Escape Artists

Pseudopod => Episode Comments => Topic started by: Bdoomed on January 20, 2012, 10:39:14 PM

Title: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Bdoomed on January 20, 2012, 10:39:14 PM
Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun (http://pseudopod.org/2012/01/20/pseudopod-265-biba-jibun/)

By Eugie Foster (http://www.eugiefoster.com/).
Click her name for her home page, or visit her blog (http://www.eugiefoster.com/blog) on the same site. This story originally appeared in issue #23 of Apex Magazine. Eugie’s newest story collection, RETURNING MY SISTER’S FACE AND OTHER FAR EASTERN TALES OF WHIMSY AND MALICE is published by Norilana Books (http://www.norilana.com/) and is available for Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006GEPX6U/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=eugiefostersb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B006GEPX6U), Nook (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/e/2940013450530) and ePpub, iPad, PDF, Palm (PDB) and Sony (LRF) (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/109697).

Read by Kara Grace, who also read “Braiding The Ghosts” (http://podcastle.org/2011/10/11/podcastle-178-giant-episode-braiding-the-ghosts/) for PODCASTLE.


“‘When the train arrived, it was jammed with commuters: students, salarymen, and office ladies. I squeezed into the last car, and more bodies pushed in behind me. My stomach churned, assaulted by cloying perfume, stale cigarette smoke, and sour sweat.

I was so intent upon not being sick that at first I didn’t notice that somewhere between Shibuya and Harajuko stations, a man’s hand had settled on my leg. Surrounded by blank-faced commuters, wedged so tightly I couldn’t move, I had no idea who it belonged to. As the train jostled along, the hand slipped higher, burning a sweat-slick trail from knee to thigh. At the next juddering stop, my agitated insides heaved, and I shoved free from the car. I fled into the closest ladies? toilet to throw up. Stomach as empty and deflated as my spirits, I splashed water on my face, trying not to cry.

The door opened, and a girl in a school uniform identical to mine stepped to the sink beside me. She pulled a glittering gold bag embossed with distinctive Louis Vuitton monograms out of her schoolbag. After dumping an array of makeup on the counter, she proceeded to sketch in her eyebrows with a dark pencil.

‘I saw what happened, you know.” Her voice was low and rich. “You’re supposed to yell ‘chikan’ when they grope you. Everyone says train perverts make them want to puke, but you’re the first I’ve seen who really has. You must be new to Tokyo.’”



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Listen to this week's Pseudopod. (http://media.libsyn.com/media/pseudopod/Pseudo265_BibaJibun.mp3)
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: epilonious on January 21, 2012, 09:19:50 AM
Oh Eugie Foster, how do I love the!  You've got me rooting for the Obake.

I keep thinking this is a podcastle story, but the sheer believable horribleness of everyone who was not Rini or Yuki (whose moralities are still a bit suspect) centers on why this is more horrific.  I'm pretty sure that even the guard protecting the women's-only car kicks puppies.  Despite the bad behaviors... I love love love this story and the feeling of gleeful triumph by the end which is indicative of many Eugie Foster stories. 
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: kibitzer on January 22, 2012, 01:05:37 AM
Kara's reading really enhanced this one for me.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Greill on January 22, 2012, 05:37:16 PM
While this one was an interesting tale, I felt that it amounted to the breaking down of a girl by taking away everything she loved and leaving her with...well...nothing. Her family is either dead, fled, or terrible. She has no real friends, only her mother, the hedonist rabbit spirit. This story suggests to me a rather bleak and lonely future for the protagonist.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Bdoomed on January 22, 2012, 10:03:28 PM
I saw it more as an awakening in Rinako of her true nature.  Instead of leaving her with nothing, she has been gifted everything, to become a confident, take-what-I-want woman like her mother.  And like her mother, she doesn't need anyone.  She's a free rabbit-spirit made to exploit the perverted male world in which she finds herself in.  And good for her :)
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Unblinking on January 24, 2012, 10:41:55 AM
she has been gifted everything, to become a confident, take-what-I-want woman like her mother.  And like her mother, she doesn't need anyone. 

See, I was bothered by that very message.  She learns in the story that she is just like her mother, that she has a powerful personality and is self-sufficient and able to take what she wants, to break the stereotype of the meek and subservient woman that she's expected to be.  Why are she and her mother the only women who seems to be able to assert herself?  The story answers this:  Because her mother is a demon, and she is demonspawn.

