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Author Topic: Pseudopod 84: The Sons of Carbon County  (Read 17947 times)

Russell Nash

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on: April 04, 2008, 08:54:26 PM
Pseudopod 84: The Sons of Carbon County

By Amanda Spikol
Read by Cheyenne Wright

It was truly a wretched sight. They walked, little more than shambling, for it was the last thing that they possessed the will to do. Eyes grim, fixed and hollow, almost lifeless, they still kept on. Johnny Jones watched them go by, fetching up a silent prayer that Bryn was inside, resting, and wouldn’t have to bear the sight of them. His child was within her, so big these past few weeks, and he knew seeing this might drive her into some kind of fit.


The mules tripped to a sullen halt and the cart behind them stopped. At this, the slow procession came to life. One woman, thin hair tied back with a strip of burlap, and one little boy missing three fingers from his left hand, burst into tears. Weariness and exhaustion still bleeding from their eyes, the other women clustered around her like mother hens. The children only stood mutely by while the boy bawled angrily at the sky. Johnny ran forward. He was strong, he should help.


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Listen to this week's Pseudopod.



bolddeceiver

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Reply #1 on: April 04, 2008, 10:22:46 PM
Man, those things are EVERYWHERE these days!



MacArthurBug

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Reply #2 on: April 05, 2008, 04:59:59 AM
Ok, zombie stories are always awesome.

I liked the reading. A LOT. This guys voice made the little hairs along my arm stand up.. and his accents well.. 
I shouldn't think things like that while listening to a zombie story. I liked the "closed in" feeling.. and yet no seeming fear of places that'd drive ME mad.  It could have been better.. but this dude should read more often.  If only to make me drool.

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jodymonster

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Reply #3 on: April 05, 2008, 08:39:33 PM
It started a little slow for me, but I perked right up at the first zombie.  I like the idea of zombies in a mineshaft.  It combines my fear of being buried alive with my love of zombies.  After this story,  I'm also freaked out by tight spaces, falling, and being eaten alive. 
Did anyone else think the reading of the character who stepped into a test shaft reminded them a tiny bit of Sean Connery?

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eytanz

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Reply #4 on: April 05, 2008, 09:26:50 PM
This was a well-written, well-paced zombie story.

Now, I still find zombie stories boring and predictable, but that doesn't mean that I can't recognize a quality one when I hear one.



DarkKnightJRK

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Reply #5 on: April 06, 2008, 05:53:31 AM
Did anyone else think the reading of the character who stepped into a test shaft reminded them a tiny bit of Sean Connery?

Remind me? Hell, it nearly took me out of the story for I started giggling and saying lines from The Untouchables in a surely Scottish accent. After that I got that out of my system, I was able to listen.

It's a pretty good zombie tale. I kinda question their rationale of going into a dark, enclosed space to escape them, but the "zombie in mineshaft" idea is a new one I think so I can live with it.

I'm not sure if I get the ending, though--how was Johnny able to escape from a pit of zombies in what might as well been the center of the Earth and go to another city to get treatment?



JoeFitz

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Reply #6 on: April 06, 2008, 07:21:48 PM
I'm not sure if I get the ending, though--how was Johnny able to escape from a pit of zombies in what might as well been the center of the Earth and go to another city to get treatment?

What worked for me was the idea that Johnny made it out without meeting any more zombies, exhausted, he dreamed the encounter while trudging ever onward and was found, passed out.

Great story; great reader, though the accents threw me at first.



gelee

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Reply #7 on: April 07, 2008, 06:04:06 PM
Good story, and Cheyenne Wright always does a great job with the reading.



Listener

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Reply #8 on: April 08, 2008, 11:29:30 AM
I don't care too much for zombie stories, notwithstanding the fact that I think I wrote one a few months ago without meaning to, but I don't shun them either.  I haven't liked all the zombie stories on PP, but I liked this one.  I think it was well-written and the story points all worked perfectly -- going into the mine to escape (don't run up the stairs!), members of the party disappearing, Obi-Wan sacrificing himself for the greater good, and then Johnny going ape-poopie at the end.

I think you need to know a little history to really comprehend the background of this story -- because of the accents and the reading (in a positive way), I think I missed some exposition.  Or maybe I didn't.

The reading was excellent, though I think keeping track of the accents and the different tones of voice was a little too much.  Once it was just Johnny, Hardfall, Edwin, and Thin Rob, it was a little easier, but still.

The coda felt a little empty to me, as my own codas (codae?) often do.  Like, okay, Johnny tried to kill zombies, now let's show that he survived.  I don't know.  Not as chilling as if we'd just been left with Johnny swinging his pickaxe.

