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Author Topic: Pseudopod 307: That Ol’ Dagon Dark  (Read 12789 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: November 10, 2012, 12:24:36 AM »

Pseudopod 307: That Ol’ Dagon Dark

by Robert MacAnthony

This story is original to PSEUDOPOD.


Robert MacAnthony is a writer and editor of speculative fiction. He lives in California and participates in the Mythic Scribes online writing community.



Your reader this week is a fellow named Alasdair Stuart. Check out what he’s up to (currently NanoJourno, mostly) at his blog, surprisingly named Alasdair’s Stuart’s Blog.



“OL’ DAGON DARK

He’s never heard of such a thing. Still, the aroma is enticing. He checks the box and the shelf, but there is no price.

The shopkeeper is still in back, and all is silent within the store. Iverson contemplates the tobacco, then pulls a small plastic bag from behind a basket of pipes atop the shelves. He quickly loads what he deems to be two ounces of the blend into the bag, and makes his way out of the humidor. He leaves an adequate amount of money on the counter - more than adequate really, quite generous for a place like this - and pushes back out into the rain.

He doesn’t see the shopkeeper sitting just behind the curtain, doesn’t see the man slide into a crouch, back against the wall, and bury his face in his hands.”



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2012, 10:38:40 AM »

I'm not sure that the selection of narrator for this story could be more perfect.
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I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2012, 12:00:51 PM »

The Isle of Man sounds an awful lot like Alice Springs in some ways... the weather which is similarly memorably horrible or just plain bad (tending to the Too Hot side of the equation), replace the ocean with seemingly endless desert, and reduce the population to 27000. Insularity and lack of movement can be a problem there too - though perhaps that's just my perspective, as I moved away at the age of 18 and seem to have been drifting further away ever since.

Thank you for the story and the outro, as always Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2012, 07:42:26 PM »

YYYYEEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!

*gasp* *cough* *wheeeze*

YEEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

(this story made me very very happy)
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2012, 10:53:40 AM »

"The Isle of Man has traditionally been viewed as isolated, especially from Britain, during the Later Mesolithic (e.g. Woodman 1978). One reason is that, like Ireland, the Isle of Man witnessed a different trajectory of stone-working techniques to those seen in Britain (Woodman 2004; McCartan 2004), and in comparison to the Neolithic, there was only
limited movement of raw materials between Ireland/the Isle of Man and Britain at this time (cf. Cobb 2007). This has been seen as evidence for social insularity, an interpretation which itself has been drawn upon by some to support an absence of maritime connectivity prior to the Neolithic (Sheridan 2007: 466). "
Garrow, D.I & Sturt, F. (2011) Grey waters bright with Neolithic argonauts? Maritime connections and the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition within the ‘western seaways’ of Britain, c. 5000–3500 BC, ANTIQUITY 85: 59–72
Been like that for a while then....
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 10:56:03 AM by MissKriss » Logged
lowky
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2012, 02:29:10 AM »

My dad used to smoke a pipe and he liked dark cavendish blends.  This story hit all they right buttons for me.  Really enjoyed it, and hope to see more from this author soon.
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 08:45:55 AM »

Anyone who's had an important person in his/her life who smoked a pipe will enjoy this story. For me, it's my great-grandfather, long-deceased. His apartment smelled like old-person-apartment in the front room, but in the kitchen, where he and I used to play cards, it smelled like pipe smoke. He taught me to play Go Fish.

Overall an enjoyable piece of fiction. I wonder how long the MC will last before trying to get rid of the tobacco to a new person.
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 10:53:36 AM »

I enjoyed this one quite a lot.  The title of the story/name of the tobacco was a nice foreshadowing of the darkness to come, making the beginning quite interesting.  The protagonist was a bit of a jerk even then, but of the variety that is still interesting to read, and I got especially interested when he realized that human blood made it reproduce.  Lots of interesting potential themes here, about the cost of drug addiction and other things.  Drugs have many times driven their users to kill, but usually the cause-and-effect between them isn't quite so direct.  Normally when one to kills to feed a drug habit, the feeding is metaphorical, not literal.
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RobertMacAnthony
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 02:07:18 PM »

Thank you for the kind words, everyone. This story came to me on a rainy day when I was away from home without my pipe, and feeling a bit of a craving for a nice blend. That line of thought led me to envision a man having cravings of a much more severe nature. I appreciate all of you taking the time to listen and leaving your thoughts here.

I'd also like to thank Alasdair Stuart for a tremendous job reading the piece. A perfect fit.

Rob
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2012, 06:57:03 PM »

Hopefully you are still reading these comments, Robert, becasue I want you to know how much I enjoyed this story.  I consider this to be one of my favorite stories on Pseudopod to date.  This was engaing from the start and just built and built.  I could almost feel his addiction, and I have never smoked tobacco (ok, I tried it in high school, but like Bill Clinton with pot, I didn't inhale).  When the young student came to his door, I knew not only knew what he would do, but also why.  I felt his desparation.

Yes many themes in this one, but to me it brings the saying "just this once won't hurt" to a whole new level.  Al's voice was perfect for this.  So much so that I forgot it was Al talking as I got immersed in the story.  Thank you to all involved with this story.

