Author Archive

PseudoPod 171: Napier’s Bones

Napier’s Bones

by Stephen Gaskell

The Most Plentifvl, Easy,
And Speedy Vse thereof in both kindes
of Trigonometrie, as also in all
Mathematicall calculations.

Tom flicked through the book. Obtuse definitions and diagrams like fishbones filled the pages. A — seventeenth century? — textbook on logarithms? How the hell had Great Uncle Alvin ended up with this? Tom peered into the box. Another chapbook titled “Rabdologia”, by the same author, John Napier.

He shuffled through the other papers in the box. All writings by or about the man: extravagantly illustrated occult texts; religious revelations; serious biographies. At the bottom, wedged beneath a thick medical textbook with an MRI scan of the brain on the cover, Tom caught sight of several off-white stones. Their smooth, heart-shaped surfaces gleamed in the torchlight.

PseudoPod 170: The Sultan of Meat

The Sultan of Meat

by James B. Pepe

I shrugged my shoulders and leveled the .44 cap-and-ball at its plaintive face. The squirrel thanked me, got up on its hind paws, put the metal in its mouth, and suckled on the long barrel like a caged guinea pig taking water from a bottle.

I cocked the hammer. The annihilating thunderclap, the blue smoke, the oddly gentle kick, the spray of blood, bone, and fur on my boots — all one blur, one true moment, a thing of terrible clarity. Deafened, ears ringing, I tucked my head into the crook of my arm, dropped to my knees, and wept. The buzzing in my head, the buzzing in the forest, dopplering off the sugar maples, oaks, and corpses of long-dead Dutch Rotted elms. The buzzing was everywhere. Beneath my palms, the dead leaves on the forest floor vibrated in time to that all-pervasive power station hum. The buzzing was everywhere, and I wept.

We are meat, mad meat. Nothing more.

PseudoPod 169: The Disconnected

The Disconnected

by David Steffen

“I’m glad you volunteered tonight. I’m not sure I’m ready to go solo again quite yet.” Tim pointed at a nasty welt on his own neck before he popped the neck brace in place. “This gear saved my life, but it still hurts to swallow.”

He pushed the inner door open with a click. They stood at one end of a long hallway, lined with glass rooms, most occupied by leashed Disconnected. Before they started Tim’s rounds, they did a quick walk through of the facility, which was just more hallways of glass rooms, all on one level. Some of the Disconnected looked out at them. Others were sleeping, or eating.

“All Disconnected present and accounted for,” Tim said.

“See, Harken?” the chief said. “There’s no way it could have been a Disconnected.”

“You’re probably right, Chief.”

They walked back to the staging room to grab Tim’s cleaning cart.

“Why are all the Disconnected naked?” Harken asked.

“You want to put clothes on them? They’d never stay clean, then. I’d have to sedate them to dress and undress them, and what would be the point?”

“I suppose you’re right…” It just seemed so disrespectful. Each of them had been a person once, with a family.

Check out this author’s list of favorite Pseudopod episodes, replete with links to each one in our archives.

PseudoPod 168: El Dentisto que Corta

El Dentisto que Corta

by M.C. Norris

In lieu of an excerpt, we shall regale you with some correspondence between the author and Pseudopod’s chief editor.

From Mike Norris’s cover letter: I learned of an extraordinary occupation, wherein an ordinary Joe, toting only a bible and a pistol, could legally cross the southern border under the licenses of the U.S. physicians that accompanied him to perform free roadside surgical procedures right in the back of his van. I managed to track down one of these medical coyotes, and I wrangled an interview out of him, explaining that I was a writer interested in publishing a story about his fascinating mission. That much was true … If I’m to be damned for a story I’ve written, “El Dentisto que Corta” will be my one-way ticket to Hell.

Ben’s response: Dear Mike, Thank you for sending us “El Dentisto que Corta”. Yes, I’m pretty sure you are going to hell for writing it, and we’re probably going to join you because we’re going to produce it. …

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone.