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.”

Pseudopod 450: The Horse Lord

by Lisa Tuttle.

“The Horse Lord” was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in June 1977 and included in A NEST OF NIGHTMARES. This collection was first published in 1986 by Sphere Books and is now available as an e-book from Jo Fletcher Books; it is also included in STRANGER IN THE HOUSE, a collection of her early supernatural fiction published as a limited edition hardcover by Ash-Tree Press in 2010.

Lisa Tuttle began her career as a published writer in the early 1970s, and won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer of the year in 1974. She’s the author of seven novels and more than a hundred short stories. Born and raised in Texas, she has lived in a remote, rural part of Scotland for the past twenty-five years. Her first novel, Windhaven, was a collaboration with George R. R. Martin published in 1981. This was followed by a horror novel, Familiar Spirit, in 1983. Unable to stick to one well-defined genre, although most of her work features elements of horror and/or dark fantasy, she went on to write novels of psychological suspense (Gabriel and The Pillow Friend), science fiction (Lost Futures), and contemporary/mythic fantasy (The Mysteries and The Silver Bough) as well as books for children and young adults, and non-fiction (Encyclopedia of Feminism and Heroines).

Short stories were her first love, and remain important. Her first short story collection, A Nest of Nightmares was published in the U.K. in 1986, and two years later featured in Horror: 100 Best Books edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman. Her other collections include A Spaceship Built of Stone and other stories (1987), Memories of the Body: Tales of Desire and Transformation (1992), Ghosts and Other Lovers (2002) and Objects in Dreams (2012). A number of her short stories have appeared in “best of the year” anthologies and been nominated for awards; “Closet Dreams” won the 2007 International Horror Guild Award. She edited an influential anthology of horror stories by women writers, Skin of the Soul, first published in 1990.

She has just finished a new novel, to be published next year: THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE SOMNAMBULIST AND THE PSYCHIC THIEF — this is the start of a new detective series set in London in the 1890s. If you want a taste of what is to come, check out her stories in both the Rogues and Down These Strange Streets anthologies and follow her author page on Facebook.

Your narrator this week is Christiana Ellis who is a Writer and podcaster living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of Nina Kimberly the Merciless as well as Space Casey. She also produces several non-fiction podcasts and videos that can all be found at Most recent project is Space Casey Season 2, the sequel to the original audiodrama about a con artist in the future, which can be found on and


The double barn doors were secured by a length of stout, rust-encrusted chain, fastened with an old padlock.

Marilyn hefted the lock with one hand and tugged at the chain, which did not give. She looked up at the splintering grey wood of the doors and wondered how the children had got in.

Dusting red powder from her hands, Marilyn strolled around the side of the old barn. Dead leaves and dying grasses crunched beneath her sneakered feet, and she hunched her shoulders against the chill in the wind.

‘There’s plenty of room for horses,’ Kelly had said the night before at dinner. ‘There’s a perfect barn. You can’t say it would be impractical to keep a horse here.’ Kelly was Derek’s daughter, eleven years old and mad about horses.

This barn had been used as a stable, Marilyn thought, and could be again. Why not get Kelly a horse? And why not one for herself as well? As a girl, Marilyn had ridden in Central Park. She stared down the length of the barn: for some reason, the door to each stall had been tightly boarded shut.


Pseudopod 389: The House, The Garden And The Occupants

by Amanda C. Davis.

“The House, The Garden And The Occupants” first appeared in the anthology TRIANGULATION:MORNING AFTER, from Parsec Ink, in July 2012. “I like the concept of ghosts as personalities locked in a never-ending ‘now’. Also, when it comes to haunted houses, one ghost is never enough.”

AMANDA C. DAVIS Amanda C. Davis is a combustion engineer who loves baking, gardening, and low-budget horror films. Her work has appeared or is upcoming in Goblin Fruit, Shock Totem, and Cemetery Dance, among others. She tweets enthusiastically as @davisac1. You can find out more about her and read more of her work at her blog. WOLVES AND WITCHES is a book of dark fairytale retellings by Amanda and her sister, Megan Engelhardt, released from World Weaver Press in 2013.

Your reader – Pamila Payne – is a narrator and writer of noir horror. She’s the creator of The Bella Vista Motel series. Originally from Los Angeles, she’s currently writing in Yucatan, Mexico. She can be found on twitter, @mspamila and on her website, Vintage Vice. Her short story, “Agent Ramiel Gets The Call” will be included in EXILES, an international anthology exploring the theme of the outsider, edited by Paul Brazil and benefitting The Marfan Trust.

Links for Jason Arnopp and Mr. B, The Gentleman Rhymer can be found… well, at the links right under their names!


“This is Anne, with shreds of her gown wisping away like the edges of clouds, at the elbow of the grand staircase where the iron-framed window overlooks a patch of garden entombed in briars. She casts a glow onto the wall that reflects faintly but bestows her no shadow. She is riveted to the window; her face is watery, difficult to make out, but her posture reveals her inner workings. A clock chimes midnight. Slowly, she lowers her head. Slowly, she turns from the window. She takes a single step upstairs before she dissipates like fog under the sun.

