Escape Artists
November 19, 2018, 06:53:09 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3  All
  Print  
Author Topic: PC016: Magnificent Pigs  (Read 26127 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2938


Part-Time Psychopomp.


« on: July 15, 2008, 01:30:03 PM »

PC016: Magnificent Pigs

By Cat Rambo
Read by Matthew Wayne Selznick
First appeared in Strange Horizons (full text at link)

The spring before it happened, I went upstairs and found my ten-year-old sister Jilly crying. Charlotte’s Web, which we’d been reading together at bedtime all that week, lay splayed broken-backed on the floor where she’d thrown it.

“What’s wrong?” I said, hovering in the doorway. As Jilly kept getting sicker, I tried to offer her the illusion of her own space, but remained ready.

“I was reading ahead because I liked it so much—and Charlotte dies!” she managed to gasp between sobs.

The big brass bed creaked in protest as I sat down beside her. Gathering her into my arms, I rocked her back and forth. It was well past sunset and the full-faced moon washed into the room, spilling across the blue rag rug like milk, and gleaming on the bed knobs so that they looked like balls of icy light, brighter than the dim glow of Jilly’s bedside lamp.

“It’s a book, Jilly, just a book,” I said.

She shook her head, cheeks blotched red and wet with tears. “But, Aaron, Charlotte’s dead!” she choked out again.

I retrieved the book from the middle of the room and set it in front of her. “Look,” I said. “If we open the book up again at the beginning, Charlotte’s alive. She’ll always be alive in the book.”

The sobs quieted to hiccups and she reached for the book, looking dubious. When she opened it to the first chapter, I began to read. “‘Where’s Papa going with that ax?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast. ‘Out to the hoghouse,’ replied Mrs. Arable. ‘Some pigs were born last night.’”

Curling against me, she let me read the first two chapters. After she slipped away to sleep, I tucked the blanket around her then went downstairs to cry my own tears.


Rated PG. Contains child mortality. Those sensitive to these themes are advised to take caution.


Logged

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.
niallmor
Extern
*
Posts: 5


« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2008, 01:51:16 PM »

I loved this story. Old softy that I am, I nearly cried. I've missed a good many recent episodes of  Podcastle, but this is my favorite so far. "Magnificent Pigs" is a magnificent story--as Charlotte might say, some story, in fact.  Cry
Logged
Listener
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3187


I place things in locations which later elude me.


WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2008, 02:41:44 PM »

Um... okay.

Similar to Wisteria, a good STORY, but especially in this one, I felt the fantasy aspect to be just tacked on.  There was nothing to make me think that Our Hero had magical tattooing powers.  In fact, the story was completely mundane, from a genre aspect, until the pigs flew.  And, really, that wasn't even fantasy to me.  That was more wish-fulfillment.  I could see a coda where Our Hero goes upstairs and finds that Jilly has died in her bed.

The unnecessary fantastical aspect led me to expect a far-different story, and I was disappointed because I didn't get what I was expecting.  If I'd gone into this not expecting fantasy, I would've liked it a lot more.

Reading was fine, neither great nor bad.
Logged

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

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42
Ocicat
Castle Watchcat
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2858


Anything for a Weird Life


« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2008, 07:29:57 PM »

I give it one paw up.  Nice human story, and nice imagery when it comes to the fantastical element at the end.  The descriptions of the various wings was really nice.  The human interactions were just as well painted. 

No, not a traditional fantasy... but it's not science fiction, it's not horror, and it's not slice-of-life, so it goes - here.  I have no problem with that. 
Logged
wintermute
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1291


What Would Batman Do?


« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2008, 12:01:53 PM »

To begin with, a couple of things almost entirely irrelevant:

I'm listening to Brave Men Run at the moment, so interrupting that to hear another story read by Selznick was (very slightly) odd.

I couldn't help but think of this essay on how strong father-daughter relationships don't seem to exist in popular media, unless the mother is out of the picture. I'm not sure how this story would have worked, if their parents had still been around, so I don't think it's especially relevant here, but it came to mind.

