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Author Topic: Pseudopod 145: Infestation  (Read 13436 times)

wakela

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Reply #25 on: June 17, 2009, 01:17:11 AM
I actually liked the editing in the beginning.  It made it seem like a real dialogue. The "he saids", "she saids" that Mike Resnick likes I don't think work well in audio.   I also too thought the opening was more interesting than the actual bug attack, which is meant to be a compliment about the opening rather than an insult to the bug attack.

The humor worked pretty well.

It was fun, but there wasn't a lot to chew on afterwards. 

Since "he peeled the chopped his arms because he thought bugs were crawling under his skin" is something I heard more than once in relation to bad drug trips, I was expecting the double issue of "Shaved" to have been somehow soaked with a hallucinogen, though I could think of no way for the author to have pulled that off.  It would have made it more horrifying if he had chopped up and burned himself and his pregnant wife for no good reason, but that would have clashed with the humor.

At the time I thought the religious imagery at the end was unnatural, but eytanz take on it put it in better perspective for me.  I just wish eytanz would stop inflicting his religious beliefs on others.  I mean I have my beliefs about what God is, you have yours.  Can't we just leave it at that? ;) ;) ;)



thomasowenm

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Reply #26 on: June 19, 2009, 10:32:36 PM
What???  People still have real porn magazines?  What about free internet porn?    Although I think I will add the Double anniversary edition of Shaved to my apocalypse survival kit, you never know when you will need to swat something. 

Overall not a bad story, a little gross and over-the-top but well done.

As another point it does demonstrate just how evil the GSA are.




bolddeceiver

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Reply #27 on: July 02, 2009, 04:08:33 AM
I haven't really been making it back to the comments threads for a few months -- I barely have time to be keeping up with the stories (note the fact that I just now listened to this ep almost a month after).  This one actually drew me back to the forum.

I can't think of the last time, outside of network television, I've come across something so unoriginal and derivative.  I'm rather surprised to look and see that it was 20 minutes, because it felt like much more of a chore to get through.  The narrator was boring and unlikable, the wife was the kind of flat, hysterical, folding-under-pressure cannon-fodder female character that gives this genre such a bad name, the monsters, while nightmarish, had very little to set them apart from any other creature-feature, and that's before we got to the enormous cliche of the hairspray flame thrower.

I guess this one just seriously was not for me.



Russell Nash

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Reply #28 on: July 03, 2009, 08:09:13 AM
Bold Deceiver, seriously, don't hold back.  Tell us what you really thought. 

This is why I think the forums can tend to have a negative tone.  If something's really good, you want to comment, but maybe you don't.  If something's bugged the crap out of you, you make sure you get your comment in. 

There's this old saying in the restaurant industry.  If the customer is happy, they'll maybe tell one or two people about it.  If they hated it, they'll tell around ten people about it. 



Bdoomed

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Reply #29 on: July 03, 2009, 06:12:28 PM
hey woah there Russell, he has the right to speak his mind.  granted, bolddeceiver, twas a little harsh (okay maybe really harsh), but you are still entitled to your opinion.

there are plenty positive comments in this thread, you just focus on the most negative.

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


Russell Nash

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Reply #30 on: July 03, 2009, 09:16:40 PM
I forgot to use my [sarcasm][/sarcasm] tags.  I was joking about how he ripped into it with such venom.  Steve's original rules were it's OK as long as it's respectful of the author.  "This sucks" is fine.  "The author is a talentless hack" isn't fine.  I try to hold to those rules. 

the rest of my post was dealing with the natural tendency of people to slather on the criticism heavier than the praise.



DarkKnightJRK

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Reply #31 on: July 18, 2009, 01:38:27 AM
Ben fits the mold of flawed character that deserves something bad to happen to him.  Rachel doesn't seem to be much more than an object with a few lines.

Why did he deserve something bad to happen to him? Because he jerked it to an issue of Shaved?

And yeah, Rachel didn't really have much to offer in the story, sadly, besides bringing the flower into the house.



Zathras

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Reply #32 on: July 18, 2009, 04:04:52 AM
Ben fits the mold of flawed character that deserves something bad to happen to him.  Rachel doesn't seem to be much more than an object with a few lines.

Why did he deserve something bad to happen to him? Because he jerked it to an issue of Shaved?

And yeah, Rachel didn't really have much to offer in the story, sadly, besides bringing the flower into the house.

