Escape Artists


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Author Topic: Pseudopod 247: Looker  (Read 4511 times)


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on: September 17, 2011, 05:12:47 PM
Pseudopod 247: Looker

By David Nickle
David has been on Pseudopod previously with “The Sloan Men” and “The Inevitability of Earth”. Click the link under his name to check out his Chizine Publications.

Read by Steve Cropper. Check out his podcast “Reputation Online” at the link.

“‘Get in,’ she said, ‘I’ll be right behind you.’

It didn’t occur to me that this might be a trick until I was well out at sea. Wouldn’t it be the simplest thing, I thought, as I dove under a breaking wave, to wait until I was out far enough, gather my trousers, find the wallet and the mobile phone, toss the clothes into the surf and run to a waiting car? I’m developing my suspicious mind, really, my dearest — but it still has a time delay on it, even after everything…

I came up, broke my stroke, and turned to look back at the beach.

She waved at me. I was pleased — and relieved — to see that she was naked too. My valuables were safe as they could be. And Lucy had quite a nice figure, as it turned out: fine full breasts — wide, muscular hips — a small bulge at the tummy, true… but taken with the whole, far from offensive.

I waved back, took a deep breath and dove again, this time deep enough to touch bottom. My fingers brushed sea-rounded rock and stirred up sand, and I turned and kicked and broke out to the moonless night, and only then it occurred to me — how clearly I’d seen her on the beach, two dozen yards off, maybe further.

There lay the problem. There wasn’t enough light. I shouldn’t have seen anything.”

Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

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Reply #1 on: September 17, 2011, 05:48:17 PM
I really liked this one as well. Good story and good reading. Sloan Men by this author is another of my PseudoPod favorites.

I don't quite agree with Alasdair's implication that the monster is predatory. It seems that the protagonist went willingly, and I don't recall any hints that he was being lured or tricked. I also think that Len at the beginning was recovering from cancer treatment and that Lucy was "helping him" by giving him relief and ultimately allowed him to continue to live - in a sense - by absorbing him as well.

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


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Reply #2 on: September 19, 2011, 01:41:36 PM
I liked the beginning section with the beach encounter and the reveal of the multitude of eyes.  I liked the end with the absorption into the collective.  The middle really dragged for me, didn't really seem to be much there to hold my interest.

I do like the idea of the character willingly choosing to go into the collective.  To me it seemed like a new twist on a metaphor about relationships.  Much of who we are is the people in our past.  In a sense, we carry a bit of each of them with us.  With most, this is a symbiotic relationship; if two people interact, then both carry away something from it.  But in this case, she was an unusual person who carries EVERYTHING about you away and leaves nothing for you.  I've known people like that, who steal hearts wherever they go without ever trying to, the real life version of the Magical Pixie Dream Girl.  So to me, this was a pretty apt metaphor for that.


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Reply #3 on: September 20, 2011, 01:12:05 AM
I like Unblinking's take on Lucy. I've known people like that too. Still, we are who we thought they were, to misquote Dennis Green.
I rather liked the middle part of the piece. It was uncomfortably familiar, and so had some impact for me.


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Reply #4 on: September 22, 2011, 05:54:41 PM
Creepy beyond belief!!!  I guess he's what you call, 'an eye man.'

The author pulled a low blow with the whole discovery of the eyes with the tongue thing.  I guess the author likes to goose his listeners.  Good story, though it did creep me out.

Great reading, though I agree the middle was tedious.  IMHO, it was superfluous.


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Reply #5 on: September 23, 2011, 01:34:28 PM
Well-written and well-performed. And once again I was reminded: don't listen to PP during breakfast. Imagine how much *ahem* better *not* my breakfast burrito tasted as I ate it while listening to the MC performing eyeballingus.

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Reply #6 on: September 23, 2011, 02:24:30 PM
well, eye liked it.

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Reply #7 on: September 23, 2011, 07:00:08 PM
Yeah. That was creepy and weird. Weirdly creepy. For weird listeners, creepily like yourself. I didn't love it - perhaps it was too abstract? - but I enjoyed it well enough.

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Reply #8 on: September 25, 2011, 02:04:11 AM
Quite liked this. Fits into the Twight Zoney section rather than scary horror. It wasn't really resolved but did Lucy absorb rats and cats and all kinds of creatures, not just humans?

The two things I liked about the story were - the main character: his nature wasn't 100% clear. ie. He seemed like an okay guy, but everyone he knew kept referring to him as an arsehole. As others mentioned, perhaps the middle part of the other guy ditching his current girlfriend wasn't completely essential, but easily bearable considering the writing was really good.

The other things - was just that - the writing was good - no unnecessary stylisation. At first I thought the narration was going to be too quick, but it was just right because the description and dialogue were in a clear (predictable?) style.


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Reply #9 on: October 02, 2011, 09:23:51 AM
This one was pretty fun. I found it interesting that the narrator went willingly. I wonder if the others did also. And I wonder what function she's serving for Len. And I wonder how she can hear those she's absorbed if all they have left is eyes. And I wonder what some of those eyes belong to- surely not all of them were human.

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)


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Reply #10 on: October 17, 2011, 05:38:14 AM
The twist caught me at the end and that made it all worthwhile.

Sick and fun.


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Reply #11 on: January 08, 2012, 05:12:00 AM
I love the way the story is written. To a girl from the back of anothers head. It did seem weird that he was talking to one girl the whole time mostly about another. The sweet, semistranger at the edge of each crowd having a major secret, I've always wanted to unlock, maybe next time I should double think that perpensity.