Archive for Podcasts

PseudoPod 771: The Human Chair

Show Notes

“The Human Chair” was originally published in Kuraku, October 1925, as “Ningen Isu.” As this story is in the public domain in its original Japanese, we thought a new translation would be a fascinating project that extends PseudoPod’s 1925 showcase from January of this year.


The Human Chair

by Edogawa Ranpo, translated by Allen Zhang


Yoshiko was accustomed to sending her husband off to work at ten each morning. Having at last gained her freedom, she would then make her way to the study which she shared with him and shut herself within its walls, whereupon she busied herself on a lengthy piece she was writing for the summer special edition of K magazine.

Elegant in stature and beloved by her fans, Yoshiko maintained a reputation enough that even her husband’s lofty position as the secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs paled by comparison. It seemed like every day that she was inundated with letter after letter from her innumerable worshippers. Today as well, as she sat down before her study desk, she made sure to glance through the fresh pile of letters from faceless admirers before beginning her work. Each one was as trite and uninteresting as the last, but Yoshiko, in her warm feminine consideration, would nevertheless read through every message directed to her, regardless of what it was.

After first dispatching with the simpler missives (a pair of envelopes and a postcard), she was left with what appeared to be a rather bulky manuscript sealed in a large envelope. Yoshiko had not received any notice of such a delivery, but even so, having an unsolicited manuscript sent to her was a fairly common occurrence in itself. The majority of such items were invariably dry, long-winded things. Despite this, Yoshiko determined to read the title at least, and so, slitting the envelope open, she retrieved the bundle of papers and looked at the first line.

It was bound with the usual manuscript stationery, as expected. What was unexpected was how it began. Where one would expect a title or author to be displayed, instead Yoshiko saw a line of greeting. “Dear Madam,” it read. Well then, she thought, this must be some form of letter after all. As she casually scanned the next few lines, however, she felt a strange sense of foreboding creep over her. Still, her innate curiosity aroused, she quickly read onwards despite her growing unease. It read as follows. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 770: The Garden of Adompha


The Garden of Adompha

Clark Ashton Smith


Lord of the sultry, red parterres
And orchards sunned by hell’s unsetting flame!
Amid thy garden blooms the Tree which bears
Unnumbered heads of demons for its fruit;
And, like a slithering serpent, runs the root
That is called Baaras;
And there the forky, pale mandragoras,
Self-torn from out the soil, go to and fro,
Calling upon thy name:
Till men new-damned will deem that devils pass,
Crying in wrathful frenzy and strange woe.
—Ludar’s Litany to Thasaidon

It was well known that Adompha, king of the wide orient isle of Sotar, possessed amid his far-stretching palace grounds a garden secret from all men except himself and the court magician, Dwerulas. The square-built granite walls of the garden, high and formidable as those of a prison, were plain for all to see, rearing above the stately beefwood and camphor trees, and broad plots of multi-colored blossoms. But nothing had ever been ascertained regarding its interior: for such care as it required was given only by the wizard beneath Adompha’s direction; and the twain spoke thereof in deep riddles that none could interpret. The thick brazen door responded to a mechanism whose mystery they shared with none other; and the king and Dwerulas, whether separately or together, visited the garden only at those hours when others were not abroad. And none could verily boast that he had beheld even so much as the opening of the door.

(Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 769: Songs in a Lesser Known Key

Show Notes

From the author, “I’ve played saxophone and clarinet in big bands for more years than I care to admit to. And while I have performed Artie Shaw’s Nightmare once or twice (and as far as I know the audiences have largely survived the experience) I’ve never yet inflicted Gloomy Sunday on any of them. If I ever take the risk, and we all come out of it unscathed, I’ll be sure to let you know.”



The Wikipedia entry on Gloomy Sunday


Songs In A Lesser Known Key

by Mike Wood


I’m head down on the Formica-topped table beside the coffee machine, and I’m groaning. The band are taking five. Anne nudges my elbow. Anne’s our pianist.

“Don’t let Ralph get to you, Ed,” she says. “He’s an arse. He can’t help it.”

I sit up, lean back in my seat, and try to shake off the image of Ralph, bright red, screaming in my face, spit flying… Over a key signature for God’s sake.

“I’ve had it with this musical director shit, Anne. If it’s not Psycho Ralph, it’s the band’s finances. I still haven’t told the guys that I can only pay the leads for the next few gigs; the others will have to do it for the love. What they gonna say?”

I put my hand in my pocket and fish out my reed trimmer. It’s an obsession, the constant trimming, trying to get crap reeds to speak properly. The reed I’m using today is dull, needs work. I have a little pocketknife, very sharp, flat-bladed on one side, curved on the other for getting the reed’s profile just right.

Anne watches me for full on a minute. “You always start with the whittling when you’re stressed,” she says. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 768: Perfidious Beauty


Perfidious Beauty

by Eugie Foster


Beauty knelt over the cooling body of her husband, the prince.  The elegant clock in the foyer, carved from ebony and teak, struck the midnight hour.  The twelve tiny peals: the bells of heaven tolling, or the din of hell birds?  

One.  Two.  

Knife strokes shearing through flesh as easily as heated wax.  

Three.

Blood dark as despair and wet as sorrow in a spray across the marble tile.  

Four.  Five.  

The prince a discarded doll, head askew and half severed from his neck.  

Six.  

The gold of his hair, black now and matted with gore.  

Seven, eight, nine.  

The scald of his blood on her hands, her face, cooling in the wintry air, becoming sticky as old honey in a forgotten jar.  

Ten.  Eleven.  

Fierce joy.  Her wedding day promise to her lover achieved.  

Twelve.  

Grief, held in check these long weeks, released.  

Beauty crumpled to the floor, the sobs wracking, shaking her slender frame as though they would wring her apart.     (Continue Reading…)