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Author Topic: PC011: Fourteen Experiments In Postal Delivery  (Read 20009 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« on: June 10, 2008, 10:07:15 AM »

PC011: Fourteen Experiments In Postal Delivery

By John Schoffstall
Read by Heather Lindsley
Introduction by Rachel Swirsky
First appeared in Strange Horizons (full text at link.)

Featured intro Link: Postal Experiments

Christopher:

I received a letter from you today, expressing contrition for your past bad behavior and requesting a reconciliation with me. It was written in blue felt-tip pen, with big blurry spots that I think you intended to be taken as the marks of tears. However, when I burned the letter those spots did not produce the characteristic yellow flame that indicates the presence of sodium. I conclude that you made those stains with water drops, or some other aqueous liquid. Definitely not tears. Therefore, I am unconvinced of your sorrow, but reassured as to your guile, insincerity, and general incompetence.

Still hating you,

Jessica

P.S.: All further tear-stained letters will go directly into the In-Sink-Erator.

Rated R. Contains surrealism and wandering body parts of the naughty variety.


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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2008, 10:18:42 AM »

FIRST! Grin

Loved this one.  Particularly when the narrator and her sister entered the Bosch painting and the story got totally psychedelic and fucked up.  The only place it lost me was when I was wondering exactly when she was writing the final letter.
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2008, 10:22:27 AM »

Heather's reading was great.  She sounded like a more earnest Michelle Laurent (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2325868/) and played the different emotions of Jessica's letters very, very well.

This story made me laugh out loud, from the word "cooter" to the "no... no no no no no..." thing.  The funniest PC yet, and I think a lot of fantasy lacks humor.  (So does erotica, but that's another story for another time.)

I loved the surrealist aspect, though when they entered the Bosch painting, while interesting, I kind of got lost a little bit.  Not because of the writing or the reading or the imagery, but because it was almost too much of an in-reference.  I've never SEEN that painting.  In the literary and critical references Jessica made, I could follow along because I understood from her voice the context of what she was saying, but when she tried to describe the painting, that fell a little flat for me.

I also was taken out of the story slightly by the reference to Scott McCloud. (MacLeod? I can never remember.)  I know who he is, but that's again too much of an in-reference.  I think more readers would understand the Bosch reference than the McCloud reference, and I only know who he is because of the back-and-forth between him and Jon Rosenberg (goats.com) about micropayments, back in the early 00s.

I got a kick out of Rachel's homage to Steve's intros.  I'm gathering one will be picked soon.  I hope it's mine.  *grin*

Overall, a great selection and a great reader.  I give it four ramparts up.  (out of four)

BOOBIES! Grin

Loved this one.  Particularly when the narrator and her sister entered the Bosch painting and the story got totally psychedelic and fucked up.  The only place it lost me was when I was wondering exactly when she was writing the final letter.


FWIW, I was typing before you started posting *grin*... but hey, all's fair in love and forums.

(You like the little Fark joke I made?)
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2008, 10:42:44 AM »

No fair editing my reply!  (though boobies are always good  Smiley)

This is one of the extremely rare occasions where I've downloaded and listened to the episode almost as soon as it went up, so I was actually waiting for the thread to appear so I could comment.


I don't think I've ever seen the Bosch painting either, but I can imagine it from the description and from what I've heard about Bosch.  Besides, I really like "psychedelic and fucked up".  (I must get around to finishing Burroughs' Cities of the Red Night one of these days.)

I have no idea what a "Fark" is.
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"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2008, 10:48:01 AM »

No fair editing my reply!  (though boobies are always good  Smiley)

This is one of the extremely rare occasions where I've downloaded and listened to the episode almost as soon as it went up, so I was actually waiting for the thread to appear so I could comment.


I don't think I've ever seen the Bosch painting either, but I can imagine it from the description and from what I've heard about Bosch.  Besides, I really like "psychedelic and fucked up".  (I must get around to finishing Burroughs' Cities of the Red Night one of these days.)

I have no idea what a "Fark" is.
[subtitles]
Fark is a news aggregator with photoshop contests and cliches and... Think Slashdot, minus the tech focus and with a young male's love of beer and the aforementioned body parts. The first post cliche is called a farkism on Fark, and is automatically changed to "boobies" when someone posts it in the comment threads (there are some cliches/farkisms that trigger the same process). 
[/subtitles]

Going back on topic, I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but I'm a fan of epistolary so my lunch hour's reserved.
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hautdesert
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2008, 10:57:54 AM »

I guess I'm a bit boggled that people haven't seen the Bosch.  I'm betting money you have seen it, or bits of it.

http://www.darkest-destruction.com/Bosch-TrypticGarden.html

eta--I hit post too soon.  It's one of those paintings that's so very famous it gets used a lot, or referred to a lot, and you may well know what it is but not know its name.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2008, 11:00:08 AM by hautdesert » Logged
Listener
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2008, 11:00:29 AM »

I guess I'm a bit boggled that people haven't seen the Bosch.  I'm betting money you have seen it, or bits of it.

http://www.darkest-destruction.com/Bosch-TrypticGarden.html

eta--I hit post too soon.  It's one of those paintings that's so very famous it gets used a lot, or referred to a lot, and you may well know what it is but not know its name.

