Escape Artists

News:

News

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

Author Topic: PC004: Goosegirl  (Read 30278 times)

Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
on: April 22, 2008, 04:00:27 AM
PC004: Goosegirl

By Margaret Ronald
Read by Mary Robinette Kowal.

Introduction by Rachel Swirsky.

First appeared in Fantasy Magazine Sampler (Wildside Press).

"You came with the Princess Alia, didn't you?" says a tall man with an understeward's chain. "They must have low standards up north if you're the sort of thing she brings along."

I shake my head; the world slides in and out of focus. "I didn't come here for that. I'm not -- help."

He raises his eyebrows. "Oh, so you're not with the help? You must be one of the nobility, then?" He tweaks my skirts, and a ragged hem tears. "So what did you come here for, if you're not with the princess?"

The words sound wrong even as I think them, but I say them nonetheless. "To be married."

He bursts out laughing. "Poor girl," a woman at the back of the servants' hall says. "She's simple. Can't tell between herself and the princess."


Rated PG. Contains sorcery, blood, and theft of memory.


Listen to this week's Pod Castle!
« Last Edit: April 22, 2008, 04:51:13 AM by Heradel »

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #1 on: April 22, 2008, 11:29:05 AM
It's interesting that my podcast listening habits have worked out to make me one of the first few commenters on PC, but one of the second-pagers on most EPs...

Anyway.

The reader had an excellent voice for narration, but I think she overplayed some of the voices.  Perhaps a reading duet, with this reader doing the narration and someone else with a different voice (maybe a male reader, or an alto female) doing the voices, might work well in the future.

As for the story... it sort of sounded to me like magical realism in a fantasy world.  Not knowing the original Goosegirl story, but having read the occasional "king comes among the commoners" story, I was able to follow it.  But only just.  I couldn't really go back and tell you many of the details because they sort of washed over me in a flood.  The whole body-switching thing seemed inadequately explained, as did her witching thing.  Did a witch swap the bodies?  Did the impostor go to a witch to commission the swap?

The ending was nice, though, how she saved the king and turned him into a swineherd full-time so they could be together.

I might have liked a slightly-longer, less magical-realism, more concrete-concept form of the story.  But that's just me.

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

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


Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 12:25:15 AM
As for the story... it sort of sounded to me like magical realism in a fantasy world.  Not knowing the original Goosegirl story, but having read the occasional "king comes among the commoners" story, I was able to follow it.  But only just.  I couldn't really go back and tell you many of the details because they sort of washed over me in a flood.  The whole body-switching thing seemed inadequately explained, as did her witching thing.  Did a witch swap the bodies?  Did the impostor go to a witch to commission the swap?

I had the same problem with not really knowing the Goose Girl fairy tale — I very vaguely remember hearing either this story or something like it when I was much younger, but I'm pretty sure the ending was different than the one mentioned in the wikipedia plot summary.

I really did like the story, but I had to rewind at a few points during the story until I got the purpose of some of the things mentioned. More exposition probably would have burdened the narrative, but for those who haven't read Grimm, including myself, it did make it a bit harder to understand. I did think it was interesting that they chose not to punish the original goose girl/witch. I sort of understand, but the thing she did, while ultimately allowing the King and Princess to be happy together as a swineherd and goose girl, was pretty cruel and malicious, and I'm left wondering what's going to happen to the kingdom.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 01:28:29 AM
Well, I was familiar with the goosegirl fairy tale before hearing the story, so maybe there's a correlation there, because I really loved this one. I liked how it played with notions of identity, birthright, and choice.

I'm a bit curious about the following quote from Rachel, from the "women in fantasy" thread:

Quote
This coming week's piece has a female hero -- but also a female villain. It involves collusion between a man and a woman with a happy result, and it ends with a happy relationship between equals. Perhaps it'll work better for you.

Was this referring to this story? I would not really consider the faux princess a villian; she may have been one in the backstory, but she didn't play a villian's role in the story.



Old Man Parker

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Time for Grandpa's special medication: Cheers!
Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 01:55:19 AM
Podcastle seems to be "Fantasy for the empowerment of Women". No Robert E. Howard, or Michael Moorcock here. Now, I don't have a problem with that, as long as the Fantasy is good. So far, it's been darned good.

