Pseudopod 374: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XIX: Blood On The Tracks – Departure, Transit, Arrival

Going nowhere… faster….

“Midnight Express” by Alfred Noyes.

“Midnight Express” first appeared in This Week, November 3, 1935.
ALFRED NOYES (1880-1958) is primarily remembered as a poet, especially for his ballads “The Highwayman” and “The Barrel-Organ”. Aside from his poetry he wrote a large number of short stories intended to boost the national morale and small number of uncanny stories including this, “The Lusitania Waits” and “The Log of the Evening Star”. He published many novels including the post-apocalyptic THE LAST MAN (1940) and his famed trilogy THE TORCH BEARERS (1922-1930).

Read by Paul Jenkins, who 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.

“It was a battered old book, bound in read buckram. He found it, when he was twelve years old, on an upper shelf in his father’s library; and, against all the rules, he took it to his bedroom to read by candlelight, when the rest of the rambling old Elizabethan house was flooded with darkness. That was how young Mortimer always thought of it.”

****************************************************************************

“Destination: Nihil by Edmund Bertrand” by Mark Samuels.

“Destination: Nihil by Edmund Bertrand” had its first appearance in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR #20 edited by Stephen Jones. MARK SAMUELS (born 1967) is the author of four short story collections THE WHITE HANDS AND OTHER WEIRD TALES (Tartarus Press 2003), BLACK ALTARS (Rainfall Books 2003), GLYPHOTECH & OTHER MACABRE PROCESSES (PS Publishing 2008) and THE MAN WHO COLLECTED MACHEN & OTHER STORIES (Ex Occidente 2010 and Chomu Press 2011) as well as the short novel THE FACE OF TWILIGHT (PS Publishing 2006). His tales have appeared in both THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR and THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY & HORROR. He has a new collection forthcoming from Egaeus Press in 2014 and has been described by Ramsey Campbell as “the British Thomas Ligotti”: A description he is at odds with, since he shares few, if any, of Ligotti’s aims either as a contemporary philosopher or writer of weird fiction. He is also literary executor for the late Edmund Bertrand. “How I came to be Bertrand’s literary executor is a convoluted affair and too long to go into here,” explains Samuels. “In any case, it’s certainly ironic, given that Bertrand (an American citizen, but of French ancestry, as his name suggests) was a staunch Anglophobe. Bertrand was born in Memphis, sometime during 1957, and died in a mysterious hotel fire whilst attending a convention in England in 2007. His stories chart the far reaches of madness, and were never collected together in a single volume. His main influences were European authors such as Stefan Grabinski, Roger Gilbert-Lecomte, Dino Buzzati and Jean Lorrain.”

Read by Jorn Meyer – who is new to PSEUDOPOD with this story and who is available for narration or voice work and can be reached at mail-at-joern-meyer.net

“There was no question now of keeping panic in check. Grey loped off along the aisle of the car in search of the conductor, or of the first person he encountered. A few rows further down he saw a man slouched in his seat, dressed in a rain mac and a wide-brimmed floppy hat that obscured his face. Grey hesitated before addressing the stranger, because he feared the face concealed in shadow. Would it be like that of the conductor? If it were, then he feared he would have reached a tipping point and might scream himself to death.”

****************************************************************************

“The Terminus” by Kim Newman.

A slightly different version of “The Terminus” appeared in the fanzine Sheep Worrying in 1981; this version appeared in Fantasy Tales in 1985. “It’s pretty much the earliest story I sold professionally.” KIM NEWMAN is a novelist, critic and broadcaster. His fiction includes THE QUORUM, LIFE’S LOTTERY and PROFESSOR MORIARTY: THE HOUND OF THE D’URBERVILLES; his non-fiction includes NIGHTMARE MOVIES and BFI Classics studies of CAT PEOPLE and DOCTOR WHO. He has written plays for the theatre (The Hallowe’en Sessions) and radio (Cry-Babies), is a contributing editor to Sight & Sound and Empire magazines and reviews in Video Watchdog. His official web-site can be found here. He is also on Twitter as @AnnoDracula and his latest novel is ANNO DRACULA: JOHNNY ALUCARD, fourth in the successful ANNO DRACULA series. His next novel, AN ENGLISH GHOST STORY, will be out in late 2014.

