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Author Topic: PseudoPod 582: The Monster  (Read 1487 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: February 19, 2018, 12:49:28 PM »

PseudoPod 582: The Monster

by Crystal Connor
Narrated by Stephanie Malia Morris
Hosted by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

Show Notes

“The Monster” was originally printed in Strange Tales of Horror in 2011, and then reprinted in Crystal’s collection And They All Lived Happily Ever After! as well as the anthology Sycorax’s Daughters (where we ran across this)



Content Warning:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

After only four days of what was supposed to be a two-week visit, Maleka Davidson was leaving Alabama. Maleka hated this place. She was disgusted by the ignorance of poverty. The stifling heat reduced her to the sin of sloth. Her head hurt from trying to decipher these coded Southern sayings. Just last night, she figured out that the word Bard meant borrowed, Southern translation for the state of Georgia was Jawjuh, and that she was from the Nawth as in, and I quote, “Ya’ people from up Nawth sure do talk funny.” It was almost as if she needed an English-to-Southern-United-States dictionary.




Listen to this week's PseudoPod.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 10:39:49 AM by Sgarre1 » Logged

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Metalsludge
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 10:53:07 PM »

I think this one was a lot of fun. I liked how the author starts out with objections to the culture shock streaming out of the main character, but the point of view gradually shifts to something more gentle through humor. By then, the story had grabbed me.

The cabin in the woods setup felt a bit cinematic, but the beats went smoothly throughout to keep the story entertaining.

The hints of the strange don't quite mix in to as satisfying a shooting ending as was seen in, say, Where the Summer Ends though. Felt like this could have gone just a little further in certain directions.
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Scuba Man
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2018, 09:03:33 AM »

The story indeed felt cinematic once Malika locked herself in the cabin. I like the ending (maybe the 4 of them WILL survive the night). All the Nazi paraphernalia? It was a little out of place. Meh, it added to the story’s tone. I got the feeling one of the men was also a vetran. If that element was played up a bit more, it would have been interesting.
Ah, monsters.
Well,adter that well-narrated story, I present to you... a micro house panther!
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 01:00:59 PM by Scuba Man » Logged

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harrietpodder
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2018, 05:04:14 PM »

Gotta say...I guessed what was in the cabin...felt too cliche....then I read the author's inspiration and I was Roll Eyes Maleka was someone I loved to dislike, but she was so well-developed. that she was so badass/eventually realized her mistake. given what was outside and her wanting to "neutralize" those inside. I wanted to scream, "Don't piss 'em off! they're you're only hope!" but the insiders could've gone against my expectations and hurt M too. Which monster is worse? I felt for them cuz their arc from denial to doom was so loud and quick, esp when the 2 said goodbye.
plot points: "Going against all her training, she slammed on the brakes..." um, I don't drive, so what is the correct way to avoid a deer?

Were the outsiders ever given a name/anybody have a guess from Georgia folklore?
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harrietpodder
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2018, 05:07:24 PM »

to clarify, i was freaked out by the author's inspiration for the story.
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CogShoggoth
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2018, 06:39:38 PM »

I enjoyed the story. The main character was immersed into an alien culture in which monsters exist. This immersion primes her for mistakenly identifying killer humans for monsters. A culture that believes in witches will have witches in their midst. Luther’s protest and the printing press gave western culture witch trials galore and all the accompanying horror.
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harrietpodder
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2018, 08:06:22 PM »

good point cog. I forgot she was immersed overseas.

scuba-what made u think 1 dude was a vet?
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tachism
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2018, 06:37:46 PM »

I am glad I came across "The Monster" by Crystal Connor today. The story also carried a theme of certainty and ignoring the superstitions of local lore in favor of modern certainty. The Southern Gothic aesthetic was done well and made the reader feel as they they were in southern america.

The protagonist, Maleka, was skilled and competent. Connor took these characteristics and conveyed them in a black woman, breaking the stereotypical roles of both a person of color and a woman. Maleka didn't need any prince to save her, because she was perfectly able without begging for social acceptance.

This was the first time I've come across this story and had no expectations. If I had expectations, they would have been easily surpassed.  
 Connor does a great job of blending a military competencies into a southern ghost / horror folk tale, which dismantles traditional expectations and social norms of how gender and race must be portrayed.  
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Just Jeff
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2018, 11:34:38 PM »

Huh. If you'd told me that Dog Soldiers would be better if Cooper was a black woman and the rest of the crew were neo-Nazis, I'd have thought you daft. But it is. I love her competence and higher comfort level in the cabin, and I love that it skips over the expected bad incident between her and the hunters before they throw their lot in with her.

What's the title mean to Maleka? What's it mean to Caleb?

Harriet, you brake for the deer, but you don't leave your lane. Thanks for mentioning the author inspiration. I didn't know about that feature, and it's one I like. I'm not surprised by her anecdotes though.



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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2018, 08:36:03 AM »

Solid story, well told.  I generally consider myself a pretty rational person, but if someone gave me a protective charm I would 100% hold onto it.  If it makes the other person feel better to know I have it, then it has served some benefit.  And at worst, carrying a charm isn't going to hurt anything.  Even if it weren't a horror story I was reading this in, I would absolutely be telling her to hold onto it. 

The solid characterization kept this from being just a run of the mill monster story.  I loved how competent and pragmatic she is, to the point of being willing to put aside obvious differences with the men because their only chance to survive is to work together.
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hollyberry29
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2018, 01:51:19 PM »

I feel like the author has never set her little toe anywhere near Alabama. As a life-long rural NC native, raised by rural NC natives, I promise no one, at least here, talks the way Maleka's family does Grin The first part of this story is so cheesy and hokey, I had to stop 2 minutes in to check this thread and see if any other southerners came to rant, haha. Not to say that we don't have our share of morons and zealots, but come on. Real, sane people don't talk or think like Maleka's uncle. Here's to hoping this story gets better.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2018, 02:23:23 PM »


As a life-long rural NC native, raised by rural NC natives, I promise no one, at least here, talks the way Maleka's family does Grin The first part of this story is so cheesy and hokey, I had to stop 2 minutes in to check this thread and see if any other southerners came to rant, haha. Not to say that we don't have our share of morons and zealots, but come on. Real, sane people don't talk or think like Maleka's uncle. Here's to hoping this story gets better.


Maleka makes it pretty clear that her uncle and aunt are wild storytellers, and she finds them unbelievable. Might be a contributing factor as to why she decided to toss the protective charm.

I've spent a decent amount of time in rural Georgia and Alabama questing for barbecue. Parts of this area think it a good idea to dump packets of Kool-Aid into jars of pickles, birthing new abominations. Here in the buckle of the bible belt, some of the biblical analogies I've heard (both serious and bombastic) are jaw-dropping.

Phrases like "fish or cut bait" and "that dog won't hunt" are standard professional business language. One of my bosses loved "Stop telling me about the mule going blind. Just load the wagon!" My favorite local politician would always tell stories during his comment period. They would be focused and relevant when he was making a point, and entertaining when he was trying to get folks off track. My U.S. representative for a while was Cooter.

I am exceptionally harsh to stories that don't treat the South with an even hand. I liked this one just fine.
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Ichneumon
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2018, 01:46:37 PM »

I enjoyed the first part of the story, but the second half felt too disconnected from the first half, with the new characters in the cabin feeling a bit forced.
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