Archive for the 'Stories' Category
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 482: The Box Wife

by Emma Osborne.

The Box Wife” was first published in Shock Totem: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted issue 9, edited by K. Allen Wood.

Emma Osborne is a fiction writer and poet from Melbourne, Australia. Her short stories can be found in Aurealis, Bastion Science Fiction and Shock Totem. Her poetry has been featured in Star*Line and has appeared in Apex Magazine. Emma comes from a long line of dance floor starters and was once engaged in a bear hug so epic that both parties fell over. She can be found on Twitter as @redscribe and her website is A Practical Crown

Your narrator – Eve Upton – is huddled in the darkness of the cupboard…she appears to be scratching words into the floor… what does that say? “nolite the bastardes carborundorum”.

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If you run your hands over me you’ll be pulling splinters from your palms for days.

I am in a room bare and dark.

Pseudopod 481: Unheil

by Kathryn Allen.

Unheil” was first published in Pantheon Magazine. It also appears in Typhon: A Monster Anthology which is currently available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Createspace.

Kathryn Allen lives in Yorkshire and sometimes writes fiction about facts which make her angry.

Your narrator – Elie Hirschman: Following his whirlwind world tour for athelete’s foot awareness, Elie has returned to his native Zimbabwe to unwind, make his mind one with the cosmos and seek a cure for his lifelong struggle as a pathological liar. He’s currently still active in all EA podcasts (including Cast of Wonders) and also appearing semi-regularly in the Nosleep Podcast.

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South-West Africa. 1909.

I came south because I was hungry and the same-old-same-old of drought and famine, which generation after generation encourages young men to seek a different future, made hiring myself out to the Germans seem like a good thing. Everyone was doing it. If Father had been ten years younger… Or so he said to Mother when she complained about how far away I would be. As if I would not return home as soon as the rains came. As if I would not write. She shed a few tears the morning I left, but not as many as she would have if she’d believed I was never coming back.

To their great surprise, as they looked before and found nothing, the Germans had discovered diamonds in the deserts of the Skeleton Coast. Or rather a man from Cape Town, who’d dug for many years in the Kimberley mines, picked up a raw stone whilst working on the railway line to Lüderitz. I suspect he did not get to keep it, though, as he was black.

You see, I was not innocent of the ways of Europeans. I did not go south expecting to make myself a fortune but because the Germans were hiring labourers to make theirs. I knew I would have to work hard for only a modest reward. Even so, the men who came to the Owambo Kingdoms, promising bed-and-board, money to send home, and a few coins to spend, said nothing of chains or beatings. There was no mention of day upon day spent on hands and knees, crawling across every inch of every desert hill and valley, fingers cracked and bloody from combing through the burning sands, the overseers never content with either pace or productivity. I was not innocent, but I was too trusting.

Hunger drew me south and hunger killed me.

Pseudopod 480: Servant Of The Aswang

by Samuel Marzioli.

Servant of the Aswang” was first published in Penumbra eMag Vol. 3, #6, March 2014

Samuel Marzioli is an Italian-Filipino writer, currently living in Oregon with his family. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in various publications, including Apex Magazine, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Shock Totem, and Penumbra eMag. His blog, marzioli.blogspot.com, featuring updates on his current projects, releases and sales, and a complete list of publications.

Your narrator – Mae Heaney is originally from Manila, Philippines and currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her Irish husband and 2 young children. She is an IT professional who once briefly dabbled in theater, loves to cook, bake and exercise! Her blog celticpinaymom.blogspot.com badly needs updating, she said she will try in between nappy changes while on maternity leave. And yes she still believes in the aswang!

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The Manila Times predicted March 30th would be a scorcher, the hottest so far this year. The aswang called it a perfect day to hunt and went to pack the cargo van.

As a rule, she never took us to the same site twice and always drove along the back roads and forgotten streets to every destination. It kept us unseen, she said, and put a bold stroke outline on any car that might follow. She was always fastidious about these things. That’s why she had lasted so long when all the rest of her kind had faded into folklore and rural superstition.

This time we traveled to Alabang Town Center, about fifty kilometers south and a two-hour drive by the route we took. We staked out a bench and waited for shoppers to pour in, acting like mother and daughter kicking up our feet. By noon, teenagers crammed inside, walking in noisy groups, still celebrating their newfound summer freedom.

Had they known the kind of eyes that watched them, they would have fled the mall and gone straight home, to huddle in their closets and wait for us to move on. But they never knew, never left, and I was forced to relive the same nightmare over and over.

“Pumili,” the aswang said.

“I can’t. I can’t choose,” I said, practiced words she’d heard a dozen times before.

“Do not act like you have forgotten our deal,” she said, a rare moment when she didn’t speak Tagalog. “Choose someone, or I will choose you.”

I did. Like the coward I am, of course I did.