Your reader, Siobhan Gallichan, is a voice-over artist available for work at macfadyan-at-gmail.com. Listen to Siobhan’s podcast at The Flashing Blade or watch the show on YouTube.

“‘Oh yes,’ Verdon told me, ‘disappearances from the underground are not uncommon. Every once in a while some unfortunate wanders off where he shouldn’t and meets with an accident. Sometimes our staff doesn’t come across the remains for years. Some people never do turn up. Those are the most interesting, I think. This pile.’

It was an impressive stack of manila folders. On the night of 9 October 1872 (which I like to think of as appropriately foggy) Mr Julian Selwyn-Pitt, a landscape painter, walked into Oxford Street station and was never seen again. Since 1872, fifteen thousand, eight hundred and twenty-four people had followed Mr Selwyn-Pitt into Verdon’s files. The figure was exclusive of all those whose disappearance was not reported and those, like Robert Webb, whose folders had not yet drifted down to settle in Verdon’s office.

‘So there are nearly sixteen thousand people lying around the tube somewhere?'”

******************************

Interstitial music is “Fearless Bleeder” by Chimpy, available from Music Alley.

Train sounds are from SoundJay.com.

Cave drips are from FreeSound.org.

Pseduopod 315: Bad Company

by Walter De La Mare.



“Bad Company” was originally published in the collection A BEGINNING & OTHER STORIES in 1955. There is a recording in the BBC Archives from January 19, 1954 of de la Mare reading this story. It is not commercially available. Rights to use this story were graciously granted by The Society Of Authors. The Society is a membership organization which has over 9,000 members writing in all areas of the profession and has been serving the interests of professional writers for more than a century. The story itself is available in SHORT STORIES 1927-1956 by Walter de la Mare, published by Giles de la Mare Publishers Ltd. This collection is now available as an Ebook. (you lucky people). Links, as always, under the names!



WALTER DE LA MARE OM, CH (1873-1956) was an English poet, short story writer and novelist. He worked in the statistics department of the London office of Standard Oil for eighteen years while struggling to bring up a family, but nevertheless found enough time to write, and, in 1908, through the efforts of Sir Henry Newbolt he received a Civil List pension which enabled him to concentrate on writing. His post-war COLLECTED STORIES FOR CHILDREN won the 1947 Carnegie Medal for British children’s books. He is probably best remembered for his works for children and for his poem “The Listeners”. He also wrote some subtle psychological horror stories, amongst them “Seaton’s Aunt” and “Out of the Deep”. Gary William Crawford has described de la Mare’s supernatural fiction for adults as being “among the finest to appear in the first half of this century” and several writers, including Robert Aickman and Ramsey Campbell, have cited de la Mare’s fiction as inspirational. .



Your reader this week – Paul Jenkins – has narrated for Escape Pod, Pseudopod and PodCastle a number of times (and was honored to be asked to read the story for the very first episode of PodCastle). His science fiction podcast novel THE PLITONE REVISIONIST is available for free at Podiobooks.com. His skeptical blog is Notes from an Evil Burnee and his skeptical podcast is Skepticule Extra (aka “The Three Pauls Podcast”).



****************************

“It is very seldom that one encounters what would appear to be sheer unadulterated evil in a human face; an evil, I mean, active, deliberate, deadly, dangerous. Folly, heedlessness, vanity, pride, craft, meanness, stupidity – yes. But even Iagos in this world are few, and devilry is as rare as witchcraft.

One winter’s evening some little time ago, bound on a visit to a friend in London, I found myself on the platform of one of its many subterranean railway stations. It is an ordeal that one may undergo as seldom as one can. The glare and glitter, the noise, the very air one breathes affect nerves and spirits. One expects vaguely strange meetings in such surroundings. On this occasion, the expectation was justified. The mind is at times more attentive than the eye. Already tired, and troubled with personal cares and problems, which a little wisdom and enterprise should have refused to entertain, I had seated myself on one of the low, wooden benches to the left of the entrance to the platform, when, for no conscious reason, I was prompted to turn my head in the direction of a fellow traveler, seated across the gangway on the fellow to my bench some few yards away.

What was wrong with him?”