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Author Topic: Pseudopod 122: Let Them Bleed  (Read 8778 times)

Bdoomed

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on: December 27, 2008, 06:20:29 AM
Pseudopod 122: Let Them Bleed

By Lilah Wild

Read by JC Hutchins

Stosh wore his sneakers as he walked along the incoming tide, let cool water ooze over his toes. It was awkward, squishing along in the wet sand, but he didn’t want to risk stepping on a broken seashell or a needle. His shoes were already filthy, not much left for the water to ruin.

He swept his eyes over the beach, scanned among piles of trash for Liddy. Instead he spotted a skinny figure running his way.


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Listen to this week's Pseudopod.



Happy Holidays everyone!

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


Raving_Lunatic

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Reply #1 on: December 28, 2008, 01:19:34 PM
Shouldn't have played this one to the kids!

Jokes aside (I don't have kids BTW) I liked the story. Didn't stand out for me, but it worked as a despair style piece with elements of horror.

Enjoyed the outro, particularly the cheerio pip pip bit. I wonder how many PP listeners who don't come on the forums regularly will be scratching their heads over that one.



Listener

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Reply #2 on: December 30, 2008, 12:57:28 PM
Did not like.

The reading was too breathy and not sinister enough. It would've needed to be more sinister or more urgent.

The story itself just went on... and on... and on... and on... and on... with no real satisfaction of any kind. Most horror stories have a resolution that gives satisfaction to SOMEONE, even if it's the monster or the disease. This one's like, kids get a bug up their asses and drive across the country, one of them dies, they all get sad but instead of turning back they KEEP ON GOING, and they end up (I'm guessing) somewhere along the New Jersey or Myrtle Beach coast (not during tourist season), depressed, on drugs, and unable to get back.

Because, you know, they couldn't just CALL THEIR PARENTS.

*headshake*

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MacArthurBug

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Reply #3 on: December 30, 2008, 02:57:35 PM
After a bout of squeeing like a high school girl for oh... a day.. I can finally comment without too much giggling.

The story was good. Dark and disturbing. I've known people like these-kids like these. Not in this sort of trouble, but I can see it happening. The fear generated by this story, for me, was real. This is something that could happen, somewhere in the dark awful stinking corners of our world, not so far away. I can't say if I liked the story. I don't know if I could like something like this. I listened all the way through and shuddered in the appropriate spots.

As to the outro. I am truly and honestly glad I was home and not somewhere public. I usually listen to my stories while doing mundane out of the house chores. So the only person embarrassed by my jumping up, clapping my hands and squeeing in a pitch I didn't even know I was capable of, was my daughter. This is a 12 year old who already thinks I'm embarrasing just by living.   
Thank you so much Al. You made my day, my week, and my December something to remember.  I'm still occasionally breaking out in odd fits of glee.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2008, 03:39:19 PM by MacArthurBug »

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


Raving_Lunatic

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Reply #4 on: December 31, 2008, 06:05:24 PM
OMG GEEKGASM!



rowshack

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Reply #5 on: January 01, 2009, 12:21:34 AM
"Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain!" D'Hoffryn B.T.V.S.



Zathras

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Reply #6 on: January 02, 2009, 06:52:14 AM
I'm with Listener on this one.  The story went way too long for the payoff.  This one would have been better as a flash piece, in my opinion.




gelee

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Reply #7 on: January 02, 2009, 03:09:45 PM
Very dark.  I enjoyed this story, though I agree with Zathras and Listener to the extent that I think it could have been shorter.  3.5/5



Sgarre1

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Reply #8 on: January 07, 2009, 01:14:50 AM
This was a mixed bag for me, surprising because it had a lot going against it as it started.

First, the general scenario - I'm too old for S.E. Hinton with lashings of heroin/prostitution and if I wanted to read about down-and-outers, I'd reach for Nelson Algren's MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (still one of the best books I've ever read about addiction) or the always reliable W.S.B.  Oh, the names and ages and general geography change but the outcome is usually the same.  And, of course, it was a fair stretch to call it horror, even with the horrible things going on and a murder - I still contend that people having to deal with bad things in their life is a little too broad a definition for Horror and happily await the debut of Crimepod so that stories like this and DEER KILLER have a place to exist happily.

