Pseudopod 403: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XXI: The Tyranny Of Objects

Show Notes

“Nothing that surrounds us is object, all is subject.” – André Breton


“A saw wants to cut. What else is it going to do? It’s a saw. Nobody blames the saw when a kid cuts his finger off in shop class. The kid should have payed closer attention. After all, a saw wants to cut.”

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“It started with nothing. That is, Helen Bentley looked into the yawning maw of the empty filing cabinet and felt no emotion, no pull to it. Nothing. It was a thing, a functional, ugly, grey thing that just stared, squatly squinting at her all day long.

The pointless piece of office funiture was standing with its back to the wall behind her desk, one desk in a sea of desks, its innards spilled out across the floor, a slippery cascade of buff coloured hanging folders and nearly neat inserts. She felt like running through them, kicking them high in the air like a child in Autumn when the leaves had fallen. But she didn’t. It would be a ridiculous thing to do and besides, she would only have to pick all the paper up again, put it away tidily, file it. She would only have to be grown up about it. So instead of running, laughing, remembering the youth she had never had, she filed and filled and did her job. And when the paper and forms and memos were put back together, properly alphabetised and labelled as they should be, she patted the cabinet on its cold top right corner and heard the satisfied clanging of a job well done.

She started to feel something then.”

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Six hang ups. Then the last call. Gentle static. The noise wavered, as though it had come a long distance over thrumming lines. Wind blowing over an open microphone. The man shuddered, despite his moth eaten jumper, despite the heater kicking in. He sat in the dark with his eyes closed, the wordless message resonating with something sympathetic within him, the effect continuing after the machine had clicked off. Hands over his eyes, he heard the window rattle with a fresh splash of rain. The building stretched on forever on either side. All of the units were empty. There was only him. The TV noise was the murmuring of a distant nebula caught by a radio telescope. If he looked out of the window now, into the night, he knew that there would be no street, no sky. Just a dim hallway, thin walls rattling with the wind tunnelling though it, rain dripping from a soggy ceiling. This is all that there is.”

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About the Authors

David Stevens

David Stevens (usually) lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and children. His stories have appeared amongst other places in Crossed Genres, Aurealis, Three-Lobed Burning Eye, Pseudopod, Cafe Irreal, Not One of Us, Kaleidotrope, some Australian literary magazines, and the anthologies ‘Love Hurts’ and ‘At the Edge’. His short story, ‘My Life as a Lizard’, received an honorable mention in the list of Best Short Fiction of the Year in Clavis Aurea in Apex. One day he will finish his novel.

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Lisamarie Lamb

Lisamarie Lamb has short stories included in over thirty five anthologies, and has a collection of short stories published by Dark Hall Press, entitled OVER THE BRIDGE. She just had a children’s novel published with J. Ellington Ashton called THE BOOK OF MANDRAGORE and a short story collection, FAIRY LIGHTS. She lives on the Isle of Sheppey, UK, with her husband, daughter, and two cats. She blogs at THE MOONLIT DOOR.

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Gabriel R. Miller

Gabriel R. Miller lives in the Inland Northwestern United States with his alien ex-wife of 15 years and his three beautiful, half-alien children. He has a dog who loves him, a cat who needs him (her words, not his), and a guinea pig who hates him (though he says the feeling is mutual). He is the proud owner of a small collection of saws, all of which he knows how to use. He is currently working on a fantasy trilogy. He blogs and vlogs and does other things that sound like excretory functions whenever he can muster the will to do so, which isn’t often. He’s also on Facebook and Twitter, and you can find all the links to his various online personalities at Luddite With A Laser.

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About the Narrators

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is more widely known as Grammar Girl, and her knowledge can be accessed at Quick And Dirty Tips.com.

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Kyle Akers

Kyle Akers is a voice actor from Kansas City, Missouri. He has contributed to podcasts like Pseudopod, Chilling Tales for Dark Nights, and NoSleepPodcast. He also produces and performs in his own improv podcast called “The Counselor.” Prior to voice acting, Kyle toured the country as a professional musician, singing and playing bass guitar for the electro-pop band Antennas Up, which enjoyed success through several national television show placements and commercials. Since then, Kyle has dabbled in long-form improv and audio production while performing weekend gigs with Kansas City cover band The Magnetics.

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Graeme Dunlop

Graeme Dunlop is a construct of his own mind and thus extremely hard to grasp. He has no discernable skills and often wonders how he became co-editor of a respected fantasy podcast.

In alternate futures he is Muad’Dib, or a drunken bum living in a skip, or reincarnated as a dog, or living happily in the now.

He’s also a voice actor, with narrations for each of the Escape Artists podcasts.

He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his lovely wife Amanda. They have a crazy boy dog called Jake. They believe Jake may rival Jen’s dog for hairiness, but definitely not size.

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