Archive for the 'Flash' Category
PseudoPod 501: Flash on The Borderlands XXXII: Punishments

Devils speak of the ways in which she’ll manifest

Angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress


Rat King by Lia Swope Mitchell

This is a PseudoPod Original. This story takes its inspiration from the phenomenon of the “rat king”: a group of rats whose tails have gotten knotted and stuck, so that the rats all live and die together in a big tangled, biting mass.

Lia Swope Mitchell is a PhD student in French literature at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She studies visual media and speculative fiction in the nineteenth century, teaches grammar, and writes fiction on the sly.

Your narrator – Rish Outfield can be found regularly at The Dunesteef podcast, which he produces with Big Anklevich, and you can hear him pretty much everywhere in the genre story pod-o-sphere. And for good reason!

Listen. This is just a free consultation. We’re just two men in a bar, you and I. Respectably dressed with respectable drinks, talking business, like everyone else. But I can see it on your face, written underneath your eyes. I can smell it. Underneath the bourbon, underneath the cigarettes and lies. Something’s in there, crawling around inside. You’ve got a secret. And you want to do business, I can tell.


Dead Alive Imagine by David Murphy

This is a PseudoPod Original.

David Murphy’s latest book Walking on Ripples was published by the Liffey Press in Dublin, Ireland, in 2014. His previous books includes a contemporary fantasy novella Bird of Prey (2011), Arkon Chronicles (also a novella, 2003) and the well received novel Longevity City (2005), each of which was published in the USA. His award-winning short fiction has been published and translated worldwide; over one hundred appearances including magazines and anthologies, two chapbooks and a short story collection brought out first in Dublin in 2004 and re-issued in 2013. The title story of that collection, Lost Notes, won the inaugural Maurice Walsh Award for short stories.

Your narrator – Siobhan Gallichan, is a voice-over artist available for work at macfadyan-at-gmail.com. Listen to Siobhan’s podcast at The Flashing Blade or watch the show on YouTube.

Incisions are made within the clinical white surrounds of the operating lab; incisions in space and time in the operating theatre itself – and incisions into the flesh of the patient. These cuts and alterations take place in a lab so pristine that ceiling, walls and floor blend in a haze that fuses dimensions of distance, height and depth; a shining cleanliness so all-pervasive that light and surface intermingle, making it difficult to distinguish what is vertical from what is horizontal. Concentration and precision are of vital importance in this facility. All tables are smooth, all medical equipment sharp. Follow the instruction manual carefully. Do not – repeat: do not – attempt any ancillary procedures beyond those outlined in this manual.


Christopher Fowler and Pigeons from Hell

The Cages by Christopher Fowler

This story originally appeared in PERSONAL DEMONS in 1998.

Author: Christopher Fowler is the award-winning author of many novels and short story collections, and the Bryant & May mystery novels, which record the adventures of two Golden Age detectives investigating impossible London crimes. His latest books are the Dubai-set thriller ‘The Sand Men’ and the Bryant & May novel ‘Strange Tide’. Other recent work includes a graphic novel, ‘The Casebook of Bryant & May’, and a Hammer horror radio play under the Hammer Chillers label.

Your narrator is Jon Grilz. Jon is mystery writer as well as the creator of the Small Town Horror podcast who isn’t entirely sure which day of the week it is, but is pretty happy every time the sun rises. Most of the time you can find him wandering somewhere between the line dividing reality and wherever that laughter is coming from.

‘Look,’ said Albert, ‘they’re beating up Mrs Tremayne.’

‘She’s not done anything wrong, has she?’ asked Dr Figgis. ‘No. Perhaps that’s why they’re beating her up.’

‘Doesn’t follow, does it? God, she’s making a lot of noise.’ He shouted through the bars. ‘Hey, keep it down!’

‘This thing’s hard on my arse.’ Albert fidgeted on the rungs. After a few hours they cut into your buttocks and forced you to change position. At least, that was the effect they had on Albert. He noticed that many of the others never seemed to move at all.


