Escape Artists


  • Get your 500 word fantasy stories ready! We'll be open for submissions through the month of March, and starting the voting sometime in early April. Full details on Podcastle's website


Get your 500 word fantasy stories ready! We'll be open for submissions through the month of March, and starting the voting sometime in early April. Full details on Podcastle's website

Author Topic: Pseudopod 353: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XVII: Keeping Up Appearances  (Read 3764 times)


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Pseudopod 353: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XVII: Keeping Up Appearances

Things are not always as they seem…

“Down By The Sea Near The Great Big Rock” by Joe R. Lansdale

This story first appeared in MASQUES (1984). JOE R. LANSDALE, who recently appeared here with PSEUDOPOD #344: The Pit, has written over thirty books, and numerous short stories. He has won a multitude of awards, including the Edgar for his novel THE BOTTOMS, and his novella BUBBA HO-TEP was made into the popular film starring Bruce Campbell. His current books are THE THICKET and EDGE OF DARK WATER, both from Mulholland Books. Joe blogs here and you can also follow him on Facebook.

Read by Corson Bremer, who lives in France and has dual nationality, but is American by birth. Corson works as a professional voice actor, technical communicator, and French-to-English translator. He is also a life-long curmudgeon. His professional credits in voice acting include audio guides, industrial video narration, e-learning, radio and tv commercials, and video games for Ubisoft (Red Steel 2 and Petz:Horses 2) and Spiders (Mars:War Logs). He’s a big fan of dramatic readings as well as radio drama and comedy. Check out for his voice services and demos. Corson is a board member of Voice Artists United, an organization for established and up-and-coming voice actors who are looking for support, community, education, and information. If you are a voice actor, find them at the link under their name or on Facebook and LinkedIn.

“Down by the sea near the great big rock, they made their camp and toasted marshmallows over a small, fine fire. The night was pleasantly chill and the sea spray cold. Laughing, talking, eating the gooey marshmallows, they had one swell time; just them, the sand, the sea and the sky, and the great big rock. “

“The Demon Fields” by Keith McCleary

“The Demon Fields” has been performed in San Diego, and can be found at Gchatus, but Pseudopod is its first published appearance. “It was written in California while thinking of the summers I spent at my grandmother’s house in Vermont as a child. It’s also my girlfriend’s favorite piece of mine, so she should get some credit for its submission.” KEITH McCLEARY is an MFA student at UCSD, and received his BFA in Film at NYU. His work has or is due to appear in Heavy Metal magazine, Weave, Flash, Short Fast and Deadly, the San Diego Poetry Annual, and in comic books he has written and illustrated for Terminal Press. He has also served as a copyeditor for Kill Screen Magazine. Keith maintains a semi-regular presence at his flash fiction tumblr, Gchatus and his website, Weird Things I Have Done.

Read by Kevin Hayes – Kevin is a man of many facets. Hailing from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, he is overactively involved in the Science Fiction/Fantasy and Horror Community where he has done (and continues to do) programming for the usually annual SF conference Confluence – July 25th to 27th, 2014. He is a writer, a reader, an actor, a singer, a poet, and a cartoonist/illustrator – and that’s just in his spare time. He thrives with his artistic endeavors and lives with a hugely talented woman who shares his interests and is the passion of his life (they have collaborated on a novel that defies easy description for which they still try to find a publishing home). The home they have made for themselves also contains three of her five children, artists, writers and performers all. Kevin’s website can be found here and he also one of the driving members of a writers’ critique group called Write Or Die! (aka “WorD”) who meet at a local bookshop. He has a story appearing in “TV Gods” from Fortress Publishing, available May/June 2014, and he appears in a photo-graphic comic from Tia Tormen Productions called “[b=]Zombimboz[/b]” on sale now on Amazon!

“One day, one of the farmhands mustered the courage to ask him what the barn was all about. Ben squinted at the structure in the distance, picked a reed to chew on and crossed his burly arms across his barrel chest. ‘Well boys,’ he said. ‘That barn’s gonna hold my demons. Ev’ry man’s got ‘em. Gotta get ‘em stored away if I ever want to share this farm with someone. Can’t have ‘em runnin’ loose, now can I?’ and he smiled.”

“Pawn” by Jaki Idler

A shorter version of “Pawn” was a Semifinalist in the 2010 Escape Pod flash contest, where it was titled “Queen.” Jaki Idler lives outside Philadelphia where she writes, teaches and – despite any literary evidence to the contrary – raises two wonderful boys. Her day job is bringing other’s stories to life. You can follow her writing at Idle Truths. She just narrated her own story “Terminal” for Wicked Women Writers 2012 at She’s also thrilled to read Crystal Connor’s “Spores” on (pending).

