PseudoPod 484: Flash On The Borderlands XXXI: WEIRD SCIENCE HORROR!

Unspeakable Horrors From Outer Space Paralyze The Living And Resurrect The Dead!


The Masters by Theodore Cogswell

The Masters originally appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories, Summer 1954. Theodore Rose Cogswell (1918 – 1987) was an American science fiction author. During the Spanish Civil War, he served as an ambulance driver for the Republicans as part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Cogswell wrote almost 40 science fiction stories, most of them humorous. Many thanks to John Betancourt and the Cogswell estate for working with us to share this story with you.

Your narrator – John Bell who runs the Bells in the Batfry podcast at For those who want to use his services, please reach out to him at

“So heavy!” groaned the last earth-man to himself as he laboriously pried up a heavy flagstone with the butt of an old halberd. “So very, very, heavy.”

As the flat rock finally toppled over, he bent down, with all the speed his complaining back would permit, and grabbed a centipede that was scuttling for safety. Grimacing slightly, he bit off its head and sucked out its little ration of unsatisfying juices.

While he did so, he nearsightedly scanned the moist ground the flagstone had covered, to see if there was anything else. But that section of his larder was empty. With a weary grunt he moved over to the next paving stone. When he had it halfway up, he saw a fine Wiggling underneath. Before he could do anything about it, there was a sudden shattering of the night silence, as something exploded in the high distance. Startled, he let the halberd drop—almost smashing a toe in the process—and looked up. As he watched, there came another thundering, and, with the harsh explosions, a flickering light flood. The ragged mountains that cupped his tiny signory jumped in and out of darkness. By the time he recovered his vision the sound was almost overhead. He squinted upward into the darkness as the flashes came again, less bright this time. Then he saw a strange something descending toward him on spouting pillars of emerald flame.

“Company!” he chortled happily to himself as he tottered down the winding stairs that led to his chambers. “After all these years, real live company!”


The Stainless Steel Leech by Roger Zelazny.

The Stainless Steel Leech originally appeared in Amazing Stories, April 1963.

Roger Zelazny (1937 – 1995) was an American poet and writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels, best known for The Chronicles of Amber. He won the Nebula award three times and the Hugo award six times. He has a crustacean named after him! Many thanks to Trent Zelazny for working with us to share this story with you. While you’re in the mood for fiction, check out some of his work. We recommend starting with his excellent collection “The Day the Leash Gave Way and Other Stories“.

Speaking of crustaceans, your narrator is Norm Sherman. Norm lives on a small ship circling Phobos with his Nigerian princess Tinunbu. He landed long enough to read this story for us.

I, the unjunked, am legend. Once out of a million assemblies a defective such as I might appear and go undetected, until too late.

At will, I could cut the circuit that connected me with Central Control, and be a free ’bot, and master of my own movements. I liked to visit the cemeteries, because they were quiet and different from the maddening stamp-stamp of the presses and the clanking of the crowds; I liked to look at the green and red and yellow and blue things that grew about the graves. And I did not fear these places, for that circuit, too, was defective. So when I was discovered they removed my vite-box and threw me on the junk heap.

But the next day I was gone, and their fear was great.


And Not Quite Human by Joe L. Hensley

Joe L. Hensley (1926 – 2007) was a lawyer, prosecuting attorney, member of the Indiana General Assembly, circuit court judge, science fiction fan, and writer of science fiction and mysteries. Many of his mystery novels were set in the fictitious Bington, a place which combined aspects of Madison and Bloomington. His first fiction sale was the short story “And Not Quite Human,” published in the September 1953 issue of Beyond Fantasy Fiction. Make sure to check out his story, Argent Blood, over on Podcastle. Many thanks to the Hensley estate and Vaughne at the Virginia Kidd Agency for working with us to bring this to you.

Your narrator is Spencer DiSparti, who is a poet, writer, and voice actor from Phoenix, Arizona. He is the host of The Green Magick Podcast and is available to read things for you at

They won of course. One ship against a world, but they won easily.

The Regents would be pleased. Another planet for colonization-—even a few specimens for the labs. Earthmen, who had incredibly lived through the attack.

Forward, in a part of the great ship where the complex control panels whirred and clicked, two of the Arcturians conferred together.

“How are the Earth specimens, Doctor?” the older one asked, his voice indifferent. He touched his splendid purple pants, straightening the already precise creases.

“They stare at the walls, Captain. They do not eat what we give them. They seem to look through the guards, say very little and use their bodies feebly. I do not think that all of them will live through the trip.”

“They are weak. It only shows the laboratories are wrong. Our people are not related to them—despite the similarity in appearance. No, we are cast in a stronger mold than that.” He drummed his desk with impatient fingers. “Well—we can’t let them die. Force-feed them if necessary. Our scientists demand specimens; we are lucky that some of them lived through the attack. I don’t see how it was possible—it was such a splendid attack.”

“They have no real sickness, not even a radiation burn in the lot of them,” the doctor said. “But they are weak and morose.”

“Keep them alive and well, Doctor.”


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