Maybe I'm reading too much between the lines, but it bothers me that there needed to be answer to the question of why she resists the rules set down for her by her society.  It couldn't possibly be that she's just a free-thinking humanspawn, could it?

I did listen all the way to the end, and I was interested all the way through.  It just seemed at the end that it was structured around the mystery of why she is the way she is, and the answer didn't satisfy me, so the story as a whole bothered me.  Which is pretty unusual for me; usually I like those of Eugie's stories that are not strictly retellings of existing myths.

The reading was fantastic, though, worth listening to it just for that alone.

Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Cheshire_Snark on January 24, 2012, 02:32:28 PM
Quote
Maybe I'm reading too much between the lines, but it bothers me that there needed to be answer to the question of why she resists the rules set down for her by her society.  It couldn't possibly be that she's just a free-thinking humanspawn, could it?

That's a good way to look at it - I hadn't thought of it that way. I've read that compensated dating is pretty common, and the descriptions of the other girls in her school makes it sound like a lot of girls in her age group were rejecting social ideas about appropriate dress and behaviour.

Do you think the repeated phrase "people don't expect a rabbit to have sharp teeth" could be more broadly applied to non-magical girls who are still going against social expectations of demureness and propriety?

To me it seemed more like a story about an orphan and outsider who ends up having the magical protection a lot of kids in that situation would dream about. I know she's a lot older than just a 'little kid' but the dream of having something magical about you/knowing that your mother didn't just up and leave for a mundane reason is probably one that would linger on well into one's teens. It suited the fairy-tale aspect of the story.

I *loved* Yumi/Rinako's Mum's take on train perverts: Yes, they should get their own carriage! It's just enraging that the approved solution for chikan groping women is that the women should be segregated.  

Two tiny little quibbles - it's harajuku not harajuko, and Japanese alcohol consists of more than just sake! (but I know, I know, it's the most well-known...)

Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: ElectricPaladin on January 24, 2012, 04:08:59 PM
I loved this story. The mix of fantasy and horror of the real was exquisite. The character's slow slide away from virtue - precipitated by the compounded misunderstanding and cruelty of everyone around her - was perfectly paced and brilliant.

A great story. All rabbit feet up.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Listener on January 25, 2012, 09:26:37 AM
I really enjoyed the reading.

I think my problem with this story stemmed from the fact that, to me, it felt like a longer story that was abbreviated. We had the first two beats of the story with Yumi and Rinako, and the third beat... wasn't there. Instead we discovered that Rinako's beloved uncle was just another perverted salaryman. It really killed the story for me because there was no real foreshadowing. I guess, in retrospect, the reason Uncle was gone all the time was because he was booking telephone dates instead of being with his family (or maybe he really was working hard; I don't know).

I just feel like... I don't know... I wanted a better ending. Or at least a better climax before Rinako turns into an Obake for good.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Unblinking on January 25, 2012, 09:34:51 AM
That's a good way to look at it - I hadn't thought of it that way. I've read that compensated dating is pretty common, and the descriptions of the other girls in her school makes it sound like a lot of girls in her age group were rejecting social ideas about appropriate dress and behaviour.

That's true, there were plenty of other girls that rejected the rules about appropriate dress and behavior (although it wasn't clear that others would go to the extent of stabbing gropers on the train.  So perhaps my reaction was overblown.  But I guess those other girls faded into the background because they never had names.  They were just the backdrop to the frontstage drama.  It would have been nice if we'd had at least some brief interaction with one more character in the age group who is not demonspawn, to allow me to compare and contrast what sets this girl apart and what doesn't.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: pitmonkey on January 25, 2012, 09:59:51 AM
I loved this story. The mix of fantasy and horror of the real was exquisite. The character's slow slide away from virtue - precipitated by the compounded misunderstanding and cruelty of everyone around her - was perfectly paced and brilliant.

A great story. All rabbit feet up.


Haha, my feelings exactly.  Thank you, I was unable to put my feelings into words.

I enjoyed the story for the tale.  I didn't seek deeper meaning, perhaps I am a poorer listener for not needing to peel back layers of meaning for some underlying message.

