Author Topic: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten  (Read 3735 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« on: August 25, 2013, 11:13:10 PM »
Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten

by Philip M. Roberts

“The Easily Forgotten” appears appears here for the first time.

PHILIP M. ROBERTS lives in Nashua, New Hampshire and has been published in a variety of publications, such as the Epitaphs anthology, Midnight Echo, and The Horrorzine. A full anthology of Philip’s short stories entitled PASSING THROUGH can be found on the Amazon kindle store. More information on his works can be found at The Writing Of Philip M. Roberts.

Your reader this week – Laura Hobbs – works in infosec by day and is a random crafter by night. Twitter is her social media of choice, and she despises the word “cyber”. When asked nicely, she sometimes reads things for people on the internet. You can find her online at Soapturtle.

As per Alasdair’s outro – Synthetic Voices can be found at Science Is Magic. I can say from experience they are great folks and I urge you to check them out!



““He has to have an angle,” Doug said.

“I’d be careful,” Greg said, stopped in his planting, just as Monica stopped to listen, her head tilting towards the conversation. “Owen doesn’t tolerate people trying to take advantage of him. He’s great if you play nice, but he’ll kick you out of here the second he feels
you’re trying to screw him. And when I say kick, I mean literally.”

“You’re kidding me, right? What if people go into town to the cops? What right does he have to beat up on people?”

“You know how much money he’s invested in this whole state? Besides, I’ve seen him boot two people, one for stealing, and one for hitting someone else. Both went on their way with a black eye, probably a few other bruises. More embarrassing than painful I’d imagine.”

Monica stood up and brushed the dirt off on her jeans. She didn’t want to hear any more of the conversation.”




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?

flintknapper

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2013, 10:13:43 AM »
This story was evil. The man was more of a monster than werewolves or vampires. I kept telling myself our "hero" was going to get out. She was going to smart up and leave... or at least try to leave. Instead she just let herself be the victim. On one hand, I feel deeply sorry for her and on the other I am upset. In some ways, she brought it on herself. She recognizes the evil and yet feels powerless to change it. She doesn't even really question it. I mean she is aware enough to recognize it for what it is, but she doesn't go out of her way to expose or challenge the status quo.

While I initially thought of Jackson's The Lottery when reading this, it actually is more a metaphor for domestic violence or German soldiers guarding the concentration camps during WW2... (or dare I say our American society after 911?)  My favorite part is when he questions whether the snake existed in the first place or if they had just imagined it. Does it matter? The path is already set before them. You get a sense of inevitability. Once they went down that path, there was no going back. The snake is nothing more than a justification or a convenient deception.

The story has stuck with me for days. It is hard to get over it.

jpv

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2013, 12:29:45 PM »
That one is going to stick with me for a while. I keep coming back to that burning desire to know if the snake was real or not (how else would everyone have apparently seen it?), but I realize that's part of the horror of the piece that you just don't know... But you do know just how twisted Owen was.

I'm a little curious what sort of set up they have going here. Perhaps it was explained in the story and I just missed it or perhaps not, but why were all of the people there in the first place?
You may think I'm crazy / And I think you may be right
But life is ever so much more fun / If you are the crazy one

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flintknapper

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2013, 01:01:26 PM »

I'm a little curious what sort of set up they have going here. Perhaps it was explained in the story and I just missed it or perhaps not, but why were all of the people there in the first place?


They were homeless, and most were addicts, that were offered a place to stay and get clean.


jpv

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2013, 01:17:48 PM »
I'm a little curious what sort of set up they have going here. Perhaps it was explained in the story and I just missed it or perhaps not, but why were all of the people there in the first place?
They were homeless, and most were addicts, that were offered a place to stay and get clean.

That was the implication I got, but was it explicitly stated?
You may think I'm crazy / And I think you may be right
But life is ever so much more fun / If you are the crazy one

my blog: photography, programming, writing

Proberts

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 11:03:45 AM »
I'm glad the story was appreciated. Took a number of rejections to finally get it an audience. Stories like these are typically hard sells.

flintknapper

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 10:05:28 AM »
I'm glad the story was appreciated. Took a number of rejections to finally get it an audience. Stories like these are typically hard sells.

