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Author Topic: Pseudopod 198: The Mother and the Worm  (Read 3850 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: June 11, 2010, 02:01:39 AM »

Pseudopod 198: The Mother and the Worm

By Tim W. Burke
Read by Paul S. Jenkins, author of The Plitone Revisionist

We were in our places, Olivia at the door and I in the wicker basket. The windows were concealed with heavy curtains to keep out the afternoon sun, but oil lamps pushed back the gloom.

The lady who entered our study first was the old friend of Olivia’s family, who embraced Olivia, then introduced her guests. The other matron wore black; she was the hopeful patron. The men were both young, one balding and mustached and the other dark and intense. They were surprised by her frank smile, by her firm handclasp, and they smirked.

The basket that hid me was a cubit square. Within it, I sat naked on a thin cotton mat, waiting for my cue.




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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Millenium_King
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2010, 03:47:46 PM »

This one was absolutely fantastic.  I was kept rivetted the entire time.  The characters made sense, the "magic" followed consistent and logical rules (just like the Coyote Tales magic does).

I loved the narrator's position as a sort of abomination, great in spirit but weak in body.  Of course, I have a total love of grotesque monsters be they microscopic or vast.

This one was a real winner and I could prattle on all day about how wonderful it is.  The ending was very well handled too.  A very "zen" fate for our magician.  Quite in keeping with the karmic rules and, of course, properly horrific irony.

PERFECT narration.  This guy has a voice made for telling horror stories.

Excellent intro/outro too.  I'll be sure to listen to the "prequel" to this.

EDIT:  This will go in the "Top 10" for sure.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2010, 03:52:33 PM by Millenium_King » Logged

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Nitequill
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2010, 01:13:02 PM »

Abosolutly awesome. The horror! Riveting story and great reading.
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yaksox
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2010, 02:56:07 AM »

I agree with what Millenium_King said.  Visualising the decent into the grave really took the story to another level.
Pseudopod is hitting sixes lately. Good work folks.
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gord42
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2010, 10:09:08 AM »

What is the title or author of that story Alasdair is talking about in the outro?  About Guglielmo Marconi inventing the radio to talk to his dead brother.  I'd love to find that.
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Alasdair5000
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2010, 10:10:13 AM »

Me too!  All I know is I read it in an early 1990s issue of 2000AD and it scared the bejeesus out of me.
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Alasdair5000
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2010, 10:24:43 AM »

What is the title or author of that story Alasdair is talking about in the outro?  About Guglielmo Marconi inventing the radio to talk to his dead brother.  I'd love to find that.

It is, thanks to some very good friends of mine on Twitter, now confirmed as 2000AD Issue 776 and the story is 'Long Distance Calls' by Mark Millar and with art by Rian Hughes.  The issue has never been reprinted but if you were that way inclined, you could find it on line, I suspect, pretty easily.  And it's worth it:)
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Nerraux
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2010, 12:54:46 PM »

I need to find some way to mark this for when it's time to vote for the best of 2010. Amazing work! My thanks go to the author for sharing his brilliance with us.
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gelee
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2010, 03:38:42 PM »

Marvelous follow up.  This time period is such a great setting, but it seems to me that writers often fall into an archaic voice when trying to write about it.  Not so much in the dialogue, which makes sense, but in the narration.  What Burke does here is much more modern, and to my ear, has a much more natural feel.  The formality of writing from this period can make it hard for a writer to make an emotional connection with an audience.  Kudos to Mr. Burke for sidestepping that business entirely.
What a delightfully creepy scenario.  I tried to imagine what it must be like to be trapped in the mind of a grave worm, with the drives of a grave worm.  In your dear mother's casket.  Guh.
Also, great reading by Paul S. Jenkins, as usual.  That calm, heavy delivery works perfectly for Alexandre, but he switched gears easily for the flighty Aunt and the unsteady agent.  Nicely done.
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countblackula
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2010, 07:28:12 AM »

Fantastic story. When I started listening to this one I was like "Is this going to be boring?" I was totally wrong. Urgh, I want more stories like this!!!
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Listener
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2010, 08:17:08 AM »

I liked this one a lot more than "The Garden and the Mirror", although it took a while to get rolling in terms of me digesting the world that was built.

I knew as soon as Eric came back to his body the first time that Alexandre was going to somehow kick Eric out of his body, but I really thought Alexandre would claim it as his own, instead of going back to his worm (?) body. (That is what happened, right?)

Good reading.
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2010, 08:32:02 AM »

Awesome!  I hadn't expected a followup to The Garden and the Mirror and this is a worthy one.  At first I wasn't sure if they could top the final moments of that story, because that one was just so damned good.  But this one was very good too.  The final fate of the worm and the protagonist's guilt over it, and the fact that he is STILL with this woman all made for a good story.
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eytanz
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2010, 12:31:48 PM »

I also really liked this one, for the reasons given already by others above. Though I ended up with the opposite of Alasdair's interpretation; I took the voice telling the narrator to reincarnate to be the right one, and his choice at the end the wrong one for both himself, and probably Olivia. Though he is an unreliable enough narrator that we can't tell for sure either way.
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Scattercat
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« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2010, 12:35:09 AM »

I didn't care much for "The Garden and the Mirror," so I wasn't holding out a lot of hope for this one.  However, I found myself enjoying the story much more from this side of the crystal ball.  The prior story took the victim and his wife as the focal point, and I've never much cared for stories that end "And then the unscrupulous person totally pwned the asshole," because it's too much like real life and I don't have anyone I can root for.  This story, I felt, had a much more interesting, nuanced portrayal of the previous story's vaguely exoticized pseudo-villain, and his misguided cycle of "but this time I'll be different" was endearing and terrifying in someone so powerful.  It reminded me of Doctor Octopus in the better moments of Spider-Man history, ranting to himself that this time he'd finally succeed and be able to use his genius for the good of all mankind if only they'd just let him work.
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rotheche
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« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2010, 04:29:37 AM »

I really got a kick out of this one.  I was a wee bit dubious because I haven't heard the first one, but even so, the story's internal logic gave me ground to stand on and got me into the story's world quickly.

Likewise, I enjoyed the reading too: it fit well with the story.
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ThinlyVeiledAlias
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2010, 11:37:55 AM »

I liked the idea more than the story itself. It was cleverly told. I think what got me was that it was a continuation, which for me was hard to get into. Also, though I found the accent appropriate, I thoght the reading to be a little flat. Not bad, just not something that captured me.  I think it would have worked for me as text.
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Dave
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« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2010, 03:50:49 PM »

So, we're gonna get the third installment of this in a couple months, right?
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« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2010, 12:08:00 PM »

So, we're gonna get the third installment of this in a couple months, right?

Only if the author can come up with followup ideas as good as this one.
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disk2
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« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2010, 11:55:26 AM »

I really enjoyed this one, stories like this are why I come here.
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TimWBurke
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« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2012, 04:21:12 PM »

Author here:

This story was a blast to write. I am so glad you enjoy it. I plan on sending installments to this tale to make a novel, but hopefully they will work as stand-alone stories.
My favorite horror is the kind where, like the Doc Oc comparison, where the perpetrator just doesn't understand and may even double-down on the mistake. "Pet Semetary" is a fave that way.
You guys picked up on a lot I thought I had kept in the background. Nice!
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