It has been a while since I have truly enjoyed a story AND reading.  Thanks for bringing Eugie in again, she is one of my favorite authors here and the reading was perfect. 
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Unblinking on January 25, 2012, 12:23:18 PM
I enjoyed the story for the tale.  I didn't seek deeper meaning, perhaps I am a poorer listener for not needing to peel back layers of meaning for some underlying message.

Nah.  If you enjoyed the story, I certainly won't begrudge you for it.  Since I started writing, I've also developed an urge to analyze others' writing.  Which is good in that I think it helps me improve, and can help me appreciate stories where I can discern extra meaning.  But not good in that overanalyzing can really ruin a story!
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Rhio2k on January 26, 2012, 07:58:24 PM
Better reader than Podcastle and other sites where readers/narrators usually mangle japanese, but still some mispronunciations. 3-syllable names have the emphasis on the FIRST syllable, not the second. "Shimatta!!" ("my goodness/god!" or just "holy crap!") is said quickly as "SHEEmahtah!", not "shih/shee-MAAAAtaaah". Abayo (rude form of goodbye) is is "ah-bah-YO", not ah-BAH-yo. Kitsune = Keets'-neh. Inari = EEnari (roll the R slightly so it sounds almost like a D). Japanese is not a language with syllables or words that can be drawn out sensually like english. They just end up sounding silly instead of erotic. You'll unlearn these bad habits just watching subbed/subtitled (japanese language with english text at the bottom of the screen) anime. Good story...but feels more like something that should be on Podcastle, in that there was no horror. Jya matta ne!
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: erikakharada on January 27, 2012, 04:34:08 PM
I was too bothered by how it seemed like the author was slapping together random, faddish pop cultural references to Japan to actually get through this story. As someone who actually grew up in the culture, it left kind of a bad taste in my mouth. Good job for actually making an effort, I guess?

Some specific, finer points:
Nobody says "abayo" or "shimatta" anymore, it's seriously old-fashioned sounding.
Japanese dads, for the most part, wouldn't hold random tea ceremonies for guests.
Gyaru and Malice Mizer are really a 90s phenomenon (I guess if it takes place in the 90s, it's fine)

etc.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: ElectricPaladin on January 27, 2012, 04:40:00 PM
I was too bothered by how it seemed like the author was slapping together random, faddish pop cultural references to Japan to actually get through this story. As someone who actually grew up in the culture, it left kind of a bad taste in my mouth. Good job for actually making an effort, I guess?

Some specific, finer points:
Nobody says "abayo" or "shimatta" anymore, it's seriously old-fashioned sounding.
Japanese dads, for the most part, wouldn't hold random tea ceremonies for guests.
Gyaru and Malice Mizer are really a 90s phenomenon (I guess if it takes place in the 90s, it's fine)

I got the impression that the story was definitely set in the 90s. Don't forget that the 'pods mostly play reprints.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Marguerite on January 29, 2012, 06:19:32 PM
A fantastic narration and excellent story, though I found myself wishing everything hadn't been neatly kind of packaged up and tied into a bow with the ending. The protagonist walking away from the train station with the businessman having thrown himself under the train felt like a good place for it to end, since to me it seemed very clear who Umi was by then.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: justenjoying on January 29, 2012, 11:28:11 PM
Though on the serface it is a women enpowerment story, the only way to gain that power is to devalue herself. It is
possible for her to take controle of her situation, she lives in reaction to others atrocities everyday. It is not a happy ending,
but one that alot of women go through, if there is no win there is always getting back at. But I do believe there is anotherside
to using our bodies as a munipulation tool, a true loving of ourself and an empowerment that we are strong but don't need to
prove it. This reminded me of my highschool experience and I am proud to report I am no longer a victum to other's, and I
no longer am an animal of pray. I have grown into a strong self asurred person. Hopefully there is the same future for Rini.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Unblinking on January 30, 2012, 09:37:11 AM
I was too bothered by how it seemed like the author was slapping together random, faddish pop cultural references to Japan to actually get through this story. As someone who actually grew up in the culture, it left kind of a bad taste in my mouth. Good job for actually making an effort, I guess?

Some specific, finer points:
Nobody says "abayo" or "shimatta" anymore, it's seriously old-fashioned sounding.
Japanese dads, for the most part, wouldn't hold random tea ceremonies for guests.
Gyaru and Malice Mizer are really a 90s phenomenon (I guess if it takes place in the 90s, it's fine)

I got the impression that the story was definitely set in the 90s. Don't forget that the 'pods mostly play reprints.

