Escape Artists

News:

News

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

Author Topic: Pseudopod 88: The Guardian  (Read 12845 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5329
  • Mmm. Tiger.
on: May 03, 2008, 05:25:06 PM
Pseudopod 88: The Guardian

By Michael Anthony

Read by Dani Cutler

She clutched the bag to her chest, felt the contents poking against her breasts through the plastic. She had been fortunate to find it, hidden in a hollowed-out cabinet in a back room. The rest of the store had long since been plundered. She swallowed a ball of spit and crawled along the tile, worming toward the back.

She heard yelling outside, the boys backtracking. She crawled faster, her knees scraping against broken glass. If they caught her they might not kill her, but they’d do nasty things to her. The gangs had found her sister once and had given her the Big Belly. A little monster had squeezed out from between her legs, wiggling and twitching for a few moments before going limp. She remembered burying it, shuddering. The next day she had buried her sister–

“Someone’s 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?


Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #1 on: May 04, 2008, 04:24:31 AM
Whoa.... I'm going first for a change!  w00t!

I liked this one a lot (enough to suggest to Anarkey that she might want to give it a listen).  Dani's reading was the perfect voice for the story, and I was really taken with what turned out to be in the bag.  I'm sure it will have struck others differently, but I found it to be extremely poignant for the silliness.  (Does that make sense?  I suppose I don't have to worry about spoilers, but...)

Man... now I'm all hungry.


This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 618
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Reply #2 on: May 04, 2008, 07:06:12 AM
I listened to this on the way home from work on Friday and when it was finally revealed what was in the bag, I said, "You have got to be kidding me!" aloud to...the empty car.

But then it occurred to me: with all the adults gone, it makes sense that the kids would make talismans out of anything left over from the old world.

People always say "Well, you know how cruel children can be."  This story takes that to its logical conclusion, I think.  So, while I can't say I exactly liked the story, I did enjoy listening to it.  It seems that the setting has some more stories lurking about in it, too.

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


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #3 on: May 04, 2008, 11:24:05 AM
"Worlds where adults die out mysteriously and kids form gangs" is, it seems, as much a sub-genre as zombie stories or werewolf stories. I wonder if Lord of the Flies was the first, or whether you can go back to the 19th century or earlier with this.

Anyway, a good example of a well-told action story, both in the writing and in the reading. It did verge into cliche at some moments - I literally stopped the iPod and cursed (inwardly, I was in public) when the rat bit her ankle just as her pursuer was about to give up - but overall well done.



cuddlebug

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Reply #4 on: May 04, 2008, 06:02:37 PM
A good story and most of all an excellent HORROR story. There was a feeling of menace unparalleled in any other PP episode so far, at least to my mind. Maybe it just struck a very personal chord since this story reminds me very much of a certain recurring nightmare I have had since I was a teenager. (I am sure some of you have recognized aspects in PP stories which bring back images from your nightmares? Maybe that is how the story was conceived the first place.)
   
Anyway, good story. I am always very intrigued in stories that deal with social change, hypotheses on how these changes influence people’s thinking, values and behavior. Literature that deals with the way children structure a society that has to work without direct adult intervention are fascinating and this one certainly was pretty convincing.  … and I have to agree with eytanz, it did remind me a lot of Lord of the Flies too.

(... and what was in the bag made complete sense to me, actually).





goatkeeper

  • Guest
Reply #5 on: May 04, 2008, 09:46:34 PM
great frikkin story. 



Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #6 on: May 05, 2008, 02:30:09 AM
Sayyyyyy... do you suppose that was what was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction?


This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5329
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Reply #7 on: May 05, 2008, 03:41:50 AM
Sayyyyyy... do you suppose that was what was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction?
By Nash i think you are RIGHT!

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


Michaelanthony

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #8 on: May 05, 2008, 02:20:47 PM
My first Podcast :) Thanks to Alasdair for the cool intro, Dani Cutler for giving Tolia a voice, and to everyone else for listening.

-Michael



Void Munashii

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 267
  • twitter.com/VOIDMunashii
    • Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse
Reply #9 on: May 06, 2008, 05:22:59 PM
Sayyyyyy... do you suppose that was what was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction?



  That would explain the golden glow.

  I enjoyed this story, and while the twist wasn't totally unexpected (something was obviously up after the reaction of the Deadboys), that it was cereal was worth a laugh.

"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
http://mallvillestory.blogspot.com


Kevin David Anderson

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 52
  • "He's Undead, Jim"
    • Kevin David Anderson
Reply #10 on: May 06, 2008, 05:52:19 PM
This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #11 on: May 06, 2008, 05:57:58 PM
This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 

Except, of course, that it doesn't actually help.



Void Munashii

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 267
  • twitter.com/VOIDMunashii
    • Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse
Reply #12 on: May 06, 2008, 08:14:54 PM
This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 

Except, of course, that it doesn't actually help.

  Indeed it probably made things worse.

"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
http://mallvillestory.blogspot.com


Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #13 on: May 07, 2008, 12:25:48 AM
This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 

Except, of course, that it doesn't actually help.

  Indeed it probably made things worse.

Thus the comparison with religion.

(TAD looks down, shrieks, drops the flaming turd from his hand, and runs away in a zig-zag pattern to avoid the well-deserved response to THAT.)

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #14 on: May 07, 2008, 04:57:53 AM
This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 

Except, of course, that it doesn't actually help.

  Indeed it probably made things worse.

Thus the comparison with religion.

