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Author Topic: PC008: The Osteomancer’s Son  (Read 33005 times)

sirana

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Reply #25 on: May 23, 2008, 09:25:57 AM
Didn't like it all that much. Not a bad story by far with solid worldbuilding, but both the plot and the characters felt unoriginal and the telling didn't bring much more to the table afaiac. Good reading as always by Ben Phillips.



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Reply #26 on: May 23, 2008, 08:03:26 PM
Quote
Didn't like it all that much. Not a bad story by far with solid worldbuilding, but both the plot and the characters felt unoriginal and the telling didn't bring much more to the table afaiac. Good reading as always by Ben Phillips.


I think this story should be viewed as something that can grow--and is growing--in to a novel. I agree that I would like to have seen character development, but the scope of the story was semi-epic, and therefore not completely treatable in a short story. This story has taken a lot of heat from people who see the characters as flat, and while I agree, I came in to it expecting to be entertained, not enlightened. It was as much fun as watching a good TV show or movie, and that was good enough for me. I expected a "Dresden Files," level of plotting and writing, so I was happy when I didn't get the "Stranger in a Strange Land" some other stories might attain. I look forward to having some more fun reading the future exploits of the Osteomaner's Son.



Listener

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Reply #27 on: May 23, 2008, 08:43:23 PM

I'd rather read the longer version that's going to come out in novel form, as was mentioned in the intro.

From what I'm understanding, the novel will be set in the same world and have some of the characters, but won't be a retelling of this story.  I think. 

Listener, why do you think not knowing whether Miranda was alive or dead added unnecessary tension?  I thought that was pretty smoothed, and was really relieved to find out she'd survived everything.

I don't have perfect recollection at this point, but I _think_ I remember Daniel had a bone in his bag, and I _thought_ it was Miranda's... and then it turned out someone else had another of her bones?  I was just confused by it all, I guess.  Maybe I missed how old the kid was, in the beginning?

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Reply #28 on: May 23, 2008, 08:55:15 PM

I'd rather read the longer version that's going to come out in novel form, as was mentioned in the intro.

From what I'm understanding, the novel will be set in the same world and have some of the characters, but won't be a retelling of this story.  I think. 

Listener, why do you think not knowing whether Miranda was alive or dead added unnecessary tension?  I thought that was pretty smoothed, and was really relieved to find out she'd survived everything.

I don't have perfect recollection at this point, but I _think_ I remember Daniel had a bone in his bag, and I _thought_ it was Miranda's... and then it turned out someone else had another of her bones?  I was just confused by it all, I guess.  Maybe I missed how old the kid was, in the beginning?

You know, sorry, Listener.  I just realized I didn't write that as clearly as I thought I had. 

You're right -- he did have her bone in handkerchief at the beginning of the story (when he had the picture of her three year birthday, with the ice cream cone).  I had the same initial reaction as you did -- is she alive?  Is she dead?  What happened to her?  But I thought the added tension was a nice touch and I was curious as to why it bothered you.


Listener

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Reply #29 on: May 23, 2008, 09:49:41 PM

I'd rather read the longer version that's going to come out in novel form, as was mentioned in the intro.

From what I'm understanding, the novel will be set in the same world and have some of the characters, but won't be a retelling of this story.  I think. 

Listener, why do you think not knowing whether Miranda was alive or dead added unnecessary tension?  I thought that was pretty smoothed, and was really relieved to find out she'd survived everything.

I don't have perfect recollection at this point, but I _think_ I remember Daniel had a bone in his bag, and I _thought_ it was Miranda's... and then it turned out someone else had another of her bones?  I was just confused by it all, I guess.  Maybe I missed how old the kid was, in the beginning?

You know, sorry, Listener.  I just realized I didn't write that as clearly as I thought I had. 

You're right -- he did have her bone in handkerchief at the beginning of the story (when he had the picture of her three year birthday, with the ice cream cone).  I had the same initial reaction as you did -- is she alive?  Is she dead?  What happened to her?  But I thought the added tension was a nice touch and I was curious as to why it bothered you.