Looking at Eugie's site, it looks like it was first published in April 2011.  But it's possible that it was set in the 90s anyway.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: The Far Stairs on January 30, 2012, 03:42:19 PM
While this one was an interesting tale, I felt that it amounted to the breaking down of a girl by taking away everything she loved and leaving her with...well...nothing. Her family is either dead, fled, or terrible. She has no real friends, only her mother, the hedonist rabbit spirit. This story suggests to me a rather bleak and lonely future for the protagonist.
Thanks.

I agree, and I think that's why it worked as a horror story. Some commenters said they were bothered by the implication that the protagonist had to give up her humanity to become self-empowered, but I thought that was what made the story disturbingly effective. In a culture that has really messed-up values (Japanese, American, whatever--we all do), you have to give up your humanity to a certain extent in order to save yourself. You have to accept the hatred you feel for the thoughtless people who perpetuate the evils of the world, even though that hatred closes your heart and makes you less likely to fight those evils yourself. Your only other option is to ignore that hatred, or bury it, and that never turns out well.

It seemed like the tragedy of this story was the ease with which the protagonist let go of her belief in a better world and became a hungry demon only out for herself. I think, in some ways, that's the story of humanity: kids are born thinking a better world is possible, but the more they are abused by the world-as-it-is, the less they are willing or able to fight for the possibility of change. The horror, the horror.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Unblinking on February 01, 2012, 11:17:04 AM
I agree, and I think that's why it worked as a horror story. Some commenters said they were bothered by the implication that the protagonist had to give up her humanity to become self-empowered, but I thought that was what made the story disturbingly effective. In a culture that has really messed-up values (Japanese, American, whatever--we all do), you have to give up your humanity to a certain extent in order to save yourself.

I guess to me, what bothered me is not so much that she gave up her humanity, but that I sensed an implication that the only way to take control of your life is to give up your humanity, that a woman who tolerates no abuse must be inhuman. 
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: The Far Stairs on February 01, 2012, 12:59:22 PM
I guess to me, what bothered me is not so much that she gave up her humanity, but that I sensed an implication that the only way to take control of your life is to give up your humanity, that a woman who tolerates no abuse must be inhuman. 

Maybe women in Japan feel that way? They may feel like they only have two choices: tolerate the abuse or become a manipulative "demon." I'm not very well versed in Japanese culture, so I'm really just guessing.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: ElectricPaladin on February 01, 2012, 01:21:35 PM
I guess to me, what bothered me is not so much that she gave up her humanity, but that I sensed an implication that the only way to take control of your life is to give up your humanity, that a woman who tolerates no abuse must be inhuman. 

Maybe women in Japan feel that way? They may feel like they only have two choices: tolerate the abuse or become a manipulative "demon." I'm not very well versed in Japanese culture, so I'm really just guessing.

I don't think that feeling is unique to Japan. I've spoken to several women in America who have told me that they feel that they have to become "bitches" or act "mean" in order to succeed. In my opinion, it's a combination of truth, perspective, and trauma, but its certainly a phenomenon.

Truth: It's a hard world out there for women, who have to fight against a lot of destructive ideas and assumptions.

Perspective: Socialized to be "nice," lots of women perceive themselves as acting "mean" when they are assertive. Used to "nice" women, lots of men perceive perfectly nice assertive women as "mean" or "bitchy."

Trauma: It is very easy for people who have been victimized or abused to become their abuser. This can be as true of groups, culturally, as it is of individuals. I sometimes think that a lot of women who seem to justify genuinely cruel, bitchy behavior with "it's a man's world - you need to be mean to be successful" are just acting out the abuse they've suffered.

That said, I definitely think there's room to criticize the story's choice in terms of power and sexuality. There's nothing wrong with a story about a girl claiming her sexual power and other power with it, but with that choice comes the danger of limiting the story to sexuality, making it too titillating and insufficiently real. However, in this case, I think that the story avoided that pitfall with characters who were real and sexual situations that were genuinely uncomfortable, rather than appealing.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Special Ed on February 02, 2012, 09:31:21 PM
It couldn't possibly be that she's just a free-thinking humanspawn, could it?