I can see that. It is well written, but it is incredibly dark. There is no good triumphing over evil here. That is always going to be a hard sell.

Since your reading the posts I got to ask, I suggested an allegory for domestic abuse. It seems like in writing this you were using it as a metaphor for some larger social ill. What was going through your head when you wrote this?

Proberts

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2013, 10:47:57 AM »
I've actually written a number of stories with a similar theme to this one. The main inspiration for the feel of the story would be mostly Japanese horror. It's pretty common in their stuff to have people who are psychologically scarred and will simply never get better due to some abuse they suffered, which is generally being isolated and alone. A lot of their stuff is purely depressing. This is one of those stories I don't really consider a horror story but more of a disturbing story. Thankfully I have no real life experience to inspire me in this direction.

BlueGildedCage

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2013, 02:06:25 PM »
The main inspiration for the feel of the story would be mostly Japanese horror. It's pretty common in their stuff to have people who are psychologically scarred and will simply never get better due to some abuse they suffered, which is generally being isolated and alone. A lot of their stuff is purely depressing. This is one of those stories I don't really consider a horror story but more of a disturbing story. Thankfully I have no real life experience to inspire me in this direction.

Such a wonderful description!  That (to me at least) makes total sense.  Disturbo stuff being the one that holds closer to truer horrors, or the potential thereof (known or imagined).  I guess most fans of exploitation/shock horror to some degree identify with this?

Regardless, this was such a great story, and the greater I think for the subtle narrative.  You knew there was stuff amiss with Owen, referring to the vulnerability of those who became dependent on him. That sort of relationship can be very one-sided, whether the parties involved choose to recognise it or not at the time.  Expressing that was a tough job extremely well done here, I think.
"The way home is not the way back." ~ Colin Wilson

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2013, 10:20:57 AM »
I thought this story was very well done.  Using a fairly subtle and novel monster to express a real-life situation.  I think most longtime SF fans can relate to some level of the isolation, as many of us didn't really fit in with the social groups (that's why SF conventions are such an awesome thing).  It was never entirely clear that the snake existed, but I could see it going either way.  In any case, it doesn't matter because the metaphor is apt.

The leader was quite an interesting character too in that he had so much good and so much evil in him.  As we all do, but both were alternately near the surface.  All people wear different masks at different times, different aspects of their personality coming to the forefront.  I suspect that his charitable aspect was truly and deeply scared and ashamed of his temperful violent aspect, but was also scared of the consequences if he would try to deal with that other aspect in a way that's less harmful to others.  So he tried his hardest to be as charitable as he could to make up for it.  The violent aspect was just as pleased by this course of action, since the charity provided it the opportunity for its evil.

Cheshire_Snark

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2013, 08:12:07 AM »
I was expecting the twist at the end to be that the leader of the community had been infected by the snake...thing since it escaped from the body of the first guy he killed. I liked that it didn't go that way - that it was the leader's own decision, in the end.

evrgrn_monster

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2013, 11:06:58 PM »
I'm glad the author dropped in and stated that he was inspired by Japanese horror, because this story was giving me that vibe the entire time; Pulse being the main one.

It was subtle horror, but the kind that really gets under your skin. I must have missed that it was a snake; I had an image of a bloody disembodied eyeball just crawling around wrecking havoc. Either way, it doesn't really matter though, right?

An excellent piece.

Cheshire_Snark

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 02:16:26 PM »
Aughhh thanks for that mental image!

Scattercat

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Re: Pseudopod 348: The Easily Forgotten
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2013, 12:59:40 AM »
This was excellent.  I was originally disappointed when the monster showed up because I was enjoying it just with the purely human monster already.  I was very pleased with the way the story ended up handling it.  High marks, definitely.
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