Not my favorite kind of story.  Not a 100% perfect reading.  But both were good enough to create a great episode of PP.

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Thaurismunths

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Reply #9 on: April 08, 2008, 08:25:36 PM
Now that was a zombie story.
My hats off to everyone involved. You have most assuredly earned my gratitude for presenting this wonderful piece of fiction.
Ben, Alasdair, and anyone else who helped select this story, I compliment your good taste.
Mr. Wright, your particular voice talents lead a much needed gravity.
Ms. Spikol, bravo!

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Yossarian's grandson

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Reply #10 on: April 09, 2008, 08:23:46 PM
Did anyone else think the reading of the character who stepped into a test shaft reminded them a tiny bit of Sean Connery?

Remind me? Hell, it nearly took me out of the story for I started giggling and saying lines from The Untouchables in a surely Scottish accent. After that I got that out of my system, I was able to listen.


No kidding. I spent half of the story waiting for him to slip one in about the miners being ' shaken, not stirred'...



wakela

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Reply #11 on: April 09, 2008, 10:54:46 PM
Great story, but I found the accents tough to understand.  Though well done, and I assume accurate, they pulled me out of the story instead of bringing me in.  I think giving different characters a slight variation in voice is easier to listen to.

But, overall one hell of a podcast!




goatkeeper

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Reply #12 on: April 10, 2008, 02:43:38 AM
Some neat things about this story.  I had a hard time keeping focused through the first half because the pitch didn't change much in the narrator's voice and maybe my brain just can't lock in on something that low and steady.  About halfway through there was some more variation and he picked it up so my mind could focus on the story and not keep drifting to my taxes.  At that point it was just people running through mineshafts from zombies- and that's good enough for me!  Fast forward through all that setup and character development.
Good style and writing- reminded me of Sigler's Earthcore which was the first Podanything I ever listened to.



Russell Nash

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Reply #13 on: April 10, 2008, 10:43:13 AM
Did anyone else think the reading of the character who stepped into a test shaft reminded them a tiny bit of Sean Connery?

Remind me? Hell, it nearly took me out of the story for I started giggling and saying lines from The Untouchables in a surely Scottish accent. After that I got that out of my system, I was able to listen.


No kidding. I spent half of the story waiting for him to slip one in about the miners being ' shaken, not stirred'...

By the end of the story it was Sean Connery running from zombies with John Lennon.  It was a little silly since Liverpool is the other end of the Isles from Scotland.  I also got a chuckle out of Sean Connery talking about the Molly Maguires, since he starred in the movie by that name.

This is another story that brought up my old man's stories.  He's from a coal mining town in PA and my grandfather was one of the town doctors.  When there was a mine collapse my grandfather went down into the mines to do the work that paramedics would do today. 

The true horror of this story started early.  Maybe it went by too quickly for some, but in the beginning there was a little backstory of a dead husband being brought home to the wife.  Even as late as the 1950's in PA that meant the body being dumped on the front porch of the company house wrapped in a blanket.  The widow got no death benefit, was overcharged for the cost of the blanket, and was tols to vacate the house within two days.  Also the miners were always paid in company script meaning they could only ever shop at the company store with its inflated prices and any saved money was worthless when the widow tried to leave town.

Lots in this story for me.  I had a good time listening.



Amanda Spikol

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Reply #14 on: April 10, 2008, 03:29:56 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I'm from southeastern PA, so I grew up with these stories as well.  Part of the research that went into this piece was work with a geologist friend of mine who's worked for the mining companies, as well as some mine visits.

I'm facinated with the idea of horror in a historical setting; the terror that lurks just out of the camera's range on an old, seipa-tone photo.



Chodon

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Reply #15 on: April 10, 2008, 04:57:41 PM
I need to start by saying I love zombie stories.

I had two "favorite" parts.  First, was the initial meeting with the zombie.  The description of the attack, the surprisre, and the disbelief were intense.  Second, the scenes where the lights went out in the mines and Johnny had to feel his way around were terrifying and fantastic.  I think the ending was good.  It told us what was going to happen.  If we had been left with Johnny swinging away in the cavern full of zombies it would have been too open-ended for my liking.

One thing that did bother me was how Johnny didn't really seem to struggle with the fact that he abandoned his pregnant wife in a town full of the undead.  I would have a hard time with that, and I think there was a missed opportunity there to develop his character a bit more and to see some more drama.

Overall, great story.

