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Author Topic: Pseudopod 357: Growth Spurt  (Read 8035 times)

Bdoomed

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on: October 27, 2013, 02:26:38 AM
Pseudopod 357: Growth Spurt

by Paul Lorello

“Growth Spurt” is making it’s debut in Pseudopod.

PAUL LORELLO is a freelance writer living on Long Island, and would like you to know that he doesn’t let it get to him. His influences are Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Theodore Sturgeon, and Richard Matheson. His story, “Last Will of Little Rosie,” will be appearing in the upcoming Big Pulp KENNEDY CURSE anthology.

Your reader this week – Steve Anderson – is an actor/storyteller based in Pennsylvania with his beloved wife Rhonda, and a varying number of cats. You can find him online at SGAcreative.com, where he records voiceovers, narrates audiobooks, and produces online videos… or visit GreatTalesLive.com to learn about my his live one-man shows and storytelling programs. He has also lead ghost tours in Gettysburg, where he’s been creeping people out for the past eleven years.



“Day 1 – UPS delivered them today in an envelope and inside that was a pouch like Pop Rocks. I closed the blinds and the curtains and it was real dark and I couldn’t hardly read the instructions. I tore open the pouch and poured this stuff like sand into the tank. I’d made a cool cover for it taking the box it came in and cutting off the top and painting inside it like black. It’s cool. They said to just put them in the dark but if you have a cover that’s better. I fed them with one of the freeze dried blood caps that was included but I think I added too much water. I hate it that I screwed stuff up right at the beginning. I’ll know by tomorrow night I guess.

Mom and Dad are yelling at each other. They think I can’t hear them.

#

Day 2 – I guess I didn’t add too much water after all. There are only seven caps included in the kit. After a week I start them on real food. Grace’s hamster is preggers. Good snacks for my guys coming soon.

I got made fun of for writing everything down. Grace and Mom ganged up on me. And they laughed when I told them every scientist writes stuff down. Then Grace said I wasn’t a scientist. Then Dad came home and everyone stopped laughing.

I want my guys to grow already. Under “Gestation Period” it says you should see results in about two weeks. Two weeks is waaayyyyyy too long!”



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?


adrianh

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Reply #1 on: October 27, 2013, 10:31:04 AM
That was fun. Horrible fun I admit - but fun nevertheless.

 I approve of fun. More please.

(Was I the only one who was thinking of sea-monkeys at the start? I now want somebody to write a story about cthulhu-esque sea-monkeys... )



Unblinking

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Reply #2 on: October 28, 2013, 01:59:22 PM
(Was I the only one who was thinking of sea-monkeys at the start?

 Yes!  I have to assume that's what the author was going for.  I actually assumed as a result that it took place in the 1950s until he mentioned the Internet.

I now want somebody to write a story about cthulhu-esque sea-monkeys... )

I think that's what this was!

I enjoyed this well enough.  Cute in a horror-esque way.  I didn't see the reveal about Grace coming--I assumed the Dad killed her, but I hadn't considered it was based on the narrator's wish.

I did wonder what the Club his dad kept referring to was--The Lovecraftian Sea Monkey Club?



Bdoomed

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Reply #3 on: October 28, 2013, 04:17:00 PM
Absolutely adored this one from start to finish, in a "oh god who the hell let a kid have this much power?!" sort of way.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Moritz

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Reply #4 on: October 28, 2013, 06:36:53 PM
I generally liked it, though I am not sure about this breaking-up plot, which seemed almost cliche. The boy said it himself, when he remarked that it felt like in a movie.



zoanon

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Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 06:28:31 PM
I didn't understand the parade bit at the end. first off, it was Alasdair reading so i assumed right away it was an outro, nothing in it seemed to fit.  I enjoyed the first bit though,



Alasdair5000

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Reply #6 on: October 29, 2013, 06:34:00 PM
Some clarification:)

The Halloween Parade is a thing I do every year. It's just the things in horror fiction; comics, TV, film, literature, that left an impression that year. I leave it deliberately vague so people can hopefully have a little fun guessing at what's in there.



