Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: Pseudopod 072: Heavy Rains  (Read 8700 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5319
  • Mmm. Tiger.
on: January 11, 2008, 10:40:59 PM
Pseudopod 072: Heavy Rains

By Andrew Nicolle

Read by Amanda Fitzwater

The place we’re heading for is called Island Lagoon, smack-bang in the middle of the South Australian Outback. It looks like everything else out here in the bush: dry, dusty, the odd saltbush scattered along the plain. But I know this place is different.

First, the name is a bit inaccurate. You’d think a place called Island Lagoon would have some water, or maybe some swampland. It doesn’t. Not usually, anyway. Most of the year it’s just a dry saltpan, and if you blinked, you’d probably miss it.

Sometimes though… sometimes after heavy rain it turns into a salt lake. And when it does, things can get disturbed.



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?


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #1 on: January 11, 2008, 11:07:29 PM
Now this is a story that seriously needs some cutting down. There's too much exposition, too much repetition of similar events, and way too much time spent describing things that are peripheral to the main action. The worst offender was the ending - there's a punchy (if somewhat expected) twist - but the story doesn't end. No, the twist is explained. In detail. And after that, the story goes on for one more minute (of narration time), just to confirm that the twist is actually true.

There's a good story here. But it's buried inside a larger, bloated and somewhat tedious story.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 11:09:34 PM by eytanz »



deflective

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1171
Reply #2 on: January 13, 2008, 11:14:23 PM
the story benefits from Amanda's fantastic accent but it was distracting at times.

i'm pretty sure i wasn't supposed to have that tingly feeling when the narrator lifted the shirt to show the scars. maybe a tingly feeling, but that tingly feeling.



gelee

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 521
  • It's a missile, boy.
Reply #3 on: January 15, 2008, 05:39:29 PM
I too thought the story might be a bit long, but not so much as Eytanz.  On the whole, I thought this was a great, straight-ahead ghost story.  The twist at the end actually surprised me a bit.  I enjoyed this and would love to here more like it.



Anarkey

  • Meen Pie
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 703
  • ...depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Reply #4 on: January 15, 2008, 10:06:07 PM
Now this is a story that seriously needs some cutting down. There's too much exposition, too much repetition of similar events, and way too much time spent describing things that are peripheral to the main action. The worst offender was the ending - there's a punchy (if somewhat expected) twist - but the story doesn't end. No, the twist is explained. In detail. And after that, the story goes on for one more minute (of narration time), just to confirm that the twist is actually true.

Eytanz -

I'm amused by how often you say a thing about a story that is exactly what I would have said.  This is no exception.  Most of the time, I don't actually say "that goes for me too" unless I have something to add, but just this once, just so you know:  I agree!

Winner Nash's 1000th member betting pool + Thaurismunths' Free Rice Contest!


Saucy Jack

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Reply #5 on: January 18, 2008, 06:50:38 PM
I agree this work could use some editing.
One of the weaker tales that have appeared in pseudopod. That comment however does this story a discredit it is infact a solid story.
Amanda's accent did make listening to the story difficult to begin with but this improved as you became familiar with it.



DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #6 on: January 18, 2008, 07:58:45 PM
Yeah, I really liked Amanda Fitzwater's reading.  That was a really nice touch.  Although I kept thinking for a while that the protagonist was a female.


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #7 on: January 23, 2008, 02:00:11 PM
The story was way too long, and I got bored of it quickly.  And normally I like fiction that takes place in Australia -- I *heart* Sean McMullen's Greatwinter trilogy.  This just didn't compel me, and as has been said, the ending didn't do much for me either.

The reading was fine, though maybe it's because I'm American that, sometimes, when she was trying to convey fright or shock, it came across as faintly-amused excitement.  *shrug*  Even a good reading can't save a story that needs work.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


DDog

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 187
    • Twitter
Reply #8 on: January 26, 2008, 10:10:34 PM
*shrug* I thought this story was awesome; one of my favorite PPs, actually. The reading was great too, much improved from "Other People's Money"--and reading others' comments, I might have enjoyed it less if I were actually reading it, but Amanda Fitzwater's voice is just so scrumptious that I didn't care.

Listener's comment about "faintly-amused excitement" resonates with me--I noticed the same thing in "Other People's Money"--but the laughing tone seemed to fade mostly once people started getting chewed up.

Ask a Tranny Podcast
"Watching someone bootstrap themselves into sentience is the most science fiction thing you can do." -wintermute


wakela

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 779
    • Mr. Wake
Reply #9 on: January 30, 2008, 12:06:13 AM
Now this is a story that seriously needs some cutting down. There's too much exposition, too much repetition of similar events, and way too much time spent describing things that are peripheral to the main action. The worst offender was the ending - there's a punchy (if somewhat expected) twist - but the story doesn't end. No, the twist is explained. In detail. And after that, the story goes on for one more minute (of narration time), just to confirm that the twist is actually true.

