Author Topic: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws  (Read 16552 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« on: August 14, 2009, 04:45:17 AM »
Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws

By Orrin Grey
Read by Ian Stuart

I’ve ‘ad loadsa bad jobs in my day, but this ‘un’s the worst by a mile. Trompin’ aroun’ in the boneyards at midnight, diggin’ up dead folks wi’ a wooden spade, breakin’ open the caskets wi’ a mattock, an’ haulin’ ‘em up an’ out by the heads. Christ.

The mist creeps up ‘til it’s so thick ya can’t hardly see the groun’ for it, makes the tombstones look like ships at sea where they thrust up out a it. Cold as a witch’s tit, an’ only one bottle between us, Wolfe an’ I.

‘Course it’s illegal. I ain’t had but a job or two that weren’t, in one way or t’other. But the fines ain’t steep, an’ the constables tend ta look t’other way. Sides, the pay’s worth the risks. Good pay, for a fella like me, or a fella like Wolfe.

‘E’s the boss, is Wolfe. Been at the game a long time, compared ta me, an’ ‘e ain’t like ta let me forget it. Big fella, shaped like a barrel, face all red an’ puffy from too much drink. “Ya’d drink too, ya’d seen what I seen,” ‘e always tells me, as if I don’t drink.



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
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Sgarre1

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2009, 10:38:22 PM »
Really excellent reading on a really solid creep-out story, like something from prime EC days, or Warren magazine's CREEPY of the 70's!  Great show all around!

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kibitzer

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2009, 01:01:49 AM »
Nicely read, as ever by Ian Stuart. Good creepy little story. Worms don't bother me much, though.

Unblinking

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2009, 03:13:50 PM »
Excellent story brought to life by excellent narration.  Actually I think I probably enjoyed this more in audio than I would have written, it might've been hard to parse with all the apostrophes.  Nice open ending as well.

I'll definitely be looking forward to more contributions from both Orrin and Ian.  :)

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2009, 07:53:03 PM »
The story was meh, but man the narration was top notch.  Well done.

Listener

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2009, 01:16:17 PM »
I wonder if the story was written in dialect. The reading was certainly great.

I was surprised when Wolf said his wife was trampled by a horse when she fell in front of a carriage. I guess I don't know enough about UK history to know that "resurrection men" should elicit a certain time period.

Overall pretty good.
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Sgarre1

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2009, 01:25:31 PM »
The sample provided at the top of the entry is a good example of the writing style - lots of 'postrophes!

DKT

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2009, 03:18:00 PM »
I'm pretty sure I would've liked this story a lot regardless, but Ian Stuart's reading put it head and shoulders above great.

umamei

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2009, 09:19:58 AM »
Really enjoyed this one.  It was a great one to listen to especially.  I'm not sure I would have liked all the apostrophes in reading it either, but I think I would have enjoyed it anyhow.  I think it's a lot easier to make worms creepy again when placed in a historical setting.  I'm not sure I would have been creeped out as much had this been set in recent decades. 

MacArthurBug

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2009, 06:18:34 PM »
wow man! What a reading. The narritive is creepy and wonderous. my type of story, not really scary but man- the reading!!!
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.

orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2009, 06:27:53 PM »
Thanks to everyone who enjoyed the story!  And thanks to Ian for the incredible narration.  It was absolutely perfect.

I'd been meaning to send something to Pseudopod for some time, and the reason I chose this story was because I thought it would work really well in audio, due to the dialect and all the apostrophes and such.  Thanks to the folks as Pseudopod putting together such an awesome reading of it, I think I was right.
Orrin Grey
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goatkeeper

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2009, 02:07:30 AM »
GREAT story!  Well done Orrin, I hope PP runs more of your work.  Great climactic build, your writing is very compact, effective and engaging here. 
GREAT read!  Outa the park, wowza's for rizzle,  Ian knocks it outa the figurative park of some sort.

kibitzer

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2009, 04:37:30 AM »
@orrin -- cool avatar dude.

orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2009, 07:00:09 PM »
@kibitzer

Thanks.  It was originally drawn for me by a friend and I've used it as my "author photo" ever since.
Orrin Grey
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eytanz

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2009, 08:16:49 PM »
I really liked this one - great, creepy tale, and the narration was wonderful. I was listening to this while shopping in IKEA - about as far from a dark, muddy, graveyard as one can get, and I still got sucked into the story enough that I literally jumped when another shopper stopped me to ask me a question. Well done!

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2009, 06:38:58 PM »
I really liked this one - great, creepy tale, and the narration was wonderful. I was listening to this while shopping in IKEA - about as far from a dark, muddy, graveyard as one can get, and I still got sucked into the story enough that I literally jumped when another shopper stopped me to ask me a question. Well done!

I find IKEA pretty frightening myself... 

Bdoomed

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2009, 11:12:00 PM »
I enjoyed this story, very creepy.  I loved the bit where the narrator was surprised that he remembered the dead girl's name, it really emphasized the oddity of the situation.
and top notch reading! :)
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

wakela

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2009, 02:20:46 AM »
This is an example of a story with a not-particularly-fascinating idea made great through characterization.  These guys were very rich, believable characters, and the story was full of details that point to a small thing, but make you think of big things. 

