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Author Topic: EP121: The Snow Woman’s Daughter  (Read 14547 times)
Russell Nash
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« on: August 30, 2007, 08:13:50 AM »

EP121: The Snow Woman’s Daughter

By Eugie Foster.
Read by cunning minx (of Polyamory Weekly).
First appeared in Cricket magazine, February 2007.

When I was a little girl, I thought my mother’s name was Yuki, which means snow. That was part of her name, but I didn’t learn the rest of it until the night my father died.

My mother left us on a slate-gray evening when I was five, with her namesake falling from the sky and piled high around the windows and doors. Awakened by raised voices, I watched through a tear in the curtain that shielded my sleeping mat as my mother wrapped her limbs in a shining, white kimono. As far back as I could remember, she had always worn the dark wool shifts that all mountain people wear, spun from the hair of the half-mad goats that give us milk and cheese. In her kimono she looked like a princess, or a queen. Her skin was paler than mine, and I am thought quite fair. Roku, the boy who lived on the northern crest, used to tease me when we were little, calling me “ghost girl” and “milk face.”


Rated G. Contains non-graphic death and childbearing.


Referenced Sites:
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Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2007, 11:25:49 AM »

Cute, sweet, but I've heard it a thousand times before.
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coreyjf
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2007, 12:16:15 PM »

I enjoyed it, I agree with Russell that this story has been told a thousand times before, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  For me, it captured the essence of a fairy tale, lessons of love and loss sprinkled with hope. 
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2007, 12:27:57 PM »

I like this story for what it is, and I'm glad that the fantasy stories are spinning off onto their own show so we can have Column A, B, & C to listen to every week.
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2007, 01:27:47 PM »

I enjoyed it because of its non-cynical take on romance and because it has some cool imagery.  It made me feel happy, but it isn't remarkable.  Wholesome and atmospheric, but fluffy none-the-less.

Get it?  Fluffy?  Snow?  Snow is fluffy.  Ha ha...  (awkward silence)
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2007, 01:57:32 PM »

Get it?  Fluffy?  Snow?  Snow is fluffy.  Ha ha...  (awkward silence)

::Crickets chirping::
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2007, 03:15:00 PM »

Get it?  Fluffy?  Snow?  Snow is fluffy.  Ha ha...  (awkward silence)

::Crickets chirping::
*puts in own cricket to chirp*
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2007, 05:36:58 PM »

I would never think
 I would be saying this;
 I was hoping for an alien, space ship and hyperdrive
 would have been inserted somewhere
 to make it interesting.
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bolddeceiver
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2007, 08:32:29 PM »

The writing and the imagery were beautiful, but this kind of warmed-over folklore/fairy tale always feels a little like plagiarism to me.  I know that that's just my own prejudice, but it feels kind of... dirty.
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Josh
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2007, 08:44:23 PM »

I agree with most everyone, the imagery was fantastic, but other than that, it was a little too cookie cutter for me. Beetle Juice, Beetle Juice, Beetle Juice.
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eytanz
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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2007, 10:43:57 PM »

The writing and the imagery were beautiful, but this kind of warmed-over folklore/fairy tale always feels a little like plagiarism to me.  I know that that's just my own prejudice, but it feels kind of... dirty.

That's very interesting - it really shows how attitudes towards storytelling have changed in the past two centuries. The concept of plagarism is totally foreign to oral tradition - folklore is *meant* to be retold, and to be reshaped and re-envisioned by every teller. That was how it survived.

I respect the fact that authors own their own work - and that they should be able to control how people use their ideas, at least for a while - but these days, it becomes harder and harder for authors to use the work that is public domain without being censured for being unoriginal. I can't help but feeling we've lost something valuable here.

(As for the story itself, I enjoyed it, and that's more or less it. It wasn't a particularly deep or thought provoking story, so I don't really have much to say about it).
« Last Edit: August 30, 2007, 10:46:05 PM by eytanz » Logged
bolddeceiver
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« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2007, 12:09:03 AM »


That's very interesting - it really shows how attitudes towards storytelling have changed in the past two centuries. The concept of plagarism is totally foreign to oral tradition - folklore is *meant* to be retold, and to be reshaped and re-envisioned by every teller. That was how it survived.

I understand the sentiment, but it also wasn't couched and sold, as we have today, in a world that generally assumes "original" fiction.  I feel like there's a big difference between a story-teller, who is expected to pass along pre-existing stories, and a writer selling work to a fiction market.
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ajames
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2007, 05:24:44 AM »

Looking forward to Podcastle.  Time was when I would have been much more interested in Podcastle than Escapepod, but now I'm glad I'll have both.

As for this story, I enjoyed it.  Well-written, well-told, good imagery, true to its genre.  I'm glad the author didn't feel the need to be "original" and put her own, neon mark upon the story. 
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eytanz
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« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2007, 06:50:32 AM »


That's very interesting - it really shows how attitudes towards storytelling have changed in the past two centuries. The concept of plagarism is totally foreign to oral tradition - folklore is *meant* to be retold, and to be reshaped and re-envisioned by every teller. That was how it survived.

I understand the sentiment, but it also wasn't couched and sold, as we have today, in a world that generally assumes "original" fiction.  I feel like there's a big difference between a story-teller, who is expected to pass along pre-existing stories, and a writer selling work to a fiction market.

If the author had tried to pass this off as totally original work, then I would sort of see your point. But, while I don't know about anywhere else this story might have appeared, at least here in Escape Pod this story was explicitly labeled as "based on Japanese folklore". And I don't understand what is the difference between a storyteller - gaining his or her food and board by retelling stories - and an author doing the same. It is my opinion that what the fiction market should be paying for is not just original ideas, but also the skill and craft in the telling. That people have started assuming otherwise is what I feel unfortunate.
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« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2007, 08:30:11 AM »

Meh...this story kind of bored me.  I thought it was pretty dry, but maybe I'm just shallow and need action or a twist or something.

I'm pretty excited about this new fantasy podcast.  Hopefully Steve will mention when it starts producing episodes so I remember to go subscribe to it.  November is a long time away.  Darn him for showing me the cheese to just take it away!-   Grin
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Reggie
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« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2007, 03:08:30 PM »

This may be entirely out of place....actually, I know it is, but all I could think about while listening to this story was the snow level in Twilight Princess (that part's about love....and snow....as well), but that game is all I've been thinking about lately....

-sigh-
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mjn9
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« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2007, 06:02:58 PM »

I agree it was a sweet little story but not a lot more.  For awhile I thought I was listening to the Crane Wife and hoped maybe to hear some Colin Meloy tunes.
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bolddeceiver
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« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2007, 10:05:35 PM »

And I don't understand what is the difference between a storyteller - gaining his or her food and board by retelling stories - and an author doing the same.

Well, unless you want to get into Jung and Campbell and archetypal stories, an author's job usually isn't retelling stories.  I'm not saying whether this is good or not, but you ask ten people on the street and you'll get an overwhelming consensus that original content is a big part of what an "author" does today.
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eytanz
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« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2007, 07:38:49 AM »

And I don't understand what is the difference between a storyteller - gaining his or her food and board by retelling stories - and an author doing the same.

Well, unless you want to get into Jung and Campbell and archetypal stories, an author's job usually isn't retelling stories.  I'm not saying whether this is good or not, but you ask ten people on the street and you'll get an overwhelming consensus that original content is a big part of what an "author" does today.

Oh, I agree with you that that would be the result. I just wish it wasn't.

Just to make it 100% clear, what I find unfortunate is the general attitude in our society to authors and storytelling. I was only commenting on your personal reaction since it is a direct consequence of this larger attitude.
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« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2007, 08:10:44 AM »

It's a simple story, but I liked it. The question of embracing one's heritage or choosing one's own path is a classic theme, one of several that run through this story; while the ending was largely what I expected, it was well told for what it was. I Had FunTM while listening to it, and that's the most important thing. I also love hearing more of Japanese mythology; it often seems to me that the Japanese and the Celts were both living next door to the same Faerie-world even though they were thousands of miles away from each other.  Smiley
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Zathras
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« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2007, 08:26:16 AM »


The story was fine, it kept my attention for ~15 minutes.  But like many said before me, I'm looking forward to the fantasy stories getting their own gig.   Good luck to Podcastle!  Smiley
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BionicValkyrie
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2007, 09:49:32 PM »

Loved the imagery -- it did seem a bit familiar, maybe, but I like re-tellings and riffs on fairy tales and folklore.  Seems to me that this must have been a pretty dark story for Cricket -- I mean, mother abandoning child, father's dying words reveal his limitations as he provides his daughter the magic word/name to reunite with her mother?
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Kristin
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« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2007, 09:03:55 AM »

Loved the imagery -- it did seem a bit familiar, maybe, but I like re-tellings and riffs on fairy tales and folklore.  Seems to me that this must have been a pretty dark story for Cricket -- I mean, mother abandoning child, father's dying words reveal his limitations as he provides his daughter the magic word/name to reunite with her mother?

I actually looked to see if this was the same Cricket Magazine I remember reading at nine. I do remember reading such stories at that age, it just seems strange to see something like this coming from a youth magazine.
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« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2007, 09:10:49 AM »

Having read fantasy similar to this, I know it's not my thing.  But it was a fairy tale, so I really wasn't expecting anything huge to come out of it.

The reading was really good, though.  She changed the voices just enough that you could get the feel she's actually reading you the story, rather than acting it.

Eh.  Not much to say, one way or the other.
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« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2007, 01:25:41 PM »

This was very nicely written story which was pleasant to listen.
But it felt kind of empty, and there wasn't really much _real_ content.
It read like a tone-setting piece, like a prologue for a book, where the _real_ action starts later, maybe telling the whole story of the Snow Woman's life.

« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 05:51:50 AM by tpi » Logged

rani23
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« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2007, 06:23:34 PM »

Hi -- I'm new. Been listening to the podcast for a while (I think I'm finally caught up.)

I think I have to agree with other posters -- it really was not my cup of tea. It was, honestly, a bit too predictable. Cunningminx's voice and delivery was fantastic, as always, however. Smiley

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Reggie
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« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2007, 07:53:11 PM »

Yeah, no argument there about the reading and the actual presentation of the story.

I'm really looking forward to Podcastle.  One more podcast to speed up my day at work, and I'm really excited for some fantasy that steps away from dragons and wizards all the time, or at least puts them in a different setting...

Are there any stories with dragons and wizards on the moon?

 Cheesy
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Monty Grue
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« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2007, 11:42:06 AM »

This would have been a great story to share with kids, especially a young daughter, but I don't have any children, so I'm out of range for its intended primary audience; I'm just too old and too cranky to be amused by fairies and other such nonsense.  Don't get on my case about being a kid at heart or some such gobbledygook.  As the old saying goes: “I have the heart of a little boy.  In a jar of formaldehyde.”

I'm glad the fantasy stories will soon have a home of their own.  I'll subscribe to Castlepod, but will probably skip those Rated G or other fluffy stories.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 11:48:24 AM by Monty Grue » Logged
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« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2007, 04:02:17 PM »

" I'll subscribe to Castlepod, but will probably skip those Rated G or other fluffy stories."

Do people feel it's the G-rating that demonstrates a story will be more simple? I guess I feel like I've seen a lot of striking stories that would be rated G, but were nevertheless very complex and interesting.

I agree that this particular story was too simplistic for my taste. I wanted it to bring something really special and interesting to the retelling, something I couldn't get by reading a different version of the story. But I wouldn't say the story doesn't suit my taste because it appeared in Cricket; I have been moved by things that appeared in Cricket.

To be clear, I admire some of the craft in this story. It just didn't reach out and grab me.
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Atara
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« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2007, 07:34:03 AM »

I like retellings of folklore stories, but I much prefer it when they have something special, something new to bring to the story. This just didn't seem to have that "something." I'm afraid that I can't quantify exactly what I mean, unfortunately... It's one of those "I know it when I see it" things.

Also, I had a subscription to Cricket when I was a kid; I'm happy to see that it's still around! (Do they still do all the little doodles on the bottom of the pages?) I can completely see this story fitting into Cricket, as that's intended for a slightly older audience (the website says ages 9-14); Ladybug and Spider are the sister magazines meant for younger audiences. I think most 9 yr olds would have no problems with the father's death in this story.
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Monty Grue
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« Reply #30 on: September 09, 2007, 07:53:04 PM »

Quote
Do people feel it's the G-rating that demonstrates a story will be more simple?