I liked Goose Girl. I always dig a story with a powerful witch in it. And, I dig it even more if the author takes the time to get inside the witch's mind. Showing her connection to her craft, or the "Witchy" aspect of the world around her: like the small gods in this story.

Now, if we can just get some action in.

"Hey you kids, get out of my pumpkin patch!"


Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #5 on: April 23, 2008, 01:57:27 AM
Podcastle seems to be "Fantasy for the empowerment of Women". No Robert E. Howard, or Michael Moorcock here. Now, I don't have a problem with that, as long as the Fantasy is good. So far, it's been darned good.

We've talked about that here: http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=1519.0;all

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Windup

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1226
Reply #6 on: April 23, 2008, 02:40:50 AM

As for the story... it sort of sounded to me like magical realism in a fantasy world.  Not knowing the original Goosegirl story, but having read the occasional "king comes among the commoners" story, I was able to follow it.  But only just.  I couldn't really go back and tell you many of the details because they sort of washed over me in a flood.  The whole body-switching thing seemed inadequately explained, as did her witching thing.  Did a witch swap the bodies?  Did the impostor go to a witch to commission the swap?


I liked untangling the body-switch thing -- enchantment as told from the point of view of the enchanted.  Much more interesting than just having her wake up and wonder if it was a dream.

Although I'm not familiar with the original Goose Girl tale, what I think happened is that the story's "princess" -- actually, the daughter of a powerful witch -- posed as a goose girl to get into position to swap bodies (and to some extent, memories) with a real princess.  We pick the story up shortly after the swap occurs, from the vantage point of the real princess, now imprisioned in the body of the goose girl/witch. She's a reverse Max Headroom -- one mind, two sets of memories. She remembers being the daughter of a witch, and she remembers being a princess going to marry the king's son. Both sets of memories are incomplete, they conflict, and she's not sure which one is real.

She eventually figures out she can reverse the spell by killing the imposter -- she is gradually acquiring the full set of the imposter's memories, including the use of magic -- but chooses not to do so.  Instead, she embraces her identity as a witch, and she and the king wander happily into the sunset. 

I certainly thought the imposter was a villian.  Understandable, certainly -- though you'd think a witch could come up with other ways to escape crushing poverty -- but she still carried out an incredibly complete act of identity theft.  It's not like the princess agreed to the swap in advance.

At least, that's what I think I heard.  Anybody else?  (This story is all about perspective and memory, after all...)

"My whole job is in the space between 'should be' and 'is.' It's a big space."


sirana

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 409
Reply #7 on: April 23, 2008, 07:54:10 AM
I had the same problem with not really knowing the Goose Girl fairy tale — I very vaguely remember hearing either this story or something like it when I was much younger, but I'm pretty sure the ending was different than the one mentioned in the wikipedia plot summary.

I didn't know the original fairytale, but from what I gathered from the wikipedia page I like the story we heard better. Nice take on the subject.



Darwinist

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 701
Reply #8 on: April 23, 2008, 03:44:13 PM
Ditto on not knowing the original fairy tale.
Ditto on liking the story. 

Very well done IMO.  Another winner. 

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan


gelee

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 521
  • It's a missile, boy.
Reply #9 on: April 23, 2008, 08:46:37 PM
I just didin't like this one.  I was several minutes into the story before I had a handle on what was happening.  About 30 seconds in, I said to myself "The protag is confused."  Several minutes later, I still knew nothing more than that.
Also, why on earth did the king want to be a swineherd?

OK, so I just deleted about 200 words of pointless whining.  I'll just say I didn't care for it.
Something different please?



Thaurismunths

  • High Priest of TCoRN
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1421
  • Praise N-sh, for it is right and good!
Reply #10 on: April 23, 2008, 10:05:57 PM
BWAHAHAHAHA!
Fantastic. :)

Goosegirl has always been on of my favorite European faerie tale, and this was a wonderful telling. It mended wonderfully the only fault in previous telling: Why had the princess submitted with out a fight? Perhaps when the story was still just an oral tradition witchcraft was the obvious answer, but as an 8 year old it confounded me. Also, it was a terrific twist to have the goosegirl accept who she had become and to make it her own, and still retain the princessly virtues of honor and compassion.
Great find Rachel!