Your guest host this week is Associate Editor Dagny Paul. Dagny is an 8th-grade English teacher who lives in Baton Rouge with her husband and four-year-old son. She has an unhealthy (but entertaining) obsession with comic books and horror movies. There’s a small but nonzero chance she was sent here from the future to stave off the awakening of an AI.

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

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

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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 thebatfry.com. For those who want to use his services, please reach out to him at jbellvoice@gmail.com

“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!”

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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.

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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 thegreenmagickpodcast@yahoo.com

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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One week left! Push them over the finishing line! Support our friends at 01 Publishing get Whispers from the Abyss 2 into print.

Preorder John C Foster’s upcoming novel at DoNotSpeakHisName.com

Theremin courtesy of Freesound and Thereminvox.

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

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.

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“Cold Spots” by Lena Coakley

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.”

Lena Coakley’s YA fantasy, Witchlanders, was called “one stunning teen debut” by Kirkus Reviews and won an SCBWI Crystal Kite award. Her forthcoming novel, Worlds of Ink and Shadow, is a portal fantasy about the young Brontë siblings and the imaginary countries they wrote about in childhood. It will be out January 5th from Amulet Books in the US and Harper Collins Canada in Canada. She lives in Toronto and is the current Vice President of CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers. Follow her on twitter @lenacoakley

Your reader – Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of twenty-five years and three children. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times she juggles, none too successfully, writing, reading, gaming and gardening. She has self-published one novel entitled An Unproductive Woman, has published a story at Escape Pod and has a story upcoming in the An Alphabet of Embers anthology. Khaalidah also reads slush at Escape Pod where she is on a mission to encourage more women to submit science fiction stories.

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

You can catch her posts at her website, www.khaalidah.com, and you can follow her on twitter, @khaalidah.

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.

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“Down” by Nathaniel Lee

Nathaniel Lee lives with his family in South Carolina. His work has appeared in dozens of venues online and off, including several times previously here on PseudoPod. He serves as the editor of the Drabblecast and assistant editor at Escape Pod.

Your reader – Graeme Dunlop is a tall man, mightily shouldered and deep of chest, with a massive corded neck and heavily muscled limbs. He is clad in silk and velvet, with the royal lions of Aquilonia worked in gold upon his rich jupon, and the crown of Aquilonia shines on his square-cut black mane; but the great sword at his side seems more natural to him than the regal accoutrements. His brow is low and broad, his eyes a volcanic blue that smolder as if with some inner fire. His dark, scarred, almost sinister face is that of a fighting-man, and his velvet garments cannot conceal the hard, dangerous lines of his limbs.

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.

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“The Mindfulness of Horror Practice” 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.”

Jon Padgett is a professional—though lapsed—lesser ventriloquist who lives in New Orleans with his spouse, their daughter, and two cats. Padgett has work out or forthcoming in Pseudopod, The Lovecraft eZine and Xnoybis. Padgett’s chapbook, The Infusorium, was released in spring of 2015, and his first short story collection, The Secret of Ventriloquism, is forthcoming from Dunhams Manor Press, June 2016.

Your reader – Jon Padgett is also a professional voice-over artist with a couple of books and many amateur productions under his belt. Later in 2016, Padgett–along with a team of editors and the artistic wizardry of Dave Felton–will be releasing the first issue of Vastarien, a source of critical study and creative response to the corpus of Thomas Ligotti and the authors who influenced and are influenced by him.

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.

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Pseudopod 462B: Halloween Parade 2015

Happy Halloween!

This year’s Halloween Parade by Alasdair Stuart is being released as a bonus episode.

Check out his blog at http://alasdairstuart.com/ follow him on twitter @AlasdairStuart and grab a copy of his book The Pseudopod Tapes Vol 1: Not the end of the world, just the end of the year.

Halloween Parade music is “Ominousity” by Nick and Gerald, from MusicAlley.com.