Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Audio Fiction: 'The Screamer,' 'That Old Problem,' and now 'Low Hanging Clouds' All Available Oline in Free Audio Format

(c) Rhys "Hidden Moves" Owens
Hearing sentences you first crafted in your own head (and then translated to the page by your fingers) spoken for the first time is always a trip.  In fiction, we write our stories in our own internal voice, with distinct modulations, timbre, and emphasis, and then readers translate it into theirs, keeping the experience entirely unique and personal to both writer and consumer.  It remains an echo chamber of the familiar.  That makes hearing ones prose read aloud all the more interesting. 

I spent nearly 12 years writing screenplays, and have seen my work spoken and acted out on the screen by others, who have no tie to the subject matter, or the source marrow from whence it was born.  But that's screenwriting, which has its built-in limitations as far as playing with language.  Unless you're Tarantino or Mamet, it's a visual medium, first and foremost, and the words - the sinewy pop of the language - are often gutted by directors, or pared down by actors that just can't get their mouths around what is was you wrote, or really wanted to write in the first place.  It's a frustrating medium for writers in love with the full palette of language. 

Back to the realm of fiction...  I don't do readings of my own work, as I suffer from a crushing case of stage fright, and realize that if one isn't a natural orator or spoken word natural, the story might suffer in the pauses and fumbles in the vocal communication of the literary arts.  So, readings can either bring life to a written work (if done correctly), or harm it in the ears, and mind, of the audience.  It's a risky proposition, my friends.

The rise of audio books helped to change the entire dynamic, allowing skilled voice artists a medium to read aloud the work of a writer, away from the podium and the klieg lights.  It is a more intimate experience, and can be an effective for a reader to absorb the words of a writer when unable to sit down and stare at a page or digital screen.

In the spirit of audio books (remember when they were called "books on tape"?), there has been a movement afoot lately, where works of short Horror fiction are read by voice artists, peers, and fans, and then posted online, offering yet another way for readers to stuff dark fiction inside their gourds, while also allowing writers a chance to hear their words translated through the brain of another, and then projected into the world by a objective voice.

I'm humbled to say that three of my stories have been read aloud, recorded, and are available for your listening pleasure right this very instant.

First of all, the wonderful Julia Morgan, aka Morgan Scorpion, honored me with a reading of my short story "The Screamer," published in Urban Cthulhu: Nightmare Cities.  Morgan is a Lovecraftian/Weird fic fan who combines her talents as a voice artist to bring sound to so many pieces of classic and contemporary literature, including Poe and Lovecraft.  Not surprisingly, I was quite happy when she asked if she could read "The Screamer," as I knew the story would be in good hands... er, vocal chords.  Plus, what flatlanding Yank doesn't want to hear their work read in a British accent?

If you haven't clicked the link above, please check out Morgan's YouTube Channel.


I wrote the story "Low Hanging Clouds" almost two years ago, then bribed author and editor Bruce L. Priddy with baubles, trinkets, and a hillock of cocaine to publish it on his now unfortunately retired e-publication Eschatology Journal.

About a year later, I stumbled across the Reddit dark fiction journal, The Library of Shadows, and decided to post up "Low Hanging Clouds" there, in an effort to whore myself in every conceivable area of the ether in a very unassuming way.  I received a few lovely comments, and then thought nothing of it after that.

Soon after, David Cummings - who runs the fantastic horror storytelling broadcast site The Nosleep Podcast - read "Low Hanging Clouds" and tried to contact me through the Reddit e-mail system.  Not being a Reddit reg, combined with my Cro-Magnon level of understanding of most contemporary technology, I never checked my messages, so I never discovered his inquiry about doing an audio reading of the story.  Luckily, he took my e-silence as acquiescence, and read, recorded, and broadcast the story himself on the August 12, 2012 edition of the podcast.  It's a fun listen.  His zeal for the genre is undeniable.  


Lastly, but certainly not leastly, Mike Davis of the essential reading Lovecraft eZine published my story "That Old Problem" exactly one year ago, in March of 2012.  In a coincidence of fate, Bruce Priddy, who also serves as an editor at the eZine, read the story for broadcast, hopefully while topless.  You can download the audio version of the story at the top of the top of the page.


So, if you're inclined, or just tired of reading all those icky, monosyllabic words, but still want to check out a bit of Weird/Lovecraftian fiction, please give these stories a listen, and more importantly, dig deeper into the linked sites and journals provided above.

Feed your head, lest it devour you instead.

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