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Author Topic: Pseudopod 77: Merlin’s Bane  (Read 12788 times)

Bdoomed

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on: February 15, 2008, 07:49:08 PM
Pseudopod 77: Merlin’s Bane

By G.W. Thomas

Read by Ben Phillips


She wasn’t nervous. She didn’t have a gun. Just a smile.

“You want the book, right?”

“Yup.”

“You won’t get it.” She waved a tantalizing finger at me. I tried to ignore the digit but for some reason it wouldn’t leave my eyes.

“I’ve heard that one before,” I said, pretending to be all ice.

“You think you’re a great sorcerer, a mage of the ancient knowledge, but it won’t make any difference.”

“Why not?” I should have thrown the glass dagger that was up my sleeve. Then and there. And there was that damned “Burning Desert Glyph” I never quite got around to.

“Because you are a man.”



This week’s episode sponsored by Audible.com, offering you a free audiobook download of your choice from their selection of over 40,000 titles, for a limited time.



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?


coyote247

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Reply #1 on: February 15, 2008, 08:06:35 PM
Another Goon Job tale. Freaking awesome. And that noir occultist guy wouldn't be the same character without the voice of Ben Phillips.






eytanz

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Reply #2 on: February 15, 2008, 08:34:08 PM
I've been looking forward to this story ever since I heard the teaser at the end of the previous PP, and it was well worth it.

Unlike Good Job, I felt that some of the lines went a bit beyond noir and into the ridiculous; at one point I had to pause the story because I got into a minor giggling fit. But overall a great story, again, and I'd love to hear more from this author/world.



DDog

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Reply #3 on: February 18, 2008, 03:41:10 AM
If nothing else, this story would win for the vagina dentata. But it was pretty cool besides that, so I approve.

EDIT: Not only simply a vagina with teeth in, but (a) mouth(s) literally replacing the vulva. Interesting.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 09:14:59 PM by DDog »

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deflective

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Reply #4 on: February 18, 2008, 05:58:08 AM
i took this as a Lovecraft mythos adaptation (based on a liberal interpretation of the star vampire). typically, it didn't capture the Lovecraftian feel so much as set itself in a world of forbidden books and cosmic monsters. not necessarily a bad thing.

i enjoyed the story. wouldn't mind hearing more in the same vein.



DDog

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Reply #5 on: February 18, 2008, 05:11:06 PM
Quote from: deflective's 'pedia link
The monster is always accompanied by a sardonic, preternatural titter
Now that's characterization.

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jdw

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Reply #6 on: February 20, 2008, 01:34:29 AM
Great selection, really entertaining. The Book Collector character is a lot of fun, and I hope more installments are yet to come.



Anarkey

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Reply #7 on: February 20, 2008, 03:12:25 PM
Anyone else feel like "The Book Collector" stories as a recurring series is like EP's "Union Dues"? 

I like these stories, and I like having a recurring setting and characters.  I hope we get more.

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gelee

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Reply #8 on: February 20, 2008, 03:34:53 PM
Great story.  I'm really coming to like this little sub-sub-sub genre.  The pulp style in a fantastic setting really seems to be a good pairing.  I'd love to hear more stories like this.





deflective

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Reply #9 on: February 20, 2008, 09:05:33 PM
I'm really coming to like this little sub-sub-sub genre.  The pulp style in a fantastic setting really seems to be a good pairing.

there were a couple movies in the 90s: cast a deadly spell & witch hunt.

i didn't pay much attention the first time (just played them in the background) but it may be worth hunting them down again.



eytanz

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Reply #10 on: February 20, 2008, 09:18:48 PM
I'm really coming to like this little sub-sub-sub genre.  The pulp style in a fantastic setting really seems to be a good pairing.

there were a couple movies in the 90s: cast a deadly spell & witch hunt.

i didn't pay much attention the first time (just played them in the background) but it may be worth hunting them down again.

Oooh... I saw Cast a Deadly Spell several times some ten years or so when it was playing on Israeli cable. I really loved it.

I never heard of Witch Hunt - now I need to figure out how to get a hold of it. Cool!



DKT

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Reply #11 on: February 21, 2008, 05:02:23 PM
Anyone else feel like "The Book Collector" stories as a recurring series is like EP's "Union Dues"? 

I like these stories, and I like having a recurring setting and characters.  I hope we get more.

Yep.  I've always thought Pseudopod could use it's on John Constantine Hellblazer and I think this book collector fits the bill in his own, unique way. 

Pretty twisted story this week.  I absolutely loved it.  It feels like Pseudopod's on a real tear lately.


oddpod

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Reply #12 on: February 26, 2008, 09:10:34 AM
i loved it also , it has inspired me to run a world of darkness mortals game based on some of the consepts.
dose are protagonist have a name? am i just not paying atenshon or is he as yet defined purly by his actons

card carying dislexic and  gramatical revolushonery


Listener

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Reply #13 on: February 26, 2008, 02:51:46 PM
I enjoyed this story, mostly because... really, how can you not enjoy a story with a giant asshole that's a portal into another world?  BP's deadpan delivery of the asshole lines really made it work.

Seems to be a lot of horror-noir out there these days.  Or is it just me?

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wakela

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Reply #14 on: February 27, 2008, 11:48:40 PM
I hate it when I'm the only guy who doesn't like something. 
I've had enough Ben Phillips reading dead pan hardboiled detectives, book collectors, bounty hunters, etc for a lifetime.  Horror noir (horrnoir?) is fine as a genre, but I'm ready for some more variety.

