Friday, May 31, 2013

HEP - 38 - Coin-Operated Robot Cowboys

This week Al and Tony go up against The Seven Psycopaths. Tony reveals his love of coin collecting. Albert is still excited about giant robots. Game of Thrones hijacks the podcast.

Download it here.

War nickles
Django (1966)
Atlantic Rim
Transformers Prime
Battlestar Galactica

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

HEP - Short Echoes 4 - Common Use by Jay Wilburn

Get the direct download here.

Common Use
by Jay Wilburn

“I don’t understand why we are here.”

The older gentleman in the driver’s seat adjusted his fedora and scanned through the pages of his ledger. “If you understood, you wouldn’t be riding along to learn, would you now, compatriot.”

The younger man in the passenger’s seat peered through the windshield of the parked car at the battered, silver trailer. He saw the eclectic, folk art around the grassless lawn and a windmill that appeared nonfunctional in the desert wind.

“We are eliminating obsolete words for the next edition. Is the fellow that lives in this domicile an expert on lexicon?”

The driver closed his ledger and placed it on the broiling dashboard. “He’s a hold out, a hold over.”

“I don’t understand, sir.”

“You are quite the ingénue, ain’t ya?”

The young man wiped at the sweat gathering in his collar. “We learn through inquiry, sir. I’ll wait in silence if that serves you better.”

“Touché, son, touché,” the elder leaned back and blinked the sweat out of his eyes. “Every year we have new entries for the dictionary. Changes in technology and ridiculous slang have to be added to sell the print editions and now online searches powered by commercial ads. Did you ever think the dictionary would be subject to commercials?”

“Never could have imagined, sir,” the younger man looked out his side window.

He saw a dusty bus parked at the edge of the property. It had an open top and sides with benches that crossed all the way over with no center aisle. He wondered if that would be cooler in the desert than sitting in the parked car. He also wondered what a tour bus ride through open desert would reveal.

“Me either. Me either,” the older man continued, “Also, self-important authors take it upon themselves to bastardize the language and invent new words where old classics would do their tripe works just fine. Every writer now thinks he is Poe, Shakespeare, or Winfrey and the English language is their playground.”

The younger man noticed a small plane behind the trailer. Sand had blown across the short runway. The craft did not appear airworthy.

The older man held out his hands in front of him over the steering wheel. “We have more words, but no extra money, so arcane words must be quietly eliminated.”

“Yes, sir, I understand our job,” the young man undid two buttons on his dress shirt and loosened his tie. “Why are we not back in the office instead of out here at a hermit’s trailer.”

“Well, then, I guess you do not understand the job at all,” the older man countered.

He reached back over the seat and brought an older edition of the company’s print dictionary over to the front in between them. The letters on the battered cover faded to near illegibility. The pages of the thick volume frayed at the antiqued, gilded edges. The older man rapped his knuckle on the cover thrice.

The younger man sighed and waited for the lesson to continue.

“It’s always the old codgers,” the older man explained looking down at the thick tome. “They hold on to vestiges of language for their own pedantic joy that we need to clear for the bottom line. They engage the Internet solely to correct strangers’ grammar, advance conspiracy theory, and to write us angry letters about our disdain for tradition. Dealing with these curmudgeons is part of the elimination process.”

The younger man finally used the hand crank to crack his window without asking. The dry air outside did feel hotter than the stuffy car. The older man seemed not to notice.

“Sir, did this man write us a letter?”

“No, he is something worse,” the older man’s voice dropped to a whisper. “He is a hold out, a hold over. He continues to use obsolete words infecting them in the minds of others as we are trying to quietly push them out of the lexicon.”

“Like what, sir?”

“He is the last one in America calling his airstrip an aerodrome and he calls that eye sore bus a charabanc. Both words are on the block this year and we need him to let go.”

The younger man squinted and started to speak, but his elder continued after a breath.

“Not so immediate, but as a bonus, he calls his blog The Brabble and refers to his mental health treatment as alienism. So here we are.”

The older man opened the cover of the dictionary. It was hollowed out in the middle. He handed the roll of duct tape to his younger partner. He lifted out the clippers and trench knife for himself.

“Sir, what the hell?”

“We have to obtain his tongue for the company before we deal with the body. Have the tape ready as soon as I have it. Your first time will be easier out here in the desert.”

“I can’t do this. I won’t.”

“Son, if you are not useful, you are obsolete. You can start walking now and make me do this myself, but I will catch up to you. The company sent you out here for your first time for that reason too. What will it be?”

“Is this necessary?”

“Dictionaries are serious business. Leave the tape on the hood, if you decide to run.”