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


Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #11 on: April 23, 2008, 10:10:19 PM
Also, why on earth did the king want to be a swineherd?

I took it as a "heavy is the head that wears the crown" moment. He certainly seemed a lot happier as a simple swineherd.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Biscuit

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
Reply #12 on: April 23, 2008, 10:23:39 PM
Not my cup of tea.

I appreciate the intricacies of the clever writing, but this story didn't push any buttons for me. 


Ocicat

  • Castle Watchcat
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3232
  • Anything for a Weird Life
Reply #13 on: April 23, 2008, 10:31:02 PM
I'm pretty neutral on this one - there was a lot I enjoyed, but it wasn't fantastic.  Confusing in parts, certainly.  Good themes, just not executed as well as it could have been.  I could have used more insight into the characters, mostly.  I know that's not something you usually get in a fairy tale, but this seemed to be a retelling that was trying to flesh things out, and I think it would have benifited from more.  And it probably would have helped if I'd remembered the original tale (I know I read all the Grims as a kid, but Goose Girl didn't stand out for me).  Overall a fine and distracting listen.



Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #14 on: April 24, 2008, 12:07:44 AM
I think Windup officially covered my opinion on this one; liked it... check, princess/villain... check...

I liked the way it unfolded from the initial confusion.  I really felt like I was figuring things out along with the Goosegirl.


This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


Gwyddyon

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Reply #15 on: April 24, 2008, 04:27:10 AM
I think the best way I can describe my reaction is that the story was entertaining, but not at all engaging.  Partially that's probably because I hadn't heard of Goosegirl stories before - Giant at least made me briefly ponder the classics in a new light because I knew the references.  And partially I think it was the fault of the story.  Stories like EP's "Friction" really got my imagination running and my mind working - would the knowledge be worth it?  why AM I in academia? - to a wonderful degree.  This story just didn't.  I wasn't curious about the decisions made, they just sort of were and I observed them and that was that.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  After all, I wouldn't listen to PodCastle if it wasn't entertaining, and this story was.  But Escape Artists has raised my standards in the past, and when it comes time to make space on my harddrive, this one probably won't be making the cut unlike Giant and Come Lady Death.



Chivalrybean

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
    • The Space Turtle
Reply #16 on: April 24, 2008, 05:25:42 AM
I like trying to figure out what it happening. On the other hand, sometimes I like stories more though when I just take it as it comes and don't analyze to much during the story. In this one, I got that the girl seemed to have a double life of some sort, or that two minds were trapped, so I got that, and it began to make more sense later. I thought the book was a dictionary at first despite the fact she got it from a witch, or, the other her got it from the witch... or, something. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on. I think many listeners might have felt just like the protagonist, confused and not knowing what the heck was going on. I was for the most part. But, it all made sense in the end, and I had no dislike of the story.

The Space Turtle - News that didn't happen, stories to entertain.


Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #17 on: April 24, 2008, 12:11:19 PM
Something Chivalrybean said about the Red Book being a dictionary got me thinking about magic and the power of words.

For my money, the best stories about magic approach it as a fundamentally different (if not always better) understanding of the universe.  This is not meant to be confused with "magical realism", but rather, a combination of two famous ideas:
*Clarke's "any sufficiently advanced technology" which seems like magic to the uninitiated, and
*the concept that observation itself can influence the outcome of a phenomenon.  (I thought there was a quote capturing this better, but...)

As a linguist/writer/smartass, I appreciate the power that words have to focus the mind, and as a reader, I never tire of contemplating the latent powers that the human brain *might* hold in the unused 90% of each individual's gray matter.  As a hacker (in spirit, if not in skill) I appreciate the idea that a particular string of commands - in the proper syntax, of course - could unlock a hidden backdoor, and allow some control over the world around us.

This made the magic in Goosegirl a particularly intriguing part of the story for me.  I love the idea that studying the differences in the meaning of words can give one enough insight to unlock some of those secrets in the Universal O/S - with enough of that essential handwavium lying about, of course!

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #18 on: April 24, 2008, 12:57:37 PM
As a linguist/writer/smartass, I appreciate the power that words have to focus the mind, and as a reader, I never tire of contemplating the latent powers that the human brain *might* hold in the unused 90% of each individual's gray matter.  As a hacker (in spirit, if not in skill) I appreciate the idea that a particular string of commands - in the proper syntax, of course - could unlock a hidden backdoor, and allow some control over the world around us.

