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Author Topic: PC003: Run Of The Fiery Horse  (Read 24713 times)
Thaurismunths
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« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2008, 09:27:59 AM »

As for the female empowerment theme, this story is a great example of doing it right.  The story is not "about" female empowerment - it is about the individual being true to their nature. 

Tsi Sha symbolized the male tendency to treat his conquests as prey - note that it wasn't about sex until he took human form - and while I got the impression that he didn't need to devour spirits in order to appreciate them, he felt he had to or risk having them "get away".
That's an interesting view.
My take was slightly different; I interpreted Tsi Sha as a 'typical' man who wanted to control all things, the more powerful (spicy of spirit) the better, in vain attempt to fill a void in himself (the stone in the center) that could not be filled through external means. If you remember, all the souls and their cacophony could not breach the demon's root, it was deafeningly quite in there.

For what it's worth Tsi Sha could have been a mortal warlord who wanted Li Chi as his bride, and if she didn't consent then her family/village would be destroyed. In the end she submitted, he made himself vulnerable, and she killed him, freeing both herself and the world in general from his tyranny.
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DKT
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« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2008, 04:30:39 PM »


Consider Fiery Horse in particular.  She's actually succeeded with the help of her father.  She's not rebelling against her father, he's her ally the whole time.  She scores no points against the society that exposes baby girls because their horoscopes aren't right.  She manages to avoid footbinding—because of her father.  The thing she's fighting is a monster that will kill her and absorb her, and she kills it by following the dictates of her male-dominated culture:  agreeing to a marriage and outwardly submitting.



Perhaps it's because I'm a father of a feisty girl, but I loved this aspect of the story.  It's so refreshing to see fathers (and mothers) who love their children.  I understand why we see it the other way often, and I'm okay with that, too.   But stories like this one and the EP Death by Flaming Marshmallow get extra points from me. 

Great story.  I couldn't stop listening to it.  And the outro was one of the funniest I think I've heard.
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Tango Alpha Delta
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« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2008, 07:09:13 PM »

My take was slightly different; I interpreted Tsi Sha as a 'typical' man who wanted to control all things, the more powerful (spicy of spirit) the better, in vain attempt to fill a void in himself (the stone in the center) that could not be filled through external means. If you remember, all the souls and their cacophony could not breach the demon's root, it was deafeningly quite in there.



Ah!!  That's the line I missed while pulling into my driveway!!!

(The sign says "30mph" but the traffic sees "30mach".)
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JoeFitz
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« Reply #43 on: April 19, 2008, 07:37:20 AM »

Very well done story; great reader.

Just a small quibble, an intro that mentions the story "still makes someone cry every time they read it" was almost a show-stopper for me. That bothers me because the story was certainly worth the listen. I was worried it was going to be maudlin.

And a comment on the "empowerment theme":
a) So what if there were a theme? I am looking for good stories. If they have a theme, a moral, or whatever, I'm happy to play along. Call them chocolate flavored vitamins (or poison). As Master Li said - whether it is medicine or poison depends on whether you are the person or the disease.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2008, 08:22:58 PM by JoeFitz » Logged
coldwater
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« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2008, 09:37:07 AM »

Hello everyone,
For starters, I want to thank Steve Heely and all of the staff at EscapePod, Pseudopod, and Podcastle.  They have all enriched my life greatly.  Many an evening for me and my family have been filled and wonderfully entertained by the fantastic stories on Escape Pod.  OK, enough praise for the casts...

I really enjoyed Run of the Fiery Horse.  Having dabbled in Vietnamese astrology which is apparently quite similar I could follow the explanations quite easily.  One of the reviews here mentioned how richly illustrated the story was.  Well worded review!  I wholeheartedly agree.  I could actually see the snake in my mind!  Was it the story or the storyteller...  Who cares!  what an experience!

Thank you for a wonderful story that I can't wait to share with my wife.

Love, Chris 


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CammoBlammo
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« Reply #45 on: April 20, 2008, 04:55:34 AM »

A few thoughts:

First, this is one of the best stories I've heard on my iPod, period. I listened to it on my morning walk yesterday, and I got so engrossed I nearly tripped over a kangaroo. I don't know where they fit into Chinese astrology, but I do know they don't like collisions with humans.

Second, I haven't picked up on any of the sexual politics others have in the EPFVerse (?) of late. I take this as a good thing, because it means I really do accept the place of women in my society.

Third, I too wondered where this story might go. I remember early in the story the serpent called the dreamworld his dominion --- I assumed Li Chi was now ruler there, but she could only reach it in her own dreams. An interesting thought for a sequel occurs to me --- is it possible she is pregnant with the serpent's child?

Roll on Episode 4...
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gelee
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« Reply #46 on: April 22, 2008, 10:01:29 AM »

A good story, but not great.  The narration was a bit florid, but I guess that's appropriate for the "Fairy Tale" style.  Sure, the ending was obvious, but it's a fairy tale.  You're supposed to see it coming.
I'm a bit dissappointed to hear that we're in for a run of three "Fairy Tales" in a row.  They're OK, but get old in a hurry.
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Windup
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« Reply #47 on: April 22, 2008, 07:10:32 PM »


As a sometime storyteller, this is the sort of thing I love -- a throughly modern tale built entirely from traditional parts.

