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Author Topic: PseudoPod 554: A Doll Full of Nails  (Read 2567 times)

Bdoomed

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on: August 06, 2017, 05:17:15 PM
PseudoPod 554: A Doll Full of Nails

by Ville Meriläinen.

“A Doll Full of Nails” is a Pseudopod Original.

VILLE MERILÄINEN is a Finnish university student by day, author of little tragedies by night. His short fiction has appeared in 200 CCs and Mad Scientist Journal’s Fitting In anthology. His long fiction can be found on Amazon.com, with a new musical fantasy adventure, Ghost Notes.

This week’s reader – Riku Kanninen – is a Finnish professional translator and linguist, an amateur singer, a mediocre all-around musician and a dabbler in all things, interesting or otherwise.

Your guest host – Tad Callin is associate editor of PseudoPod and master of the Escape Artists Wikia. Tad has been a lot of things, but he is most proud of being a father and writer. His previous published work includes an urban fantasy story, “Silver,” published on the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine podcast, and his self—published memoir, Tad’s Happy Funtime. One day, he hopes to return to the desert Southwest with his family, but for now, he enjoys living in Baltimore.



Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.



Once upon a time,” the doll began, “there lived a god who feared the dark.

“He cast a shadow over his creations and heard them whisper his doom when he turned away. He feared them so much he stole fire from the other gods and gave it to the tiny creatures, hoping it would take away the dark in their hearts. Instead, they set the god on fire, and that is how the sun was born.”

“Fascinating,” grumbled the doll maker, setting a glass eye into the socket of his latest masterpiece. This one, he hoped, would be as mute as most, unlike the one sitting on his shelf. “And patently untrue. Be quiet, now, or you’re getting another nail.”




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Scuba Man

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Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 12:26:07 AM
...ah, them Finnish toymaker-warlocks-grieving-men on the hill.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
This was a might fine story with a Scanadanavian twist. More, please.

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kuromedusa

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Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 01:49:40 PM
This story was everything I love about the genre.



GreySkies

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Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 02:04:02 PM
I loved absolutely everything about this story. It is exactly the kind of bone-chilling, goosebump-raising, chill-down-my-spine type of horror that I love most.

I'm not usually a fan of the Pinocchio story - in fact, I've always found it extremely unpleasant - but this short turns that story on its head in the best possible way. The author took all the darkest, most sinister subtext from the original and brought it excruciatingly to the surface in a clever, creative, and wholly terrifying way.

This story will stick to me for a very long time. More like this, please!



hollyberry29

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Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 01:58:59 PM
LOVED this story, and the narrator! One of my new all-time faves!



JohnCombo

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Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 10:58:57 PM
This story was wonderful. I love the stories within the story from the doll.



Katzentatzen

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Reply #6 on: August 10, 2017, 04:56:53 AM
The idea that a doll is not an imitation of life but an imitation of death... how awful! The moment when the voice said "Once upon a time there never lived a doll" was about the scariest moment. Or at least I thought so until the last line. Killer.

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Ichneumon

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Reply #7 on: November 30, 2017, 05:59:18 PM
Yikes, very good story! I still want to believe that the doll maker was a good guy haunted by an evil, lie telling doll, or going through a mental breakdown brought on by grief. He seemed good: going to his wife's grave, and feeling guilt about his son drowning, and not being happy about all the business he was getting from making dead-children-memorial-dolls.
...But there did seem to be an awful lot of missing children, and those stories were a bit too specific to be random evil lies.
I liked Tad's outro interpretation, well put.

The moment when the voice said "Once upon a time there never lived a doll" was about the scariest moment.
Katzentaten, I wasn't sure what it meant by that line. What did you think?
Also, why did the tongue go in the lake instead of the fire, you know at that point it is going to come back and get him!



Marlboro

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Reply #8 on: December 29, 2019, 04:38:59 PM
^I'm not Katzentaten obviously, but I'll take a stab at answering your question. Pinocchio wanted to be a "real live boy" and it appears that the dollmaker in this story has a genuine living doll on his hands. But, by the end of the story, we find out that the doll hasn't magically "come to life" but has actually been possessed by the soul of the dead boy in the lake.



why did the tongue go in the lake instead of the fire?

The wood portions of the doll were burned, but the tongue that grew in the doll was flesh. The dollmaker threw it into the lake just as he did with the bodies of the children he killed.




I suppose things could be interpreted multiple ways but I believe that the dollmaker has been killing children to perfect his craft.  My reasons:

- There are a lot of missing children in the village

- I don't know why the dollmaker's guilt would manifest itself as a doll who accuses him of multiple murders instead of blaming him for the death of his son.

- The section that begins "Once upon a time, there lived a doll maker who sought to excel in his craft." is not spoken by the doll as far as I can tell. It lays out his child killing pretty plainly as well as letting you know what he did with their bodies.


My interpretation of the doll's metaphorical stories:

An ugly dollmaker convinces a lady to marry him via a gift of one of his wonderful dolls. Not a "cloak" as the dummy says. I think that she finds out that her husband is killing children (not animals) to make his dolls. He is tossing their bodies into a nearby lake. The dollmaker's son is called to the lake by one of his father's victims and is drowned. The dollmaker creates a doll that looks like his son. His wife wrongly assumes that he murdered their child. She dies soon after. The doll patterned after his son becomes possessed by the drowned boy in the lake. The doll torments the dollmaker with his stories to get him to confess to his crimes. When this fails he takes more drastic actions.


The opening paragraph:

“Once upon a time,” the doll began, “there lived a god who feared the dark.

“He cast a shadow over his creations and heard them whisper his doom when he turned away. He feared them so much he stole fire from the other gods and gave it to the tiny creatures, hoping it would take away the dark in their hearts. Instead, they set the god on fire, and that is how the sun was born.”





My interpretation:

This kind of tells the whole story. A dollmaker wants a real son. He "steals fire from the other gods" (kills his neighbor's children) and "and gave it to the tiny creatures" (used his newfound anatomy knowledge to make his dolls appear lifelike.) "Instead, they set the god on fire." ( His murdering children boomerangs on him when one of his dolls becomes too lifelike and kills him) "and that is how the sun was born.” (I wonder if "Sun" is a play on word "son"?


I could be 100% wrong about all of this.


Final thought: A good story with great narration. I'm not wrong about that much at least.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2019, 04:55:29 PM by Marlboro »