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Author Topic: Pseudopod 94: The Skull-Faced Boy  (Read 20813 times)
Boggled Coriander
Lochage
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« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2008, 10:40:18 PM »

Awesome, awesome, awesome voicework from Ralph Walters.  The accents of the secondary characters were a bit jarring given the Maine setting, but that's a really minor quibble.

I really like the idea of a zombie story told from the point of view of an intelligent, articulate zombie.  Are there any others out there?
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"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest
Ocicat
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Anything for a Weird Life


« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2008, 03:15:49 AM »

Okay, I'm not a horror fan.  Half the time I turn off Pseudopod before it's done.

But that was a classic!
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JoeFitz
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« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2008, 09:35:03 PM »

It took a while to get into this, but then I was there. And then it ended. I thought the ending was a little abrupt and the "defacing" of the girl a little too lightly treated. I would have liked this story to be a little longer to flesh things out (as it were). Still a good PP, imho.
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bolddeceiver
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Plunging like stones from a slingshot on mars...


« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2008, 12:08:43 AM »

I don't care much for zombies.  I liked this.  Maybe the same reason a few zombie-fan commenters seem a little cold about it?

I'll disagree on the skull-faced boy image being powerful; I couldn't imagine any image that wasn't really cheezy and slapstick when it came to a skull with eyeballs.
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Void Munashii
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« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2008, 07:36:22 PM »

I'll disagree on the skull-faced boy image being powerful; I couldn't imagine any image that wasn't really cheezy and slapstick when it came to a skull with eyeballs.

  I pictured the poster for "Evil Dead 2", but not as dried out or old looking. More bright white bone and remaining red gore (which actually doesn't make much sense at the end of the story now that I think about it)
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"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
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Sgarre1
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"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2008, 07:45:27 PM »

This didn't work for me.  Intelligent zombies, check.  Short-handing the start (they're killed and turned into zombies and understand that they're zombies quick, so we can get to how this is different).  I don't know, just didn't click for me.  As others have said, maybe if we knew more about them before they turned (is the friend a potential megalomaniac?).

I did think the very last scene was nice, if I perceived it right (the brainy good guy zombie has to act dumb so as not to let onto zombie ex-girlfriend about his betrayal, right?).

And I really hope Alasdair was kidding about listeners sending "your little darlings" to Pseudopod.

Thanks for listening
“The face of the dead man was concealed, of course, our customs not being those of the south, where corpses are carried to the grave in open coffins, that they might – one last time before slipping into the pit – be warmed by the light of the sun.”
Jan Neruda, “Doctor Spoiler”
« Last Edit: July 15, 2008, 08:03:24 PM by Sgarre1 » Logged
Stalinsays
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« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2008, 05:34:54 PM »

Pretty gripping ending. My interest waxed and waned after the exposition, but it came around for sure.
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Myrealana
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« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2008, 02:52:12 PM »

Loved it -- from beginning to end.

I really enjoyed the zombie training sessions. Brilliant!

The dad, the housemates, the girl - all awesome. A Big thumbs up from me.
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"You don't fix faith. Faith fixes you." - Shepherd Book
davekirtley
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« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2008, 12:33:29 PM »

In the intro to this episode, Alasdair notes, "This week's piece was first published in Gothic.net, and will rise, hungry for brains, in September, as part of The Living Dead, an anthology from Night Shade Books. David should also, by the way, be applauded for generously sharing space in that anthology with promising-looking newcomers like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and George R. R. Martin."

Well, here's the recently-released cover for that anthology, which looks awesome:



For more about the book, visit:
http://www.davidbarrkirtley.com/skull.html
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davekirtley
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« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2008, 02:05:49 PM »

Anyone here going to be in New York City on October 7th? If so, you should think about coming to the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series at South Street Seaport. I'll be reading "The Skull-Faced Boy" and John Langan (author of the forthcoming collection Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters) will be reading his story "How the Day Runs Down." Then we'll all be going out to dinner. Hope to see some of you there. Here's the poster:

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davekirtley
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« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2008, 10:32:11 AM »

I just found out that the anthology The Living Dead (which includes my story "The Skull-Faced Boy") is "in contention" to be on the extended New York Times Best Seller List, so if anyone was thinking about picking up a copy, doing so this week might count toward pushing the book over the top. More details on this here:
http://www.davidbarrkirtley.com/blog/?p=655
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Kevin David Anderson
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« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2009, 02:50:34 PM »

Wish I'd listened to this one last summer.  Great zombie episode.  Loved the world the author created, and it left me wanting more.  Also enjoyed the reading, very well voiced. 
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jqstave
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« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2009, 04:40:56 PM »

Okay, I'm not a horror fan.  Half the time I turn off Pseudopod before it's done.

But that was a classic!

