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Author Topic: Pseudopod 508: Defects  (Read 4966 times)

Bdoomed

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on: September 16, 2016, 10:09:41 PM
Pseudopod 508: Defects

by Colin Wolcott.

COLIN WOLCOTT lives in sunny Beaverton, Oregon where (he may or may not be lying by telling you) it actually doesn’t rain all that much. He spends most days juggling work, writing classes at the local Community College, and beanbags. In his free time, he enjoys both writing and reading things he finds interesting. His work has previously appeared in the pages of Strangelet Journal and the 2015 Write Well Award Anthology.

"Defects" is a Pseudopod Original.

Your reader – Bill Ruhsam – lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, son and two cats.



Dock at MOTHERSHIP ZETA for all your far-flung fiction and non-fiction needs!



The Eighth Day Brotherhood is a new novel by Alice M. Phillips that should be of interest to PseudoPod listeners. If you want a novel with the milieu of The Stress of Her Regard but tighter pacing, look no further. Couple this with the sensibility of Fincher’s Se7en and you have a tense and relentless thriller. Alice’s love for the tenebrous portions of the Decadent period glows through Paris while the Eiffel Tower rises on the bank of the Seine and as the city prepares of the Exposition Universelle. It manifests with an abiding love for the period supported by an incredible depth of research. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book from Black Rose Writing.

The Eighth Day Brotherhood by Alice M. Phillips — Black Rose Writing

One August morning, in Paris, 1888, the sunrise reveals the embellished corpse of a young man suspended between the columns of the Panthéon, resembling a grotesque Icarus and marking the first in a macabre series of murders linked to Paris monuments. In the Latin Quarter, occult scholar Rémy Sauvage is informed of his lover’s gruesome death and embarks upon his own investigation to avenge him by apprehending the cult known as the Eighth Day Brotherhood. At a nearby sanitarium, aspiring artist Claude Fournel becomes enamored with a mesmerist’s beautiful patient, Irish immigrant Margaret Finnegan. Resolved to steal her away from the asylum and obtain her for his muse, Claude only finds them both entwined in the Brotherhood’s apocalyptic plot combining magic, mythology, and murder.



I wanted to bring your attention to a project from Orrin Grey and Strix Publishing. You already know and love Orrin Grey.

PSEUDOPOD 155: THE WORM THAT GNAWS

PSEUDOPOD 262: BLACK HILL

PSEUDOPOD 415: NIGHT’S FOUL BIRD

Strix Publishing has launched a Kickstarter to bring us a new and expanded hardcover edition of Orrin’s collection NEVER BET THE DEVIL AND OTHER WARNINGS. This new edition includes all ten stories from the original, as well as the heretofore hard-to-find “A Night for Mothing” and an all new story, “Goblins.” As of the time of this recording, it’s just passed the halfway mark with almost three weeks to go, so it’s time for the add-ons and additional goals to creep out of the corners.

So, please check it out: NEVER BET THE DEVIL AND OTHER WARNINGS Kickstarter. You’ll be glad you did!



The beautiful Horror in Clay 01 – The Murders in the Rue Morgue mug Kickstarter can be accessed at the link! Check it out, for the love of God, Montressor!



The CAST OF WONDERS Flash Fiction Contest info can be accessed at the link.



Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.



So, last Thursday night I was at Gil’s Grill with Kirk and Jinny and some other people that I don’t know very much, and I was talking to this guy Bernard and we were talking about football, and I was saying how I played in school. And so we’re talking and, I don’t remember exactly how it came up, but he asks me, “Do you like to hurt people?” And that kind of shut everything down for me and really brought things back into focus, irregardless of the beer, and I’m eyeing him, and he’s looking at me like maybe he knows a little bit, and we’ve been real entertaining, our back-and-forth, so everyone’s paying attention, and I can tell from his pause the question wasn’t, like, rhetorical, or whatever, and he expects an answer. And because they’re all right there watching me say it, I say “No.”

But what was I supposed to say? What’s the point of saying anything other than “no?” And that’s a dumb-ass question to ask, anyway. It doesn’t matter if the truth is “no” or “yes,” because unless somebody wants to get flagged, or singled out, or maybe limit their options in the future, the answer is going to sound the same. And plus, I mean, even if they do like to hurt people, they probably still want to have folks to hang out with on Thursdays.





Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 09:46:17 PM by Bdoomed »

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


ElectricPaladin

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Reply #1 on: September 16, 2016, 10:21:05 PM
I really liked this one. It was actually kind of sweet! And also gross and bloody and terrifying. The reader's accent really drove the point home.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


Metalsludge

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Reply #2 on: September 17, 2016, 02:15:53 PM
This was interesting, as it attempts to grasp the point of view of someone with a perspective many might find hard to relate to, and is well written. It also notes something that is sometimes overlooked, that some folks have such tendencies as described in the story starting at a very early age. I recall the story of how one of real life serial killer Ted Bundy's relatives woke up from a nap to discover that Bundy's childhood self had arranged knives in a pattern all around her body while she was asleep. Trying to make full sense of such stuff may be impossible in the end, but I can't blame an author for trying.

