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Author Topic: PC003: Run Of The Fiery Horse  (Read 47322 times)

stePH

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Reply #25 on: April 16, 2008, 05:16:21 PM
Do we use the term "EFP" here?

Explosively Formed Penetrator? Not usually. I prefer the naturally formed ones myself.

I mean Extruded Fantasy Product.  Like Eragon for example.

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ChloeH

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Reply #26 on: April 16, 2008, 05:17:37 PM
Just wanted to throw in my thoughts on this one. This is my first post on an episode so please forgive me if my skills at putting my thoughts on paper hard to follow.

I loved this story. I have always had a fondness for asian folktales and this story had the same feel. The idea of winning through submission is a common theme. I thought this was hinted at and revealed very well through her dealings with the courtasans. She gave the serpent everything he wanted and he choked on his own desires. Very nice.

I see what several people had mean by there being a "female empowerment theme" but I think it's really too early in PodCastle's life to say if it will continue.

Thank you for a good tale, well told.



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Reply #27 on: April 16, 2008, 05:35:15 PM
Just wanted to throw in my thoughts on this one. This is my first post on an episode so please forgive me if my skills at putting my thoughts on paper hard to follow.

I have no idea how you do with paper, but you get your point across with electrons.


Edit: fixed typo
« Last Edit: April 16, 2008, 07:01:26 PM by Russell Nash »



Listener

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Reply #28 on: April 16, 2008, 05:41:15 PM
It is very, very difficult to find good high fantasy and sword and sorcery stories. Most of what we see in slush are purple prosed Tolkein rip-offs.
I'm not sure what "purple-prosed" means, but if the Tolkien rip-offs are nevertheless good stories, I'd still like to hear them. But by "rip-offs," do you mean more or less the type of world they are set in (not an issue for me), or that a hobbit an elf finds this ring sword that needs to be destroyed before Sauron the Master of Darkness can get his hands on it (yeah, a bit of an issue).

I believe it was Elmore Leonard (I could be wrong) who recently posted on a blog or something about how the only word you need to tag dialogue is "said", and that you should either use that or nothing at all.  Since I read that last year, I have been nigh-obsessive about using "said" unless the character was indeed yelling, shouting, screaming, whispering, and sometimes I still go with said and instead describe the person's voice.

The biggest recent offender of purple-prose-ism, in my mind, is JK Rowling, culminating in a scene in "Order of the Phoenix" where Ron, upset, "ejaculated" his words.  I about peed myself in hilarity.

Interestingly, this morning I just watched episode 1x03 of "Californication", and this phrase was used.  Go fig.

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deflective

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Reply #29 on: April 16, 2008, 06:53:40 PM
The serpent - who was sexually attracted to the girl - was making her father dream of her in an inappropriate manner...

well said. even more accurately, it was the part of the serpent that was once her suitor.


i don't want to distract from the story but don't want to leave the overriding podcastle discussion either. it's continued in fantasy women.



Bdoomed

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Reply #30 on: April 16, 2008, 06:59:07 PM
Just wanted to throw in my thoughts on this one. This is my first post on an episode so please forgive me if my skills at putting my thoughts on paper hard to follow.

I have no idea how you do with paper, but your get your point across with electrons.
:D yaaay! i was going to say something to that effect.

fantasy women sounds dirty
« Last Edit: April 16, 2008, 07:00:44 PM by Bdoomed »

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


eytanz

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Reply #31 on: April 16, 2008, 07:07:14 PM
The serpent - who was sexually attracted to the girl - was making her father dream of her in an inappropriate manner...

well said. even more accurately, it was the part of the serpent that was once her suitor.

I don't think so. The serpent's attraction to the girl was pretty sexual even before he ate the suitor (indeed, he ate the suitor out of jealousy). And the suitor was a nice, gentle guy.



deflective

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Reply #32 on: April 16, 2008, 08:00:34 PM
i seem to remember a passage where the serpent found himself unsettled about new feelings after he had after consuming the suitor. there was something about the movement of her body when she ran.

and i resent the implication that a nice guy doesn't notice a woman's skin =p



ajames

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Reply #33 on: April 17, 2008, 10:32:51 AM
The ending confused me slightly -- not the climax, where Tsi Sha basically punched his own ticket, but where Li Chi ran off into the dream world.  I'd like to know what happened when she got out of there... or if she did.  I can't remember the exact quote, but someone once said that the world in which you hold your reader is ephemeral, that the characters have lives to get back to after you're done with them, and a good story lets them do that and makes you wonder what's outside the covers of the book.  (I'm paraphrasing.)

The ending definitely left me with questions, too. After wondering a bit about what happened next, I thought perhaps it was better to end the story this way - we know Li Chi is free to run, and that's the main thing.



