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Author Topic: Pseudopod 368: Short & Nasty  (Read 3806 times)

Bdoomed

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on: January 14, 2014, 09:15:22 AM
Pseudopod 368: Short & Nasty

by Darrell Schweitzer

“Short and Nasty” was first published in OBSESSIONS edited by Gary Raisor in 1991. It is in his collection TRANSIENTS AND OTHER DISQUIETING STORIES (1993) and was also reprinted in 100 CREEPY LITTLE CREATURE STORIES (ed. Stefan Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg, and Martin H. Greenberg (1994)). “While the characters bear no resemblance to persons living or dead, the settings are quite real. The Philadelphia transit system is pretty creepy at night. My friend Lee Weinstein used to live in the house described in the story. But he has moved up in the world and out of that neighborhood long since.”

DARRELL SCHWEITZER is a 4-time World Fantasy Award nominee and one-time winner, as co-editor of WEIRD TALES, a position he held for 19 years. He has also edited anthologies, including CTHULHU’S REIGN (2010), THE SECRET HISTORY OF VAMPIRES (2007), FULL MOON CITY (with Martin Greenberg, 2010), and THAT IS NOT DEAD (PS Publishing, forthcoming). He is the author of about 300 published stories, which have been collected in many volumes, two of the most recent of which are THE EMPEROR OF THE ANCIENT WORD and ECHOES OF THE GODDESS (both from Wildside Press) and the novels THE WHITE ISLE, THE SHATTERED GODDESS, and THE MASK OF THE SORCERER. He has also written much non-fiction, including books about H.P. Lovecraft and Lord Dunsany. Upcoming books include, SPEAKING OF HORROR II (a collection of interviews) from Wildside, THE DARRELL SCHWEITZER MEGAPACK (e-book collection, from Wildside), a revised version of LORD DUNSANY: A BIBLIOGRAPHY (with ST Joshi) from Scarecrow Press, and, in 2014 or 2015, PS Publishing is to publish a two-volume retrospective collection of his short fiction.

Your reader this week – George Hrab would like you all to check out The Geologic Podcast and George Hrab.com



“That was the old way, Henry, when we were young. Remember?

When we two were in college together, when everybody else was reading Hermann Hesse, we were heavily “into” Gothic novels – Monk Lewis, Mrs. Radcliffe, and the ever prolific Anonymous – the early Romantics, De Quincey, Byron, Keats, Mary Shelley – in short anybody who seemed suitably exquisite, melancholy, and doomed for Art’s sake.

Remember how we used to try to top each other’s affectations, just for the fun of it, the outrageous, frilly clothes, the sweeping gestures, the dialogue never heard outside of a bad costume flick: ‘I say, old chap, I think I shall take up opium. It’s so frightfully decadent.

‘I much prefer laudanum, old bean. The visions of Hell are much more vivid that way.’

Neither of us could have fooled a real Briton for a minute, by the way. Our accents were pure college theater. I suppose most of our classmates just thought we were gay.

Ah, with a sweeping sigh. We had joy; we had fun; we had seasons in the crypt.”



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 01:34:09 PM by Sgarre1 »

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


Scattercat

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Reply #1 on: January 14, 2014, 04:22:27 PM
Hee!  I know this story! 

Way, way long ago, when I was in my early teens, I found a couple of books in a used bookstore near my family's usual beach vacation spot.  "100 Wild Little Weird Tales" and "100 Creepy Little Creature Stories".  I've read both of them a dozen times by now, skipping the ones I didn't like as I got familiar with them.  This was one of the ones I always liked. 

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book


Unblinking

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Reply #2 on: January 14, 2014, 04:34:33 PM
I liked this one pretty well.  I felt like I should've liked it more, what with the self-referential old-timey epistolary style.  The monster was nicely creepy and I like that he left a story for it to read (at least that's what I think he meant it for).



Scattercat

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Reply #3 on: January 15, 2014, 05:14:26 AM
I think more just a general cautionary PSA.  "Hey, world!  Don't lovingly whisper the name of your former best friend's death into the cold and empty night air as the twilight curdles into dark, every day without fail until it crawls from its loathsome ensconcement and becomes real!  It's very bad for your health and should probably be regulated more heavily than it is!"

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book


Unblinking

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Reply #4 on: January 15, 2014, 02:56:08 PM
I think more just a general cautionary PSA.  "Hey, world!  Don't lovingly whisper the name of your former best friend's death into the cold and empty night air as the twilight curdles into dark, every day without fail until it crawls from its loathsome ensconcement and becomes real!  It's very bad for your health and should probably be regulated more heavily than it is!"

 ;D



Moon_Goddess

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Reply #5 on: January 15, 2014, 08:47:42 PM
I think more just a general cautionary PSA.  "Hey, world!  Don't lovingly whisper the name of your former best friend's death into the cold and empty night air as the twilight curdles into dark, every day without fail until it crawls from its loathsome ensconcement and becomes real!  It's very bad for your health and should probably be regulated more heavily than it is!"

What is and EXTREMELY specific PSA

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


evrgrn_monster

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Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 02:41:23 AM
I actually was not feeling this one in the beginning, but I am happy I stuck it out to the end. That ending was viciously satisfying. I was initially just getting annoyed with the main character for playing the victim of his own life and refusing to own any of his bad decisions, but thinking on it now, that annoyance was a useful tool the author used to make me just as happy about his fate as Henry was.

Narration was brilliant too. Bad English accent was delightfully bad.


Fenrix

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Reply #7 on: January 26, 2014, 03:34:34 PM
I loved the description of the steps as a horde of rats. It fantastically pinned the mood early.

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


albionmoonlight

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Reply #8 on: January 28, 2014, 07:28:20 PM
I love unperfect narrators.  As the story went on and you got to see how their lives unfolded.  And then when he has the regret at the end, when he kisses Greta--the knowledge that life could have turned out differently if he had been a different person.  He was a very well-rounded character for such a short story.  Really liked this one.

And, to the extent this is a PSA, I will certainly remember to take that advice.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 02:42:38 PM by albionmoonlight »



doctornemo

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Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 12:16:16 AM
A terrific story - one that describes many of my own university friends.

Very well read, too.



empathy44

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Reply #10 on: May 16, 2014, 04:09:57 PM
Excellent story! I've known people like those in the story but I'd REALLY like to know more about the witch/magician.