Category Archives: Podcasts

Pseudopod 233: Association

I’ve been so busy not updating my blog that I completely neglected to mention another short story I narrated for Pseudopod, the Sound of Horror. This one is “Association,” a zombie tale by Eddie Borey. Before you rush over to listen, I would remind you that Pseudopod is intended for mature audiences and that dead things rot. A lot.

A complete list of the horrific tales I’ve narrated for Pseudopod is presented (in reverse chronological order) below.

  • “Association” by Eddie Borey (Episode 233)
  • “Is This a Horror Story?” by Scott Edelman (Episode 206)
  • “Wearing the Dead” by Alan Smale (Episode 190)
  • “The Sultan of Meat” by James B. Pepe (Episode 170)
  • “Orifice” by John F. D. Taff (Episode 147)
  • “The Duel” by James Michael MacFarland (Episode 135)
  • “In the Coils of the Serpent” by William Meikle (Episode 109)
  • “Among the Moabites” by Michael Hartford (Episode 98)
  • “Blood, Gridlock and PEZ” by Kevin Anderson (Episode 73)
  • “The Heart of Tu’a Halaita” by Tara Kolden (Episode 60)
  • “Hell’s Daycare” by D. Richard Pearce (Episode 38)

 

Pseudopod 147: Orifice by John F.D. Taff

Pseudopod: the sound of horror

I don’t have any particular aversion to needles, but I don’t feel any desire whatsoever to submit myself willingly to the tender mercies of what passes for a brush in the hands of a tattoo artist. I have my reasons, at least one of which is that I don’t trust my body to leave a tattoo where the artist puts it. The last thing I want is a faded sketch of a crippled stork on my hip that began its sad life as an awesome dragon on my shoulder.

In “Orifice“, author John F.D. Taff posits (through his narrator’s girlfriend) that any time you poke a hole in something, there are things that will want to get in or out through that hole. And what are tattoos if not hundreds—perhaps thousands—of tiny holes?

A word of caution: This story contains adult language, adult situations, and holes where they ought not be.

Pseudopod 135: The Duel by Michael James McFarland

Pseudopod: the sound of horror

Episode 135 of Pseudopod features “The Duel“, by Michael James McFarland, a tale of fraternity, brotherhood, time-honored tradition, upper-class twits and firearms. I think we’ve probably all had a friend who was mad at us, seemingly for no reason at all. Be glad they didn’t take the Burr/Hamilton tack when resolving whatever wrong we may have inadvertently done them.

Bookstuff: Murder at Avedon Hill by P.G. Holyfield

Want to know how long it’s taken P.G. Holyfield to complete the audio version of his novel, Murder at Avedon Hill? Let me put it this way: I do one of the voices in the podcast novel and partway through the process I had to re-record all of my lines because puberty hit and my voice broke.

Yes, it’s been a long time coming. ((At the time of this writing, it’s still a long time coming, as there are two episodes yet to be released.))

But persistence (on the part of Holyfield) and patience (on the part of his 13,000+ fans) has certainly paid off. Yesterday, P.G. announced that Murder at Avedon Hill has been picked up by Dragon Moon Press and will be published late this year.

Here’s a snippet from the official press release:

“With what he’s done with his podcast, P.G Holyfield was on our radar,” notes Gwen Gades, publisher at Dragon Moon Press. “But fans tracking down a publisher to request the print version of the novel? We had to move on that.”

Now, I’m not one to encourage what amounts to stalking, but I suppose there are worse things a publisher could say about an author than “his fans demanded that we publish the book.”

Murder at Avedon Hill: A Land of Caern Novel tells the story of Arames Kragen, a monk who finds himself on the hunt for a killer in the town of Avedon Hill. Young Gretta Platt, Housemistress of Avedon Manor has been murdered, and Arames must bring her killer to justice before Lord Avedon will allow the monk access to the only pass through the Lantis Mountains. Solving the murder is challenge enough, but Caern is a world where gods walk among mortals and fantastical creatures are often more than the stuff of fairy tale and legend. Arames Kragen will need all his wits about him to find the killer…or even just to survive.

The Amazon Rush: Comes the Apocalypse

As August of ought-eight was drawing to a close, a new composition by an enterprising and imaginitive young woman named Mur Lafferty was made available for purchase to those individuals with the means to connect their personal computational apparatuses to the Internets. The very idea that a woman would have not only the time to write a book—I suspect her child routinely goes unfed, her floors have not been scrubbed in weeks, and her husband rarely arrives home after a hard day’s work to find dinner a-table—but the audacity to publish it raises moral questions aplenty, ((To speak nothing of the home environment that allows a woman to become enterprising and imaginative in the first place.)) but that is an issue for another time. For the moment, let us allow that Ms. Lafferty has written and published a tale of sheerest fantasy, a yarn involving citizens who are possessed of extra-ordinary abilities, quite probably as a direct result of consorting with Satan; it might well be an allegory, but as it is told through the pen of a woman, the moral and metaphor—if they exist at all—have escaped me entirely.

