Escape Artists
November 20, 2018, 09:04:47 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2  All
  Print  
Author Topic: PC013: Spell of the Sparrow  (Read 20830 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2938


Part-Time Psychopomp.


« on: June 24, 2008, 07:35:36 AM »

PC013: Spell of the Sparrow

By Jim C. Hines.
Read by Tina Connolly.
Introduction by Erin Cashier.
First appeared in Sword and Sorceress, XXI.

I was in the woods behind our cabin, trying yet again to dissuade my daughter from this wizarding business.

“I _like_ magic,” Mel protested. “And I’m good at it. Remember the spell I made up last week?”

“The spell that changed my daggers into caterpillars?” James and I were still pulling cocoons out of the laundry.

“No, the other one.”

I crossed my arms and did my best to look parental. “The one that sent my undergarments on a mad dash for freedom?”

She covered her mouth, trying to hide a gap-toothed grin. “I got it right the next time. Don’t your clothes smell nicer?”

“They do… those that aren’t hightailing it for the border.”

It was no use. After two years, I knew I couldn’t win, but I kept trying. James and I thought that if we could teach her another skill, something respectable…..


Rated PG. Contains ghost cats, precocious girls, and amorous spouse-stealers.


Listen to this week's Pod Castle!



« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 01:57:10 PM by Rachel Swirsky » Logged

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.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2008, 08:42:53 AM »

A good reading, though a bit overexaggerated in places.

I loved the humor and the small scale of the story -- just because they live in a fantasy world doesn't mean we have to hear every single aspect of it.  I think some fantasy writers get caught up in that.

I'm still unhappy that we don't know exactly how Bossy (Bozi? Bazi?) tricked James into eating the egg.  That kind of bugged me a little over the course of the story.

I knew the twist was coming when she patted her handprints off Bossy's shirt.  She's a thief.  Besides, the foundation was laid when James pickpocketed her dagger without noticing.

I also thought the denouement went on a tad too long.

This was one of those stories that had things I didn't like, but overall I enjoyed it so much that I was able to overlook those issues/flaws.
Logged

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

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 6098



« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2008, 08:52:15 AM »

I really liked this story. It was fun and flowed well and had likeable characters and generally really enjoyable.

What I didn't like was the reading. It felt forced and the inflection was often really bizzare. I got the impression - right or wrong I don't know - that the speaker didn't even look at the story before she started reading it to the microphone. This was one of very few times in an Escape Artists production where I was considering stopping a story I enjoyed because the reader annoyed me so much, though in the end the story won.

Edit: Removed erroneous reference to Christiana Ellis.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 11:09:07 AM by eytanz » Logged
Ragtime
Palmer
**
Posts: 45


WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2008, 09:13:48 AM »

I liked the reading a lot.

The story itself was a lot of fun, and pleasant enough to listen to, but I guess I actually prefer a more flawed story (like 14 Postal Experiments, or Hotel Astarte) that gives me more to think about even as I'm complaining about it.

This one didn't give me much to complain about (aside from a little bit of triteness in the "I'm gonna steal your man" storyline), but it also didn't leave me with much of anything else either.  Pleasant, funny, cute, well formed characters.  I doubt I'll be able to remember what it was about in a year.

Also, and this is more personal, "Magic Bird Eggs" is also a plot device in the Disney Fairies books that I read to my girls for bedtime stories (See, e.g., "Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg"), so the Sparrow Egg part just made me think of "Mother Dove" from the Disney stories.
Logged
Tina Connolly
Extern
*
Posts: 10


WWW
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2008, 11:03:59 AM »

Hey all!  Just so Christiana Ellis doesn't get unfairly judged, I'll note that there was a mistake initially with the credits and I read the story. 

Thanks, Tina Connolly
Logged
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 6098



« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2008, 11:07:39 AM »

Hey all!  Just so Christiana Ellis doesn't get unfairly judged, I'll note that there was a mistake initially with the credits and I read the story. 

Thanks, Tina Connolly

Ah, that makes sense, in that I didn't think it sounded like Christiana Ellis. But it seems so far that I'm in the minority opinion regarding the reading anyway, so I wouldn't fret too much about it if I were you Smiley
Logged
Rachel Swirsky
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1233



WWW
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2008, 01:53:28 PM »

Quote
I'll note that there was a mistake initially with the credits and I read the story. 

Thanks, Tina Connolly


Thanks, Tina. I was going to post something similar, but you beat me to it.

(Also, sorry again about the credit mix-up!)
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 02:00:12 PM by Rachel Swirsky » Logged
ajames
Lochage
*****
Posts: 358



« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2008, 08:08:53 PM »

This one didn't give me much to complain about (aside from a little bit of triteness in the "I'm gonna steal your man" storyline), but it also didn't leave me with much of anything else either.  Pleasant, funny, cute, well formed characters.  I doubt I'll be able to remember what it was about in a year.

Ragtime pretty well summed up how I felt about this one. Kind of cool and funny and a bit different, yet it didn't really grab me. Still, it was an enjoyable listen on my commute.
Logged
Ocicat
Castle Watchcat
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2858


Anything for a Weird Life


« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2008, 08:36:19 PM »

I thought this was really... not good.  I didn't like the wordcraft, the characters, the world building, or the plot.  The reading, well, it brought out the characters well, I think - it's just that I found the characters and their manner of speech annoying.  I'm not really sure what take the reader could have done to win me over here.

While this story didn't read like a D&D game - no combat, for one thing - but there was still too much high fantasy tropes in the worldbuilding.  She's a thief.  Daughter is a magic user.  No talk about them being exceptional - apparently everyone in this world is a class out of the Players Handbook.  Which is just lazy. 
Logged
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3906


Cool story, bro!