I thought there could have been a little more building up in the ending.  It felt abrupt.

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who would like to hear more about this "anatomy school."  I can see the once beautiful, gothic towers and the pale, sallow students poring over decomposing corpses. 

best
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natashafairweather

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2009, 08:02:08 PM »
Wow. Really solid story with incredible narration. I love this podcast - you hard-working folks just do such good work.

empathy44

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2009, 11:54:02 AM »
"Happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain, and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes. For it is of old rumour that the soul of the devil-bought hastes not from his charnel clay, but fats and instructs the very worm that gnaws; till out of corruption horrid life springs, and the dull scavengers of earth wax crafty to vex it and swell monstrous to plague it. Great holes are digged where earth's pores ought to suffice, and things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl."

The Festival
H.P. Lovecraft

orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2009, 02:19:54 PM »
@empathy44

Yes!  That's exactly the quote that inspired this story, and from which I drew the title!
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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2009, 02:37:02 PM »
ace :-) now you all know what fokes talk like round my neck of the woods!
card carying dislexic and  gramatical revolushonery

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2009, 07:38:19 PM »
I loved the story, and the reading was perfectly suited for it. Good on both the author and the narrator!

Not to detract from that, but Alisdair referenced the story of the defection of Cristian Raducanu at the end and suggested people look up the story for a good tale. I can't find anything online, and I'm usually a Google ace. Can anyone send me a link to a good version of the tale?

empathy44

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2009, 07:48:01 PM »
@empathy44

Yes!  That's exactly the quote that inspired this story, and from which I drew the title!

Yay! I win a multi-tentacled cookie! It is, bar none, my favorite Lovecraft quote and an example of why no one has ever been able to write--for instance--a decent version of the Necronomicon.

empathy44

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2009, 11:11:56 PM »
I really loved this story. And the narration was perfectly suited/done. I have a love of stories set in the Lovecraftian world that don't attempt to be a clone of Lovecraft. I particularly liked the description of Charlie checking the door 3x and the description of the associates voice.

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2009, 03:41:15 AM »
I loved the story, and the reading was perfectly suited for it. Good on both the author and the narrator!

Not to detract from that, but Alisdair referenced the story of the defection of Cristian Raducanu at the end and suggested people look up the story for a good tale. I can't find anything online, and I'm usually a Google ace. Can anyone send me a link to a good version of the tale?

I found this: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20061105/ai_n16826151/, but while it hints at the "combination of intrigue and slapstick" in its opening paragraph, the article is very brief and certainly doesn't satisfy. Anyone else find anything? As one of the many tourists who have been in the catacombs beneath Old Town, I'm really curious to hear the story in detail.

MacArthurBug

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2009, 12:00:53 PM »
I loved the story, and the reading was perfectly suited for it. Good on both the author and the narrator!

Not to detract from that, but Alisdair referenced the story of the defection of Cristian Raducanu at the end and suggested people look up the story for a good tale. I can't find anything online, and I'm usually a Google ace. Can anyone send me a link to a good version of the tale?

Couldn't find much either and I, too, am a search engine goddess most days. :P poo!
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Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2009, 09:08:58 PM »
A nice, well done story. An interesting point of comparison is "The Body Snatcher" by Rober Louis Stevenson.  is the Wolfe in this story a tribute to that story?

orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2009, 07:00:10 PM »
@nathonicus

Not consciously, but probably unconsciously.  I had read "The Body Snatcher," though not recently at the time I wrote the story.
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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2009, 05:37:25 AM »
Orrin,

I haven't thanked you for stopping by.  It always makes the threads more interesting when the author has the guts to stand up in front of the firing squad and say, "I wrote this." 

Thanks.

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2009, 07:26:05 PM »
Wonderful! A classic setting pulled off with flair and aplomb. The narration was perfect to my ear and the characters were so vivid and well drawn.


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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2009, 04:46:04 AM »
I think this was great.
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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2010, 12:19:16 PM »
We listened to this story today in Second Life at my weekly book club - everyone really enjoyed it, and thought the reading was superb.

By coincidence, afterward I listened to the latest episode of the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast, which covered The Festival and it kind of blew my mind to discover the connection.

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2010, 08:26:03 PM »
...and things have learnt to walk which ought to crawl...
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Millenium_King

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #34 on: June 03, 2010, 11:43:15 PM »
Loved it.  I agree with the other sentiments here as well: much better to listen to (especially coming out of someone as talented as Ian) I imagine than reading (I don't much care for reading dialect).

This story was tight, descriptive, evocative and completely devoid of pretention.  It was what is was: a good, solid, old-fashioned horror story.  Graveyards, zombies, worms, dark nights, full moons and cold rain.  For what it was, it was perfect.  This one goes in my top 10 list.

