Recollected under the theme of magic, these three tales originally from volumes one and two of the Dreamwood Tales series were chosen to be the best platform for a consummate narrator to create an audiobook. That narrator's name is Jon Caruth. Each tale speaks of magic, exists in magical places, or turns on our heads our concepts of what is magic.
"Entertaining and imaginative"
Katherine O'Donnell was born with a disfiguring strawberry birthmark across the bottom of her face. In 1880s London, that was enough to discourage suitors. Love was something for which she yearned, but never found within her reach. Out of necessity, she became adept at hiding inside her home and behind makeups she formulated and applied herself. When tragedy upended her modest life and dumped her out onto the streets, she was bereft of options. She answered an advertisement for a mortuary assistant.
"Shining narration, twist ending left me twisted."
In the near future, the world has hardened. Opportunities are scarce and dwindling. Society has increasingly changed, and not for the better. Every day robots and machines replace humans in the workforce, not just in the most menial jobs, but also throughout the cubicles of the corporations that dominate the cities. Peter Harkness is one of the few humans lucky enough to still have a job, but automatons have infiltrated his workforce. How long will his own job last? What did his roommate tell him? Oh yeah: "Nothing is ever not possible," Brutus said. "We're making processors smaller and smaller. Code is becoming intensely complex and powerful. The sheer bulk of those executable shells can shed strands of isomer code fragments. Even if something seems not possible now, it will certainly be possible in the future. I see no reason why code can't seek its own level, form its own connections, relays." What secrets do the roofs of the city have waiting for Peter? He is left wondering who his allies truly are in this near-futuristic dystopian world, reminiscent of Asimov, Heinlein and the goldenage of science fiction. And yet, there may be hope.
In desperation, mankind constructs a rescue spaceship to escape a doomed planet. But will it save them? Or will they discover a secret that unravels everything they've ever believed to be true? A science fiction short story that will challenge you and have you thinking for days after you listen to it. Originally part of the anthology A Plague of Dreams, and it exists in a forest I call "Dreamwood Tales".