Have you read Snow Crash?  The novel involves a concept very much like what you say here.

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


Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 618
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Reply #19 on: April 24, 2008, 03:57:35 PM
[...]the unused 90% of each individual's gray matter.[...]

I hate to nitpick, but if I held this in, my head would explode. :)  The whole "we only use 10% of our brains" thing has been soundly and completely debunked. We use our entire brain.  All the time.

Anyway....

I liked this story, and I thought the reading was very well done. I had none of the problems some others did with the story, the voices, or following what was going on.  I've never even heard of the "Goose Girl" fable, so it had nothing to do with it being familiar.  (Although, I do admit it made me think of Robert Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle quite a bit, but not 'til halfway through.)

Well done on both the writing and the reading.

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else


Rain

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 178
Reply #20 on: April 24, 2008, 04:10:44 PM
I hate to be down on all the stories but i didnt really enjoy this either, i thought it was told in a very confusing manner in order to hide the fact that there really wasnt much to this story, i am not familiar with the original tale (at the start of the story i thought it was about some actual goose-human creature) but the theme is common to me and this tale really didnt add anything new to it



Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #21 on: April 25, 2008, 11:58:41 AM
[...]the unused 90% of each individual's gray matter.[...]

I hate to nitpick, but if I held this in, my head would explode. :)  The whole "we only use 10% of our brains" thing has been soundly and completely debunked. We use our entire brain.  All the time.


Dangit!  *I* don't use all of it... certainly not when I'm posting!  ;)   

(First the 100 Monkeys myth, and now the 10% of our brains myth... what's next?  I suppose you'll tell me we don't really live in a representative republic?)

As a linguist/writer/smartass, I appreciate the power that words have to focus the mind, and as a reader, I never tire of contemplating the latent powers that the human brain *might* hold in the unused 90% of each individual's gray matter.  As a hacker (in spirit, if not in skill) I appreciate the idea that a particular string of commands - in the proper syntax, of course - could unlock a hidden backdoor, and allow some control over the world around us.

Have you read Snow Crash?  The novel involves a concept very much like what you say here.

Yes, I have; and I thought it was brilliant.  I can never remember Stephenson's plot points, or much about the characters, but I always feel fondness for the books themselves.  Perhaps if I used my whole brain.....

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 618
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Reply #22 on: April 25, 2008, 12:18:49 PM
I can never remember Stephenson's plot points, or much about the characters, but I always feel fondness for the books themselves.  Perhaps if I used my whole brain.....

Whew. I thought I was the only one.  I was trying to tell someone about Snow Crash and realized I remembered the main character's name (Hiro Protagonist, which has to be the best name in all of literature) and the virus that affected computers and brains.  And that's it.  I remember even less about The Diamond Age.  I read them both and I loved them both.  Weird.

Maybe reading Stephenson's books puts a meme infection in our brains that causes us to like the books but forget the subconscious commands he [SESSION ENDED]

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else


stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #23 on: April 25, 2008, 12:53:54 PM
I can never remember Stephenson's plot points, or much about the characters, but I always feel fondness for the books themselves.  Perhaps if I used my whole brain.....

Whew. I thought I was the only one.  I was trying to tell someone about Snow Crash and realized I remembered the main character's name (Hiro Protagonist, which has to be the best name in all of literature) and the virus that affected computers and brains.  And that's it.  I remember even less about The Diamond Age.  I read them both and I loved them both.  Weird.

Maybe reading Stephenson's books puts a meme infection in our brains that causes us to like the books but forget the subconscious commands he [SESSION ENDED]

I can remember the book quite well; even make a decent attempt to summarize it.  But I've read it several times and listened to the audio once.

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


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #24 on: April 25, 2008, 03:42:06 PM
I like trying to figure out what it happening.

So do I, but this was more like trying to muddle through the language and I lost the story several times as a result.

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

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


Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Reply #25 on: April 25, 2008, 04:08:53 PM
Quote
So do I, but this was more like trying to muddle through the language and I lost the story several times as a result.


