Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: What is Pseudopod, really?  (Read 15747 times)

abd1el

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • Susurrus Magazine
on: September 14, 2007, 04:27:34 PM
What makes a horror story?

Recently, I've read comments posted on Pseudoopod's main page that bash stories that I've absolutely loved, and I can't help but wonder what listeners of Pseudopod are hoping to have delivered when they listen to an episode.

For me, I dig stories that are more subtle and that deal with the mind.  Blood and gore aren't the most engaging factors, and niether are the BIG TWIST endings (duh, duh, duuuuuhhhhhh!).  I like to hear stories with a lot of possible facets to their explanations, and Pseudopod has been bringing us a lot of these lately, which has got me listening with a lot more enthusiasm. 

True, my favorite story to date is "Flat Diane."  Abraham's tale was amazing!  It placed a character in a surreal (an element I love in the stories I write and read) situation, and allowed us to hear their reaction to that situation. 

So what about the rest of you?  Is it the surreal tale or a gory tale that keeps you listening?
Anyone else have any favorites that they can explain why they think it worked?


So this is the end.  Great; just what I needed:  Another ending.


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #1 on: September 14, 2007, 04:56:41 PM
For me there are two kinds of horror stories:

Things that are scary -- stuff that plays on phobias or acknowledged fears (dentistry is a big one).
The evil that people do -- stuff that is horrific to think about.

Either can include blood/gore, but not as their sole selling point.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


Chodon

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 519
  • Molon Labe
Reply #2 on: September 15, 2007, 02:11:15 AM
Anything that makes me wince or recoil are what I like in horror.  Flat Diane did that for sure.  So did Toothache.  The Hanging at Christmas Bridge, not so much...

Those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither.


Bright Lies

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Reply #3 on: September 16, 2007, 09:31:59 AM
For me there are two kinds of horror stories:

Things that are scary -- stuff that plays on phobias or acknowledged fears (dentistry is a big one).
The evil that people do -- stuff that is horrific to think about.

Either can include blood/gore, but not as their sole selling point.

I go for the "stuff that is horrific to think about" first, but it's best when backed up by the "Things that are scary".
As long as I'm left feeling seriously disturbed then I'd say it was a good episode.  I always listen to them while at work too, so if you've got any stories about workers being infected by strange brain-bugs, going mad, splattering blood and guts all over the walls, and maybe some self-mutilation to boot, then by all means play them!  Don't hold back on the really psycho stuff please.
Even better if it's all set in a biomedical research lab. 
Heck, maybe I should get started doing... er, I mean writing it...?  ;)  (j/k, I'm stable, really -_-)

Thanks for keeping work interesting Escape Artists Inc.



robertmarkbram

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 75
    • The Blog for Rob
Reply #4 on: September 17, 2007, 10:00:27 AM
Personally I like the variety of horror stories presented in Pseudopod. I find that horror as a genre is broad. Like fantasy or sci-fi, it is not a technique that makes a story work, because any technique can work if wrought artfully enough. Gory, psychological, magical, gum-shoe noir, Cthulu, comedy, sexy, romantic - none of these things will make or break a story in my book.

I like reading different stories, a variety of stories written by a variety of authors who have so many different ideas.

Many I will like - or not. Some I will find unique, others I will not; I am aware that many things I find unique are simply not: it is just the first time I have heard them.

I think I am starting to drivel now. Let me say one more thing. I love my small collection of short stories, horror, sci-fi and fantasy. What I like most about them is that each story is somehow different. They all seem to have their own technique, their own style, but they all fit the chosen theme.


DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #5 on: September 18, 2007, 05:45:42 PM
Personally I like the variety of horror stories presented in Pseudopod. I find that horror as a genre is broad. Like fantasy or sci-fi, it is not a technique that makes a story work, because any technique can work if wrought artfully enough. Gory, psychological, magical, gum-shoe noir, Cthulu, comedy, sexy, romantic - none of these things will make or break a story in my book.

I like reading different stories, a variety of stories written by a variety of authors who have so many different ideas.