Then, the style itself wasn't particularly engaging - too many characters introduced too quickly (I actually thought there was a "Yvonne" and an "Ivan" at some point, but that's more the readers fault - *hint that will probably never get to be used effectively* Theda's name was pronounced "Theeda" Bara, long e - it was an accidental (?) anagram of "Death Arab").  Stosh was barely a character and the heroin girl even less so (just there as an object lesson, I guess).  The writing could have been a bit more naturalistic and less flowery (I understand the temptation), especially with the seedy setting.  Overall, the story felt more like the mid-point in some young adult's novel that was a little too blunt/real for the market (not an inherently bad thing, better than being some tweener novel, for sure), with implications that some of the characters had already been sketched/served their plot purpose in preceding chapters, or would in chapters to come.  Again, not a bad thing, except it was presented as a single story, so that's what we should get.

Which leads us to the last problem - climax/point of it all.  Not much there, really.  Oh, yeah, some people are wicked nasty bad and (I'm not being sarcastic here) some people are always going to need to be warned about that through stories like this, I guess.  Although it's not my place to say, I'm sure surprised it was a generic killing that resulted, what with your cruel and savvy female dealer/pimp knowing torture freaks who videotape stuff and johns with violent tastes, I would surely have expected her to have concocted something much more vicious for the girl that happened to make a few grand on the side (disposable, unmissable teenagers, especially girls, always rate a high price).  I guess I'm just surprised, considering it featured characters that seemed to have escaped from some My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult song, how tame the ending was.  I'm just saying....

And yet, by the end, and with all it's problems, I found myself happy I'd listened to it because, much like LALA SALAMA and THE TEACHER (and possibly PATTERN MASTERS) I found myself thinking, this writer has a lot of potential and good chops and will probably produce excellent work in the future.  So thank you, Pseudopod, for giving them a venue.

Two last things (thread discussions) - as a born and bred Jersey shore resident, this felt very much Left Coast to me, not "Joisey" at all (I didn't get the impression they'd driven cross-country, more like up California).  And I liked the reading, after starting slightly unhappy with it.  It might have seemed a bit more cartoonish with a "heavy" read.

Thanks for listening.

“I know that if I was a 16-year-old who’d seen Kids, Havoc, Bully, Alpha Dog, Wassup Rockers and Thirteen, I’d probably feel like the whole teenaged world was one giant omni-sexual drugged-up orgy I hadn’t been invited to.”
Review of HAVOC from the Onion AV Club.



Original Digga

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Reply #9 on: January 07, 2009, 01:38:09 PM
I really enjoyed this one, and I liked JC Hutchins' reading of it.  He has such an unlikely voice.  I listened to it twice.

I have no idea where Myrtle Beach is, but the mention of it in the post above made me think of the lyric from the Aimee Mann song "Ghost World". 

Although this story was darker than an Aimee song.

Although JC's voice lightened it somewhat.

I reckon it was really good.

Salutations


DigitalVG

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Reply #10 on: January 07, 2009, 07:32:13 PM
I could have liked this story and it could have been truly horrifying except that it badly broke suspension of disbelief for me.

If someone is going to write a story about the horrors of drug addiction, they really should do some research up front.  I've never had heroine nor do I ever intend to have it.  I'm hesitant to even take tylenol and when I've had dental work, I generally end up throwing out most of the vicodin I'm prescribed.  The description of heroine was pretty convincing.  Seemed real and plausible, save for the minor detail that from what I've read, most people don't start out on heroine by shooting it.  They either snort it or smoke it and only turn to shooting it later when they're so addicted and their tolerance is so high that that's the only way they can get the same high.

