Author Topic: PC Miniature 005: Directions  (Read 18907 times)

Heradel

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PC Miniature 005: Directions
« on: June 20, 2008, 09:34:21 PM »
PodCastle Miniature 005: Directions

By Caleb Wilson
Read by Chris Furst
First appeared in Diagram (full text at link).

Some things you will need are a full tank of gas, a flashlight, an axe, a bicycle.

Heading north on Route 110, turn left onto Entwhistle. The street will be paved in dark, fresh asphalt and tree-lined. The web of shadows, light dark light, will fall through the teeth of the leaves onto the windshield. Drive through four lights and beneath an iron railroad bridge.

Rated G. Contains a journey into rampant surrealism.



Why PodCastle miniatures? According to wikipedia, the word miniature is derived from the Latin minium, red lead, and is a picture in an ancient or medieval illuminated manuscript. We thought it was a good way to describe very short stories with a fantasy theme: a word that indicates brievity, manuscripts, and a medieval atmosphere.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2008, 09:36:49 PM 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.

Chivalrybean

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2008, 01:44:32 PM »
It reminded my a bit of Aliens You Will Meet podcast. Also, it made me want to write a story about someone actually travelling using this magical mapquest.

Two thumbs up.
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Nobilis

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2008, 02:34:02 PM »
Excellent story, excellent reader.

It makes me want to write one of my own.

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2008, 08:24:38 AM »
Excellent story, excellent reader.

It makes me want to write one of my own.

Wow. Me too. What is it about this story that so inspires others to want to write? For me, it was the form. I've never before read a tale presented as a set of directions AND ME LIKE! I see all kinds of possiblities. Cool!

ajames

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2008, 10:22:22 AM »
I get a set of directions like these, you better believe I'm checking and re-checking and checking once more that nothing was left out! "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you to wear garlic and bring a cross to ward off the vampires. My bad."

Fantastic! And yes, hearing this made me want to write something like it, too.

Chivalrybean

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2008, 01:55:06 PM »
Excellent story, excellent reader.

It makes me want to write one of my own.

Wow. Me too. What is it about this story that so inspires others to want to write? For me, it was the form. I've never before read a tale presented as a set of directions AND ME LIKE! I see all kinds of possiblities. Cool!

I think it is because we all want to know how the person who will be traveling with these directions will manage. Will they make it? Will they pick up a coin anyways? Will they think to bring a gas can to feed the wossnames as a toll, and who is at the end of the road?

It really had no story at all, it was almost like the author wrote an outline of a journey for a story, put it in a blender with Olde Mappe Quest, blended, and poured the contents on the page, and it tasted really good. If it is a story, it broke the rules, and broke them correctly.
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Nobilis

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2008, 08:33:22 PM »
You know how I jump up and down and shake my fist when the author doesn't include such story niceties as character development and beginning-middle-end?

You'll notice I didn't do that here.

Ocicat

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2008, 08:55:21 PM »
Fantastic mood piece!  I was really getting into it, especially the growing weird.  And the unanswered question of "what is this journey for" really fired up the imagination.  Lots of fun, thanks!

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2008, 12:59:46 PM »
This was interesting, and I was fine with the self-contained aspect of it (no character development or plot, though the plot was contained within the directions).  I'd like to know more about the world where this journey ended.
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birdless

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2008, 06:56:24 PM »
This may be my favorite flash piece in the EA family as a whole. Like so many others, it made me want to write one, too! I just wished i'd thought of it first. :-\ :P :)

eytanz

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2008, 07:08:20 PM »
Yeah, I really enjoyed this one too. I don't know why I like the PC surreal pieces while the PP surreal pieces leave me cold - maybe it's because in PP I feel that a lot of the surreal stuff was written with an agenda of "let's be experimental and cool", while here it feels more like the author was trying to describe a world and it ended up being surreal because that was the most natural way to do it.

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2008, 12:35:37 AM »
Okay, seriously ... what the hell?   ???