WWW
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2008, 09:41:19 PM »

I didn't think much of this story (though I didn't dislike it.)  I'm just not big on "high fantasy" in general.  Most of the time I avoid the genre entirely, and I almost didn't subscribe to Podcastle because I expected it might dominate the story selection.

It was better than any of the "miniatures" so far, though.
Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
Rain
Matross
****
Posts: 178


« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2008, 12:57:33 PM »

I really liked the first part of the story where it had some nice humor but it kinda seemed to go away after the first few minutes and then it just became standard fantasy, i thought it was an ok story but could have been great if taken in another direction
Logged
zZzacha
Peltast
***
Posts: 100


Did I just say that?


« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2008, 06:11:24 PM »

Cute story! Well read too, I really felt sorry for the woman who had her love life invaded by the mad lady. And it's always great to listen to stories in which True Love prevails. Even if you need an egg to bring your man back to his senses. I think we need more eggs :]
Logged

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
Sandikal
Matross
****
Posts: 287


« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2008, 06:34:50 PM »

I thought the story was too formulaic.  I'm not a fan of high fantasy because all the stories seem the same to me after a while.  Part of why I didn't subscribe to PodCastle at the time I subscribed to EscapePod is that I was afraid all the stories would be of this sort.

Please, bring in more modern fantasy. 
Logged
deflective
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1171



« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2008, 07:44:01 PM »

pshaw! pshaw, i say! to those who complain about too much fantasy from a fantasy podcast: pshaw!

truth be told, this episode didn't grab me that much. it may have been the reading, which felt hammy, but suggesting that podcastle should avoid stories like this seems silly.

maybe once we're finished the tour of sub-genres we'll see a wider mix from week to week so no one's overwhelmed by a particular style.
Logged
Chivalrybean
Peltast
***
Posts: 158



WWW
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2008, 10:05:04 PM »

Two thumbs at a 45 degree angle. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't super wow neato. That said, it was one I liked a lot more than other stories on PC.

Is there a post of what kind of story is what kind of fantasy? What is high fantasy? Is there low fantasy? Is medium fantasy about talking to the dead?
Logged

The Space Turtle - News that didn't happen, stories to entertain.
Ocicat
Castle Watchcat
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2858


Anything for a Weird Life


« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2008, 10:35:01 PM »

Is there a post of what kind of story is what kind of fantasy? What is high fantasy?

"High Fantasy" generally means epic storylines, lots of magic, maybe some elves, monsters with three heads, and what have you.  I really like a lot of high fantasy (hey, huge Tolkien fan here), but it seems that too much of it is very derivative of Tolkien, or worse, just a writeup of someone's D&D game.  I far prefer it when authors actually go back to original sources and draw from mythology and legend.  Which is of course what Tolkien did...

Is there low fantasy?
Yes, there is.  This generally means less magic, and smaller or darker storylines.  A lot of urban fantasy falls into this category, but so does Conan and A Game of Thrones.  It's a pretty broad term. 

Is medium fantasy about talking to the dead?
*snort*  Yes.  Of course.

Logged
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3906


Cool story, bro!


WWW
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2008, 11:49:19 PM »

.
Is there a post of what kind of story is what kind of fantasy? What is high fantasy?
"High Fantasy" generally means epic storylines, lots of magic, maybe some elves, monsters with three heads, and what have you.  I really like a lot of high fantasy (hey, huge Tolkien fan here), but it seems that too much of it is very derivative of Tolkien, or worse, just a writeup of someone's D&D game.  I far prefer it when authors actually go back to original sources and draw from mythology and legend.  Which is of course what Tolkien did...

Is there low fantasy?
Yes, there is.  This generally means less magic, and smaller or darker storylines.  A lot of urban fantasy falls into this category, but so does Conan and A Game of Thrones.  It's a pretty broad term. 

Well, the distinction as I was given to understand it is that "high" fantasy is typically set in a wholly invented world (and usually also has the standard tropes of wizards, dragons, elves, etc.) whereas "low" fantasy is typically set entirely or mostly in the world we know ("urban" fantasy is the obvious example, and I think most Neil Gaiman and Stephen King falls into this category as well.)  By this classification I would put Conan on the "high" side.

Being a D&D player of old, and having read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, most "high" fantasy just gives me a "been there, done that" feeling.  I find a story set (at least in part) in this world gives me more to identify with (even if it's as psychedelic and fucked up as "Fourteen Experiments in Postal Delivery  Smiley.)
Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
deflective
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1171



« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2008, 11:54:09 PM »

a question of definition can almost always be answered at wiki these days.

this particular story is more accurately defined as sword & sorcery but fantasy's fine splitting of sub-genres is getting a little silly. pretty much everyone will understand 'high fantasy' if used as previously described here.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 11:58:55 PM by deflective » Logged
yicheng
Matross
****
Posts: 221


« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2008, 08:45:50 AM »

Aside from being cute, I thought the story was just so-so.  The plot was fairly linear (the thief pick-pocketed, you don't say?) and all the characters one-dimensional and rather limited.  The humor saved the story for me.

As for how James got charmed in the first place...  Think a delicious cupcake in the middle of the forest.  Come on, you know you would.
Logged
DKT
Friendly Neighborhood
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4980


PodCastle is my Co-Pilot


WWW
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2008, 12:22:28 PM »

It was a fun little story to listen to on my morning commute.  Light, fluffy, and fun.  The tone of it reminded me a little bit of what I've read of Steven Brust.  And although I usually really enjoy the dark or more complex stuff, I thought this story was a nice change of pace.
Logged

Pages: [1] 2  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!