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Author Topic: PC004: Goosegirl  (Read 31490 times)

Rachel Swirsky

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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

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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 »



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Reply #27 on: April 25, 2008, 06:57:16 PM
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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.

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Listener

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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.

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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

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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.

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— 

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 »

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Yossarian's grandson

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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.

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Kaa

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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. :)

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JoeFitz

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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.






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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

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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.

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Kaa

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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 »

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deflective

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



Kaa

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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. :)

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eytanz

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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

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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

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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.



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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

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cuddlebug

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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

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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."



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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

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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 »



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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.



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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.

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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.