I ought not dwell on the particulars of Ms. Lafferty’s fantastickal tale, for my purpose here to-day is not to discuss the merits and moral abiguities of said tale but rather the means by which it had—prior to appearing in the on-line marketplace—come to my attention. As has been previously noted, Ms. Lafferty is a woman of enterprise and imagination, and she posited that it was possible to increase awareness (and thus, potentially, sales) of her tale by giving it away to the public at no charge. Reckless seekers of thrill and vice who were savvy enough to access the Internets could, by means involving daemons named “Syndication” and “Enclosure” and “Pod-catcher”, freely partake of the tale as told in Ms. Lafferty’s own voice. In making her story thus available, Ms. Lafferty was able to ensorcell a number of unfortunates who would eventually become her pawns, a throng of adherents only too willing to transform their mistress’ every whim into reality. Despite my iron resolve, despite my nigh-indomitable will, despite my every precaution, dear reader, I was drawn into this web myself, a web that stretched the world wide.

On the day when Ms. Lafferty’s manuscript became available for purchase at on-line retailers, the authoress bade her disciples ((I hesitate to mention that they are often referred to colloquially as “Mur’s Bitches”, for the moniker gives rise to even further suspicions that Ms. Lafferty—and, indeed, those who supplicate themselves at her feet—truck with The Devil. The simple fact that her devotees do genuflect in her presence, coupled with Ms. Lafferty’s penchant for tiaras, smacks of idolatry.)) to engage in something known as an “Amazon rush”. This, I am relieved to report, has nothing at all to do with legions of Scythian warrior women; rather, it is a concentrated free-market assault on a single on-line purveyor of books: Amazon.com.

Set loose upon the unsuspecting merchant, Ms. Lafferty’s loyal flock exchanged the currency of the land for bound copies of her fanciful narrative. When the sun set upon this particular day of commerce, the rabid fanatics had propelled Ms. Lafferty’s manuscript to the very zenith of one particular column on the merchant’s ledgers: that column titled “Science Fiction”. In the space of four and twenty hours, the loyal adherents had made Ms. Lafferty’s tale a best-seller. In doing so (and, more imporantly, while doing so), the disciples had flooded the tubes—the very tubes that form the circulatory system of the Internets—with electronic missives acknowledging that they had complied with their mistress’ wishes and encouraging others—particularly the unensorcelled—to do the same.

It is important at this juncture to note that the concept of the “Amazon rush” did not spring forth fully formed from the mind of Ms. Lafferty. The tactic had been used with similar results (up to and including the flooding of the tubes) by several of Ms. Lafferty’s peers. The earliest documented case being April of ought-seven, when fantacist Scott Sigler encouraged a group of erudite and learned bibliophiles to purchase his tale of science-gone-awry, Ancestor. Mr. Sigler’s success encouraged other authors to follow in his footsteps, and ought-eight saw no less than four such “rushes” between April and August, including a cooperative effort from Tee Morris ((I include Mr. Morris here only out of a sense of duty to report the facts fully and accurately. While I hold Mr. Sigler, Mr. Harwood and Mr. Selznick in high esteem, the same cannot be said of Mr. Morris, for he is a unapologetic gadabout.)) and Philippa Ballantine ((Ms. Ballantine was the first female author of whom I am aware to rush Amazon.com, setting an uncomfortable precedent as well as a singularly unwholesome example for the fairer sex. However, Ms. Ballantine is from New Zealand, a country known for its loose morals and relaxed attitude with respect to the proper role of women, and I would expect nothing less from a country so perilously close to Australia.)) scarcely more than a fortnight before Ms. Lafferty unleashed her hordes upon the merchant.

Jack Wakes Up by Seth Harwood Infected by Scott Sigler Brave Men Run by Matthew Wayne Selznick The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant: A Billibub Baddings Mystery by Tee Morris Digital Magic by Philippa Ballantine Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty

Each of these “rushes”, as I have previously noted, caused considerable flooding of the tubes. As men more qualified to speak on the matter than I have already attested, flooding the tubes in such a fashion can lead only to disaster. When I realized that the veins and arteries through which the lifeblood of the Internets flowed were at nigh-constant risk due to these “rushes”, the scintillating threads and strands of bedazzlement spun by Ms. Lafferty began to clear from my mind and I beheld the looming peril: with the tubes so flooded, there was room for little else. In a delirious panick, I dispatched an electronic advisory to my friend and colleague, Mr. Chris Miller. In doing so, I drew back the gossamer veil that had covered his eyes and he, too, saw the threat.

