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Author Topic: Pseudopod 433: 20 Simple Steps To Ventriloquism  (Read 10523 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: April 11, 2015, 02:32:51 PM »

Pseudopod 433: 20 Simple Steps To Ventriloquism

by Jon Padgett

“20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism” first appeared in the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award winning anthology, THE GRIMSCRIBE PUPPETS. “When I was a child, my first ventriloquist dummy came with a pamphlet entitled “7 SIMPLE STEPS TO VENTRILOQUISM.” Though the following ventriloquist story went through a tremendous number of transmutations from its inception two decades ago (when it was first conceived), that pamphlet from my past proved to be the key to what “20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism” would finally become. Practice the first seven steps enough, and you may one day be able to throw your voice with the best of the showbiz ventriloquists out there. Practice the rest of the steps at your own risk.”

JON PADGETT – your author AND reader – is the creator and long time administrator of the Thomas Ligotti Online website, and — as such — has been the first publisher for a number of Ligotti’s prose works over the years, including MY WORK IS NOT YET DONE and CRAMPTON. He has work forthcoming in “Lovecraft eZine” and “XNOYBIS“. Padgett’s chapbook, THE INFUSORIUM & his first short story collection, THE SECRET OF VENTRILOQUISM are forthcoming from Dunhams Manor Press. Padgett is a professional — though lapsed — ventriloquist who lives in New Orleans with his spouse, daughter, two cats, and dog. Padgett is also a professional voice-over artist with over thirty-seven years of theater and twenty years of audio narration experience who recently produced Occult .45: Four Tales of Gunrunning in the Weird West by Nick Carcano and is in the midst of producing an audiobook version of A.R. Morlan‘s novel, Dark Journey: A Novel of Horror. Padgett also has produced some notable amateur audio performance efforts, such as “The Bungalow House” by Thomas Ligotti and “Silent Snow, Secret Snow” by Conrad Aiken.

All needle drops and run-out grooves in this audio production are derived from the carefully curated sample collection of ye olde editor Shawn M. Garrett… who always knew they would come in handy someday

This is the link for the Faculty of Horror podcast.

Steven Saus’ Pseudopod Story The Burning Servant is at the link under the name (natch) and his twitter account is as well.

JR Blackwell’s Author Portrait Kickstarter can be found here and his twitter feed is here.



“Being a ventriloquist is a lot of fun. Anyone from eight to eighty can learn the basic techniques of this craft with a little practice. If you really want to know about ventriloquism and what it can do for you, just follow these 20 easy steps, and one day you’ll find out just how much fun a ventriloquist can have.

STEP 1

“How to hold your mouth”

Always practice in front of a mirror. Close your mouth in a natural, relaxed way and part your lips slightly. Stare at your mouth closely in this position until you can see nothing else, as if your mouth were hovering in the midst of nothingness.”




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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Shawn Mann
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2015, 04:07:02 PM »

My insomnia has been flaring-up recently and this recording hasn't aided in my quest for slumber. I forgot just how unsettling this story is. This recording is like one of those guided meditation CDs--one leading into a deeper sense of inner understanding, towards a truth greater than I can bear to know. This story has lodged itself into my psyche since I first read it, like an irritative granule of sand forming itself into a sickly pearl of self-knowledge: that we are all, despite our contrived appearances and self-imposed assurances to the contrary, both subjects and practitioners of ventriloquism in some form or another, with the dark hand of some unknowable force slipped into our backs. I've been awaiting this recording for some time and I want to thank you sincerely for it, insomnia be damned. Personally, I think this deserves a Parsec Award.

Jon also has a new book, The Infusorium, being released by Dunhams Manor Press. There are only 7 copies left right now, so I would suggest that any interested parties secure a copy as quickly as possible.
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Tim Tylor
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2015, 05:50:26 PM »

Between this and the coming apotheosis of the Deep Balloon-Benders, humanity is facing some serious wet weekends.  Wink A neatly nasty little guided trip from home to hell, and the staticky-recording narration was a beautiful touch.

