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Pseudopod 385: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XX: Community
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Author Topic: Pseudopod 385: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XX: Community  (Read 3482 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: May 11, 2014, 01:51:04 AM »

Pseudopod 385: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XX: Community

Hell is other people…



“Penance” by Liz Colter.

“Penance” is a previously unpublished story. “This story began, as some of my stories do, with a quick, visual flash of something odd and unexpected just before sleep. I began the story as a humorous tale, but it quickly let me know that it wanted to be a horror tale instead.”

LIZ COLTER offsets working in the mundane world by writing speculative worlds of her own. She is a winner of the Writers of the Future competition (V30, released April 2014) and her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Emerald Sky, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Enchanted Conversation, and the World Weaver Press Fae anthology, among others. Her website is THE SPECULATIVE WORLDS OF LIZ COLTER.

Your reader this week – Ant Bacon – was heard here last week as well and says “I’m an actor and coroners officer from Manchester, England so I love a bit of death and a bit of story telling. What else is there to know?! If anyone wants to say hello though I’m on twitter and always looking to up my followers: Antbacon.


“‘Wake,’ my ghosts said. ‘Come.’

They spoke asynchronously, like a flock of noisy birds. Their voices pulled me from sleep and I opened my eyes to the throng of them at my bedside.

‘Why?’ I asked. The long, morose faces stared back at me, gray and insubstantial, and mute once again.”




“Mallecho” by Stephen Willcott.

“Mallecho” was previously published in the print and e-book anthology, ARCANE, by Cold Fusion Media, edited by Nathan Shumate.

STEPHEN WILLCOTT‘s work has appeared in Arcane Anthologies and Silver Blade Magazine. He is interested in Old English and has been attempting to translate Beowulf.

Your reader – John Trevallian – is an English novelist, poet, shaman and award-winning author of three dystopian sci-fi novels (The A-Men, The A-Men Return and Forever A-Men), plus writer of many other short stories, poetry collections and travel journals. He is also creator of the Talliston House & Gardens project, which could use your help – please see: Trevillian.com & Talliston.com.


“‘Mallecho wood? Is that safe?’ My wife asks. She reminds me of my mother.

‘I told them to stay clear,’ I say. ‘They’re just going for a bit, Jan.’ She worries like that. But then her family is not from here. I smile at her and go into the garden. The sun is strong and overhead. The children have left their ball games and toys on the lawn. I go to the rose tree and watch the insects: the flies, the bees, and the ants. Behind the tree is a brown fence and behind that is the embankment. Thick bramble covers its side. It is tall, almost as high as the house. At the top is an abandoned railway line. This was my father’s house, but he never saw the line in use. This house will pass to my children one day, I hope.

The land around here is old. Old in human terms. Some of the boundaries and copses are mentioned in the doomsday book, but there are sites of pre-history too. Standing stones, earth works, barrows and the like. Sacred groves, probably. You can feel it at night. If you walk on the embankment and look at the stars, at the landscape. The weight of generations, the renewal of the seasons. Forgotten things were done here.”




“Jack” by Mohammad Naim Kabir.



“Jack” appears here as an original, says Jack’s editorial fore-brain.

MOHAMMAD NAIM KABIR is a full-time student at the University of Pennsylvania, looking to chase down dreams of either A.) Becoming an astronaut or B.) Becoming a career storyteller. He has a manuscript in the works, and it should be something to look forward to. His FACEBOOK page is: Kabir Creates and he can be found on Twitter @KabirCreates.

Your reader – John Bell – writes, voices, and produces audio of any kind. Most recently, he has been recording audio books, including two thrillers by Michaelbrent Collings, THE LOON and APPARITION, both available at Audible.com[/b]]Audible.com. Buy many copies… he gets royalties. He has also narrated many of Oceanhouse Media‘s Dr. Seuss books, available as apps for the kiddos. Buy them if you want, he gets no royalties. Bummer. John Bell is the creator of “Bell’s in the Batfry“, a family-safe comedy podcast that can be found on iTunes and at Bell’s in the Batfry. Go listen… he gets ZIP for this from start to finish! If you have something you need written, voiced, and/or produced, feel free to contact John Bell at jbellvoice @ gmail.com!


“I am Jack’s inferior parietal cortex, and I know what you’re thinking. Probably that this is some lame rip-off of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club.

I loved that story! It sometimes had soliloquies from the point of view of _organs_! Genius. I am Jack’s makeshift temporal lobe, and I know what it is to read a good book. Now it’s mostly just road signs and maps, but you take what you can get. There’s some smooth poetry in 3 Miles to Berkley or Welcome to Alameda, you know.”




Larime Taylor’s “A Voice In The Dark” can be purchased here!


Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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Moon_Goddess
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2014, 11:53:56 AM »

The 3rd story here, Jack really touched me, with it's themes of identity and being forced to conform.

It started out silly but it really changed and touched me fast, by the time John said "Say your name" I actually did aloud.
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Was dream6601 but that's sounds awkward when Nathan reads my posts.
Unblinking
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 09:40:36 AM »

Penance--I liked it.  The ghosts exacting their revenge in a way that is less violent than many ghost movies have taught me to expect, but which would be maddening in their own effect to never be able to see past the throngs of staring ghosts.

