Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: Pseudopod 481: Unheil  (Read 3222 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5311
  • Mmm. Tiger.
on: March 12, 2016, 04:51:21 AM
Pseudopod 481: Unheil

by Kathryn Allen.

Unheil” was first published in Pantheon Magazine. It also appears in Typhon: A Monster Anthology which is currently available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Createspace.

Kathryn Allen lives in Yorkshire and sometimes writes fiction about facts which make her angry.

Your narrator – Elie Hirschman: Following his whirlwind world tour for athelete’s foot awareness, Elie has returned to his native Zimbabwe to unwind, make his mind one with the cosmos and seek a cure for his lifelong struggle as a pathological liar. He’s currently still active in all EA podcasts (including Cast of Wonders) and also appearing semi-regularly in the Nosleep Podcast.



South-West Africa. 1909.

I came south because I was hungry and the same-old-same-old of drought and famine, which generation after generation encourages young men to seek a different future, made hiring myself out to the Germans seem like a good thing. Everyone was doing it. If Father had been ten years younger… Or so he said to Mother when she complained about how far away I would be. As if I would not return home as soon as the rains came. As if I would not write. She shed a few tears the morning I left, but not as many as she would have if she’d believed I was never coming back.

To their great surprise, as they looked before and found nothing, the Germans had discovered diamonds in the deserts of the Skeleton Coast. Or rather a man from Cape Town, who’d dug for many years in the Kimberley mines, picked up a raw stone whilst working on the railway line to Lüderitz. I suspect he did not get to keep it, though, as he was black.

You see, I was not innocent of the ways of Europeans. I did not go south expecting to make myself a fortune but because the Germans were hiring labourers to make theirs. I knew I would have to work hard for only a modest reward. Even so, the men who came to the Owambo Kingdoms, promising bed-and-board, money to send home, and a few coins to spend, said nothing of chains or beatings. There was no mention of day upon day spent on hands and knees, crawling across every inch of every desert hill and valley, fingers cracked and bloody from combing through the burning sands, the overseers never content with either pace or productivity. I was not innocent, but I was too trusting.

Hunger drew me south and hunger killed me.





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?


Scuba Man

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 291
  • Drabblecast, Pseudopod, Escapepod, Podcastle
    • Black Cat Bed And Breakfast (proposed start up 2024)
Reply #1 on: March 12, 2016, 05:07:39 PM
Holy crap.  This was one hell of an episode.  Alasdair's endnotes drove it home.  I want this type of story unleashed upon our high school's creative writing (or even history) courses.  Your story also made me squirm.  Bravo.

"What can do that to a man?  Lightning... napalm? No, some people just explode [sic]. Natural causes".  Source: Repo Man.


That Hirschman Guy

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 22
Reply #2 on: March 16, 2016, 08:34:13 AM
Holy crap.  This was one hell of an episode.  Alasdair's endnotes drove it home.  I want this type of story unleashed upon our high school's creative writing (or even history) courses.  Your story also made me squirm.  Bravo.

Yeah. Bit of a disturbing story. Tears as diamonds is a great image that sticks with me.

I was glad to have a chance to read it in my South African accent, which I had been working on for years.  I would love to hear feedback on if it sounded authentic, and if it got in the way of the storytelling at all.  Honest feedback is appreciated and will not offend me.

Elie



Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #3 on: March 16, 2016, 11:36:07 PM
Holy crap.  This was one hell of an episode.  Alasdair's endnotes drove it home.  I want this type of story unleashed upon our high school's creative writing (or even history) courses.  Your story also made me squirm.  Bravo.

Yeah. Bit of a disturbing story. Tears as diamonds is a great image that sticks with me.

I was glad to have a chance to read it in my South African accent, which I had been working on for years.  I would love to hear feedback on if it sounded authentic, and if it got in the way of the storytelling at all.  Honest feedback is appreciated and will not offend me.

Elie

My college roommate (25 years ago!  :o ) was from Johannesburg, so I think I'm just (barely) qualified enough to say it sounded right! I sent him the link to the story, so if he says anything, I'll pass that along. (He's busy making cool music, though.)

Update: from my friend:

Quote
His black accents are quite good, but his "South African" accent does seem to slip in and out a bit. It sounds like a Brit trying to sound Australian...or an Australian trying to sound like a Brit? :P

He shouldn't fret. Matt Damon said it best after 'Invictus': "The accent took about six months. It took a lot to get it. They talk real different down there."

Hey, and not even resident South Africans can always get it right:



« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 01:48:23 AM by Tango Alpha Delta »

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #4 on: March 17, 2016, 02:52:28 PM
Quote
“Unheil” was first published in Pantheon Magazine. It also appears in Typhon: A Monster Anthology which is currently available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Createspace.

So, does anyone know if it was published separately in Pantheon Magazine before it was published in Typhon?

