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Author Topic: PC022: Dead Girl’s Wedding March  (Read 14511 times)
Heradel
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« on: August 26, 2008, 09:14:46 PM »

PC022: Dead Girl’s Wedding March

By Cat Rambo
Read by Rachel Swirsky.
Introduction by Ann Leckie.
First appeared in Fantasy Magazine, 2006 (full text online).

“The Physician came with eager steps, for new cases were few and far between. He insisted on examining Zuleika from head to toe, and would have had her disrobe, save for her father’s protest.

“She seems well enough to me,” the Physician said in a disappointed tone.

“She believes she wishes to marry.”

“Tut, tut,” the Physician said in astonishment. “Well now. Love. And you wish this cured?”

“Before the contagion spreads any further or drives her to actions imperiling us all.”


Rated G. Contains love between a rat and a girl five thousand years dead.


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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2008, 08:38:04 AM »



I think Cat Rambo's becoming one of those authors that appears everywhere but doesn't really appeal to me.  This story was TOO light, didn't dig far enough into the mythology of the world.  There were some great bits near the end (the nothingness sky, the flowers kept alive from sorcery), but the whole 5000-year-old stalled culture motif doesn't -- pardon the expression -- move the story.  And the climax, with the city collapsing because someone changed... that didn't do it for me.  There wasn't enough to make me care that the city was being destroyed.

I would've liked to know more about the culture of this world... the names suggested Middle East or Indian/West Asian but in those cultures, IIRC, isn't prearranged marriage the norm, not love?  And why did this rat, after 5000 years, decide to be the first to approach Zulaika?  Are the rats immortal too, or is this rat only a few years old?  How does this rat differ from all other rats?  Why do rats have run of the city?  There were just too many unanswered questions.

It took Rachel a little while to get into the flow of the reading, but she had it by about halfway through, which made it all the more jarring when the story just... ended.

Can we please have a Cat Rambo moratorium for a couple of months across all three casts?  Just to cleanse the palate?  I like cake, but if I eat it every day, or eat too much of it, I start to feel blah.  And, for the most part, I don't like Cat Rambo's stories nearly as much as I like cake.

...and I hate to be an intro-basher, but this one didn't really connect for me... I think it would've worked better as an outro, when we'd established that the story had rats in it.
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eytanz
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2008, 08:58:26 AM »

This story felt recycled and formulaic, and didn't add much of anything - not any interesting ideas, not a sense of fun, not, well, anything - to elevate it above that. Not terrible, or even really bad, just uninteresting. Certainly the least of all Cat Rambo stories I've been exposed to yet.
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Chivalrybean
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2008, 11:27:40 AM »

There could have been a bit with a guy saying "Everyone can marry!" and it could have been Titled Rattamarryme.

That's a long shot... but most of the story my favorite part was trying to come up with that joke. The story itself I figured out almost right away.
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Benjamin
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2008, 06:12:59 AM »

Great writing, a spellbinding and haunting world.
But was that an ending?
What was the moral of the story: beware of your bored teenagers or they will destroy the world around you?
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Ocicat
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2008, 03:18:48 PM »

This story made me look forward to the release of Niel Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, which promises to be a much better read in a somewhat similar world. 

I liked the atmosphere quite a bit, but the details kept knocking me out of it.  Why, in a thousand years, was this the first marriage proposal?  Why would marriage be a "change", though smaller variations of daily routine are not?   And I kept missing clues of setting or timeframe changes, so it was hard to keep up my mental image of the story.  But I liked the rat, and I liked the dead girl, and I enjoyed the character of the father.

So I'm afraid it gets the dreaded "meh".
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Void Munashii
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2008, 11:54:15 PM »

  This is a flawed story, but I liked it. I'll admit that I have a bias towards zombie stories, so I was sort of predisposed to liking this story once it became clear that it was about the undead.

  I would have liked to have seen Zuleika's world fleshed out a bit more, and I found the ending a bit jarring (I did not realize that the ending was upon me until I heard the music start to play), but anything more and the story may have started to overstay its welcome.

  While I certainly give this story more than a "meh", it's not the jaw-dropping awesome of something like "Cup and Table". I'll take it, and gladly.
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2008, 03:35:56 PM »

Wow, a necrophiliac furry story.   Huh 

This world did not really do it for me, and I've always liked the idea of the dead having thier own world.  A change will destroy the world, wouldn't the father calling a doctor to prevent his daughter from falling in love be considered a change?  For some reason, the whole scene made me think of some strange idilic 50s sitcom.  Like the movie where two kids end up in a 50's sitcom, and change the world by colorizing it.  At least there were colorful descriptions of the girl, the rat, and other setting pieces, but there needed to be more of a story, and an ending.

I'm just glad I did not piss myself when I first saw my wife.  That would be rather... awkward.
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2008, 05:07:22 PM »

Umm.. meh. This just didn't do it for me. I actually liked the ending it was the everything else I disliked.
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« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2008, 08:56:56 PM »

Meh!!  Just wondering, did I miss something or could a young girl just up and leave a city that has been cursed for 5000 years?Huh  Nobody thought they could leave before now?  Now a voyuer rat was disturbing, checks out a naked zombie and pees himself.  No self control, I'm glad there are no Rat strip clubs.
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slic
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2008, 07:53:36 AM »

The ending seemed to just happen.  I kinda hoped that by marrying the rat something more transformative, less destructive, would happen to the city.

