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Author Topic: PseudoPod 771: The Human Chair  (Read 195 times)

Bdoomed

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on: August 23, 2021, 01:52:33 PM
PseudoPod 771: The Human Chair

Authors: Allen Zhang and Edogawa Ranpo
Narrator: Ron Jon
Hosts: Kat Day and Alex Hofelich
Audio Producer: Marty Perrett

“The Human Chair” was originally published in Kuraku, October 1925. As this story is in the public domain in its original Japanese, we thought a new translation would be a fascinating project that extends PseudoPod’s 1925 showcase from January of this year.



Yoshiko was accustomed to sending her husband off to work at ten each morning. Having at last gained her freedom, she would then make her way to the study which she shared with him and shut herself within its walls, whereupon she busied herself on a lengthy piece she was writing for the summer special edition of K magazine.

Elegant in stature and beloved by her fans, Yoshiko maintained a reputation enough that even her husband’s lofty position as the secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs paled by comparison. It seemed like every day that she was inundated with letter after letter from her innumerable worshippers. Today as well, as she sat down before her study desk, she made sure to glance through the fresh pile of letters from faceless admirers before beginning her work. Each one was as trite and uninteresting as the last, but Yoshiko, in her warm feminine consideration, would nevertheless read through every message directed to her, regardless of what it was.

After first dispatching with the simpler missives , she was left with what appeared to be a rather bulky manuscript sealed in a large envelope. Yoshiko had not received any notice of such a delivery, but even so, having an unsolicited manuscript sent to her was a fairly common occurrence in itself. The majority of such items were invariably dry, long-winded things. Despite this, Yoshiko determined to read the title at least, and so, slitting the envelope open, she retrieved the bundle of papers and looked at the first line.

It was bound with the usual manuscript stationery, as expected. What was unexpected was how it began. Where one would expect a title or author to be displayed, instead Yoshiko saw a line of greeting. “Dear Madam,” it read. Well then, she thought, this must be some form of letter after all. As she casually scanned the next few lines, however, she felt a strange sense of foreboding creep over her. Still, her innate curiosity aroused, she quickly read onwards despite her growing unease. It read as follows.




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« Last Edit: August 24, 2021, 07:03:24 AM by Bdoomed »

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Álex Souza

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Reply #1 on: August 23, 2021, 08:50:27 PM
I jumped in my gamer chair (!) when I read the title of this story.

Although that's my first time reading the real thing, I've read the adaptation by Junji Ito, the current king of horror manga. Ito’s take is actually a continuation that takes place in modern day, and it’s amazing. Look for it if you got curious after listening to the source material.

This story is uncanny, sure, but also very sad. It reminded me of Frankenstein.

I liked how he references Eve. I would not expect this from a new Asian story, let alone a vintage one.

Also, Kudos for the narrator. Voice like ASMR.

Finally, I think there was a mistake concerning the original publication of this story. The podcast says it was “originally published in Ningen Isu”, but that literally means Human Chair--it's the title of the story, romanized. I searched numerous sources, namely Wikipedia, and found out that "it was published in the October 1925 edition of the literature magazine Kuraku (苦楽)".

Ah, and there is a Japanese Metal Band named Ningen Isu btw.

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Fenrix

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Reply #2 on: August 23, 2021, 10:34:09 PM

Finally, I think there was a mistake concerning the original publication of this story. The podcast says it was “originally published in Ningen Isu”, but that literally means Human Chair--it's the title of the story, romanized. I searched numerous sources, namely Wikipedia, and found out that "it was published in the October 1925 edition of the literature magazine Kuraku (苦楽)".


Good catch, that was almost certainly my transposition issue. Glad you enjoyed the story, and the number of people who are hearing it for the first time here warms our hearts!

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Paul S. Jenkins

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Reply #3 on: September 11, 2021, 09:45:17 PM
Guys, this was awesome!

I've had my issues with some of the Escape Artists episodes in recent months, regarding the stories themselves, the narrations, and the audio production (I'm particularly sensitive to this since I've become hard of hearing in my old age) but this one was absolutely wonderful in all respects. Bravo!