This episode features:

No more heroes

Written and performed by James Winterbottom

A story about a superhero that has been stripped of his powers and forced to look for work.

Dominating the digital space

Written and performed by James Winterbottom

This story is told by a reluctant start up founder, giving a talk about becoming a digital success. The talk doesn’t go exactly the plan and you find out more about him as his talk begins to unravel.

Here’s a link to the script of the Anton Chekhov short play[PDF] that “Dominating the digital space” is based upon and also a YouTube performance.

Music credits

Thanks to Nicolai Heidlas for the background song, called Banjo banground music. You can find his work on Soundcloud.

How to make your own podcast

Also thank you to Ian Robinson at Freedom Podcasting  His Udemy course on how to create your own podcast  was essential to getting this podcast made. I’d strongly recommend his course if you’re interested in making a podcast.