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Author Topic: Pseudopod 203: Flash on the Borderlands III  (Read 10418 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: July 31, 2010, 05:35:01 PM »

Pseudopod 203: Flash on the Borderlands III

Ladies’ night at the meat market. A threesome of delectable flash fiction morsels.


My Body Your Banquet

By C.S.E. Cooney
Read by Jacquie Duckworth

The man next door was interested in eating human flesh. He said as much, last time I took the trash out to the alley.


Sight Unseen

By R. Scott Shanks, Jr.
Read by Rachel Swirsky

“Wherever you touch yourself, you will feel my hands touching you.” Sylvie reached for her aching head and felt a man’s rough hand twined in her hair, gently but firmly pushing her face into her graying sheets.


The Lot

By C.M. Harris
Read by Eve

It’s The Call of The Hydrae. It’s started.



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2010, 12:21:22 AM »

That first absolutely made my skin crawl.

Kudos to Al for finding a common thread, and 5,000 points for mentioning Elbow!
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heyes
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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2010, 12:53:53 PM »

I do not mean this as a flame or as snark, but as a real honest to God suggestion.  It's time for the Escape Artists to create a fourth podcast stream for erotica. It is clearly a theme, subject matter, and or perhaps media that the editors enjoy very well. Erotic elements are certainly an integral part of both the horror and sci-fi/spec landscape, and can be a very enjoyable. It seems like these topics, or maybe methods of presenting stories are getting a little played out for me right now.  Obviously this is just one guy's opinion, I think there's some phrase about varying mileage that may apply here.

That being said I really enjoyed the third of the Flash stories, the Lot. The world building was great, with enough to both ground the imagination and yet not so much that the imagination couldn't wither (think a tomato cage). The narration was great and definitely added to the story.  This story let me thinking, wondering, and lingering on the several concepts upon which it touched: Cultural colonization and assimilation, intellectual identity vs biological identity, that whole end of the world dealie.  So it was a rich story.

The first story, for me, was not enjoyable. I can't help but think of a similar scene from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (well, it may not have been in the book by that title, and rather just in the location within Adams' books - sorry about that). This is sort of a dark twin to that particular event.

« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 12:56:32 PM by heyes » Logged

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Kaa
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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2010, 01:54:50 PM »

The first one was an intensely unpleasant, stomach-turning listen for me. I was quite literally squirming in my seat, tempted to fast-forward through it just to get it over with. This wasn't so much horror as a deliberate gross-out. Definitely a thumbs down for me. (It also reminded me a bit too much of that real-life story out of Germany about Armin Meiwes. I couldn't help wondering if that inspired this story.)

The second one was better. It had an element of psychological horror that I think approaches what Dean Koontz is able to do in his books, only this was like reading just the climax of a Dean Koontz novel--without all the endless preaching and the bashing over the head with the "moral." So a thumbs up.

The third one, I thought, was the best of the three, and struck me as being along the lines of Invasion of the Body Snatchers or something like that, although it took me a while to figure that out. Probably because I was driving. Smiley A pretty solid world I'd like to see more of. Again, this felt like the climax of a longer story, and I found myself wanting to hear what came before. And after. So a solid thumbs up.

As to what poster heyes said above...that wouldn't be an altogether bad idea, but if you think it's hard now trying to figure out where a given story "should" go, adding a fourth podcast into the mix would only make that worse. For instance, the third story could easily have gone into either PseudoPod or Escape Pod. I think ultimately the decision to put it on Pseudopod was the correct one, because Steve intended for Escape Pod to be "fun." There's...not a lot 'fun' about "The Lot." Smiley

And besides, what would they call an erotica podcast? Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2010, 07:33:52 AM »

I think my favorite was the first, despite its somewhat overblown language.

The second was a woman deluding herself. Knowing a little about erotic hypnosis (via a friend, thankyouverymuch), I found myself wondering more about the mechanics than anything else.

The third was good, but I feel I needed to know more of the world to really appreciate it.
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Millenium_King
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2010, 05:12:08 PM »

STORY #1

This was okay, but I wouldn't much call it a story.  In fact, if not for Al's intro re: the German newspaper story, I would have called this a bit of plotless nonsense.  I actually would have preferred that little detail included after the story, not before.  I cannot see a motivation for either character (for the neighbor, we do not really need one, but the woman should certainly have one).  I suppose the motivation was to be found in the clumsy vampire-mirror metaphor, but I didn't really think that was sufficient to explain why she was doing what she did.  The imagery and action certainly made my skin crawl, but I never felt fear - only the nervous revulsion which "torture porn" elicits.  That's all too easy an emotion to conjure up - I would have preferred a little less Eli Roth and a little more actual fear.

