Escape Artists

News:

  • Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

News

Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

Author Topic: Pseudopod 282: Flash On The Borderlands XI - Fearful Fashions  (Read 5309 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5371
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Pseudopod 282: Flash On The Borderlands XI - Fearful Fashions

Three flash fictions about the sharpest cut on the newest thread, the latest craze that’s all the rage …



A MOTHER OF MONSTERS by Guy De Maupassant.

Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (1850 – 1893) was a popular 19th-century French writer, considered one of the fathers of the modern short story and one of the form’s finest exponents. He delighted in clever plotting, and taking his cue from Balzac, he wrote comfortably in both the high-Realist and fantastic modes; many of his short stories (notably “Le Horla”) describe apparently supernatural phenomena. However, the supernatural in Maupassant is often implicitly a symptom of the protagonists’ troubled minds, as Maupassant was fascinated by the burgeoning discipline of psychiatry. In his later years he developed a constant desire for solitude, an obsession for self-preservation, and a fear of death and crazed paranoia of persecution, that came from the syphilis he had contracted in his early days. On January 2, in 1892, Maupassant tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat and was committed to a celebrated private asylum at Passy, in Paris, where he died on July 6, 1893.

This story was originally published in 1885 and can be read here.

Read by B.J. Harrison, of The Classic Tales fame - who’s new audiobook version of “The Phantom of the Opera” by Gaston Leroux should be available, at the link, as we speak.



“”The child was born in an open field, and when the weeders saw it, they fled away, screaming, and the report spread that she had given birth to a demon. From that time on, she was called ‘the Devil.’”



10 DARLINGS AND AN HANDBAG by Violet Glaze.

Ms. Glaze’s work has appeared in numerous online and print venues in the US (including Bizarro, Baltimore Magazine, City Paper, Popmatters.com and Urbanite) and the UK (THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK: MOVIES). Violet is also the author of paranormal erotic novel HOTEL BUTTERFLY (2009) and and the short story collection I AM GENGHIS CUM (2010) (where this story first appeared), and her short fiction appears in the anthology WEREWOLVES AND SHAPESHIFTERS: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE BEATS WITHIN (2010).

Read by Marguerite Kenner. Check out previous Escape Artists stories she’s read:
Machine Washable” and “Movement”.



“He clucked his tongue. “Maternal love will swamp the earth. Everyone wants to keep their baby healthy. Think about what that means for someone else.”"



FORBIDDEN FEAST AT THE ARMAGEDDON CAFE by John Nakamura Remy.

John is a recent graduate of the Clarion West workshop, and “Forbidden Feast” is his first publication. It appeared earlier this year in the anthology, RIGOR AMORTIS.

Read by Kane Lynch, a cartoonist based in Oakland who recently completed the graphic novel THE RELICS. Click the link to read it online.



“Takeshi certainly knew how to treat a boy. The restaurant captured the apocalypse nouveau aesthetic perfectly. Adam admired the axe and shotgun damage and savored the taste of damp smoke. His hips moved to the elongated screams and machine gun beat of judgment punk.”


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?


Jeff C. Carter

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 14
    • Compendium of Monsters
All three of these stories elicited pretty strong visceral reactions, although "Mother of Monsters" was downright quaint compared to the others. 

I winced throughout the Handbag story, but I thought the premise was very interesting.  It was raw and written with exceptional violence in addition to being about many kinds of violence.  I don't partake of 'extreme horror' often but this was a powerful piece.

The final story, Forbidden Feast, also curdled my stomach.  The language was evocative and delicately precise while also describing shocking horrors...it occurred to me that every restaurant menu is the same if you read between the lines. 

I wasn't sure why people were referred to as 'sapiens', when the diners themselves seemed human, albeit cannibals.  Were they nosferatu?  Werewolves?  Mutants?  Or was it just a way for the cannibals to distance themselves from their actions and dehumanize their food?  I'm curious to hear what the rest of you think.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://jeffccarter.wordpress.com/


lisavilisa

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 114
"A Mother of Monsters" was interesting in comparing how motive can influence how we see someone. A person wears a corset so that she can have deformed children, and the narrator wants to strangle her. A woman wears a corset despite it deforming her children, and the doctor chides her to his friends. Is it because the second woman is higher class, or that vanity in a woman is more excusable than greed?



