Pseudopod 95: No Tomorrows

By Steve Cooper

Read by Alasdair Stuart

Six months ago, it was all sugar and no shit. Six months ago, in a
private Istanbul club called *Imshi*, I’d snorted coke out of the
shallow belly button of an ex-Soviet farmer’s girl, reared on Georgian
corn, marinated in Belorussian vodka, garnished in best Turkish
blow. Say what you want about the Eastern Orthodox Church, the college
of bishops really knows how to throw a party.

The fat commission on that job, though, was running low, and now I was
in Leeds, in a filthy hole of a club called *Tiggers*, leaning back
against the bar with a little plastic bottle of water and watching the
crowd. The boys were thin hungry jackals and the girls were
glittering, animated sausage-meat. The place was
slaughterhouse-romantic.

I’d come to meet a man on borrowed time. Horton had been borrowing
time since 1673, and I had come to loan him a little more.

01
June 20th, 2008 9:42 pm

I really wasn’t feeling this one. Sorry. It just didn’t stick with me. I thought it felt like the center of a larger novel, and there was a lot of stuff going on. :[

02
June 24th, 2008 1:17 pm

Yeah I just didn’t get this one. It was a bit of a jumble.

03
Bruce
June 24th, 2008 3:58 pm

I had the same feeling; I felt I was struggling to care about the story.

04
allen
June 26th, 2008 12:01 am

I enjoyed this one a lot except for the ending. I do have to say that I’m glad I wasn’t around anyone when I listened to the line about invisible wizards carrying a K of Tina. I choked on my cigarette.

05
Alan
June 26th, 2008 6:30 am

I’m not really sure what this story was about. It felt like a gritty crime drugs ‘n magic number in an exotic locale and sprinkled with enough blow to light up the whole cast of Cheers; but neither the milieu nor the crime angle got enough detail to feel legitimate and real. The wizard character is so powerful that there’s not much sense of peril, and I felt like the ending had been telegraphed from the quarter-mark, yet still came so far out of narrative left field that I was left wondering, “well, what was the point of that?”

I did like the comic dialogue between the protagonists and the generally taut narrative voice.

06
Spork
June 27th, 2008 6:20 pm

All style, and no substance. How can he see this invisible wizard? How did the wizard die, or not die? Why was the reading such poor audio quality, while the intro and (increasingly lengthy and self-indulgent) outro of such superior quality by the same guy with the same mic?

07
Thorulfr
June 30th, 2008 11:44 am

I have to admit that I really enjoyed this piece, though there were some reservations. It had me hooked by the line “…the College of Bishops really knew how to throw a party.”, and I kept liking it more with each twisted line: “…if I wanted to smuggle shampoo into Turkey, I’d give it to my invisible wizard friend…” “…’Iconostasis.’ You don’t speak Greek? What are they teaching kids in schooll these days?”
I loved the imagery of the familiar-but-different markets in Istanbul, and had an amused moment when I realized the ‘potion’ used the three achemical principles: Salt, Sulfur, and Mercury…but then my brain shot back with “Waitaminute, those don’t refer to the actual, mundane chemicals of sodium chloride, elemental sulfur, and metallic mercury!” And then I started to get distracted wondering about the possible physical toxicological properties of the mixture. I agree that the ending was weak and abrupt – is Horton alive or dead? If alive, is he hopping the plane, or will he have to figure a way back to ‘Blighty’ on his own?
It definitely needs a sequel…or perhaps a prequel.

08
July 1st, 2008 1:41 am

Roger that comment about “the college of bishops”, Thorulfr. Best part of the whole story.

Is the wizard dead? If not, how does the protagonist deal? etc? etc?
Even for a short story, this felt incomplete.

:Eric

09
July 9th, 2008 8:51 pm

I enjoyed listening to it, even if it felt a little slapdash. I can’t help wondering about the mechanics of the magic.

10
Sgarre1
July 15th, 2008 9:01 pm

Another miss for me, but then I’m not the target for this at all.

Quick observations

  • for being hundreds of years old, the chronomancer guy has almost no personality The line about Greek was about it.

  • the writer has, set-up in the main character, an absolutely perfect reason/ excuse to always have the world around the protagonist be eerie, except (IIRC), outside of using this to explain why he can see the chronomancer, this is only set-up as a childhood thing (with the faces in the skin guy as a nice topper) and not used to any effect later, or did I miss something?

  • This one’s a pet peeve with these kinda stories so feel free to just consider it something I always want to know. It’s more something that gets fleshed out with a series, but I’d like some little inkling as to how much of this is perceivable to the real world? Sensitives and sorcerers and no ones the wiser? Do the hoods hire the chronomancer through the protagonist know what they’re getting or do they just think he’s an uncannily adept hitman? If the criminals now, how well known is it all? Or is this full scale parallel world where magic… (and that ellipsis would be where I bail on this kind of story).

Thanks for listening
“It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed”
Thomas Moore