I'm seeing this as the reverse of the standard "bad dummy" ventriloquist horror trope (Dead Of Night / Magic et and c). Standard trope's about an inanimate object being raised to some sort of life and personhood; a profoundly creative act, even if it ends in tears and other spilled fluids. Whereas Greater+ Ventriloquism is grimly, gleefully destructive and all about the denial of personhood, life, identity, volition...
« Last Edit: April 11, 2015, 06:02:59 PM by Tim Tylor » Logged
Arthur Staaz
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2015, 10:16:22 PM »

I thought this story was great in The Grimscribe's Puppets. But Jon's reading of it was absolutely amazing. It was hypnotic. And I'm not sure that's a compliment, as I contemplated the trifles around me and the trifle in the mirror. There is some real necromancy in this story and a lesson in the pacing of weird fiction. I agree with Shawn Mann's comment - I was reminded of a guided meditation. The story also subtly leads the listener to questions about the nature of consciousness and the question of free will. A lot of food for thought is provided in a short time and in a most entertaining manner.
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Aktraylor
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2015, 10:26:55 PM »

My favorite so far!  Keep up the great work!
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FullMetalAttorney
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2015, 01:09:54 AM »

When I started this episode, I got the sense that it was going to be only mildly interesting and not really horrifying in any way. By the end, I'd completely changed my mind. Very nice, and the reading really elevated it. Top-notch work there.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2015, 08:46:42 AM »

Glad we could underwhelm your expectations, FullMetalAttorney!
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PilotFish
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2015, 02:38:31 PM »

I've been a dedicated Pseudopod fan since 2008, and exemplary stories like this are one reason I listen every week. It's time for me to stop lurking and contribute to this forum. 20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism is a crescendo of horror. At first subtly unnerving, each step pushes the story further into the realm of delicious terror. It's a unique experience and, I might add, an educational step-by-step guide to greater ventriloquism.

Oh, and the narration work here is fantastic. Jon's reading complements the story and demonstrates how powerful spoken horror can be.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2015, 06:44:23 PM »

I love it when lurkers de-lurk and I count no less than four for this extraordinary episode Smiley Welcome folks! Great to have you aboard.
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Aaronvlek
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2015, 10:06:12 PM »

Amazing! I have only been on board Pseudopod for the last couple of months. You really have a great pack of stories. But whoever is pairing killer pro voices with the exact accents and the precise and perfect intonation appropriate to each individual story is GENIUS! I think my household needs to subscribe.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2015, 02:50:34 AM »

But whoever is pairing killer pro voices with the exact accents and the precise and perfect intonation appropriate to each individual story is GENIUS!

That would be our genius editor, Shawn Garrett. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2015, 07:22:27 AM »

Excellent reading + excellent story = excellence ;-)
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Aaronvlek
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2015, 01:25:36 PM »

Kudos to Shawn Garrett! It really makes it a whole new medium.
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2015, 01:58:31 PM »

I think someone must have mixed grumpy pills into my morning vitamins because it seems like I'm disliking more stories than usual lately, even though everyone else seems to be loving them.  I'm generally having a crappy month overall, so it might just be that.

I loved the reader on this one, but I thought it took way too long to get past the regular ventriloquism, and it ended up going pretty much where I expected from the beginning--which can be fine if it's otherwise engaging, but to me it wasn't all that much.  :/
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Scratch
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2015, 07:49:26 PM »

I must confess that this episode is my first visit to Pseudopod, but what an impression it has made upon me!

Padgett's reading of his story "20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism" was absolutely unnerving,  and as I had the coincidental misfortune of standing near a mirror by the end of the tale, I was left haunted long after the story ended. Learning that the author is a lapsed ventriloquist himself and that the story is modeled as a real instruction manual blurs the boundary of fiction and stirs it into a performance that I'd pay to hear read live by the author and his dummy.

If this high quality story/reading/recording can be expected from your podcasts, I look forward to visiting your site again. Thanks for making this available and great work to all involved!
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pboyton
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« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2015, 10:16:23 PM »

This was my favorite story from the Grimscribe's Puppets collection and it's great hearing it read aloud by Padgett. The second-person narrative is really enhanced here. Looking forward to reading - and hearing - more from this author. Excellent stuff!
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« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2015, 11:45:40 AM »

Oh!  The mirror thing!  I forgot to mention that.