Sure, maybe Yumi is Rinako's real mother.  Maybe Yumi really is Obake and Rinako is her demonspawn child.

However, as I finished my drive home with the radio off, I started to think that the transformation at the ending is allegory- that Yumi is just a Japanese school girl, that Rinako's mom really is gone, and that Rinako is just a "humanspawn" girl who comes into possession of herself.

As I type this, I find I'm reminded of Sucker Punch.  We are watching something fantastical happen, but what is really going on is something different in the normal, mundane world.  Perhaps it is "Japanese School girl" and anime influence in Sucker Punch that is bringing it to mind.

(Edit:)  I forgot to mention that I loved the story and the narration.  Well done to everyone involved.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Unblinking on February 03, 2012, 09:24:55 AM
I don't think that feeling is unique to Japan. I've spoken to several women in America who have told me that they feel that they have to become "bitches" or act "mean" in order to succeed. In my opinion, it's a combination of truth, perspective, and trauma, but its certainly a phenomenon.

I understand that some people have that point of view--it's not one I relate to particularly, much of that is because I am married to a woman with a very strong personality.

But this story seems to justify that point of view.  "Yes, you are right, you people who think strong women are unnatural and demonic.  That's the way it works."
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: ElectricPaladin on February 03, 2012, 09:38:04 AM
I don't think that feeling is unique to Japan. I've spoken to several women in America who have told me that they feel that they have to become "bitches" or act "mean" in order to succeed. In my opinion, it's a combination of truth, perspective, and trauma, but its certainly a phenomenon.

I understand that some people have that point of view--it's not one I relate to particularly, much of that is because I am married to a woman with a very strong personality.

But this story seems to justify that point of view.  "Yes, you are right, you people who think strong women are unnatural and demonic.  That's the way it works."

I guess for me, the saving grace is that it's a horror story. You know unreliable narrators? Horror stories have unreliable universes. When the way things out is so clearly portrayed as off-kilter, out of order, wicked, and wrong, I don't pick it apart in the same way. I mean, the bad guys win. Virtue fails and dies. The end of this story isn't glorious or affirming, it's terrible and depressing. That's why it's horror. That's the point.

In other words, for me the story wasn't saying "Yes, you are right, you people who think strong women are unnatural and demonic.  That's the way it works." The story was saying "Behold! In this story, virtue fails and dies before the corrupting might of our terrible sexist world!"
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: The Far Stairs on February 05, 2012, 04:22:51 PM
Truth: It's a hard world out there for women, who have to fight against a lot of destructive ideas and assumptions.

Perspective: Socialized to be "nice," lots of women perceive themselves as acting "mean" when they are assertive. Used to "nice" women, lots of men perceive perfectly nice assertive women as "mean" or "bitchy."

Trauma: It is very easy for people who have been victimized or abused to become their abuser. This can be as true of groups, culturally, as it is of individuals. I sometimes think that a lot of women who seem to justify genuinely cruel, bitchy behavior with "it's a man's world - you need to be mean to be successful" are just acting out the abuse they've suffered.

Good analysis!

Also, I agree: the fact that this was billed as a horror story is what makes it work. If it had been billed as a self-discovery or female-empowerment story, then we'd have to worry about the author's sexual politics a little bit more.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Unblinking on February 06, 2012, 12:19:20 PM
I guess for me, the saving grace is that it's a horror story. You know unreliable narrators? Horror stories have unreliable universes. When the way things out is so clearly portrayed as off-kilter, out of order, wicked, and wrong, I don't pick it apart in the same way. I mean, the bad guys win. Virtue fails and dies. The end of this story isn't glorious or affirming, it's terrible and depressing. That's why it's horror. That's the point.

In other words, for me the story wasn't saying "Yes, you are right, you people who think strong women are unnatural and demonic.  That's the way it works." The story was saying "Behold! In this story, virtue fails and dies before the corrupting might of our terrible sexist world!"

I guess that's where we differ.  Whether it's a horror story or a fantasy story doesn't really change how I interpret the themes.  This could easily have been published on Podcastle, but my reaction would be the same.  It seemed to me that this was meant to be contemporary fantasy, set in a version of the world indistinguishable from ours. 