Lone Mopper

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Reply #7 on: October 29, 2013, 08:23:28 PM
I didn't know it was okay to talk about the guys!

This explains why Toys-R-Us are completely out diaper boxes too.


The Lone Mopper


Acth99

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Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 09:24:50 PM
I love, love, love the Halloween Parade, but I always drive myself crazy trying to figure out some of the more obscure (to me) people......



Kat_Rocha

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Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 10:45:59 PM
I love, love, love the Halloween Parade, but I always drive myself crazy trying to figure out some of the more obscure (to me) people......
I would agree. The Halloween Parade was the best part of this episode. I enjoyed "Growth Spurt" greatly... but Halloween Parade had a lot of elements that spoke to me... and got me in the mood to go out on Thursday.

-Kat



Moon_Goddess

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Reply #10 on: October 30, 2013, 01:12:47 PM
Is there somewhere I can listen to all of Alasdair's Halloween Parades?

Actually can I just get Alasdair to stay in my house and talk.   I promise I'll feed him and take him for walks.

Was dream6601 but that's sounds awkward when Nathan reads my posts.


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Reply #11 on: October 30, 2013, 02:50:17 PM
I don't think I got any of the references in the parade, but I often don't.  :P  They're still fun to listen to, and the descriptions tend to wash over me like waves until I'm in a bit of a stupor, albeit a pleasant one.



danooli

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Reply #12 on: October 31, 2013, 06:44:18 PM
delicious and creepy.  as someone who also lives on Long Island...I hope this is 100% fiction...ween though I know it's a true story...

eek!



Semikalbo

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Reply #13 on: November 03, 2013, 06:48:14 PM
Really enjoyed this story! Loved how this family was the float that seemed to require a large buffer to keep everybody else safe. Maybe move the Winchester's and their entourage a little closer. I'm new to Pseudopod, so this is the first of the Halloween parade sequences I've heard. I will have to look back to previous Halloween episodes and see if I can recognize the other participants (aside from Supernatural, Walking Dead and World War Z).



BLCrawshaw

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Reply #14 on: November 05, 2013, 06:40:25 AM
I listened to this story in the dark at work. It really set the mood; being surrounded by books, the only light coming from the hallway next door, and a story about tiny creatures who would change the world. The parade afterward confused me a little bit, but I finally understood once it was over. I look forward to listening to more stories from Pseudopod!

"To be great is to be misunderstood." - Ralph Waldo Emerson


Cheshire_Snark

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Reply #15 on: November 06, 2013, 11:56:11 AM
Loved the direction this story went at the end - I hadn't anticipated anything so grand and un-foreshadowed. That could have been jarring but in this case it wasn't at all.

I had a hard time getting into the story until I accepted that, yes, that voice is exactly how a fairly self-obsessed 9-10 year old would sound. I felt sorry for Grace, both for being (possibly unfairly) cast in the well-worn role of the nagging sister who never lets our narrator have any fun*, and for (later) being cast in the role originally intended for her hamster's babies...

<<PARADE SPOILERS>> :)
I must be more up-to-date with my horror this year as I got more of the references in this parade than usual, though I'm miffed at myself that I didn't actually listen to it on the day! I finally got around to watching World War Z, and (probably forewarned by Alasdair's review that if you don't expect it to be just like the book, it is really rather intelligent and good) really enjoyed it, and thought the description of Gerry in the parade was spot on, as was the little nod from Darryl. I'm not caught up with TWD since Michonne arrived (have read the comics) but I can see Darryl and Gerry having something in common as keen observers of their environment and the threats therein.

*Big sisters aren't all bad!



albionmoonlight

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Reply #16 on: November 08, 2013, 05:40:04 PM
I liked the slow reveal throughout the episode.  At first, I thought that the kid was doing this without any of his family's knowledge.  Then you find out about the Dad.  Then the club.  Then the final reveals.  It took what could have been a relatively straightforward plot and kept it just twisted enough that I was always a little surprised when I saw what was around the next corner.