Maybe it just didn't resonate with me...?  I have a hard time identifying with the conflict-coupon of "child in peril" in most Fantasy, probably because I know it's Fantasy.  I don't think I cared enough about the character at the time to be drawn into that aspect of the story when it was first revealed to me, so when he got Miranda's bone from Turtle Man, I must have missed some of the impact.

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ajames

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Reply #30 on: May 23, 2008, 10:54:50 PM
[snip] The Heirarch never stood a chance. And why did he totally ignore the army of ultra-powerful security people he had around and come to investigate a threat - which he believed to be entirely unimportant - himself (and without backup)? I guess he must have a lot of free time on his hands. Just because the story lampshades this, doesn't mean it's not stupid.

Here's a theory. The Heirarch set up just enough security to keep nonmagical thieves, or very weak magical thieves, out. Once someone with enough magic got through, though, the Heirarch went to investigate so that he could destroy the intruder, eat his or her bones, and become still more powerful. As for not having backup, he's the Heirarch. He don't need no stinkin' backup (except, apparently, he does).

Wait, I thought the Heirarch did know his name.  After Daniel told him who was in the bowling bag (heh, just typing that sentence made me grin), didn't the Heirarch make the connection, and ask, "So you're his son?"  Or something like that?

No, it was stated that the Heirarch just assumed this was about revenge - he figured out that there was a personal connection and guessed what it was, but that doesn't mean he remembered the father. It was strongly implied (by the "you got further than most") that the Heirarch had a lot of Osteomancers killed, and that this isn't the first time one of their children attempted to break in and steal their bones. I think the Heirarch was thinking "oh, another one of those", not "oh, I know who this is".

If I remember correctly, the Hierarch did know his name. I'll have to listen again.

All that said, I can't really argue with eyantz that the confrontation with the Heirarch gave some easy targets for nitpicking. I definitely thought "Hmm, a pair of glasses gets you past the most powerful wizard's defenses. Oh, right, he had a boot to throw, too." and "Wow, he's the Heirarch and he died just like that? Huh." Sure, there are enough things you can point to and theories you can come up with to explain things, but it was a little too wide open for my taste.

But the superb writing and the world-building were more than enough so that I noticed these things but didn't care.



eytanz

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Reply #31 on: May 23, 2008, 11:21:46 PM
[snip] The Heirarch never stood a chance. And why did he totally ignore the army of ultra-powerful security people he had around and come to investigate a threat - which he believed to be entirely unimportant - himself (and without backup)? I guess he must have a lot of free time on his hands. Just because the story lampshades this, doesn't mean it's not stupid.

Here's a theory. The Heirarch set up just enough security to keep nonmagical thieves, or very weak magical thieves, out. Once someone with enough magic got through, though, the Heirarch went to investigate so that he could destroy the intruder, eat his or her bones, and become still more powerful. As for not having backup, he's the Heirarch. He don't need no stinkin' backup (except, apparently, he does).

I thought of that, but I don't think it works. Two reasons:

A - It's mentioned that the guards that are there are extremely powerful. Specifically, it's mentioned that the guys standing outside the warehouse are "not rent-a cop security", and that they are "the best money could buy" (around 12 minutes), and that the guys inside the warehouse "have received advanced training" and have "tasted deep magic" (around 26 minutes).

B- I can't think of a way to rationalize the heirarch using the police to get rid of magical opponents whose abilities he could forsee (like the father), but going alone to face unknown threats. Did he become the most powerful osteomancer in the west by being careless?

Quote
If I remember correctly, the Hierarch did know his name. I'll have to listen again.

His reaction to the name, quoted from around 30 minutes in:

Quote from: story
"John Blackland," I rasp." He was an Osteomancer." The Heirarch puts his hands in his pockets, and bounces on the balls of his feet, as if stretching out his calf muscles. "This entire section of the Osteory is full of osteomancers. It's the Osteomancy section. I suppose you are John Blackland's son."

That's it. No other reaction to the name. Of course, it could be that the Heirarch recognizes the name and is not letting the narrator know, but there's no hint at that.



Thaurismunths

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Reply #32 on: May 23, 2008, 11:50:03 PM
I really enjoyed this story, and look forward the future unfurling of the world it's set in.