It stuck with me that various descriptions of the "romantic" love were not at all flowery, but rather crude - though I'm not sure yet that I liked it.
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Rain
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« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2008, 11:24:30 AM »

Meh, too short and didnt really go anywhere
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2008, 11:26:23 PM »

Meh, too short and didnt really go anywhere

I agree, felt shorter than a normal episode. If this was in the Miniatures category, the shortness would A. have been expected and B. have fit the length. Could have just been my perception, too. When I get a 'regular' episode, I expect a lot more than I got with this tale. I don't think I would have liked it any more or less, but I wouldn't have felt like I got a short episode. No big deal to me, since I know if I have a problem, Podcastle will refund every penny I spent* to get the episode. Maybe it just hit the really low end of the full episode word count. Or, maybe it didn't engage so much without being totally boring that it went by fast.

*Internet connection fees, iPod purchases, and computer hardware purchases do not apply.
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2008, 05:45:20 PM »

Peculiar how many people used "meh" to describe the story, and then went into details, as I have commonly come to find meh being a sign of apathy.

That being said, Meh.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2008, 08:20:26 AM »

I thought the story was pointless, and didn't like Rachel's reading either.  It had the same halting, full-of-inappropriate-pauses delivery that I most hated about Abby Kim's reading on Clonepod (but thankfully without the mispronounciations or the irritating kid voice).

At least the story was mercifully brief.
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« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2008, 09:10:27 AM »

I haven't finished listening to the story, yet, so I haven't read any of the other comments to avoid "contaminating" it for me.  But I do have some constructive criticism for Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky regarding the episode introductions.

If you listen to Alasdair over on Pseudopod or Steve over on Escape Pod, their introductions are every bit as scripted as the ones on Podcastle.  But...they make them sound more personal, and this morning while driving and listening, I think I finally figured out why they..."annoy" is a strong word, but it'll do...why they annoy me, so.

Both ladies are reading just a bit too fast; not like they're speaking to us, but like they're reading to us.  So there's none of the natural cadences of speech like you get with Steve or Alasdair, who read their scripts a little more slowly, taking the time to TELL us what they've written rather than READ to us.

That's it, for now.  Once I'm done with the actual story, perhaps I'll have comments on that. Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2008, 09:40:38 AM »

... But I do have some constructive criticism for Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky regarding the episode introductions.

If you listen to Alasdair over on Pseudopod or Steve over on Escape Pod, their introductions are every bit as scripted as the ones on Podcastle.  But...they make them sound more personal, and this morning while driving and listening, I think I finally figured out why they..."annoy" is a strong word, but it'll do...why they annoy me, so.

Both ladies are reading just a bit too fast; not like they're speaking to us, but like they're reading to us.  So there's none of the natural cadences of speech like you get with Steve or Alasdair, who read their scripts a little more slowly, taking the time to TELL us what they've written rather than READ to us.

Indeed, I've commented before on how natural and unforced Steve Eley's Escape Pod introductions are.  He really sets a standard.  I still don't listen to Pseudopod, but I've listened to Alasdair's Pancast and he does a good job of sounding natural as well.

Oh, and Rachel ... talking of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, check out the Tom Baker era Doctor Who serials "City of Death" and "Shada" (the latter was never finished but there are releases of it anyway, and it was actually remade as a Big Finish audio with Paul McGann's Doctor).  Both of those stories had elements reworked into the first Dirk Gently novel.
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Roney
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« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2008, 04:23:21 PM »

I'm slightly meh on this one as well... but much more toxically repelled by the affectless literary style it's written in.  The treatment of the characters calls to mind Victorian naturalists describing in impartial yet condescending terms the specimens they're studying.  If the author can't deign to sympathize with her own creations, it creates a very hefty barrier to my own engagement with the story.

Interesting ideas but the execution didn't work for me at all.
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Roney
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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2008, 04:47:21 PM »

I'm just glad I did not piss myself when I first saw my wife.  That would be rather... awkward.

I wouldn't read too much excitement into a rat pissing itself.  The human equivalent would be something like: "The first time I saw her, I exhaled."  My experience of rats is that they piss all the time.  They have a slight fondness for human skin and plastic -- standing on either of these surfaces seems to be particularly bladder-loosening -- but they'll piss anywhere without even noticing it.

After a year of using TV and video remotes that had smears of dried rat piss caked on the buttons, I got my rat-owning flatmate to agree that they shouldn't be allowed out of their cage.  And then I felt guilty that they were confined in such a small space, when they were still affectionate and inquisitive.  They were reasonably content, but they wanted to wander.  I didn't feel guilty enough to let them out again, though.  I just hope that the confinement didn't shorten their lives too much.

Stan could have been dead for anything between a few hours and a few days before we noticed that he wasn't moving at all.  Eric... we could time his final breath more precisely, because we heard his death rattle.

I wouldn't want to discourage anybody from getting a rat, though.  If you don't mind the occasional trickle of piss, and have spare cables to replace any that might get gnawed through, they're beautiful, friendly, intelligent creatures.  They're a bit like miniature cats.
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Cerebrilith
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« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2008, 07:57:00 PM »

In 5000 years no one ever got bored enough to leave or do anything at all differently?
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