Pseudopod 420: Lost In The Fog

by J.D. Beresford.

“Lost In The Fog” first appeared in the collection NINETEEN IMPRESSIONS (1918).

John Davys Beresford was a British novelist now remembered for his early science fiction like THE HAMPDENSHIRE WONDER (1911), but who wrote supernatural and macabre stories occasionally. He was affected by infantile paralysis, which left him partially disabled. Beresford also contributed to numerous publications – in addition to being a book reviewer for “The Manchester Guardian”, and was offered the editorship of the pacifist magazine “Peace News” but declined because he felt he “would be a bad editor”. George Orwell described him as a “natural novelist”, whose strength was his ability to take seriously the problems of ordinary people. Elisabeth Beresford, children’s writer and creator of The Wombles, was his daughter.

Your reader – Ant Bacon – appeared on Pseudopod recently reading Penance by Liz Colter.

“‘Burden,’ I muttered. ‘Where in God’s name may Burden be?’

I found something unutterably sad in the sound of that name.

I felt lonely and pitiable.

It was bitterly cold, and the mist was thicker than ever.

I could hear no one. There could be neither porter nor station-master here. Evidently this station was nothing more than a ‘Halt,’ on what I presently discovered was only a single line. I was alone in the dreadful stillness. The world had ceased to exist for me. And then I stumbled upon the little box of a waiting-room, and in it was a man who crouched over a smouldering fire.

When I went in, he looked quickly over his shoulder with the tense alertness of one who fears an ambush. But when he saw me, his expression changed instantly to relief, and to something that was like appeal.

‘What brings you here?’ he asked with a weak smile ”


Pseudopod 312: Feeding The Machine

by Hunter James Martin

This week’s episode sponsored by; they offer Pseudopod listeners a free audiobook download of their choice from Audible’s selection of over 100,000 titles.

This story previously appeared on Hunter’s blog at FORGOTTEN MANUSCRIPTS.

Hunter James Martin comes from Scotland. He blogs at I sell exotic children to celebrities. That is all!

Your reader this week is Rich C. Girardi. A writer, producer, and puppeteer, check Lady Jane’s Lair on YouTube.


“The moment I laid eyes on the new start I knew he wasn’t going to last. Half of it was the look on his eyes, the other half was the look on everyone else’s eyes when they watched him. A lot of people don’t make it in this line of work. Not many minds can cope with being planted deep into the ground for so long. The average new start does five days a week, while the average worker does seven. I have been doing entire weeks for longer than I remember, devoid of fresh air and sunlight. It has been a long time since I have seen my reflection, but I imagine I am not a pretty sight.

The atmosphere doesn’t help things either, the horrid gloom we work within. Even in my apathy I can taste it: the darkness that nestles within the oily depths of the shadows, the dull throb that resonates through the caverns, and the dreadful machine, always rumbling like an empty stomach. The heat too, emitted from its insides, made worse after twelve hours of working in the same suit collecting sweat and oil and dirt and sometimes piss. Then wearing it again the next day. Then for another year.

My suit smells terrible. Everyone’s does. The tough leather is falling apart and there is a tear behind my left shoulder. But we are used to it. Used to recycled uniforms and moribund tools. Used to safety equipment that is a hazard in itself. Used to the smell of ancient piss and shit. Hardly even notice it really. Only made aware of it when a new start comes down the cargo elevator twitching his nose and pretending the reek doesn’t bother them. They all do that, then they either get used to it or lose their job. Back up the cargo elevator, or worse.'”

Pseudopod 311: Flash On The Borderlands XIV: Resistance!

For Pearl Harbor Day, three flash pieces about fighting back …

No Further by Matthew Acheson

This piece was previously published in “Underground Voices” magazine and is one of two stories available to date from Mr. Acheson’s WHISPERS FROM THE NORTH saga, a series of linked short stories that sets the backdrop for his currently in progress fantasy novel.

