Podcast Spotlight: Pseudopod

“I have a story for you, and I promise you it’s true.”¬†Pseudopod was the first horror fiction podcast, running continuously since 2006. They cover the whole spectrum of horror, new to old, gory to non, psychological to grossout, it’s all there. Alasdair Stuart’s thoughtful after-story comments are a huge draw to the podcast as well. Among the feature length episodes are “Flash in the Borderlands” episode that group together three flash horror stories with a related theme. Even if I don’t like the story in a particular week, I’ll listen to the end just so I can hear what he has to say. They publish a lot of really great stuff.

HISTORY

Pseudopod was launched by Steven Eley (the founder of Escape Pod) in 2006 when he decided he wanted to have an outlet for horror fiction to go alongside the science fiction and fantasy Escape Pod. The first episode was “Bag Man” by Scott Sigler. This was eventually followed by the launch of Podcastle in 2008.

Ben Phillips was the editor at the time of launch. Ben retired from the editorial position in 2010, and Shawn M. Garrett took over the role. Shawn has been the editor ever since.

Mur Lafferty was the host at the time of the launch. That wasn’t Mur’s first podcast, but it was her first fiction podcast. (Mur went on to be the editor of Escape Pod a few years later). Mur hosted for about a year before handing the hosting duties over to Alasdair Stuart.

Alasdair Stuart is amazing. He is the longest-running staff member of the Escape Artists podcasts, having been in a staff position since he took the Pseudopod hosting position in 2007. He currently hosts Pseudopod every week, and also periodically hosts Escape Pod and Podcastle. I like a variety of different hosting styles, from the formal and starkly functional, to the chatty, to the silly. And I love that different hosts of different shows give them each their own feel–I like variety, and the mixture of the feels as I listen to episodes of one then another are great. But if I had to pick one host of all the fiction podcast hosts I’ve ever heard and only listen to that host from then on, I’d pick Alasdair. On weeks when I don’t care for the story, I still listen to the end because I want to hear what Alasdair has to say about it. Sometimes his philosophizing will shed light on themes in the story I hadn’t considered. He’s also quite active on Twitter if you want to follow him there.

THE BEST EPISODES

If some of these look familiar, 5 of these were among the 50 entries in my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time list from a while back.

  1. Deep Red” by Floris M. Kleijne
  2. Neighbourhood Watch” by Greg Egan
  3. The Murmurous Paleoscope” by Dixon Chance
  4. Suicide Notes, Written by an Alien Mind” by Ferrett Steinmetz
  5. The Button Bin” by Mike Allen
  6. Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls” by Brian Hodge
  7. Bunraku” by David X. Wiggin
  8. The Music of Erich Zann” by Howard Phillips Lovecraft
  9. The Horror of the Heights” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  10. Pageant Girls” by Caroline Yoachim
  11. Ankor Sabat” by C. Deskin Rink
  12. Kill Screen” by Chris Lewis Carter
  13. Cry Room” by Ted Kosmatka
  14. The Metal and Its Mold” by Tim W. Burke
  15. The Crawlspace” by Russell Bradbury-Carlin

MY OWN WORK

Like I said above, Pseudopod is actually the first fiction podcast I listened to. It all started when I got my acceptance letter from Pseudopod’s Ben Phillips for “The Disconnected” a story about a future where cell phones are bio-engineered symbiotes attached at birth, and those who are accidentally separated from their phones are kept in kennels and treated as subhuman because they appear to be emotionless beasts to the general population. That was my very first story acceptance, so I decided I should see what kinds of stories my story would be keeping company with, so I picked up the most recent episode of Pseudopod which at the time was “The Hay Devils” by Colin P. Davies. I loved to hear a story read out loud, it made me think of the radio shows my dad grew up with. So I’ve been listening ever since.

In the years since, three of my flash fiction stories have been published at Pseudopod. “What Makes You Tick“, telling of an alien autopsy from the point of view of the alien. “Meat“, an ST horror story about a domestic helper bot just trying to do his best to follow his master’s last orders. And “Helpers“, a very special Christmas horror story.

COMING UP

Next month, the youngest of the Escape Artists sister podcasts, Podcastle, covering a variety of stories in the fantasy spectrum.