The Best of Pseudopod 2011

written by David Steffen

Another year has passed, which brings us to another year’s worth of “Best of” lists (see previous lists, including of previous years of this podcast here). First up, is Pseudopod, the horror branch of the Escape Artists podcast tree. Pseudopod was on hiatus for the first few months of 2011, but they have been publishing stories at a steady rate again since March, and there are plenty of stories to make a list from. This list picks out my favorites published in 2011, which covers episodes 220-262, and includes some promotional stories to promote a listener incentive collection written by the Alphabet Quartet, and quite a few “Flash on the Borderlands” flash collection episodes. I only considered stories that were available on the main feed, not stories which were part of listener promotions.

One story written by me was published by Pseudopod in 2011. The story is “What Makes You Tick” and was published as one of the stories in Pseudopod 228 Flash on the Borderlands VII: Tableaux and Displays. (I didn’t consider that story for the list, but I figured I could get away with a quick shameless plug)

(54 stories, including What Makes You Tick, including ___ Flash on the Borderlands episodes, including a promotional Alphabet Quartet episode) So it will be up to a top 5, with 3 honorable mentions. Episodes 220-262. Not considered for this list was my story What Makes You Tick which was published in Pseudopod 228: “Flash on the Borderlands VII: Tableaux and Displays.”


The List

1. The Voice in the Night by William Hope Hodgson
Excellent classic horror, all the more notable because it is still effective a century later. A ship encounters an unseen speaker on the dark ocean, and that speaker tells a story of a shipwreck and a horrible fate.

2. To My Wondering Eyes Did Appear by Larry C. Kay
Christmas horror! We’ve all heard of Santa Claus, but what about his lesser known brother Rumple Klaus? A dark story with shades of Krampus and Black Pete. A story of a remembered childhood encounter told by one sister to another. Where this story really shines is its strong, realistic characters.

3. Pageant Girls by Caroline Yoachim
Childhood beauty pageants are a subject ripe for horror adaptations. A brief look into another world, where the living dead can enter.

4. Dearest Daughter by Kate Marshall
A really good unreliable narrator storyThe story seemed very straightforward at first, even a little too straightforward, but at several points during the story new information become available that made me revise my understanding. This can be done badly or done well; here it is done very well. Much of this one is open for alternate interpretations, which makes it very fun to discuss and re-read.

5. Pieces by M.C. Funk
A terrible and twisted love story all the more disturbing because it seems to be a metaphor for the worst kind of relationship.


Honorable Mentions:

Terrible Lizard King by Nathaniel Lee

Black Hill by Orrin Grey

Little Monster by LynnCee Faulk
At first, this story seems all too familiar, but the author makes it unique.