Archive for Artemis Rising

PseudoPod 587: ARTEMIS RISING 4: When the Slipling Comes to Call

Show Notes

Spoiler

I found the seed of this story in an odd little remnant of a dream. In the dream, I opened my door and discovered a small faceless doll at my feet. I bent to pick it up and just as I turned it over, I abruptly woke. The rest of the dream was lost forever, but that image stuck with me all day–the colors bleak and muted, and the weight of people’s eyes on me, even though I was alone at my door. It became the prompt for “When the Slipling Comes to Call.” While I wrote it, I was thinking a lot about the ways in which large groups of people can be controlled with different types of fear, how compliant we can become to all sorts of atrocities in the name of “not making trouble” or “being a good citizen” or because “it’s always been this way.” I wanted (and maybe even needed) to see someone overcome that. Against the backdrop of larger national and global unrest, so many of us also live personal revolutions every day just by continuing to exist and persist, despite pervasive systematic biases and abuses. Those personal revolutions add up, so I felt it was important to make Madeline a person who had played by the old fear-based rules right up until she decided to resist–even if she failed against the Slipling, I felt she’d won something just by changing her outlook and trying to change the system.

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When the Slipling Comes to Call

by N.R. Lambert


She rises. The ache of eons and a cold night brittle her bones. She cracks them one at a time, and sometimes all at once, like tree branches snapping in an ice storm. The stone floor of the hovel is chilled with October’s first frost, but it doesn’t bother her, her feet never need touch the floor. She hovers over it, knotted fingers dragging tangles of dark hair from her face and eyes.

Her slick black tongue flicks the melting frost from her flaky gray lips as she goes about gathering the scraps of bone, hair, and skin she needs to make her Littles. One by one, she stuffs them with dead leaves and other rot. She ties off the dollies’ necks with gut string, then tops each Little with a smooth clay head–the vessel–blank faces reflecting nothing of their fates or those of the ones to whom they’re tied.

The Slipling fills her basket. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 586: ARTEMIS RISING 4: For Fear of Little Men


For Fear of Little Men

by Sandra M. Odell


Once upon a time, there was a boy named Alton who longed to be a kobold and keep treasure in his stone shoes. . .

That is until one came to live under his bed and he learned what horrid little creatures they truly were.  The wicked thing smelled of licorice and MaeMa’s kisses when she went too long without brushing her dentures.  It hobbled around in its stone clogs in the dark of night, knocking over books,tumbling shoes off the rack.

“There is a kobold living under my bed, Mama,” he said when his mother came to see what the fuss was all about.  “I saw it with my torch.  He pinched me here, and here, and even here.”

“There will be none of that, young man,” Mama said as she tucked the brushed cotton quilt under his chin.  “You go to sleep this instant, and in the morning you will pick up your room or else.”

That night Alton realized mamas did not know what it meant to have a kobold living under one’s bed. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 585: ARTEMIS RISING 4: Cinereous


Cinereous

by Livia Llewellyn


Paris

October, 1799


The nails on the heels of Olympe Léon’s boots are the only sounds in the silence of night’s chilly end. Click click click through indigo air, like the metallic beat of a metronome’s righteous heart. As always, when she sees her destination at the end of rue St. Martin, rising black and monolithic against the encroaching country and graying sky, her heart and feet skip beats. She thinks of each single drop of blood, spurting and squirting from the bright flat mouths of the necks, and her small calloused hands and wide bowls to catch them all. Olympe, like all the assistants, is very proud of her training, and very afraid of losing her place, very afraid of sinking back into the city’s bowels, never to return. She never misses a drop. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 584: ARTEMIS RISING 4: The Drowned Man’s Kiss

Show Notes

“The Drowned Man’s Kiss” is inspired by the works of the Greek Poet Nikos Kavvadias: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikos_Kavvadias

In his poem “Esmeralda” there’s this verse: “Come sweet dawn, the drowned man kissed you.” And the story was born from that, playing as it went with the theme of the cursed dagger, which also features in another of Kavvadias’ poem, “To Machairi” (The dagger).


