Escape Artists

PseudoPod => Chamber of Horror => Topic started by: Umbrageofsnow on April 05, 2012, 09:20:25 PM

Title: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Umbrageofsnow on April 05, 2012, 09:20:25 PM
Okay, so I realize this is a competitor of Pseudopod, but I wanted to start a thread for talking about some of the stories in Tales To Terrify.  I'm really getting to like that podcast (although Larry is no Alasdair [no offense], and I find the fact articles boring).  Anyway, their forums are pretty inactive, the Starship Sofa ones aren't all that much better, and the EscapeArtists forumites have got to be one of the most insightful groups of short story commentators I'm aware of on the internet. I just want a place to discuss the more interesting of these stories.

Okay, so here are my top 3 stories from their first 11 episodes, what are yours?

I've kept these comments light on spoilers, so feel free to read even if you haven't listened.

"God of the Razor" by Joe R. Lansdale
Lansdale has never really been a favorite of mine, but this story really makes me want to reconsider that position.  The way he describes the razors like kittens and all the animated sharp things is incredibly disturbing.  Just thinking about that description of the guy's morning makes me shudder.  The ending wasn't a surprise, but it was the kind of doom that almost had to happen.  Did its obviousness bother anyone, or do you think it was just the inevitable conclusion to finish off a much creepier atmospheric middle?

"Flash Frame" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I was looking around, and I can't find any discussion of this story on the internet, it's actually the reason I wanted to start this thread.  I admit to being a fan of the whole concept of madness-inducing media but the weird film-watching cult seemed very unique to me.  I'm particularly happy about the rational way in which the madness manifested itself at the end but once again it wasn't the end of the story that made it work as much as the atmospheric middle.  When I looked back at this story I was surprised by how short it was because it felt so much bigger than it was.

"All You Can Do is Breath" by Kaaron Warren
On one hand it feels cheap to list my favorite Stoker nominee as one of my favorites, but I think it got nominated for a reason. The repetition of the lame "we should bottle it" joke rings true to how people love to repeat jokes and really drives home the horrible ending.  I was struck by how much more horrible the ending was because there were two encounters with The Long Man rather than just one.  If the Long Man had just done his thing completely and right away, I don't think it would have had just a sad, freaky impact. Either way, something about how he works creeps me out much more than similar monsters.  It seems way worse than just dying, and this is the kind of monster that could plausibly exist in the world without us knowing about it.  Has anyone read Blood and Other Cravings, the collection this one comes from? I kind of want to have a physical copy to read, but the theme doesn't interest me much, are they all as far diverging as this, or was Warren's story the outlier?

And my favorite poem by far has got to be "Wild Over Tombs Does Grow" by C.S.E. Cooney
The most story-like of the poems, but the longer length and the word-play make me happy. I like the irony of the ending and I've been a fan of these type of monsters ever since I saw the Buffy episode "Hush" which remains one of my all-time favorites.  At least, I imagine them as like the Gentlemen, but it has been long enough since listening that I don't remember how clearly that was implied by the text.
Title: Re: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Fenrix on April 05, 2012, 10:19:10 PM

Is this a subsidiary or affiliate of StarShipSofa? If that's the case I'll consider them but I won't rush. SSS did not blow me away.

"Competition" is a strange term and I'm not sure it's applicable. You could argue that we're competing for time and for donations, but we've also got shared goals of making short horror fiction available for free.

The two most recent entrants into the horror market that I can recall are Cast Macabre and No Sleep. Cast Macabre is changing format, and I'm looking forward to what they do next. No Sleep is on indefinite hiatus. I wish Tales to Terrify luck and fortitude.
Title: Re: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Sgarre1 on April 07, 2012, 10:41:04 PM
In some sense I do consider other horror audiocasts sites our "competition", but only in the sense that having more people out there doing what we do keeps each one honest about maintaining quality levels and defining their specific "house style" in comparison to others ("the best kind of friend is like iron sharpening iron" to quote Shriekback, who were probably quoting someone else...)

I've never heard of NO SLEEP - will have to check them out.


There are also a number of people doing horror radio drama revivals - CAMPFIRE RADIO THEATER is an example - but that approach is a different kind of animal from what we do.

Those interested should check out the Horror Audio Casts page on Facebook.

I'm quite enjoying TALES TO TERRIFY - the format is different than ours - longer, with essay content and (like CAST MACABRE) embracing of horror poetry - which is great, because it gives me a place to send people who submit poetry to us.  Larry is a good host in his own style - I can't help but smile at his sign off, as I grew up during the 1970's listening to E.G. Marshall give that same sign off to CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER (a show created by Himan Brown, who had worked on the original INNER SANCTUM radio show, whose host Raymond used to sign off that way as well).

It's interesting to hear different stories (and, yes, admittedly, some stories that we turned down, like the aforementioned "Flash Frame") show up and ponder on what my reaction is, removed from the weighing and balancing I do in considering stories for this podcast.  Putting aside the Stoker Nominees for a moment - so far, I've quite liked "The Chair", "God of the Razor" (would love to run 2 specific Lansdale stories but haven't had luck contacting yet), "How Pappy Got Five Acres Back and Calvin Stayed on the Farm", "Innocent" and "Is There Anybody There?" (the central idea of this Kim Newman story is great - although hard to get across in audio - and completely trumps my related notion that texting/IMing is the modern equivalent of postcards).

