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Author Topic: PC017: Goblin Lullaby  (Read 31428 times)
Heradel
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« on: July 22, 2008, 06:15:22 AM »

PC017: Goblin Lullaby

By Jim C. Hines
Read by Christiana Ellis (of Christiana’s Shallow Thoughts)
First appeared in Fantasy Gone Wrong  (DAW)

“I’ve never seen a goblin infant,” said the elf, stepping closer.

“You thought goblins sprang fully formed from the rocks for you to slaughter?”  She jammed a knuckle into Jig’s mouth for him to suck.  His baby fangs were just beginning to pierce the gums, but the pain in her finger was better than listening to him cry.

“We slaughtered nobody.”  The voice came from below the outcropping.  The elf relaxed his bow and knelt, hauling his companion up onto the ledge. “You goblins attacked us.  We defended ourselves.”

Grell stepped to the edge and studied the woods below.  Goblin blood turned the earth a gruesome shade of blue.  Elves wove through the trees, making no noise save the twang of bowstrings and the ripping sound of blades tearing through goblin armor and flesh.  ”Defended yourselves?  Next time, why don’t you defend yourselves over in the hobgoblin tunnels rather than sneaking onto our land to do it?”

The archer caught his companion by the arm.  ”She’s an old woman, Jonathan. With a child.”

“She’s a goblin, Rindar.”  But he relaxed slightly.  He was bulkier than his companion, and the mane of red hair meant he was no elf.  Red stubble dotted his chin, though he was too young to grow a proper beard.  He wore a heavy mail shirt, with a green tabard depicting a white dragon coiled around a tree.  ”If we let her live, she’ll lead another attack against us.”

Grell kicked the corpse of the goblin drummer.  ”If you let me live, I’ll go back to the nursery and get some sleep.”

“I won’t risk letting you go free,” said Jonathan.  ”Not until my quest is complete.”


Rated G. Contains not necessarily overlapping groups of heroes and good guys.
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Listener
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 08:05:12 AM »

Very good intro.  Sometimes I sing my daughter "Code Monkey" and "Soterious Johnson" and she enjoys them.

The story didn't grab me at first, but as we moved toward the end, I knew the sleep spell in the cave would come into play.  I suppose the diaper thing was the three-strikes rule... set it, remind it, use it.  (I'm sure there's a word for that.)  Jonathan and the diaper was a lot more resonant to me, as a dad, than "The Yeti Behind You" when it comes to parenting; I still get the ickypoos when I touch baby poop, not that it happens a lot but it's not something you forget.

The reading was fine, though Christiana Ellis isn't my favorite reader.

I'd call this one solid, middle-of-the-road fantasy with some really funny and thoughtful bits, like the whole thing about Humans and their quests, and how the Goblins are in the middle of it all.
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Void Munashii
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 09:48:22 AM »

  I tend to like fantasy tales told from the "evil" perspective, and this was a pretty good one. All the references to questing heroes made me think of the old "Dungeon Keeper" series of games.

  I found the "heroes" to be very two-dimensional, but I am assuming that is intentional since they are supposed to be the stereotypical questing fantasy heroes, and it all worked quite well. I think this may well be the first story I've ever read/heard where someone was defeated by a dirty diaper... a weapon even MacGyver could be proud of.
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lhoward
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2008, 11:39:13 AM »

This is my favorite PodCastle story so far.  Christiana Ellis was the perfect choice of narrator for this tale.  I really enjoy these kinds of stories that take typical story patterns and flip them around, seeing everything from the opposite point-of-view.
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wintermute
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2008, 11:42:31 AM »

An excellent story. I've always thought that goblins are unfairly maligned in mainstream fantasy; they're actually far smarter (and certainly far more cunning) than the so-called "heroic" races.

You say there are some novels by this guy in the same vein? I shall have to check them out.
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2008, 08:02:25 PM »

I absolutely agree with void.  I love stories told from the "evil" perspective.  I love this story so much it was one of the first stories I tried to get for our podcast.  Podcastle beat us to it, but Jim Hines gave us the story of the baby Jig all grown up (Jig also appears in the trilogy about him).  In the story Goblin Hunter on clonepod you can find out how Jig got his pet firespider.  If you liked Goblin Lullaby, you'll like Goblin Hunter!
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2008, 09:15:18 PM »

Go ahead and drop the link in, clonepod.
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stePH
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2008, 10:33:09 PM »

I absolutely agree with void.  I love stories told from the "evil" perspective.  I love this story so much it was one of the first stories I tried to get for our podcast.  Podcastle beat us to it, but Jim Hines gave us the story of the baby Jig all grown up (Jig also appears in the trilogy about him). 

