When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Turn Pro

PseudoPod is open again for submissions. With the reopening, we’d like to announce a few changes for the better. First, we have new pay rates. For all new submissions, we will pay the pro rate of $.06 per word for original fiction up to a cap of 6,000 words. We will pay $100 flat rate for reprints, and $20 flat rate for flash fiction (stories below 1500 words). This now makes all the organizations in the Escape Artists family pro-paying markets. Second, we have moved to the Submittable platform for all submissions. This gives everyone improved tracking, a cleaner user interface, and a better overall experience. Please check out our Submissions page or the Submittable portal for more details.

We would also like to take a moment to recognize our submissions staff. The submissions staff is the lifeblood of our organization and keep the gears from grinding. Moaner T. Lawrence will be stepping in as new Assistant Editor over submissions. Our Associate Editors include Chelsea, Kat, and Jen as new staff members, as well as the returning Brian, Jesse, Nick, and Nicole. Many thanks are owed to the uncountable hours devoted by Joe, who is moving to new projects. With the new rates, we expect you authors to keep these folks busy reading for the upcoming seasons of PseudoPod.

Pseudopod 442: The Only Child

by Leslie J. Anderson

“The Only Child” is a PseudoPod original. “While writing this story I was wondering why death sometimes makes people feel special – touching it, escaping it, even causing it. Yet it’s not special. It’s something that happens to all of us eventually and it’s usually terrible.”

Leslie J. Anderson was born and raised in Michigan and now lives in Ohio with her husband and a puppy named Caper. For her day job she organizes words for a bank. Her writing has appeared in Asimov’s, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Strange Horizons, and Daily Science Fiction. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart and a Rhysling Award. She has a book of science fiction prompts, (called 100 Prompts For Science Fiction Writers) from Sterling Publishing. Her speculative poetry book, An Inheritance of Stone, was released from Alliteration Ink last year, and her urban fantasy novel, The Cricket Prophecies, was released in May by Post Mortem Press. For more information you can visit her website: lesliejanderson.com.

Your reader this week is Emily Smith. This is Emily’s third narration for Pseudopod. She is a part-time physician and full time mom in central California. While not narrating for Pseudopod or saving lives, she lives in constant danger of being eaten by cats, tripped by a baby, choked by a wisteria vine or smothered by wild birds. The wisteria vine is currently the most likely cause of her demise as it is the only thing not dependent on her for sustenance and her death dovetails nicely into its plan for world domination.


“Annabell Crowley lay on the dirt floor and looked up at Death. She remembered that a man had cut her throat. It was so hard to hold onto ideas. Her parents were already dead. Death had taken their spirits hours ago. She thought she should be afraid of him, but wasn’t. The human mind has amazing capabilities of adjusting to a new reality. The world was very peaceful. She looked up at Death, who looked back down at her. How funny that everything felt normal now. A man had cut her throat and she was not dead, even though that was impossible. Her arms lay at her sides. She didn’t have the power to raise them.

Death tilted his head. His skin was pulled close over his skull and his eyes were closed and sunken. Maybe he had no eyes at all. After looking at her for a long time he flicked the cigarette away and walked out the door. He was dressed in flannel and jean, with a brown hat. He had taken the hat from a hanged man because he’d liked it and it fit well. He stepped over Anna’s father.”


Pseudopod 441: Deep Deep

by Karen Munro.

Deep Deep” originally appeared in Electric Spec, May 2012. “I once worked as a summer camp counselor, and I love swimming in lakes. (You might not think so, but it’s true!)”

KAREN MUNRO lives, writes, and works as a librarian in Portland, OR. Every day in October she sends a free scary story out to a select list of scary-story-readers. Stories are an eclectic mix, all freely available on the Internet. If you’d like to be added to the list, you can email her at kmunrovian at gmail dot com. She blogs at Karen Munro where people can find the full list of stories from October 2014. (Happy reading!).

Your reader this week — Corvus — is a musician, poet, and podcast host for The Green Magick Podcast. He lives in Phoenix, AZ and you can find most of his work on Skeletopia.


