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Author Topic: Pseudopod 352: Enough With The Crazy  (Read 5141 times)

Bdoomed

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on: September 22, 2013, 05:54:25 AM
Pseudopod 352: Enough With The Crazy

by Emile Dayne

“Enough With The Crazy” was originally published in TALES OF THE ZOMBIE WARS, July 5th 2012.

EMILE DAYNE started writing in 2010, started getting published with indie presses in 2011. His two pen-names from that period are Harry Kane and Edward Keller. The books are SOUND OF THE DISTANT OCEANS, BRAIN STORM, SHUDDER, PLANETFALL ON ALBAID, and AUTUMN MAGIC PLAYGROUND SKY. His short fiction has been published by the likes of Phantasmacore, Gothic City Press and Encounters Magazine.

Your reader this week – Joe Scalora – is a marketing manager at Del Rey books and aspiring voice over actor. Follow him on twitter -@JoeScalora – and also check out the Clarke Ashton Smith podcast “The Double Shadow”, he’ll be reading on an upcoming episode there.



“Everything was fine until he saw the fire hydrant across the café. Something about it caught his attention, as if it was some important object from his past, perhaps even from childhood.

Which was absurd, since he had grown up two thousand miles away in a small town with very few fire hydrants, of which not one had played any important part in his life. He hadn’t even danced in its spurting water during the hottest summer days.

Yet the very sight of this one made his heart lose its rhythm. His legs shook as he approached the hydrant. In one corner of his mind a watchful voice was warning him to not act too weirdly out on the street in full view of everyone and he did try his best. But then the world around him turned into blurry fluid that wobbled thunderously and terribly.

All outlines lost their sharpness, pedestrians became contorted like ghosts. The fire hydrant was real, stable, and firm. But although a center of solidity in a world which had suddenly turned to oppressive jelly, it did not inspire safety in any way. Rather, its stability seemed as evidence that it was the evil source of everything that was wrong now, and which had gone wrong with Sam in the past months.

Two distorted figures with male voices stopped for a second by the hydrant. One of them raised an object to his head and appeared to bite into it. The smell of warm hotdog reached Sam’s nose and then a few drops of ketchup fell on the pavement.

Sam lost his balance and swooned, but even as the ground tilted up, images flashed through his head, very similar to the ones from his nightmares, maybe even the same ones, but this time not jumbled and obscure, but clear and in sequence.

People – men and women and children – faces twisted into grimaces, attacking an elderly couple from all sides, bringing them down, tearing at their clothes and at their flesh. By this exact hydrant. Blood falling where the ketchup was now.

Him, shouting for everyone to stop, then running into the melee, pushing people away, trying to get to the victims and save then, and then suddenly already holding an arm and biting at the puffy hand with whines of impatience…unbearable urgency and a sense of utmost wrongness rolled into a shattering–

Blackness. Far off sounds.”




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?


Kaa

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Reply #1 on: September 22, 2013, 05:07:18 PM
I saw where this was headed pretty fast, but it didn't decrease my enjoyment of the story at all. It's nice seeing new (to me) takes on the whole zombie apocalypse thing. And the hint that something far more vast is going on, beyond the constraints of this story, was a nice touch as well.

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flintknapper

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Reply #2 on: September 23, 2013, 05:47:49 PM
I have never seen this type of story done with zombies. In fact, I would not have even got the though of zombie, it I hadn't listened to the collection this tale first appeared in.

Super cool. I think it had a Jacob's Ladder type vibe. Also for the reader being new, I thought he did a great job on the piece. Story easily held my attention. Fun and great twist on both mental and zombie horror!



Moritz

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Reply #3 on: September 24, 2013, 06:27:27 AM
I also really liked this one, probably because it's quite realistic. When I have strong sleep deprivation, I can get slight visual-hallucinations, so I know what the protagonist is going through. Together with the twist at the end this makes for a quite compelling story.



jpv

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Reply #4 on: September 24, 2013, 07:02:24 PM
I liked it.

The world builder in my wonders how in the world they are getting to every witness at once, but it's not necessary for the short story. Perhaps something in the water? But then why would the main character need the enhanced drugs? Perhaps some are more resistant than others?

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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Cheshire_Snark

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Reply #5 on: September 26, 2013, 06:18:55 PM
I agree - I enjoyed the story, but I was wondering how it would work on a grander scale.



evrgrn_monster

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Reply #6 on: September 29, 2013, 12:23:05 AM
I really enjoyed this story. I liked that we ended off unsure if Sam was crazy or not; we had all the explanations as to why he was insane, but in the end, I think we as readers were more doubtful of his insanity than he was.

One of the things I liked about this was how tight and small the narrative was. It was just a day in this guy's life, but it revealed so much about him and his interactions with the world and people around him. It was a smart piece.

Narrator this week was spectacular, too. He did the female voice well, and switched character voices quite seamlessly. Fun to listen to.


Unblinking

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Reply #7 on: October 09, 2013, 02:20:15 PM
I liked this one. Mostly, I think that it was just hallucinations, but there was a detail or two that made me wonder--it's been a little while since I listened, so I don't remember what I thought the telltale was--maybe the breast scar as he seemed an unlikely person to be aware that she had had breast cancer surgery?

I liked Alasdair's outro a lot too, in relation to the story, with the guy and the lampposts.  It cast the story in an interesting light.

The world builder in my wonders how in the world they are getting to every witness at once, but it's not necessary for the short story. Perhaps something in the water? But then why would the main character need the enhanced drugs? Perhaps some are more resistant than others?

My interpretation of it is that if the visions are in any form real, that those naturally prone to schizophrenia will be the ones who don't succumb as well to the drugs, making it all the more easy to drug them for the safety of themselves and others.



Whaletale

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Reply #8 on: October 09, 2013, 04:26:27 PM
I really enjoyed this story. The idea of these horrible situations happening all around us at any given time being shrugged off as a dream or squashed with heavy medication is disturbing, and had me looking around the office differently for the rest of the day.



Scattercat

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Reply #9 on: October 11, 2013, 06:37:43 AM
This story was fun enough, but it will forever be locked in my mind for completely unrelated reasons.  I was building a Menger Sponge out of Smooth Stone in Minecraft while I was listening.  (On Survival, thank you, not Creative.  Because I bloody well can, that's why.)  So now every time I ride past my 3rd-iteration monument on my commute between my main castle and the satellite base, I remember this story. 

(Sort of like how Stonesplinter Valley in the second or third human zone in World of Warcraft is permanently linked for me to that Steve Eley epic dinner-date story from EP history.)

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Unblinking

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Reply #10 on: October 11, 2013, 01:52:08 PM
I really should try that game sometime.

Or, rather, I should never ever touch that game because I know way too many people who can't put it down.

And I already have Skyrim absorbing any spare moments I can eke out.



The Far Stairs

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Reply #11 on: November 05, 2013, 09:38:09 PM
Yeah, this is the first time I've read a story about someone trying to cover up a zombie apocalypse. Pretty interesting! I didn't understand why they were doing it, but that made the paranoid tone all the more intense.

It had some of that old-school Twilight-Zone-type vibe, back when psychiatrists were naturally creepy and not to be trusted because they dared to tamper in God's domain.

Nowadays psychotropic drugs are commonplace. Everyone takes them. Hmm. That's probably much, much worse from a paranoid perspective.

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kibitzer

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Reply #12 on: November 08, 2013, 02:18:36 AM
Nowadays psychotropic drugs are commonplace. Everyone takes them. Hmm. That's probably much, much worse from a paranoid perspective.

...and of itself, lends extra creepiness and plausibility!