Alas, it is unfamiliar.

Did you notice that the page misspelled "Earthly" in huge green letters?
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hautdesert
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2008, 12:09:17 PM »



Alas, it is unfamiliar.


Huh!  I am surprised.  Bits of it often turn up in history textbooks, and my own first introduction to it was when I was quite young--maybe five or six--on the inside of the album cover of Joni Mitchell's Clouds.

Quote
Did you notice that the page misspelled "Earthly" in huge green letters?

LOL, I didn't!  I only saw the triptych image nice and big and figured I'd go with that link.
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Void Munashii
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2008, 12:14:38 PM »

  This story had me laughing out loud most of the way through, and I was ready to declare that it had unseated "Ant King" as my favourite PC right up until the Bosch painting. It's not that I stopped enjoying it there, it just maybe got a little too surreal, or maybe just too serious for a story that had been so fun up until that point.

  I guess it must be that it got too serious, as it seems odd that I should be able to accept the concept of mailing someone a day of the week, their genitals, and the nation of spain, but not be able to accept characters entering a painting. I"m not sure if I've seen the painting before or not, and I dare not follow hautdesert's link since I do not know if it is work safe or not. I'll check it out when I get home.

  The read was absolutely perfect, and captured the character wonderfully.

  My wife kept patting me on the shoulder as the story progressed with comments about a 31 year old playing videogames and reading comic books, as if Christopher was somehow me. I had to point out to her that I had neither slept with nor vomited on her sister, and I am not a famous sculptor, but a completely unknown and unpublished writer.

  I would very much like to see more like this, and found the announcement at the beginning a bit discouraging. I've really been liking how PC has not been week after week of orcs and elves, but has been a wide variety of fantasy stories. I hope this type of variety stays the norm.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2008, 12:16:43 PM »

Huh!  I am surprised.  Bits of [Bosch's painting] often turn up in history textbooks, and my own first introduction to it was when I was quite young--maybe five or six--on the inside of the album cover of Joni Mitchell's Clouds.

It's not in my copy.  Sad
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eytanz
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2008, 12:42:11 PM »

I really loved this one. I liked how the surrealism grew as the story progressed. I find stories that thrust me head first into surreal imagery (like many PP flash stories, or to some degree Ant King) don't work for me, but stories like this which gradually distort the world until it is utterly bizzare are great. Unlike some previous commenters, I had no problem with the more serious tone the story took towards the end. I felt that the story needed something to push the narrator out of her comfort zone - it was clear that as long as she continues being the recipient of the strange gifts, as opposed to a participant in them, nothing would change.

 I would very much like to see more like this, and found the announcement at the beginning a bit discouraging. I've really been liking how PC has not been week after week of orcs and elves, but has been a wide variety of fantasy stories. I hope this type of variety stays the norm.


I think you misunderstood the comment. So far, the stories have been ordered according to a specific arc, with similar stories more-or-less grouped together (mythic/fairytale stories to begin with, then more modern stories, then "urban fantasy"). I'm not sure the grouping is the same way I would have done it, but it was overt. What Rachel meant was that from now on, the stories will be more random, just like EP/PP - there will be no expectation that two concurrent weeks will be similar to each other. The pool from which they select will be just as varied.
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hautdesert
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2008, 01:25:20 PM »

Huh!  I am surprised.  Bits of [Bosch's painting] often turn up in history textbooks, and my own first introduction to it was when I was quite young--maybe five or six--on the inside of the album cover of Joni Mitchell's Clouds.

It's not in my copy.  Sad

My mother's copy was an LP (of course--when I was five or six it was LP, reel-to-reel, or eight track) and had a gatefold cover.  My LP doesn't have the gatefold.  Inside the fold were the lyrics to the songs, and the picture of Adam and Eve, from the left side of the tryptich.  I don't know if it would be in the CD booklet or not.  I should probably get myself a CD copy of the album.
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2008, 03:11:41 PM »

 I would very much like to see more like this, and found the announcement at the beginning a bit discouraging. I've really been liking how PC has not been week after week of orcs and elves, but has been a wide variety of fantasy stories. I hope this type of variety stays the norm.

