Author Topic: Pseudopod 497: Killer  (Read 2675 times)

Bdoomed

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on: July 02, 2016, 06:35:05 AM
Pseudopod 497: Killer

by Sean Ganus.

“Killer” is a PseudoPod Original. “Killer” is the second sequence of “The Murderer Cycle,” a loosely connected set of stories written to deconstruct the near-mythic portrayal of killers in modern horror.

Sean Ganus lives and work in Macon, Georgia. He’s a struggling writer and graduate student, currently working on his Master’s in School Psychology, though with any luck he’ll have wrapped that up by the time this story is released. He passes the time by working in a coffee shop. He’s previously written book reviews for the UK-based Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog, and he’s tremendously thankful to its founder Emma Audsley for giving him the opportunity to be a part of her amazing website. His only other published (or, rather, produced) work is the short story “Write Away,” featured on the October 24, 2014 episode of “Tales to Terrify.” He posts original writings on his blog, “Writing Myself Into a Hole,” at seanganus.wordpress.com, and run ongoing horror serials from his Twitter handle, @TweetTheHorror. He’s in the process of revising his first novel, and a small film company he runs with a close friend has just finished production on two independent horror films: “The Last Haunted House” and “The Rabbits.”

Your narrator is Jen R. Albert. Jennifer Albert is an entomologist, writer of science fiction and fantasy, gamer, and (in her own words) all around geek. She is co-editor at PodCastle and submissions editor at Uncanny.

Her first story appeared in Mad Scientist Journal in June 2015.



There’s a killer in my kitchen. I don’t know how long he’s been here, sitting in the dark. I didn’t notice him until I was already six steps inside, obliviously hitting the light and grabbing a pear from the basket by the stove. He’s sitting at the little wooden table I keep by the window. He looks like he’s waiting for dinner. His elbows hang over the edge and his hands rest on top of each other. One hand clenches the handle of a machete. The tool sports a fresh, gleaming edge. It was sharpened with obvious care. It’s wet and glistening in the fluorescent light.

He’s massive, so unbelievably *big*. He’s a heavy chunk of muscle and bone, tied off in a mechanic’s jumpsuit. Clumps of drying mud peel from his boots.

I know him. I mean…I know who he is. Velstrom. Robert Velstrom. Robby’s been dead and buried for thirteen years, but he’s sitting here now.





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?


bounceswoosh

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Reply #1 on: July 04, 2016, 10:09:51 PM
The thing about this story is that even though I knew it was horror, I still almost believed she would get away. Made the ending really painful (in the right way).



adrianh

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Reply #2 on: July 06, 2016, 09:33:18 AM
Well written, fantastically narrated, but as a story it didn't really work for me.

Possibly it's because it's personally preaching to the converted a little. I've never been a huge fan of slasher films in general for pretty much exactly the reasons that the outro discussed. The dehumanising nature of the bodycount-for-bodycount's-sake kind of film.

So while this tale did a fantastic job of humanising the generic female not-the-hero-is-obviously-going-to-die victim — it was still somebody dying for no good reason. The horror of that is just a little bit to meta for me to enjoy. It read more as genre critique than story to me.



SeanGanus

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Reply #3 on: July 09, 2016, 06:37:44 PM
Well written, fantastically narrated, but as a story it didn't really work for me.

Possibly it's because it's personally preaching to the converted a little. I've never been a huge fan of slasher films in general for pretty much exactly the reasons that the outro discussed. The dehumanising nature of the bodycount-for-bodycount's-sake kind of film.

So while this tale did a fantastic job of humanising the generic female not-the-hero-is-obviously-going-to-die victim — it was still somebody dying for no good reason. The horror of that is just a little bit to meta for me to enjoy. It read more as genre critique than story to me.

Well, it seemed important that I kill the main character. The meaninglessness of her death, from my POV anyway, was what brought the horror element to the story. I mean, I suppose the machete-wielding zombie did that fair enough, but that would've left me feeling lazy (lazier than I usually am, anyway).

Out of curiosity, is there an outcome you feel would have been a better direction for the story to take?



adrianh

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Reply #4 on: July 09, 2016, 07:48:46 PM

Well, it seemed important that I kill the main character. The meaninglessness of her death, from my POV anyway, was what brought the horror element to the story. I mean, I suppose the machete-wielding zombie did that fair enough, but that would've left me feeling lazy (lazier than I usually am, anyway).

Out of curiosity, is there an outcome you feel would have been a better direction for the story to take?

Oh I think that killing the lead was absolutely the right thing to do! I can't imagine the story going any other way. But the inevitability moved me more to sadness than horror.

Perhaps it is that I'm not a huge fan of the slasher genre. So putting the character into that context was a little bit of an cerebral exercise for me — when somebody more invested in that genre would have more viscerally understood the way you were playing with the tropes.

Or maybe maybe the story just hit me at the wrong time, and I needed a different kind of tale in that moment ;-)



SeanGanus

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Reply #5 on: July 09, 2016, 07:50:34 PM
Ohhhh, okay, I getcha! I appreciate your input!



Dwango

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Reply #6 on: July 13, 2016, 09:06:31 PM
If you think slasher films are bad, don't start playing video games.  In game playing, my avatars make Jason look like a rank amateur in the number of people I've shot, blown up, or cut in half.  The number of "bad guys" Nathan Drake kills is way over ridiculous, especially when suddenly an important character dies and it becomes a big deal after taking down 20 or so people, and that's an adventure story.

As for this story, I liked the way the story played out and saw that the ending was necessary.  The fantasy versus reality of the story with the creepy slasher was well done.  Now I'm gonna have to check behind every door tonight just thinking about it.




dagny

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Reply #7 on: July 17, 2016, 01:02:02 PM
I liked the way this story subverted the trope a lot. Excellent narration, too!

"Wolfman's got nards!"


Unblinking

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Reply #8 on: August 12, 2016, 05:44:06 PM
I used to like some slasher films but I've grown tired of them--each one seems too like the others (Cabin in the Woods on the other hand explains everything!).  I liked that it was playing with the tropes more than just following the straight formula, but it's still hard for me to get really invested in because of the form it follows being so (IMO) exhausted.