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Author Topic: Pseudopod 296: The Squat  (Read 1686 times)
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« on: August 24, 2012, 03:35:58 PM »

Pseudopod 296: The Squat

By Sean Logan.

“The Squat” was first published in the 2007 charity anthology THE VAULT OF PUNK HORROR and Sean says “at the time I was thinking about what ‘punk’ means beyond the music and the esthetics. I remembered stories I’d heard about runaway kids living on the streets in San Francisco and the ways they used to take care of each other–the older kids looking out for the younger ones, sometimes prostituting themselves to provide for them. Somehow these acts of kindness and generosity from people who were in desperate situations themselves said ‘punk’ to me more than any loud music or mohawk ever could.”

Sean Logan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his lovely wife and a skinny dog that is part piranha. At night he writes unpleasant stories, and in his marketing day job he also writes about scary subjects—like banking software. His stories have appeared in about two dozen publications, including ONE BUCK HORROR, the anthologies VILE THINGS and SICK THINGS, and on an earlier episode of Pseudopod with his story “Tenant’s Rights” (episode #57) and we are glad to welcome him back into the fold.

Your reader this week is the James Trimarco, who has had a few stories of his own appear on ESCAPE POD, including “The Sundial Brigade”.



“The floor underneath him was sticky, as if it was covered in warm honey, and it made the skin on his hands and the side of face sting slightly where he’d touched it. All around him he heard the wet sounds of sliding, a thousand separate sounds, a thousand entities sliding toward him in the darkness. And all of these sounds seemed to echo down through a vast space, along with a deep, distant rumbling.

The sliding noises were closer now, and there was a wet, fleshy slapping against his feet, and creeping up his legs, under the pantlegs, thick coiling muscles, like long slugs or smooth tentacles, up and around his torso and arms, his neck and covering his face.

The old man felt himself being stretched and pulled and smothered, but the panic that had been rising in his mind was melting away. He didn’t remember how he’d gotten himself here, but for the first time in a long, long while he knew exactly where he was going. And he found comfort in that as his body and its extremities were pulled asunder.”




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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Josh_Finney
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2012, 10:58:17 PM »

This story reminded me a lot of the gutterpunks I crossed paths with in my spiky haired days so many years ago. While I was never homeless or living in a squat, I knew plenty of kids who were. What Sean Logan captures so well is the harsh reality of how and why these kids ended up living on the street, and the  tribal-like groupings they formed. Logan shows he understands that at the core of gutterpunk culture is a deep need for family, specifically the need to create a new, better family than the one they escaped. Without fail, every gutterpunk I knew came from a home so broken it made “The People Under The Stairs” film look mild by comparison.

Another aspect of Logan’s story I appreciated was the concept of the squat itself. Amongst the gutter punks I knew, the mythical squat with electricity (or even just running water) was something of a holy grail. Back in my home town there were the stories of an old packing house with an attic the owners had forgotten about. It was supposedly the perfect squat –lights, water, even a working toilet! The rumor was, if you knew the right people you’d be let in on the secret. I couldn’t tell you if it was true or not. I never saw it. Although there were many evenings when I drove a kid home only to discover “home” was a freeway overpass or a burnt out shed where he and his buddies were squatting.

Oddly, the only aspect that didn’t work for me was the supernatural element. Its appearance in the story felt like an after thought, added only to make it fit into the genre of horror.

Regardless, I enjoyed this story immensely. The character interaction was especially good. If Sean Logan was ever to return to this subject matter, I would be happy to read / buy anything he comes up with.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 11:08:12 PM by Josh_Finney » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 08:19:21 AM »

I thought the human story here was well done.  I certainly cared about the characters.  But the supernatural elements didn't work very well for me.  The first chapter was a spike of supernatural, and then something like a half hour without any supernatural, and then it was back at the end again.  I think it would've been better if the supernatural had been done away with entirely and just made it a human story, or made the supernatural elements more present throughout.  As it was, I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
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galacticus
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 12:48:40 PM »

I liked the story but more so because, As others have mentioned, the author's ability to create detailed, "real life" characters. However, I wonder if the writer's decision to have the old man being consumed by the monster at the beginning was to make up for the overall lack of "horror" throughout the story.

On another note, did anyone else think "Cthullu" from the description of the monster?
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danooli
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2012, 07:38:04 AM »

Hi all! This is my first post for a Pseudopod episode...I was always too scared to come in here, but I have stepped from my comfort zone and am glad I did!

I really loved this is story. I also knew a lot of kids like these, back when I was a punk teen myself...

The scary cthulhu monster was an element of the story that seemed secondary to the relationship between the boys, but it certainly helped showcase the bond between Jimmy and Dill (?) which really struck home with me. Good job. I'll stick around for a while and listen to more true stories
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kibitzer
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2012, 09:57:36 PM »

I'll stick around for a while and listen to more true stories

THERE'S NO TURNING BACK NOW MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!
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Scattercat
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2012, 03:13:18 AM »

It's been linked here before, I think, but all I could think while I listened was, "It's the YA Dionaea House, but rather less creepy."  Dionaea House is right up there with the Slenderman/Marble Hornets saga for fun amateur fake-real horror bits, for me.  

This story was... well, there wasn't anything really wrong with it, and I feel awful that that's all I can say.  Damning with faint praise, as it were.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 11:30:15 PM by Scattercat » Logged

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