“If a kid got lost in the lake, all the counselors had to dive. They were supposed to line up an arm’s length from each other, dive to the bottom, swim a few feet, then come straight up for air. If you dove close to shore it wasn’t bad. You only had to go down a few feet. But out at the end of the dock, beneath the diving board, it was twelve or fifteen or twenty feet to the bottom. That’s what we called deep-deep.

I wasn’t a counselor. I wasn’t counselor material, especially not at Wanderwell Reformatory Boys’ Camp. I wasn’t there to reform anyone, I just wanted to get out of my mom’s basement for the summer. Bagging cream of wheat and counting bowstrings in the quartermaster’s A-frame was better than listening to my mom and Shouty Phil rampage through the house. I didn’t want to be a counselor. I didn’t want to be responsible for anyone . . . but they still made me dive.”


Pseudopod 440: Octavius Bound

by Nathan Ehret.

Octavius Bound” is Nathan’s first attempt at horror, and Pseudopod is the first place at which it has been published. “Although the events in this story are fictional, the Octavius itself is somewhat less so. Legends of this ship’s disappearance have existed for centuries, and nothing conclusive about its existence has been documented either way.”

NATHAN EHRET tends to follow a rigorous daily routine of procrastination. Sometimes, though, a story manages to sneak onto his laptop when he’s looking the other way. He’s fascinated by the unusual and maintains a healthy disdain for the practical. He lives, edits, and teaches English in Vancouver, Canada, and his other stories have been known to end up in places like Perihelion and Electric Spec.

Your readers this week are Vash Bloodfrost and Jen Rhodes!
Vash Bloodfrost‘s Twitter addy is @VBloodfrost. Because she identifies as a GenderQueer TransFemale, Vash doesn’t want anyone who wanders into zhur Twitter to mistake zhur deep voice with an accidental address. “I’ve wholly found peace with who and what I am by not being what I’m not and, ironically, “Octavius Bound” has re-affirmed that we can’t afford to be defined by our sorrows and regrets…as they can kill us.”
Jen Rhodes is one of the founding co-hosts of “Anomaly” — a geek girl podcast and blog. Anomaly features articles and episodes on everything from conventions & cosplay to Star Wars and Dr. Who. She’s been nerding out with her co-host since 2007 at AnomalyPodcast.com.


“Sept 17, 1762

Five Months now we have been at Sea, tho’ it seems but half a Week since the _Octavius_ embarked from Peking and the Orient. I have decided to eschew the Horn & attempt a Course through the New World for our return Journey. If, by God’s Grace, the Weather is clear & we maintain our current Heading, we should find Passage eastward through the Arctic within the next Fortnight.

June 1, 2014

Saw my first iceberg today. Not sure when we can expect pack ice, but everyone just tells me, ‘relax, we’re on an icebreaker’. Kinda takes the excitement out of sailing into the Great White North to chase down a ghost ship, but hey–at least we’ll be safer than the _Octavius_.

It’s funny–we really don’t know much more about the _HMS Octavius_ than what anyone’s grandma could find on Google. It was last seen in 1775, some thirteen years after its disappearance, by the _Herald_, an English whaling ship. When the whalers went on board, they discovered the entire crew of the _Octavius_ frozen dead at their stations. The captain, William Perington, was still at his desk, pen in hand, along with a woman and small child. I guess the whole ‘freezing-to-death-at-your-post’ business kinda freaked the hell out of the whalers, and they legged it pretty quick. But not before purloining the captain’s log book from right under his stiff, dead hand…

Course it was all basically hearsay until good ol’ Robert came across the log book in an auction for maritime memorabilia. It was vetted by a dozen historians, and it seems to be legit. Turns out the coordinates for the _Octavius’_ last known location were in the book. Also turns out that Yours Truly is Robert’s favourite student of maritime archaeology, hence my place aboard the _Liberator_! Sweet deal.

(OK, cards on the table–Robert knows about what happened with Dylan, and maybe he figures this trip will help me get over things? Yeah, right. But it’ll be a good voyage nevertheless. Right? Of course it will.)

_And why, O Wise and Lovely Amelia Finley, are you writing in a diary?_ My distinguished advisor, Prof Robert Winston, thinks it will actually help organize my thoughts when it comes to writing my thesis. Huzzah.”