Also, he seemed particularly dense for the implied world-weariness.  He telegraphed his presence with the flash powder at the bar, he just forgot to put that burning desert glyph on his eyes before confronting the  wizard lady, he went back to her house while under the spell, and everything after that seemed to be one stroke of luck after another.  None of these other hard case book collectors went after this woman with a see-things-as-they-really-are spell? 

He commented at the end the Merlin should have been as clever as a book collector, but the only reason the book collector survived was that the wizard lady left a very large quantity of Defense Against Everything cream within arm's reach of her prisoner. 

This world isn't holding up for me, but I would rather see another world, anyway.



gelee

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Reply #15 on: February 28, 2008, 12:53:03 PM
I hate it when I'm the only guy who doesn't like something. 
I've had enough Ben Phillips reading dead pan hardboiled detectives, book collectors, bounty hunters, etc for a lifetime.  Horror noir (horrnoir?) is fine as a genre, but I'm ready for some more variety.

Also, he seemed particularly dense for the implied world-weariness.  He telegraphed his presence with the flash powder at the bar, he just forgot to put that burning desert glyph on his eyes before confronting the  wizard lady, he went back to her house while under the spell, and everything after that seemed to be one stroke of luck after another.  None of these other hard case book collectors went after this woman with a see-things-as-they-really-are spell? 

He commented at the end the Merlin should have been as clever as a book collector, but the only reason the book collector survived was that the wizard lady left a very large quantity of Defense Against Everything cream within arm's reach of her prisoner. 

This world isn't holding up for me, but I would rather see another world, anyway.
Hmmm.  I'm thinking now that I didn't look closely enough at the story.  You've got some good points that I didn't notice before, especially the bit about the magical make-up.  It seemed to block virtually every enchantment.  If I were a wizard in this setting, I'd probably be dripping with the stuff around the clock.



Anarkey

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Reply #16 on: February 28, 2008, 05:35:24 PM
He commented at the end the Merlin should have been as clever as a book collector, but the only reason the book collector survived was that the wizard lady left a very large quantity of Defense Against Everything cream within arm's reach of her prisoner. 

You're absolutely right.  The availability of the makeup was a little Deus Ex, especially since I don't know a woman alive who keeps makeup by her bed.  Makeup goes in the bathroom, where there's a mirror.  If in the bedroom, it goes with a vanity dresser, not on the bedside table.  Course it wasn't *her* room, since she'd stolen it from victim A, so a dresser is perhaps unlikely. 

I forgave this.  See!  I can let things slide from time to time.

As to various characters' cleverness or stupidity, I kind of thought the theme of these pieces was "there but for the grace of God..." and that NO ONE is smart enough to win all the time, and everyone gets screwed (ha!) at some point.  It's part of what I like about the world, that should have known better doesn't always mean the characters will act on what they should have known.  I really dug that he forgot to put his glyphs on and that he turned into a gobbering fool.  I'd have been pissed if he somehow had the will to overcome her attraction charms.  I liked that he was just stupid lucky to survive.

Still, I sympathize with feeling like you're the only one who didn't like a story.  This happens to me too and it makes me feel sad and left out.

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Russell Nash

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Reply #17 on: February 28, 2008, 08:13:27 PM
Still, I sympathize with feeling like you're the only one who didn't like a story.  This happens to me too and it makes me feel sad and left out.

Everyone can just go look at EP144 and witness me standing in the didn't like it camp all alone.  I even went back and tried it again.  Couldn't even get through it the second time.



AliceNred

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Reply #18 on: March 04, 2008, 08:40:41 PM
I liked the combination of noir and Arthurian tale. 



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goatkeeper

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Reply #19 on: March 04, 2008, 10:38:45 PM
Still, I sympathize with feeling like you're the only one who didn't like a story.  This happens to me too and it makes me feel sad and left out.

Everyone can just go look at EP144 and witness me standing in the didn't like it camp all alone.  I even went back and tried it again.  Couldn't even get through it the second time.

dear lord, you didn't like episode 144?  I'm gonna have to go hit that thread to see why..



GoochCamper

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Reply #20 on: March 15, 2008, 03:21:44 AM
Hi everyone.  I'm new to Psuedopod and really enjoyed "Merlin's Bane" particularly of the stories I've heard thus far. 

Are there any other episode's that you can recommend that are similar? 

"Merlin's Bane" reminded me of the old William Hope Hodgson Carnacki the Ghost Finder stories.  They are available online, http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hodgson/william_hope/ ,  if you are interested.



DKT

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Reply #21 on: March 15, 2008, 06:13:09 AM
Definitely check out Goon Job (Ep. 45), which features the same character.  It's a lot of fun.  You might also want to check out Memories From the Knacker's Yard (Ep. 67), which is a bit different, but it still rocks the whole neo-noir horror genre. 

Oh, and welcome!


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Reply #22 on: March 15, 2008, 04:07:03 PM
Thanks!  I'll give them a listen today. 



stePH

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Reply #23 on: June 27, 2009, 06:47:51 PM
Got around to this one yesterday.  Within the first paragraph I was wondering "Did I already listen to this one?"  It was within a few more that I realized/wondered, "No, I haven't heard this one yet, but I've heard one very much like it.  Was it a Variant Frequencies episode?"

Finally coming to this thread I see it was an earlier Pseudopod episode by the same author featuring the same character.  I haven't heard "Goon Job" in some time so most of it's escaped me.  I liked both stories though; I think I'll go back and pull up "Goon Job" and listen to both stories back-to-back.

Yes, I'd like to see this become a recurring series much like "Union Dues" on Escape Pod.

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Zathras

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Reply #24 on: June 27, 2009, 09:31:04 PM
As would I, stePH!