Matthew Acheson lives in Orono, Maine. He earned his Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Ancient History from the University of Southern Maine, and has worked as an engineer in the telecommunications industry for over a decade. His fiction has appeared in Raygun Revival, Spinetingler, Digital Dragon, Morpheus Tales, and others. On some cold winter nights you’ll find him by the fireplace, entertaining his fourteen nieces and nephews with strange tales of supernatural horror and the fantastic. His website, Cryptic House, is linked under his byline above.

Read by Ian Stuart, who has something special in store for you in a few weeks!

“Their arrival was a terrible sight. The light from the full moon cast a strange, eerie glow upon the host of pale corpse things and their shrieking masters which stretched across the vale for miles in every direction. They swept the valley like a flood that left only ash, carrion and pestilence in its wake.”


The Conchie by J. Chant

Pseudopod is the story’s first publication.

Jayne Chant resides in a tiny town in Cambridgeshire with her husband, daughter and malevolent cat. Her first experience of the unmatchable thrill of a good ghost story was as a small child listening to her mother read Victorian ghost stories by candlelight..

Read by Kim Lakin-Smith, whose dark fantasy and science fiction short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Black Static, Interzone, Celebration, Myth-Understandings, Further Conflicts, PANDEMONIUM: STORIES OF THE APOCALYPSE, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST STORIES BY WOMEN (“‘Field of the Dead”), and others, with “Johnny and Emmie-Lou Get Married” shortlisted for the BSFA short story award 2009. She is the author of the gothic fantasy Tourniquet; Tales from the Renegade City, the YA novella QUEEN RAT, and CYBER CIRCUS which was shortlisted for both the 2012 BSFA Best Novel award and the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel. Published on the 1st of December by Snow Books will be RESURRECTION ENGINES, an anthology of steampunk short stories inspired by classic novels from the Victorian period, containing her short story, “The Island of Peter Pandora” (a mashup of Peter Pan and The Island of Doctor Moreau), which has also been picked up for Best Fantasy 2013 from Proxima Books. She is currently working on an urban fantasy YA novel and a dark fantasy novel for adults.

“‘But last night I could not sleep. That unending thunder – I shut my eyes and all I could see were flames. It hurt to breath. It was Thomas I worried for. Then very late, after the clock struck three, Peter appeared and my heart leapt. He sat on the Ottoman at the foot of the bed, his back to me, his arm stretched along the bedstead.

‘I noticed a terrible stain on his back, and as I watched, it spread. I cried out his name, and for the first time he seemed to have heard, in all the nights he’s appeared. His head turned, only a little. I don’t think he wanted me to see his face. His fingers twitched.’

‘It was only a nightmare, Amelia.’

‘I crawled down the bed towards him. I said; my dear, my sweet child, are you in pain? His head shook from side to side. I reached out for his hand, and for a moment I felt his flesh. Cold and damp. And then he was gone. Completely. The room filled with the scent of honeysuckle, just like Vaughn house, where we used to summer, and Peter fished and climbed trees and played soldiers.’

Amelia’s hand shot out and gripped Elizabeth’s, far too hard.

‘It was a nightmare, nothing more,’ said Elizabeth, pulling her hand away.”


Bitter Tea & Braided Hair by Henry Lu

This story was first published on Fiction365 on May 4th, 2012.

Henry Lu learned English in a pre-podcast era, by listening to Voice of America when he was a teenager in Communist China. He also paints. You can look at his paintings on RedBubble under the name of “ArtPal”

Read by Tracey Yuen, who is involved in education and considers listening to podcasts a big factor in getting himself to “read” fiction and dabbles in photography, videography editing, page layout and narration.

“Incense smoke rises from the monastery into the low-hanging clouds of the same ominous shade, portending a quick-fire summer storm.

His standard-issue dark suit gives him away: even the Chinese tourists can tell he’s a plain-clothes. He watches the crowd’s every move, carrying the thermos mug that has earned him the “bitter tea” nickname. Like his Tibetan mother, he is addicted to Chinese bitter tea.

He pays close attention to the braided hairs of Tibetan maidens, determined to follow his Chinese father’s footstep in marrying one of them someday.”