Creepily awesome horror story podcast, David Nickle's "The Sloan Men"

David P Nickle's brilliant, deeply creepy, awful and suspenseful short story The Sloan Men has just been released in audio form in Pseudopod, the horror podcast. This is a fantastic reading of a really wonderful story.
Mrs. Sloan had only three fingers on her left hand, but when she drummed them against the countertop, the tiny polished bones at the end of the fourth and fifth stumps clattered like fingernails. If Judith hadn't been looking, she wouldn't have noticed anything strange about Mrs. Sloan's hand.

"Tell me how you met Herman," said Mrs. Sloan. She turned away from Judith as she spoke, to look out the kitchen window where Herman and his father were getting into Mr. Sloan's black pickup truck. Seeing Herman and Mr. Sloan together was a welcome distraction for Judith. She was afraid Herman's stepmother would catch her staring at the hand. Judith didn't know how she would explain that with any grace: Things are off to a bad enough start as it is.

Outside, Herman wiped his sleeve across his pale, hairless scalp and, seeing Judith watching from the window, turned the gesture into an exaggerated wave. He grinned wetly through the late afternoon sun. Judith felt a little grin of her own growing and waved back, fingers waggling an infantile bye-bye. Hurry home, she mouthed through the glass. Herman stared back blandly, not understanding.

Link to MP3 of Sloan Men, Link to text of The Sloan Men, Link to David Nickle's blog Link to podcast feed for Pseudopod


  1. What an odd story. It’s at least internally consistent and not just surreal like so many of these stories tend to be. I’m not quite sure what to make of it (I read the text version).

  2. I think the story is an interesting examination of the idea of gender specific power. And, as I posted on the Pseudopod forums, it has a good lesson in it for me… Seriously, guys, protect your man roots.

  3. Deliciously creepy atmosphere.

    Nice use of the paragraph to give the story, rather then dialogue, concisely and fluidly conveying the information – to then end with:

    “So we kept in touch,” she finished lamely.”

    giving readers the feeling that it was the end of a dialogue in the story, but that as a reader they were privy to a more intimate, even better version of the story then the version that she had told Mrs. Sloan.

    The ending is not believable for me though and also this:

    “Aztec temples Judith had toured once on a trip to Cancun. ”

  4. I don’t get it. I mean, I was sufficiently creeped out until the end. I just don’t understand what happened, there – Herman survived?

  5. I think of the story as an observational piece about the evolution of relationships, with just enough fantastic remove to keep readers/listeners involved.

    I think that the ending made sense if the story is an allegory about some aspects of the male/female power dynamic in relationships. In the beginning, the men dominate the relationship, in spite of their actual repulsive nature, until their talismanic phalluses are destroyed and drained of their vital fluids. Then, the women have to maintain the relationship with their powers of accommodation and acceptance.

    The moral for men: Endear yourself, or buy a lot of Viagra.

  6. Yes! I heard this story yesterday and lurved it.

    I don’t consider myself a horror fan, but have been listening to Pseudopod for close to a year and have been very pleased and surprised with its batting average; the quality of the text and the readers both tend to be high. I have discovered a hidden love for “horrible things, well told” through this show.

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