PseudoPod 606: The Fainting Game

Show Notes

“This story is partially autobiographical. My older cousins did, in fact, teach me how to induce a fainting spell, and I did, in fact, have some kind of seizure. Do not try this at home, in the woods, or anywhere else.”


The Fainting Game

by Nino Cipri


I held my arm out the window of the car and pretended it was a long sword slicing through the landscape. This was a game I always played on long car rides, holding my hand flat and my fingers rigid. The wind pushed the sword up, and I chopped through the tops of trees and telephone poles. Lower and I scythed through farmhouse attics and distant silos. I tried to control the sword by changing the angle of my hand, so I could hop over other cars without slicing their passengers in half. But sometimes, the wind forced my hand lower, and I’d apologize under my breath to the motorcyclist or hitchhiker I’d beheaded. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 605: The Town Manager


The Town Manager

by Thomas Ligotti


One gray morning not long before the onset of winter, some troubling news swiftly travelled among us: the town manager was not in his office and seemed nowhere to be found. We allowed this situation, or apparent situation, to remain tentative for as long as we could. This
was simply how we had handled such developments in the past.

It was Carnes, the man who operated the trolley which ran up and down Main Street, who initially recognized the possibility that the town manager was no longer with us. He was the first one who noticed, as he was walking from his house at one end of town to the trolley station at the other end, that the dim lamp which had always remained switched on inside the town manager’s office was now off.

PseudoPod 604: The Gorgon


The Gorgon

by Tanith Lee


The small island, which lay off the larger island of Daphaeu, obviously contained a secret of some sort, and, day by day, and particularly night by night, began to exert an influence on me, so that I must find it out.

Daphaeu itself (or more correctly herself, for she was a female country, voluptuous and cruel by turns in the true antique fashion of the Goddess) was hardly enormous. A couple of roads, a tangle of sheep tracks, a precarious, escalating village, rocks and hillsides thatched by blistered grass. All of which overhung an extraordinary sea, unlike any sea which I have encountered elsewhere in Greece. Water which might be mistaken for blueness from a distance, but which, from the harbor or the multitude of caves and coves that undermined the island, revealed itself a clear and succulent green, like milky limes or the bottle glass of certain spirits.

PseudoPod 603: Beyond the Dead Reef


Beyond the Dead Reef

by James Tiptree, Jr


My informant was, of course, spectacularly unreliable.

The only character reference I have for him comes from the intangible nuances of a small restaurant-owner’s remarks, and the only confirmation of his tale lies in the fact that an illiterate fishing-guide appears to believe it. If I were to recount all the reasons why no sane mind should take it seriously, we could never begin. So I will only report the fact that today I found myself shuddering with terror when a perfectly innocent sheet of seaworn plastic came slithering over my snorkeling-reef, as dozens have done for years—and get on with the story.

I met him one evening this December at the Cozumel Buzo, on my first annual supply trip. As usual, the Buzo’s outer rooms were jammed with tourist divers and their retinues and gear. That’s standard. El Buzo means, roughly, The Diving, and the Buzo is their place. Marcial’s big sign in the window reads “DIVVERS UELCOME! BRING YR FISH WE COK WITH CAR. FIRST DRINK FREE!”