Author Archive

PseudoPod 631: The Last Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw (1841)

Show Notes

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The Last Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw (1841)

by A.C. Wise


  1. Sperm whale tooth, lampblack

The first scene depicted is the whaling ship Henry Charles Morgan, beset by a storm. The waves are stylized curls, the wind traced as spirals battering the masts and tearing the sails. A series of dots arranged diagonally across the image stand in for rain. The lampblack is worked most deeply into the ocean bearing the ship up and tossing it around. The ship itself is second in darkness, with the spirals of wind touched most lightly, giving them a ghostly feel. Spaces of blankness within the waves suggest the presence of hands, shapes of absence rather than definitively carved things. It is possible the artist meant to metaphorically represent the storm, the ocean as a malignant force actively trying to pull the whalers from the ship and cause them to drown. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 630: Steadfast

Show Notes

This short story has a special place in my heart because it was a challenge to write. I was invited by the anthology’s two editors, and as much as I adore fairy tales and study them for fun, I couldn’t think of one to adapt. Finally, Rona, three days before the deadline, messaged me, “Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘Steadfast Tin Soldier. Go!'” and I did it… It’s also the first short story where I had that writer’s moment of curling up in the coffee shop while working on a scene with tears pouring down my face saying, “I swear, it’s the scene! I’m fine–I promise!” Feel free to guess which scene that was.


Steadfast

by Trisha J. Wooldridge


Dear Suzanne,

I only got here and our camp’s on light discipline, which means that a shambler horde is close. Most of us can’t sleep and are up writing and sharing these tiny LED headlamps.

Dave’s company is at this camp, too. We saw each other at mess, and he looked like crap. Worse when he saw me. No one told him I’d been drafted. He never expected it with my bum leg. He said no one was talking about the front lines, but if they drafted someone like me, things must be really bad.

I told him I was here for more… political reasons. I don’t want him doing something stupid to your dad when we get back because he would. He didn’t think it was possible they could mess with medical records or pay off enough people to get me drafted, but here I am. Both of us are worried about Mom. You’re still checking in on her, right? Are you able to without causing any problems with your dad? I really hope so. Give her our love. She must be a wreck.

I know your performance is coming up, and I wish I were watching you dance rather than being here. But, I don’t regret our kiss. No matter what your dad thinks he can do, I’ll return to you for another. Thinking of that and thinking I am maybe keeping these horrors from getting to you, help me get through.

Love,

Peter (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 629: Slipping Petals from Their Skins

Show Notes

This story was inspired by my childhood obsession with Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies books and imagining that if I ate flowers, I could become one of those fairies.


Slipping Petals From Their Skins

By Kristi DeMeester


Carolina smells of viburnum when we bury her. My sister and I stand over the closed casket and pretend the fetid, cloying scent is the death lilies wreathed about the church, but of course we know better. Know if we opened up the box we’d put her in and pried open her mouth, those tiny white flowers would peek out from her throat like lace against her teeth. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 628: A Spider Trapped in Wax

Show Notes

This story was first drafted for a Hallowe’en story contest in the Codex writers group, based on two story seeds provided by Merc Rustad and Stewart C. Baker: “A spider with legs dipped in wax sits atop yards of black lace” and “In the centre of the mansion, there is a room with windows”, respectively. The basic idea was pretty easy given such foundations, and the first draft came out suspiciously easily, but as usually happens with these things I didn’t fully realise what I was writing about until two or three drafts in. As my kids grow up into individuals, with their own challenges and celebrations, I’m increasingly aware of the way I come across as a father, and the ways in which we–I–inevitably repeat the mistakes and successes of our own parents–because what other example do we have to learn from? Some of those lessons are sunk in so deep you don’t even realise they’re there. Though I’m fortunate in never having known the sort of physical or emotional cruelty shown in the story, there are other aspects of who I am and how I react that I struggle to keep in check. It’s worth the effort, though; to be honest, I can’t think of any effort more important. How else will the chain ever be broken?


A Spider Trapped in Wax

by Matt Dovey


Lindom Hall was a cold place; a lonely place; an empty place of stone and echoes. Margaret had her servants, of course, but they hardly counted. She had grown used to the silence, perhaps, but never truly comfortable with it.

Yet now that her son was returned at last to the Hall, she took no solace in the company.

“Mother, please,” he said. “It is not so much money to ask for, is it?”

She shook her head as she crossed the entrance hall to him, her cane clicking on the hard wooden floor. “It is not the amount,” she said, brushing an autumn leaf from the felt brim of his hat. “It is that you ask at all.” (Continue Reading…)