Author Topic: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!  (Read 4643 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5233
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« on: December 09, 2012, 12:03:05 AM »
Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!

For Pearl Harbor Day, three flash pieces about fighting back …



No Further by Matthew Acheson.

This piece was previously published in “Underground Voices” magazine and is one of two stories available to date from Mr. Acheson’s WHISPERS FROM THE NORTH saga, a series of linked short stories that sets the backdrop for his currently in progress fantasy novel.

Matthew Acheson lives in Orono, Maine. He earned his Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Ancient History from the University of Southern Maine, and has worked as an engineer in the telecommunications industry for over a decade. His fiction has appeared in Raygun Revival, Spinetingler, Digital Dragon, Morpheus Tales, and others. On some cold winter nights you’ll find him by the fireplace, entertaining his fourteen nieces and nephews with strange tales of supernatural horror and the fantastic. His website, Cryptic House, is linked under his byline above.

Read by Ian Stuart, who has something special in store for you in a few weeks!

“Their arrival was a terrible sight. The light from the full moon cast a strange, eerie glow upon the host of pale corpse things and their shrieking masters which stretched across the vale for miles in every direction. They swept the valley like a flood that left only ash, carrion and pestilence in its wake.”



The Conchie by J. Chant

Pseudopod is the story’s first publication.

Jayne Chant resides in a tiny town in Cambridgeshire with her husband, daughter and malevolent cat. Her first experience of the unmatchable thrill of a good ghost story was as a small child listening to her mother read Victorian ghost stories by candlelight..

Read by Kim Lakin-Smith, whose dark fantasy and science fiction short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Black Static, Interzone, Celebration, Myth-Understandings, Further Conflicts, PANDEMONIUM: STORIES OF THE APOCALYPSE, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST STORIES BY WOMEN (”‘Field of the Dead”), and others, with “Johnny and Emmie-Lou Get Married” shortlisted for the BSFA short story award 2009. She is the author of the gothic fantasy Tourniquet; Tales from the Renegade City, the YA novella QUEEN RAT, and CYBER CIRCUS which was shortlisted for both the 2012 BSFA Best Novel award and the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel. Published on the 1st of December by Snow Books will be RESURRECTION ENGINES, an anthology of steampunk short stories inspired by classic novels from the Victorian period, containing her short story, “The Island of Peter Pandora” (a mashup of Peter Pan and The Island of Doctor Moreau), which has also been picked up for Best Fantasy 2013 from Proxima Books. She is currently working on an urban fantasy YA novel and a dark fantasy novel for adults.

“‘But last night I could not sleep. That unending thunder – I shut my eyes and all I could see were flames. It hurt to breath. It was Thomas I worried for. Then very late, after the clock struck three, Peter appeared and my heart leapt. He sat on the Ottoman at the foot of the bed, his back to me, his arm stretched along the bedstead.

‘I noticed a terrible stain on his back, and as I watched, it spread. I cried out his name, and for the first time he seemed to have heard, in all the nights he’s appeared. His head turned, only a little. I don’t think he wanted me to see his face. His fingers twitched.’

‘It was only a nightmare, Amelia.’

‘I crawled down the bed towards him. I said; my dear, my sweet child, are you in pain? His head shook from side to side. I reached out for his hand, and for a moment I felt his flesh. Cold and damp. And then he was gone. Completely. The room filled with the scent of honeysuckle, just like Vaughn house, where we used to summer, and Peter fished and climbed trees and played soldiers.’

Amelia’s hand shot out and gripped Elizabeth’s, far too hard.

‘It was a nightmare, nothing more,’ said Elizabeth, pulling her hand away.”




Bitter Tea & Braided Hair by Henry Lu

This story was first published on Fiction365 on May 4th, 2012.

Henry Lu learned English in a pre-podcast era, by listening to Voice of America when he was a teenager in Communist China. He also paints. You can look at his paintings on RedBubble under the name of “ArtPal”

Read by Tracey Yuen, who is involved in education and considers listening to podcasts a big factor in getting himself to “read” fiction and dabbles in photography, videography editing, page layout and narration.

“Incense smoke rises from the monastery into the low-hanging clouds of the same ominous shade, portending a quick-fire summer storm.

His standard-issue dark suit gives him away: even the Chinese tourists can tell he’s a plain-clothes. He watches the crowd’s every move, carrying the thermos mug that has earned him the “bitter tea” nickname. Like his Tibetan mother, he is addicted to Chinese bitter tea.

He pays close attention to the braided hairs of Tibetan maidens, determined to follow his Chinese father’s footstep in marrying one of them someday.”




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2012, 02:01:17 PM »
 "No Further"--enjoyable story.  It gave a setting, and showed it well, while showing the character who lives in it well.  I really felt for this guy, and his being stuck with his obligation and diminishing troops holding to a motto that at best, will allow them to prolong the inevitable moment when the military is completely incapable of even holding them back.  Well done.

