Author Topic: Pseudopod 320: The Man With The Broken Soul  (Read 5497 times)


  • Pseudopod Tiger
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on: February 09, 2013, 05:56:32 AM
Pseudopod 320: The Man With The Broken Soul

by Matt Wall

The Man With the Broken Soul” has not been published elsewhere.

MATT WALL lives in the southeastern united states, likes dogs and dislikes being surprised from behind. He is known to frequent the forgotten corners of used book stores and coffee shops. You may see him in the corner, clutching an obscure tome in one hand and black coffee in the other. He is a solitary creature, prone to flight, but if you smile at him, he will smile back and mean it. If you look away, and look back again and he is not there, do not take offense. You see, the dread elder things that live in the depths of his imagination look so much like people that he is never sure which is which. He is currently transcribing and editing an epistolary journal from a Dark Lord of the Sith to his young apprentice that he found on his recent vacation to Tatooine. The Republic will probably want to suppress this information, but the truth will win out!.

Elie Hirschman - is your reader this week. Elie is a self-described “former aspiring voice actor” who has worked.with Darker Projects and Dream Realm Productions and is also involved in Cool Fool Productions, turning bad audio scripts into intentionally bad comedy gold. Look them up on Facebook. He doodles constantly but doesn’t draw enough and lives in the Eastern Hemisphere against his will and better judgment.

“There was one Professor George Manson, a teacher of anthropology, whose company my mother would least have advised. He was an espoused atheist, well-known for his existentialist and humanist rhetoric. My mother, a devout Catholic, would have called him the devil himself, but she would have been wrong. I have met the devil, and George was at best a close cousin.

It was George who unwittingly opened the dark door into the unknown which I naïvely tromped through. He did so in a sense of irony, but for all his cleverness, he could not close it.

We would talk long into the night over games of chess and cups of coffee. Our discussions meandered through talk of ancient races, forgotten kingdoms, and dead languages. No topic was left untouched by our ramblings, save those too mundane for our eccentric sensibilities.

‘You remember me telling you about that turn of the century doomsday cult?’ he said.

‘The Order of Ancient Mysteries, was it? They worshipped some Sumerian demon-god. What was his name again? Etikku… Udummu…’

‘Idimmu,’ he said. ‘The word does not, of itself, indicate any specific demon. It is a generic term for a certain classification of evil spirit, but I doubt the good ‘Doctor’ Evangeline knew that, nor did any of his followers. The cult was quite popular among the university crowd.’

‘Didn’t they commit human sacrifice, have blood orgies and all that?’

‘That is the usual accusation for such occult orders,’ he said, ‘But I doubt their activities included anything more subversive than smoking opium and practicing group sex. Anyway, it so happens that I have come upon something of theirs that may be of interest to you. I know you go in for this sort of thing.’

‘Am I really that tawdry?’

He smiled, stood and retrieved a book from his shelf. ‘Have a look at this,’ he said as he sat down.”

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Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

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Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


  • Peltast
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Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 12:10:48 AM
OK, that was a great story read by a great reader.  Bravo!


  • Palmer
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Reply #2 on: February 11, 2013, 02:09:32 AM
I mildly liked this one. I was worried for a while that it was going to go all sorcerers’ apprentice but the eternal dream resolution was a much better cap to the story.
I often find that this style of writing (the slightly dry type, very common in the 20’s/30’s) just doesn’t scare me, something about the matter of fact handling of the supernatural, and that was true for this story as well.
Regardless, good story extremely well read.


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Reply #3 on: February 11, 2013, 02:38:27 PM
Interesting take on the split soul idea that's been used here and there (phylacteries, Horcruxes).  I don't recall seeing one before where one of the pieces rose up against the master.  Where do I sign up to have someone do all my sleeping for me?  That would be awesome.

To me the ending wasn't quite what I'd hoped from the beginning.  I'm not sure what I think of it.  It didn't quite seem to match the claims in the beginning but I'd have to listen again to figure out why.

In any case, well written, well voiced, good stuff.


  • Palmer
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Reply #4 on: February 11, 2013, 07:02:52 PM
Very well done! Besides the fact that I love the homunculus legends and myths (besides alchemy in general) I love how he was able to capture the desires and wants of a creature that was not human, both the diety AND Emet. Very nicely done.


  • Palmer
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Reply #5 on: February 12, 2013, 02:39:57 AM
That was an incredibly good story! I wasn't paying attention to anything else the entire time. This is an age-old story that's been told time and time again, and in many different views. Even the movie "Multiplicity," is very closely related, at the core. This telling didn't seem at all childish as they often do, however. I always love a story with a strong moral, and this one is very clear. Great reading, as well!


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Reply #6 on: February 16, 2013, 04:41:25 PM
I didn't care for this one overmuch, honestly.  I spent the first half waiting for it to get to the point and the second half waiting for it to stop beating the point into the ground with a stick.  I feel like the idea of your own soul revolting against you has a lot more horror in it than this story allows through; Emmet wasn't so much a piece of the narrator as a Golem (lampshaded, which I appreciated), and we all know how that story ends.  I was rather hoping for more of a dissolution-of-identity story rather than "Oh, no, my magical slaves have overthrown my cruel tyranny."  I'm afraid of losing myself; I'm not very afraid at all of those I oppress coming to get me.  (Because I try hard not to oppress anyone.)

The old-timey style appeals to me, and I think it was a good choice for this story, but I also think the sneering disdain of the narrator rather undercut the horror in this instance.  (Compare "The Voice in the Night," a legitimately old-fashioned story that Pseudopod fans should recognize, in which the distant tone and matter-of-fact recitation make the horror more vivid by leaving it to the audience to imagine the truly awful parts.)  He spends so long acting like an occult hipster that his flips into Lovecraftian description and then doomed victim mode don't convince me.

The Far Stairs

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Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 11:47:38 PM
I agree that the ending wasn't quite as world- and/or soul-destroying as I was expecting from a man summoning a primal demon, but did anyone else notice that there were just some really fantastic turns of phrase in here? These old-style stories often feel stilted, but this one felt vibrant and alive to me. Really great writing.

Jesse Livingston
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Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 01:26:09 PM
I really enjoyed both the story and the narration... great stuff.


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Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 12:02:55 PM
Great story, Awesome Narrator. The ending was a wonderful surprise.


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Reply #10 on: March 05, 2013, 02:02:21 AM
The narration was well done.  I liked how, in the end, the main character got eternal life, as he had wished.