STORY #2

After "Her Collection of Intimacy" I felt ready to join the chorus of "there should be an erotic-pod" - but after listedning to this one, I am pleased to be a dissenter.  This was a horror story which remained largely sexual throughout, but used the erotic aspects to build the nightmare.  I also found the concept absolutely fascinating and original - I rather liked this little story.  My take was that Nathan was dead and he'd left her the recording so they could stay "together."  A unique idea and well executed.

STORY #3

A big, big, big thumbs down from me.  Sorry, but this far too closely approximated a hentai, tentacle-porn fan-fic for me to enjoy it in the least.  From forced lesbianism, to tentacle rape, to impregnation and vorarephilia this one hit all the fetishes.  I don't have any problem with such grotesque ideas being used in horror, but this one was all fetish, little plot and never generated fear only disgust.  As with my criticism of #1, manufacturing disgust is much easier than manufacturing fear.  Not that disgust cannot work (cf. "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Germyn and his Family") but it has to be better done than "rape monster rapes girls... also lesbians."
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2010, 09:52:45 PM »

f not for Al's intro re: the German newspaper story

Wait. Al mentioned the German cannibal story? Heh! I managed to completely miss that. I even commented above that the story reminded me of that German story. How...inattentive of me.
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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2010, 10:09:05 PM »

None of these stories really worked for me. One thing I realized over the past few years here is that I like surrealism, and magic realism, in my fantasy but not my horror. The narrator of the first story was too impentrable for me to relate to, and while I did rather like some of the writing, it failed to engage me emotionally at all. The second story just confused me; it felt like a nightmare - a genuine dream, not a nightmarish reality. The third story was, for me, the best of the three, but it needed more development. As flash, it felt rather thin of substance and instead was mostly imagery.

So, yeah, not a great selection for me.
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2010, 11:24:05 PM »

The second story strongly reminded me of "Cupid and Psyche," and with a beautifully deft touch, as well.  Really, really enjoyed that one.

I, for one, do not want an erotic-pod.  Mostly because I don't actually like erotica as a genre, but I don't mind at all when stories use eroticism to good effect.  If there were an erotic-pod, I'd either not listen to it and thus miss out on stories from editors whom I know can pick good ones or I'd listen to it grudgingly and have to be won over every week.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2010, 12:24:59 AM »

Podophilia.

Erotipod.

Podomones.

Podgasm.

Lots o' kinda direct ones come to mind which I won't mention. Yet.
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BarryJNorthern
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« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2010, 07:13:33 AM »

I really liked My Body Your Banquet. I remember the original German cannibal news story. This story topped it. It was at once cringy, toe-curling, and slightly repulsive -- the only story I've heard where a person is spiritually healed by consenting to have their legs sawn off and consumed while still awake.

It was the slippery calf-salmon that did it for me.

I like the non-realism of the missing reflection as a metaphor for dying inside, it lent a Kafka-esque non-literalism to the story, somewhat softening the impact of the macabre descriptions. By the end the theme came into focus in the perfect image of the protagonist's twin reflections in her saviour's glasses.
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Kaa
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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2010, 07:33:18 AM »

It was the slippery calf-salmon that did it for me.

<stomach twists and lurches> Yeah, it was that that "did it" for me, too. Although I'm fairly certain "it" is something altogether different for me than for you.
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« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2010, 08:23:55 AM »

My Body Your Banquet I didn't enjoy at all.  This struck me as tortureporn, which I am not a fan of, and explicitly described cannibalism is one of the few lines in ficiton where I just say "Turn it off!".  More so if the person is watching themselves being eaten, and the fact that this was voluntary--actually I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse, but still... uck.

Sight Unseen was quite good, I like the man's ephemeral presence and how she keeps finding excuses for him being there, even though she knows she's being hypnotized.

The Lot didn't have much substance.  I hadn't heard of tentacle-porn before Millenium_King used the word, but this seemed very apt.  I don't have anything against sex in stories (though it is damned hard to do well), but I prefer it as a garnish, rather than the sole offering.
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Millenium_King
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2010, 11:10:13 AM »

The Lot didn't have much substance.  I hadn't heard of tentacle-porn before Millenium_King used the word, but this seemed very apt.  I don't have anything against sex in stories (though it is damned hard to do well), but I prefer it as a garnish, rather than the sole offering.

Look up "tentacle erotica" on wikipedia.  It's an idea that has it's roots in medieval Japan.  Trust me, look at the wikipedia article, do not do a Google search unless you want to burn your eyes out of your skull with a cigarette lighter afterward.  The fact that it's a Japanese idea just rammed home the fetish-ness of the 3rd story since (I'm pretty sure) the factory was in Asia somewhere (at least it seemed that way, bullet trains and all - hell, it could have been Japan).
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blueeyeddevil
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« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2010, 11:40:32 AM »

Podophilia.

Erotipod.

Podomones.

