Pseudopod 197: Set Down This


By Lavie Tidhar

Read by Elan Ressel, voice actor for hire

Closing music: “Mourning of the Storm” by The Secret Life

On my brother’s computer, a video file shows an American fighter plane pinpointing a group of men in Iraq.

‘Do it?’ the pilot says.

‘Confirmed.’

‘Ten seconds to impact.’

Where the men have been there is a huge explosion, and black smoke covers the grainy grey streets. ‘Dude,’ the pilot says.

I have no faces and no names to put to the men. The black smoke must have contained the atoms of their flesh, their bones (though bones are hardy), vaporized sweat, burnt eyebrows and pubic hair and nose hair (unless they used a trimmer, as I do), in short, the atoms of their being. Later, I think, one could find, lying in the street, a tooth or two, the end of a finger that had somehow survived, fragments of bone, a legless shoe. These men are nothing to me. They are pixels on a screen, a peer-shared digital file uploaded from sources unknown, provenance suspect, whose only note of authenticity is that young pilot’s voice when the smoke rises and he says, quietly – ‘Dude.’

About the Author

Lavie Tidhar

Lavie Tidhar is the World Fantasy Award winning author of Osama (2011), of The Violent Century (2013) and of the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize winning A Man Lies Dreaming (2014), in addition to many other works and several awards. His latest novel is the Campbell Award winning and Clarke Award nominated Central Station (2016). He works across genres, combining detective and thriller modes with poetry, science fiction and historical and autobiographical material. His work has been compared to that of Philip K. Dick by the Guardian and the Financial Times, and to Kurt Vonnegut’s by Locus.

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About the Narrator

Elan Ressel

Elan Ressel is a voice actor and CEO of his own company.  Elan’s company offers a corporate education tool, SPICE (Self-Paced Interactive Corporate Education).

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About the Artist

Maui Threv

Maui Threv was born in the swamps of south Georgia where he was orphaned as a child by a pack of wild dawgs. He was adopted by a family of gators who named him Maui Threv which in their language means mechanical frog music. He was taught the ways of swamp music and the moog synthesizer by a razorback and a panther. His own music has been featured over in episodes of Pseudopod. He provided music for the second episode ever released across the PseudoPod feed: Waiting up for Father. He also is responsible for the outro music for the Lavie Tidhar story Set Down This. He has expanded his sonic territory across all 100,000 watts of WREK in Atlanta where you can listen to the Mobius every Wednesday night. It is available to stream via the internet as well, and Threv never stops in the middle of a hoedown.

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