When I was in college, I got in a conversation with someone who claimed that if you maintain eye contact long enough with someone you could basically read their mind as long as they weren't actively walling you out.
 
After the conversation I tried it in a mirror.  It took about five minutes, but suddenly my perception of the situation took a sharp and scary turn.  Instead of me being someone mildly bored and making eye contact with his reflection, suddenly my perception shifted and I felt the distinct impressiont that this person knew something he wasn't telling me, and it was not a good thing, it was a dark thing, and there was mischief in his eyes.  I'm guessing there's something up in the brain that, if you can force out of alignment by doing this exercise.  If I remember correctly there's a part of the brain responsible for locating your sense of self and if this area is stimulated in a certain way you can perceive yourself outside of your own body, making a doppelganger perception.  I wonder if doing this tweaks that part of the brain.  I don't actually think there's an evil version of myself living in a mirror and biding its time until I open the gateway and it can swap with me and then do horrible things while wearing my face.

But it's been 15 years and I have not repeated this experiment again either because it was scary as hell.
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bmroz
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« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2015, 11:52:34 AM »

This story has haunted me since I first read it -- the prose rolls out like a tongue, first flirting and caressing and then insisting and lapping all the air out of your lungs and by the time you distinguish your absence of breath as the inability to scream you're already half eaten. Hearing it read makes it worse (better). Jon has such a warm, welcoming tone to his voice that he never wholly loses even when the Master Ventriloquist starts speaking more plainly from within. It's a very unsettling, very neat trick. And that last line is one of my favourites in fiction.

Sorry for the lurk-and-blurt. Very cool podcast.
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« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2015, 06:44:38 PM »

We have no problem with lurk-and-blurt Smiley Even better if you stay around. Thanks for your comments folks.
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Asymptotic Binary
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« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2015, 10:58:38 AM »

I've listen to this twice now, and it only gets more effective on the second listen. The steady escalation of ever more disturbing imagery, the careful re-use of certain words and phrases - I'll probably be suppressing a shudder on seeing the word "trifle" for a bit yet.
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dixbam
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« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2015, 06:58:35 AM »

This is a tremendous story, tremendously read. It is terrifying. Thank you so much for sharing it.
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Jon Padgett
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« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2015, 09:18:13 AM »

Many thanks to all of you for listening (and responding) to "20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism."  It was a beast to write, but I'm finally satisfied with it and am gratified that listeners/readers have consumed the thing and--for the most part--enjoyed it.

As a writer who has written almost completely in private for decades and whose work was previously seen by only a handful of people, this thread has been immensely invigorating and encouraging.  Again, my deepest thanks to you all.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 04:00:18 PM by Jon Padgett » Logged
Chairman Goodchild
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« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2015, 08:21:52 AM »

My insomnia has been flaring-up recently and this recording hasn't aided in my quest for slumber. I forgot just how unsettling this story is.

I've been very pleased with the stories that Pseudopod has been airing as of late, and some of them have been completely excellent and hit the top of the bar.  This is definitely one of them. 
I have to admit that I wasn't the fastest catching on at first to the fact that the static was intentional in this episode.  It took a bit to sink in.  Anyway, great job on the vocal work.  And, I have to confess, I don't know who the slush reader is for Pseudopod, but that person has been gathering some gems. 

I don't know what to say about this episode that hasn't been said before, but there's a great sense of progression here from the mundane to the terrifying, told in simple steps.  And it's very well constructed, and that's part of its brilliance to me.  It's hard to point out the exact moment that the story steps out onto the void.  Certainly, step 8 (I believe) was the breaking point, but the story still seems grounded past that point as a natural progression of what came before, and combining that with the foreshadowing in steps 1-7 really blurs the the boundaries quite well. 

