Author Topic: PseudoPod 560: Where the Summer Ends  (Read 8666 times)


  • Pseudopod Tiger
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on: September 17, 2017, 05:37:45 PM
PseudoPod 560: Where the Summer Ends

by Karl Edward Wagner.

“Where the Summer Ends” first appeared in the seminal anthology Dark Forces (1980), edited by Kirby McCauley. This particular anthology was an eye-opener to 12 year old co-editor of Pseudopod Shawn Garrett, and deserves a place on the bookshelf of any fan of weird fiction.

KARL EDWARD WAGNER (1945 – 1994) was an American writer, poet, editor and publisher of horror, science fiction, and heroic fantasy, who was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and originally trained as a psychiatrist. He wrote numerous dark fantasy and horror stories. As an editor, he created a three-volume set of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian fiction restored to its original form as written, and edited the long-running and genre-defining The Year’s Best Horror Stories series for DAW Books. He is possibly best known for his creation of a series of stories featuring the character Kane, the Mystic Swordsman, which could best be described as featuring the action of Conan and the decadence of Moorcock’s Elric. Wagner also loved the pulp era of short fiction, which is apparent in many of his short stories.

This week’s reader – Anson Mount is perhaps best known for playing ‘Cullen Bohannon’ on the AMC television series Hell on Wheels. You can catch him this fall playing ‘Black Bolt’ in Marvel’s The Inhumans, on ABC beginning September 29th. He and his producing partner Branan Edgens will also be launching a podcast of their own this fall called The Well. In it, Mount and Edgens will feature interviews and stories about creative inspiration from some of today’s most interesting artists, celebrities, thinkers and innovators. But what Anson is truly proud of is the fact that his girlfriend Darah Trang recently agreed to become his wife while standing by a lake in Tennessee and staring up at the 4th of July fireworks. Celebration ensued.

MUSIC USED – “Nobody Cares Lalala” by the band Monplaisir. The track is made available under a CC0 1.0 Universal license (Public Domain Dedication).

Thanks to our sponsor, ARCHIVOS – a Story Mapping and Development Tool for writers, gamers, and storytellers of all kinds!

Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.

Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


  • Hipparch
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Reply #1 on: September 17, 2017, 09:53:00 PM
Wow. This was perfect. Awesome, creepy story, even better narration (the accents were very good), and the atmospheric sounds and music did NOT overpower the narration, which too often happens. I could even hear every word while driving. Kudos!

Creepy as hell, especially because Georgia and Alabama (where I live and grew up, respectively) are pretty much covered in kudzu.

Kudzu which I'm never going to look at the same way, again.

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else


  • Extern
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Reply #2 on: September 18, 2017, 05:21:06 AM
 I liked all the characters, the scenery, and everything else about the story but I really wished the author dragged it out a little more. We were about to hit the climax, but, was ultimately denied and the possible ranges for what happens after the words runs out is too wide.


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Reply #3 on: September 21, 2017, 02:16:46 AM
Of course I would listen to this during a road trip in the kudzu-covered South.

The audio work was great on this one. The music and sound effects added atmosphere without being distracting or overdone and Anson Mount's narration was, as always, a joy to listen to.


  • Extern
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Reply #4 on: September 25, 2017, 01:47:54 AM
I live in Knoxville. While I was listening to this at work, I could look out my office window and see Grand Avenue. I drove down it a few days after hearing this one. Most of the old houses are gone, but the kudzu is alive and well.


  • Palmer
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Reply #5 on: September 25, 2017, 04:43:41 AM
So cool to see this KEW classic on Pseudopod. I hope you folks will give Sticks a try someday too, as it's another great one from him.

This author tended to find odd facts about the real world, and some genuinely mysterious things, and derive horror from them. The ever encroaching kudzu can be vaguely creepy, but how to articulate that? Here was one fun approach to it.


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Reply #6 on: September 30, 2017, 07:22:22 PM
Great story and narration--I'd never heard of Karl Edward Wagner before. What a fantastic writer he was!
 I look forward to reading more of his stuff.


  • Palmer
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Reply #7 on: October 06, 2017, 12:30:56 AM
Great narration.  The entire story was very-well done.  Thanks!


  • Extern
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Reply #8 on: October 18, 2017, 03:00:48 PM
I had to google Kudzu as don't see much round here, but loved the story all the same, thanks everyone.


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Reply #9 on: October 27, 2017, 04:53:26 PM
Excellent.  It was nice to hear Anson Mount narrate again.  I love the podcasts and stories and the narrators are excellent.  Will contribute to your good works. Thank you.

Michael W. Cho

  • Palmer
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Reply #10 on: November 20, 2017, 02:32:10 PM
Excellent details and a nice, leisurely pace. Narration was awesome.


  • Palmer
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Reply #11 on: November 25, 2017, 08:10:29 AM
Really creepy, well-paced, great production.


  • Matross
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Reply #12 on: December 12, 2017, 05:23:42 PM
Really great story! And narration! I didn't agree with some of Alasdair's comments in the outro; I really can't see the story as a parable about cultural appropriation and the horror of world travel though... 

Jethro's belt

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Reply #13 on: January 19, 2018, 03:50:58 PM
I had never been on that street before the late 90's so I missed the setting some, but have seen others like it.  All the little details were wonderful even to the description of the old houses and of the mantle although African Mahogany seemed out of place (likely Honduran) it was wonderful.
I liked how it ended in true horror fashion. 


  • Matross
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Reply #14 on: December 02, 2019, 02:34:07 AM
Mount did his usual fantastic job of narrating, and the sound work was excellent, but I didn't really enjoy the story. It just seemed to take a very long time to get going and the payoff didn't really make up for the leisurely pace.

Really great story! And narration! I didn't agree with some of Alasdair's comments in the outro; I really can't see the story as a parable about cultural appropriation and the horror of world travel though...

Yeah, I didn't get that either.

So cool to see this KEW classic on Pseudopod. I hope you folks will give Sticks a try someday too, as it's another great one from him.

Wikipedia says that the late great Patrick Macnee did a reading of "Sticks"!


  • Matross
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Reply #15 on: February 17, 2021, 02:37:18 AM

Recently I've been reading the Kane series by Karl Edward Wagner. Nothing fancy; just pulpy sword & sorcery. The protagonist, Kane, is closer to being a villain than an anti-hero. He's Cain from the Bible, if the Bible had been written by Robert E. Howard. Elder gods, ancient Lovecraftian aliens etc. There are about a dozen short stories and three novels. I prefer the short stories. The best of the bunch, imo:

The Dark Muse
The Other One
Reflections for the Winter of my Soul
Two Suns Setting

I've also read a few of his horror stories. They're ok, but none of them blew me a way. My favorite is probably "In the Pines."