PseudoPod 496: Nothing is Truly Yours

Sam J. Miller

by Sam J. Miller

“Nothing is Truly Yours” is a PseudoPod Original. “This story is an homage to the work of Julio Cortazar, a brilliant amazing writer who wrote horror, fantasy, science fiction that a lot of genre readers miss because people think of “magical realism” as lit-fic with ghosts, instead of a unique Latin American evolution of all that is wonderful about SF/F/H. He also translated the complete stories of Edgar Allan Poe into Spanish, and those translations are magnificent. So if folks like this story they should seek him out – “House Taken Over” is the spiritual antecedent to this story, but “Axolotl” & “We Love Glenda So Much” and “Blow Up” and “The Southern Highway” and tons of his other stories, and his novel “Hopscotch” are all genius. And if you DON’T like this story, you should still seek him out, because it just means I horribly botched my homage.”

SAM J. MILLER is a writer and a community organizer. His fiction is in Lightspeed, Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and The Minnesota Review, among others. He is a nominee for the Nebula and Theodore Sturgeon Awards, a winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, and a graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop. His debut dark, edgy, fucked-up young adult science fiction novel THE ART OF STARVING is forthcoming from HarperCollins. He lives in New York City, and at Sam J. Miller where you can find a whole bunch of his stories.

Your narrator – Karen Bovenmyer – earned an MFA in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program in 2013. She spent many hours as a kid among beaten earth and bare roots avoiding predators and whispering to imaginary people of various moralities. She never had a pet rabbit, but she did have a hamster named Chucky Cheeks who wanted to be an astronaut. Karen is the Nonfiction Assistant Editor for Mothership Zeta, Escape Artists’ new e-zine and has been having a spectacular time helping set up the first issue. Check out book, short story, and movie reviews, a “Story Doctor” article from award-winning science fiction author James Patrick Kelly, and a science column from a real astronomer—as well as plenty of fabulous fresh stories from amazing authors both new and experienced.

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


“It started in the room you call your studio, the spare bedroom at the end of the hall, where you keep the tools of your creative trade, the room you swear you’ll start making better use of—just as soon as this work project or upcoming event is over, or your brother’s current life crisis settles down. It started late at night, in the long dark dead hours of the morning when the call of the toilet summons you from sleep, and you stagger to the bathroom in a haze of fury and fear, terrified you’ll never fall back to sleep, convinced that here, now, is the beginning of the end, of your brain and your body conspiring to finally kill you. It started in the instant after you flushed, in the space of white noise where the ear is especially sensitive to possibly-imagined sounds. What was this one: a breath sucked in? A cough stifled? No. Nothing so concrete. But a house feels different when you are not alone. Sound echoes distinctly in an empty apartment. You had felt this before. Vague blurry feelings, indistinct impressions when drunk or depressed, knowledge that came from somewhere other than reason or the senses. Adrenaline unspooled in your abdomen. Tiny hairs along your neck and arms quivered, then stood up straight.

And in that moment you knew: someone was in there. Someone was in your home, sitting at the cluttered desk of your studio, silently, perfectly still but not asleep, in darkness, eyes open, looking in your direction. And you stood at the door—put your fingers against the cold firm real non-nightmare wood—and turned and hurried back to bed.”