A very well constructed story, read with great skill and with top-notch production values.  This is already going to be on my shortlist for voting for year's best. 
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2015, 09:36:06 AM »

Quote
And, I have to confess, I don't know who the slush reader is for Pseudopod, but that person has been gathering some gems.

Actually, there are 7 slushers filtering out fictional "pure water" to my "read" box and they are some of the hardest working people I know (while all genres have their specific "painful failings", one might reasonably expect that - given its general subject matter - the "painful failings" of submissions in the horror genre are more likely to be cumulatively deleterious to the slush reader).

We have a rather kooky system in place for assigning slush involving the alphabet, so while I can't be *exactly* sure who passed it through to me, odds are likely that the fact that the title starts with a numeral (see, kooky, like I said...) means it was Joe Fitzpatrick who deserves the accolades.

Glad you liked it - this Friday shifts things around again to different types of/approaches to horror, now that "Ligotti-fest" has played out and limped its tattered self back into the shadows...
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« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2015, 09:10:51 AM »

Actually, there are 7 slushers filtering out fictional "pure water" to my "read" box and they are some of the hardest working people I know (while all genres have their specific "painful failings", one might reasonably expect that - given its general subject matter - the "painful failings" of submissions in the horror genre are more likely to be cumulatively deleterious to the slush reader).

Yes, that is surely true.  I've done slushreading for 4 publications, and the Drabblecast was the roughest to read because they asked for the weird and gross and horror.  About half the stories were about serial killers (I don't have a blanket dislike of serial killer stories but it was rare to see anything compelling done with one) or about a person killing their spouse or kids, and some just made me want to scrub the memory out of my brain with steel wool.  Yet what Drabblecast actually publishes is one of my favorite set of works--amazing the work that goes into that process.
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Jon Padgett
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« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2015, 10:15:56 AM »

Just wanted to share this with PSEUDOPOD and the listeners who enjoyed my story:

The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett.
Coming in 2016 from Dunhams Manor Press. 300 copies (200 hardback / 100 paperback). Cover and interior art by Dave Felton.
Introduction by Thomas Ligotti.

I don't have much to add to this.

Literary legend Thomas Ligotti will indeed be writing the Introduction to my first short story collection.

To say that I'm honored and thrilled would be an understatement. I'm also more than a little intimidated, but I'll do my very best not to disappoint Ligotti or the book's readers.

Thanks again for your kind and insightful responses.
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« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2015, 04:15:29 PM »

Just wanted to share this with PSEUDOPOD and the listeners who enjoyed my story:

The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett.
Coming in 2016 from Dunhams Manor Press. 300 copies (200 hardback / 100 paperback). Cover and interior art by Dave Felton.
Introduction by Thomas Ligotti.

I don't have much to add to this.

Literary legend Thomas Ligotti will indeed be writing the Introduction to my first short story collection.

To say that I'm honored and thrilled would be an understatement. I'm also more than a little intimidated, but I'll do my very best not to disappoint Ligotti or the book's readers.

Thanks again for your kind and insightful responses.

Wow!  Congrats!  No pressure, right?  Smiley
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kibitzer
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« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2015, 06:03:06 PM »

Gratz Jon, that's pretty damn awesome!!
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The Snee
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« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2015, 05:30:33 AM »

Hello, I'm de-lurking on this one too.

I just listened to this in the car this morning. Absolutely chilling in the best possible way. The bait-and-switch on the type of horror we are seeing here was great, and the gradual escalation of weirdness crossed lines again and again, all the while assuring me it was normal. So many things had layered at the end that I was not sure which part was the worst; the body horror, the raw nihilism, the "there all along" factor, or the fact that all these things are presented as desirable. Excellent work.

Between this, The Blistering, and The Screwfly Solution, I am easily convinced to throw in and support the podcast. It's been darkening up my commutes for a while now.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2015, 05:52:05 PM »

Nice to have you aboard, Snee! Thanks for stopping by.
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« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2015, 08:47:20 PM »

Absolutely knocked this one out of the park. Lately, each episode has been better than the previous. Jon's story was fantastic, but absolutely enhanced by his calm, even, "Mr. Rogers" narration. One of my favorite episodes in a long, long time.

