Author Topic: Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing  (Read 2953 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing
« on: November 03, 2012, 01:34:51 AM »
Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing

by Ray Cluley. ‘Night Fishing’ first appeared in issue 3 of Shadows & Tall Trees, from Undertow Books, in 2012.


Ray Cluley is a writier from Hampshire in the UK. His work has featured in Ellen Datlow’s BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR and has also been translated into French. He has been published most recently in Black Static and Interzone from TTA Press, and in the anthology DARKER MINDS. His debut collection, PROBABLY MONSTERS, is now complete and looking for a publisher and he occasional writes about other projects at his similarly named blog, Probably Monsters, the link to which can be found at his by-line above.

Your reader this week, Eric Luke, is the screenwriter of the Joe Dante film EXPLORERS, comic books GHOST and WONDER WOMAN, and wrote and directed the NOT QUITE HUMAN films for Disney TV. Eric recently made his reading of his own “metahorror” novel, INTERFERENCE, available on I-Tunes for free (click link under name). You can find out more about it by checking out the homepage at www.Quillhammer.com.



“’So they don’t mind that I’m just a lowly fisherman.’

‘Nah, Christ was a fisherman so they’re good with that. Your lack of religion, though…’ Bobby tut-tut-tutted.

Terrence had grinned, chewing his food. ‘Means you’re the only one going to Hell.’

Looking up at the bridge, buffeted by a chill wind and rocked in the chop of an irritable sea, Terrence hoped there was no such place, but he knew there was because he was in it most days. Those gathering at the prow only proved it. Laura, Matt, and now the shin-splintered Lee holding himself up by the gunwales; Terrence had pulled all of them from the water over the last year, pulled others out after, and none of them would leave him alone.

The three stood, as best as they could, looking out at the bridge they had jumped from.

The Golden Gate Bridge was once the world’s longest suspension bridge and was declared a modern wonder. With the exception of London’s Tower Bridge, it was the most-photographed bridge in the world. It was also the world’s most popular suicide spot. ‘From the golden gates to the pearly ones,’ Bobby had joked once, back before his own dive from its heights. ‘People come from all over to do it. A permanent solution to their temporary problems.’

Statistics varied. One jumped every two weeks or thirty jumped per year, and Terrence had read somewhere else that every month saw as many as five people drop to their deaths. The only thing that didn’t vary was the fact that from that height, three hundred feet or so, hitting the water was like hitting concrete. Some survived, but not many. And usually not for long.

Terrence only ever found the dead ones.”



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chickenfog

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Re: Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2012, 10:26:55 AM »
Eric Luke is outstanding. What an amazing reader. This story is haunting and jangled and messy and slow to build. His reading makes it come to life so that the emotional impact is there right along w/ all the creepy bits.

Unblinking

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Re: Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 09:44:36 AM »
I listened to about half of this, and couldn't get into it.  It seemed to be two separate stories mashed together. One depended on the grossout horror of the bloated corpses pulled from the water, but there didn't seem to be anything else to it, just gross out, no danger, no stakes.  The other seemed to be solely the contemplation of how to write poetry so that an audience of poets would appreciate it--which is probably about the dullest contemplation I can think of.  I very rarely like poetry, and that which I do like is accessible to non-poets.  If you're writing only for poets, that makes the poetry angle even less interesting.

The two stories didn't seem to have a lot to do with each other, and just seemed to be interspersed for... I don't know.  Maybe it's something poetic that I don't comprehend.

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Re: Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 02:34:30 AM »
I agree with unblinking, I just didn't feel any horror to this story.  Was hard to get into, seemed like on slightly horrific thing was everyone the protagonist knew, seemed to commit suicide.

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Re: Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 08:43:46 AM »
I gave this story about five minutes, but was just not drawn in. Sorry.
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NickAlmand

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Re: Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2012, 04:44:14 PM »
I ended up liking this story quite a bit, actually. I do agree that it seems disjointed and hard to distinguish between two almost competing narratives at FIRST. Once Bobby is introduced, the story becomes much more coherent and a lot more compelling to me.

It didn't horrify me per se, but it was immensely enjoyable and thought-provoking. I suppose it had a personal resonance, since familial rejection, homelessness, and suicide among LGBT people is a pretty pressing issue to me. I'm not completely sure how I react to the subject matter here, since there's the competition between the philosophy of reflecting truth at all costs, especially ugly truth in LGBT media, and the philosophy that "suicidal queer" narratives are unproductive and harmful (possibly giving validation to the notion of suicide for people contemplating it). To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure what side I fall on, but this story did make me think about that quite a bit after hearing it.

All in all, I'd say the first part could use another few run-throughs with an editor, but from the point Bobby is introduced as a character onward, it's quite good.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2012, 04:45:52 PM by NickAlmand »
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Re: Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2012, 12:57:42 AM »
Man, what a downer crowd.

This story was awesome.  It was atmospheric and nicely upsetting.  I found the eerie emptiness of the "Sea of Trees" to be almost frightening in itself. 

@Unblinking - The connection between the two stories is this: The poet who wished to impress other poets was unable to do so without discarding his own identity and using someone else's as a crutch, much in the same way he and the other LGBT suicides in the story were forced to conceal their sexual identities in real life.  This stress led him (and, it is implied the others) to his/their suicides. 

@NickAlmand - I think it's always difficult to write about non-hegemonic worldviews without stepping on someone's stereotypes.  I think the story did a decent job of making the suicides a part of the characters in question and not just, "Well, you're gay, so obviously you're suicidal."  It might, perhaps, have done more - the only non-suicidal gay people we meet are the lesbian couple in the supermarket - but I don't think it went too far into caricature.
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Re: Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2012, 10:22:14 AM »
@NickAlmand - I think it's always difficult to write about non-hegemonic worldviews without stepping on someone's stereotypes.  I think the story did a decent job of making the suicides a part of the characters in question and not just, "Well, you're gay, so obviously you're suicidal."  It might, perhaps, have done more - the only non-suicidal gay people we meet are the lesbian couple in the supermarket - but I don't think it went too far into caricature.

I didn't get the sense that the protagonist was suicidal, just haunted.
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Re: Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2012, 09:35:51 PM »
Well, the last line sounded awfully suicidal to me.  He really wants to kill himself, has no joy in life, and only keeps going because of his sense of crushing obligation to memorialize the dead.  I mean, it's not exactly comin' up roses, y'know?
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Re: Pseudopod 306: Night Fishing
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2012, 09:46:43 AM »
@Unblinking - The connection between the two stories is this: The poet who wished to impress other poets was unable to do so without discarding his own identity and using someone else's as a crutch, much in the same way he and the other LGBT suicides in the story were forced to conceal their sexual identities in real life.  This stress led him (and, it is implied the others) to his/their suicides. 

Thank you for that.  If the story had kept me listening to the end, then I likely would've had some guess about the connection between the halves.  But it didn't.  To the point that I listened the split was just irritating with no apparent purpose.