On the other hand, as I noted in response to another story about budding potential serial killers presented here, the thing that gets boring about yet another serial killer story is how, whether it's real life true crime tales or fiction, it almost always just boils down to another story of someone with a crossing of the wires in the areas of aggression and sex, which under all the flowery talk of being different or whatever, only has so much to offer to a potentially interesting narrative. So you have a kink that most people don't have, and enough of a screw loose to do something about it. Whoop dee doo.

Of course, this may be part of the point of the story. The character seems anxious to rationalize his perspective and tendencies, but in the end, there are perfectly rational reasons, not just prejudice and a desire for conformity, behind people viewing his tastes as a defect to be cautious about. In his essay on the genre, Danse Macabre, Stephen King makes the point that horror stories are partly representative of the reactionary stance society has on "The Cannibal" among us, as we wish for things to conform to non-threatening normalcy. While he had a point, I sometimes think he hit it so hard that he almost forgets that it actually makes a lot of sense that humans would evolve to be wary of potentially dangerous things in a dangerous world. Most of us are wary of people who may want to chop us up, and that's not a defect either, its a survival mechanism that has served the species well as we moved from hunter gathering to more man-made environments. Yes, new things can be worthwhile. But if something seems a little off, it may just be something worth noting before it kills you.

As recently reported, women in Ashland Ohio were approached by a man who seemed a little off and was offering to hangout with them, offering beer or drugs as lure. Authorities later found the remains of various women in his hideouts. Women who didn't go with him had picked up on how he was acting "weird," and steered clear.



dagny

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Reply #3 on: September 17, 2016, 04:40:36 PM
I love this story.

I think it's saved from being "oh god another serial killer story" by its focus on defects--the narrator's work, his perspective, the odd view of Skye...I just adore it.

Plus, great narration. It wouldn't have worked if he'd tried to make it menacing.

"Wolfman's got nards!"


brunette666

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Reply #4 on: September 17, 2016, 08:06:51 PM
Wow, this episode really affected me emotionally. Like Metalsludge mentioned, some (many, actually) people have these sort of thoughts and tendencies. It certainly does not mean that they'll act on them and often these people find the thoughts quite distressing.

Maybe I'm not yet jaded because I haven't read a story quite like this before. The fact of the matter is that is that it really moved me, made me squirm and think and keep listening even though I felt disturbed. I found the ending a bit of a letdown. I suppose I wished that the MC would keep on fantasizing but not "break the seal" so to speak and start acting on his impulses.

The narration was also top notch. Thank you to everyone involved in the production of this episode!



Sgarre1

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Reply #5 on: September 17, 2016, 09:45:07 PM
You are very welcome!



bounceswoosh

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Reply #6 on: September 20, 2016, 12:50:39 AM
My thought while reading this was, "D'awwww, another Dexter!"

This ... may not have been the author's intent.

I found it entertaining. Also I would like to know how the MC determined that he thinks more than everybody else around him. Unreliable narrator, indeed.



Unblinking

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Reply #7 on: September 22, 2016, 02:48:47 PM
I'm afraid this one was a miss for me, not moving out of the "mystique of the serial killer" kind of territory.  The writing was fine, I'm just tired of the subject material. 
(he says, surprising no one)



davidthygod

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Reply #8 on: September 23, 2016, 06:52:05 PM
I enjoyed all of this one, but specifically I love the narration and writing during the two times when he just happens to find his hands inside of someone's dying corpse or hideous wound.  He just can't help but explore open cavities. 

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


Anoton115

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Reply #9 on: September 24, 2016, 09:02:26 PM
The scariest part about this one was the unreliable yet intermittent reasonableness of the protagonist. Despite unhealthy fascinations, he makes some unsettlingly valid points. His observations comparing a relatively simplistic manufacturing process with the unfathomable complexity of the human mind made me aware in an uncomfortable way that the so called "average human being" is a pure statistical fantasy.

Normally, we think of this as an exclusively positive fact. But see how it turns on us in this story: The evening news goes to great lengths to bring us a disproportionate number of stories about the worst in humanity. After all, no one cares about a story where dog bites man. But it does too good a job of reminding you how many people are "defective" in the sense this story might define it.

And then, you … just… can't… stop… thinking about it.  By itself, this story was just a shade too blood and gore for my tastes. But when we see it reflected off the real life state of the world? That's where it becomes horror.



Unblinking

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Reply #10 on: September 26, 2016, 02:01:11 PM
Is this a Pseudopod original?  I'm not finding previous publications in a search, so I'm guessing it is?  If so, could that be added to the post?



Sgarre1

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Reply #11 on: September 26, 2016, 03:00:19 PM
ORIGINAL SUBMISSION COVER LETTER SAYS: "This story has not been previously published"



C-dubs

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Reply #12 on: September 30, 2016, 06:15:51 AM
Wow. Great story, great delivery. A new Pseudopod favorite!
But, since I'm the writer, I may be biased.

