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The Fatal Eggs

This is based on a novella by Mikhail Bulgakov, probably better known for The Master and Margarita. In it, a Soviet scientist stumbles over a ray that makes living tissue grow nightmarishly fast. He plans to test it very carefully but alas, the State has need for his device and they rush it into service. Then it gets worse.

As it happens, I encountered this story before in this anthology

in a memorable context. In such matters the official end of things takes hours and since I strongly suspected something was very wrong, I packed a book in case it turned out it was the worst case scenario. This was the book.
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Cemetery Stop

A jerk-ass, philandering Toronto bus driver whose wife died recently under usual circumstances finds himself unable to deal some unusual passengers on what should be a milk run.

Frankly, I am not really loving this series and may not be up listening to it all in one long go. The problem is many of these tales of terrible fates justly earned are rather similar, perhaps a reflection of the essential limitations of horror and suspense...
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A white man in Africa first makes the mistake of pissing off a god by shooting and killing its current incarnation and then bungles an attempt to rid himself of the curse by giving the impression of having himself cursed a witch doctor to death. With the obvious cures for his situation ruled out, all he can do is wait for death to come in the form of an elephant.

This is set in the 1940s and the way our cursed fellow treats his African companions is in keeping with that.
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Breaking Point

Abusive relationships and possibly rabid chimps turn out to be a bad mix. I think. The sound on this was pretty bad.
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The Room

A daring young man is tempted enough by the prospect of a quick thousands pounds to spend a night in a room that has a track record of driving those who spend a night in it quite mad. In this case, it turns out the adventurer is really kind of fragile so he was probably a poor choice.

The final scene seems to violate the rules we've been given about how the phenomenon works.
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A traveller, marooned in a small town, is forced to take a room with two old ladies who proceed to use him as an excuse to bring up old business.

Less interesting than that makes it sounds. Kind of wretched in a just what I would have expected from CBC radio drama sort of way, actually.
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Book of Hell

An ailing book company seeks salvation in an evil book of evil written by a once-famous author of the near-forgotten 1960s. Although when this was written, the 1960s were actually only a decade or so ago, well within living memory. In any case, the book launch doesn't go as well as it could.

I wonder Read more... )
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Angel's Kiss

An unlikable lady's man in the manner of the '70s bar scene, someone who the story is careful to establish is an utter cad, meets his nemesis in the form of a devilishly attractive woman he meets one night.

Points for kicking a jerk at length and Read more... )
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A Shortwave Goodbye

A radio enthusiast finds himself in possession of a radio that can receive broadcasts from the future. As one does, he uses this to enrich himself. Unfortunately for him, his unfaithful wife and her lover have plans to get the protagonist's money for themselves and although he has knowledge of the future on his side, he also knows one of the reports he heard was of his own death.

This was an amusing enough little game of cat and mouse, with the murderous lovers trying to knock off the protagonist through traps they set themselves and the protagonist doing much the same, using his foreknowledge of newsworthy catastrophes to try to rid himself of his wife and her lover.
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Guest of Honor

This is adapted from a story by Peter S. Beagle. In it a cruel and proud dowager invites Death to one of her soirees, using a method of communicating with Death that underlines how heartless the old lady is. Death accepts the invitation but because this is a Beagle this does not devolve into whirlwind of carnage.

I always say I should read more Beagle than I have and I never do.
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The Appetite of Mr. Lucraft

In this adaptation of James Rice and Sir Walter Besant's short story "The Case of Mr Lucraft", a down-on-his-luck actor makes what turns out to be a very bad bargain with a self-indulgent, voracious and quite rich old man. This was first published in 1875 so be warned the character of the old fellow's servant is not what one might call nuanced.

This appears to have been mistitled in the archive so now I am wondering whether what seem to be duplicates in the series actually are or if they are merely mistitled.
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Deadly Developments

The process shown seems like a lot of trouble for a book cover.