The part that bugged me was the marijuana use.  The statute of limitations is long expired so I don't have any issue mentioning the following:  I did try this one.  I had it several dozen times well over a decade ago now.  Then I got bored with it and left it behind.  Whatever potential long-term effects it might have had on me is not at issue.  What I take issue with is the idea that people would be so hopelessly addicted to it that they'd be willing to grovel through dumpsters hunting for it.  Heroine, Meth, Cocaine, Alcohol, Tobacco?  Sure.  Those are seriously addictive substances.  Marijuana however, even the most conservative sources will conceded that it is at most 'habit forming'.  Some people may form a psychological dependence on it, but there's no physical withdraw symptoms when stopping it.  I gave up pot exactly when I decided to give it up.  I've been offered it several times since but haven't had any urge to jump back into it.  Before anyone assumes I'm anomalous or particularly strong willed, let me assure you that I've tried many times to quit caffeine but am hopelessly addicted to Coke (The kind that's pushed in restaurants) and much as I hold contempt for corporations and corn syrup, I am their bitch.

So..  Why have I got my panties in a bunch over this?  Simply put, I think that by equating the two drugs, the story (and the anti-drug ads on TV as well) do a VERY dangerous thing.  There are a lot of marijuana users out there and if you are at all social, sooner or later, you're going to be offered some and for some percentage of people either curiosity or peer-pressure will get them to try it.  The problem is...  A lot of people don't have access to the same level of information that we do and if all the information they have is that marijuana is just as bad as heroine, meth, crack, etc, and someone tells them "Try this one.  It's even better."   Well.  In for a penny, in for a pound as they say.

Scare-tactic drug misinformation is much like abstinence-only sex education.  It just plain doesn't work.  It causes more problems than it creates.  Not to mention, for me (and likely as not, more than a few other listeners) this aspect of the story really broke suspension of disbelief and made the story considerably less engaging.  Suddenly I wasn't listening to a horror story.  I was sitting in a gymnasium with some guy in a dog costume lecturing me.
 



Ocicat

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Reply #11 on: January 13, 2009, 08:43:22 AM
If it was set on the West Coast, it had to be Santa Cruz - the only place on that coast that still has a beach boardwalk really.  Certainly the only place that's at all "north".  I lived in Santa Cruz for 12 years though, and if the author meant the story to be there, I don't think they know it very well.  Maybe they watched Lost Boys once.  So we'll go with it's supposed to be a fantasy location.

There are parts of the story and imagery I liked, and I listened to the end (something I only do about half the time on Pseudopod), but there was a lot I disliked.  The handling of drugs was certainly one of those.  The BDSM-ish badguys were another.  I won't say that there aren't perverts like that out there, but most of us are actually pretty harmless unless you ask nicely  ;)  and anyway it's just a cliche. 

And as also mentioned, the plotting was just sort of loose... a lot of things seemed to be there just to add to the atmosphere than for any really good reason, plot wise.  But oh well.



eytanz

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Reply #12 on: January 13, 2009, 02:40:13 PM
The problem with stories where characters start at rock bottom and then things just get worse is that there's no real sense of tragedy. There's an overall sense of crappiness and unhappiness, but when someone's horrific death is only mildly more disturbing than the life they led to get there, it doesn't feel particularly resonant. And yes, the story did try to present a better alternative with Liddy and Stosh's sexual encounter, but that felt pretty empty, especially the way it played out. If Liddy and Stosh, together, had decided on a plan of action that would have been as misguided as Liddy's, and had it backfire, I would have felt differently. But the fact that she never even bothered to tell him what she was going to do, made the actual relationship between the two feel so thin that I didn't get the sense that she was attempting to perserve anything of real value.

DigitalVG - I may be mistaken, but I didn't feel like the story was saying that anyone was so addicted to marijuana that they were looking through dumpsters. Rather, I felt that the story was saying that the characters were so degraded that they always were looking through dumpsters, and that they happened to find marijuana there.



Raving_Lunatic

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Reply #13 on: January 13, 2009, 05:21:02 PM
I agree with you eytanz. For a truly tragic story, there has to be a fall from a great height.



Listener

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Reply #14 on: January 14, 2009, 01:28:19 AM
I agree with you eytanz. For a truly tragic story, there has to be a fall from a great height.

