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Author Topic: Pseudopod 98: Among the Moabites  (Read 11367 times)
goatkeeper
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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2008, 05:36:58 PM »

hehe I was totally joking about the cheesy fridge-trap ending.


Ah, but I think you missed the message of the story. It's not that man is just an animal with a mask of civility. It's a story about how man equates strength with morality. Wilson gets to be god to the little thingies for no reason other than he's bigger. He is a benevolent god when they please him, and a vengeful one when they displease him - but their behavior does not change, only his own perception of it. What right does he have to judge them? Just that he's stronger than them.


I felt like the message extended one step further than this though.  He was able to carry out his judgements on them because he was bigger, clearly, but he judged them based on criteria/ethics that he himself did not even abide to.  He called them savages but he himself was no different- carnal/fleshly- in fact, they even inspired/ignited this in him.  So it's not just about God being whoever is strong enough to boot you out of the Garden of Good and Evil- it's about the hypocrisy of civility. 

For me, I just wish we had a few more moments with the characters and this world before the hammer fell.  If anything it proves it was an effective, great story.
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errant371
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« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2008, 09:28:31 AM »

hehe I was totally joking about the cheesy fridge-trap ending.


Ah, but I think you missed the message of the story. It's not that man is just an animal with a mask of civility. It's a story about how man equates strength with morality. Wilson gets to be god to the little thingies for no reason other than he's bigger. He is a benevolent god when they please him, and a vengeful one when they displease him - but their behavior does not change, only his own perception of it. What right does he have to judge them? Just that he's stronger than them.


I felt like the message extended one step further than this though.  He was able to carry out his judgements on them because he was bigger, clearly, but he judged them based on criteria/ethics that he himself did not even abide to.  He called them savages but he himself was no different- carnal/fleshly- in fact, they even inspired/ignited this in him.  So it's not just about God being whoever is strong enough to boot you out of the Garden of Good and Evil- it's about the hypocrisy of civility. 

For me, I just wish we had a few more moments with the characters and this world before the hammer fell.  If anything it proves it was an effective, great story.

Indeed.  This was a morality tale disguised as a horror story.  But is was not a tale of the morality of man; it was a tale of the morality of God.  I think the author hit the nail on the head.  You guys are both right.  I love it when a story ends up being so multi-layered.  Especially when it is creepy.
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Stalinsays
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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2008, 05:32:53 PM »

I would agree. Creepy in its action, a must. Heady in its overall presentation, another must. I think I would pin this my favorite story so far of 08.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2009, 04:18:15 PM »

I wish I had known what Moabites were before I listened to the story, it added layers of meaning.

I had been going to say that this story was okay, but the philosophy of you forumites hashing out the symbolism was really cool, so any story that can inspire all that must be pretty good after all.  Especially the stuff about the "hypocrisy of civility" and all that. 

I couldn't really relate to Wilson throughout.  His whole change of heart is based on them scaring away a girl, but what did he expect, really?  He watched them have sex like it was no big deal, so why didn't he expect the same.  And really, if looking at teeny weeny people screwing is hard to draw your eyes away from, imagine 2 humans the size of skyscrapers doing it--can you blame the little folk forwanting to take a look?  Talk about bringing the thunder! 

In the end, though, I thought the little people were too easily thwarted.  They really can't figure out how to break glass?  He attributed it to their stupidity, but he had no real reason to think them stupid.  He just assumed they were because they didn't communicate with him (and he didn't even try, other than handing them food).
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Millenium_King
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« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2010, 04:25:00 PM »

This one gets a strong positive reaction from me.  I won't go quite so far as to say I loved it, but I certainly liked it a lot.  The story started with a bang (thank God!  How I enjoy it when authors dispense with the faddish "slow-boil") and kept my interest rivetted throughout.  I loved the transition from man-to-Jehova-to-man.  A great metaphor.

I guess I expected a more horrific ending (the scene where the Lilliputians tie down Gulliver springs to mind...) and so I was initially disappointed by its subtlety.  Upon reflection, I enjoyed its understated ending more and more so I think this story could definately be called a rousing success.

All that being said: the lack of a visceral punch and intense horror prevents me from adding this to my top 10.  Likewise, the concept behind this story was (obviously) less than original.  Like I said, that's certainly not bad (and handled very, very, very well here) but the lack of original concept coupled with a lack of intense horror has kept this one away from my list.

Excellent story, though.  And another excellent reading.  I would have liked to hear Al make the obvious comparison between this and Swift's work, but I liked the outro nonetheless.

Finally, it's my opinion (and my opinion only) that the little people were not real and that our protagonist was just losing his mind a little.  He acted nonchalantly toward them (for example: never inviting over a scientist or trying to communicate with them).  I saw them as figments of the imagination of a man coming to grips with his own mortality as retirement age drew nigh.