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Reply #17 on: November 11, 2013, 08:08:08 AM
I found this one amusing, if a trifle slight.  I liked the way the reading lent an air of menace to the creatures' apparent loyalty to their child-god, although I was a little busy wondering who started this club if apparently the critters tend to kill a whole lot of people when they come out.  Seems like you'd need a heck of a recruitment campaign.  Still, inexplicably well-connected cults are one of those things that, like FTL drives and humanoid aliens, are just kind of part of the background nowadays, so *shrug* good enough.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 10:42:39 AM by Scattercat »

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eytanz

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Reply #18 on: November 11, 2013, 08:58:35 AM
I felt this one worked more on atmosphere than on plot coherence, though perhaps I've missed bits. It did a really good job of keeping the kid as an unreliable narrator, and ratcheting up the tension without ever crossing into being over the top. But I really couldn't figure out what the parents were actually trying to achieve here, especially the father. Even more so when it seemed that whatever was going on, was going on with a lot of other families.

Was the boy always telepathic and subtly controlling the people around him, or is that a power he acquires because of his connection to the creatures? Was the father's endgame that he thought he'd end up in control of the creatures once he sacrifices the kid to them? Was he trying to destroy the creatures and somehow that involved raising them? Why would he give the responsibility of raising them to his kid - regardless of whether either explanation is correct (or if neither of them is) - especially when the ending implies that that wasn't something everyone in the club did?

To be honest, the feeling I got after this story was over was that the questions above are not answerable, because the goal was to play with the themes rather than proper worldbuilding. Compare this to the superlative "Passing Grade" in Flash on the Borderlands XVI - another story about a kid and monsters, but one where, as unrealistic as the world was, it made perfect sense. Which meant that that story stayed with me for a couple of months now, while this one, effective as it was while I was listening to it, is already fading from my memory a couple of days after I listened to it.



Unblinking

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Reply #19 on: November 11, 2013, 02:34:36 PM
Why would he give the responsibility of raising them to his kid - regardless of whether either explanation is correct (or if neither of them is) - especially when the ending implies that that wasn't something everyone in the club did?

That's a great question. Like you, I suspect there's no real answer to it that makes sense in the world of the story.



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Reply #20 on: November 12, 2013, 04:26:25 AM
I enjoyed the way this one was told, as well as the slow, steady reveal, but the ending didn't really do much for me. My main issue was that I didn't quite understand the motivation behind the sister being killed. I didn't really get a sense of animosity between the siblings, so, for me, it was a stretch for me to believe that it was the true wish of the boy for his sister to die. In addition, I didn't quite understand why the children were the one's raising the little guys? If the older members of the society knew they were going to be dangerous, why expose their kids needlessly to it?

Still, the writing itself was solid, and the narration was great. I still enjoyed myself, just have those dangling questions left.


Jen

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Reply #21 on: November 19, 2013, 09:25:31 AM
I enjoyed this a lot, mainly because of the way the kid's thinking was represented. I don't remember much about being 10, but I was probably just as annoying and impatient. A lot of things didn't make a lot of sense (glad to see I'm not the only one who didn't get it), but, well, I was so entertained I didn't care. The reminded me of Sandkings by GRRM and I kept expecting the guys to kill everyone... which, in a way, did kinda happen.



Kaa

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Reply #22 on: November 22, 2013, 01:49:40 PM
I enjoyed this one, as well. It struck me as part "Little Shop of Horrors" and part "Chthulhu Sea-Monkeys." It also reminded me of that other story recently with the boys who thought the one boy's sister was a vampire. Had that same "innocence of youth . . . are going to do WHAT?" vibe.

Nicely done.

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Reply #23 on: November 23, 2013, 11:55:59 PM
Maybe all the boys of the members of this club are children of the devil? Why put all your eggs in one basket with a singular antichrist? Maybe there's some Omen or Rosemary's Baby in the woodpile on this one.

Did the parade start with Prometheus?


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


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Reply #24 on: July 30, 2014, 12:37:02 PM
This story is a finalist for the 2014 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)

http://www.parsecawards.com/2014-parsec-awards/2014-parsec-awards-finalists/

PseudoPod is also a finalist for Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast.

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