On the other hand, a string of stories at Podcastle left me feeling alienated, being centred as they were so strongly on US self-mythologising. A very distinct sense, which I have the privilege of experiencing relatively rarely, that I was not and never could be the audience for these stories.
The Ant King: A California Fairy Tale by Benjamin Rosenbaum is as the title suggests a fairy tale of California. More particularly of capitalism, California, and self-identified geekdom. Self-conscious quirkiness blended with corporate surrealism; there is a trans woman and a genderqueer kid in the story for what appears to be ‘people do gender non-normatively in California’ reasons. Support groups and mercenary hackers and monetising all the things.
Hotel Astarte by M. K. Hobson is a broader anthropomorphised mythology of the Three Americas - the Rural Midwest, the Business of the East, and the upstart Hollywood of the far west - and their deep magical conflicts with each other for pre-eminence or survival in the early 20th century.