"The Conchie"--In the first half of this story I was extremely confused because the two women sounded identical to me.  Either dialog tags or a change in voice would be required to make that comprehensible--I think it'd be fine in writing because I'd see the new paragraphs with new quotation marks.  Once it got to the second part with only one character speaking, I thought it was all right, but with a message that bludgeons.  I don't even disagree with the message--there are few people in this world who have demonstrated bravery more surely than conscientious objectors as medics in battle scenarios--but I didn't need a story to tell me that.  And the way that the mother was so proud of how she was such a great mother to recognize her son from the tiny bloodied remains was so far that it was suddenly not at all believable in any way to me.
Also, am I the only one who had no idea whatsoever what "conchie" meant?  Is that a common thing?

"Bitter Tea and Braided Hair"--I didn't really get into this one.  I felt like I was too lacking in the necessary cultural details to really be able to follow what it was trying to tell me.


chemistryguy

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 261
  • Serving the Detroit Metro area since 1970
    • 5000 People can't be wrong...or can they?
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2012, 06:30:45 AM »
Dead son raining down = Brutal

She still sees it as a sign of being a good mother = New definition of horror


Ho-bot

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2012, 09:36:34 PM »
Great stories, loved the conchie especially. Twisted!

No further reminded me of the Night's Watch, holding the Wall from white walkers, no?
**END TRANSMISSION**

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5233
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 02:27:22 AM »
No further reminded me of the Night's Watch, holding the Wall from white walkers, no?

THIS. I was completely in Game of Thrones mode that WHOLE story!
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 09:39:15 AM »
Great stories, loved the conchie especially. Twisted!

No further reminded me of the Night's Watch, holding the Wall from white walkers, no?

Isn't it "wight" walkers?

Scumpup

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 102
  • ...
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 04:36:13 PM »
I like "Bitter Tea and Braided Hair" very much.
The other two didn't have anything much to offer me. "The Conchie" had an okay pay off but took far, far too long to reach it.  The reader's delivery rather irritated me, too.  "No Further" is yet another example of a "come in at the middle and leave before the end" story that gave me enough information to know what was going on, but not enough to make me care.  Oh, and I'm dreadfully sick of zombies.

kibitzer

  • Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2227
  • Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 03:31:05 AM »
My fave of this bunch was "Bitter Tea and Braided Hair." Short and very much to-the-point. A vignette of a terrible reality. Most affecting.

JoeFitz

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2012, 06:49:09 PM »
Also, am I the only one who had no idea whatsoever what "conchie" meant?  Is that a common thing?

I doubt very much you are the only one, since the pejorative "conchie" meaning "conscientious objector" started being used around WWI to refer to those who chose not to serve in military service and is unusual outside the UK. In the US and Canada us younger folks are probably more familiar with copperhead, draft-dodger or conscientious objector itself because of the Vietnam draft (or M*A*S*H)

Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3826
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2013, 05:35:11 PM »
Loved this whole set. And for anyone tired of zombies, phtbbt, because zombies in a medieval setting is awesome. Is there any other use of them in a setting like that outside Game of Thrones and "No Further"? I need to dig into Clark Ashton Smith a bit more. I've read the Averiogne stuff and that had a bunch of necromancers but nothing I'd consider a zombie. Maybe there's something in Zothique. For what it's worth, he was writing stories about necromancy prior to Night of the Living Dead, so I don't expect there to be anything that bears a strong resemblance to anything Romeroish.

Also, am I the only one who had no idea whatsoever what "conchie" meant?  Is that a common thing?

I doubt very much you are the only one, since the pejorative "conchie" meaning "conscientious objector" started being used around WWI to refer to those who chose not to serve in military service and is unusual outside the UK. In the US and Canada us younger folks are probably more familiar with copperhead, draft-dodger or conscientious objector itself because of the Vietnam draft (or M*A*S*H)

I appreciate that immediately after the story, Alasdair started with the phrase "contentious objection".
All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”

Scumpup

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 102
  • ...
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2013, 05:45:45 PM »
phtbbt,

I'm sorry; is that one of those words like "Cthulhu" that it isn't possible to pronounce with human lips?

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2013, 09:55:27 AM »
Loved this whole set. And for anyone tired of zombies, phtbbt, because zombies in a medieval setting is awesome. Is there any other use of them in a setting like that outside Game of Thrones and "No Further"? I need to dig into Clark Ashton Smith a bit more. I've read the Averiogne stuff and that had a bunch of necromancers but nothing I'd consider a zombie. Maybe there's something in Zothique. For what it's worth, he was writing stories about necromancy prior to Night of the Living Dead, so I don't expect there to be anything that bears a strong resemblance to anything Romeroish.

I'm not sure.  Depends on what you call a "zombie" I guess, if it's just a general term for walking corpses or if there's something more specific.  Lord of the Rings has barrow wights for instance, which is what came to mind when I heard of GRR Martin's wight walkers.

Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3826
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 12:35:58 PM »
phtbbt,

I'm sorry; is that one of those words like "Cthulhu" that it isn't possible to pronounce with human lips?