Quote
seems like I'm disliking more stories than usual lately

It seems Unblinking has gone crazy...

Quote
I don't actually think there's an evil version of myself living in a mirror and biding its time until I open the gateway and it can swap with me and then do horrible things while wearing my face.

...oh, well I guess he cleared that up. Not crazy after all!  Tongue
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« Reply #31 on: May 06, 2015, 08:58:39 AM »

Quote
I don't actually think there's an evil version of myself living in a mirror and biding its time until I open the gateway and it can swap with me and then do horrible things while wearing my face.

...oh, well I guess he cleared that up. Not crazy after all!  Tongue

I'm so glad I could put your mind at ease, Shane!  I think that if we would all start every conversation with a statement of "I am not insane" that would help us all get along better.  Then no one has to wonder.
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« Reply #32 on: May 06, 2015, 09:05:39 AM »

One should start every conversation with the statement, "I don't actually think there's an evil version of myself living in a mirror and biding its time until I open the gateway and it can swap with me and then do horrible things while wearing my face."

Then, no one has to wonder.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #33 on: May 06, 2015, 10:27:29 AM »

Do you read Sutter Cane?
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I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
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« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2015, 12:21:09 PM »

One should start every conversation with the statement, "I don't actually think there's an evil version of myself living in a mirror and biding its time until I open the gateway and it can swap with me and then do horrible things while wearing my face."

Then, no one has to wonder.

I'm game.  I'm assuming that this should come even before "Hello"?  Otherwise, as we're each saying "Hello" for that interminable half-second I'm only going to be anticipating what the other person will say next and tensing myself to run if they don't say what is naturally expected of any sane individual.
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« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2015, 12:27:03 PM »

Do you read Sutter Cane?

I do not, but sometimes I wonder if my mirror-double does.  

Sometimes I wake up in strange places with one of his books in my hand.

There is a character in a Sutter Cane novel with my exact name and description.

I've never heard of him.
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Metalsludge
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« Reply #36 on: May 11, 2015, 06:30:44 PM »

Nice to hear a story that finally has clear and faith affirming statements about the existence of a higher power and how it affects all our lives.  Cheesy

Seriously though, it's an impressive thing to pull off horror that feels new in dealing with the familiar theme of ventriloquism. I was annoyed at the static sound at first, until I realized it indicated an old recording of instructions, and then it all fit together wonderfully. As others have noted, the mirror sequences were quite creepy.

Coincidentally, just recently finished reading an article about how exercises while observing one's self in a mirror have been very helpful to people with certain neurological problems, as it's a way to perceive the connections between the brain and the working of one's limbs such that that very perception can straighten out confused nerve impulses. I won't be looking at any mirrors while in the dark for a while though after hearing this story.   

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« Reply #37 on: May 27, 2015, 05:23:33 PM »

I hate the fact that I understand just enough to see the strings. Clamping down the reactive behaviors drives just me, mad as hell, yet going with the pull that is ever so delayed gives me perverse pleasure. Yank the string from the subconscious. Better to gain the respect of the collective unconscious puppeteer than its apathy.
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Moritz
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« Reply #38 on: September 13, 2015, 08:08:39 AM »

I am still catching up with some Pseodopod stories... this one was sooo creepy, I had to stop twice. I was so afraid of some subliminal messages/ dummy laughing/ screams in that static sound (especially because it's kind of foreshadowed) that I listened to the last half with only one headphone and the sound turned down. It didn't help that I listened to most of the story while hanging up the clothes in that scary attic of ours that is connected via an unlocked door to the neighbouring, empty (or is it?) house.
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South of No North
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« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2015, 11:09:02 PM »

I'm not insane.
I know the man in the mirror isn't waiting to come thru to take over and do things wearing my face, because I beat him (Just not sure which side of the mirror I landed on)

I've been a lurker for a while. Thuroughly enjoying the stories and Alasdair's intro/outros but not having an account. I got an account so I could enter the Flash contest and this has allowed me to now acknowledge the great work all around that is done here.
This story was nicely creepy, a crawling threat that is larger than anything one can comprehend and will probably destroy you even if you become a part of it

I did like how the early steps had example sentences that were just a little off, but not anything too loud about it. "Melting the wino"(not exactly right) I caught it and thought of" the tephen King story where a character thought he saw the cop car decal read "To pummel and sever." Instead of protect and serve, but Nah, prolly meant nothing.
Just well written disturbing fun, well read.






