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Author Topic: Bonus Pseudopod Halloween Flash Episode: Jack And The Bad Man  (Read 2372 times)
Talia
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« on: November 02, 2014, 05:19:13 PM »

Bonus Pseudopod Halloween Flash Episode: Jack And The Bad Man

by Annie Neugebauer

A slightly different version of this story was first published in the October 2011 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree, accompanied by original artwork by Ken Lamug.

ANNIE NEUGEBAUER is a short story author and award-winning poet. She has work appearing in over forty venues, including Fireside, DarkFuse, Buzzy Mag, and the British Fantasy Society journal Dark Horizons. She’s an active member of the Horror Writers Association and a columnist for Writer Unboxed. She lives in Texas with her sweet husband and two diabolical cats. Her website and blog are at Annie Neugebauer.com and you can find her on Twitter at @AnnieNeugebauer.

Your reader this week is Rikki La Coste, who previously appeared reading The Suicide Witch and will be appearing here again very soon!


“Most of the year, Jack was a fine enough boy. He almost always remembered to put his dirty socks in the hamper instead of under the bed. He certainly never hid his mama’s darning needles – except for when she deserved it. And if he occasionally didn’t go to sleep right when he told his papa he would, it was only because he was too afraid of the dark to turn out his light – and who can sleep with the light on? He hauled hay, set the table, did his schoolwork sometimes. Most of the year, Jack was a fine enough boy.”


The Journey Into kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/763571195/edgar-allan-poe-meets-ken-scholes-a-journey-into-e/posts

The Ghostwoods Books Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/960264226/ghostwoods-books-our-2014-15-list-of-6-to-8-books

Halloween Parade music is “Ominousity” by Nick and Gerald, from MusicAlley.com.

Listen to this week’s Pseudopod
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adrianh
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 04:41:18 AM »

Cute. Feeling slow since it took me until the digging-out-your-insides bit to see what was coming ;-)
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albionmoonlight
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 12:16:49 PM »

Cute. Feeling slow since it took me until the digging-out-your-insides bit to see what was coming ;-)

Not just you.  I pretty much didn't get it until it was laid out for me.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2014, 09:37:37 AM »

I didn't get it until the actual reveal, talking about the stem of the hair.  Which is kind of fun, considering I started the story  assuming that Jack O' Lanterns were involved like in "We Clever Jacks".

It was cute, as long as I don't think about it too much. 

When I do think about it too much, I wonder at the message the story could be construed to send.  "If your parents abuse you into submission because you're being a destructive jerk, there's nothing to put that gleam back in your eye like a psychotic stranger hollowing out your gut so a candle can fit in there."  Wait, what?  If the whole point was to make a Rudyard Kipling-esque "this is how the jack o' lantern came to be", it seemed to have some weird extra steps that seem out of place.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2014, 12:05:17 PM »

horror story, just so...
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2014, 01:03:15 PM »

horror story, just so...

?  Is that a response to my comment about the message?  If so, it wasn't so much that the message was too dark, but that the message was confusing.  The ending seemed to imply that the story was a fable, but then the moral just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  The gleam in Jack's eye was supposed to be the thing that was snuffed out as a result of the abuse, I'm picking up what you're laying down there.  But that the gleam was put back in his eye by his mutilation at the hands of a violent psychopath... the metaphor of the eye-gleam breaks down completely here.  How does physical mutilation by a stranger heal psychological abuse by a parent? 

Again with the thinking too much.  But thinking too much is what I do! 
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2014, 03:15:03 PM »

Quote
If the whole point was to make a Rudyard Kipling-esque "this is how the jack o' lantern came to be"

The "Just So Stories" of Rudyard Kipling.  That's all.

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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2014, 08:15:24 AM »

Quote
If the whole point was to make a Rudyard Kipling-esque "this is how the jack o' lantern came to be"

The "Just So Stories" of Rudyard Kipling.  That's all.

I forgot that those were called Just So stories so totally missed that.  Smiley
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duckpuppy
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2014, 08:15:47 AM »

I think this may be the first year of the parade where I didn't really understand any of the items - I think I got the very first one, and I always get the Impala bit (but I haven't watched since season 5 ended, so none of the details made sense).  It makes me think I missed some important stuff in horror this past year...
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Fenrix
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2014, 11:46:48 AM »

This story had that cruel whimsy that creeps into a lot of Roald Dahl. I think this story should have fable-messages drawn directly from it as much as they should be drawn directly from Dahl.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2014, 01:15:00 PM »

This story had that cruel whimsy that creeps into a lot of Roald Dahl. I think this story should have fable-messages drawn directly from it as much as they should be drawn directly from Dahl.

Roald Dahl is not without fable messages.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is rife with them.  Charlie Bucket is an exemplar of "good" child behavior and he is rewarded handsomely for it--all the other children are personification of what Roald apparently saw as negative personality traits in children and the children suffer for their flaws.  Gluttony, brattiness, gum-chewing, TV-watching.

The Magic Finger strikes me as pretty message heavy as well.

I'm sure there are other examples, but those come to mind.

There are certainly counterexamples--George's Marvelous Medicine seems to encourage mixing up a medicinal cocktail of whatever you can find to poison your mean grandmother, and the story turns out pretty well for the kid, considering--the grandma gets the bad end of it for being a mean person, but George doesn't get anything bad for trying to poison her. 
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 01:17:46 PM by Unblinking » Logged
Fenrix
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« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2014, 01:35:24 PM »

This story had that cruel whimsy that creeps into a lot of Roald Dahl. I think this story should have fable-messages drawn directly from it as much as they should be drawn directly from Dahl.

Roald Dahl is not without fable messages.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is rife with them.  Charlie Bucket is an exemplar of "good" child behavior and he is rewarded handsomely for it--all the other children are personification of what Roald apparently saw as negative personality traits in children and the children suffer for their flaws.  Gluttony, brattiness, gum-chewing, TV-watching.

The Magic Finger strikes me as pretty message heavy as well.

I'm sure there are other examples, but those come to mind.


Willy Wonka is a sadistic sociopath. This is even more clear when you read THE GLASS ELEVATOR.

I will grant that there are some good fable lessons in Dahl, but these should be tempered with unproductive of bad lessons. I'll toss THE WITCHES and GEORGE'S MARVELOUS MEDICINE into the ring. THE WITCHES seems to be a mechanism for Dahl to torment parents by providing misleading information and glorify bad behavior. Women are to be viewed with suspicion and fear. MEDICINE teaches you that if you don't like your grandmother, feed her a mixture of household cleaners, paint, and antifreeze and she'll disappear.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2014, 01:56:57 PM »

Willy Wonka is a sadistic sociopath. This is even more clear when you read THE GLASS ELEVATOR.

Even in The Chocolate Factory there are strong hints about his nature.  Even though the kids are annoying and bratty his factory seems to be specifically designed as a trap to separate out the bad kids and punish them which is horror territory right there.  Add to that ideas that he just casually tosses out there like the fact that there are supposed to be two elevators that are running on the same track in opposite directions and maybe at any given moment they'll crash and destroy each other--I'm guessing that this isn't actually the case, and it never happens in the story, but he plants the idea in Charlie's head anyway just to mess with him.

But Wonka being a sadistic sociopath doesn't mean that the story doesn't have fable messages.  

(And I edited in an additional comment about George's Marvelous Medicine cross-posted with your reply too)



Anyway, my point is that, because the story had a fable-like structure I felt like I needed to grasp for the moral of it.  Even if there is meant to be no meaningful moral, the structure of the story opens itself to that criticism, IMO.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 01:58:43 PM by Unblinking » Logged
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