Eytanz -

I'm amused by how often you say a thing about a story that is exactly what I would have said.  This is no exception.  Most of the time, I don't actually say "that goes for me too" unless I have something to add, but just this once, just so you know:  I agree!
that goes for me too.

"Write it again, but half as long." -- A River Runs Through It

Do you guys think Amanda was reading extra slowly to avoid an Other People's Money scenario?  I thought this made the episode extra poky.  But I don't think the slow reading would have been a problem on a tighter story, and I would welcome more stuff read by Amanda.  Especially, stories set in Australia.  Her voice was extremely effective in transporting me there. 



Kevin David Anderson

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 52
  • "He's Undead, Jim"
    • Kevin David Anderson
Reply #10 on: January 30, 2008, 11:07:47 PM
Yeah, I really liked Amanda Fitzwater's reading.  That was a really nice touch.  Although I kept thinking for a while that the protagonist was a female.

I had the same problem thinking that the protagonist might be female, but also thought Amanda's reading really helped set the scene.


600south

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 63
Reply #11 on: March 07, 2008, 01:03:22 AM
I would welcome more stuff read by Amanda.  Especially, stories set in Australia.  Her voice was extremely effective in transporting me there. 

... except that Amanda's accent is an extremely thick New Zealand one, so the effect is similar to hearing Bob & Doug McKenzie narrating an Anne Rice story in full hoser mode. and the mispronunciation of the name of the town where most of the action took place grated after a while.





CammoBlammo

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 199
Reply #12 on: March 20, 2008, 01:07:35 AM
I haven't got a lot to say that hasn't already been said, but here goes anyway.

I really liked this story, but as others have said, there was far too much padding. It could easily be reduced by 25% and not lose anything. The ending felt especially tacked on. The twist was good, but it felt like a twist for a twist's sake. It simply wasn't needed.

I did like the take on the bunyip. The story got it right --- bunyips are now the white Australian version of the grumpy but harmless troll who lives under the bridge. The Aboriginal stories make them a lot scarier and far more worthy of a horror tale. This makes sense. Bunyips are very real for many Aboriginal people. The mystery of the unknown and the ever present spirit world makes them quite terrifying.

The horror in this story stems from the same uncertainty about the unknowable thing that lives(?) in the lagoon. The description of the bunyip still leaves me, in my very Western view of the world and the way we classify it wondering exactly what it was the campers encountered. I'm still wondering what those bones were about, and the exact nature of the connection between the rain and the appearance of the bunyip. I can guarantee I'll feel a chill next time I drive past a remote billabong.

One minor gripe that isn't really a flaw was the naming of the Aboriginal character 'Ernie' and the frequent mention of dingoes. There is an Aboriginal TV personality down here by the name of Ernie Dingo, and I somehow connected them all together! Also, the comment that the truck driver was going to Adelaide via Port Augusta was a little superfluous. Port Augusta's on the only serious road between Woomera and Adelaide, and it would be a curious thing if the trucky was planning to go another way.

I didn't like Amanda Fitzwater's reading of the story. Now don't get me wrong --- she did a slap up job.* I grew up in New Zealand so the accent didn't pose a problem. It was simply the wrong accent for the piece. I realise narrators aren't that easy to come by, but this story really needed an Australian male. It didn't need to be over exaggerated in a Steve Irwin kind of a way. Just... Australian.

Of course, if the story were about a taniwha living in a geyser, we may just about have had a winner.

--
* Apart from her pronunciation of the word 'Woomera' --- the accent falls on the first syllable, which has the same 'oo' sound as 'book'.



evan

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Reply #13 on: March 28, 2008, 11:39:03 PM
Had to comment on this one - I thought it was surprisingly poor by Pseudopod standards.

First up, the good.  The reading was excellent - lots of energy, and well spoken.

Unfortunately, there's far more not so good compared to the good.  The use of Aussie-specific langauge was overdone almost to the point of satire.  As an Australian, it felt more like an attempt bump the Australianism to word ratio as high as possible rather than a story in an Australian setting.  Plus, some of them were just absurd - picture this, if you will.  It's prom night in the US in the 50's.  The protagonist, a well-cut letterman, has taken his date, the prom queen, to the local lake for some alone time.  Out of the lake comes a hideous creature, intent on tearing them limb from limb.  As he watches his date be first disfigured, then raped by this beast from hell, a possible saviour appears.  As they pull up in their car, the lights from the car "cut through the night like a PBJ sandwich".

Kills the atmosphere somewhat, doesn't it?  If I wanted a lesson on Aussie colloquialisms, I'd get Dinky Di's Dictionary of Australian slang.