I am impressed by how, once the inevitable has happened, the photographers accept that they are to their ears in Weird Crap but less impressed by how they plan on verifying their model. One thing, though: Read more... )
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Title                        Trip   Cold   Science Bad    Misogyny  Horrible 
Buried Alive                                                  x
In The Name Of The Father     x                                        x
Love and the Lonely One      
Welcome to Homerville         x                               x  
Hands Off                                        x 
The Telltale Heart                                                 
Late Special                  x       x                       x        x   
Future Fear                                      x 
The Body Snatchers                               x
Willoughby Obsession
Wind Chill                    x       x                                x
The Repossession                                 x 
The Stone Ship
Special Services              x                  x                     x
Last Visit                    x                                        x
Ringing the Changes           x                                        x
The Devil's Backbone          x                               x
Deadly Developments                              x
The Appetite of Mr. Lucraft
Total                         8       2          6            4        6 
Total %                      42      11         32           21       32 
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The Devil's Backbone

And in yet another example of why vacations are wrong, a light-hearted romp to recover a fortune in gold sunk offshore of Nova Scotia goes horribly wrong when it turns out the creepy self-centered misogynist rat-bastard in the group is creepy self-centered misogynist rat-bastard. And also there is a squid.
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Ringing the Changes

This is based on a short story by author and noted conservationist Robert Aickman. It involves an older man and his much younger bride on their honeymoon in a town that is "at the end of things", a phrase that might well have been a warning.

Another story involving a trip to an isolated and terrible little town. Hrm.

Most horror authors would have resolved matters in a much more blatant way than Aickman chooses to.
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The Stone Ship

This is a nautical yarn by William Hope Hodgson, about a strange and ill-lit nighttime encounter at sea, and what the survivors make of it in the light of day.

You know, with a few tweaks this could have been a (rot13ed for spoiler) Fpbbol-Qbb: Zlfgrel Vap episode.

Special Services

And here's another story that involves driving from one place to another, something of a recurring theme, disturbing encounters out away from the city, also a recurring them and finally that doctors are on the whole an evil bunch*, which has also come up before.

* There no medical need to subject the victim to the exposition inflicted on them at the end save for malice.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
The Repossession

A formerly conjoined twin discovers his brother is still pissed about having been the one who didn't get their shared heart when the twins were separated all those years ago and has plans to remedy the situation. It doesn't really go all that well for the living twin.

I think in retrospect the bit where the doctor basically says "and now to tamper in God's Domain!" may have been there to indicate that the doctor's judgment was not 100% reliable.
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Wind Chill

I thought this tale of a young city woman's strange rural encounter was going to be another variation on The Wicker Man or one of Lovecraft's horrified reactions to the fact that people can be very slightly different from what he was used to. In fact, it's a variety of a fairly traditional ghost story. Thematically related video behind the cut.

Boy,sexual harassment was completely OK back then, wasn't it?

I thought the sound of snow crunching was reasonably well done. It is a bit off but how often does that sound come up on radio? Although there have been two winter stories so far...

Read more... )
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
The Body Snatchers

This is an adaptation of Robert Louis Stephenson's The Body Snatcher, first published in the 1880s and set during the heyday of visionary entrepreneurs Burke and Hare In it, a young medical student struggles with the unpleasant realities implied by the fact the legal supply of medical cadavers was greatly exceeded by the actual number of cadavers available to the medical students and the fact that he is himself thoroughly morally compromised.

I don't see why if only those who were executed could be used in anatomy class, the courts of the region did not simply avoid the supply issues by widening the range of crimes for which the death penalty was applied.

Someone overheard this while I had the volume set too low for the words to be intelligible and asked if it was Obama. Is his intonation Scottish?
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Late Special

There really needs to be an Office of Consumer Affairs for deals with the (or a) devil. Also, I strongly suspect Vic agreed in the past to deliver a woman as part of his price, although he didn't know when or where.

I wonder why an abandoned train station's phone still works?

Anyway, whatever label is appropriate for blackmailed sex that occurs between scenes, this gets it.

Future Fear

When will people learn not to screw with household appliances of profound power? But I guess by the nature of the device, they had no choice but to play their roles.

The punk sounds more like a character from a 1950s motorcycle gang movie than he does a punk from the 1970s.


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