PseudoPod 736: Lifeblood

Show Notes

From the afterword: “‘Lifeblood’, with its mean-spirited prejudice towards immigrants, pits one marginalised group against another in grim-dark tale of poverty and desperation. Information about the 1898 Kauri Gum Industry Act and the government’s monstrous persecution of immigrant and native labour can be accessed on New Zealand’s national archives.”

Review for Grotesque: Monster Stories by Shawna Borman, with review by Places We Fear to Tread by Josh Tuttle, with both read by Josh Tuttle.


Lifeblood

by Lee Murray


Nikola Silich drove his gum-spear into the ground and let it stand upright while he bent to lift the clod from the ditch. Crouched in the trench, he weighed the blackened lump in his hand, then rubbed at it with his thumbnail. What would he find beneath the grunge? Would there be a droplet of the kauri’s lifeblood, a golden bead of tree-sap petrified for years and years beneath the soil and turned as dark and rich as good wine?

His heart skipped and he breathed deep, his nostrils filling with the smoke of burning manuka bushes. In his head, he whispered, Please, let it be good. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 735: The Slow King

Show Notes

Reviews by Christi Nogle and read by Kat Day for The Fiends in the Furrows 2: More Tales of Folk Horror edited by David T. Neal and Christine M. Scott and the Gordon B. White collection As Summer’s Mask Slips and Other Distruptions.


The Slow King

by Tim Major


Campbell’s dad watched him from beyond the cordon, through the gap between catering vans. Reluctantly, Campbell raised his hand – a motionless salute rather than a wave – but his dad’s eyes continued to scan from side to side.

Campbell jammed his hands in the pockets of the padded gilet he had been forced to wear. He surveyed the collection of makeshift tents. Their interiors glowed red with light from large electric bar heaters.

“Excuse me,” he said to a middle-aged woman hurrying in the other direction, “do you know where Laine is?”

“Kid, I don’t know where anyone is.” The woman brandished a folded sheet of paper. “But if I don’t get these new lines to Kier’s trailer in the next few minutes then I’ll be taking a turn up there myself.” She nodded at the two metal cages that hung from the tree at the foot of the hill. They were the shapes of birdcages but each big enough to hold a person. A stepladder had been placed below one of them and a man in a day-glo tabard was testing the metal bars of the cage. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 734: Anatomist

Show Notes

Review by Kitty Sarkozy for I’ll Tell You a Love Story the 2020 collection by Couri Johnson. Review by Shawna Borman for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: Volume One edited by Paula Guran. Both reviews read by Graeme Dunlop.


Anatomist

by Couri Johnson


After the earthquake, she goes out collecting bones. It’s easy enough. The ground of the graveyard has been split open, caving in near the center in a deep pit, from which several fissures run off in all directions. Like how a child draws a star. Or maybe like an asterisk. One to be tacked onto the sentence Rest in Peace*. (*Unless the dirt decides maybe it’s too good for you one day, and spits you back up.) All around the crags, the ground is littered with bits of coffins, femurs, collarbones, and jaws. Teeth clustered like cigarette butts outside bars. She pockets these and can hear them rattle when she walks. Every now and then she slips a hand in and runs them through her fingers. The rest she gathers on a blanket and rolls up to carry fireman-style over her shoulder. She can only carry so many at a time, but she doesn’t mind. It’s good to get out of the house. It’s good to have a hobby. Her tapes say so. (Continue Reading…)

Mother Horror and “The Smell of Night in the Basement”


Do you ever drive by a dark alley and catch a glimpse of something that makes your breath catch in your throat? Maybe as you drive away, you’re already telling yourself you didn’t see what you thought you saw.

Have you ever passed in front of a dilapidated house with its dark, ratty curtains and old mail spilling out of the door’s mail slot and wondered about what goes on inside a house like that?

What kind of horrors takes place in secret, abandoned, dirty spaces?

In the short story, THE SMELL OF NIGHT IN THE BASEMENT, author Wendy N. Wagner pulls back the curtain and allows readers to observe the goings-on in a very dark place. A basement. (Continue Reading…)