Of the Stokers - well, that's kind of problematic because I'll admit that 3 of the stories seemed to reaaaaally stretch the definition of horror beyond what I'm comfortable with (which of course was a choice made by the HWA and not Larry).  "All You Can Do Is Breath" was probably the most successful *horror* story in the traditional sense.  I'm not sure "Hypergraphia" worked as an audio reading - although they gave it a valiant try!  I really enjoyed listening to "Home" - the reading was quite possibly one of the best audio fiction readings I've ever heard (even with all the "he said", "she said" which obviously the reader could do nothing about) - while I just don't consider it a horror story, I did laugh out loud a number of times while listening to it ("the kid looked like an elf").  I thought "Her Husband's Hands" was interesting - I had some problems with the central thrust of it, regarding Symbolic simplicity versus Realistic justification, that aren't worth going into here - but I agree with the forum poster there who said it struck them more as a dark/humanistic sci-fi story.

King's piece (which Larry did a superior job reading) I liked quite a lot as well, but I'm torn whether labeling it horror above labeling it straight lit fiction doesn't cheapen the tragedy.  And it is a tragedy, in its way, and some tragedies can be horror as well (TITUS ANDRONICUS for one).  As one of my long-standing critical stances is that no creative work has to be any one "thing" and might fit into multiple definitions  (although not having some parameters as to what you're trying to accomplish in the story, as a writer, is one of the most prevalent traps that amateur writers fall into - it's a hard line to walk between creative inspiration and lack of focus - but then, none of the people picking the Stokers or writing the winners are amateurs, either) I guess I shouldn't be belaboring it too much in my mind.  Although another reason to perhaps question the story's primary identification as horror comes to mind - something along the lines of "brand dilution" - if the Stokers had published all 6 of these stories in a small book and sold it as a representative snapshot of the best that HORROR had to offer last year, I imagine a lot of the general public might feel disappointed at what they bought.  This problem is one (but only one) of the problems that lead to the last big financial bust in horror short fiction in the 1990s.

Anyway, it's a nice addition and I hope it keeps going.

Title: Re: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Fenrix on April 08, 2012, 03:18:35 AM
I wouldn't rush to add No Sleep to your list. I'm picking my way through them, and so far there have been some good one and some real clunkers. The concept and source is interesting, as they're crowdsource selection from open submissions via reddit. My understanding is that they started with the top rated stories and worked their way down the list. The first stories in the first two episodes were pretty good, but not mindblowing.

On the flip side, I can strongly recommend the H P Lovecraft Literary Podcast. ( They do an entertaining analysis of every story that Lovecraft has written or collaborated on. They also read the bad Lovecraft stories so that you don't have to. They've only done eight full readings, but the narrations and productions are better than many I've paid for. If you do nothing else, go download the full readings.
Title: Re: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Sgarre1 on May 26, 2012, 06:17:27 AM
Fans of Lovecraft should check out last week's TALES TO TERRIFY (episode #19) as Larry uses the entire episode to read THE COLOR (COLOUR) OUT OF SPACE - and does a damn fine job of it!
Title: Re: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Fenrix on July 14, 2012, 08:39:09 PM
I've listened to a few and I like it ok. I dislike it for the same reason I dislike StarShip Sofa - too much extra junk that I may be uninterested in and no easy way to fast forward to the story in a 1.5+ hour episode. For example, I really didn't need to head a 10 minute synopsis of The Blair Witch Project. Analysis maybe, but not a plot synopsis. I would like TTT better if, like the Dunesteef, they front-loaded the story and put the jibber jabber in the back. That way if the chatter stopped amusing me I could easily hit "next" with little consternation that I was missing the "good stuff".

The H P Lovecraft Literary Podcast ( has finished all the works of Lovecraft and they are going to the next phase of their podcast. They're going to be dissecting Lovecraft's essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature (" and then discussing specific works mentioned in the essay.

I have stuck my toes into the shallow end to check out both the horror author analysis podcasts that just started recently. One is for Clark Ashton Smith ( and the other for M. R. James ( They seem to be similar in format to the HPLLP. I haven't moved them to my "must" list yet, but I like them so far as I've ventured.
Title: Re: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Talia on July 14, 2012, 09:03:58 PM
I don't listen to Tales to Terrify, but at least for StarShipSofa, they put the times at which each segment starts right on the opening screen - I find that makes it easy to fastforward over the few segments that don't interest me. Perhaps Tales could do the same if they don't already?
Title: Re: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Fenrix on July 15, 2012, 03:57:37 PM
I don't listen to Tales to Terrify, but at least for StarShipSofa, they put the times at which each segment starts right on the opening screen - I find that makes it easy to fastforward over the few segments that don't interest me. Perhaps Tales could do the same if they don't already?

Most of the time I make an MP3 CD and listen in my car during the commute. No interactive menu.
Title: Re: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Umbrageofsnow on July 23, 2012, 01:19:57 PM
Fenrix, I have the same problem as you, except worse.  My car can't handle mp3 cd's, so anything longer than 80 minutes is a no go.  Even Podcastle has burned me on that once or twice.  Anyway, I have a nice little commandline mp3 chopper and I split each episode along the listed segment lines (takes about 10 seconds, unlike real/less messy audio editing).  Then I just burn some or all of them to an audio cd.  If you'd like any particular files (or just my, say top 5 favorites so far) feel free to PM me and I can email them to you.

Linux puts all kinds of tools at your fingertips, so why choose a scalpel when you can use a hatchet?
Title: Re: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Marlboro on December 24, 2019, 04:49:50 PM
I would like to check this show out, but I hate their website design. Is there a way to sort the shows by title instead of author?
Title: Re: Tales To Terrify Discussion
Post by: Marlboro on January 09, 2020, 09:40:46 PM
I've listened to a few episodes. It's ok.  The episode featuring Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" was very well done.