This is how I view it, too, and it's part of why I keep coming back to Pseudopod.  Honestly, I loved Flat Diane but I don't want to hear that story (or a story of its tone) every week.  I'm much happier when I hear Flat Diane one week and My Caroline the next.   I like the disturbing, yes, and the gore, but I also like the weird, the creepy, and the funny.  It's hard to get all of that in one solid story and I'm totally fine if stories don't hit all of those criteria every week.


Bright Lies

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Reply #6 on: September 20, 2007, 06:16:56 AM
After doing some serious catching up on past PP episodes, i think I'm ready to ask for some much more disturbing stories.  I'm talking to you, writers.  Make them funny, full of gore, psycho, fantastic, or whatever; variety is great!  All I'm saying is that I really, really want to be left feeling seriously disturbed after every episode (if possible).  And I'll put my money where my mouth is by donating... ;)

Make me feel guilty and shameful for even THINKING of listening to Pseudopod.org.... muahahahaha!



abd1el

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • Susurrus Magazine
Reply #7 on: September 24, 2007, 12:18:01 PM
I guess there are different facets of horror, but only a few of them interest me.  That Eli Cash kind of story is fun to watch, but after the gimmicks are done and over with, there's nothing that makes it live on beyond the theater for me.  Reading the opening chapters of King's Desparation got me into a horrific mood, suddenly things that I saw as normal were going haywire and there was no answer as to why, but after a while things started getting answered, and that horrific scent drifted away. 

I guess I'm in love with the  feeling of not knowing what's going on in the world around you.  That's when horror works best for me; that's when I feel that it's doing its job.  It's not enough to throw some blood around and say something that a "normal" person wouldn't say.  I need something that will make me think, or a subject that catches me off gaurd to surprise me anymore.  Maybe I've just read too much.

House of Leaves is a good example.

So this is the end.  Great; just what I needed:  Another ending.


DDog

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • Twitter
Reply #8 on: September 25, 2007, 08:18:19 PM
I like that "oh god, no!" mind-break feeling, and the feeling that the world has just been turned upside down, and those lingering skin-crawlies.

A lot of things that are perhaps "standard" horror themes aren't enough by themselves. For example, vampires alone aren't really enough--most of Interview with a Vampire was really kind of boring (the book, I haven't seen the movie). After awhile I got sick of Louis going on and on and on about Lestat this and "I'll never see the sun again" that. It was Claudia that made it for me. Creeeeepy.

Some things also have "standard horror characters" that somehow don't manage to be horror--The Mummy (recent) and Underworld have vampires and werewolves and rotting flesh and swarms of flies--but they're really action movies, not horror.

With the Anita Blake books, I've mostly lost interest in Anita's 'slow descent into depravity' from good Christian girl to slut, etc. That's not really disturbing for me because it's usually not defying my morals. What is disturbing is vampires who rot on you, emotional and physical torture, the fine line between monster and hero, a broader definition of rape than male-on-female-but-she-wants-it-really, people with their skin peeled off who are still alive, etc. There's usually a good mix of intellectual ick and visceral ick.

I like the variety of Pseudopod. I don't want to be desensitized to one type all in one burst.

Ask a Tranny Podcast
"Watching someone bootstrap themselves into sentience is the most science fiction thing you can do." -wintermute


Planish

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 772
  • Fun will now commence.
    • northernelectric.ca
Reply #9 on: December 15, 2007, 01:49:32 AM
Works of Horror very rarely scare me, as such. I might fear for the protagonist or their loved ones, but not for myself.
I can only think of three occasions that (with the cooperation of my willingness to suspend disbelief) left me feeling seriously disturbed.

1. Watching the movie "Sardonicus" - an old B&W B-movie on TV late at night, and I was only 11 or so.
2. Watching "The Exorcist" in a cinema when it first came out. I was in my later teens then.
3. Watching the video short "Rubber Johnny", at http://www.wimp.com/rubberjohnny/ , (especially the opening scenes) a few months ago. I'm in my 50s.