Well, that was handled literally when Eddie (I think) fell off the top of that mountain they climbed.

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eytanz

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Reply #15 on: January 14, 2009, 03:13:51 AM
I agree with you eytanz. For a truly tragic story, there has to be a fall from a great height.

Well, that was handled literally when Eddie (I think) fell off the top of that mountain they climbed.

No, I don't think that applies. True, there was a tragedy - a proper one - in the characters' past, but it all takes place in the backstory, not in the story itself. By the time we are introduced to the characters, they are already fallen, and while we have a glimpse of the fact that they weren't necessarily always like that (though, frankly, the backstory seems to indicate that they were not far removed even before the accident), it's far from a driving contrast in the story.



JoeFitz

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Reply #16 on: January 25, 2009, 03:18:53 AM
Late to the party... Didn't like this offering much. I felt it dragged on and on and on. I found the sadistic pimp/hooker angle was a little too easy a trope - though the payoff wasn't so bad. I can't help but think it was a little too convenient for boy-o to be knocked unconscious; and I don't think I can forgive the use of the title in the ending dialogue. That really stuck me as inexcusable and pulled me out of the story.




Unblinking

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Reply #17 on: September 02, 2009, 03:41:40 PM
This is one of only two Pseudopod stories I haven't finished listening to so far.  I listened about halfway through, and even that dragged on and on, before giving up.

Personally I'm much more into speculative fiction, rather than the real life stuff.  Otherwise I'd watch Dateline.  And as others pointed out, there's not much of a fall possible if characters have already hit rock bottom.  And, personally I couldn't keep the characters straight, and found I didn't really care who was who anyway (when I realized that was when I turned it off).



Millenium_King

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Reply #18 on: June 25, 2010, 10:17:12 PM
The part that bugged me was the marijuana use.  The statute of limitations is long expired so I don't have any issue mentioning the following:  I did try this one.  I had it several dozen times well over a decade ago now.  Then I got bored with it and left it behind.  Whatever potential long-term effects it might have had on me is not at issue.  What I take issue with is the idea that people would be so hopelessly addicted to it that they'd be willing to grovel through dumpsters hunting for it.  Heroine, Meth, Cocaine, Alcohol, Tobacco?  Sure.  Those are seriously addictive substances.  Marijuana however, even the most conservative sources will conceded that it is at most 'habit forming'.  Some people may form a psychological dependence on it, but there's no physical withdraw symptoms when stopping it.  I gave up pot exactly when I decided to give it up.  I've been offered it several times since but haven't had any urge to jump back into it.  Before anyone assumes I'm anomalous or particularly strong willed, let me assure you that I've tried many times to quit caffeine but am hopelessly addicted to Coke (The kind that's pushed in restaurants) and much as I hold contempt for corporations and corn syrup, I am their bitch.

Politely, then you have not been around enough drug users.  I definately know people who would (and have) rooted through dumpsters to find pot.  It's not as implausible as it sounds.

Anyway, as for the story itself, it was long, long, long without much to hold my interest.  It was dull and I couldn't really care what happened to the characters.  I mean, they were just loser burnouts who barely cared about their own lives, so why should I care about them?  Anyone that far on the bottom of the barrel would be better off dead anyway.

Plus, the action sequences bugged me.  Choppy fragment sentences are not a decent substitute for a well-written action sequence.

I guess I get tired of "contemporary horror" because it's always about either (a) suburban couples ("Infestation" , "The Ashen Thing" and "Got Milk?" etc.) or (b) loser burnouts (this one, "Orifice" and "The Valknut" etc.).  I think that's why Coyote Tales have proved so popular here.

And, (not that I have had any experience... haha... right...) but skinnydipping at night in the ocean is MOTHERFUCKING FREEZING and sex in the sand and surf may sound and look romantic, but reality is tiny grains of sand in very, very sensative places.  It felt like a bad movie, written by someone who has fantasized about that kinda stuff - but never done it.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 10:25:55 PM by Millenium_King »

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