Longtime listeners or backers of our Pseudopod 10 Year anniversary will be familiar with the artistic work and madcap visions of Jonathan Chaffin of Horror In Clay.  He makes fine horror-themed tiki mugs, art, and ephemera. He made a Cthulhu tiki mug, before that was a thing, and a cask of Amontillado and an Innsmouth Fogcutter.  Now, he has a warning for you. Somewhere in the infinite multiverse, or just on the other side of this shadow, the King In Yellow awaits. “The Pallid Mask” from Horror In Clay is a 8in tiki mug inspired by love for the linked short stories of Robert W. Chambers, and every subsequent writer caught by that fateful play.

The mug is available on Kickstarter, and will ship in August. The mug is part of a collection with companion pieces like a custom-written D6 tabletop RPG module and a Mai Tai glass from the mythic “Shores of Carcosa” restaurant.  Learn more on Kickstarter by searching for “Pallid Mask” or at Horror In Clay.


The Drowned Man’s Kiss

by Christine Lucas


Last night, I dreamt of the drowned man again.

It starts with a murmur. A prayer, slithering through a sleeping shipmate’s lips. Or perhaps a confession, or a memory caught in the fog of the ghostly hours before dawn. It lingers little down here, in the stale air heavy with the stench of urine and unwashed bodies. Soon it rises higher, amidst the sails and the riggings, hungry for fresh air. Then comes the scratching against the ship’s hull. Grip by grip, claw-like hands dig into the wood dragging upwards God knows what.

I lay still on my hammock, squeezing my eyes shut. I don’t dare to steal a peek at the narrow stair leading upwards, to the main deck. But I hear the slow drip of water—stagnant, black water mixed with putrid drool and I gag at the stench. Once, when I was a young fool, I did dare a glimpse. Never again. I’ve seen enough of the corpse sprawled across the upper steps, its torso reaching downwards, the rest out of sight. Grey, bloated flesh bathed in the milky light of early dawn. Bone grinds on bone as he turns to seek me out amidst the slumbering sailors. One eye dangles on its decaying cheek, the other socket a dark nest for crabs. (Continue Reading…)

Artemis Rising 4: Hecate Awakens


During the month of September, PseudoPod seeks submissions to celebrate ARTEMIS RISING, a special month-long event across the Escape Artists podcasts featuring stories by women and nonbinary authors in genre fiction.

Stepping in as guest editors for our fourth annual ARTEMIS RISING event is PseudoPod Assistant Editor Dagny Paul and Mothership Zeta Assistant Editor Karen Bovenmyer. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 536: ARTEMIS RISING 3: Meat


Meat

by Sandra M. Odell


A poster on the far wall of the crowded cafeteria chamber shows an identical man and woman in coveralls and happy smiles with their hands on the woman’s pregnant belly.  The caption at the bottom reads: A REPRODUCTIVE WORKER IS A HAPPY WORKER.  MED CALL TO SCHEDULE YOUR NEXT SEXTIME TODAY.

Ollie puts her hands to her belly, her empty belly.  Three miscarriages in the last eleven cycles.  Only two more chances for a live baby before the overseers stuff her in a containment suit and ship her to processing half a kilometer below the meat farm.  No one comes back from processing.  “My baby won’t look like everybody else’s.  It’ll be different.  Better.  Everyone will know it’s my baby.”

Across the table, Charlie shrugs and keeps shoveling meat porridge into his mouth.  Like everyone else in the meat farm.

She looks around the cafeteria.  The same faces, the same voices.  Sluggo.  Mary.  Abner.  Patty.  Gwen pulling her hair out one strand at a time.  The woman who eats rats.  The bald boy who constantly bangs his head against the wall until he passes out.  All crazyheads.

Ollie picks at a few of the darker lumps in the center of her bowl, takes a bite, says to Charlie, “How many babies do you have now?  Five?  Six?”  When he doesn’t answer, she continues, “I went to the nursery before shift.  You have six crib babies and two in the walker room.  Do you ever go to the nursery?”

Charlie shakes his head and keeps eating.