That being said, I like nearly all Steven King stories and (from Pseudopod) "Flat Diane". Flat Diane had the perfect mix of mundane suspense/danger and surreality. Still not disturbing though. Perhaps in my later years my disbelief is far too massive to easily suspend?

I feed The Pod.
("planish" rhymes with "vanish")


Ben Phillips

  • Lich King
  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 299
    • Pseudopod
Reply #10 on: December 16, 2007, 05:55:00 PM
Works of Horror very rarely scare me, as such.
...
Perhaps in my later years my disbelief is far too massive to easily suspend?

If it makes you feel any better, I'm only thirty and have the same problem.  No fix is ever enough.  Welcome to the methadone clinic with the rest of the junkies!



goatkeeper

  • Guest
Reply #11 on: February 08, 2008, 11:38:19 PM
I agree- PP does a great job selecting a variety of "horror"- not just disturbing, gorey or hardboiled.  I think that's what keeps it a step ahead of other fiction podcasts it might compete with.

Along with: 
Lots of Flash
A great standard reader (Ben) but also a good mix of other readers.

IMO, these things make PP my favorite podcast, but if the mission is to provide truly horrific and disturbing work, I think it falls short of that a bit (in a good way).  Instead of reliable shock-work every week (paradox?) we get subtle horror, funny horror, scifihorror, etc. 
Keep it up!



AliceNred

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 86
Reply #12 on: March 29, 2008, 04:23:46 PM
The thing that I like about horror, no make that love, is that there is so much of it. The only two things I do not care for in horror, which I have not found here as of yet are: things that are dramas (I find these when I am reading horror in a writing group called Critters) and over gore and over sex. You know, stories about how sad it is they had to turn-off Dad's machine, now that it is the only thing keeping him alive and stories of rage and torture, written for gut responses of excited sickness. Hostel was almost this. I did not like the movie until the end, when the movie was transformed for me. When the guy went back to say a girl he did not know. Grant it, she died anyway, too traumatized to have survived even if he had gotten her  away and found help.

I love that there are Japanese ghost stories, and tales of witchcraft, all coming do to this... the human struggle. It is not facing our worst fears or death, it is struggle, the why, the how that make a story.

I have sampled many other podcasts, and always found them lacking. Always feeling flat and like a flea circus. Nothing there but the tastes and effort of one person, to convince me that horror is there, along with flea on the wire.

I listen to a few a day. Like chocolate I say, I will only have one today, wanting to make it last, but once tasted, I need more. I grew fat from my horror fix here. Fat, happy and full.

Thank you all for the love you share with me.

Stop throwing gnomes at me. They hurt.


MacArthurBug

  • Giddy
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 648
  • I can resist anything except temptation
    • undercaffinated
Reply #13 on: May 28, 2008, 02:23:33 AM
I like it all, that said.. LESS ZOMBIES.  I'm sick to death of zombies. Luckally PP hasn't done much of that, so I'm good.

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


ellenscult

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Reply #14 on: July 05, 2008, 11:20:11 PM
Ooh, it's a good question, with no easy answer. 

Well, I say that, and there are easy answers of course - slasher, zombie, etc. But true horror is something which is difficult to define. A horror story has to challenge the reader, make them very uncomfortable, maybe surprise them, even sicken them.

Here's a question for you: can a horror story have a happy ending? 

A horror story doesn't necessarily have to have any supernatural elements at all, although the genre certainly lends itself to them. To me, horror is about the darker things in the universe and the darker emotions within us all. And to me, the most horrific stories are the ones in which ordinary people find out what they are capable of, with the worst or best of intentions. 

Here's another question for you: does a horror story have to be devoid of hope? Or rather, must it be that the horror in the story is the extinguishing of the last shred of hope?

Anyway, I'm your Pseudopod slushpile reader, and I read with a very open mind. All I'm looking for is a good story well told. Beyond that, I have no preference.



Thaurismunths

  • High Priest of TCoRN
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1421
  • Praise N-sh, for it is right and good!
Reply #15 on: July 06, 2008, 03:54:25 AM
Here's a question for you: can a horror story have a happy ending? 
I think it happens all the time in American cinema. The horror is, like you said, in plumbing the depths of what someone is capable of (the Saw series, or Silence of the Lambs, for instance), not in whether or not someone gets their just deserts.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


CammoBlammo

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 199
Reply #16 on: July 06, 2008, 04:09:49 AM
I would suggest the best horror (by which mean, that which I like) is based around a fear of the unknown. Zombie flicks are horror because non-zombie characters don't know exactly what to expect. Slasher movies work around suspense --- we know what's coming, but the details are what make it fun.

This is one of the few things I hate about science---learning about things makes them less scary. Folks in centuries past didn't know what lay beyond the horizon, but people didn't always come back when they went past it, so the imagination could run wild. When we looked over the horizon and mapped it out and figured out what the dangers were it wasn't scary any more. Now that we know the dangers are we just avoid them as best we can. There's no horror. Just risk management.



wintermute

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1291
  • What Would Batman Do?
Reply #17 on: August 01, 2008, 01:05:47 PM
Works of Horror very rarely scare me, as such. I might fear for the protagonist or their loved ones, but not for myself.
I can only think of three occasions that (with the cooperation of my willingness to suspend disbelief) left me feeling seriously disturbed.
My list is equally short: The Exorcist, The Hitcher (the original, with Rutger Hauer), and... ummm... There's probably something else I'm forgetting. Does the Star Wars Christmas Special count?

I've never been a fan of slasher flicks, so I don't generally bother with what Hollywood refers to as "horror".

Science means that not all dreams can come true


stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #18 on: December 27, 2008, 05:22:01 AM
Works of Horror very rarely scare me, as such. I might fear for the protagonist or their loved ones, but not for myself.
I can only think of three occasions that (with the cooperation of my willingness to suspend disbelief) left me feeling seriously disturbed.

1. Watching the movie "Sardonicus" - an old B&W B-movie on TV late at night, and I was only 11 or so.

I know that one!  Never actually saw the film proper, but in the last season of Wiseguy Mark Volcek was obsessed with it and watched it all the time.  The capper was when the other characters did something I like to call "practicing psychotherapy without a license" and reenacted the film for Mark (with himself as the title character) but with the "good" ending.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Satka

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • My wordpress space
Reply #19 on: July 24, 2009, 06:23:28 PM
Hi there,

I know this is a somewhat old topic, but:
- This thread seemed appealing to me,
- This is my very first post,
- I'd like to just blend in and not make a fool of myself (not too much at least :)
- I haven't gathered enough confidence to post a topic on my own :o

I've been listening to PP for a number of episodes now, and I must say it started as an interesting part of my mind life.
And then, it turned into a pleasant moment, then a needed one, and I am now hungry for each new episode!

I think horror definition is just as elusive as humor.
Some things scare me, others make me laugh (and for other people, I suppose you could reverse the result)
With PP, the perfect combination of an always crafted setting (thanks to Alistair's talent), and some great stories, I'm almost always assured to taste unusual flavors and hear impossible notes ...

Thank you very much!
---
<8@ Satka - Futile Jawa o8>

<8@ Satka - Futile Jawa o8>


Planish

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 772
  • Fun will now commence.
    • northernelectric.ca
Reply #20 on: July 27, 2009, 03:06:05 AM
Here's a question for you: can a horror story have a happy ending? 
Yes, I think so.
Check out the 1990 movie Jacob's Ladder, with Tim robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, and Jason Alexander.
Quote
New York postal worker Jacob Singer is trying to keep his frayed life from unraveling. His days are increasingly being invaded by flashbacks to his first marriage, his now-dead son, and his tour of duty in Vietnam. Athough his new wife tries to help Jacob keep his grip on sanity, the line between reality and delusion is steadily growing more and more uncertain.
The revelation of the nature and purpose of the demons is part of the Happy Ending. It is one of my all-time favourite horror flicks, not that there are many of those.

Would you stretch the meaning of "horror story" to include the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" and Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"?. "Horror Lite" maybe, with happy endings.

I feed The Pod.
("planish" rhymes with "vanish")