Howdy, everyone. I don't have many credits, so being here is kind of a big deal for me. I'd like to offer a "thank you" to everyone at Pseudopod, including, but not limited to, Dagny, Alex, Shawn, Scarlett, and Alasdair. Also Bill (our reader).

Reaction seems mostly positive, which I'm happy about.

I did see a question by bounceswoosh:
"Also I would like to know how the MC determined that he thinks more than everybody else around him. Unreliable narrator, indeed."
At the risk of being self-referential/circular/cheeky; since knowing what is in another person's mind is either difficult or impossible, depending upon your levels of confidence in philosophy and the people around you, I would assume the narrator is in turn also making an assumption there.

Thanks again, everybody. This was a lot of fun.



bounceswoosh

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Reply #13 on: September 30, 2016, 01:48:10 PM
Wow. Great story, great delivery. A new Pseudopod favorite!
But, since I'm the writer, I may be biased.

Howdy, everyone. I don't have many credits, so being here is kind of a big deal for me. I'd like to offer a "thank you" to everyone at Pseudopod, including, but not limited to, Dagny, Alex, Shawn, Scarlett, and Alasdair. Also Bill (our reader).

Reaction seems mostly positive, which I'm happy about.

I did see a question by bounceswoosh:
"Also I would like to know how the MC determined that he thinks more than everybody else around him. Unreliable narrator, indeed."
At the risk of being self-referential/circular/cheeky; since knowing what is in another person's mind is either difficult or impossible, depending upon your levels of confidence in philosophy and the people around you, I would assume the narrator is in turn also making an assumption there.

Thanks again, everybody. This was a lot of fun.

Thanks for posting! Always good to hear from the author.



DerangedMind

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Reply #14 on: October 13, 2016, 01:59:13 AM
Wow.  The story seemed great, the narration was superb, and I needed to bail out of the story early.... 

It was extremely well done - but was not what I wanted / needed.




Metrophor

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Reply #15 on: October 16, 2016, 02:58:11 AM
I've been meaning to pop in and leave my two cents to this one, but never really got around to it, so here it is: I find it incredibly refreshing to, for once, read a story from the point of view of someone with an antisocial-spectrum disorder that is actually sympathetic. Maybe I'm sensitive to this because I'm someone with a mental illness myself (not of the same kind, but y'know), but it seems like too many authors go the easy route of brain wired differently = automatically evil, which of course is not true at all. It's especially unfair to people who were born that way.

So anyway, in short it was kind of nice to have the protagonist never actually hurt anyone, unless you assume touching the crash victim was actually happening and not another vivid hallucination. I don't know.
The conclusion actually seemed kind of weirdly sweet, in a way.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2016, 03:00:54 AM by Metrophor »



C-dubs

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Reply #16 on: October 16, 2016, 09:05:36 PM
Wow.  The story seemed great, the narration was superb, and I needed to bail out of the story early.... 

It was extremely well done - but was not what I wanted / needed.


DMind,

Can I ask what caused you to bail out?

-C



DerangedMind

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Reply #17 on: October 22, 2016, 01:56:56 PM
The scene where he's in school, looking at the girl's leg, and starting to talk about the saw.

Violence to kids takes me beyond my comfort zone, and while I don't know where the author was going to go with it, I also didn't want to find out.



DerangedMind

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Reply #18 on: October 23, 2016, 03:55:49 PM
Wow.  The story seemed great, the narration was superb, and I needed to bail out of the story early.... 

It was extremely well done - but was not what I wanted / needed.


DMind,

Can I ask what caused you to bail out?

-C

Your question has kept bouncing around in my head, and I've thought some more about it.  Not too many years ago, while I would have had an 'ick' factor on thoughts of cutting off the girl's leg, it wouldn't have stopped me from reading.  So what's changed...


One obvious thing is that now I'ma a dad, with two younger girls.  But, I don't think that was it...

I did some thinking, and today I realized that in some manner, it was resonating with some real life horror that we've been going through, and is finally starting to draw to a close. A number of years ago my younger daughter was molested at a day-care.  At about the time that I would have listened to this story, we were working on the final things before it (finally) goes to trial.  The thought of bad things happening to a young girl just was putting me in a place I didn't want to be, even though I wouldn't have been able to tell you why.

But, I still recognized that the story was extremely well crafted.  I'm looking forward to reading / listening to your future work!



C-dubs

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Reply #19 on: November 03, 2016, 05:18:55 PM
Umm...huh.
I guess I don't really know what kind of answer I was expecting, but I do know it wasn't that.
I feel like I want to apologize, now...



DerangedMind

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Reply #20 on: November 05, 2016, 06:54:20 PM
You shouldn't feel that way -- I'm glad you made me think, and to realize why that story didn't work for me.

We all have reasons that makes some types of stories not work for us.  And some times (most of the time?) we may not realize why.

(And, the good thing with my daughter is that we caught it before seriously bad things happened, and that we believed her when she talked to us about it so she never needed to go back to that place again.)