Together, Mr. Miller and I resolved that we would not sit idly by in the face of the coming chaos. When my impassioned pleas to Mr. Selznick went unanswered, Mr. Miller issued a statement decrying the use of the “Amazon rush”. “The danger,” his first draft read, “is imminent; the consequences, dire. This practice must be abolished at once, not only for the good of those who will yield the brunt of the coming storm, but for those who will follow us and feel its echoing reverberations in years to come.” ((Alas, the published version of Mr. Miller’s warning does not hew so close to the truth of the matter; I suspect his tone was tempered not with cool reasoning, but with cold, hard currency. His further statements on the matter lead me to believe that the veil I so abruptly tore from his face has been replaced and is now stitched to his very flesh.))

As I write this, the debate rages on. In my desire to alert the world to the dangers of the “Amazon rush”, I may have inadvertently done more harm than good, for even now the tubes fill with comments from authors and statements issued by pundits. The demise of the Internets, it seems, may be a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I its unwitting prophet.

Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

Pseudopod 109: In the Coils of the Serpent

Pseudopod: the sound of horror

Episode 109 of Pseudopod features the story “In the Coils of the Serpent” by Scottish author William Meikle. I make a point of noting the author’s country of origin because there is not only an ocean between that country and the one in which I was born, but also at least one accent. If you’ve ever heard me “do” a Scottish accent, you’ll understand why I narrated this story without one.

“In the Coils of the Serpent” is a detective story of sorts. A murder mystery that takes an unusual turn on the twisted path to the truth and winds up somewhere ancient and evil.

A word of caution: if you’re the sort who’s bothered by words like “clitoris”, I’ve probably just offended you. Also, you may not wish to listen to this particular story; at least not the first sentence.

Pseudopod 098: Among the Moabites by Michael Hartford

Pseudopod: the sound of horror

In the dead of night, while all the world slumbered and creatures of unspeakable horror stirred beneath billions of beds, the latest episode of Pseudopod, The Sound of Horror, emerged from its glistening cocoon. Go, now, and listen to Among the Moabites by Michael Hartford, a tale of unexpected visitors and a little voyeurism. (Caution: Pseudopod is intended for mature audiences.)

Origins 2008: Rumors, Baseless and Otherwise

You may have heard rumors that I am presently attending the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I can now confirm that this is (as of this writing), absolutely true.

You may also have heard rumors concerning the absence of one Mr. Ken Newquist and whether or not Mur Lafferty was somehow responsible. Though I cannot say with absolute certainty that this has no basis in fact, I have reason to believe that it is patently untrue.

Finally, there is another dubious assertion that Cmar, M.D. goes around wearing a prosthetic noggin so as to appear taller than four feet and two inches, and that he uses a complex periscopic device to look down upon those around him through eerie, ever-staring artificial eyes. Is this true? I don’t know, but having spent considerable time with the man yesterday I have come to the conclusion that it could go either way.

Radio IsopodIf you were under the impression that the rumor of the doctor’s false head was the last of the bunch, then I’m afraid you were deceived. It is unwise to believe everything you read on these Internets, even on this very blog. Here is the true final rumor of the moment, one I can happily assure you is one hundred per cent accurate and true: Natalie Metzger, known in some circles as The Fuzzy Slug and in other circles largely overlapping the first as minitotoro, has released the first episode of her fantastical new podcast, Radio Isopod. You would do well to listen to it; you might even recognize a voice or two.

While you do that, I shall remain at Origins, attempting to substantiate or disprove the scurrilous scuttlebutt as I become aware of it. At some point, I expect there will be photographs.

More from The Secret Lair

The Secret Lair

Big things are happening over at The Secret Lair. Yeah, there’s another movie episode, but more impressive than a couple of geeks blathering on about Night Watch and Justice League: The New Frontier is the new masthead ((Call it a banner, if you prefer, or even a logo; your fancy words don’t detract from the sheer coolness of the thing.)) on the website. Designed by Natalie Metzger, the Lair’s official Secretary of Artistic Propaganda, the graphic features a skull-topped mountain looming large in front of the Cleveland, Ohio skyline at dusk, its stony eye sockets glowing malevolently as the masterminds and minions who call the craggy cranium their base of operations toil within the mysterious chambers hidden deep within.

So visit the site. Download the newest episode. And if you know what’s good for you, tell Natalie how truly magnificent the new masthead is, or the next time you see those glowing eyes it will be in the company of one of our Retrieval Squads.

Pseudopod 073: Blood, Gridlock and PEZ by Kevin Anderson

Pseudopod: the sound of horror

Right after the Great Christmas Vacation of 2007, I narrated another story for the horror podcast, Pseudopod. The story, which appeared on the site this morning as Episode 73 of the podcast, is Blood, Gridlock and PEZ by Kevin Anderson. Of the three stories I’ve read for Pseudopod thus far I think this one may be my favorite, though I did like Tara Kolden‘s The Heart of Tu’a Halaita quite a lot.