Reading, as usual, was top-notch.  Ian was a great choice for this one.
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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2010, 01:45:04 AM »
This is probably my favorite Pseudopod story.  The quality of the story and the narration are both just superb.  I play a lot of music and spoken word stuff in my bookshop and probably play "The Worm That Gnaws'" about once a week.  Great job all around.

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2010, 02:25:43 PM »
I can see why this one took the top spot in the Best of 2009 poll. I probably would have voted for this one had I listened to it before the poll was finished. I have no guilt, as I am happy with the choices I made, but this one would have probably swayed me. This is a great story and will go in the top of the recommendation pile to show people what podcasting can do.

I pictured these guys doing work for Herbert West.

I seem to enjoy grave robbing stories. Maybe I should be concerned.
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orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2010, 08:46:14 PM »
Thanks to everyone who's chimed in on the story! It's a favorite of mine, and I'm really thrilled that everyone liked it so much.

@FrankOreto: One of my stories getting played in a bookshop is about the best thing I've heard about all week!

@Fenrix: If you should be concerned about liking grave robbing stories, I should probably be doubly concerned, because they're some of my favorites, either to read or write. If you've not seen it yet, I'd recommend the Glenn McQuaid film I Sell The Dead.
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Millenium_King

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2010, 08:51:33 PM »
@Orrin

Do you have a website or a bibliography or anything?  I'm sure plenty of us here (myself included) would love to read other things you've written.
Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.

orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2010, 08:59:00 PM »
@Millenium_King: First off, thanks for the kind words! Second, yes, I've got a website at orringrey.com and I've got a bibliography there with all the stories I've published so far, including a few that're available to read for free online. I should also have a few more announcements in that vein coming hopefully very soon.

I'm also a writer, and therefore I love to talk about myself and am addicted to hearing from readers, so I'm happy to answer questions or emails or accept friend requests or whatever.
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empathy44

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #40 on: June 14, 2010, 04:17:52 AM »
FYI
I linked to this story from the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast forums as one of my favorite stories set in the Mythos that is both original and well written.

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #41 on: June 14, 2010, 04:14:23 PM »
FYI
I linked to this story from the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast forums as one of my favorite stories set in the Mythos that is both original and well written.

Oh that's awesome, thank you:)  I must now go check out the HPL Literary Podcast:)

orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2010, 08:56:30 PM »
@empathy44: Thank you! I'm flattered, and now I'm definitely going to have to add the HPL Literary Podcast to my rotation.
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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2010, 02:40:46 AM »
@empathy44: Thank you! I'm flattered, and now I'm definitely going to have to add the HPL Literary Podcast to my rotation.

I've been enjoying it quite a lot.  Wry and sometimes insightful commentary (albeit sometimes a bit heavy on the plot summary and light on the analysis for me, but then, the English major would be more interested in the discussion of the story than the story itself, wouldn't he?)
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orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #44 on: May 19, 2011, 08:04:08 PM »
Somewhat OT (especially considering this story won't be appearing in it; I just think it works better in audio), but I just got the official notice that my first short story collection is going to be coming out this October from Evileye Books! Here's the press release: http://evileyebooks.blogspot.com/2011/05/for-orrin-grey-new-book-deal-reveals.html
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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #45 on: May 19, 2011, 09:15:57 PM »
DM me the details, we'll review it in Hub if you like:)

orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2011, 02:05:55 PM »
Thanks Alasdair! Will do!
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orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #47 on: September 23, 2015, 01:17:17 AM »
Just wanted to drop a line that "The Worm That Gnaws" is going to be appearing in print for the first time ever in my second fiction collection, Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts, which is currently available for pre-order from Word Horde! It'll be joining fellow Pseudopod alum "Night's Foul Bird," along with eleven other stories, including three entirely original to the collection, as well as author's notes, and an introduction by John Langan. Plus a really great Nick Gucker cover!
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orrin

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #48 on: August 15, 2016, 09:53:51 PM »
Just wanted to let everyone here know that Strix Publishing has just launched a Kickstarter to put out a brand new, hardcover deluxe edition of my debut collection Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings, which sadly doesn't include this story, but does include ten of my other tales, including Pseudopod favorite "Black Hill," as well as two new stories not featured in the previous printing. This new edition will be cloth-bound and fully illustrated by M.S. Corley, and will feature a brand-new introduction by Nathan Ballingrud.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aeeth/never-bet-the-devil-and-other-warnings
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Marlboro

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Re: Pseudopod 155: The Worm that Gnaws
« Reply #49 on: November 20, 2019, 05:06:30 PM »
Good story with excellent narration.

One tiny nitpick/unasked for opinion: I think the very end of the story could be a bit stronger by rearranging a couple of the story's final lines. Have Wolf knock a couple of times and deliver the "Let me in" line, then have Charlie realize that it isn't Wolf at his door, and end the story with Worm-Wolf demanding "Let us in" and end with knocking.

Or maybe it's better the way it is. I'm no writer. Good episode my second guess aside.


P.S. For more wormy horror check out the classic Lights Out episode "Revolt of the Worms" from 1942.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2019, 01:08:55 AM by Marlboro »