Podgasm.

Lots o' kinda direct ones come to mind which I won't mention. Yet.


Why not have two? (I say flippantly) Given that people can  be offended by finding fetish when they're looking for non-fetish. A few names for consideration:

Vanilla: Missionary Podsition, Oh My Pod, Podice Ripper, Pody Heat

Fetish: Pod Touch, Podom and Gomorrah, Consentual Podomy, Podo-erotic asphyx....

Maybe the joke has been carried far enough.
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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2010, 11:58:33 AM »

My Body Your Banquet

Urk. Mur. Argh. Blech.

Gah.

Wow.

Yeah, I was originally thinking I was going to have to say more, but that really does it. I loved it. It was horror in all its bloody, gory, annihilating splendor. Two stumps up.

Sight Unseen

Didn't really do it for me. I didn't quite get the horror of the situation. The weird and the sad, certainly, but it didn't quite make the leap into horror. I think I needed to see a little more of the consequences of the point of view character's obsession a little more for this story to really jump off the page at me.

The Lot

Pretty horrible, but not really my style. It was really well-crafted, beautiful even, but the story... well... the story just didn't quite make enough sense. There wasn't enough of a rational arc. I know horror is supposed to be non-sense - anti-sense - but this was just... not sense. Well, that's true but it isn't getting to why the story didn't do it for me.

Let's see.

Ah, here it is: I didn't understand the characters' world well enough to be impressed by their actions one way or the other. It was all very vague. There were no men, only women, and the women worked in factories. The earth was turning into water and tentacles, and she wanted to run away, except that actually when they got caught it was pretty ok - subjectively speaking - and then their baby ate them.

Say what now?

* * *

Unrelatedly,  is it just me, or are the Pods being overrun by prudes? So there was some naughty tentacles and some erotisized eating of human flesh? So she had a demon lover named Nathan - my brain, by the way, has for some reason decided that he must be Nathan Fillion, bad brain, no cookie - so what? I see worse on my drive to work every day.
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Millenium_King
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« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2010, 04:25:48 PM »

Unrelatedly,  is it just me, or are the Pods being overrun by prudes? So there was some naughty tentacles and some erotisized eating of human flesh?

I think most people just don't want the eroticism to overrun the horror.  That's my opinion anyway.  I thought "Sight Unseen" did it right, but "Her Collection of Intimacy" (amongst others, such as "The Engine of Desire") did it wrong.

Just my 2 cents.
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heyes
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« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2010, 06:45:25 PM »


Unrelatedly,  is it just me, or are the Pods being overrun by prudes? So there was some naughty tentacles and some erotisized eating of human flesh? So she had a demon lover named Nathan - my brain, by the way, has for some reason decided that he must be Nathan Fillion, bad brain, no cookie - so what? I see worse on my drive to work every day.

As potentially one of the prude hordes, one might also see that Pseudopod has earned itself a widely diverse following that includes tolerances, interests, opinions, beliefs, and preferred styles of entertainment that are different than your own. As a member of the audience at large, it seems to me that the podcast invites commentary from its listeners by virtue of having these forums. In that way I think "overrun" may not strictly apply seeing as all listeners have been encouraged to give feedback here.
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heyes
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« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2010, 06:47:15 PM »

Unrelatedly,  is it just me, or are the Pods being overrun by prudes? So there was some naughty tentacles and some erotisized eating of human flesh?

I think most people just don't want the eroticism to overrun the horror.  That's my opinion anyway.  I thought "Sight Unseen" did it right, but "Her Collection of Intimacy" (amongst others, such as "The Engine of Desire") did it wrong.

Just my 2 cents.

My previous point exactly.  Eroticism has been given some pretty heavy attention lately, let's see some of the other rooms in the haunted house of horror.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2010, 06:52:56 PM »


Unrelatedly,  is it just me, or are the Pods being overrun by prudes? So there was some naughty tentacles and some erotisized eating of human flesh? So she had a demon lover named Nathan - my brain, by the way, has for some reason decided that he must be Nathan Fillion, bad brain, no cookie - so what? I see worse on my drive to work every day.

As potentially one of the prude hordes, one might also see that Pseudopod has earned itself a widely diverse following that includes tolerances, interests, opinions, beliefs, and preferred styles of entertainment that are different than your own. As a member of the audience at large, it seems to me that the podcast invites commentary from its listeners by virtue of having these forums. In that way I think "overrun" may not strictly apply seeing as all listeners have been encouraged to give feedback here.

Ah, I suppose my comment was a little out of line, and I'm sorry. It was meant to be light-hearted, a throwaway comment. A sort of a "gee, look at all the *BLARH*" for whatever value of *BLARGH* is currently relevant. I'm truly sorry if I hurt any feelings. I never intended imply that you shouldn't voice your opinions.
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