As to the story itself: I liked it, but I can't help but think that the ending was purely a dream sequence. Given the circumstances in which he fell asleep, it seems like a reasonable dream, and there's nothing in the rest of the story to foreshadow it. A nice story well told, but  have this nagging feeling that it's only fantasy because it didn'r end one sentence later...
Logged

Science means that not all dreams can come true
Swamp
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2227



WWW
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2008, 12:45:24 PM »

Very good story!  Good quality stuff. 

As to the question of "Is it fantasy?", you know, I think it is fantasy enough.  Maybe I'm just not a rigid catagorizer, but you can't read the ending and have that fantasical image in your head and say, "That was a nice slice of life peice".  IMO even if the story contiued with the brother going upstairs to find Jilly has died, that image of the pigs flying her to the sky in her bed is enough to say "fantasy" for me.  I think Ms. Rambo wisely left it as she did, leaving us to consider what was real or not.  Do you believe?  Did you clap your hands to save Tinkerbell?  Can you see those magnificent flying pigs?


P.S.  I also liked the references to Charolate's Web.  When the intro said it was based on that story, I groaned a little, thinking of the terrible possibilites, but was pleased with the presented story.
Logged

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast
Listener
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3187


I place things in locations which later elude me.


WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2008, 12:51:22 PM »

I guess I inadvertently opened up the "is it fantasy" can of worms.  I think that it WAS fantasy.  But because it's on a fantasy podcast, I guess my complaint is that there wasn't ENOUGH fantasy, or that I expected something different than what I got and was disappointed in that way.  I was similarly somewhat disappointed with "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" (Neil Gaiman), although at least in that story the SF element appeared earlier with the weirdness of the girls.  In "Magnificent Pigs", the story had no fantasy at ALL until the very end.  I think that's where the categorization fell down for me.
Logged

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

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42
cuddlebug
Peltast
***
Posts: 145


« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2008, 01:30:01 PM »

This was …. a great story, very human, I especially loved the way the relationship between brother and sister was described. And the pigs, well, I never had much sympathy for pigs, but they were almost cute.

But it was also a very emotional story for personal reasons. It made me cry like no other episode yet, and that is saying something, as I tend to be very emotional with many stories. Let’s put it this way, it scared the shit out of me, because it made me realize how lucky I am that someone I love very much, who suffers from the same disease, is still alive. I know, I have been told so many times that it is a miracle, given that the disease was diagnosed at a time when medicine knew nothing about it and pretty much everyone who suffered from it died within 5 or so years, but one tends to forget and take people for granted …

Ok, enough personal *blubbering*, I am straying …. Good story (even though I have to admit I never read Charlotte’s Web, in fact, a lot of children’s fiction you all probably grew up with was not available to me as a child. Maybe I should catch up now?)

And I wanted to add, the intros are great, well done Rachel.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 01:31:38 PM by cuddlebug » Logged
wintermute
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1291


What Would Batman Do?


« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2008, 01:32:28 PM »

Oh, also: The title doesn't just reference Charlotte's Web, but Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, unless I'm reading too much into it.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 01:36:22 PM by wintermute » Logged

Science means that not all dreams can come true
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 6098



« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2008, 03:30:57 AM »

I really liked this story - I thought it was well written, effective, and touching. But I agree with something Listener said, though apparently not for exactly the same reason - the fantasy element felt tacked on. I don't think the story is not fantasy, or even that it's not fantasy enough. What I think is that the fantasy element was the only part of the story that didn't really work. It inadvertently turned the story from a story of love in the face of adversity to a story of utter despair - if the only way the situation could be resolved was if the laws of the world broke, then, well, similar situations in real life are hopeless. This is very different from Charlotte's Web, where the slight fantasy thread is present throughout and therefore is truly uplifting.
Logged
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3906


Cool story, bro!


WWW
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2008, 08:07:48 AM »

I'm listening to Brave Men Run at the moment, so interrupting that to hear another story read by Selznick was (very slightly) odd.

Funny ... me too.

Story didn't suck, but didn't really move me either.  And from the moment bitchy former nurse said "when pigs grow wings and fly" I knew Aaron was going to tattoo wings on all Jilly's pigs.  Did anybody else see that coming?