Pirvonen

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 35
A while back elsewhere in the PodCluster, Mur Lafferty was lamenting the dearth of stories describing food. "Forbidden Feast" was had the food play a real part, becaming almost a character -- even before we were introduced to Chuck. This one gave me, in beep-box terms, "strong feelings".



kibitzer

  • Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2228
  • Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice
This one gave me, in beep-box terms, "strong feelings".

ROFL! Love your understated reaction.

...and your multi-cast references.


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Well, this one certainly got strong reactions from me, so I guess they were successful in that regard.  I can't say that I'd listen to any of them again or recommend them to other readers.

Interesting theme for a horror trio.  I've never understood "high" fashion and I hope I never will.  Personally, if something can be considered "fashionable" now but not a year from now, then I would say it never had merit in the first place.  And there are so many little details that are considered important by some people that I doubt I will ever fathom.  Men's shirts button on the opposite side as women's, for instance, why?  I've been told by several people not to button the top button of my nicer shirts unless I'm wearing them with a tie because I'm told it makes me look.. I don't know, uptight or unfashionable or something--so why is there a button there if I'm not supposed to use it?!?


Ahem, anyway, there were some stories here to comment on:

"A Mother of Monsters"--This was an odd piece.  I like legacy fiction, in great part because I prefer the storytelling style of 1800s in particular in many ways to current styles.  This was an interesting and hypocritical point of view, and I thought was interesting food for thought about how two people who perform cruel acts can be viewed so differently.  I'm not sure if this was meant to be a commentary on the common social view of the time viewing things like this different or just meant to be an individual stance--I didn't really share the POV, wearing a tight corset for the duration of a pregnancy seems pretty clearly horrible though I do still find the first woman more horrible because she is not even the one tending the children afterward.

"10 Darlings and a Handbag"--I'm definitely not going to play this for my wife, as she's already kind of freaked out at the idea of giving birth and that kind of description would not help.  I really didn't care for this story.  I'm going to have images of a babyskin handbag in my head for months, so I guess it was effective.  But this isn't the kind of story I value.

"Forbidden Feast at the Armageddon Cafe"--I believe this is the first time that I've ever stopped listening in the middle of a flash story.  There are very few things about which I get squeamish.  One of them is detailed cannibalism, so the story already had me uncomfortable from the beginning.  Another of them is genital mutilation.  So when they started eating severed genitals, I tapped out.  I wish I had done so at the beginning of the story so that I don't have those pictures in my head.  Maybe I should look up Lacuna Inc for a memory scrub.





yaksox

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 70
    • sunny breaks
  I've been told by several people not to button the top button of my nicer shirts unless I'm wearing them with a tie because I'm told it makes me look.. I don't know, uptight or unfashionable or something--so why is there a button there if I'm not supposed to use it?!?

I can't do up that top button even with a tie because I feel all choked up by it.


After the first 1 of 3, I'm thinking that we should just make it a rule from now on that ALL pseudopod eps are narrated with a fake accent. It's just better that way.

I thought the 2nd one had some potential but perhaps went a bit far. I really liked the description of labour pains / giving birth. That's one of the mysterious world that men will never know (or will they?) so a lengthened and twisted (as in, plot) version of that section of the story would've done me nicely.



Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1212
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Quote
After the first 1 of 3, I'm thinking that we should just make it a rule from now on that ALL pseudopod eps are narrated with a fake accent. It's just better that way.

Ask, and ye shall....



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
I can't do up that top button even with a tie because I feel all choked up by it.

I'm not saying that it's comfortable, but if I'm dressing up I assume that some discomfort is involved, and it still seems sloppy to me to not use that last fastener even though I've been told otherwise.



Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4900
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Men's shirts button on the opposite side as women's, for instance, why?

Maidservants, being average, were mostly right-handed.  The buttons therefore needed to be on the opposite side so they could be dressed properly.  That's what I've always heard, anyway.

---

"Mother of Monsters" is one I read long ago, and it has stuck with me ever since.  I love the pivot in perspective at the end.  "Here is a terrible person doing something awful for comprehensible reasons, clearly feeling at least some shame based on her defensiveness and snappishness.  Now here is someone doing the same thing and not even noticing that it's wrong."

"10 Darlings and a Handbag" was delightfully appalling.  I sat here with Archie (15 weeks old today) on my lap and smiled.  It's a good thing he only understands like three words.