The older man removed the keys from the ignition and stepped out of the car. The younger man looked down at the space in the false volume. He looked back through the windshield where the older man knocked on the door to the trailer. He held his hat in place against the wind. The door opened slightly and he threw his weight into it disappearing inside. The fedora tumbled off his head and bounded across the sandy lot.

The younger man exhaled as he made his decision. He lifted the roll of tape and opened his door.


Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in beautiful Conway, South Carolina by day and writes horror by night. He has not set aside time for sleep yet, but he is hoping to add it in the near future.
Jay Wilburn is featured in THE BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR vol 5 with editor Ellen Datlow.
Jay Wilburn is a featured author with Hazardous Press at the 2013 World Horror Convention in New Orleans June 13-16. He is also a panelist on THE RULES OF GENRE WRITING at this convention.
Jay Wilburn is a faetured author on the Dark and Bookish authors tour and documentary.
His debut novel, Loose Ends, was published with Hazardous Press. Time Eaters is his new novel coming in November of 2013
Check out his website here
Follow him on Twitter here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

HEP - 37 - Jumping the Vampire Space Shark...IN SPACE!

This week the guys stand on the banks of Upstream Color and peer into it's murky depths. Albert gushes about Hemlock Grove. Tony solves the mystery of the Greys. (Seriously, it's like the best explanation for "alien" visitation you've ever heard.)

Also featured in this episode is an original piece of flash fiction from Jay Wilburn. The story is called "Common Use" and was one of the winners of our Lexicographer's Dilemma competition.

Download the intergalactic wonder now!

Jay Wilburn
Hemlock Grove
Space Vampire (CYOA)
Warhammer 40k: Necrons
Blindsight by Peter Watts
The largest object in the universe
The Mythical Show
A Poetry Show
@sherlockmadam (Hannah Elizabeth)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

HEP - 35 - Let's Kill Judas

In this week's episode, Al and Tony walk the haunted halls of The Orphanage and meet some ghosts that aren't completely stupid. They also talk about Minecraft factory farming, new movies, and the strangeness of geophagy.

Some Links:
Next week we talk about Primer (available on Netflix). Don't miss it!

Short Echoes Challenge #4 - The Jar That Was Bigger Than The World

"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."

Or, at least, so we've been led to believe. But this month's challenge asks the question, what happens when you reach the edge? What happens when you stare beyond the bounds of reality and find something else staring back at you?

As usual we invite you to interpret this idea in your own way. The winner will receive ten dollars and will have their story produced in audio form and published on the podcast. The deadline for entry is June 14, 2013. We enjoy the weird, the horrific, the original. We have broad tastes, so check out out other Short Echoes series stories to hear what we like.

Thanks to Start Your Novel for the original idea for this prompt which you can find here.

Please send your manuscript to HEPodcast @ We prefer double spaced Word documents.

HEP - Short Echoes 3 - Unmeaning by Rebecca L. Brown


By Rebecca L. Brown

They crawled before his eyes, those centipedes of syllables. He’d gathered them up one sentence at a time and tried to tame them. Tried to teach them how to dance. To punctuate the bareness of a blank page with elaborate linguistic ballet.

Too many parts. Too many nuances of meaning. In each syllable, a palimpsest. All the dirty little sounds - they shared them. Swapped them. Meaning and unmeaning like an ugly Summer morning. Like a mind so full of meanings that they blur. They shifted. Slipped out from the edges of the pages when he wasn't looking. Slipped into his dreams - a linguist’s dreams - and burned their meanings in the darkened corners of his mind ‘til morning.

A word can cut you if you let it. Let them cut or cut them first. Engrave them with new meaning or allow them to define - and you the definition of a fool.

No. He would not be made a fool of.

He’d pinned them to their pages, then, all broken-backed - loose-lettered and unlovely. His pen a scalpel blade, he cut away the silent letters first. Double letters next. A lexicographic massacre - cut deep enough and all that’s left is meaning and the truth inside.

Confetti pages fell like fresh, unwritten snow.

He laughed - is laughter just a sound and not a word? Just sound without a meaning? He laughed until his cheek bones ached and words were nothing but the shadow of forgotten meanings.


Rebecca L. Brown is a British writer based in Cardiff, South Wales where she lives with her partner and assorted menagerie. She wanders through various genres (including horror, sci-fi, romance, humour and fantasy), forgets where she was supposed to be going and gets horribly lost on a regular basis.

Rebecca has a first class BA in Archaeology and a keen interest in languages, mythology and science. Her friends regularly discourage her from talking about fractals because things are better that way. Rebecca’s hobbies include martial arts, drawing, baking, weightlifting, leatherworking and music. She has also been known to knit an occasional fish.

For further information, or to contact Rebecca with writing briefs, interview requests etc., you can get in touch with Rebecca or by visiting her Facebook page.

Friday, May 3, 2013