If you (or anyone else who found the story prohibitively confusing) happen to have a chance to take a gander at this story in text, and want to mention whether you find it more or less confusing in print than audio, I'd be really interested to hear that.



deflective

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1171
Reply #26 on: April 25, 2008, 06:02:47 PM
those wanting to gander the goosegirl, here's your chance
« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 08:17:59 PM by deflective »



Anarkey

  • Meen Pie
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 703
  • ...depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Reply #27 on: April 25, 2008, 06:57:16 PM
Quote
So do I, but this was more like trying to muddle through the language and I lost the story several times as a result.


If you (or anyone else who found the story prohibitively confusing) happen to have a chance to take a gander at this story in text, and want to mention whether you find it more or less confusing in print than audio, I'd be really interested to hear that.

I was wondering the same thing, Rachel, and would love to hear back from people as well.  Unfortunately, I have to disqualify myself on answering, since I'd read it already.  I enjoyed it both times, but maybe it WAS easier to understand after I'd had the text in front of me.  So far I'm digging PodCastle, keep the good stories coming.

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


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #28 on: April 25, 2008, 08:01:55 PM
Quote
So do I, but this was more like trying to muddle through the language and I lost the story several times as a result.


If you (or anyone else who found the story prohibitively confusing) happen to have a chance to take a gander at this story in text, and want to mention whether you find it more or less confusing in print than audio, I'd be really interested to hear that.

I skimmed parts of it, and it was easier to follow as text, but not nearly as compelling.

Six/half-dozen.

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

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


Ciel

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Reply #29 on: April 25, 2008, 09:24:51 PM
Out of the four stories on PC's mantle (hell, out of all the stories I've heard), this one was BY FAR the hardest one to follow.  If it hadn't been for Rachel's personal accounts beforehand, I would have been completely lost.  I may go through the text later but I don't think it would help much.



Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #30 on: April 26, 2008, 12:55:37 AM
Quote
So do I, but this was more like trying to muddle through the language and I lost the story several times as a result.


If you (or anyone else who found the story prohibitively confusing) happen to have a chance to take a gander at this story in text, and want to mention whether you find it more or less confusing in print than audio, I'd be really interested to hear that.

Disappointing thousandth post. Needs more cowbell.


— 

Personally, I think that complex stories get more complex when you can't go back and reread a sentence. Audio is mostly linear, and paper is a lot more random access, which makes it easier. That said, this story wasn't too bad for me, but I've been reading some pretty weird stories lately, so it might just be a matter of degrees.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 12:57:32 AM by Heradel »

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Yossarian's grandson

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Wisdom is knowing when to jump
Reply #31 on: April 26, 2008, 06:49:32 PM
Not to be overly shallow, but are we going to get any blood-and-guts, sword-swinging, spellcasting fantasy mayhem on PC anytime soon? I'm all for good storycrafting and exploring psychological motifs, but don't forget about the nitty-gritty of fantasy either.

Some of us need our testosterone fueled heroes, you know... ;)



Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 618
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Reply #32 on: April 26, 2008, 10:57:55 PM
Not to be overly shallow, but are we going to get any blood-and-guts, sword-swinging, spellcasting fantasy mayhem on PC anytime soon? I'm all for good storycrafting and exploring psychological motifs, but don't forget about the nitty-gritty of fantasy either.

Some of us need our testosterone fueled heroes, you know... ;)

I believe she said that the first group of stories purposefully explored all different facets of "fantasy."  So I'm sure there's likely to be some of what you're asking for, soon. :)

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else


JoeFitz

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
Reply #33 on: April 26, 2008, 11:39:12 PM
Good story, great reading. Excellent unfolding of the story. It did take some time to realize what was going on - and that was great. I loved the gradual reveal for the narrator.

I think the original witch was a villain. She took what was not hers and was willing to kill to keep it. She also said she would defile the shrine on the wall. By contrast, the princess was turned into a goose girl and yet grew to be happy with her new life.

A little quibble that the king and princess who were apparently genuine, decent people were unable to keep their offices but the power-hungry and envious took over. Another quibble that the "old king" and the "young princess" hook up. I think I would have liked it better if the "old king" was just the prince's older brother, who had been widowed without an heir, leaving the younger prince next in line.

I had not read the goose girl tale before, but I fell right into this one. Thanks.






eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #34 on: April 27, 2008, 12:06:43 AM
I think the original witch was a villain. She took what was not hers and was willing to kill to keep it.


