Archive for August, 2012
Pseudopod 297: Of Ants And Mountains

by Charlie Bookout

“Of Ants And Mountains” is an original to PSEUDOPOD. Charlie says “I visited the nearby city of Joplin, Missouri last year just after an EF5 tornado destroyed much of it. And before long, this story began to slither its way into my head.”

Charlie Bookout lives with his family in Gentry, Arkansas—a creepy little town that’s a stone’s throw from the hillbilly infested Ozark Mountains. He’s one of several rural artists who have converted Gentry’s old mortuary into a studio devoted to independent music and film. He began writing in 2011 and has had stories featured at Silverthought Online and in The Washington Pastime. The artists’ website is at Mortuary Studios, and Charlie’s music can be purchased at his CD baby website.

Your reader this week is the Paul Tevis, who you may know from Podcastle.


“‘I thought it would be worse,’ I said as we ascended College Lane. ‘But it’s…’ My words caught in my throat. I stomped the brake pedal. Directly in front of us was a red minivan that had come to rest on its top. It was crumpled like tissue paper and was bleeding fluids onto the street. And beyond it was what old Mrs. Cropley must have already seen. The devastation was complete: bricks and cars and furniture… all jumbled together as if some great machine had bit into the earth and churned away for miles. No landmark was recognizable. Here and there the trunk of a tree remained, denuded of its bark. There were fires burning in half a dozen places. And there were people, everywhere in the streets, all in a hurry and accomplishing nothing. From a distance, they looked like ants searching for a pheromone after someone smashed their hill.”

A Short History of Pseudopod: Episodes 1 to 100

Submitted for your approval, or perhaps just to induce madness, a small reminder of what PSEUDOPOD has brought you these last few years, as we rapidly close in on Episode #300. Dare you attempt to listen to this fast-forward through our first 100 episodes?

(*medical note* -Bleeding nose, not too bad. Bleeding ears, bad. Bleeding eyes, very bad indeed!)


Pseudopod 296: The Squat

by Sean Logan

“The Squat” was first published in the 2007 charity anthology THE VAULT OF PUNK HORROR and Sean says “at the time I was thinking about what ‘punk’ means beyond the music and the esthetics. I remembered stories I’d heard about runaway kids living on the streets in San Francisco and the ways they used to take care of each other–the older kids looking out for the younger ones, sometimes prostituting themselves to provide for them. Somehow these acts of kindness and generosity from people who were in desperate situations themselves said ‘punk’ to me more than any loud music or mohawk ever could.”

Sean Logan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his lovely wife and a skinny dog that is part piranha. At night he writes unpleasant stories, and in his marketing day job he also writes about scary subjects—like banking software. His stories have appeared in about two dozen publications, including ONE BUCK HORROR, the anthologies VILE THINGS and SICK THINGS, and on an earlier episode of Pseudopod with his story “Tenant’s Rights” (episode #57) and we are glad to welcome him back into the fold.

Your reader this week is the James Trimarco, who has had a few stories of his own appear on ESCAPE POD, including “The Sundial Brigade”.


“The floor underneath him was sticky, as if it was covered in warm honey, and it made the skin on his hands and the side of face sting slightly where he’d touched it. All around him he heard the wet sounds of sliding, a thousand separate sounds, a thousand entities sliding toward him in the darkness. And all of these sounds seemed to echo down through a vast space, along with a deep, distant rumbling.

The sliding noises were closer now, and there was a wet, fleshy slapping against his feet, and creeping up his legs, under the pantlegs, thick coiling muscles, like long slugs or smooth tentacles, up and around his torso and arms, his neck and covering his face.

The old man felt himself being stretched and pulled and smothered, but the panic that had been rising in his mind was melting away. He didn’t remember how he’d gotten himself here, but for the first time in a long, long while he knew exactly where he was going. And he found comfort in that as his body and its extremities were pulled asunder.”

Pseudopod 295: Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls

by Brian Hodge

“Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls” was first published April 2010 as a digital short by Darkside Digital, the e-book division of Delirium Books (click link for website). In 2011 it was reprinted in the two premier year’s-best anthologies: THE BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR Volume 3, edited by Ellen Datlow, and THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR #22, edited by Stephen Jones.

