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Author Topic: Pseudopod 175: Flash on the Borderlands II  (Read 5659 times)

Bdoomed

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on: January 01, 2010, 09:32:09 AM
Pseudopod 175: Flash on the Borderlands II

A writhing pile of flash fiction stories combined, against all reason, into one congealed mass.



The Desert

By Tom Leveen

Read by Jaron Cohen

“They haven’t moved since . . .” Dom started to say, then cut himself off. I knew how the sentence finished. Since Trish and Jack had made a run for their car parked beyond the driveway, that’s what he was going to say. Since the spiders had swarmed them.



Benefits

By John Robinson

Read by Freeman Goodyear

The real person will never know that a copy of them just committed adultery in another part of town because, well, we can grow you from a piece of hair. A bit of skin. Fingernail clipping. Done. Person goes home, clone gets reduced to composite atoms, spouse is none the wiser — everybody’s happy!


Bird in a Wrought Iron Cage

By John Alfred Taylor

Read by Read by the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine crew

He opened up the musty buffalo-hide trunk with its green-stained brass fittings and pulled out the cage inside. For a second, I thought it held a huge brown spider, until I saw the fingernails like broken roots. Then it crawled to the corner of the cage and picked up a pen.


Theme music as usual: “Bloodletting on the Kiss” by Anders Manga
Additional music in this episode: “Ihaveseenthis” by Hopeful Machines

Happy New Year peeps.



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

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Zorag

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Reply #1 on: January 01, 2010, 07:56:45 PM
Listening now.  I'm glad Ben read my piece, I couldn't imagine anyone else narrating it.

Liked the first story, in the 2nd one now.

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Unblinking

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Reply #2 on: January 04, 2010, 03:16:21 PM
Good stuff, haven't seen flash on PP for a while!

The first one was cool in it's unexplained behavior of natural creatures.  And drawing on fear of anticipation, which is often worse than the actual moment itself. 

The second one was a really slick idea, using clones for therapy, and I didn't see the twist coming.

The third one was really cool too, though wouldn't the hand have foreseen its own demise?

All very solid stories, not much else to say.



snap-hiss

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Reply #3 on: January 06, 2010, 10:56:33 AM
I really enjoyed Bird in a Wrought Iron Cage, as well as the author's previous work used on the pod.  It has been noted that the hand should have foreseen it's own demise.  I agree, however I did have a thought immediately after listening.  If you were in the hand's position, and you saw your future as being burned "alive" what would you do?  Perhaps it lied to the protagonist to try to change its fate?  Maybe the bit about not having children was a lie.  Maybe the protagonist wasn't really going to die that day.  Who knows? 

I know I'm trying to get hold of a copy of Hell is Murky.



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eytanz

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Reply #4 on: January 06, 2010, 11:13:43 AM
I really lived "Bird in a Wrought Iron Cage". It was effective, affective, and just the right length.

The other two stories didn't work as well for me. The first one started really good, and then felt like it degenerated into self-parody. In the beginning - trapped in a cabin surrounded by deadly spiders - it seemed like a really desparate situation, but one where there's just enough of a chance of survival to maintain suspense. But once the second ring, of deadly wasps, showed up, the game was essentially over. No more suspense. Hopelessness can be interesting; but instead of really examining it, more and more threats just kept being piled on. By the end, I wouldn't have been surprised if they would have suddenly noticed a bunch of polar bears would have showed up pushing wading pools full of sharks with lasers on their heads.

The second story was, for all its shortness, too long. The idea was good, but basically all it was a pompous jerk's self-congratulatory gloating. The fact that the guy was so full of himself ended up obscuring the horror of what he had done.



cdugger

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Reply #5 on: January 07, 2010, 12:30:02 AM
I liked all three stories very much, but the first one really need to be longer. The wolves coming along to spoil the plans to run for it was good, but broke the pattern. Why the change to mammals? They don't usually evoke the fear response that bugs and snakes. Mice or rats, maybe, but not wolves. I would like to see the story expanded.

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Scattercat

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Reply #6 on: January 07, 2010, 04:47:34 AM
I think the whole point of the first story was the egregiously over-the-top nature of it.  Almost more of a comedy piece than horror.  Black comedy, a bit.  Like, you're supposed to go, "Ha!  Of course wolves!" and then run along without trying to think too hard about the logic of it or be chilled afterward.

"Bird in a Wrought-Iron Cage" is definitely the clear winner here.  Creepy and subtle, with multi-layered horror and no attempt to explain much of anything, which is all to the good as far as I'm concerned.  (Though I did expect Dad to donate the new replacement hand after he was dead.  I suppose that would have been a little too obvious.)

"Benefits" was the weakest for me.  I found it a bit easy to predict, and the writing wasn't intense or visceral or evocative enough to be a pleasure in its own right.  The breeziness, while essential to the character, really hurt the piece as far as my interest went, and the protag wasn't complex enough to be more intriguing than repugnant.  Frankly, he was even simpler than I'd given him credit for, since he apparently did it over jealousy rather than just for the money, as I'd initially presumed.

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snap-hiss

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Reply #7 on: January 07, 2010, 07:49:17 PM
(Though I did expect Dad to donate the new replacement hand after he was dead.  I suppose that would have been a little too obvious.)

I expected the same thing, so I guess it would be too obvious.

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cdugger

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Reply #8 on: January 08, 2010, 03:10:06 AM
I think the whole point of the first story was the egregiously over-the-top nature of it.  Almost more of a comedy piece than horror.  Black comedy, a bit.  ...

"Bird in a Wrought-Iron Cage" is definitely the clear winner here. ...

"Benefits" was the weakest for me.  ...

I have to agree with "Bird...". It fit all the requirements of a horror story. As much as I like longer tales, this one was complete. I would have liked more, but more wasn't needed.

"The Desert" did strike me as a dark comedy. If that was the intent, it succeeded. It just left me wanting more. Not novel-more, just twice-as-much-more.

"Benefits" was more horror than "The Desert", but it came off like a twisted Ray Bradbury. I kept expecting Mr. Braling to show up, or see the word "marionette". Maybe a little more dark, a little less flippant narration?

Still, I did enjoy them, and that is my first requirement. All else is secondary.

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Bdoomed

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Reply #9 on: January 11, 2010, 06:29:19 AM
oh man, great stuff.  The first story was just hopeless upon hopeless upon hopeless.  I wonder what god they angered?

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Zorag

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Reply #10 on: January 11, 2010, 04:34:22 PM
oh man, great stuff.  The first story was just hopeless upon hopeless upon hopeless.  I wonder what god they angered?
TCoRN

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« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 04:38:26 PM by Swamp »

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Swamp

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Reply #11 on: January 11, 2010, 04:39:34 PM
oh man, great stuff.  The first story was just hopeless upon hopeless upon hopeless.  I wonder what god they angered?
TCoRN

Ha  :D  I should send an offering.  Where's my cash?

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Zorag

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Reply #12 on: January 25, 2010, 04:16:42 AM
oh man, great stuff.  The first story was just hopeless upon hopeless upon hopeless.  I wonder what god they angered?
TCoRN

Ha  :D  I should send an offering.  Where's my cash?

Maybe if we all send an offering He will come back.

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Fenrix

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Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 03:42:15 PM
These stories definately got better as they progressed. The third was phenomenal and made the whole experience worthwhile. Nice slow build and very creepy. It would be nice to have some of these flashes available solo, though. :)

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”