She was willing to threaten to kill. It was pretty unclear to me from the actual confrontation whether she had it in her (anymore?)

Quote
Another quibble that the "old king" and the "young princess" hook up. I think I would have liked it better if the "old king" was just the prince's older brother, who had been widowed without an heir, leaving the younger prince next in line.

The story made a point of stressing that the king wasn't really old (he had the prince when he was very young), and she was relatively old for an unmarried princess. I think he was in his forties and she was in her mid-twenties. Not a small gap, but not a particularly unconventional one.



Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #35 on: April 27, 2008, 12:29:58 AM
I think the original witch was a villain. She took what was not hers and was willing to kill to keep it.


She was willing to threaten to kill. It was pretty unclear to me from the actual confrontation whether she had it in her (anymore?)

I found it interesting how much the witch had changed in this story, it felt more like one of those Star Trek stories where two characters go into a teleporter and emerge mixed into one or two fundamentally new characters with bits and pieces of both(Tuvix being the operative example). We know the witch is scared to death of going back to the farm/being found out (considering the punishment in the original, not unjustifiably), but we don't spend a lot of time with her except with those bits that have been stitched onto the princess.

The problem with viewing them as villain and victim is that they are so jumbled up that neither is who they are before — they both are going through this period of disquietude where they're neither one nor t'other, and eventually both emerge as new people. Is the previous witch villainous and the previous princess virtuous? Probably, that's certainly how they play it in the fairy tale. But we no longer have the witch to blame, the princess to empathize. Maybe that spark of desperation for a new life that drove the witch into plan now resides in the princess and that's why the princess happy with being the goose girl wife to a swineherd. If we blame that aspect of the witch for causing the evil, and now it resides in the princess, who are we to blame?

Quote from: eytanz
Quote
Another quibble that the "old king" and the "young princess" hook up. I think I would have liked it better if the "old king" was just the prince's older brother, who had been widowed without an heir, leaving the younger prince next in line.

The story made a point of stressing that the king wasn't really old (he had the prince when he was very young), and she was relatively old for an unmarried princess. I think he was in his forties and she was in her mid-twenties. Not a small gap, but not a particularly unconventional one.

Quote from: Goosegirl
He is no more than twelve years older than I; he fathered the prince young and was widowed young. (And I, no matter which memory I touch, know I was old to be married: past twenty at least.) Maybe they confuse the king with his father, who died only a year ago and whose endless senescence has endowed the crown with years; maybe the vitality of the prince steals any youth from his surroundings. Or maybe it is only that no one cares to look too closely at one who reeks of pigs.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 618
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Reply #36 on: April 27, 2008, 12:33:51 AM
The story made a point of stressing that the king wasn't really old (he had the prince when he was very young), and she was relatively old for an unmarried princess. I think he was in his forties and she was in her mid-twenties. Not a small gap, but not a particularly unconventional one.

This bugged me, briefly, but then I started thinking. Didn't the princess-who-was-actually-the-witch switch bodies with the goose-girl-who-used-to-be-the-princess?  Else, wouldn't someone sorta-kinda notice that the princess doesn't look like the princess?  Or that the goose-girl and the princess look an awful lot alike? So if she was "a hag," before the switch, would she not also be "old" like the king?  That was my take.  I can't imagine the witch leaving the former-princess-now-goose-girl young and pretty. That would be too kind.

Note: The reading suggested she was young, but I'm not sure the text does. I haven't looked, to be honest.

[Edit] Now that Heradel has clarified things a bit, perhaps "hag" meant anything over "typical marriageable age," which probably would have been mid-teens.  :)
« Last Edit: April 27, 2008, 12:37:52 AM by Kaa »

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else


deflective

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1171
Reply #37 on: April 27, 2008, 02:38:44 AM
hag is a term for a witch.



Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 618
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Reply #38 on: April 27, 2008, 06:03:21 AM
hag is a term for a witch.

Ah, of course.  That never even occurred to me. I was going with the less...folklore-y, more prosaic meaning of "an ugly, slatternly, or evil-looking old woman."  Podcastle. Fantasy. Right. :)

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #39 on: April 27, 2008, 09:26:30 AM
The problem with viewing them as villain and victim is that they are so jumbled up that neither is who they are before — they both are going through this period of disquietude where they're neither one nor t'other, and eventually both emerge as new people. Is the previous witch villainous and the previous princess virtuous? Probably, that's certainly how they play it in the fairy tale. But we no longer have the witch to blame, the princess to empathize.