I ask because I'm trying to figure out it's date and place of first publication to update the thread about Pseudopod award elgibility.  I have not been able to find when it was published in Pantheon, but Typhon was an anthology published by Pantheon so I am wondering if the mention of it was inadvertantly split into two parts?  Or if Pantheon printed it in their magazine and then also printed it in one of their anthologies?   Actually I'm not sure they have a magazine apart from their anthologies, so... maybe it was just one publication in Typhon? 

The author's LiveJournal page lists Unheil being published at Typhon and at Pseudopod, but not at Pantheon.
http://katallen.livejournal.com/profile

Typhon was published in 2015, so if that was it's first publication than that's what I'm looking for.




Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1211
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Reply #5 on: March 17, 2016, 03:17:10 PM
I can't track down the reply email with the info but my guess is that either she originally said "published BY Pantheon" and later amended it to the specific TYPHON in a later email, and I misinterpreted it - OR, that what we have there is true. I'll be sending the official "congrats" email soon and will ask.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #6 on: March 17, 2016, 04:47:14 PM
Thought this one was very well done.  I hadn't been familiar with the historical context until the outro but there's plenty of information there to understand what's going on. 

Scary monster creature with a tragic backstory and a suitably creepy present.  There probably aren't a lot of stories where the hero can stab a pregnant woman in the belly and expect to keep the reader's sympathy.  (I did wonder if it was a foregone conclusion that the baby would also be a cannibal monster like its mother has become but it's probably a reasonable guess at least)



Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1211
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Reply #7 on: March 17, 2016, 08:01:34 PM
Just got confirmation from the author - we were the first purchase, TYPHON was first "publication"



That Hirschman Guy

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 22
Reply #8 on: March 18, 2016, 08:18:26 AM

Quote
His black accents are quite good, but his "South African" accent does seem to slip in and out a bit. It sounds like a Brit trying to sound Australian...or an Australian trying to sound like a Brit? :P

He shouldn't fret. Matt Damon said it best after 'Invictus': "The accent took about six months. It took a lot to get it. They talk real different down there."

Hey, and not even resident South Africans can always get it right:


Oh, yeah? Well, after I recorded the first scene, I sent a clip to my own South African acquaintance and she said I got it right.  So nyyyaaaahhhh on your friend. 
JK/lol. ;) But for serious:

Thank your friend for me - I always like getting feedback.  As a reader, one of my big challenges is "keeping it up" (and no, sexual innuendo not intended or even acknowledged).  To kick off an accent, often one has to use a key phrase that has the pronunciations built in and you can then continue to do the accent once you've got forward momentum.  But that's the easy bit - maintaining it throughout in a consistent manner is not as simple.  And, at the same time, you can do a perfect accent throughout, but devote so much concentration to staying in accent that you skimp on the acting element of it and sound like a perfectly authentic accented dullard.  I tried to keep the balance here, but each will take from it what they will. From the comments I am reading here regarding the story, I see I at least didn't get in the way!  ;D




Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #9 on: March 18, 2016, 10:31:50 AM
Well, I still agree with YOUR friend - mine is a prickly person known for seeking the cloud behind the silver lining.

(He visited us when my wife was pregnant with our eldest, and he greeted her by saying "My god, you look like a lovely little whale!")

(Yes, he's still alive, somehow...)

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


Jack_Pines

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #10 on: March 19, 2016, 02:06:43 AM
This is it. This is the story that, after seven years of listening to Escape Artists, prompted me to finally sign up for the forums. 

Holy hell, what a story.  It's a sickly delightful sensation when a story can make you feel the horror of the scenario deep in your bones but wow, did this one do it. 

Bravo to Ellie for the narration, and woooooow, to Katheryn for the incredible imagery and darkness of the story. 

This one's going to stick with me for a long time. 

That endcap tho.



adrianh

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 752
    • quietstars
Reply #11 on: March 20, 2016, 09:45:01 AM
I really enjoyed this until the generational curse on Germany at the end. Because, and this is a personal quirk I admit, stories that have supernatural explanations for the horror of the first and second world wars seem to be almost providing mitigating circumstances for those events.

When the horrors of those yers is caused by an ancient curse / Cthulhu  / Norse gods / whatever that is, to me, much less horrifying that a bunch of lightly evolved plains apes just being themselves.




Kat Allen

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #12 on: March 20, 2016, 11:23:02 PM
Thank you so much for the feedback Scuba Man, Unblinking, Jack_Pines and adrianh - I'm now referring to Unheil as 'the Holy **** story' :)

Pretty much everything but the supernatural elements of this story came from my reading "The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism" by Casper Erichsen and David Olusoga. While it doesn't make quite the case it aims for I have myself found that most sections of history have befores and afters, which don't excuse  events but do give them deeper context. It's hard not to imagine that events in Africa, and the loss of those colonies in WW1, had an influence on young people at home in Germany who would grow up to be senior Nazis. There's no particular evidence for when homnids became human enough to imagine multi-generational vengeance, but it is something that seems to be entirely ours - whether one frames that as a curse or a biological addiction to rage/hate. There's a lot packed into this story but for me Josia isn't the hero because he kills the monster but because he understands why the monster is wrong.


Kathryn Allen