I thought this story seemed a bit familiar.

I've only listened to about the first ten minutes, but had to comment ...  I was under the impression that "Rockabye Baby" was a more common lullaby than the "Mockingbird" song.
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2008, 03:23:06 AM »

Excellent! My favorite Story thus far.
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cuddlebug
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2008, 04:31:52 AM »

Ohh, what listening pleasure. Great story, and excellent reading by Christiana Ellis.
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eytanz
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2008, 04:54:45 AM »

I haven't listened to this story yet (I have a 24 hour plane trip tomorrow and I'm saving up my podcasts for it), but I actually read this one back when it first came out. I remember enjoying it then and I anticipate enjoying it again.
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Ragtime
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2008, 08:42:05 AM »

Very good intro.  Sometimes I sing my daughter "Code Monkey" and "Soterious Johnson" and she enjoys them.

The story didn't grab me at first, but as we moved toward the end, I knew the sleep spell in the cave would come into play.  I suppose the diaper thing was the three-strikes rule... set it, remind it, use it. 

I had always heard this referred to as "The Gun In Act One."  Note its existence in the beginning, brandish (but don't use) it in the middle, and then shoot it at the end.

Eldest Raggirl would only fall asleep to Elton John.  Youngest Raggirl will fall asleep to anything by the Indigo Girls.  Medium Raggirl was the only one who needed traditional lullabies.  We used "Mockingbird." (Also, "'Til There Was You" by the Beatles (and the Music Man)).  I think its true that more people KNOW "Rock-a-bye Baby" than "Mockingbird" but I don't think any the people who know it actually sing it a baby to get her to sleep. 

As to the story, I particularly enjoyed the way it poked fun at fantasy tropes and conventions.  It was overall enjoyable, but tended to drag along in parts.

I rate it at 17 out of 24 Baby Goblin Teeth.
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wintermute
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2008, 08:50:29 AM »

The story didn't grab me at first, but as we moved toward the end, I knew the sleep spell in the cave would come into play.  I suppose the diaper thing was the three-strikes rule... set it, remind it, use it. 

I had always heard this referred to as "The Gun In Act One."  Note its existence in the beginning, brandish (but don't use) it in the middle, and then shoot it at the end.
More technically, it's Chekhov's gun.
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2008, 11:03:05 AM »

Or "The Gun on the Mantelpiece."

Yeah, more people know Rockabye Baby, but it's actually really hard to sing.  I've never known anyone to actually use it.  Mockingbird has fewer big leaps (it's got basically two jumps, the very first interval is a  major sixth, and the start of the next phrase is a fifth).  Rockabye baby has...well, okay, now I'm humming it, only three--a major sixth, a fifth, and a minor seventh.  I think it's that minor seventh that's the challenging part.  It's too easy to miss that landing.

But you're right, it could have stood a mention.  It completely slipped my  mind.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2008, 01:09:56 PM »

Quote
  I've never known anyone to actually use it.

I use it. Wink
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Ocicat
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2008, 02:54:06 PM »

This was a really solid fluff piece.  Very enjoyable.  I too really enjoy tales told from the other side's perspectives, and what made this even better was that it wasn't a goblin warrior or chief, but the nanny.  That added a lot, and she was a very fun perspective character. 
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DKT
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2008, 03:19:04 PM »

Quote
  I've never known anyone to actually use it.

I use it. Wink

Me too.  (You can use it without hitting the notes, right?  Right?)
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hautdesert
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« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2008, 03:21:11 PM »


Me too.  (You can use it without hitting the notes, right?  Right?)

Of course you can! Smiley  Though once you're using different notes, it's arguably a different song, or at least a variation... Wink

edited to fix my stupid coding mistake
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tazo
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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2008, 04:49:13 PM »

I have to say, I really enjoyed this one.  It had elements of both Terry Prattchett (turn fantasy on its head by introducing practicality, I.E. shut those soldiers up because someone has to get the kids to sleep) and the recent XBox 360 game Overlord, which, as everyone's already said, turned things on their head by showing things from the evil race's point of view.

At least I think it was recent.

I definitely agree that the heroes were a bit two-dimensional, but I'm quite certain that was the point.  I particularly enjoyed that the elf was kind of annoyed with the Princeling at the end.
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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2008, 10:50:34 PM »

This story was just fun.  And I'm glad to see that here at Podcastle, not that there haven't been any fun stories, but to me this story was fun just for the sake of being fun.  It was also well written and read, and a great perspective on the classic quest.
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