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Author Topic: PseudoPod 580: The Comet  (Read 1675 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: February 03, 2018, 08:57:53 PM »

PseudoPod 580: The Comet

by W.E.B. DuBois
Narrated by Hollis Monroe

“The Comet” originally published in 1920 as the tenth chapter of DuBois’s book, Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil



He stood a moment on the steps of the bank, watching the human river that swirled down Broadway. Few noticed him. Few ever noticed him save in a way that stung. He was outside the world—”nothing!” as he said bitterly. Bits of the words of the walkers came to him.

“The comet?”

“The comet——”





Listen to this week's PseudoPod.
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Scuba Man
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 08:35:59 PM »

Mister Monroe. That, sir, is some pleasing diction Whoah! Guest host, indeed. Nice.  EA Staff, I sincerely hope he can read & host more future episodes, eh.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 08:42:05 PM by Scuba Man » Logged

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Tango Alpha Delta
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2018, 03:32:01 PM »

Mister Monroe. That, sir, is some pleasing diction Whoah! Guest host, indeed. Nice.  EA Staff, I sincerely hope he can read & host more future episodes, eh.

I'll second that emotion.
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PodBroad
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2018, 02:16:30 PM »

Listened to The Comet last night. What a story! I am familiar with the author, du Bois, but had no idea he wrote SF. Fine job!
I would even go so far as to make this story required reading for students ages, say, 10 and over.
Have to congratulate the 'pod for the fine reading by the narrator, too. In lesser hands, the impact of the tale's subtler aspects would have been diminished if not lost.
More golden oldies like this, PLEASE!  Grin
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irishlazz
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2018, 08:44:03 PM »

The best part of this story was the liquid gold wrapped in velvet voice of the narration.  Nit-pick#1 - If there was a swift & sudden mass death in ANY city, even long ago, there would be no way the lonely survivors would be able to drive a car anywhere.  Roads would be full of stopped vehicles and sidewalks would be full of bodies and the occasional vendor.  Nit-pick#2 - fiction or not I can't buy that, in less than half-a-day, the dame has such a profound epiphany to her way of thinking.  I suppose the true horrors of this story are the parts that ring true.  First, that for many privileged people, it takes some personal level catastrophe to befall them before they begin to see that all people are worth treating as fellow humans. And second, that, for many, as soon as their circumstances improve they forget whatever life lessons they were in the process of learning.
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adrianh
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 09:07:41 AM »

Nit-pick#1 - If there was a swift & sudden mass death in ANY city, even long ago, there would be no way the lonely survivors would be able to drive a car anywhere.  Roads would be full of stopped vehicles and sidewalks would be full of bodies and the occasional vendor. 

To nit-pick with your nit-pick — there was enough warning for the folk outside for there to be newspaper stories and advice to clear the streets. Also remember this is set around 1920 when there were _vastly_ fewer cars.
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Metalsludge
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2018, 06:14:13 PM »

The HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast did a show on this story a while back, and it struck me how many movies and such this one bears a resemblance to. There's even Night of the comet, after all.

The appearance of a young white woman in the story was pretty predictable. But was also, ultimately, a fascinating consideration of the societal trope of the Aryan beauty thing in a world where the status of such may no longer mean a thing. It's easy to forget how fraught those images and associations were with status and racial tension at the time of writing, a time when the Klan was on the rise again and African American communities were sometimes threatened, supposedly to help protect the white women.

The story also serves as a reminder that, even well into the 20th century, you didn't have to visit the South or the countryside  back then to see segregation, something modern folks sometimes don't always realize about the time.

I liked the opening, with its almost mysterious lower chamber the MC gets caught in and the initial confusion. Almost feels like the intriguing beginning of a different story about the lost and forgotten areas under where he is working, sort of like what Stephen King's Night shift turned into. But no, we got sci-fi and social commentary instead, which is fine too.
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Katzentatzen
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2018, 07:31:25 PM »

The narrator is a star! Not only buttery man-vocals, but wonderfully gentle when describing the speech and thoughts of the woman, as well as the epic proportions of the epiphany of their shared humanity. I love stories of the survivors of apocalyptic events.
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irishlazz
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2018, 04:30:22 PM »

Nit-pick#1 - If there was a swift & sudden mass death in ANY city, even long ago, there would be no way the lonely survivors would be able to drive a car anywhere.  Roads would be full of stopped vehicles and sidewalks would be full of bodies and the occasional vendor. 

To nit-pick with your nit-pick — there was enough warning for the folk outside for there to be newspaper stories and advice to clear the streets. Also remember this is set around 1920 when there were _vastly_ fewer cars.

I got the impression that no one left the city because there was not sufficient warning regarding the deadly gas.  Yes, fewer cars, but still plenty to make it close to impossible to go around and between them if they all just stop dead.  http://toplineart.com/5th-Avenue-Early-1920s-Old-New-York-14-014.htm 
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"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." A.Einstein
Ichneumon
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 01:41:19 PM »

The author's message was very clear, but didn't overpower the story it was wrapped in. This is a great example of science fiction being used as a tool to explore social/political issues.
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TrishEM
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2018, 08:51:57 PM »

Great old story, wonderfully well read.
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