Russell Nash

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Reply #34 on: April 17, 2008, 11:26:59 AM
The ending confused me slightly -- not the climax, where Tsi Sha basically punched his own ticket, but where Li Chi ran off into the dream world.  I'd like to know what happened when she got out of there... or if she did.  I can't remember the exact quote, but someone once said that the world in which you hold your reader is ephemeral, that the characters have lives to get back to after you're done with them, and a good story lets them do that and makes you wonder what's outside the covers of the book.  (I'm paraphrasing.)

The ending definitely left me with questions, too. After wondering a bit about what happened next, I thought perhaps it was better to end the story this way - we know Li Chi is free to run, and that's the main thing.

If she's left running in this world that was inside the spirit snake, how long can that world last?  If she doesn't get back to the real world, isn't it over for her or isn't she at least all alone?



eytanz

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Reply #35 on: April 17, 2008, 11:36:14 AM
The ending confused me slightly -- not the climax, where Tsi Sha basically punched his own ticket, but where Li Chi ran off into the dream world.  I'd like to know what happened when she got out of there... or if she did.  I can't remember the exact quote, but someone once said that the world in which you hold your reader is ephemeral, that the characters have lives to get back to after you're done with them, and a good story lets them do that and makes you wonder what's outside the covers of the book.  (I'm paraphrasing.)

The ending definitely left me with questions, too. After wondering a bit about what happened next, I thought perhaps it was better to end the story this way - we know Li Chi is free to run, and that's the main thing.

If she's left running in this world that was inside the spirit snake, how long can that world last?  If she doesn't get back to the real world, isn't it over for her or isn't she at least all alone?

My interpretation of the ending was that she was no longer within the snake, but she was still asleep and dreaming. I think it was meant to show that from now on her dreams are going to be happy. She will presumably wake up in the morning, but her real life will never be perfect - as an adult, she can no longer run freely, she will unlikely find a man who would make her happy, and so forth. But without the serpent, her spirit is now totally free whenever she dreams.



Ramsey

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Reply #36 on: April 17, 2008, 03:32:52 PM
The ending does seem a bit incongruous, but the line before last, "... the whole of the dreamlands lay before her ..." left me feeling that since she had defeated the dreamstalker she's somehow inherited the "dreamlands" over which he had reigned. Although, mostly, the point was probably just that she is now, free from her deal with the serpent, able to run to her heart's content.



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Reply #37 on: April 18, 2008, 02:32:32 AM
Always great discussion before I get here ;)

Ok, I only have one word for this story:

Beautiful.


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Reply #38 on: April 18, 2008, 10:35:28 AM
The ending does seem a bit incongruous, but the line before last, "... the whole of the dreamlands lay before her ..." left me feeling that since she had defeated the dreamstalker she's somehow inherited the "dreamlands" over which he had reigned. Although, mostly, the point was probably just that she is now, free from her deal with the serpent, able to run to her heart's content.
That's very much how I took the ending.
She destroyed the dreamstalker at his root, and now if she doesn't become the new dreamstalker then she at least has the powers to visit other peoples' dreams.

Oh and before I forget, the self-deprecating humor in the outro made me laugh out loud. Gooooo Rachel!
Totally overlooked, but absolutely right.
Great intros and outros.

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


Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #39 on: April 18, 2008, 12:00:36 PM
Brilliant story; thank you for "running" it.  ;)


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". 

You might argue (as Tsi Sha would argue) that it was "his nature" to devour them, but in fact, devouring his prey was an act of cowardice.  If he had been willing to risk losing Li Chi by sparing her (and not trying to dominate her), he would not have been destroyed.  They might have had a "happy ever after" ending!  (Not that we want THAT in a fantasy podcast! ;) )

And while a few of you claim to have seen the end coming, I wasn't sure until the "consummation" that we were going there.  Until that point, Tsi Sha could have decided to let Li Chi go, and spent her lifetime "enjoying her spirit"; after devouring Po Ta, he might have realized the wisdom of that approach.  I recognize a bit of Po Ta in myself, and my wife (who is a dragon, fwiw) certainly has a spirit that defies domination.  If I tried to dominate her (as many have suggested I should do over the years) we would NOT get along, and we would not be as happy as we are.

It is this sense of balance that appeals to me in Amy Tan's books, as well (though her stories are far darker than this one was).

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Reply #40 on: April 18, 2008, 02:27:59 PM
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.

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


DKT

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Reply #41 on: April 18, 2008, 09:30:39 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.


Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #42 on: April 19, 2008, 12:09:13 AM
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, 12:37:20 PM
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 20, 2008, 01:22:58 AM by JoeFitz »



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Reply #44 on: April 19, 2008, 02:37:07 PM
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 





CammoBlammo

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Reply #45 on: April 20, 2008, 09:55:34 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...



gelee

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Reply #46 on: April 22, 2008, 03:01:29 PM
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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Reply #47 on: April 23, 2008, 12:10:32 AM

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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Reply #48 on: April 23, 2008, 09:49:38 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 :)

More please!



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Reply #49 on: April 24, 2008, 04:25:34 AM
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.
 :)

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