Ollie pushes her bowl away.  “What’s your fertility rating?  Nine?  Nine-point-five?”

Charlie scrapes the last bits from the side of his bowl.  “Don’t care.”

Ollie stares at him.  “How can you not care?  I don’t have one baby and I care.”

Charlie taps the side of her bowl with his spoon.  “You gonna finish that?” (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 535: ARTEMIS RISING 3: The Lady with the Light

Show Notes

PseudoPod wants to draw your attention to an anthology that dovetails nicely with Artemis Rising.

Sycorax’s Daughters, is a new volume of dark fiction and poetry and it is our understanding that this is the first horror anthology written entirely by Black women. It explores the intimate details of cultural nuance, race, and gender. Sycorax’s Daughters mission is to work “as a visionary space where Black women explore horror on their own terms.”

Those familiar with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest may remember Sycorax. She is an African sorceress operating as “the absent presence” throughout the play. While never on the stage, she is influential. She haunts the white male characters. She refuses to be excluded from the story.

 


While we’re talking about anthologies, let’s mention For Mortal Things Unsung.

If you liked “Standard Procedure” by Dagny Paul at the beginning of this month or “The Lady with the Light” by Mel Kassel, you should go pre-order our anthology. Both of those stories were originally published in our 10th anniversary anthology. If you backed our kickstarter, your copy showed up in February. If you missed out, it will be available for purchase at the end of March for your reading pleasure.


 

 

 

 

I’m enthralled when I arrive at the house in Hawaii. I see so many things that my mother would call “wonders”: sea turtles heaving themselves up from the surf, leaving clumsy sandangels; jellyfish dying slowly in the sun; seaweed pods that burp out air, the breaths that they held for years.  

Not everything is a wonder, of course. There are fish bones and dollops of seagull shit and women with floppy hats who coo over shells. But the ocean still surprises me. It coughs up newness now and again for me to discover, usually in the morning, when I leave the cat chewing on his food and walk down to the shore.

I establish a routine to keep myself from seeking out other tourists: wake up, walk along the beach, write for a few hours, eat lunch, watch a movie, go to The Log for dinner and exactly two beers. The people at The Log encourage me to bring in fresh pages for them to read aloud. To them, writing is a grand gesture, the mark of a man who can assemble his thoughts in a secret language. I tell them that the book is bad, and they don’t care. 

The book is bad. It’s worming itself out of me like a mucus. Better to spit it than swallow, but when I look at it, I’m disgusted. The main character is a detective. I’ve never met a detective, but I’m pretending to be Reggie Barns, a person who holds a pistol without wondering what to do with his thumb.

PseudoPod 533: ARTEMIS RISING 3: Drift Right

Show Notes

This piece was inspired by a trip to the Columbia River Maritime Museum and the Bumblebee Cannery Museum, both of Astoria, Oregon. Astoria has a long history of fishing and many of its original settlers were Finnish. It was also a hotbed of unionizing activity during the first few decades of the 20th century.


Drift Right

By Wendy N. Wagner


The tide was in, and the butter and brine smell of the sea covered the stink of the river. The Kultaseni nosed against the current, keeping to the edge of the shipping channel. Ben kept a tight hold of the tiller and found himself forgetting to blink as he peered ahead into the darkness. Clouds like wool felting wrapped up the sky, and the air was thick with unshed rain.

He risked a quick glance at the man standing in the stern. Arlo Koski’s bigness defined him, set him apart from the other men in Astoria. At the Suomi Ladies Auxiliary annual tug of war, Koski was always called to be team captain. At union meetings, even the Seattle organizers shut up for him to talk. Ben could remember sitting at the back of the Suomi Brotherhood Hall with his brother Joe, listening to Koski and wishing he could be something, anything like the man.

Now his boss stood motionless, just a darker silhouette against the vaguer darkness of the night, watching for snags and boat traffic—the  last the most important since they were out here with no running lights. On a normal night, they might see three dozen boats on the water, but half of Astoria was down at the hall talking strikes. Ben wondered if he could still convince Koski this was a bad idea. (Continue Reading…)