A one-man show that will make your skin crawl

In issue 1 I brought you a minute from a sci-fi horror podcast. Well, we’re back there again, only this time it’s way scarier.

I won’t waste your time – if you don’t like horror, this email will have nothing for you! But if you enjoy getting all uncomfortable and wriggly, you’ll enjoy Deviser… if “enjoy” could be considered the correct verb.

I wanted to bring this to you, not because of the gross squishy fleshy sounds or the ooky spooky imagery or the body horror or the animals-and-children-in-peril of it all… it’s because it’s quite a remarkable story, made all the more remarkable by the fact it’s written, performed, and produced entirely by one dude. Now, that’s just unreasonable. Harlan Guthrie, I salute you.

Having dug through a bit of the back matter of this podcast, I was delighted to learn that one of the thoughts that had occurred to me about it was shared by its creator. During the dénouement, I had a thought about AI-generated art, and computers’ attempts to create organic life, at least in 2D form. I’m thoroughly creeped out by most AI-generated faces unless they’re completely perfect. The uncanny valley is very much alive for me, so this story got a little further under my skin.

As someone who’s written and sound-designed his own work of fiction (although it wouldn’t have been right for me to voice it), I know how much work goes into something like this, and how much ability and patience you need to have to get the sound design just right. To be clear, I 100% do not have that patience. Deviser’s soundscape isn’t just gross where it needs to be, but full of little flourishes – little flecks of reality – that don’t strictly speaking “need” to be there, but absolutely serve to bring you further into the world.

So, the minute in question is the opening scene of episode 1. It starts at 2:27 in my copy, and I first took it to be a scene in media res, that we’d rewind and get to later. No spoilers, but that’s not exactly how it pans out. If you’re not too squeamish, take a listen. I’m pretty sure you’ll end up binging the whole thing like I did.

Enormous props to Evo Terra for tipping me off to this one, in his newsletter The End. If you enjoy audio fiction of any stripe, you’ll love his rundown of podcasts that are at the end of their season or finishing their entire series.

That’s it. I’m off to look at some kittens and bunnies and pink fluffy clouds so my brain’s full of those things before it decides what dreams to feed me. Have a spectacular week. Keep listening, and I’ll do the same.

Add your response

Privacy policy