"Apocalypse Cafe," eh.  I don't have much squeamishness as far as gore imagery and cannibalism doesn't particularly bother me.  There wasn't much else to this one, other than feeling kind of sad for Chuck.  The sub-theme of the vicious circle of sensation-seeking is more interesting to me, but that got kind of buried under "ZOMG they eating people!"



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Maidservants, being average, were mostly right-handed.  The buttons therefore needed to be on the opposite side so they could be dressed properly.  That's what I've always heard, anyway.

Ah, strange, never heard that before.  Strange that this has persisted into modern fashion when very few people have others button their shirts for them.  (Dresses I can understand since they'd be damned difficult to fasten, but I think zippers are more prevalent now).

I've heard that useless buttons on some men's coatsleeves were added to deter soldiers in frigid conditions from wiping their noses on their sleeves.  Not sure if that's true.  But, again, it all seems so arbitrary for such things to be considered important so long after.

I guess I have a similar reaction to other things unrelated to fashion.  Such as the pointless difference between a boy's bike and a girl's bike.



Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4900
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Well, it wasn't pointless back when you had to deal with flounces and multiple layers of skirts...



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Well, it wasn't pointless back when you had to deal with flounces and multiple layers of skirts...

Oh, I agree.  I just meant that I find it strange that such things are still considered important now that flounces and multiple layers of skirts are not the norm, and haven't been for quite some time.



Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4900
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Well, just because you don't like to look your best when velocipeding...



Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3966
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Just damn.

I'm not sure if I can articulate much more about these stories.

My personal fashion hate? Living in the South but having to attend meetings or weddings in the summer in a tie, long sleeves, and a wool coat.

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


kibitzer

  • Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2228
  • Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice
My personal fashion hate? Living in the South but having to attend meetings or weddings in the summer in a tie, long sleeves, and a wool coat.

Now, come try same in Brisbane ;)


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
My personal fashion hate? Living in the South but having to attend meetings or weddings in the summer in a tie, long sleeves, and a wool coat.

That does suck.  It seems like men's fancy fashion tends towards warmth (several layers of very heavy fabric that cover all the skin except the hands and head) and women's fancy fashion tends towards coolness (bared leg, bared arms, bared bosom).  So, unless the temperature is toward some comfortable medium, probably half the people will be very uncomfortable.



Umbrageofsnow

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 754
  • Commenting by the seat of my pants.
Reply #17 on: August 16, 2012, 04:37:06 PM

That does suck.  It seems like men's fancy fashion tends towards warmth (several layers of very heavy fabric that cover all the skin except the hands and head) and women's fancy fashion tends towards coolness (bared leg, bared arms, bared bosom).  So, unless the temperature is toward some comfortable medium, probably half the people will be very uncomfortable.

Which is particularly funny because, in my family at least, the men tend to complain it's too hot, and the women that it's too cold, even in similar levels of t-shirt/jeans or sweatshirt/jeans as appropriate.  My father refuses to wear long sleeves until it snows, and rarely even then, my mother needs a hat and jacket when the leaves start to turn.  And yet, if either were fashionable (they're really not) the problem would be exacerbated.

ABOUT THE STORIES:

I actually quite liked all three of these. Loved the ending to "Ten Darlings" with the preponderance of handbags. I look back on it not hugely impressed, but it was a fun story and I'd listen to it again. "Feast" was kind of funny, I had a sick little chuckle during it, but it is probably the least memorable of the three, as I couldn't remember what it was about when I looked at this thread, until I read all the way down.  "Mother of Monsters" is definitely my favorite of the three. Love the throwback-ness of it. Love the simple, non-supernatural explanation. Loved the portrayal of the titular woman. And the ending was nicely ironic. All the characters are such good people! It's honestly my favorite flash of the year so far, and these three generally trump the Dog/Annotations/Drowner set.



Trelbee

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Reply #18 on: April 26, 2013, 03:27:27 AM
I just wanted to say that I listened to this story when I was six months pregnant.  It was one of those months where somehow every episode of every TV show and every topic of every story I happened upon was about pregnancy and infants and the awfulness therein.

So... yes.  Listening to this right at that time means I'll pretty much never forget it.  EVER.  It's burned it's own little initials into my brain for ever more.  Damn you, you good awful story.

Please forgive my typos and grammatical errors. I'm probably using swype on my phone, or god help me, holding my iPad aloft over my head while the baby sleeps in my arms. Believe me, the errors bother me waaaay more than they bother you...