And, while the reading really was excellent, it didn't help that she's very much a New Zealander.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I had too much cognitive dissonance trying to deal with a New Zealander using Australian slang. :)



Ben Phillips

  • Lich King
  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 299
    • Pseudopod
Reply #14 on: March 29, 2008, 09:12:45 PM
Thanks to recent posters here for reminding me to say:  The shortcomings are noted, and certainly expose me for the Yank I am.  This was the first bunyip story I'd ever seen!

If anyone knows a good Australian podcaster type who might be interested in narrating, please drop me a line with contact info and a link to online vocal samples from him or her (or preferably, him AND her, since it's always good to have both genders handy...  okay, that sounded a little slutty, but you get the picture).



Cerebrilith

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 62
Reply #15 on: May 10, 2008, 11:55:44 AM
I really tried but I just couldn't listen to this story.  The narrator's accent was just too thick for me.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #16 on: June 25, 2009, 09:37:33 PM
Just got to this one today.  Not really feeling it.

It didn't help that a story told in the first-person by a male character was read by a female.  It kept pulling me out of the story every time the narrative made it clear that the speaker was male.

As an American, the accent issue didn't bother me at all.  But the story itself seemed like it was a non-Australian writer trying to hard to write an Australian story.  Like every Aussie cliche was included.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #17 on: October 09, 2009, 08:31:13 PM
I didn't think much of the story, but I loved the reading.  I listened to the whole thing just so I could keep listening to Amanda talk.  If she could bottle her voice, I would buy a 50 gallon drum (whatever that means). 

I did notice her accent is New Zealandish, but I'm sure it's difficult to find readers with every sort of accent in the world, and at least the accents are somewhat similar, better than having a Bronx accent or something.  I did wonder what Bret and Jemaine would think though of their countrywoman masquerading as an Aussie.  Then again, Jemaine did those Outback commercials, so he can't do much fingerpointing here.

I thought it was particularly fun to hear the New Zealand voice narrating an Australian imitating what may or may not be a Texan accent.  :D

More than the wrong accent, I was bothered by the first person story being narrated by a narrator of the wrong sex.  I kindof forgot the protag wasn't a woman until s/he nonchalantly lifted her/his shirt to show off the scars.

The story here wasn't bad, but I agree with others that it badly needs to be trimmed, to much repeating, too many similar events.  At least 10 minutes could be trimmed off without cutting anything important, methinks. 

And, another echo, it did seem like there was so much Aussie slang it was like the author was trying to prove their Aussie-ism.  Especially the Vegamite metaphor.  This was the exact same problem I had with Terry Pratchett's The Last Continent.  In that one, rather than have any sort of coherent plot arc, it was just one a string of barely veiled cultural references and Rincewind running screaming from one to the next.  As opposed to Interesting Times, which managed to work the cultural references into an actual plot.



kibitzer

  • Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2228
  • Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice
Reply #18 on: November 06, 2009, 02:09:44 AM
So, here's a thread necro I just have to make coz I found this one a little hard to take. A lot of this has been said, but anyway...

You folks know the difference between an Aussie and a Kiwi accent? If you don't that's cool -- just know that Amanda's accent is heavily Kiwi. Not just Kiwi-ish, very Kiwi. "I looked out of the tint..." for example. That's not meant to be a piss-take, honest.

Also -- sorry folks -- but the "Australianisms" thrown in were completely OTT. True, a lot of them are genuine. But "...the lights cut the night like a knife through Vegemite..." puh-leez!! Ack.

Well, at least they were drinking Coopers rather than VB/Fosters/XXXX.


Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #19 on: July 30, 2010, 05:28:50 PM
Wow, I never noticed before just how many people here are from Australia or New Zealand.  I cannot tell the difference between an Australian accent and a "kiwi" accent so, whatever, I thought the reading was great (my cousin is from New Zealand, but no, I still can't tell the difference.  Bite me).

However, I have to second the idea that this should have been half as long.  The narrative-within-the-narrative was unecessary and turned a punchy little ghost story into a long mess.

Nice to see some aboriginal stuff here, but it was still "aboriginal from white man's perspective."  I would have liked to see some aboriginal stuff from the aboriginal's perspective.  Like "Coyote Tales" for Australia.  Now THAT would rule.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #20 on: August 03, 2010, 01:40:40 PM
Wow, I never noticed before just how many people here are from Australia or New Zealand.  I cannot tell the difference between an Australian accent and a "kiwi" accent so, whatever, I thought the reading was great (my cousin is from New Zealand, but no, I still can't tell the difference.  Bite me).

Kiwi accents sound like Flight of the Conchords, Australian like the Crocodile Hunter.  :)  They're similar, but there are definitely noticeable differences.  New Zealand accents seem to be a bit more high pitched, and their vowels are slightly more contrasting to my Midwestern ear than Australian ones.  The first New Zealanders I met were named Peter and Mary, but when they first introduced themselves I thought they said Paiter and Meery.  They repeated it a couple times until they pointed out "you know, like in the Bible?"  and I finally got it.