Also was wondering what made the story "fantasy" from about halfway in until the very end, and thought it could have been Aaron still asleep and dreaming.
Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
Chas
Extern
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2008, 09:06:30 AM »

I really liked the story & cried at the end.
I have say that I agree with many of the other comments that I don't see this as a fantasy story.



Logged
DandHRoberts
Extern
*
Posts: 8


"Yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin."


« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2008, 04:40:24 PM »

I really liked this story. One of my favorite. The wings were my favorite part by far. I have always wanted wings tattooed myself.

I love the fact that the brother would do anything to make sure his little sister was happy. Even to go so far as to make pigs fly. Amazing.

I cannot believe people actually tattoo pigs. I googled it.
Logged

"I'm betting on Alice"
DandHRoberts
Extern
*
Posts: 8


"Yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin."


« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2008, 04:42:07 PM »

Story didn't suck, but didn't really move me either.  And from the moment bitchy former nurse said "when pigs grow wings and fly" I knew Aaron was going to tattoo wings on all Jilly's pigs.  Did anybody else see that coming?

I totally saw that coming. I thought he was still dreaming as well.
Logged

"I'm betting on Alice"
ajames
Lochage
*****
Posts: 358



« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2008, 09:03:31 PM »

I really liked this story - I thought it was well written, effective, and touching. But I agree with something Listener said, though apparently not for exactly the same reason - the fantasy element felt tacked on. I don't think the story is not fantasy, or even that it's not fantasy enough. What I think is that the fantasy element was the only part of the story that didn't really work. It inadvertently turned the story from a story of love in the face of adversity to a story of utter despair - if the only way the situation could be resolved was if the laws of the world broke, then, well, similar situations in real life are hopeless. This is very different from Charlotte's Web, where the slight fantasy thread is present throughout and therefore is truly uplifting.

Well said, and great observation, eytanz.

As my second child almost didn't live past a few days old, I took the warning pretty seriously and prepared myself for what might be a difficult listen. The ending surprised me in that I was prepared for an all out tug on the heart strings, and I got something else.  And I commend the author on not going for the easy manipulation of the reader, but I think I was still left unsatisfied due precisely to what eytanz says above. Unsatisfied, but still appreciating the story.

As for fantasy/not fantasy, the editors of Podcastle have made it very clear that they plan to present the range of "fantasy", including stories such as this and Wisteria, which isn't what I would have thought I wanted exactly, but is working well for me so far.
Logged
Darwinist
Hipparch
******
Posts: 701



« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2008, 01:06:36 PM »

I really liked this one.  I would say this is one of my favorite PC stories.  Didn't see the end coming but I never seem to as I've mentioned before on this board. 
Logged

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan
Hatton
Peltast
***
Posts: 88



WWW
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2008, 02:27:57 PM »

I enjoyed the story but took the narrator's role as grown up sister rather than father... did I interpret that wrong?  I also kept waiting for the fantasy... and when the pigs flew I thought, "okay, so it's Charlotte's Web meets Bedknobs and Broomsticks."

Ah well, just because the fantastic is muted because of the theme of the story does not mean that it is not there.
Logged

Normal is just a setting on the washing machine.
Rachel Swirsky
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1233



WWW
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2008, 04:04:15 PM »

Quote
grown up sister rather than father... did I interpret that wrong?

Grown-up brother... I'm pretty sure the gender is specified, but I could have imposed that on the text, I suppose.
Logged
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3906


Cool story, bro!


WWW
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2008, 04:10:10 PM »

Quote
grown up sister rather than father... did I interpret that wrong?

Grown-up brother... I'm pretty sure the gender is specified, but I could have imposed that on the text, I suppose.

Grown brother, correct.  Though I at first thought sister as well.
Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
Nobilis
Peltast
***
Posts: 156



WWW
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2008, 05:36:17 PM »

I liked the part with the tattooing of the wings on the pigs. 

The dream sequence at the end, I felt inexpertly handled.

Have I ever said that I absolutely loathe stories where the reader is required to decide what happened?

I absolutely loathe stories where the reader is required to decide what happened.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3  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!