I did like how the early steps had example sentences that were just a little off, but not anything too loud about it. "Melting the wino"(not exactly right) I caught it and thought of" the Stephen King story where a character thought he noticed the cop car decal read
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"Yes, of course I can blame you. Without them, where would all of us outlaws be? What would we have? Only a lawless paradise...and paradise is a bore. Violence without violation is only noise heard by no one, the most horrendous sound in the universe." --The Chymist by Thomas Ligotti
Ryan H
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« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2015, 12:12:58 PM »

Not much to add except my mind has returned time and again to the repeated phrasing in this story, and the way that it's used innocuously (or even nonsensically) at first only to become horrific later, i.e.: the rummy dummy, the sound of a plane. Excellent.

Congrats on the book (and the Thomas Ligotti intro!!!!), I'll be picking up a copy.
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ciristhan
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« Reply #41 on: October 15, 2015, 05:56:54 PM »

This is the most unsettling story I have had the privilege of listening to in a very, very long time. Eagerly awaiting Jon Padgett's book!
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« Reply #42 on: November 07, 2015, 12:01:55 AM »

Congratulations Jon!

And this story was the reason I created my forum account. I've commented elsewhere first, but I noticed that the author/reader commented here before I did, and I became intimidated (Eep!)

However, it would be a shame if I didn't say  how much I absolutely LOVE this podcast. This has got to be my favorite Pseudopod ep of 2015, very possibly of all time, and I've listened to all of them, even the late and great Eugie Foster's. I love her work, but what the author/reader has created here is a bonafied miracle of story+narration synergy. The story is FANTASTIC, very slowly edging into creepy and finally bursting into it full-force, and it's made even more terrifying by the masterful narration. I can't say enough good things about this story. I have listened to it, by my ipod's count, 53 times so far. When I can't sleep, I listen to this podcast. That means I'm usually awake for another 40  minutes, but after it's over, I sleep like the dead. The story is perfect, and I can easily believe that the author has taken so  many years to get it to this point. I wouldn't change a single word. Or a single nuance of the reading. Beautifully done in every aspect.

I want the author to know that I am incomparably moved. I've read King since I was 10, Straub since I was 12, everyone else starting at 14, and never have I found a piece that resonates so strongly with me. This is amazing work, and it deserves every piece of good reviews that it's gotten from any source. I really hope you're proud of it, because you deserve to be Smiley

/gushing
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 02:17:58 AM by katcopter » Logged
Jon Padgett
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« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2016, 12:46:01 PM »

I wanted to keep you all in the loop about my short story collection, The Secret of Ventriloquism, which at long last will be released next month.  "20 Simple Steps" is, of course, included and acts sort of as the hub that the rest of the pieces revolve around.

The cover art by Dave Felton was just completed (with typesetting and layout by Anna Trueman):



Lastly, I wanted to thank Pseudopod and you listeners for your encouragement, kind words and constructive feedback since Episode 433 was released.  The collection very well may not have happened without you.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2016, 05:37:34 PM »

The cover art is fabulous!
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dagny
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« Reply #45 on: September 09, 2016, 06:08:31 AM »

I wanted to keep you all in the loop about my short story collection, The Secret of Ventriloquism, which at long last will be released next month.  "20 Simple Steps" is, of course, included and acts sort of as the hub that the rest of the pieces revolve around.

The cover art by Dave Felton was just completed (with typesetting and layout by Anna Trueman):



Lastly, I wanted to thank Pseudopod and you listeners for your encouragement, kind words and constructive feedback since Episode 433 was released.  The collection very well may not have happened without you.

Yay!

The cover art is fabulous!