No, he was self centered.  I didn't say he deserved it, I said he fit the mold.  His actions up until the end were selfish.



stePH

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Reply #33 on: August 20, 2009, 01:43:34 PM
The story was really vivid and good to listen to -- even as I mowed the lawn, kicking up dozens of bugs every minute -- but the whole "giving yourself over to purification by fire" thing was a little over-the-top. You have an unborn child and you're going to give up? I mean, sure, lots of bugs, but... *shrug*

Dude ... what in the story gave you an indication that there was any hope of coming out alive?  I saw a hopeless situation wherein burning the house, the bugs, and all people within was the only way to save the world.

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DKT

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Reply #34 on: August 20, 2009, 03:19:52 PM
The story was really vivid and good to listen to -- even as I mowed the lawn, kicking up dozens of bugs every minute -- but the whole "giving yourself over to purification by fire" thing was a little over-the-top. You have an unborn child and you're going to give up? I mean, sure, lots of bugs, but... *shrug*

Dude ... what in the story gave you an indication that there was any hope of coming out alive?  I saw a hopeless situation wherein burning the house, the bugs, and all people within was the only way to save the world.

Oh, I don't know. If the Girl Scouts are selling those things at the grocery story, I think the world is pretty much screwed.


umamei

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Reply #35 on: August 25, 2009, 05:23:18 AM
I haven't really been making it back to the comments threads for a few months -- I barely have time to be keeping up with the stories (note the fact that I just now listened to this ep almost a month after).  This one actually drew me back to the forum.

I can't think of the last time, outside of network television, I've come across something so unoriginal and derivative.  I'm rather surprised to look and see that it was 20 minutes, because it felt like much more of a chore to get through.  The narrator was boring and unlikable, the wife was the kind of flat, hysterical, folding-under-pressure cannon-fodder female character that gives this genre such a bad name, the monsters, while nightmarish, had very little to set them apart from any other creature-feature, and that's before we got to the enormous cliche of the hairspray flame thrower.

I guess this one just seriously was not for me.

I hate to chime in on the bad review, because I know how hard it can be to write something truly scary (which is why you will see nothing by me anytime soon) but I felt very similarly about this story.

I think for me it just boils down to flat characters.  Guys who choose to whack off to old porn they think their wives know nothing about are not that interesting.  They're sadly commonplace.  My preferred method of torture is simple and requires no evil GS or bugs--just start rifling through boxes or computer files *adjacent* to where they're hiding their stash, in their presence, and see how many excuses they'll come up with to get you away from the offending materials, lest you "find out".  Not as horrific, except maybe for the guy, but at least more entertaining than bugs.  And just for the record--we know about the porn--all of it.  But seriously, what more is there to this guy?  If this were a recipe I'd say it was missing any kind of spice.

And what's up with the boring pregnant lady?  I've been around quite a few pregnant women, and they're not boring--prone to mood swings, crazy cravings, forgetfulness, and impulsive behavior.  Mix that with the supernatural and you have a recipe that is potentially quite horrific.  Bugs are icky, and so are selfish (but mostly harmlessly so, in this case) husbands, but this just didn't do it for me.

On the upside, I loved the reading.  (Guess I'm going for opposites today since so many of you said you had trouble with the editing.) 



Infested

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Reply #36 on: August 28, 2009, 08:35:55 PM
I'm glad some people are liking my story.  I'd like to make a few comments based on the feedback I've been reading.
 
1. Yes, Rachel wasn't much of a character.  She was intended to be a vehicle to add some fear, desperation, and humor to the story.  In the future I will try to round out my characters, especially as I become better as a writer.

2.  The religious overtones at the end were, in my mind, created by a man's desperation that comes as he realizes he is about to die.  Also, his mind was polluted with bug venom so I made it a tad over the top on purpose.

3.  I thought Cayenne Chrs Conroy did an awesome job.  I did feel some of the dialouge was edited to seem a little to quick but it is a minor issue for me as I thought he nailed the humor and deperation in the piece.

4.  I have nothing against Girl Scouts ;)

Thanks-Matt



Unblinking

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Reply #37 on: August 28, 2009, 08:50:08 PM
I mostly enjoyed this one.

What I didn't like was that this seemed like pretty heavily trodden ground in a million bug-under-my-skin stories.  And the wife was pretty flat as a character.