Mod: fixed tag.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 04:32:20 PM by Bdoomed » Logged

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Sgarre1
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« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2010, 07:44:45 PM »

Quote
faddish "slow-boil"

Glad I was capable of introducing you to a term for a concept you dislike but you're using it wrong if you think it a fad.  Fans of M.R. James (1904),  Robert Aickman (1950) and Ramsey Campbell (1964) would have good giggle at that.  Most modern genre writers prefer the "start with a bang" style anyway (which I referred to as "pulpy" but, unlike you, not in a derogatory sense - it's a great way to tell a certain kind of story).  It's just another way of telling stories man - you don't have to like it or think it works, but really, "faddish"?  That's just too easy.  C'est la vie, indeed!

“The best thing to do is to loosen my grip on my pen and let it go wandering about until it finds an entrance.  There must be one – everything depends on the circumstances, a rule applicable as much to literary style as to life.  Each word tugs another one along, one idea another, and that is how books, governments and revolutions are made – some even say that is how Nature created her species.”
Machado de Assis, “Those Cousins From Sapucaia”
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Millenium_King
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« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2010, 10:24:29 PM »

Ah, but I think you missed the message of the story. It's not that man is just an animal with a mask of civility. It's a story about how man equates strength with morality. Wilson gets to be god to the little thingies for no reason other than he's bigger. He is a benevolent god when they please him, and a vengeful one when they displease him - but their behavior does not change, only his own perception of it.

Great point.

What right does he have to judge them? Just that he's stronger than them.

I might say that "rights," like morality, stem from might as well.

I think I like this story all the more after considering that point.  It's the oldest (and truest) lesson after all.  Besides strength and might, what can you base morality on anyway?  Faith, perhaps?  Really makes you think.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 10:26:20 PM by Millenium_King » Logged

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Millenium_King
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« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2010, 04:52:09 PM »

Glad I was capable of introducing you to a term for a concept you dislike but you're using it wrong if you think it a fad.

FYI - I have been using the term "slow boil" before you "introduced" me to it here.  There might even be some older posts that I've made which reference the term.  I recall first hearing it with regards to the movie "The Village" back in 2004.

Fans of M.R. James (1904),  Robert Aickman (1950) and Ramsey Campbell (1964) would have good giggle at that.  Most modern genre writers prefer the "start with a bang" style anyway (which I referred to as "pulpy" but, unlike you, not in a derogatory sense - it's a great way to tell a certain kind of story).

Hmmmm.  You might want to be just a little less presumptuous.  You'd be surprised what my opinion of "pulp" is.

It's just another way of telling stories man - you don't have to like it or think it works, but really, "faddish"?  That's just too easy.  C'est la vie, indeed!

Beyond the fact that most lit classes these days encourage slow characterization rather than a "pedal to the metal" approach, I was specifically referring to the school of "all-about-me" critics, writers, directors, producers (and sometimes *shudder* writer-directors) etc. etc.  who promote this approach.  Formost amongst them is M. Night Shyamalan.  You might not find this trend a fad, but I think there is a case to be made.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 04:53:59 PM by Millenium_King » Logged

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Sgarre1
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« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2010, 09:57:37 PM »

Quote
FYI - I have been using the term "slow boil" before you "introduced" me to it here.  There might even be some older posts that I've made which reference the term.  I recall first hearing it with regards to the movie "The Village" back in 2004.

Yup, you're right, my mistake - it seems to have cropped up a lot since I used it as a model distinction for "Eyes of the Crowd" (more on which below) but, mea culpa.

Quote
Hmmmm.  You might want to be just a little less presumptuous.  You'd be surprised what my opinion of "pulp" is.

Well, this was just poor phrasing on my part.  Your assumption that my use of "pulpy" -  as a model distinction (for the "front-loading" you enjoy) in the "Eyes Of The Crowd" discussion - was meant by me as derogatory (from the comment in Pseudopod 173: Bophuthatswana "Some people call that "pulpy" but c'est la vie"), when I meant no such thing.  "Pulpy" is good, fun and the best way to tell some stories -"pulpy", just like "slow boil", is another flavor of genre approach, nothing more, nothing less.  As opposed to the derogatory modifier "faddish".

Quote
Beyond the fact that most lit classes these days encourage slow characterization rather than a "pedal to the metal" approach, I was specifically referring to the school of "all-about-me" critics, writers, directors, producers (and sometimes *shudder* writer-directors) etc. etc.  who promote this approach.  Formost amongst them is M. Night Shyamalan.  You might not find this trend a fad, but I think there is a case to be made.

For the first part - although it's been at least 10/15 years since I checked, they'd already seemed to have made a distinction between lit classes and genre classes in most writing curriculum.  And even in those Lit classes, Raymond Carver is still taught as an exemplar of compression.  As to the second, I don't know what a discussion about approaches to writing short genre fiction has to do with modern critics, directors, producers and writer/directors of film.  So, I guess I still don't see the supposed faddishness.  Blackwood's "The Willows" (1907) starts with long, descriptive scene setting of The Rhine and character detail, many pages before anything of note happens, and it still works a treat (and we all know who's favorite story that was).  So, no, still don't see it as anything distinctly "new" (I mean, I get that you don't like it but nothing beyond that), sorry.
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