Every single Podcastle "miniature" has completely failed to impress me, though most receive glowing acclaim from the rest of you.  Am I somehow fundamentally broken?

This one was the "best" so far (i.e., I don't actively dislike it like I do its predecessors), but only because of some interesting imagery ... it put me in mind of an elaborated version of the way into Faery from Greg Bear's The Infinity Concerto, or perhaps Corwin and Random's road-trip to Amber in Zelazny's Nine Princes in Amber.  And the reader did a fair enough job.

But as a story, it was a non-starter.
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Ragtime

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2008, 02:20:42 PM »
Okay, seriously ... what the hell?   ???

Every single Podcastle "miniature" has completely failed to impress me, though most receive glowing acclaim from the rest of you.  Am I somehow fundamentally broken?

This one was the "best" so far (i.e., I don't actively dislike it like I do its predecessors), but only because of some interesting imagery ... it put me in mind of an elaborated version of the way into Faery from Greg Bear's The Infinity Concerto, or perhaps Corwin and Random's road-trip to Amber in Zelazny's Nine Princes in Amber.  And the reader did a fair enough job.

But as a story, it was a non-starter.

I kind of agree.  I enjoyed the first Miniature (about the rock girl), but for the most part I like my story to have a story in it, and this one kind of didn't.

I understand the allure, though.  It helps (with this one, in particular), if you don't think of it as a "short story," but instead as a "painting."  You don't criticize a painting for not being a movie, and maybe you shouldn't criticize a Miniature for not being a Short Story.  It's something else entirely -- a word painting maybe.  That helps me to enjoy these for what they are, instead of criticizing them for what they aren't.

Swamp

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2008, 11:07:52 PM »
I liked this one.  I like how it moved from typical directions to more and more strange, menacing, and specific.  Very cool. 

And I must say, I enjoy the "miniature" format.  It is a great change of pace and a nice little treat.  You will most often not get rich characterization or intricate world building.  There is just not enough room for it.  But you can get some great "flavor" to set your mind off in different directions (no pun intended), or some nice glimpses of a world or scenarios from which to draw conclusions and insight.  Some are better than others, as always.

I do appreciate the strait readings without intros.
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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2008, 06:08:46 PM »
I liked this story a lot, very interesting story telling

yicheng

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2008, 01:00:21 PM »
I think some people posting need to understand what the word "miniature" means.  I thought it was one of the better pod-mini's out there, although I'm not a big fan of them in general.

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2008, 01:36:36 PM »
I think some people posting need to understand what the word "miniature" means.  I thought it was one of the better pod-mini's out there, although I'm not a big fan of them in general.

"Miniature" is Podcastle's equivalent to Escape Pod's "flash".  And I've heard some good flash on Escape Pod.  I just have yet to hear a good miniature on Podcastle.
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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2008, 06:29:11 PM »
Quote
I just have yet to hear a good miniature on Podcastle.

Well, technically this did appear in Kelly Link and Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Fantasy. So obviously someone thinks it's good. Besides me, I mean. ;-)

Sorry we haven't picked up any miniatures that you like.

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2008, 08:19:56 PM »
When this story first ended I was left with a huge WTF feeling and was ready to trash it; however, after letting it settle I am finding that I really enjoyed it.  As mentioned, here is a story with no characters and no plot, yet somehow it kept me interested and has kept my mind going long after the story has ended.

I love the miniature and flash stories; some more than others.  I find it intriguing listening to the way that the content is compressed into such a short space, and I look forward to the next one.  So far I have found that the miniatures have helped my own writing more than the "traditional" stories found here and on EP.

Chivalrybean

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2008, 02:25:30 AM »
When this story first ended I was left with a huge WTF feeling and was ready to trash it; however, after letting it settle I am finding that I really enjoyed it.  As mentioned, here is a story with no characters and no plot, yet somehow it kept me interested and has kept my mind going long after the story has ended.

