Thursday, December 27, 2012
Pseudopod Tapes Vol. 1 by Alasdair Stuart
If you like: Pseudopod * essays * horror
The Pseudopod Tapes are a collection of essays by Alasdair Stuart expanding his end caps from each of the 2012 episodes of Pseudopod. The collection offers reflections on horror, genre, television, movies, work, loss, and life. In their original forms, the end caps provide a poignant summation to each episode, but in the expanded form they are stand-alone pieces with a much broader scope.
The essays of the Pseudopod Tapes implore each reader to connect with all aspects of horror. What is it that terrifies us, but also intrigues us to come back for more? All the things that go bump in the night are an invitation to explore deep within ourselves. Horror is as diverse as its readership, linked by the knowledge that there are untold dangers out there waiting, but holding your breath and closing your eyes might keep them at bay for one more night. Stuart acknowledges that the zombies scratching at your door might be real or imagined, but if you don’t escape them they will eat you alive. The goosebumps and raised-hairs on the back of your neck might just be an evolutionary quirk, or they might be the very thing that keeps you safe from the monsters under the bed.
Introspection is a key component of the Pseudopod Tapes. Many parts of the collection reveal just how much one’s internal fears can be the most debilitating. Stepping out into the world and sharing your honest truth is the most terrifying of all, but Stuart does so in each essay. Life is rarely easy, and will bring you down if you let it. Putting our creations out into the world to live on their own makes each of us Dr. Frankenstein, praying that we haven’t created a monster. Staying home, doing nothing is safe; it’s easy. Doing something is the most daunting. Throughout this collection the reader will find encouragement to catch hold of that fear, accept it, and use it to do something great. Take that class, write that first sentence, take that first picture. Don’t measure your success by any ruler other than your own. In the end, it doesn’t so much matter how grand your acclaim is, but that you experiment. You will never find your tribe if you don’t open your eyes to look for them. The Pseudopod Tapes are a great place to start looking. Stuart’s unabashed truths may make you look over your shoulder to see if you are being watched -- because how else could he know so well what you are thinking-- but they will also inspire you to use what scares you to find out who you are.
If you are peeking through your fingers because you are too scared to watch, but too scared not to watch, read Pseudopod Tapes Vol. 1.
Stuart, Alasdair. Pseudopod Tapes Vol. 1. Fox Spirit, 2012. A review copy was kindly provided by Alasdair.