I think you misunderstood the comment. So far, the stories have been ordered according to a specific arc, with similar stories more-or-less grouped together (mythic/fairytale stories to begin with, then more modern stories, then "urban fantasy"). I'm not sure the grouping is the same way I would have done it, but it was overt. What Rachel meant was that from now on, the stories will be more random, just like EP/PP - there will be no expectation that two concurrent weeks will be similar to each other. The pool from which they select will be just as varied.

  No, I understood that, I am just used to dissapointment. I'm the sort of person that finally starts listening to a podcast that everyone says I should check out just as they stop doing new episodes, or I discover a neat tv show mere days before it gets cancelled, it's just the sort of luck I have.
  I will keep listening in any case, it's a tuesday morning ritual to listen to PC on the way to work (just as Friday mornings are EP, friday afternoons are PP, and monday mornings are Extralife Radio). It's not that I don't like orcs and elves, I just really have enjoyed the wide scope of stories that have been done so far. I do vow to not be one of those people who stops listening just because of a bad week (or indeed a few bad weeks).
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2008, 04:41:21 PM »

I can't believe I've only just now remembered Detachable Penis by King Missile.   Undecided
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Ocicat
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2008, 09:55:58 PM »

I for one have seen the Bosch painting, and could easily picture them in it.  The little narrative descriptions of the painting were perfect, but probably not enough for someone who hasn't seen his work.  Actually, no words would be.  Anyway, I loved this bit of the story, including it being used for the serious conversation between the sisters.

For what it's worth, I also got the Scot McCloud reference, that was specifically to the book Understanding Comics, which has been given to many a significant other who disparaged comics as a less than valid storytelling medium.  :-)

So ya, quite good and fun.  Though was I the only one who thought that in the end the postman was going to deliver him, then take her away to his place?  Actually, I think them missing each other like that would have been a better ending.
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Chivalrybean
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2008, 12:15:37 AM »

FIRST!!!!! -to not like it so much.

I admit, I liked parts of it. I liked some of the silly things he sent, Spain, a bar, but overall, I'd never listen to this one again, and I don't think I can say that about any other episodes.

It was pretty crude, needlessly. It just made me like the characters less and less.

The Scott McCloud bit was funny. I'm only 24, and I only recently started reading comics and not just because I'm trying to write an issue of Jump Leads, so that was amusing.

I laughed here and there, but I don't really remember any of the jokes, save the one I just mentioned, and one more.

In the end, I didn't like anyone. I really didn't give a flying frog fart that they got back together. Of course, everything else was absurd, why not the characters too, but I dunno. I certainly could not relate.

In the end, the only thing I really care to remember from it is the Scotsman on a horse. That was the best part. It was completely different.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2008, 08:23:19 AM »

I listened to this one again last night at bedtime.  I've never done that with any other Escape Artists presentation.  The only other one I've listened to a second time was "Merry Christmas from the Heartbreakers" last Christmas, and it had been some months since I'd first listened.

Still loved it.  The reader put me in mind of Mur Lafferty several times, in the way she would inflect or emote a passage. 

I found something particularly noteworthy in her musings/ramblings on the Saturday-in-place-of-Thursday but now I can't remember what.  I might have been dozing.  I'm gonna have to listen to this one again!  Grin
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Brian Deacon
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2008, 08:39:04 AM »

Solid story, but a GREAT reading by Heather.

I do always enjoy a story where the surrealism keeps growing as the plot progresses.

As to the tag line... My $0.02 is that you should keep trying out new ones organically until you get one that feels good or that gets a great reaction.  My first thought when I heard "It's story time" was "No!  Don't just copy Escape Pod!"

For now, it could just be a silly game where we're all wondering what you'll use for a tag line each week.

Brian

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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2008, 09:43:31 AM »

I found something particularly noteworthy in her musings/ramblings on the Saturday-in-place-of-Thursday but now I can't remember what.  I might have been dozing.  I'm gonna have to listen to this one again!  Grin

I remembered it this morning without having to go back to the story.  It was when Jess was having lunch with her girlfriend, who was telling her that she should forgive Christopher and take him back.  I loved her reasoning as to why not; something along the lines of "If I forgive you, what does it cost you?  Nothing!  While I have to tear out a little piece of my heart and give it to you!"

The gradually increasing surrealism was awesome.  One more thing: I was mentally keeping count of the things Christopher was sending, and maybe I miscounted but I'm sure it exceeded fifteen items even before he sent himself.  I think I'll compile a list of the items, and I'll have to decide whether the Motrin counts, and/or the "tear"-stained letter.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2008, 09:46:51 AM by stePH » Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
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eytanz
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2008, 09:52:28 AM »

One more thing: I was mentally keeping count of the things Christopher was sending, and maybe I miscounted but I'm sure it exceeded fifteen items even before he sent himself.  I think I'll compile a list of the items, and I'll have to decide whether the Motrin counts, and/or the "tear"-stained letter.

Please post the list when you do.
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