PseudoPod 561: Better to Curse the Darkness than Light a Candle

by Joseph Cusumano

“Better to Curse the Darkness than Light a Candle” is a PseudoPod original. The story was inspired by the works of Poe and Hawthorne.

JOSEPH CUSUMANO is a physician living in St. Louis. His major hobby, other than writing, is the design and construction of radio controlled airplanes. His piloting skills need a lot of work. His writing in 2016 has been accepted by Crimson Streets, Mystery Weekly, Disturbed Digest, Flash Fiction Press, Heater, and Litmag (University of Missouri).

This week’s reader – Cheyenne Wright is a freelance illustrator and concept artist. He is the color artist on the three-time Hugo Award winning steampunk graphic novel series Girl Genius, and co-creator of many other fine works; Including 50 Fathoms and the Ennie award winning Deadlands Noir for the Savage Worlds RPG. He has also produced graphics for Star Trek Online, the Champions MMO, and t-shirt designs for T.V.’s Alton Brown. He lives in Seattle with his wife, their daughter, and an ever growing stack of unpainted miniatures. In his spare time he is teaching himself animation, and narrates short stories for a variety of audio anthologies where he is known as Podcasting’s Mr. Buttery ManVoice ™


Thanks to our sponsor, ARCHIVOS – a Story Mapping and Development Tool for writers, gamers, and storytellers of all kinds!


Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.


Check out PAPERBACKS FROM HELL by Grady Hendrix. Listen to the interview on the Know Fear Podcast with Grady and Will Erikson about the book and the paperback boom of the 70’s and 80’s.

 


They mockingly call me “Diogenes,” believing my lantern is carried merely to illuminate my path each night through the dark streets of Philadelphia. Yet it is not an honest man for whom I search, but a scoundrel, a liar, an adulterer, a thief, a murderer – ideally someone who has been all of these – for I must find a soul darker than my own.

This quest resulted from an earlier and more innocent one, first undertaken while I was a young man blissfully wed to Patience, who brimmed with optimism over what heaven had apparently planned for us. Not content with the considerable success that I enjoyed as the proprietor of Silsbury Shipping Company, I sought more wealth, the respect of Philadelphia’s business and merchant class, and especially the adoration that Patience showered upon me with each step my growing business took. On the occasion of my boasting to her that I now employed upwards of fifty men who labored on my behalf, moving goods from our warehouses to multiple sites hundreds of miles west, she swelled with pride in my accomplishment and even her passions were aroused.

PseudoPod 540: The Dog Pit

by Jason Fischer

 

“The Dog Pit” first appeared in “Cthulhu: Deep Down Under” and is soon to be reprinted in the “Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2015”. “The Dog Pit came about as a story for the Australian-themed Cthulhu anthology “Cthulhu: Deep Down Under”, and was inspired by some history tours I took around Sydney. I’ve long had a fascination with colonial-era Australia, and the colourful old gangs of the Sydney Rocks area were just begging to be used in a horror setting. Sydney is an odd place, old in terms of European settlement, and incredibly ancient for the Indigenous peoples who lived in the region prior to first contact. The idea of these layers of humanity sitting above an eldritch horror seemed to gel, and of course we writers are lucky that a few Aussie Cthulhu mythos beasties can be used and reused. So enter the dingo creature Kurpangga, trapped beneath the earth for a million years…”

JASON FISCHER is an award-winning Australian author. He has published dozens of short stories, with a novel, a short story collection, comics and computer game work also under his belt. He enjoys competition karaoke, and loves puns more than life itself. His website can be found at jasonfischer.com.au.

This week’s reader – Barry Haworth – works as a statistician for the Australian Taxation Office. He holds a Masters degree in Statistics. Outside of work he is a keen reader of science fiction and enjoys choral singing and taking part in amateur theatricals, having performed such roles as Prospero in The Tempest, Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, and Ebenezer Scrooge and Marley’s Ghost in two different versions of A Christmas Carol.

Barry has narrated episodes of Cast of Wonders, Escape Pod, Pod Castle and also the Cheap Astronomy podcast. He lives in Brisbane, Australia with his wife Sylvia, those of his children who haven’t left home yet, and whatever the current quota of pets is.


Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.


The Dutchman finally found the boy out on the gold diggings.

Being close to seven feet tall and as broad as an axe-handle at the shoulders, Cornelius Tesselaar was an instant curiosity in that place of mud and slap-shacks. His frock-coat and good boots spoke of a man more used to cobbled streets than a fossicker’s warren. He wore a top-hat, the good silk kind, and peered around him through a pair of expensive bifocals that by themselves would earn him a knifing if he stayed too long.

A quiet word and a handful of coins led Cornelius to the nearest opium den. He swept open the hessian sack that served as a doorway, and stood blinking at the thick cloud of smoke that drifted out.

“Toby Jangles,” the Dutchman boomed, striding inside. A dozen faces stared blankly at the man, even as he stepped over their sprawled bodies. One or two furtive shapes slinked away from the doorway, creeping into the furthest shadows of the clapboard shack.

PseudoPod 493: The Last Escapement

James Smythe

by James Smythe

“The Last Escapement” was first published in Irregularity in 2014, by Jurassic London – an anthology about the enlightenment, a 16th and 17th movement of invention that resulted in John Harrison discovering the concept of Maritime longitude – the true story of which being the inspiration for “The Last Escapement.” Clocks used to be a very different thing, and our notions of time were somewhat sloppier. For years, people tried to build a clock that didn’t lose time when traveling the oceans – this is my contribution to the many tales about those endeavors.

JAMES SMYTHE is the winner of the Wales Fiction Book of the Year 2013, and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2014. He is the author of, amongst other things, The Machine, The Explorer, No Harm Can Come To A Good Man, and the Australia trilogy, a series for Young Adult readers. His most recent book released in the US is No Harm, and in October of this year, Way Down Dark will be published in the US by Quercus.

Your narrator – Paul Jenkins – has narrated for Escape Pod, Pseudopod and PodCastle a number of times (he was honoured to be asked to narrate the very first PodCastle episode!). His science fiction podcast novel THE PLITONE REVISIONIST is available for free at Podiobooks.com at the link. His skeptical blog “Notes from an Evil Burnee” and his skeptical podcast “Skepticule” (aka “The Three Pauls Podcast“) can also be found at their links.

This episode is sponsored by J.R. HAMANTASCHEN (who podcasts at The Horror Of Nachos And Hamantaschen) and his new story collection WITH A VOICE THAT IS OFTEN STILL CONFUSED BUT IS BECOMING EVER LOUDER AND CLEARER (which can be ordered here from AMAZON

The follow-up to his critically acclaimed collection, YOU SHALL NEVER KNOW SECURITY, J.R. Hamantaschen returns with another collection of his inimitable brand of weird, dark fiction. At turns despairing, resonant, macabre and insightful, these nine stories intend to stay with you.

9 out of 10 – “there are nine tales in this collection, each of satisfying length and immediately striking, from first page to last . . . stories that will grip you for their humanity and soul.” – Starburst Magazine

“eclectic, poignant, thought provoking .. . too awesome to pass up” – HorrorTalk

“Perturbing, anomalous stories that will bore into readers’ minds.” – Kirkus

Unequivocal Recommendation – ShockTotem

“True, great horror. I love this book.” – Chris Lackey, HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast

“Those who an artistic approach, psychological depth and small details are going to read through this collection and remember it for days to come.” — HorrorPalace

“Resonating, delectably weird and spooky collection, thoroughly enjoyable” – IndieReader (received Official IndieReader Stamp of Approval)

4 out of 5 – Scream Magazine

4 out of 5 – Hungry Monster Review

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“I do not know how many times I am to try this: to create a time-keeping device that will hold its measure on a journey across the sea. Every day, the same thing: a task as simple as steadying a pendulum, the rock of left to right; of making it sturdy, able to take the yoke of a storm and hold it still. Time is regular, this is the crux of the problem, and when travelling the seas, time is lost. It evaporates, like salt-water from a deck — though time, of course, leaves no trace. It is such an intangible thing that we try to measure.”