I love the miniature and flash stories; some more than others.  I find it intriguing listening to the way that the content is compressed into such a short space, and I look forward to the next one.  So far I have found that the miniatures have helped my own writing more than the "traditional" stories found here and on EP.


Ever read any drabbles? If you like a lot in a small space, a 100 word story is an example of that. They are terribly difficult to write a complete story in 100 words, but I've pulled it off a few times.
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ROUS

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2008, 05:18:36 PM »
Ever read any drabbles?

I had not previously heard of those, the term drabble not even ringing a bell.  I immediately went to the trusty Google, checked out a few sites I found, and I must say I find them fascinating.  I have not tried to write one yet, but will do so this weekend; or maybe today if my boss does not hover too closely to my desk.  Thanks for the tip and the suggestion!

Cheers!
p.s. For fun I tried to make this reply exactly one hundred words.  If only it had an interesting plot, or at least a character or two.  :)

Chivalrybean

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2008, 06:12:36 AM »
Ever read any drabbles?

I had not previously heard of those, the term drabble not even ringing a bell.  I immediately went to the trusty Google, checked out a few sites I found, and I must say I find them fascinating.  I have not tried to write one yet, but will do so this weekend; or maybe today if my boss does not hover too closely to my desk.  Thanks for the tip and the suggestion!

Cheers!
p.s. For fun I tried to make this reply exactly one hundred words.  If only it had an interesting plot, or at least a character or two.  :)


They are a great creative exercise. If you go to the 100 Word Stories podcast, you can hear one a day with a weekly challenge where people send in their drabbles. I've been doing it for several weeks. It is open to anyone, so feel free to give it a try! podcasting.isfullofcrap.com
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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2008, 07:15:41 PM »
This was great. I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this, but it reminded me right off of a absolutely splendid poem by Neil Gaiman

http://beviant.blog.com/1692137/

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2008, 08:09:09 PM »
This was great. I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this, but it reminded me right off of a absolutely splendid poem by Neil Gaiman

http://beviant.blog.com/1692137/

Right, I remember that one from Fragile Things now.  I also remember not thinking much of it either.  But it works better as a poem than as prose IMO.
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Planish

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2008, 10:10:53 AM »
It helps (with this one, in particular), if you don't think of it as a "short story," but instead as a "painting."  You don't criticize a painting for not being a movie, and maybe you shouldn't criticize a Miniature for not being a Short Story.  It's something else entirely -- a word painting maybe.
My thoughts exactly almost.

I thought of it as more of a page torn out of a scrapbook, a collection of images pasted together with little context. Intriguing.

There is a short road that goes by my house, and I can see a sign from my kitchen window that pronounces it to be a "DEAD END". (Ironically, the road ends at a greenhouse and tree nursery.) I wonder if it was one of those signs that inspired the author?
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Roney

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2008, 09:30:52 PM »
This fell a bit flat for me.  From the title and the opening paragraph I formed an idea of where the story was going to go, and when it moved too slowly, insufficiently weirdly and without any conflict, I felt quite disappointed.

It's interesting that more reactions to this story appear to have been "I could write something exciting in a similar style" than "This story nails the Fantasy SatNav concept so well that there's no point in competing against it" -- it gives me the impression that more people were thrilled by the concept than were awed by the execution.

I liked some of the little touches that gave the story its atmosphere, though, and the reading was sonorous.

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2008, 05:24:59 PM »
Today's xkcd is the PP version of this story :)

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2008, 10:01:40 PM »
Today's xkcd is the PP version of this story :)

I immediately thought the same thing when I read the comic...

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Re: PC Miniature 005: Directions
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2009, 05:52:04 PM »
I enjoyed the scene descriptions here but, to use Ragtime's words:  "I like my story to have a story in it".  If I didn't expect it to be a story I could enjoy it, but otherwise the complete lack of characters, motivation, and explanation made it very un-story. 

Does it say something about me that I was more creeped out by the road paved with fingernails than the cairn of skulls?