Author Archive

PseudoPod 648: The Canal

Show Notes

A surprisingly in depth look at the origin of the Campbell quote Alasdair uses:

The Canal

by Everil Worrell

Past the sleeping city the river sweeps; along its left bank the old canal creeps.

I did not intend that to be poetry, although the scene is poetic—somberly, gruesomely poetic, like the poems of Poe. I know it too well—I have walked too often over the grass-grown path beside the reflections of black trees and tumble-down shacks and distant factory chimneys in the sluggish waters that moved so slowly, and ceased to move at all.

I have always had a taste for nocturnal prowling. As a race we have grown too intelligent to take seriously any of the old, instinctive fears that preserved us through preceding generations. Our sole remaining salvation, then, has come to be our tendency to travel in herds. We wander at night—but our objective is somewhere on the brightly lighted streets, or still somewhere where men do not go alone. When we travel far afield, it is in company. Few of my acquaintance, few in the whole city here, would care to ramble at midnight over the grass-grown path I have spoken of—not because they would fear to do so, but because such things are not being done. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 647: The Algorithms for Love

The Algorithms for Love

by Ken Liu

So long as the nurse is in the room to keep an eye on me, I am allowed to dress myself and get ready for Brad.  I slip on an old pair of jeans and a scarlet turtleneck sweater.  I’ve lost so much weight that the jeans hang loosely from the bony points of my hips.

“Let’s go spend the weekend in Salem,” Brad says to me as he walks me out of the hospital, an arm protectively wrapped around my waist, “just the two of us.”

I wait in the car while Dr. West speaks with Brad just outside the hospital doors.  I can’t hear them but I know what she’s telling him.  “Make sure she takes her Oxetine every four hours.  Don’t leave her alone for any length of time.”

Brad drives with a light touch on the pedals, the same way he used to when I was pregnant with Aimée.  The traffic is smooth and light, and the foliage along the highway is postcard-perfect.  The Oxetine relaxes the muscles around my mouth, and in the vanity mirror I see that I have a beatific smile on my face.

“I love you.”  He says this quietly, the way he has always done, as if it were the sound of breathing and heartbeat.

I wait a few seconds.  I picture myself opening the door and throwing my body onto the highway but of course I don’t do anything.  I can’t even surprise myself.

“I love you too.”  I look at him when I say this, the way I have always done, as if it were the answer to some question.  He looks at me, smiles, and turns his eyes back to the road.

To him this means that the routines are back in place, that he is talking to the same woman he has known all these years, that things are back to normal.  We are just another tourist couple from Boston on a mini-break for the weekend: stay at a bed-and-breakfast, visit the museums, recycle old jokes.

It’s an algorithm for love.

I want to scream. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 646: Home and Hearth

Show Notes

The episode of Faculty of Horror mentioned in the intro:

Episode 52. The Dark Side of Oz: Wolf Creek (2005) and The Loved Ones (2009)

Hearth and Home

by Angela Slatter

Caroline held the door open, listening to the keys make that gentle clink-clank as they hung from the lock. He pushed past her and she could smell the peculiar odour he gave off now: puberty and a state institution. As he crossed the threshold, his too-small shoes leaving mud on the new welcome mat (she’d thrown out the one exhorting a universal power to ‘Bless this mess’), the house seemed to sigh.

Then again, maybe it was her, but she couldn’t remember the air leaving her lungs.

Then again it might have been the heating system as it puffed out warmth.

‘Coke?’ she asked, following him down the long hallway. ‘Or hot chocolate? Crisps? Marshmallows? I baked your favourite biscuits. They’re not hot but I can warm them in the microwave. There’s a cake, too. Banana. Or—or—what would you like?’

She knew she was overcompensating, had schooled herself not to during the weeks and months, but he was back in the house not five minutes and already she was failing. She reached out and touched his face.

It was a mistake. The feeling against her palm, the slight sweatiness, the burgeoning pimples beneath the skin, combined to make her shudder. She hoped he didn’t notice. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 645: HORROR COMEDY SHOWCASE: The Undertakers

Show Notes

Dream Foundry

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The Undertakers

by Rudyard Kipling

When ye say to Tabaqui, “My Brother!”
when ye call the Hyena to meat,
Ye may cry the Full Truce with Jacala–
the Belly that runs on four feet.
–Jungle Law

“Respect the aged!”

It was a thick voice–a muddy voice that would have made you shudder–a voice like something soft breaking in two. There was a quaver in it, a croak and a whine.

“Respect the aged! O Companions of the River–respect the aged!”

(Continue Reading…)