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Windup

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Reply #33 on: May 24, 2008, 12:33:26 AM
Another great PodCastle.   As others have mentioned, loved the world-building that's done not with long blocks of exposition, but simply by characters reacting to things in their world as they happen.  Like the bit about not being interested in news "regurgitated by state-controlled media" which was for me the first hint that this was not "our" California.

I'm actually still unclear about Miranda.  Was she resurrected from her bones at the end of the story?  If she was alive the whole time, how did her father and the "Uncle" have a finger-bone, and how could the Uncle threaten to "piece her out?" 

Still, that bit of confusion didn't detract from what was, for me, a great story.

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Void Munashii

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Reply #34 on: May 24, 2008, 12:36:10 AM
Another great PodCastle.   As others have mentioned, loved the world-building that's done not with long blocks of exposition, but simply by characters reacting to things in their world as they happen.  Like the bit about not being interested in news "regurgitated by state-controlled media" which was for me the first hint that this was not "our" California.

  Maybe it speaks to my mindset, but that didn't trigger that reaction in me at all. I just figured he just viewed the media as the government's lapdog.

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JoeFitz

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Reply #35 on: May 24, 2008, 03:18:49 AM
Liked this story a lot for all of the reasons stated above - and even the problems. I especially liked the ending. Driving until all he could smell was baby powder (no pun intended!).




deflective

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Reply #36 on: May 24, 2008, 08:10:23 AM
Here's a theory. The Heirarch set up just enough security to keep nonmagical thieves, or very weak magical thieves, out. Once someone with enough magic got through, though, the Heirarch went to investigate so that he could destroy the intruder, eat his or her bones, and become still more powerful. As for not having backup, he's the Heirarch. He don't need no stinkin' backup (except, apparently, he does).

that's close to what i suggested but not quite.

the defenses were as strong as possible. if they were broken then either the intruder was using a technique the Hierarch didn't know or they were someone extremely powerful. if it was a new technique then the Hierarch wanted to investigate it personally so that it didn't become general knowledge. defenses could adapt preemptively and it may be a useful trick for him to know.

if it was someone powerful then he would sense it. if it was someone he he might have problems with (i got the impression this hadn't happened for a long time) he could bring backup.

this kind of illustrates the problem with a fight against an overwhelmingly powerful opponent. if it's won at all it's usually with a single, brutal, sucker punch. in this case a low level osteomancer who, against all odds, had consumed high grade kraken with a father who's bones he now held near other kraken remains (i choose to believe this was set up by the cabal because otherwise it's just too much deux ex machina).

if the Heirarch had had time to respond it would have gone the other way, it had to be over before anyone really had time to figure out what was happening. this just isn't all that satisfying for narrative.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2008, 07:51:45 PM by deflective »



Yossarian's grandson

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Reply #37 on: May 25, 2008, 09:17:56 PM
Yep. Much more like it. Yeah sure, it wasn't a perfect story. Most of the criticism so far I can dig. But still. This is the kind of fantasy I signed up for. Maybe it's me, but it seems like the really good reception this story is getting (even with it's flaws) means that PC listeners like a bit of meat on the bones of their story (no pun intended). And so far, PC's been a bit short on fast moving, action filled stories. They've all been pretty talky, as far as I'm concerned. More like this, please! Oh, and yeah, Ben is a great reader.



Biscuit

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Reply #38 on: May 25, 2008, 11:52:55 PM
Did he become the most powerful osteomancer in the west by being careless?

Villain Downfall seems to come from being too smug or too stupid. (Dang, it took ONE ship to blow up my Death Star? How did I not see that coming, especially when I did it myself when I was ten years old?!)

But yes, it does make it a little difficult to vaunt a hero when he won on dumb luck.

However with this story, I do like how it was balanced out by the hero taking all that power, locking it up tight inside himself and running away with it. There's definitely a story in there about whether his morals outlasted all that buried power.


Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #39 on: May 26, 2008, 02:37:12 AM
I enjoyed the story quite a bit... though for some reason it made my fingers feel greasy...

Like old fried chicken.

Is that normal?  ???

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birdless

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Reply #40 on: May 26, 2008, 03:13:10 AM
I enjoyed the story quite a bit... though for some reason it made my fingers feel greasy...

Like old fried chicken.