It's a difficult trick -- it's so much easier to slip into irony, or juxtaposition of ancient and modern, or easy humor.  All those things can work, but the sheer craftsmanship of maintaining the fairy-tale world view and ancient culture while still telling a story modern readers find highly engaging is a beautiful thing to behold.  The prose equivalent, I think, of some of those steampunk gadgets that are so popular right now. 

So for the story: Bravo, good job, let's hear more!!

FWIW, my interpretation of the end was the she inherited the worlds and power of Tsi Sha, though she will presumably exercise it in a more benevolent manner. 

I also thought the narrator was well-matched to the story, and did a wonderful interpretation -- I particularly liked the voice rendering of Tsi Sha.

The only part of the episode I didn't like was the fan introduction.  For me, it was like hearing a toast at the wedding of someone you don't know very well -- you realize that there was something very meaningful there for them, but it just doesn't carry over. 

If you're going to add material to the intro/outro, I'd like to see author comments.  One of the things I like about buying anthologies of previously-published stories is that they usually add comments from the author about where they got the idea, how it fits into the larger scheme of their work, details of their life at the time, etc. that sort of thing would interest me, but a relatively spare intro/outro may be the best choice. Length does get to be a problem, at least for me.
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sonata
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« Reply #48 on: April 23, 2008, 04:49:38 PM »

Amazing! When I first read the little blurb in iTunes, I thought it was just going to be another campy riff on Asian mythology with some horoscopes thrown in.

I listened to it on the bus on the way to school--only got about halfway, and was made to suffer through 6 periods before I could finish. Wow. I'm still thinking about it, and wishing I could read/listen to more like it.

Quote
Contains sensuality, serpentine twists, and a darting tongue that can taste your dreams.

Very accurate description Smiley

More please!
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Deaf Leper
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« Reply #49 on: April 23, 2008, 11:25:34 PM »

I was completely surprised that it didn't end tragically. Tempest said " It still has the ability to make me cry" in the intro, and the story was based on a Chinese legend, so I fully expected the heroine ( I won't attempt to spell her name ) to die.
I'm mostly kidding, but I'm glad she didn't.
 Smiley
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Roland
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« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2008, 02:35:17 PM »

Thankyou for a wonderful story full of wonderful imagery and well developed characters brought to life by great narration.
My favourite episode so far(yes I know there have only been 5).
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Roney
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« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2008, 04:18:49 PM »

The only part of the episode I didn't like was the fan introduction.  For me, it was like hearing a toast at the wedding of someone you don't know very well -- you realize that there was something very meaningful there for them, but it just doesn't carry over.

If you're going to add material to the intro/outro, I'd like to see author comments.  One of the things I like about buying anthologies of previously-published stories is that they usually add comments from the author about where they got the idea, how it fits into the larger scheme of their work, details of their life at the time, etc. that sort of thing would interest me, but a relatively spare intro/outro may be the best choice. Length does get to be a problem, at least for me.

I agree with everything Windup said, but I want to second this.  Forewords aren't a problem in print because the reader can skip past them and return to them later if they're interested.  I strongly prefer an afterword in audio: even when I trust the podcast not to include any spoilers, a foreword is X minutes of chat that won't really mean anything to me until I've heard the story.  An afterword can be stopped if I wasn't interested in the story, paused if I want to think about it some more myself before continuing, or played if I know I want to hear some reaction.

So I'd prefer extra comment at the end, and I'd prefer it to be something really worth listening to.  Author comment should be the gold standard, insightful analysis is silver and a distant bronze is general praise.

Of course the risk is defusing the forum comment by saying all the clever stuff in the podcast.

I loved the story, by the way.  And the telling.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #52 on: May 01, 2008, 06:39:55 AM »

The paragraph or so that HMM gave us on Fiery Horse when we asked (we always ask) is actually included in the introduction.

--R
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Archie
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« Reply #53 on: June 20, 2008, 07:38:15 AM »

Interesting story. Is it just me or was the main character very luck to get away with her plan? It didn't seem likely and then 'with one might leap' she was free...not so sold on the ending but a nice ride.
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yicheng
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« Reply #54 on: June 23, 2008, 02:17:18 PM »

I was completely surprised that it didn't end tragically. Tempest said " It still has the ability to make me cry" in the intro, and the story was based on a Chinese legend, so I fully expected the heroine ( I won't attempt to spell her name ) to die.
I'm mostly kidding, but I'm glad she didn't.
 Smiley

I was expecting a very sad ending as well.  Most chinese legends (like Irish stories) have either sad endings, or at least not the happy fairytale-endings.
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« Reply #55 on: November 13, 2009, 01:11:35 PM »

This story was alright.  I don't want to reopen the whole can of worms of whether this was feminist or not, but it did seem a tad message-heavy for my tastes.

The main reason I couldn't really get into the story is not really the author's fault, but my disbelief in astrology, particularly astrology that is so coarse-grained (classifying people by the year of their birth as opposed to the individual day).  That would mean that everybody born in 1981 would have the same personality traits as me, which would be half of my senior class in high school, which wasn't the case at all.  Classifying by date I can at least believe in somewhat because I don't know many people with the same birthday as me.  I did go check out to see what my birth year is classified as, and I'm a metal rooster, in case anyone cares to know.  Cheesy

Two things that are terrible to me were the foot-binding (which I'd heard of), and the killing of girls born in a particular year (which I hadn't heard of).
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