This sums up my thoughts on the story perfectly.  Of Steve Eley's podcast trifecta, Pseudopod is my least favorite.  I have a backlog of quite a few stories I haven't listened to.  I was trying to catch up on that backlog (rather slowly I might add) when I stumbled upon this gem.  Loved this story...found it just as I started to play Left 4 Dead, too!
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davekirtley
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« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2009, 04:38:06 AM »

I recently received this really cool piece of fan art for "The Skull-Faced Boy," and I thought I'd share it here:

« Last Edit: August 28, 2009, 04:41:02 AM by davekirtley » Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2009, 11:54:52 AM »

I thought this was a great new spin on the zombie story.  Those shambling stupid type aren't really monsters, they're just brain damaged!  Although I did find it hard to believe that teeth were able to penetrate skulls, but whatever...

I do wish that someone had wondered in the story why all the dead were rising.  It was taken so nonchalantly as to almost be comical.  And the friend deciding as soon as he is dead that he wants to kill the living--why?  It's not like you're switching sports teams.  Maybe he was psychotic before he died, who knows.  Or maybe only part of his brain is damaged, making him functional but sociopathic.

The main character was mostly sympathetic until he suddenly turned on his girlfriend, where the F did that come from?  Why did he return to the army in the first place?  He had to know that no good could come of it.  And if he was going to divert him from his parents, who will surely be a target before long, then why not divert to some 3rd unimportant location?  At that point I kind of stopped caring about him, so the ending didn't have as much impact as it could have.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #35 on: February 25, 2010, 05:00:32 PM »

I do wish that someone had wondered in the story why all the dead were rising.  It was taken so nonchalantly as to almost be comical.

I think this is a MacGuffin issue. Why zombies exist is irrelevant. It it radiation to reflect the cold war paranoia of one era? Is it a disease? Retribution from God? It doesn't matter. Justifications for the occurrence have always seemed like throwaways in zombie movies and literature. What matters is they're trying to eat our brains, and to aim for the head.

The real story was dealing with acceptance and rejection by family, friends, and society. I was able to move past the difficulty of forming words without lips and accept the imagery in the story for what it was. Good reading. Nice smart zombie concept. Not my favorite zombie story on PP so far, but worth the listen.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2010, 11:25:20 AM »

I do wish that someone had wondered in the story why all the dead were rising.  It was taken so nonchalantly as to almost be comical.

I think this is a MacGuffin issue. Why zombies exist is irrelevant. It it radiation to reflect the cold war paranoia of one era? Is it a disease? Retribution from God? It doesn't matter. Justifications for the occurrence have always seemed like throwaways in zombie movies and literature. What matters is they're trying to eat our brains, and to aim for the head.

The real story was dealing with acceptance and rejection by family, friends, and society. I was able to move past the difficulty of forming words without lips and accept the imagery in the story for what it was. Good reading. Nice smart zombie concept. Not my favorite zombie story on PP so far, but worth the listen.

Explaining why there were zombies would've been a digression, since it wasn't the point of the story.  But it was still weird that no one really seemed to care.
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--David Steffen
The Submissions Grinder:  Fiction market listings, submissions tracker, always free, poetry and nonfiction markets coming soon!
Millenium_King
Lochage
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« Reply #37 on: July 15, 2010, 06:36:04 PM »

Just wanted to write an initial impressions post (I'll follow up with a complete review later).  I wanted to say, without knowing just how the story ends, that I loved the beginning.  Straight and to the point - it's even flatly said that the two boys were arguing about a girl.  Loved it.  Then, the car-crash.  You can't go wrong with an unexpected car-crash as an opening.  Opened with a bang.  Very refreshing.
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Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.
Millenium_King
Lochage
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« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2010, 02:43:12 PM »

I listened to the whole thing this morning.  Loved it.  A wonderfully original take on the Z-Apocalypse.  Just when I thought there was nothing left to wring out of that idea, I am pleasantly surprised by this.  It was directly told, fast, interesting and remained gripping throughout.  I don't really have any gripes with this one - except perhaps that, although the language was good, none of it stood out.

FANTASTIC reading.

And FANTASTIC outro by Al.  I especially loved his last few lines about not "killing your darlings."  The timing could not have been more serindipidous for me: one thing I have begun to learn is that you should not distance yourself from what you are good at simply for the sake of distancing yourself - or, to bring it back to Al's outro, you shouldn't "kill your darlings" - you should embrace them.
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Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.
davekirtley
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« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2010, 09:50:57 PM »

Hey guys. Just wanted to mention that I wrote a sequel to "The Skull-Faced Boy," called "The Skull-Faced City." Here's a synopsis:

The zombie army of Dustin the skull-faced boy has grown legion, and has constructed a grim necropolis for him to rule over alongside his reluctant bride, Ashley. His followers are urged to carve off their faces, and bounty hunters are sent out from the city to bring back living prisoners, for purposes unknown. Can anyone put an end to Dustin's mad, paranoid reign?

The story just came out in the anthology The Living Dead 2, edited by John Joseph Adams. More about the book here.


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