If by "fabulous" you mean "will haunt me in my sleep," I feel the same way! Smiley
« Last Edit: September 20, 2016, 06:06:27 AM by dagny » Logged

"Wolfman's got nards!"
Jon Padgett
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« Reply #46 on: September 19, 2016, 02:52:54 PM »

"Padgett... proves with his stunning  debut collection [to be] a worthy successor to the master [Thomas  Ligotti]. There's no gristle, no bone, no dilly-dallying here: only pure  meat whose terrors seamlessly grow into the metaphysical... this volume  is jam-packed with the stuff that nightmares are made of."
- Dejan  Ognjanovic, Rue Morgue Magazine

"...a voice that lodges in the reader’s mind with colossal force and intensity, marking... this book as unforgettable."
 - Matt Cardin, from the Introduction

"The Secret of Ventriloquism is horror with a capital H. Some of  Padgett's lines raised the hair on my neck."  
-Laird Barron, author of  Swift to Chase

Limited Edition Hardcover
150 copies
Cover and interior art by Dave Felton

With themes reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ligotti, and Bruno  Shulz, but with a strikingly unique vision, Jon Padgett's The Secret of  Ventriloquism heralds the arrival of a significant new literary talent.  Padgett’s work explores the mystery of human suffering, the agony of  personal existence, and the ghastly means by which someone might achieve  salvation from both. A bullied child who seeks vengeance within a bed’s  hollow box spring; a lucid dreamer haunted by an impossible house; a  dummy that reveals its own anatomy in 20 simple steps; a stuttering  librarian who holds the key to a mill town's unspeakable secrets; a  commuter whose worldview is shattered by two words printed on a  cardboard sign; an aspiring ventriloquist who spends a little too much  time looking at himself in a mirror.  And the presence that speaks  through them all.

Contents:
Introduction by Matt Cardin
The Mindfulness of Horror Practice
Murmurs of a Voice Foreknown
The Indoor Swamp
Origami Dreams
20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism
Infusorium
Organ Void
The Secret of Ventriloquism

Ships in October.

Click here to Pre-Order.

Only 67 of 150 copies are available as of this post.

Thanks, everyone!
« Last Edit: September 19, 2016, 05:08:54 PM by kibitzer » Logged
dagny
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« Reply #47 on: September 19, 2016, 05:51:09 PM »

This is still the only Pseudopod story my husband, an avid horror fan (and not in any way a scaredy-cat), has ever told me to turn off because it was scaring him too badly. Smiley
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #48 on: September 19, 2016, 10:55:20 PM »

totally pre-ordered Smiley
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davidthygod
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« Reply #49 on: September 20, 2016, 10:43:10 AM »

I am really happy to see this story still drawing interest.  I judge stories in a large way by how they stick with you after reading, and I still remember this one vividly months later.  Great storytelling, great narration, weird and unsettling premise.  This is good horror.
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« Reply #50 on: September 22, 2016, 09:04:48 PM »


Been keeping my EYE out for this coming out for a while.

After seeing that cover no more delay could be allowed.

Pre-order placed. Now I watch the mail.

Congratulations Jon, I am looking forward to reading more of your creepy tales, and at my finger tips at any time of night!
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"Yes, of course I can blame you. Without them, where would all of us outlaws be? What would we have? Only a lawless paradise...and paradise is a bore. Violence without violation is only noise heard by no one, the most horrendous sound in the universe." --The Chymist by Thomas Ligotti
JessyHere
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« Reply #51 on: February 04, 2017, 10:09:12 AM »

I just want to say, out of all the Pseudopod episodes I have listened to this one has stuck with me the longest.  When I first listened to it, I made all my friends listen too.  We still talk about it to this day.  This one is my favorite episode.  Bravo, Pseudopod and Jon Padgett, for haunting my nightmares for over a year!
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Jon Padgett
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« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2017, 02:58:59 PM »

Thanks again for all the wonderful commentary and kind words.

Just an update:

As of today, my book has become available in audio format via Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

The collection is also available in trade paperback and Kindle editions.