Yes, thank you. That was what I was aiming at above, I just wasn't explaining myself as well.

Quote
Maybe that spark of desperation for a new life that drove the witch into plan now resides in the princess and that's why the princess happy with being the goose girl wife to a swineherd. If we blame that aspect of the witch for causing the evil, and now it resides in the princess, who are we to blame?

Of course, though, she doesn't end up being the goose girl wife to a swineherd, she ends up as the witch wife of a man leaving in search of his fortune.



cuddlebug

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Reply #40 on: April 27, 2008, 10:52:21 AM
I think the original witch was a villain. She took what was not hers and was willing to kill to keep it.


She was willing to threaten to kill. It was pretty unclear to me from the actual confrontation whether she had it in her (anymore?)

Quote
Another quibble that the "old king" and the "young princess" hook up. I think I would have liked it better if the "old king" was just the prince's older brother, who had been widowed without an heir, leaving the younger prince next in line.

The story made a point of stressing that the king wasn't really old (he had the prince when he was very young), and she was relatively old for an unmarried princess. I think he was in his forties and she was in her mid-twenties. Not a small gap, but not a particularly unconventional one.


See, that kind of thinking really bugs me. How shallow are we when we are having an "ugh" or "oh, that's strange" moment, when hearing that the "old/relatively young king", who has fathered a son etc. etc. now falls in love with a young (although as we find out, not actually quite as young) goosegirl, who - 'oh no, how can she' - falls for him too. Strange things, preconceptions and stereotypes. I blame it all on SOCIETY.  ;)

And frankly, I would pick the unconventional over the usual 'pretty girl falls in love with handsome prince and they live happily ever after' story any day.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #41 on: April 27, 2008, 01:01:55 PM

The story made a point of stressing that the king wasn't really old (he had the prince when he was very young), and she was relatively old for an unmarried princess. I think he was in his forties and she was in her mid-twenties. Not a small gap, but not a particularly unconventional one.


See, that kind of thinking really bugs me. How shallow are we when we are having an "ugh" or "oh, that's strange" moment, when hearing that the "old/relatively young king", who has fathered a son etc. etc. now falls in love with a young (although as we find out, not actually quite as young) goosegirl, who - 'oh no, how can she' - falls for him too. Strange things, preconceptions and stereotypes. I blame it all on SOCIETY.  ;)

Huh? What sort of thinking bugs you? Are you responding to me, or are you responding to JoeFitz?

JoeFitz was making a value judgement about the relationship; I wasn't, I was merely trying to point out that the author had  anticipated his reaction and tried to diffuse it in the text.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #42 on: April 27, 2008, 02:19:34 PM
A little quibble that the king and princess who were apparently genuine, decent people were unable to keep their offices but the power-hungry and envious took over.

I agree; it's too realistic, and this is supposed to be a fantasy story  ;D

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


cuddlebug

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Reply #43 on: April 27, 2008, 08:59:17 PM

Huh? What sort of thinking bugs you? Are you responding to me, or are you responding to JoeFitz?

JoeFitz was making a value judgement about the relationship; I wasn't, I was merely trying to point out that the author had  anticipated his reaction and tried to diffuse it in the text.

Yeah, and that bugs me. Obviously we all have certain images in our head when thinking of 'a princess', 'a king', 'a witch' etc. We automatically make assumptions as to age, looks, character, ... I grew up with Grimm's fairy tales and loved them, but I have to admit, they did screw me up a bit when it comes to installing ideas of romance, chivalry, good vs evil etc. ... in a child's mind.

What bugs me is that an author would feel the need to make the relationship between the 2 main characters more believable by feeding our preconceptions and images.

My point was that I prefer stories that challenge these images, stories that make me realize how I myself am guilty of stereotyping .... If a story does that and destroys the effect and takes it back by saying, but, well ... actually he is not that old and she is not that young, then I am a little disappointed. Which does not mean I did not like the story as a whole.

PS: I am still trying to figure out how to quote properly, sorry if that was confusing.




