Author Topic: Pseudopod 528: Unsent Letter From An Unnamed Student  (Read 3237 times)


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on: February 07, 2017, 03:15:48 AM
Pseudopod 528: Unsent Letter From An Unnamed Student

by Aaron Fox-Lerner.

“Unsent Letter From An Unnamed Student” is a Pseudopod original.

AARON FOX-LERNER is from Los Angeles and currently lives in Beijing. His fiction has appeared in Grimdark magazine, Akashic Books, Thuglit, The Puritan, and other publications. His portfolio can be found here.

This week’s reader – Kenny Kinlund – is a musician from Lincoln, NE. His band Warbonnet has a self-titled album out on iTunes with Tremulant Records, but he would rather you send your money to the ACLU or the Electronic Frontier Foundation right now. His twitter handle is @svenskjaevel.

Pseudopod wants to direct your attention to a project by one of our Authors, Greg Stolze. This is a good time to go back and relisten to episode 317, Enzymes.

YOU is a novel, set in the universe of the democratic horror game Unknown Armies, which pits readers against a book that hates them while situating them in the person of a middle-aged businessman named Leo Evans.

Leo is divorced, a fan of racquet sports, and a cultist of the Necessary Servant—a quasi-religion he freely admits seems silly, except for the way it grants him extra senses and paranormal abilities. The chief cultist, however, is his ex-wife, and the two of them clash over a key question of what it means to truly “serve” with integrity.

In the process of hashing all this out, Leo must survive a couple attempts on his life, come to grips with an enchantment that makes him hate the person he previously loved most, and deal with lingering issues between himself and his son.

This novel is Kickstarting in February, check the trailer at

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

“The first time you killed me was the scariest. Those large hands, holding me down until I breathed water and then nothing at all. Those hands that had previously stroked me and caressed me and ranged all over my body now shoving my head under the light ice on the pond, steadying me as my thrashing grew gradually more feeble.”

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?


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Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 12:15:23 AM
I'm a sucker for victims who just won't stay dead as a trope, so I almost couldn't help but like it. That said, the use of perspective was interesting here. In, say, the Tomie manga horror series by Junji Ito, this type of returning under-aged victim of an adult lover/killer can have their own menacing thing going on and an air of mystery. But in this story's variation on the theme, the revenant is as confused as anyone by what is going on and starts out just wanting answers, like a real adolescent might well be in such a situation. He even wishes that his killer could continue to be the impressive and even haunting one in this setup. Instead, he ends up in that role, at an age when he seems to feel far from ready to embrace it.

It kind of reminds me of that moment when, as a kid growing into adulthood, a person may start to realize that the adults they could have once looked up to, are just grown up kids themselves after all. This may be liberating in some ways, but it can also be disappointing. In this story, the worst part is the protagonist having to cope with his killer not being so cerebral and impressive in the end, as he turns out to just be animalistic and pathetic underneath the veneer.  
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 12:18:12 AM by Metalsludge »

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Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 06:47:12 PM
I found it amusing, even if it felt wrong to be amused, how frustrated the Unnamed Student was at continually returning after his own murder.
<paraphrasing:> "Damn it, I'm alive again."

"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


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Reply #3 on: February 24, 2017, 02:38:51 AM
This was a really interesting one, the revenant who feels that he is the one being haunted, the risen dead is the more reasonable of the two.

I think Al said that the gender was ambiguous?  I had thought it was solidly a boy--I thought he referred to "the other boys" at one point, which made me think he was also a boy--agreed that the gender of the student does affect a lot of the tone.