What I did like is pretty much everything else.  If I hadn't read the other bug-under-skin stories, this would've been a good one to start with.  The wife's reaction when he pulled out the magazine cracked me up.  The reader did a wonderful job of adding urgency to the tale, I could really feel the desperation.  And it was nice and fast-paced with some spice of dark humor.  Well done!



Russell Nash

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Reply #38 on: August 30, 2009, 05:44:29 PM
Hey Matt,

Thanks for coming around.  We always like it when the author has the guts to get up in front of the jackals and say, "this is mine." 

My comment on your comment is: Why don't you have anything against girl scouts?  They are evil.



Infested

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Reply #39 on: August 30, 2009, 06:26:25 PM
My pleasure.  I guess any organization that can cause mass addiction to Thin Mints must be innately evil.  I can see them now dealing cookies from the high risers yelling "5-O" as cops drive by.  Its only a matter of time.



Sandikal

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Reply #40 on: November 24, 2009, 04:02:52 AM
Man, you guys are making me hungry for Girl Scout cookies!

There was one laugh line for me.  When he pulls out the magazine to smack the bug, his wife says, "so now you keep that up here!"  Funny because first she knew all about them in the first place.  Second their lives are in serious danger and she's upset about the magazine.

Third because he compared himself to Charlton Heston holding a stone tablet over his head. That bit cracked me up, too.

I did kind of wonder about the whole "Girl Scouts selling these plants at the grocery store" thing, especially when the incubation period was so fast.

Still a good little grossout story that made for an amusing commute.

I'm finally catching up on my podcast listening and this story was beyond horrific to me.  It had a nice balance of humor to the horror though. 

I got the impression that the incubation started in response to the plant's exposure to the protagonist's blood.  I figured it was just a weird looking plant until then.



cdugger

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Reply #41 on: December 01, 2009, 01:20:59 AM
I guess I must stand alone in my appreciation of the editing on this one.

Yes, the story has been told before. So what?
Yes, it was predictable. Short stories are by their very nature ('short' just doesn't lend itself to much mystery).

BUT...this story was intended to (if you'll pardon the pun) get under your skin. There are so many stories out there where the characters are under immediate threat but the pacing of the text or reading is slow enough to allow the reader to go get lunch.

Not this one. I hate cliches, but sometimes they are true: It really did reach out and grab me, and didn't let go until the end.

The reading and editing really brought out the urgency of the situation. That is rare. The conversations were quite real. How many times in emergency situations do you pause before speaking to someone? Not often. You are talking as soon as they stop, if not before.

I read, therefore I am...happy.


Millenium_King

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Reply #42 on: June 10, 2010, 09:03:26 PM
What a wonderfully icky little story.  The description was well done and the pacing was excellent.  I really didn't have an issue with any of the writing.  I certainly did not mind the frantic narration in the beginning - made it sound like the narrator just wanted to be done talking to his wife.  Only later did he realize just how valuable she was.

The description of the bugs was solid and suitably disgusting.  That being said, they were not terribly original little monsters.  Anyone who has seen the recent "Mummy" series is familiar with the scarabs that do the same thing.  If the horror had been a little more original, this story really would have stood out from the rest.  As it is, this story - while good - just blends into the crowd.

Excellent narration.

Excellent outro by Alasdair.  These are the ones I like.  The ones that put perspective on things.  Remember that Nature is a frightening thing and that even something as innocent as a bunch of bannanas can be hiding something just waiting to consume your flesh.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


Fenrix

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Reply #43 on: December 29, 2010, 07:51:10 PM
Pretty good, for body horror. Did a better balance of humor wth the horror, as opposed to the bizarre roommate story with the itching powder and horrifically growing crotch lice. That one sacrificed horror for humor. This presented a better balance, and felt like a campy horror film.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Marlboro

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Reply #44 on: December 14, 2019, 06:03:22 PM
Man vs Infernal Fly-Infested Flora!  If the saturated fats in the Do-si-dos doesn't kill you, the flesh eating flies in the Beel-ze-buds will. Just who (or what?) are these girls scouting for?

I really don't care for body-horror but the humor combined with the excellent reading and editing made this one an exception. The frenetic pace of the narration really added to the story's intensity, imo.



These characters would work great in a horror themed sitcom where each episode features the guy trying to find the time to crank one out while simultaneously doing battle with the cursed object his wife casually picked up while doing the weekly shopping. One week it's a statue of Pazuzu she wins at the church raffle, the next week it's a Sumatran rat-monkey she "rescues" from a local shelter and so forth.