Your reader, Julia Rios, is a writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator. She’s one of the three fiction editors for Strange Horizons and hosts the Outer Alliance Podcast (celebrating QUILTBAG speculative fiction). Check her out at her blog here.

“The pain of pushing the larva through the very flesh of my transgression should be punishment enough. But mating was the Queen’s privilege, not the bait’s, and she’d ensure I’d rather die than overstep again. She called the lair witness, lest my lesson bear repeating. I squatted and bore down, slave to more primeval powers. My lair sisters ringed the cavern, tall and smug, every stiff spine saying they knew better. I’d known better.”

Help Gail Carriger get CRUDRAT up and running by checking out: CRUDRAT!

Interstitial music is “Fearless Bleeder” by Chimpy, from Music Alley.

Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 11:51:37 PM by Bdoomed »


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For those of you who may be losing faith in stories that don't win the flash contests, may I present (in a slightly different form):
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 10:02:15 PM by Fenrix »

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


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Thanks for getting this up, guys.


  • Sir Postsalot
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"Down by the Sea Near the Great Big Rock"
For most of this story I wasn't all that interested.  A group of people doing violent and bad things to each other for no apparent reason is not particularly appealing.  I did like the reveal, though, especially as the fish fought each other to death as the big thing passed by, so overall not bad.

"The Demon Fields"
This one I liked quite a lot.  We've all got demons.  We've all got parts of our personalities that we don't want to show anyone else, let alone ourselves, the spiteful hateful part of the human nature that we keep under wraps for the good of everyone.  But those things never go away either, and if there's one place they will rise up is in a long term relationship where it will happen.  If you want to keep that relationship going, you have to find a way to deal with those demons without siccing them on the love of your life.  Whether that be a romantic weekend away with your love, or an occasional few days by yourself to put everything in perspective, you need to work something out.  I appreciate that the story acknowledges at the end that she had demons just as much as he had, and it was a mutual effort to keep them both in check.

I remember this from the flash contest!  I liked it.  Not really a lot to say about it, I guess, it's just quite good.  Hormones and other behavior-changing brain chemistry are powerful things and I find it very plausible that an alien lifeform taking our shape would be altered from their chosen purpose by it.  One of the themes I've always liked about Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is the recurring theme that a shape will alter the nature of the thing that takes that shape, so as soon as Death becomes an anthropomorphic personification, then he starts to take on human personality traits,  etc.


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You'd think after the 121 flash pieces we've been reading, we'd all be tired of flash by now.

But nope! I for one still love these little bite sized stories. Nom nom nom.  ;D

Down By The Sea -

I actually quite liked this story. I thought the slow build towards the predictable, yet terrible ending was well crafted. The giant rock was just icing on the flash cake for me.

Oh, and if you liked this story, there's a piece that it reminded me of called "The Camping Wainwrights" by Ian R MacLeod. I just picked up a huge horror anthology and found this gem tucked away in it, which may have been one of the reasons why I enjoyed this particular story a lot.

Demon Fields -

I adored this story. I thought it was one of the strongest metaphors I've seen for of keeping a relationship strong and sacrificing parts of yourself for someone you truly love. It was actually really touching, which is a rare feeling for me in this particular genre.

Pawn -

I did a little happy dance when I heard that this one was a previous flash fiction contest entrant. This one was gross, but I liked it because of it. I also enjoyed the feeling of fear I had not for the queen, the baby, nor the pawn, but for the man she had her sights on. It was an interesting twist, and a good choice.


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For those who enjoyed the Joe R. Lansdale piece here:

Dark Regions Press has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Black Labyrinth Book II: Joe R. Lansdale illustrated by Santiago Caruso as part of their Black Labyrinth imprint.

Black Labyrinth is an imprint of ten psychological horror novels and novellas written by the living masters of horror and dark fiction all illustrated by surrealist artist Santiago Caruso edited by yours truly. Joe R. Lansdale is the award-winning author of Edge of Dark Water, The Bottoms, the Hap and Leonard series, Bubba Ho-Tep, Incident On and Off a Mountain Road and many other works. He's consistently ranked in the top living horror authors. And if you haven't heard of Santiago Caruso, I highly suggest you search his name on Google. We're trying to create a new novella of psychological horror from Joe R. Lansdale illustrated by Santiago Caruso and offer it in premium signed limited edition Black Labyrinth hardcover's.

The press release for the campaign and Santiago's new iteration of the Black Labyrinth logo can be seen here:

Thanks for checking it out!


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So much short fiction to read...

I checked out The Best of Joe Lansdale from the library and will at least consume Bubba Ho-Tep before it has to go back.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”