Brian Hodge is the author of 10 novels, and 4 collections of short fiction, drawn from over 100 stories, novelettes, and novellas. His first collection, THE CONVULSION FACTORY, was named by critic Stanley Wiater as one of the 113 best books of modern horror. “As Above, So Below,” the anchor novella of the second collection, FALLING IDOLS, was selected for THE CENTURY’S BEST HORROR anthology, as 1998′s contribution to the top works of the 20th century. His most recent book is the collection PICKING THE BONES, released in 2011 by Cemetery Dance Publications, and he’s gradually releasing his backlist titles in e-book formats, and in a few cases hardcover reissues, so look for those now and throughout the next several months. He lives in Colorado, and is working on his next novel, next collection, and other projects. His website can be found by clicking his name in the byline, and he also blogs at WARRIOR POET.

Your reader this week is the Brian Lieberman, our very own Bdoomed on the forums. Brian is an aspiring game journalist. He blogs at MUSINGS AND RAMBLINGS.


“She seemed not to have heard me even though I knew she had, and I started to feel bad for asking it at all. While at first I’d found her not very nice to look at, I began to wonder if I wasn’t wrong, because now it seemed I’d only been misled by a trick of light and her annoyance. I wondered, too, if she might jump from the window, or lean forward and let herself fall. In that other world three floors down, the neighbors’ house was ringed with square slabs of stone to walk on. Nobody could survive a fall like that.

“I draw,” I told her, volunteering a distraction to save her life. “Want to see?”

I’d sneaked up some old ones, at least, even if I couldn’t make new ones.

“Later, maybe,” she said, and pulled away. Like before, her hand went to the bottom of the window, lingering a few moments, but as she moved back into the room she again left it open.

That night after the lights were out I lay in my bed and imagined her doing the same. I fought to stay awake as long as I could in case there were other songs to hear, or a repeat performance of the first one. Barring that, it seemed possible that she might cry instead, because that’s what I’d done the first night they’d moved me up here, but just before I fell asleep I wondered if the reason I hadn’t heard anything from her was because she was lying in the dark listening for some sound out of me.”

Pseudopod 293: Flash On The Borderlands XII – (Black) Arts & (Dead) Letters

Three flash fictions about the creative impulse that drives and maddens…

DANCING by Donna Glee Williams.

This will be the world debut of this story, which was written at Odyssey 2011, inspired by Ben Bova’s “Leviathan” and owes a lot to the feedback it got from Evil Overlord Jeanne Cavelos and her Minions.

Donna Glee Williams is a writer, seminar leader, and creative coach. A sort of Swiss Army knife of the page, Donna Glee has seen her work published in anthologies, newsstand glossies, literary magazines, academic journals, reference books, big-city dailies, online venues, and spoken-word podcasts, as well as on stage and CD recordings. These days, her focus is on speculative fiction, aka fantasy and science fiction. Check out her blog at the link under her name above.

Read by Heather Welliver continues singing and doing various voicework. Check out her website (link under her name, natch) and download some of her recent work.

““I do not pay you to tell me what cannot be done.” They used to call her Freedom on the Wing. And now… This fool said it could not be fixed.

“But this… This isn’t an illness, Diva,” he creaked. “This is natural. You’re maturing.”

The dancer hated being soothed. “I’m hardening,” she snapped. “I’m losing my range of motion. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, but suddenly my turn-out is shrinking. My forefoot extension is down. Do something. Why do I keep you if you can’t do something?”

LOST FOR WORDS by Kenneth Yu.

“Lost For Words” was won first place in FANTASY MAGAZINES 2009 Halloween Flash Fiction contest, which was overseen by writer Rae Bryant and under the ezine’s publisher, Sean Wallace. It can be read here.

Kenneth Yu is a writer from the Philippines. His work has seen print in his country’s various publications, including the Philippine ezines Usok and Best Of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2009. One of his stories also placed 3rd in the Neil Gaiman-sponsored 3rd Philippine Graphic Fiction Awards in early 2010. Elsewhere, his stories have been accepted by Innsmouth Free Press, The Town Drunk and AlienSkin.

