Archive for the 'Stories' Category
Pseudopod 420: Lost In The Fog

by J.D. Beresford.

“Lost In The Fog” first appeared in the collection NINETEEN IMPRESSIONS (1918).

John Davys Beresford was a British novelist now remembered for his early science fiction like THE HAMPDENSHIRE WONDER (1911), but who wrote supernatural and macabre stories occasionally. He was affected by infantile paralysis, which left him partially disabled. Beresford also contributed to numerous publications – in addition to being a book reviewer for “The Manchester Guardian”, and was offered the editorship of the pacifist magazine “Peace News” but declined because he felt he “would be a bad editor”. George Orwell described him as a “natural novelist”, whose strength was his ability to take seriously the problems of ordinary people. Elisabeth Beresford, children’s writer and creator of The Wombles, was his daughter.

Your reader – Ant Bacon – appeared on Pseudopod recently reading Penance by Liz Colter.

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“‘Burden,’ I muttered. ‘Where in God’s name may Burden be?’

I found something unutterably sad in the sound of that name.

I felt lonely and pitiable.

It was bitterly cold, and the mist was thicker than ever.

I could hear no one. There could be neither porter nor station-master here. Evidently this station was nothing more than a ‘Halt,’ on what I presently discovered was only a single line. I was alone in the dreadful stillness. The world had ceased to exist for me. And then I stumbled upon the little box of a waiting-room, and in it was a man who crouched over a smouldering fire.

When I went in, he looked quickly over his shoulder with the tense alertness of one who fears an ambush. But when he saw me, his expression changed instantly to relief, and to something that was like appeal.

‘What brings you here?’ he asked with a weak smile ”

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Pseudopod 419: Nurse

by Thomas Kearnes.

“Nurse” first appeared in the now-defunct print magazine Wicked Hollow and was featured in the horror anthology TRUE DARK.

Thomas Kearnes is a 37-year-old author living in Houston, where he’s studying to become a licensed chemical dependency counselor. He has been published mainly in literary magazines, but writes horror on occasion. He has two collections of literary fiction available – PRETEND I’M NOT HERE from Musa Publishing and PROMISCUOUS from JMS Books.

Your reader – Christiana Ellis – appeared on Pseudopod recently reading Prince Of Flowers.

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“Helen has been in the bathroom for fifteen minutes. Her limit is ten. She knows this. I have the contract in my purse, next to her caddy of anti-depressants and stabilizers. I will show it to her once she returns and say, ‘What did we agree upon last month? I know you like this restaurant, but if I can’t trust you here, we can’t come anymore. Do you understand?’

I watch for other women to leave the restroom, to catch the clues not even an accomplished talent like Helen can hide. Older women, their faces pinched sour with disgust and the younger ones, especially in the summer, who bolt from the room with whispers and backward glances. Poor Helen. Like most unfortunates in her position, her hard, impenetrable blindness prevents her from knowing the effect she has on others. In some ways, I prefer our afternoons or mornings in public to the interminable days in which her paranoia keeps us trapped in her home. Aided by the indulgence of others, I can trace her movements and perform my duties more easily.

I check my watch. Twenty minutes. No doubt Helen would implore me in her singsong voice, pale blue eyes darting like goldfish, that time had escaped her. This is nonsense. Those afflicted with her condition, in addition to her myriad other difficulties, have few skills, but they do possess an inborn awareness of where they are in time. This knowledge they rarely apply to their own betterment, but it is a unique gift, a grain of sand’s awareness of where the tide will next fall.

Helen’s salad sits rearranged, uneaten. One of my coworkers once joked she couldn’t understand these women who regurgitated their meals yet never ate them. What were they vomiting? You can tell from this ignorance my coworker is a poor nurse. For unfortunates like Helen, eating, like most intimate activities, was something she only could do alone. Perhaps that is what was taking so long. I believe she was at the point in her illness where she took a perverse pride in the fact she could continue her behavior without anyone trying to stop her. After all, if one makes it her mission to destroy another, someone usually will step in, but if one decides to destroy herself, most will just step aside.”

