Pseudopod 69: The Excavation

By Ben Thomas

Read by Alasdair Stuart

“There is a fossil bed here,” he declared, “that I could publish
on for the rest of my life.”

Thom’s tendency was to become worked up about every dig he
supervised, but he’d never claimed he could spend the rest of his life
on a single one.

“Of course, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow, but wait till you
see what I’ve found. You’ll feel like a boy in a toy shop!”

December 22nd, 2007 5:32 pm

Nice. Very nice. I loved the images I came up with as he tried to get away from those creatures. I wonder what happened to him afterwards…?

December 22nd, 2007 7:03 pm

This one didn’t really ‘do it’ for me. It’s not that I can’t suspend disbelief for the creatures to be dormant for 600 million years, but to transition from that to them somehow being land animals, capable of not only surviving in the dry air, but swim through it to attack just doesn’t work. It turned what could have been a really good horror story to the literary equivalent of a really cheesy horror movie, complete with bad spfx.

December 23rd, 2007 10:11 am

Excellent story! It was so Lovecraftian, its as if Lovecraft came back from the dead and wrote it.

December 28th, 2007 9:07 am

Wow I haven’t enjoyed a story as much as this one in a long time. Great atmosphere, and the mental deterioration and “other worldly” horror felt just like Lovecraft.

January 3rd, 2008 1:32 pm

Thanks all for the kind and encouraging words. Nothing keeps me writing (and sculpts my style) like positive comments and criticism from readers. It’s so heartening to hear that tasteful readers are keeping these sorts of stories alive!

I love these classic-style weird tales, so I’d encourage you to check out my blog if you haven’t already; I keep it up to date with news about upcoming projects and events.

Grrom / Pseudonym
January 4th, 2008 5:22 pm

I hope i have the right Author. The story was well written and i enjoyed the time spent listening. Thank you for the Clue that led me here.

January 12th, 2008 11:51 pm

I liked this, but Lise nailed one of my criticisms already. How and why would sea creatures ever be an instant threat on land?

What I failed to grasp was why the other fellow kept it a secret from his university pal. Why? What purpose could have been served by this? I kept wondering about it, and thusly missing large parts of the story and having to rewind only to find my lingering questions weren’t answered.

I cannot come up with any serviceable, yet plausible, reason to keep the discovery of living prehistoric creatures a secret from your partner at a dig site. None.

January 14th, 2008 10:58 pm

Enjoyed this one a lot, I love creepy crawly bugs of the sort and could really feel the suspense build.

March 29th, 2008 12:47 am

I was linked here by a friend, and was curious, is there a written transcript for this? I’m really not the “books on tape” type of person; I don’t do well listening to a story being told to me, especially when there’s dialogue.

Mari Mitchell
April 29th, 2008 2:29 pm

This was so much fun. I understood the world but never thought I was being talked down to or was anything plopped down to explain anything. It all happened naturally.

The description was perfect.

I found the story to very well read.

I would have liked the story even more if I was not told before hand of the Lovecraft connection. It would have increased my fun to have made the discovery for myself.

June 4th, 2008 12:23 am

That’s the point of the story. Don’t think these readers have read much Lovecraft or listened to it. The concept of the elder gods and the mythos is supposed to be that there are things we’re not meant to know and that these creatures inhabit strange worlds with weird geometries and dimensions we can’t perceive. That’s the point of the stories, the inconceivable in the face of science and something physically repulsive and terrifying to our species.

July 7th, 2008 7:59 pm

Very good story, definitely see the Lovecraft connection with the horrible things we can not understand approach. My only criticism is that the guy keeping his discovery a secret wasn’t fleshed out well. We see no reasons for his motives and there is little explanation for his weird behavior. Lovecraft did a much better job of illustrating the path to madness of his characters.