Is that normal?  ???
Seriously, TAD, how often have you been accused of being normal?
;D ;)



Windup

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Reply #41 on: May 26, 2008, 04:13:24 AM
I enjoyed the story quite a bit... though for some reason it made my fingers feel greasy...

Like old fried chicken.

Is that normal?  ???
Seriously, TAD, how often have you been accused of being normal?
;D ;)

And did the charge stick?? ;)
« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 11:03:26 PM by Windup »

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AmoryLowe

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Reply #42 on: May 26, 2008, 10:45:21 AM
I read this story when it originally came out in Asimov's. I enjoyed it when I first read it, and Ben Phillips was the perfect reader for the story. He seems to pull off the 'lovable smartass' better than any other reader I've ever heard.

As for the story it, I thought it was a great little diatribe on how people can use their children to live out their own dreams and desires, and the effects it can have on the children after the parent is long gone and the child has to deal with the aftermath of their parents affect on them.

While it wasn't the best story on Podcastle so far (lady death is still so far the best for me), it was definitely a really good story.



contra

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Reply #43 on: May 26, 2008, 11:00:16 PM
This story felt like the pilot for the TV show 'Dresden files' ( I have't got around to the books bet, so I wont make the comparison to that).  ie, while it worked as a pilot, and it gave us an idea of the universe were in, really there is so much more.
If you have seen the extended pilot, it is a lot better.  This story may benefit from the same.

I liked it, but I want more.  I want more now...

So I suppose it worked

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Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #44 on: May 27, 2008, 10:18:21 AM
I enjoyed the story quite a bit... though for some reason it made my fingers feel greasy...

Like old fried chicken.

Is that normal?  ???
Seriously, TAD, how often have you been accused of being normal?
;D ;)

And did the charge stick?? ;)

@birdless:  VERY rarely.

@Windup: I didn't even need a lawyer to beat that one.

I think if I ever met a "normal" person, they'd probably scare the daylights out of me.  Either that, or by being so unusually normal, they would blend into the parade of oddities that normally surrounds me.  ;)

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Listener

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Reply #45 on: May 27, 2008, 12:54:14 PM
Did he become the most powerful osteomancer in the west by being careless?

Villain Downfall seems to come from being too smug or too stupid. (Dang, it took ONE ship to blow up my Death Star? How did I not see that coming, especially when I did it myself when I was ten years old?!)

Wow.  I totally didn't make that connection until just now... I guess Phantom Menace was just that forgettable... So forgettable that even Darth Vader forgot it.

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DKT

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Reply #46 on: May 27, 2008, 06:14:48 PM
This story felt like the pilot for the TV show 'Dresden files' ( I have't got around to the books bet, so I wont make the comparison to that).  ie, while it worked as a pilot, and it gave us an idea of the universe were in, really there is so much more.
If you have seen the extended pilot, it is a lot better.  This story may benefit from the same.

I liked it, but I want more.  I want more now...

So I suppose it worked

See, this is part of what I love about this story (and other stories that do similar things on the sister 'casts) -- the "OMG I want to go explore more of that world for a year" feeling.  To me, that's a mark of a good story.  I love it when some stuff is only hinted at, and there's so much left for my own imagination to explore.  So long as the story is complete, of course.


MacArthurBug

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Reply #47 on: May 28, 2008, 02:00:11 AM
squee!  I'd read this before, and the reading got the "feel" of the authors voice dead on. GOOD story. More like this one please?

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Reply #48 on: May 31, 2008, 02:50:09 AM
This story is the reason I signed up at the forums here. I have been a listener to EscapePod since last July, and PodCastle here since its debut, but this story is the only one that will not be deleted off of my iPod to make room for other, newer stories. It is the first one that I felt was worth several listenings just to capture the details and nuances of that world.

If I had to nitpick, I agree that the "showdown" was lacking. I was truly expecting that the hero's most powerful magic would merely allow him to escape, not actually defeat the master there in his own lair.

Keep up the good stuff - this is why I own an iPod!   ;D



Chivalrybean

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Reply #49 on: June 04, 2008, 12:19:11 AM
This story was crackin! Get it... ah.... never mind.

Like many PC stories I do like, it took me a while to like it, but overall this is my favorite action oriented piece.

I should make sure Norm Sherman heard this one...

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