Mallecho--I didn't feel like I really got what this story was trying to do. 

Jack--I'm a bit torn on this one.  I like the concept, and the glimpse of the airport with all the Frankenstein monster creatures shambling around in various stages of construction, with brains cobbled together from bits of people's brains, was super cool and scary.  But I thought the gimmick itself got tiresome very fast--there were glimpses of what was going on early on, but too much of that early space was spent on beating the dead horse joke further.
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Whaletale
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2014, 12:30:21 PM »

I enjoyed this flash series! I really enjoyed the visual of the ghosts silently standing around his guy all the time just looking at him with eyes full of disinterest, it was actually pretty creepy! The second story was deliciously messed up, I loved it!


Mallecho--I didn't feel like I really got what this story was trying to do. 


The town has a tradition of sacrificing a child to the lake monster in the middle of the woods. The protagonist survived his journey to the lake monster, but now his childhood friends and himself have grown up and sent their own children into the woods. He's waiting to find out whether his child was the sacrifice or not.
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lcolt1
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2014, 08:38:54 AM »

I enjoyed the diversity in the Community theme.
Unblinking and Whaletale - thanks for the comments on Penance! Glad you liked it.  Grin
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Thundercrack!
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2014, 07:39:42 AM »

All three stories were very good.

"Jack" was a bit gimmicky, but very inventive. For those of you who haven't listened to it on headphones, I suggest you give it a try: the impression that these voices are talking to you from inside your head is really, really powerful. Especially when the abdominal midbrain(s) started speaking in stereo. The only thing that I didn't like so much was the mechanical, radio-transmission-esque feel to some of the internal communications. That jarred with the otherwise strong sense of a purely organic, endocrinal mode of information exchange and suppression of individuality. But maybe that was deliberate. Perhaps Jack have a cyborgic basis? Actually, was there some subtle playing with the "generic mechanical device" and "everyman" meanings of the word "Jack" that I missed when listening to this? (At the time, I was thinking "hijack").

As the visceral punch of "Jack" wears off, it's "Mallecho" which I think I find the most compelling. The long set up -- the garden shed, the initials scored into the tree (generations of those who 'made it'), the rich and palpable and living family history -- really nicely, and convincingly, answered the question we'd otherwise ask upon reaching the reveal: why on earth would you stick around?
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2014, 09:03:14 AM »

The town has a tradition of sacrificing a child to the lake monster in the middle of the woods. The protagonist survived his journey to the lake monster, but now his childhood friends and himself have grown up and sent their own children into the woods. He's waiting to find out whether his child was the sacrifice or not.

Huh, I didn't get much of that from listening.  Maybe I wasn't in a listening kind of headspace, and disappeared in brainfog.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2014, 10:30:35 AM »

I love how this showcase evolves stylistically. We have a theme that is repeated but ages on each hop. We get a story that feels like a classic gothic, followed by something in the late century style that would be fitting of King, closed out by something post-modern.
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albionmoonlight
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2014, 12:46:02 PM »

Between Penance and Nightside Eye, I have a new appreciation for the horror of ghosts that just stare dumbly at you.

I wonder what happens when/if the Penance guy is driven mad by the ghosts and kills himself.  Does he get to get away from the ghosts?  Or does he just join them?
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2014, 07:57:50 AM »

Between Penance and Nightside Eye, I have a new appreciation for the horror of ghosts that just stare dumbly at you.

I wonder what happens when/if the Penance guy is driven mad by the ghosts and kills himself.  Does he get to get away from the ghosts?  Or does he just join them?

I'm guessing he just joins them!  Not sure whether he'd be aware of what he was doing, a backseat passenger for the ghostly body acting automatically, or if his mind would be oblivious, or altered so that he wanted to stand and stare.
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lcolt1
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2014, 12:19:32 PM »

Between Penance and Nightside Eye, I have a new appreciation for the horror of ghosts that just stare dumbly at you.

 Grin

I wonder what happens when/if the Penance guy is driven mad by the ghosts and kills himself.  Does he get to get away from the ghosts?  Or does he just join them?

Hmm... interesting thought. Depends, I guess, on just how far the witch wanted to take his punishment when she figured out that he had murdered his wife. Maybe he goes to the hell he was so afraid of, or maybe that is his hell.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 12:23:16 PM by lcolt1 » Logged
Aethrum
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2014, 11:05:54 PM »

The town has a tradition of sacrificing a child to the lake monster in the middle of the woods. The protagonist survived his journey to the lake monster, but now his childhood friends and himself have grown up and sent their own children into the woods. He's waiting to find out whether his child was the sacrifice or not.

Huh, I didn't get much of that from listening.  Maybe I wasn't in a listening kind of headspace, and disappeared in brainfog.

Two things came together when I wrote Mallecho.  I'd assumed the reference to Miching Mallecho in Hamlet was a person, but it turned out to be a middle English phrase meaning Miching: Skulking  and Mallecho: Evil-deed.  The other was the Winter King concept (alluded to in the story) from early celtic or pre-celtic traditions where - to  ensure the winter passed to spring - the King would have to be executed.  However, he could substitute his own life for that of a child.  Nice for the King, not so much for the child.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 11:08:33 PM by Aethrum » Logged
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