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Pseudopod the weekly short horror fiction podcast is celebrating its 10th Halloween and is raising funds to pay their narrators.
Pseudopod the weekly short horror fiction podcast is celebrating its 10th Halloween and is raising funds to pay their narrators.
495 backers pledged $33,677 to help bring this project to life.

Personal Essay: Sandra M. Odell

Posted by Escape Artists Inc. (Creator)

When asked to write an essay for the Pseudopod Kickstarter, I was encouraged to write about what audio horror fiction means to me, or, barring that, how Pseudopod and the other Escape Artists, Inc., podcasts are great venues for up and coming authors. Well then, I said, I’ll do the tentacles one better and talk about both! 

I discovered fiction podcasts years ago, and have no regrets. In particular, the Pseudopod podcast was a reminder of how well horror works in audio form. Think about it! Telling spooky stories around a campfire. Daring friends during the wee hours of a sleep over to step into the darkened bathroom and summon Bloody Mary. Sharing tales of the creepy, haunted places around town. Books and movies are all well and good, but it’s horror spoken aloud that reminds us of the simple pleasure of terrified delight. 

Why am I such a fan? Because I like being scared! The tentacular Pseudopod team has kept me company on long drives, while cleaning house, sitting in waiting rooms, walking along the beach at sunset, or tucked in bed in a pitch black room with nothing more than Alasdair’s dread and cheery “Welcome to Pseudopod.” to warn me of the horrors to come. Until the end music fades, I am hostage to my own imagination, locked in a cage of the author’s design. The stories are regularly creepy, sometimes cathartic, and often terrifying enough to make me doubt my senses when I finally turn off the lights at night. Narrators breathe unlife into the written word, lending their talents to my malaise, and I love it. 

As for authors, Pseudopod delivers a variety of both new and old voices I might never have discovered on my own: Orrin Grey (seriously, listen to “The Worm That Gnaws”); Alyssa Wong (“The Fisher Queen,” multiple award finalist, swoon); Russell McLean (“The Tooth Fairy”, totally worth it); Robert W. Chambers (“The Yellow Sign,” a classic!); Sonya Dorman (the chilling “Go, Go, Go, Said The Bird”); Jeff Hewitt (“Face Change,” dark, bloody comedy). Even my own works have found their way into the clutches of Pseudopod’s editors. The entire family of Escape Artists, Inc., productions are, indeed, a fantastic petri dish for new and up and coming authors to get their works out there to the eager public. Each show also embraces classic short fiction, celebrating the chance to share splendid works with a new generation of fans. 

Why is she telling us this? Because horror audio fiction whispers dark secrets in our ears that are not always banished come sunrise. The words linger, the voices slide over our skins, seeping into our pores. Close your eyes. Listen. The Pseudopod tentacles have a story to tell you, and they promise you . . . it’s true. 

Sandra lives in Washington state with her husband, sons, and a grumpy orange cat. A writer who does writerly things, she likes to think she knows what she's doing with stories in places like Daily Science Fiction, Crossed Genres, Pseudopod, and Podcastle. She's got some stories coming up at Escape Artists early next year, so keep an ear out. Find out more about her work at Or give her chocolate. That works, too.
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    1. Escape Artists Inc. Creator on

      Thank you so much, Sandra:) And the petri dish metaphor is perfect. Which reminds me, I may need to cosplay as Herbert West at some point...

    2. Missing avatar

      Shawn M. Garrett on

      Thanks Sandra! We're always happy to hear that people have discovered current, hard-working authors through the show and always happy to run stories by you!