I'm shamefully late in posting about this, but the audio magazine Pseudopod released their podcast version of my short story "Lives" about a week ago; the story first appeared a few years back in Ellen Datlow's anthology Inferno. It's excellently read in this new incarnation by Eric Luke of Extruding America, and you can download the podcast for free from here.
I found it interestingly embarrassing to hear someone else read one of my stories and to think that lots of other people must be listening to it at the same time I was. I say "interestingly embarrassing" because the experience wasn't positively unpleasant: just odd. I'm sure I must have heard my fiction read by others on previous occasions without having this reaction; my guess is the reason I had it this time was that Eric Luke's reading was good enough to get under my skin.
Pseudopod also has forums about the stories it audio-publishes, and the one about "Lives" is here. The comments are a bit mixed, starting off with someone who complains that the two central characters of a story that's to a great extent about alienation/estrangement, where I worked like hell to make them as distanced and cold as possible, aren't a bit, well, warmer and cuddlier. There's also a guy who spends forever saying writers shouldn't mention 9/11 because it's all still just too painful; he perhaps ought to try Olivia Butler's Kindred (1979) or J.R. Dunn's Days of Cain (1997), both of which made me weep, to discover that writers who engage exceptionally painful episodes of history are often doing so for serious purposes, not grossouts.
But on the whole the comments are pretty complimentary, the one I like the best (for obvious reasons) being:
FAVOURITE PSEUDOPOD STORY EVER!!
A few extra exclamation marks might have been preferable, but otherwise this is the kind of literary criticism I like to see -- of my own work, anyway.
A couple of the comments concerning detail are useful and may lead to me making small changes to the version that appears in my next story collection, whenever that might be.
Anyway, the download's still available, the reading's splendid, and, like I say, it's all free.