The Secret of Ventriloquism was selected last week as the Best Fiction Book of 2016 by Rue Morgue Magazine and is the winner of the 2016 Golden Ghoul Award for Fiction (Foreign).

The book has also gotten quite a number of reviews, all of them (thus far) favorable ones. Here are some highlights:

"The Secret of Ventriloquism is horror with a capital H. Some of Padgett's lines raised the hair on my neck."
--Laird Barron, author of Swift to Chase

"Padgett proves with his stunning debut collection to be a worthy successor to Thomas Ligotti. There's no gristle, no bone, no dilly-dallying here: only pure meat whose terrors seamlessly grow into the metaphysical. This volume is jam-packed with the stuff that nightmares are made of."
--Dejan Ognjanovic, Rue Morgue Magazine

"...Greater Ventriloquism is the fictional philosophy cutting through all of the stories in this collection, giving them a much appreciated spine of intent and eerie energy. When we understand that we are no better than dummies--when we see the strings that move us and hear the voice that animates us--we become the uncanny object, as opposed to the dummy. Our own embodiment thus becomes a vessel for great horrors."
--Adam Mills, Weird Fiction Review

"There's quite enough variety of tone, setting, and focus here to surprise and disconcert any reader, and leave preconceived expectations flopping and gasping in the cold black mud of Padgett's imagination...Padgett is a chilling master in his own right."
--Paul StJohn Mackintosh, Associate Editor of Teleread

"...for those who enjoy fiction of a weird nature with a capital 'w' The Secret of Ventriloquism should not be missed."
--Kev Harrison, This Is Horror

"...Jon Padgett [is] one of the best writers you might not have heard of yet..."
--Kayleigh Marie Edwards, Ginger Nuts of Horror

"Jon Padgett's The Secret of Ventriloquism may very well be at the vanguard of a new movement in American Weird,where the lessons of Thomas Ligotti are recontextualized and used to birth something as frightening and bizarre as it is different."
--Simon Strantzas, author of Burnt Black Suns
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 03:03:07 PM by Jon Padgett » Logged
Bdoomed
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« Reply #53 on: February 13, 2017, 08:03:03 PM »

I got my copy in the mail last week as well as I have the Kindle version (and a long flight on a few hours)' can't wait to check it out!
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I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
Jon Padgett
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« Reply #54 on: March 22, 2017, 01:35:12 PM »

For a limited time, the Kindle edition of Secret is free.  For a couple bucks more, you can also have the audio version via Whispersync.

Click here to order it.
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Metalsludge
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« Reply #55 on: March 24, 2017, 06:01:32 PM »

For a limited time, the Kindle edition of Secret is free.  For a couple bucks more, you can also have the audio version via Whispersync.

Click here to order it.

Think I paid for the Kindle version already, if I remember the transaction correctly. But that's fine, it was a worthwhile purchase. Good job on the book, hope we see more soon.
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Scuba Man
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« Reply #56 on: March 25, 2017, 02:56:36 PM »

Blech. Meat puppet.  Shocked Shocked
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Jon Padgett
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« Reply #57 on: April 11, 2017, 01:01:58 PM »

I recently was interviewed by Gordon White of HELLNOTES, specifically about "20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism."

This is a deep dive specifically into the inner-workings of the story, which took nearly two decades to get right.

Thomas Ligotti is featured prominently as part of the process, especially in the first section of the interview, as I couldn't have written what would become 20SS without his help.

Also, the Pseudopod production and Shawn Garrett's brilliant notes and sound design are discussed.

Hope you all enjoy!
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dagny
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« Reply #58 on: April 12, 2017, 05:29:02 AM »

Jon--that was a fantastic interview. I'm sharing it with everyone.
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Jon Padgett
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« Reply #59 on: May 24, 2017, 03:09:11 PM »

Thanks, Dagny!

A couple more relevant interviews--this time visual and audial:

Lovecraft eZine Podcast Interview

This Is Horror Podcast Interview - Jon Padgett on Thomas Ligotti, Writing Lessons, and Impostor Syndrome
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 03:12:04 PM by Jon Padgett » Logged
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