(TAD looks down, shrieks, drops the flaming turd from his hand, and runs away in a zig-zag pattern to avoid the well-deserved response to THAT.)

Soiled yourself again, eh, TAD?


Graham

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • Me
Reply #15 on: May 07, 2008, 03:41:53 PM
Great story, one of my Pseudopod favourites so far this year. I'm a big sucker for post apocalyptic, so this was right up my street.



JoeFitz

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
Reply #16 on: May 10, 2008, 09:00:16 PM
While the story was well-read, I just felt like it's an idea done to death. And I don't think it was used to any interesting effect here.



Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #17 on: May 12, 2008, 10:12:12 AM
This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 

I expected some kind of medicine or similar.  Didn't even think it might be religious; she found it in a drugstore, right?

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

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


Thaurismunths

  • High Priest of TCoRN
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1421
  • Praise N-sh, for it is right and good!
Reply #18 on: May 16, 2008, 03:20:01 PM
This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 

I expected some kind of medicine or similar.  Didn't even think it might be religious; she found it in a drugstore, right?
The whole time, from the first oblique reference to the final reveal, I couldn't help but think how ridiculously obvious it was that she had found... a bottle of Captain Morgan.

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


Chodon

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 519
  • Molon Labe
Reply #19 on: May 16, 2008, 03:30:22 PM
This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 

I expected some kind of medicine or similar.  Didn't even think it might be religious; she found it in a drugstore, right?
The whole time, from the first oblique reference to the final reveal, I couldn't help but think how ridiculously obvious it was that she had found... a bottle of Captain Morgan.
At least that wouldn't have cut the hell out of the roof of her brother's mouth when he ate it.  Ouch!

Those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither.


DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #20 on: May 16, 2008, 04:01:33 PM
This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 

I expected some kind of medicine or similar.  Didn't even think it might be religious; she found it in a drugstore, right?
The whole time, from the first oblique reference to the final reveal, I couldn't help but think how ridiculously obvious it was that she had found... a bottle of Captain Morgan.


Ohhhhhhhhhhhh.  Now I really want some coconut flavored Captain Morgan's...


Void Munashii

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 267
  • twitter.com/VOIDMunashii
    • Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse
Reply #21 on: May 17, 2008, 12:28:54 AM
This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 

I expected some kind of medicine or similar.  Didn't even think it might be religious; she found it in a drugstore, right?
The whole time, from the first oblique reference to the final reveal, I couldn't help but think how ridiculously obvious it was that she had found... a bottle of Captain Morgan.

  A bottle of Captain Morgan probably would have been more helpful.

  Didn't they state at one point before the reveal that it was box shaped though?

"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
http://mallvillestory.blogspot.com


Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1211
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Reply #22 on: July 07, 2008, 11:43:36 PM
Not much to say about this.  The "important object that turns out to be something mundane" is old hat.  I guess setting it in a CLOCKWORK ORANGE/WARRIORS world somehow worked for a lot of people.  If there had been more grimness and gloom in the surroundings, and hope in the object that only we realize wasn't going to help in the end, it might have had a chance as a bitter pill but, naw, even then, it's one of those stories where you can hear the "laughing trombone" musical cue at the end, although that's not what the writer intended.

Another quasi-sci-fi tale.  I know scaring modern readers is a tough job but can't we even get some attempts?

Thanks for listening.

“This country (America) is so diffuse and chaotic that the only things holding it together are TV and poverty.”
Charles Henry James



Void Munashii

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 267
  • twitter.com/VOIDMunashii
    • Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse
Reply #23 on: July 09, 2008, 12:32:27 AM
I guess setting it in a CLOCKWORK ORANGE/WARRIORS world somehow worked for a lot of people.  gloom in the

  I didn't see the setting as being similar to either of those movies, I view it more as a "Fallout" or maybe a "Jeremiah" type of setting. I saw it being post-apocalyptic more than just a grim future.

"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
http://mallvillestory.blogspot.com


Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1211
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Reply #24 on: July 09, 2008, 02:58:24 AM
Quote
I didn't see the setting as being similar to either of those movies, I view it more as a "Fallout" or maybe a "Jeremiah" type of setting. I saw it being post-apocalyptic more than just a grim future.

Six of one/half-doz for me.  I was picking it up from one of the previous positive comments (from the outside boards):

Quote
Mari Mitchell  - May 2nd, 2008 - This reminded me of the movie “Warriors”

and the whole "Georgies", "Deadboys" gangs thing.  I didn't think it was that well-developed and once you realize it's in service of a punchline, well, it doesn't really matter, does it?

This was great.

I was expecting, as I suppose everyone was, something of great significance to the masses, like a crucifix, a Koran, a pinnacle, or some other praised object.  I was pleasantly surprised as the author showed that HOPE can be packaged in a million different ways - the only requirement being that you believe in its power.   
 

I expected some kind of medicine or similar.  Didn't even think it might be religious; she found it in a drugstore, right?
The whole time, from the first oblique reference to the final reveal, I couldn't help but think how ridiculously obvious it was that she had found... a bottle of Captain Morgan.
At least that wouldn't have cut the hell out of the roof of her brother's mouth when he ate it.  Ouch!

You got that, brother!  Thanks for making me laugh!

And, Thanks For Listening

“As each wave of technology is released. It must be accompanied by a demand for new skills, new language. Consumers must constantly update their ways of thinking, always questioning their understanding of the world. Going back to old ways, old technology is forbidden. There in no past, no present, only an endless future of inadequacy.”
Richard Kadrey, “Genocide” (1989)
« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 03:01:34 AM by Sgarre1 »