The first time she took this path she followed it to her bedroom, to a letter-opener strewn on her writing desk, to her bath, to her grave. Now she exists only in a narrow series of moments. She only completed this path once.

Anne comes with the first stroke of midnight and leaves with the last; she knows nothing but midnight, and the word that falls from her ghostly lips, unheard, and those things have composed the full of her existence for over one hundred years.


This is the column of light that flares in the garden, as tall as a tree and bright as an angel, just after the last chime of midnight. It burns bright for a single blink of an eye before it collapses to the earth, leaving the night empty and dead. A pool of light lingers at its base. The garden shifts. Its shadows follow no rules.

The column of light, in its youngest years, answered to Boy, and then to Groom, and a host of careless and vicious names in between, but the only name it will answer to now is the last one it knew, the one that Anne called it. If the light speaks, it has never been heard; if it knows anything at all, it is the single moment of flaring and falling, too quick to grasp. Its existence is an eternal cycle of light and dark. It moves so fast that life from its perspective might be a single blur of light. But it will never tell.


This is the roil of malice that dwells in the crack above the lintel of the front door, a seething coil tight as a Gordian knot, black as blindness, in a place no light can reach.


This is Jacob Winterbeam, twenty-five, who has sunk the savings of his brief life into an estate that has by disrepair or disrepute been spared the indignity of subdivisions and commercial zoning.”


Pseudopod 387: Nightside Eye

by Terry Dowling.

“Nightside Eye” was a cover item for Cemetery Dance #66 along with a major interview, “Making Strange: A Gothic Conversation with Terry Dowling”, conducted by acclaimed US editor and academic Danel Olson. It was reprinted in three Year’s Bests – Stephen Jones’s Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24, Paula Guran’s Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2013, and Talie Helene and Liz Gryzb’s The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2012. “This hotel really actually exists in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney and still has the eerie qualities described in this story.”

TERRY DOWLING is one of Australia’s most respected and internationally acclaimed writers of science fiction, dark fantasy and horror, and author of the multi-award-winning Tom Rynosseros saga. He has been called “Australia’s finest writer of horror” by Locus magazine, its “premier writer of dark fantasy” by All Hallows and its “most acclaimed writer of the dark fantastic” by Cemetery Dance magazine. The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series featured more horror stories by Terry in its 21 year run than by any other writer. Dowling’s award-winning horror collections are BASIC BLACK: TALES OF APPROPRIATE FEAR (International Horror Guild Award winner for Best Collection 2007), regarded as “one of the best recent collections of contemporary horror” by the American Library Association, AN INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THE NIGHT (Aphelion 1995) and BLACKWATER DAYS (Eidolon 2000), while his most recent titles are AMBERJACK: TALES OF FEAR & WONDER (Subterranean 2010) and his debut novel, CLOWNS AT MIDNIGHT (PS Publishing 2010), which the Guardian called “an exceptional work that bears comparison to John Fowles’s THE MAGUS.” Dowling has written three computer adventures (Schizm: Mysterious Journey, Schizm II: Chameleon and Sentinel: Descendants in Time), and co-edited THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON and THE JACK VANCE TREASURY among many other titles. He lives in Hunters Hill, Sydney and his homepage can be found at the link under his names above. “The Four Darks” will be appearing this year in Ellen Datlow’s FEARFUL SYMMETRIES and Terry has a new computer game and a new horror collection in the works with such cool titles he dare not mention them.

Your reader – Graeme Dunlop – is a man of infinite patience and amazing skill AND he just had a birthday! We all wish him many, many more!

THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT Live 2005 Remake Part 1 can be found at DailyMotion


“‘My camera and sound people will be here soon, Sophie and Craig, my volunteer assistants and official witnesses. It’s six o’clock now. Once we’re set up, we’ll begin at 7pm, the same time Dr Rathcar did fifteen months ago. We’ll do the whole thing twice if we can, put several objects here on the mantel – a plastic bottle, a child’s wooden block, a toy train – and simply record what happens. Second time through, if we are lucky tonight and the phenomenon occurs, the moment they’re moved, disturbed in any way at all, I shift the patch from one eye to the other and see what I get. It shouldn’t take long.’

‘You do that once it happens.’

‘As soon as it happens. As close to. The first time is a control to establish parameters: event frequency and duration, lighting levels, things like that. But the second time round I stand over here by the fireplace and shift the patch, just as Rathcar did.’

‘But the camcorders will only catch your reactions. Not what you see.’

‘Right. But whatever we get may match reactions in the CCTV footage from the Rathcar attempt. Rathcar’s own footage hasn’t been made available yet, but may be released once we do this. Rathcar called out a single word – “Kathy!” – his assistant’s name. We don’t know why now, and of course he can’t tell us.’

‘Or won’t.’

‘Or won’t. But there may be some key detail or other that emerges. Later spectrographic analysis may show even more, who knows?’

‘It’s all very uncertain,’ Susan said, looking at him intently, or possibly at the eye-patch that was to play such a key role in what was about to happen.”