Pseudopod 063: The Western Front

By Patrick Samphire

Read by Paul Jenkins

We crawled forward. My hand pressed on a face jutting from the mud. I turned away and forced myself not to vomit.

A shell ruptured the earth nearby. Mud hammered over me. I bit my tongue to stop myself screaming. I rubbed the mud from my face.

When I could see again, I realised my men were no longer in sight. Panic took me. “Wait,” I whispered. “Wait.”

No one answered.


Remember Veteran’s Day, Nov 11.


01
al
November 10th, 2007 7:16 pm

Fabulous story. Captures the horror of war and yet reveals the human spirit’s ability to find hope even in the darkest of places. Wonderful reading as well.

02
November 11th, 2007 10:33 pm

(SPOILERS) I think the surprise caught me as off guard as it did the main character. I really expected something like vampirism as the big reveal, and the fact that it wasn’t sinister at all added to the horror added to the horror.

One thing that strikes me later is that you could cast the story in a different light if you thought of the rose as a catalyst to treason- almost like Helen of Troy in its way.

03
November 15th, 2007 11:40 am

[spoilers]

that’s assuming you take national loyalty to be more important than sunlight.

04
November 17th, 2007 12:30 am

This was a brilliant story. Well read by Paul Jenkins and well introduced (and extroduced, if that is a word) by Patrick Samphire. It was a fitting Remembrance Day / Veterans Day story. Each Veterans Day we read “In Flanders Field” and off that the story the poem was more poignant.

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/flanders.htm

- Don

05
November 17th, 2007 6:53 am

Best story of the year, without question. Absolutely superb and, if there’s any justice, this deserves nomination for Bram Stoker award, and other Best of….awards. I’ll be saying so in my podcast review, too, in December. http://www.thefix-online.com

06
Spork
November 20th, 2007 7:43 pm

This was pretty good.

07
November 22nd, 2007 1:04 pm

Excellent story. It starts off with a group of WWI western front tropes, then veers off into… surrealism, or magic realism. Reminds me of David Jones’ _In Parenthesis_ (1937).

08
phignewton
November 29th, 2007 7:24 am

ummm.. didnt stephen King write a series involving a ‘rose’ that must be protected to sustain the universe? or did he get it from elsewhere? a good story, though…

09
Mike Taylor
January 16th, 2008 3:28 pm

Story was good, but the reading was superb – chilling and great audio quality.