Roney

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 440
Reply #44 on: April 28, 2008, 09:47:55 PM
The problem with viewing them as villain and victim is that they are so jumbled up that neither is who they are before — they both are going through this period of disquietude where they're neither one nor t'other, and eventually both emerge as new people.

Yes and no.  One thing I really liked about this story was being so close to the receiving end of one of these identity-mashing spells.  The witch was having a little bit of trouble with her dual history but -- being the caster -- had a reasonably coherent narrative of who she had been and who she was now.  The goose girl was left trying to piece together an identity from whatever fragments of the two people that the spell had left behind.  And yet the witch was anxious and paranoid and desperate to cling to her new position, whereas the goose girl was able to find what was important to her own happiness.  I got the impression from the story (although I don't think it was made explicit, so it may be my own interpretation) that this difference in attitude was mostly due to their original personalities, which the spell hadn't been able to overrule.

You could draw all kinds of unpleasant reactionary conclusions from this line of thought but, well, that's fairy tales for you.  I'm guessing that the original was just as bad.  (I haven't read it, but the bones of the story seem quite clear behind the flesh of this version.)

Anyway, it's a fascinating premise for exploring some nature vs nurture questions and I'd have loved to see it fleshed out a little more.  This is the second story (the other being "For Fear Of Dragons") that I've felt has been constrained by the formalism of the fairy tale format to take its potentially fascinating premise and reduce it to crude moralizing.  Which is the long-winded way of saying "I enjoyed these modern fairy tales but I wanted them to be more like SF."



Roland

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 14
    • StarShipSofa
Reply #45 on: April 30, 2008, 07:39:26 PM
I too did not already know the story of the Goosegirl and I think this story assumed you knew it beforehand, because I found it quite hard to follow in places and had to rewind a couple of time.
Overall it was OK, but not for me it did not have the spark to peek my interest.


JoeFitz

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
Reply #46 on: May 02, 2008, 08:26:55 PM
JoeFitz was making a value judgement about the relationship; I wasn't, I was merely trying to point out that the author had  anticipated his reaction and tried to diffuse it in the text.

I did make a value judgment. The King is eloping with his son's fiancee!

I'll give the author credit, though, for reversing and somewhat subverting the traditional power structure by the end of the story. At the beginning, he is the King (albeit in disguise) and she's a simple goosegirl. By the end, the woman turns out to be a powerful witch and he's just a swineherd. That being said, she remains very vulnerable and he knows the secret that could have her killed.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 02:32:08 AM by JoeFitz »



birdless

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
  • Five is right out.
Reply #47 on: May 05, 2008, 07:50:37 PM
Coming late to the party, but I'm going to have to go with the "Ditto Windup" party. I really liked it, and I wasn't at all familiar with this story beforehand. I enjoyed the gradual reveal, and never had to rewind it.



Deaf Leper

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Hand Crafted
Reply #48 on: May 08, 2008, 03:31:48 AM
I thought it was great, and knew nothing about the story going in. I had to use my thinking cap for this one, not just my imagination, and it just felt really accesible.
Good narration, too. And Rachel Swirsky's intro was her best to date, though I might suggest the music be toned down during it. The music itself is really cool, but it seems just a bit overpowering when I'm trying to hear the introduction.

"I used to think I was serving humanity....and I pleasured in the thought. Then I discovered that humanity does not want to be served; on the contrary it resents any attempt to serve it." - Jubal Harshaw


sonata

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Reply #49 on: May 12, 2008, 02:52:17 AM
This is the first PodCastle I haven't really enjoyed. I just felt pretty ho-hum all thoughout regarding the characters, the plot, etc.

However the narrator did a great job, and the intro was very insightful and well done. The intros are definitely getting better and better.



Archie

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Reply #50 on: June 20, 2008, 12:35:03 PM
Liked it. I thought the lack of exposition fitted the main characters dilemma. Nice resolution and I can see why the swine herd would want to be just that.

A winner and one I will keep to relisten to.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #51 on: November 13, 2009, 06:34:18 PM
Not a bad story, and I realize it was intended to be confusing, but it was too successful on that count.  I just kept on being confused.  Especially about the king/prince thing.  Were they the same person merged like the witch/princess?

I do like unreliable narrator stories, and I liked the way the fragmented personalities made two completely different characters than the story started with.