To me, I didn't feel the story was saying "virtue fails and dies before the corrupting might of our terrible sexist world".  Honestly, I'm not even sure what that phrase is meant to mean.  What virtue is dying, exactly?  I didn't find the protagonist to virtue-less.  Certainly she is learning from her demon mother to be violent and manipulative, but at this point both are turning their wrath only on those who choose to provoke them.  I really wanted to cheer when she stabbed the groper's hand on the subway.  While I don't think violence is always the best answer, it certainly is an attention-grabber.  That guy and others who hear about it will be much more reluctant to allow their hands to wander.  Not only is she deterring that kind of behavior against herself, but she is discouraging it against others as well, and at her own risk.  Presumably she could be arrested and charged for her attack, but you can see her as a revolutionary of women's rights, and she is risking herself to further the cause.  Would this be the only way to advance the cause:  certainly not, but nonetheless, it is a way.  Even if it's not the best way, I like that she is willing to take action despite the risk to herself.  Really, I find her later realization of her self easier to cheer for than her earlier completely passive self.  But with the way the story's written implies to me that her human side is incapable of such initiative, and that bothers me.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Gary on February 06, 2012, 08:56:15 PM
I enjoyed this one.
I kept thinking that this was going to be one of those stories where our main character was going to find inner strength from her trials and becomes some sort of "good spirit". You know ... like a Podcastle story. What kept it horror (As I saw it) was that she went over to "The Dark Side". The author created a truly horrible world. Like ours but very very dark. In the end, I don't think there was one redeemable character in this story!

Oh, I also thought the reading was fantastic!
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Scattercat on February 14, 2012, 05:02:14 PM
I approve of Eugie Foster.

I agree with Unblinking to a certain extent, in that the gender dynamics trouble me.  However, I take it more as ElectricPaladin did: in a horror story, terrible things happen.  A young girl will not become a fully actualized human being, but instead will become the aggressor herself, using her sexuality as a weapon.  I don't think the story expects us to take any of these characters as a moral guide, nor that any of them are meant to be representative.  
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Umbrageofsnow on February 15, 2012, 10:01:07 PM
Am I the only one that read the train-jumping at the end as not entirely driven by shame and being followed by a creepy girl?  To me it seemed there might be an element of the supernatural to that, like Rini was causing a Poe-like irrational panic, leading to his death so she could feed off him somehow.

And I hate to say this about such a dark story, but I was laughing my ass off for the first half, particularly during the bathroom scene and the date with "Daddy".  "A panda who solicited men for money" was a great bit of characteristic description. 

I think we need to ask: is Rini really happier at the end.  She is no longer tormented by train perverts, but I imagine the girl from the beginning of the story would be horrified by the end worse than any of us outside observers.  Her personal change isn't just scary from a gender-politics perspective, it is scary because she seems to have lost herself.  Is she really any more free than she was at the beginning, or is she just blinding following her mother's lead?  It almost reads like a possession story, she is changing, becoming someone totally alien and it isn't clear that she has any real choice in the matter, other than the initial choice to not walk out of that bathroom.

On one hand, the shy girl would have lost her innocence and ended up an extremely damaged person when her uncle inevitably molested her, on the other, when she starts taking joy in killing perverts she is certainly no longer innocent, and maybe not any less damaged.  She completely avoids the middle ground as ElectricPaladin points out.  Is the horror maybe that she is happy with her murderous predatory existence?

I definitely liked the story, and rabbit spirits are an under-represented monster-minority; it's nice to get a story that truly makes them scary.

P.S. the foreshadowing hand-stab in class seems to indicate that her wrath is not limited to perverts, just generally aimed that way.
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Unblinking on February 16, 2012, 10:06:19 AM
Is the horror maybe that she is happy with her murderous predatory existence?

I got the impression that's what the author was aiming for.  I could be wrong.  :)
Title: Re: Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun
Post by: Balu on March 05, 2012, 08:21:40 PM
I guess to me, what bothered me is not so much that she gave up her humanity, but that I sensed an implication that the only way to take control of your life is to give up your humanity, that a woman who tolerates no abuse must be inhuman.

I quite liked that same implication, because I think that there is a truth in it..

Not many people can get by without making endless compromises and putting up with endless bullshit. I don't know if that is 'humanity', but if it isn't, it is at least the human condition.

Can people take control of their lives unless they are willing to put that rabbity, good citizen, inoffensive conformism aside?