I’m amazed, and delighted, to report that Pseudopod hit episode 400 this week just gone. It’s been a long road between there and here and it’s one that’s got me thinking about horror, the past, the future and where we are as a show.
Trust me there are jokes too.
My first episode was a David Barr Kirtley piece called The Disciple. It’s still one of my favorite pieces and David remains one of my favorite authors in the field. He’s got a lightness of touch and a willingness to do very bad things to his characters but keep them honest and human and flawed that a lot of the best horror writers have.
That sound you can hear in my voice, my voice that’s an easy octave higher than it actually is by the way, is pure, adrenal gland soaked terror. That’s a man speaking to an open mic connected to the internet and all he can think is ‘MY TROUSERS ARE DOWN/AM I WEARING TROUSERS/OH GOD WHY AM I THINKING THESE THINGS/BUT SERIOUSLY MY TROUSERS ARE ON, RIGHT?’ in a never ending cycle.
It got better. And yes, my trousers were on. Still are in fact.
Jump forward, good Lord, 352 episodes and that brings us to James Tiptree Jr. Tiptree’s life is fascinating and I talk, at length, on the outro about how she’s both a catalyst and an example of change. The revelation that Tiptree Jr was a woman rocked some of the traditional, big name authors of her time to their core. Earlier this week, I sat on a train back from London and listened to a Hugo Awards ceremony where the overwhelming majority of the winners were female.
That’s a change that’s as welcome as it is incomplete. There are countless examples of entrenched sexism in genre fiction and it’s a fight that’s far from over but has certainly stopped beginning. It was an honour to talk about Tiptree Jr’s work and an honour to host a live reading of a story by double Hugo award winning Kameron Hurley at LonCon earlier that weekend.
In fact, you want to talk about change? My last ten days show just how far we’ve come. For years Pseudopod was huge in the US and largely irrelevant on this side of the Atlantic. I would mention hosting a podcast and be met with blank faces up until 2010 and even now it’s a field that’s either ubiquitous or has a very small number of shows that have broken through into the popular consciousness. Not being one of them led to a lot of the emotional payload I carried last year. The fact the company nearly died made up the rest.
I’m not going into detail, firstly because I don’t need to (We lived! Yay!) and secondly because we got bounced around online the last time we did go into detail. Suffice to say that the end of 2013 sucked and without the hard work of the editors and publishing staff at the company, as well as the generosity of the listeners, I would have finally got to use that Jack Killian quote I have in my back pocket for the final show. I am immensely grateful I didn’t have to. I’m even more immensely grateful for the fact that the show, and the company behind it, are still here.
At LonCon, and 9 Worlds the previous week, I found the thing that I’ve never once found in fandom; a community. I met and talked to longterm podcasters who wrestled the same things I did, who had the same shitty early episodes and who viewed the field with the same fervent love as I do. Podcasting is a weird, tiny, scrappy medium even now but that means it’s infinitely more tightly knit than any other group I’ve encountered. It’s lonely work, throwing your words out to the internet and finding other people who feel the way I do about it was as much of a surprise as it was a relief.
Because here’s the thing; I’ve held this job longer than any other job I’ve ever had. Ever. This isn’t just a job, or even a career, this is my home and it’s a delight to keep finding new rooms to explore.
So, Ben, Mur, Shawn, Graeme, Alex and yourselves? Thank you. See you at episode 500.