I think that PseudoPod runs a pretty good ratio of zombie material, considering how popular it is right now. Also, the zombie stuff PseudoPod runs is definitely a cut above the standard fare. Without counting, I'd say it's comfortably under 5% of the content. If you're feeling overexposed to zombies, stop exposing yourself to zombies. There's enough GOOD zombie material out there that you can skim the cream off the top and go No Further.

Loved this whole set. And for anyone tired of zombies, phtbbt, because zombies in a medieval setting is awesome. Is there any other use of them in a setting like that outside Game of Thrones and "No Further"? I need to dig into Clark Ashton Smith a bit more. I've read the Averiogne stuff and that had a bunch of necromancers but nothing I'd consider a zombie. Maybe there's something in Zothique. For what it's worth, he was writing stories about necromancy prior to Night of the Living Dead, so I don't expect there to be anything that bears a strong resemblance to anything Romeroish.

I'm not sure.  Depends on what you call a "zombie" I guess, if it's just a general term for walking corpses or if there's something more specific.  Lord of the Rings has barrow wights for instance, which is what came to mind when I heard of GRR Martin's wight walkers.

Fair point, and we could probably set the delineation at will/sentience/thought. Zombies in the modern view (mindless corpses which hunger for human flesh) are a largely creation of Romero's, and are as much a metaphor as a monster. It pokes at our fears of a super-plague outbreak. There's a lot of history of many versions of the restless dead but do not fall into the mindless group. I haven't read any of GRR's books (I'm going to see if he finishes before either he dies or HBO beats him to the punch) so I'm not sure how he treats the white walkers.

There are people who want to blur that line and have more sentience in their zombies, but I think those should be considered something else. That just muddies the water much like Stephanie Meyer has done with the popular conception of vampires. I have informed the wife that she can go see Warm Bodies this weekend with a pack of the girls, because there is nothing that can compel me to watch that.
All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”

Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 02:17:46 PM »
Quote
think that PseudoPod runs a pretty good ratio of zombie material, considering how popular it is right now. Also, the zombie stuff PseudoPod runs is definitely a cut above the standard fare. Without counting, I'd say it's comfortably under 5% of the content.

Yes, I do try to keep aware of this and have a pretty good idea of what I desire in a zombie story before I purchase it.  I liked the psychological group dynamics in "Man Eat Man", for example, and the unique take on the zombie POV in "Association" but, now that we've done them, I'm not sure I'd buy something similar even if it was well-written because... well, we've trod that ground.  "Further" was so short that , in a way, the threat could have been any threat - I didn't think of them as "zombies" in the sense of "too many zombie stories out there" because it was the narrator's plight, not the threat causing that plight, that was the point.

I have no problem with familiar concepts, so my criteria is not just "has to put a new or inventive spin on things" - hewing to that at all times is for the rabid neophiles and tropeheads to agonize over - but *if* the basic concept ("monster" in this discussion, I guess) is familiar, I usually want some added dimension, however slight - interesting setting, enjoyable character work, just good solid writing, etc.  We have run somewhat traditional takes on werewolves  ("The Stink Of Animosity") and non-traditional ones ("In 'The Poor Girl Taken By Surprise'") and our non-traditional take on the vampire ("Repler") will be joined soon by a fairly traditional one - and I'm sure the words "did nothing new" will be typed by someone somewhere after it goes up.  Heck, we've even got two pieces that could probably be fairly labelled "Bizarro" coming soon and given my general dislike of that subgenre/approach I was very happy indeed to be able to feature some representative work in that area - since it is a current interest among many.

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5233
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2013, 03:21:53 PM »
Excited to hear that vampire story.  I was so surprised I enjoyed reading it once I learned the subject matter.  Just goes to show what good writing can do! 

Anyways, I'm firmly in the camp of "if it's awesome, I want to hear/read it" I don't care if zombies and werewolves and vampires are overdone.  If it tells a compelling story, it is worth digesting. (Maybe that's why zombies like brains?!)

Even if the story were to be a simple survival tale in the face of some overdone apocalypse scenario, if it tells a good story, then the rest doesn't matter.  Again, somehow that vampire story won me over, and I started off KNOWING that I wouldn't like it.
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

kibitzer

  • Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2227
  • Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice
Re: Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2013, 08:57:24 PM »
Anyways, I'm firmly in the camp of "if it's awesome, I want to hear/read it" I don't care if zombies and werewolves and vampires are overdone.  If it tells a compelling story, it is worth digesting. (Maybe that's why zombies like brains?!)

I agree entirely, it's just that certain things at certain times are way overdone. For example, the current zombie popularity means I am extremely unlikely to seek out or listen to zombie-themed stories -- with great popularity comes great... umm... reprehensibility? (What I mean is, there's a lot of crap around.) And epic fantasy? To use a forbidden word, meh.

But this is precisely why I value Pseudopod's story selection so highly -- even if *I think* a story uses a tired theme, I'm pretty certain that if PP chooses to run one with that theme, it'll be one worth hearing.