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Steven Saus

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Reply #16 on: April 10, 2008, 11:10:37 PM
Stage one:  "Wow, he does those accents really well."

Stage two:  "Wow, there's a lot of accents, really quickly.  I'm kind of confused."

Stage three:  no words, just realizing I should stop listening to Pseudopod whilst driving.

I was actually horrified - and not just grossed out.  Excellent job with both the story and the reading.

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Kaa

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Reply #17 on: April 11, 2008, 03:49:59 PM
This was one of the better executed zombie stories I've heard, and I liked the accents, although they did slip from time to time, to humorous effect.  It was a bit hard to tell one character from another because of that, but perhaps driving isn't the best time to try to pay strict attention to every word of an audio-story. :)

And yes, he did sound like Sean Connery. :)

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Bdoomed

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Reply #18 on: April 11, 2008, 08:39:30 PM
i was impressed that they were able to get a voiceover from mr. Connery!
:P
i love this reading, wright is awesome!
still listening now...

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


Yossarian's grandson

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Reply #19 on: April 11, 2008, 11:13:58 PM
One more thing (I left this out of my previous comment, but some odd Welsh person is twisting my arm)....The accents sounded nothing like Welsh! Scottish, maybe, although more like Hollywood-Scottish than the real thing. But certainly not Welsh!



Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #20 on: April 12, 2008, 06:27:28 PM
Did anyone else think the reading of the character who stepped into a test shaft reminded them a tiny bit of Sean Connery?

Remind me? Hell, it nearly took me out of the story for I started giggling and saying lines from The Untouchables in a surely Scottish accent. After that I got that out of my system, I was able to listen.


No kidding. I spent half of the story waiting for him to slip one in about the miners being ' shaken, not stirred'...

"You'll rue the day ye turned ME into a zombie, Trebek!"


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Thaurismunths

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Reply #21 on: April 13, 2008, 06:42:17 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I'm from southeastern PA, so I grew up with these stories as well.  Part of the research that went into this piece was work with a geologist friend of mine who's worked for the mining companies, as well as some mine visits.

I'm facinated with the idea of horror in a historical setting; the terror that lurks just out of the camera's range on an old, seipa-tone photo.
Hi Amanda, thanks again for the story.
And while you're here, I missed the significance of something in the exchange with Hardfall down in the mine. He said something about "keeping all Irish". What exactly were they talking about?

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


wakela

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Reply #22 on: April 13, 2008, 11:36:54 PM
Did anyone else think the reading of the character who stepped into a test shaft reminded them a tiny bit of Sean Connery?

Remind me? Hell, it nearly took me out of the story for I started giggling and saying lines from The Untouchables in a surely Scottish accent. After that I got that out of my system, I was able to listen.


No kidding. I spent half of the story waiting for him to slip one in about the miners being ' shaken, not stirred'...

"You'll rue the day ye turned ME into a zombie, Trebek!"


Do you expect me to talk?

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Amanda Spikol

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Reply #23 on: April 14, 2008, 04:09:21 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I'm from southeastern PA, so I grew up with these stories as well.  Part of the research that went into this piece was work with a geologist friend of mine who's worked for the mining companies, as well as some mine visits.

I'm facinated with the idea of horror in a historical setting; the terror that lurks just out of the camera's range on an old, seipa-tone photo.
Hi Amanda, thanks again for the story.
And while you're here, I missed the significance of something in the exchange with Hardfall down in the mine. He said something about "keeping all Irish". What exactly were they talking about?

The Molly Maguires were a confederacy of Irish miners who conspired to acts of vengence against crooked and cruel mine bosses.  While Hardfall isn't one of them (being Welsh), he admits to acting as an informer for them, hence him knowing that Josef had been served with a 'coffin warn'; a death threat sent to targets, warning them that they're on the list, so they can run with no consequences or stay to face death.

It's really very interesting - and tons more info is here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_Maguires) if you're interested.



DKT

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Reply #24 on: April 14, 2008, 05:18:16 PM
Really really enjoyed this one all around.  I thought at first it was going to be a weird west story (have we had any of those here?) but was still really excited about the historical horror.  Good pace, scary, and a fantastic setting.  As an ending, I liked it better when Johnny was going nuts after Hardfall fell (as opposed to a couple other miner's finding him and revealing the zombie plague was spreading) but aside from that, the story hit all the right buttons for me.  Great reading again by Cheyenne Wright.  If a zombie brings a shovel to a fight, you bring a pick-axe.  That's the miner's way. 

Much much appreciation to all involved in this one.  It picked me up after a crummy start to my day.