PseudoPod 471: Flash On The Borderlands XXX: Flash Fiction Contest IV

Show Notes

These are the winners of the fourth round of the Pseudopod Flash Fiction Contest. All are Pseudopod Originals.

The next phase of the Flash Fiction Contest will be run by Escape Pod. Get your science fiction flash prepared.


Cold Spots

by Lena Coakley

narrated by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

Lena says about this story, “To me, ‘Cold Spots’ is a very New England story. All the imagery is pinched from childhood memories of my grandmother’s summerhouse on the Connecticut shore. I see it as being about the disappointment that comes when we realize adulthood is not what we thought it would be when we were children, and the desire to get back to a self that may never have existed. This will be my first podcasted story so I’m beyond excited to hear it.”


Salt on my lips. Sun on the sea. My body slides through the water easily as if it had never aged. I have to swim farther and farther out to find you, but you are always there. In the cold spots.

On land the past is vague and distant, but something about the sudden gooseflesh, the delicious shock between my legs, brings you back, and I remember.


Down

by Nathaniel Lee

narrated by Graeme Dunlop


It started with the basement. The steps descended into darkness. The light was on, I could see the light, the light was glowing its little heart out, but about three steps from the bottom, it just stopped. The shadows thickened and there was a hint of concrete floor, then nothing. I didn’t want to go down there, even though I’d just heard the dryer buzz.

Linny went to investigate. She made it five steps down. Then she was gone, too. And the darkness was closer.


The Mindfulness of Horror Practice

written and narrated by Jon Padgett

Jon says about this story, “After my family and I returned home to a devastated New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, a friend of mine suggested I start meditating to help deal with acute depression and anxiety. I did so after finding a mindfulness of breathing practice which I favored, and it was transformative. Some time back, it struck me that the flip side of such a practice might be interesting to explore, and—thus— ‘The Mindfulness of Horror’ was born.”


In this recording I’m going to be leading you through all four stages of the mindfulness of horror practice. Closing your eyes. Become aware of the air on your skin, the temperature in the room. Any noises or smells. Accept them all, good or bad and let go. Not clinging to anything or pushing anything away, but embracing every sensation.

About the Authors

Lena Coakley

Lena Coakley’s first novel, Witchlanders, was called “one stunning teen debut” by Kirkus Reviews and won the SCBWI Crystal Kite award for the Americas.  Her latest novel, Worlds of Ink and Shadow, a portal fantasy about the young Brontë siblings and the worlds they created, debuted at #1 on both the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star bestseller lists. Learn more about her at www.lenacoakley.com

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Nathaniel Lee

Nathaniel Lee (aka Nathan Lee) puts words in various orders and intermittently receives money in return. His fiction can be found in dozens of venues online and off. A full bibliography can be found at his writing blog, mirrorshards.org

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Jon Padgett

Jon Padgett is a professional–though lapsed–ventriloquist who lives in New Orleans with his spouse, their daughter, and a rescue dog and cat. He is the Editor-In-Chief of Vastarien: A Literary Journal, a source of critical study and creative response to the work of Thomas Ligotti as well as associated authors and ideas. Padgett’s first short story collection, The Secret of Ventriloquism, was named the Best Fiction Book of 2016 by Rue Morgue Magazine. He has work out or forthcoming in Weird Fiction ReviewPseudoPodLovecraft eZineXnoybis, and the anthologies A Walk on the Weird SideWound of WoundsPhantasm/ChimeraFor Mortal Things Unsung, and Ashes and Entropy. His latest chapbook, The Broker of Nightmares, will be published this October by Nightscape Press.

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About the Narrators

Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali lives in Houston, Texas, with her family. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times, she juggles, none too successfully, the multiple other facets of her very busy life.

Khaalidah has been published at or has publications upcoming in Strange Horizons, Fiyah Magazine, Diabolical Plots and others. You can hear her narrations at any of the four Escape Artists podcasts, Far Fetched Fables, and Strange Horizons. As co-editor of PodCastle audio magazine, Khaalidah is on a mission to encourage more women and POC to submit fantasy stories.

Of her alter ego, K from the planet Vega, it is rumored that she owns a time machine and knows the secret to immortality.

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Jon Padgett

Jon Padgett is a professional–though lapsed–ventriloquist who lives in New Orleans with his spouse, their daughter, and a rescue dog and cat. He is the Editor-In-Chief of Vastarien: A Literary Journal, a source of critical study and creative response to the work of Thomas Ligotti as well as associated authors and ideas. Padgett’s first short story collection, The Secret of Ventriloquism, was named the Best Fiction Book of 2016 by Rue Morgue Magazine. He has work out or forthcoming in Weird Fiction ReviewPseudoPodLovecraft eZineXnoybis, and the anthologies A Walk on the Weird SideWound of WoundsPhantasm/ChimeraFor Mortal Things Unsung, and Ashes and Entropy. His latest chapbook, The Broker of Nightmares, will be published this October by Nightscape Press.

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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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