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Author Topic: Pseudopod 405: A Fine Sacrifice  (Read 3115 times)

Bdoomed

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on: September 29, 2014, 12:20:55 PM
Pseudopod 405: A Fine Sacrifice

by Steve Vernon.

“A Fine Sacrifice” was originally published in chapbook format and is VERY hard to find. It was reprinted in the collection DO-OVERS AND DETOURS, published in 2010 by Dark Regions Press. You can pick up a copy of the collection on Kindle for a mere 99 cents here. As for the story: “I would like you to think about the sound of a baseball bat swinging for home. That hard clocking sound that a well-swung piece of Northern white ash makes as it impacts upon horsehide – or something else.”

STEVE VERNON has had stories appear in The Horror Show, Cemetery Dance, Flesh and Blood, Chthulhu Sex, Karl Edward Wagner’s YEAR’S BEST HORROR, HOT BLOOD XIII and many other anthologies, magazines and the occasional men’s room wall. Keep up with Steve Vernon’s writing at his blog YOURS IN STORYTELLING.

Your reader this week is James Silverstein, who was born and grew up just outside of Chicago and has been writing fiction since the age of 9, the day he was given his first typewriter (and ‘Dragonman’, the draconic superhero was born!). He has been involved in theater from the same age, including some professional Shakespeare in the 90’s and now does community theater). He has written for various role playing games, including 7th Sea, Stargate, and, most recently, Cairn. He is working with Dave Robison on his SHATTERED WORLDS project, and Antimatter Press on his own novel; NECROPOLIS, a hard-boiled private eye tale with the undead..

Philip Roberts THE FORTIS HASTATUS Kickstarter project can be accessed here.

M.F. Wahl’s DISEASE can be pre-ordered here.



“‘That the best you can do?’ He asked gamely.

Will took a swallow of beer, his eyes never leaving Sam’s.

‘Best he can do,’ Will said, nodding derisively towards Artie.

Artie just shrugged. He was technically the better pitcher, but it was an honest fact that he couldn’t match Will for sheer power.

Will stared up at the sun as if it were a clock.

‘You’re late,’ He said in Sam’s direction.

Sam looked up at the sun. It just looked like a ball of burning gas to him. He wondered if Will could really tell the time by the sun, or if it were all for show. With Will you never quite knew for sure. That was part of his magic.

Will grinned, and it made him look mean. He had a face like a ring seasoned boxer. His eyes looked like hard narrow gun sights. He always reminded Sam of a surly Robert Mitchum. He claimed to have been a Navy Seal as a young man, and although both Sam and Artie couldn’t swim a stroke, neither dared to say differently.

You just never could tell with Will.”






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?


zoanon

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Reply #1 on: September 29, 2014, 05:35:59 PM
yea I don't get it.
nor did I like it.



Unblinking

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Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 01:36:19 PM
I didn't like it. 

It reminded me in many of its details of American McCarthyism propoganda, especially the Red Scare. 
i.e. People who look just like us are undermining our wholesome American society.  At first you'll think them just ordinary Americans, but as you get to know them there will be signs.  It is in your best interests and it is also your God-given duty to watch for any signs of deviations from the normal and REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY before the worst happens..  Does your neighbor talk to your children about politics?  REPORT IT!  Does your neighbor have a slight accent that only comes out when he's drunk?  REPORT IT!  Does your neighbor man wear pink shirts?  REPORT IT!

This felt like part 1 of those propoganda tales, before we get to the part about reporting it so that Joe Communist won't make you kill your wife.  I found it entirely unconvincing as anything but recalling the darkness of propoganda which I don't think the story was actually trying to call to mind.



CrazyIvan

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Reply #3 on: October 06, 2014, 09:43:40 PM
yea I don't get it.
nor did I like it.


As the reader, might I ask what you didn't like about it? Constructive feedback is welcome.

(And I'm not ignoring your post, Unblinking- it seems your dislike comes from the content of the story though, which, obviously, I don't have specific control over.)



Unblinking

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Reply #4 on: October 07, 2014, 03:16:01 AM
As the reader, might I ask what you didn't like about it? Constructive feedback is welcome.

(And I'm not ignoring your post, Unblinking- it seems your dislike comes from the content of the story though, which, obviously, I don't have specific control over.)

No worries.  No complaints or qualms about the reading.  Very nicely done. :)



davidthygod

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Reply #5 on: October 07, 2014, 06:17:20 PM
Definitely not my favorite story, but I did find it plenty disturbing (especially the interplay with the kids).  Its all about power and control and group think.  In some very loose ways, it was a similar plotline to The Screwfly Solution (not comparing quality, but related plots).    My biggest critique here is just that I never felt the motivation of why anyone was doing anything.  Why do they hate women?  What's Will's issue?  Who is the girl Sam is supposed to "deal with", and why (daughter? new lover? maybe I missed it?).  Minimalism is great, but this one could have used a little more back story.

Production quality was definitely good, and the reader did a great job.

The man is clear in his mind, but his soul is mad.


Unblinking

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Reply #6 on: October 07, 2014, 10:36:23 PM
Definitely not my favorite story, but I did find it plenty disturbing (especially the interplay with the kids).  Its all about power and control and group think.  In some very loose ways, it was a similar plotline to The Screwfly Solution (not comparing quality, but related plots).    My biggest critique here is just that I never felt the motivation of why anyone was doing anything.  Why do they hate women?  What's Will's issue?  Who is the girl Sam is supposed to "deal with", and why (daughter? new lover? maybe I missed it?).  Minimalism is great, but this one could have used a little more back story.

Production quality was definitely good, and the reader did a great job.

I think the target was his wife, right?



bounceswoosh

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Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014, 08:45:53 PM
Definitely not my favorite story, but I did find it plenty disturbing (especially the interplay with the kids).  Its all about power and control and group think.  In some very loose ways, it was a similar plotline to The Screwfly Solution (not comparing quality, but related plots).    My biggest critique here is just that I never felt the motivation of why anyone was doing anything.  Why do they hate women?  What's Will's issue?  Who is the girl Sam is supposed to "deal with", and why (daughter? new lover? maybe I missed it?).  Minimalism is great, but this one could have used a little more back story.

Production quality was definitely good, and the reader did a great job.

I think the target was his wife, right?

At the very least, his kid's mother, yeah.



albionmoonlight

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Reply #8 on: October 20, 2014, 03:33:47 PM
I liked it.  It was a bit exaggerated, but I thought that it was a good exploration of the horror of conformity.  Artie was an interesting character--he did not like what was going on, but he also was part of what was going on.  We see that every day with people on a smaller scale.

And the use of the men's love of their kids as leverage was another exaggerated-but-realistic bit of horror.

I do not get the sense that the author was trying to make a grand point here.  Just taking a couple of potentially horrific things like the celebration of hyper-masculinity and the dangers of conformity, turning them up to 11, and seeing where the story goes.