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Everyone is a critic: Infestation

Because I haven’t written a short story in a while I figured I would collect some of the positive and negative comments of my published stories. I will leave out comments by anyone I know, because lets face it, they are probably considered ringers.

Thankfully there are more good than bad reviews. Just an FYI, if you plan to check out the story, there are spoilers in the reviews. First up, “Infestation.”

The Good

“this one had me covering my eyes and gritting my teeth.It takes a lot to get this reaction from me,but if anything will-its large flying flesh eating insects. Excellent performance from the narrator,keep up the good work psuedopod.”

“Spooky should be made into a short film so the audio is done proper justice”

“Whew… what a ride.”

“Insects-in-your-body stories are always among the most horrific, and this was very well done. Only way to make it worse is to involve genitals a la Scott Sigler’s “Infected.”
Kudos on the story, and doubly so for the reader!”

“oooooo, foo, this one made me nauseous. Yet I couldn’t turn it off. I hate you all.”

“Makes me afraid of the strange looking plants that pop up in my flower bed. I think I’ll go pull them up and burn them now…”

“Loved it; wished it was longer.”

“Absolutely horride! I loved it! Keep up the good work!”

“Wow. I haven’t had that kind of physical reaction to a story in quite a while. I was driving while I listened, and was squirming, flinching and writihing while trying to steer. Made it to the studio, thanks to cruise control.”

“Very descriptive story. Kept me interested until it was over.
Very scarey story. Right up their with Stephen King.”

“I hope I can sleep tonight… the reading of this was amazing. ugh! Amy….ps.. I think I’m going to puke.”

“Gentlemen, excellent episode! THIS is the kind of story I’d write if I was about 160% more talented than I am. Kudos, Mr. Piskun!”

“This was classic horror. Very scary, fast, witty, and leaving just enough slight room for hope to keep you listening intently ’till the final, horrific ending. Very good reading performance, too!”


“Yukkkk. Great episode that made me uncomfortable.”

“I listened to this story twice it was so good! I loved the narrator and the story was just chilling!”

The Bad (and Ugly)

“Meh. It’s been done before, and done better. One thing I did like was the way that the narrator lapsed into religious metaphor at the end – it was a nice character touch that, when he’s pushed to the point of breaking, that was emerging”

“The commenter who called it graphic and intense was absolutely right, however, I was a little disappointed. This story was my first introduction to Pseudopod, and I have to say, my first reaction was “Haven’t I read/heard this before? People are still writing/reading stories about bugs crawling under skin and eating people alive?” I know it’s a tried-and-true horror theme, but I just didn’t think this version added much. I seem to be alone in this assessment, though, as this seems to be a very popular story!”

“In all honesty, this is probably one of the stories I’ve liked least so far in Pseudopod. (I’m working my way back; I’m down to the sixties now.) It was just gross-out horror for the sake of gross-out. Don’t get me wrong; the language was evocative and cringe-inducing and the reading was spot-on, but “bugs under the skin” is one of the old reliable tropes and this story didn’t really do anything interesting with it. Heck, it doesn’t even give it a decent foundation.

There’s no reason for the bugs. They’re just… there. From a plant the girl scouts were selling. So presumably there are now dozens of homes being filled with these plant-bug monsters that breed faster than bacteria. I guess that would be scary if the bugs weren’t so ludicrous. The whole thing is wildly implausible, but doesn’t have the resonance of a strong thematic/symbolic structure to give us a reason why these impossible creatures exist. I’m okay with hallucinatory, surreal action, but I’m less okay with it when it doesn’t serve any purpose other than increasing the shock value. I was reminded of “Sealab 2021″ and the discussion of putting human brains into robot bodies rapidly devolved into requests for an Adrienne-Barbeau-bot with chainsaw hands. The story became so unrealistic – after such a lovingly-detailed ’slice of life’ at the beginning, too – that it stopped being scary and just started seeming kind of goofy to me
It was well written, and very well narrated. As I said, I enjoyed it, I just didn’t find it special.”

“I like to masturbate. So I did. Later, my wife comes home with a strange plant filled with ravenous alien bugs, and they kill her, my unborn child, and force me to kill myself just to stop them. The end.”


‘Till Death Picture

My favorite MERC w/a mouth, Brian Mercado, is hooking me up with another picture. He nailed the creatures in Infestation and I posted them here on the Badgerine.

This time I’m happy to say his picture will most likely be published along side my story ‘Till Death in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine. He’s a good friend from way back so nothing would make me happier. I attached a concept sketch above and the final will appear here soon

Painkiller to be Published!

I have ended 2009 on a high note. I’m not talking about all the beer I drank at the Borgata. On new year’s eve my short story “Painkiller” was excepted for publication by House of Horror and is slated for issue #10.

The link is:

Painkiller is a tale of suffering and temptation. The editor said, “I really enjoyed this one, very original and entertaining read. Great job!”

Painkiller now joins Infestation on on my list of publications. I honestly expected to have published more than 2 stories published in 2009 but I didn’t realize how long the process took.

Anyway, I’ll let you know when it’s up and I hope to publish many more in 2010.

Happy New Year!