Looking over some of the previous G rated stories, “Conversations With and About My Electric Toothbrush” or “Aliens Want Our Women,” I guess it is not always clear that the G rating indicates a children's story.  Whereas this story, the Squonk stories, and some others are mostly for kids, IMHO.  I'm not sure what the solution is, but I'm still likely to pass on these kinds of stories if given fair warning.
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« Reply #31 on: September 10, 2007, 12:37:34 PM »

" I'll subscribe to Castlepod, but will probably skip those Rated G or other fluffy stories."

Do people feel it's the G-rating that demonstrates a story will be more simple? I guess I feel like I've seen a lot of striking stories that would be rated G, but were nevertheless very complex and interesting.

Not for me.  I might feel this way about movies in general that are rated G but I don't feel like this about stories podcasted here.  And even with movies, I know there are exceptions (like Pixar).  Sometimes they are simple and straight forward.  So are the R-rated stories.  Sometimes the G-Rated stories affect me far more emotionally than others might. 
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Zathras
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« Reply #32 on: September 10, 2007, 02:23:20 PM »

" I'll subscribe to Castlepod, but will probably skip those Rated G or other fluffy stories."

Do people feel it's the G-rating that demonstrates a story will be more simple? I guess I feel like I've seen a lot of striking stories that would be rated G, but were nevertheless very complex and interesting.

Definitely not. I guess I'm thinking more about sci-fi books I've read than Escape Pod stories.  I've read a ton of books that were great and/or complex that would be considered "G" rated.  Azimov's Foundation series comes to mind.  That would be "G" rated, wouldn't it? 

As far as movies go, my youngest son drags me to most of the "G" movies and I agree that the Pixar ones are usually interesting and complex but many are watered down sludge. 
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DDog
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« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2007, 02:49:56 PM »

I liked this one.

While original ideas are an exciting facet of fiction-writing, there's a difference between copying another's work or writing the same old trite story, and retelling an old tale in your own words. The story of Oedipus, or Antigone, or any of the other great old Greek stories, have been around since the high times of Ancient Greek cultures--were the playwrights of the time plagiarists or trite recyclers to write their plays of those stories? How many thousands of times have the King Arthur stories been told? There are always new ways to incorporate the old timeless concepts and legends, and new writers to tell the old stories with new words. I don't see anything wrong with that.

And for many people who are not versed in Japanese culture, stories of kami and oni are new and fresh, and a modern edition of the tale spreads these stories to new audiences.

Definitely good that PodCastle will have a proper home for these stories soon.

Minx's rendition of the tale was lovely.
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« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2007, 07:35:17 PM »

While original ideas are an exciting facet of fiction-writing, there's a difference between copying another's work or writing the same old trite story, and retelling an old tale in your own words. The story of Oedipus, or Antigone, or any of the other great old Greek stories, have been around since the high times of Ancient Greek cultures--were the playwrights of the time plagiarists or trite recyclers to write their plays of those stories? How many thousands of times have the King Arthur stories been told? There are always new ways to incorporate the old timeless concepts and legends, and new writers to tell the old stories with new words. I don't see anything wrong with that.

We'd have to get rid of most of Shakespeare if we held writers to that standard.
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« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2007, 07:37:43 PM »

Quote
There are always new ways to incorporate the old timeless concepts and legends, and new writers to tell the old stories with new words. I don't see anything wrong with that.
I agree that there is nothing wrong with that, except that it makes for an uninteresting, predictable story.
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« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2007, 08:23:30 PM »

Quote
There are always new ways to incorporate the old timeless concepts and legends, and new writers to tell the old stories with new words. I don't see anything wrong with that.
I agree that there is nothing wrong with that, except that it makes for an uninteresting, predictable story.

I disagree. It places a burden on the writer, but even a predictable story can be an interesting and good one. You know that Bond will save the world, that Romeo and Juliet will die, and most of the time Kirk gets the girl. That doesn't stop you from going to see the movie/play/show.
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« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2010, 09:10:04 AM »

Not my thing.  For fairy tale retellings, I really want some kind of major change to contrast and compare--a straight up retelling just isn't that interesting to me.

I do like Eugie's writing a lot, I just like it when she starts from scratch.  My all time favorite EP episode is still "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast."  Heck, I'd say it's in my top five short stories of all time.
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