Al, I also enjoyed hearing you talk about your roots.
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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 08:45:39 PM »

Al's voice was perfect for this.  So much so that I forgot it was Al talking as I got immersed in the story.  Thank you to all involved with this story.

I will second this feeling of immersion and the thanks.
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 09:28:26 PM »

Robert, what made you decide to set it on the Isle of Man?
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I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
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« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2012, 04:22:37 AM »

Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it :-)

Good stuf
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« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2012, 06:45:02 AM »

I did enjoy this dark tale.  Darker still, it seems, would be some of the scenarios I'm picturing after the story leaves off. 

Your reading was spot on, Al, and it was great hearing about your background in the outro.  Yet once again I ponder how exhausting it must be to live inside your head  Wink

On another note altogether, whenever I hear of The Isle of Man, I think of Thomas the Tank Engine.  I've always, always wanted to write of a dark tale involving these train engines with a rudimentary intelligence and whose primary objective is being very useful...whatever the costs.  If ever there's a Pseudopod flash fiction contest...
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« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2012, 10:06:15 AM »

Thank you for the kind words, everyone. This story came to me on a rainy day when I was away from home without my pipe, and feeling a bit of a craving for a nice blend. That line of thought led me to envision a man having cravings of a much more severe nature. I appreciate all of you taking the time to listen and leaving your thoughts here.

I'd also like to thank Alasdair Stuart for a tremendous job reading the piece. A perfect fit.

Rob

Hello!  Always good to see an author here.  Welcome!  Stick around!  Usually comments trickle in for quite a while after the story is posted.  Smiley
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RobertMacAnthony
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« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2012, 11:47:06 AM »

Thank you for the continuing comments. I'm still reading them, and I'd like to stick around regardless. Seems like a good community here.

Fenrix - Setting it on the Isle of Man was something that came about as I was mulling over the story in my head and clicking around online. The main character was already established in my mind as a Scotsman (perhaps because my ancestors hail from there and I want to visit), and I envisioned him as a Professor. I pulled up various maps and sites relating to the UK online, and at some point came across a site that was sort of a guide for tourists. It related to the Isle of Man, and I came across pictures of Peel and it simply struck me that this was the place the story would start.
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« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2012, 11:51:48 AM »

This story is exactly the kind of horror I love: it was dark and awful and gritty, and the elements of supernatural horror served to highlight how the main character's poor choices lead to his own destruction. Bravo.
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« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2012, 12:40:14 PM »

I loved this story. It could have been an episode of the old Friday the 13th t.v. series -- which I enjoyed very much in those days after I got over the disappointment of it having nothing to do with the movies.
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Balu
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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2012, 06:48:01 PM »

If there's a bad horror story that kicks off with somebody stealing something from a mysterious shopkeeper, I haven't heard it.

That said, this one was definitely ahead of a strong field. As an ex-smoker I can recall the craving, and as a jaded Lovecraft fan I was totally blind-sided by the fact that it wasn't, you know, demonic seaweed.

Nicely visceral escalation into cosmic horror, too.

Bravo!
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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2012, 09:47:35 PM »

I really enjoyed the story.  A good, classic supernatural vengeance tale.

I do have to say that I found the Lovecraft insert distracting and unnecessary; I would have found the tobacco much more frightening if I weren't going, "Oh, it's the Deep Ones again."  I feel like the story is more than strong enough to stand on its own, and would have been improved if its monster were sui generis instead of borrowed.  I do have to admit that I'm about done with Lovecraft pastiche in general, though; it's rarely an improvement and almost always superfluous.

Excellent story, though, let me just reiterate.  Highly enjoyable all around.  I'm just fed up to here with pop-culture Cthulhu.
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« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2012, 06:07:22 AM »

This was the best one I'd heard in quite a while. A story has to be extra special to quiet my busy post-work mind -- but this combo of story and narrator did well.

I've never been a pipe smoker but I did used to smoke rolling tobacco and there was one brand called Old Holborn, which came to mind during the story -- because of the dark moist nature. The author captured the feeling of addiction nicely. And I could really ID with the killing of one's university students, goodness knows I've wanted to on occasion!

Great reading by Al too. I wish he'd jump in that chair more often.
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« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2012, 01:21:49 AM »

As Balu pointed out, the shop keeper theft thing is a pretty common horror story trope, as is the young girl student conveniently showing up on the doorstep of someone who needs human blood (just heard that scenario on another podcast this week, right down to the human blood need and murder of the girl), but the overall theme and presentation help this story to stand out more from previous examples of this kind of story. It kept me listening and didn't start to feel tedious or anything. And the explanations, though limited, felt pretty satisfying at the end.

I can see how the Lovecraft connection might not be really necessary, but something about the very idea of tentacle vision inducing Dagon pipe weed admittedly amused me to begin with.
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« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2013, 11:08:24 AM »

This is perhaps my favorite this year!
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« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2013, 11:51:48 AM »

This is perhaps my favorite this year!

Make sure to nominate it and two others for best of the year.
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« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2013, 11:58:32 PM »

One of my Favorites that I have listen to more than once.
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« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2017, 04:42:28 PM »

I only recently found this story and it was a joy to listen to, thank you Al and Robert if you're reading this.
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