PseudoPod 512: Boys

by Damien Laughlin

Before being reprinted in Pseudopod, “Boys” was published in 2015 in The Cadaverine Magazine, which publishes Prose, Fiction and Nonfiction from writers under thirty. “I’ve always struggled with titles, so when submitting work to my creative writing group I had taken to giving my stories temporary headings derived from Latin terms for animals: Ursa (Bear), Haedus (Young Goat), Porcus (Pig). This eventually incurred the wrath of my peers who found it completely pretentious and overblown. Hell hath no fury like writers patronized. Out of sheer stubbornness, I was all set to continue with this practice when submitting my next story, an early draft of this story. “Bos” I was intending on titling it, from the Latin term for cow. So I put the word “Bos” at the top of the document and as soon as it was there I struggled to take my eyes off it. All my other Latin titles felt like placeholders, but this felt right – or very nearly right. It was only after an hour or staring that I finally put the vital ‘y’ between the ‘o’ and the ‘s’, giving myself “Boys”. After I got the title right, everything else with the story fell into place in subsequent drafts, thematically, narratively. In naming it I’d realized something: it wasn’t the cow, the bos, that gave the story its horror. It was the boys; the foul, abhorrent and distressingly relatable boys.”

DAMIEN LAUGHLIN is a twenty-three year old writer from Derry, Northern Ireland. He’s an incurable people-watcher, eavesdropper and notetaker, and in the last year he found an outlet for these habits while studying Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast.
He’s recently been featured in a new zine called Penny Mag, which publishes 500-word prose pieces and puts them together with a illustration. Subscribers to Penny have three illustrated stories delivered to their email inbox every week – a fine alternative to the clickbait that invades all our electronic devices.

Your narrator – Phil Lunt – Hails from the rain-sodden, North Western wastelands of England, and has dabbled in many an arcane vocation. From rock-star to conveyor-belt scraper at a bread factory, milkman to world’s worst waiter. He’s currently a freelance designer, actor and sometime writer/editor. For his sins he’s Chair of the British Fantasy Society, a role that can be more complicated than herding cats, at times. He’s still considering becoming an astronaut when he grows up. He currently throws words at gameronomy.com but also welcomes folk to check out what they do at the British Fantasy Society because it’s not all about folk trying to shout louder than their neighbour, they do try to do good stuff!

Your guest host – Associate Editor Dagny Paul


The CAST OF WONDERS Flash Fiction Contest info can be accessed at the link.


Pseudopod will be launching their own Kickstarter in the upcoming weeks. Visit our YEAR 10 page for more details.

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Dock at MOTHERSHIP ZETA for all your far-flung fiction and non-fiction needs!


The Eighth Day Brotherhood is a new novel by Alice M. Phillips that should be of interest to PseudoPod listeners. If you want a novel with the milieu of The Stress of Her Regard but tighter pacing, look no further. Couple this with the sensibility of Fincher’s Se7en and you have a tense and relentless thriller. Alice’s love for the tenebrous portions of the Decadent period glows through Paris while the Eiffel Tower rises on the bank of the Seine and as the city prepares of the Exposition Universelle. It manifests with an abiding love for the period supported by an incredible depth of research. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book from Black Rose Writing.

The Eighth Day Brotherhood by Alice M. Phillips — Black Rose Writing

One August morning, in Paris, 1888, the sunrise reveals the embellished corpse of a young man suspended between the columns of the Panthéon, resembling a grotesque Icarus and marking the first in a macabre series of murders linked to Paris monuments. In the Latin Quarter, occult scholar Rémy Sauvage is informed of his lover’s gruesome death and embarks upon his own investigation to avenge him by apprehending the cult known as the Eighth Day Brotherhood. At a nearby sanitarium, aspiring artist Claude Fournel becomes enamored with a mesmerist’s beautiful patient, Irish immigrant Margaret Finnegan. Resolved to steal her away from the asylum and obtain her for his muse, Claude only finds them both entwined in the Brotherhood’s apocalyptic plot combining magic, mythology, and murder.


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


It was Ethan’s thirteenth birthday and he had invited me to a sleepover, along with friends from his new school. We were making our way through the forest by his home when he signaled for me to slow down. We allowed the other boys to pull ahead. That’s when he grabbed my arm and uttered a warning in my ear: I wasn’t going to like what he was taking us to see at the river bay.