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Pseudopod 417: The Blistering

by Johnnie Alward.

“The Blistering” is original to Pseudopod!

JOHNNIE ALWARD hails from a small town in southern Ontario where he lives with his girlfriend, their cat Vincent Price and a vague but omnipresent sense of self-loathing.

Your reader – Matt Haynes – is the artistic director of The Pulp Stage Theatre company in Portland, Oregon. This January, the company will be premiering BOX: A Live Science Fiction Trilogy co-authored by Matt and acclaimed speculative fiction writer Tina Connolly. You can learn more about the show and its current fundraising campaign at The Pulp Stage.

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“‘Try to imagine the human brain as being analogous to the ocean.’

Sam Dillinger snapped his fingers and an enormous map of the world unfurled itself above him.

‘Like the ocean, the human brain is tangible in its theory and physicality. We can touch it, understand its general uses, even map its surface topographically – the Atlantic here, the Pacific there; cognitive processing in this corner, emotional reckoning in that. We’ve studied them – lived with them – since time immemorial, but we still have so much to learn. Man may have stripmined the mountains and scorched the green earth, but he still hasn’t conquered the depths.’

He snapped his fingers again and the map reconfigured itself into a large glass pane. Paul watched as folded in on itself like crystal origami until it had become the Epsilion Prism, a corporate emblem as fiercely lionized as the golden arches or Newton’s apple.

‘Here at Epsilion, we pride ourselves in possessing the most finely detailed cognitive maps that the world has ever seen. In fifteen short years, we’ve gone from a small, speech therapy start-up on 40th street to one of the largest and most relentlessly innovative companies ever founded on American soil. We’ve helped thousands of our clients to access long-forgotten memories, undo crippling mental illnesses, and learn new languages and mathematical skillsets in the space of a few scant minutes. And still, we’ve barely begun to skim the surface of a vast and unknowable space.’

He paused and stared into the crowd – 300-odd painters, writers and musicians who hung on his every syllable.

‘That is, until now.'”

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Pseudopod 416: Punksnotdead

by Eric Czuleger.

“Punksnotdead” was first published in Eric’s first novel Immortal L.A. which was inspired by listening to Pseudopod in the Albanian Alps for two years. “It makes me uncomfortable to share this story. It was supposed to be one thing and it took a dark turn on me. It was inspired by the nightly walks my best friend and I take by the ocean. We’ve been taking the same walks for years. The coastline never changes but we do. I guess that scares me. That a minute ago we were twelve, a second ago we were twenty, and the coastline never changes.”

ERIC CZULEGER is the author of the novels Immortal L.A. and Eternal L.A. He has collaborated with audio artist Joe Calarco on an audio prequel to this series entitled Ignited L.A. He lives in Los Angeles where he is the resident playwright of The Coeurage Theatre Company as well as a Media Journalist for TheWrap.com. He writes for screens both big and small as much as he possibly can. He finished Peace Corps service in Northern Albania in 2013 and tries to travel in and out of the states as much as he can. He tweets at @Eczuleger, and you can find his website at Eric Czuleger.com. If you liked this story, check out the full book, Immortal L.A., it’s sci fi sequel Eternal L.A., the audio prequel Ignited L.A. and the forth coming Farnoosh a stand alone novel about The Iranian Revolution, Genies, and reality television. All are available on Amazon or through his website Eric Czuleger.com where you can also purchase collections of Eric’s plays, read his blog, or drop him a line. He’d be happy to hear from you.

Your reader – Joe Calarco – is the associate artistic director of Coeurage Theatre Company in Los Angeles. He can be seen in the extension of Coeurage’s current show, Trey Parker’s “Cannibal! the Musical” mid December. He can also be seen in the West Coast Premiere of “The Pitchfork Disney”, opening late January. People can get tickets at The Coeurage Theatre Company.

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“”Punk is Dead. He has twenty-four hours Left.””

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