Read by Marguerite Croft. Marguerite is a professional writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s a recovering anthropologist and a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop; her most recent publication was in the Boys of Summer anthology. She has also read fiction for Podcastle and Escape Pod, and can be found on Twitter as @albionidaho.

“When she was young, the words flowed freely, fearlessly, seemingly forming on their own into sentences and paragraphs, pages upon pages, blending together until they became stories.

She drew scenes with almost no effort, conjuring them with a vividness that took control of her readers’ imaginations. She could make her readers cry or laugh, fill them with anger or melancholy, leave them sighing in bittersweet pleasure, or stir them with high inspiration, all as she so directed with the words she chose.”


This story was originally published in Mort Castle’s 2002 anthology NATIONS OF THE LIVING, NATIONS OF THE DEAD. Originally was a story in the comic book NIGHT CITY (with art by Mark Nelson).

Mort Castle has three times been Guest of Honor at the World Horror Convention, has had multiple nominations for the Bram Stoker Award and the Pushcart Prize, and was cited as one of “21 Leaders in the Arts for the 21st Century in Chicago” by the Star/Sun-Times Newspaper Group. He won the Readers’ Choice Black Quill Award for Best Non-Fiction Work for editing ON WRITING HORROR (2007) and the collection, Ksi??yc na Wodzie (MOON ON THE WATER) was considered one of the “Best Books Published in Poland” in 2008. The hardbound edition of J. N. Williamson’s MASQUES, Mort Castle Editorial Director, presenting horror stories in comics format, is available from Checker Book Publishing Group.

Read by Patrick “The Voice” Bazile. Patrick was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and, many years ago, wrote, produced, and performed Hip Hop music. Patrick works as a professional voice artist (HIRE HIM…..HE HAS SEVEN CHILDREN!!!!!) and you can check out his “amateur looking voice talent page” at Patrick “The Voice”.

“It’s dark, the special dark of the city as it is punctuated by street lights. We see the shoes of the saxophone player on the sidewalk as he is moving right along.

The saxophone player is a man with somewhere to go.

He has somewhere to go tonight because –

–It is Springtime. We have Spring and we have the night.

We have Two A.M. and the city is angles and rhythms. The city is moves and slides and whisperings. You can hear the city breathe.”

Pseudopod 294: Demon Rum

by Charles M. Saplak

“Demon Rum” was first published around 1995 in the fiction magazine Pirate Writings, and was written by request of the editor, using a painting of a mouthless man holding a glass of a distilled spirit as a prompt. It is included in Charles’ fiction collection QUIET YET SOMEHOW WRONG, along with 16 other horror stories. Click the link under the title to purchase from Amazon.

Charles M. Saplak was, for a time, a sailor in the Sixth Fleet, and traveled to Naples many times. He irregularly blogs about books and writing (click his byline link above for his blog) , and also “tweets” @CMSaplak.

Your reader this week is the Dominick Rabrun. Dominick is an artist living in the DC metropolitan area. You can see his work at his websites Sketch Banquet and Count Blackula net.


“The scene on the other side of the glass resolved itself. Spangler’s suspicions were confirmed; he made out men bent over scattered tables; behind a bar at the far wall a man handled bottles.

Spangler felt his way along the stone wall (unsteadily, for his drinking had started hours ago) to a place where an unmarked door stood slightly ajar. From inside came the sounds of glass against wood, and the smells of tobacco smoke and stale sweat.

There were no signs or outside lights. As a bar this place struck Spangler as just what he needed. No frills, no B-girls, no blaring bands or flashing lights, just a place where a seaman could get one last drink before returning aboard.

It was just what Spangler was looking for on this cloudy Mediterranean night. It was just what he had been looking for on most nights of his life, these past ten years.”

Episode #293 delayed for a few days

Hello All

Pseudopod episode #293 – FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XII: (BLACK) ARTS & (DEAD) LETTERS – will be delayed by a few days as we wait for some last minute tinkering. That is all!