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Author Topic: PC023: Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge - PodCastle Giant  (Read 25121 times)
Heradel
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« on: September 03, 2008, 09:51:23 AM »

PC023: Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge - PodCastle Giant

By Richard Parks.
Read by Steve Anderson.
Introduction by Rachel Swirsky.
First appeared in Realms of Fantasy.

Note: This PodCastle Giant is longer than a normal episode. PodCastle Giants will air once every three months. Other episodes will remain our customary length.

The full moon cast the man’s shadow across the thin screen that was my doorway. It wasn’t a mistake; he wanted me to know he was there. I pulled the screen aside, but I was pretty sure I knew who would be waiting.

He kneeled on the veranda, the hilt of his sword clearly visible. “Lord Yamada? My name is Kanemore.”

“Lord” was technically correct but a little jarring to hear applied to me again. Especially coming from a man who was the son of an emperor. I finally realized who he was. “Prince Kanemore. You were named after the poet, Taira no Kanemore, weren’t you?” I asked.

He smiled then, or perhaps it was a trick of the moonlight. “My mother thought that having a famous poet for a namesake might gentle my nature. In that I fear she was mistaken. So, you remember me.”

“I do. Even when you were not at Court, your sister Princess Teiko always spoke highly of you.”

He smiled faintly. “And so back to the matter at hand: Lord Yamada, I am charged to bring you safely to the Imperial compound.”


Rated PG. Contains adventuring.

For those listeners looking for a good point to pause the episode, Steve Anderson recommends minute 48 as a good time for an intermission.

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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 09:57:45 AM »

To forestall the obvious question: One hour, Thirty-Four minutes and Many-Many seconds.

Edit: That's odd — For some reason Preview and iTunes disagreed on the length.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 11:40:08 PM by Heradel » Logged

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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 10:25:13 AM »

Oh my goodness! Now this is what I've been wanting.  I didn't even know I needed this story. It glimmered, it glowed. The prose and characters were exquisite, the world was full and spectacular. The tangled and twisted strands were all woven into a gorgeous collage. Thank you! thank you! I loved it! I'm really looking foreward to the next PC giants stories now!
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2008, 04:38:05 AM »

i'd been wondering why we hadn't seen a solid, straight forward fantasy story before. now it makes sense, i'm glad we have a forum for them now.
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Ocicat
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2008, 05:11:09 PM »

Finished listening to it on the drive in today - it filled the majority of three commute legs. :-) 

The story was very good.  I really liked the atmosphere... I'm a sucker for court intrigue, and love medieval Japan, so I was thrilled with the combination.  The fantasy elements really added to the atmosphere too, even though the plot didn't really hang on them.  But I loved the matter of fact way that they were handled. 

Technical gripe - the sound levels were just too low, or the sound quality too poor.  Listening in my car with the iPod hooked into the car's system, I had to turn the volume way up to understand on the freeway.  When switching to radio (or iPod music) had to crank it back down.  This seems a fairly typical problem for PC, but it was strongly noticed this time so I thought I'd mention it.
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2008, 05:35:01 PM »

I'm a sucker for court intrigue, and love medieval Japan, so I was thrilled with the combination.

Wasn't it medieval China?  I can't reply further because I haven't finished it, but even without getting to the end yet, I love this story.
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Heradel
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2008, 06:18:59 PM »

I'm a sucker for court intrigue, and love medieval Japan, so I was thrilled with the combination.

Wasn't it medieval China?  I can't reply further because I haven't finished it, but even without getting to the end yet, I love this story.

They mention someone being from China (as opposed to everyone else), so I'm pretty sure it's Japan.
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2008, 07:47:14 PM »

I'm a sucker for court intrigue, and love medieval Japan, so I was thrilled with the combination.

Wasn't it medieval China?  I can't reply further because I haven't finished it, but even without getting to the end yet, I love this story.
It's Japan. The child at the centre of the story is Emperor Go-Sanjo.
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2008, 12:31:24 AM »

I'm a sucker for court intrigue, and love medieval Japan, so I was thrilled with the combination.

Wasn't it medieval China?  I can't reply further because I haven't finished it, but even without getting to the end yet, I love this story.
It's Japan. The child at the centre of the story is Emperor Go-Sanjo.

I stand corrected.  Thanks for the clarification.
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2008, 02:58:11 PM »

Awesome, without reservation.

I was a little bit apprehensive when I heard that Steve Anderson was reading it: I've found his readings rather over-wrought in the past, and thought that 90 minutes was going to strain me past breaking point.  But I thought he was excellent throughout.  I now can't imagine any other Escape Artists reader bringing this story to life.  It was really magnificent work, imbued with the humanity of the characters.

And they were beautifully portrayed characters.  And the language was gorgeously controlled.  And everything about the story was great.

(And it slotted perfectly into my commute, finishing about two minutes before I walked into the office.)

I don't know whether Fantasy in general works better at a slightly higher word count, but this story was exactly as long as it needed to be, and it would have been a terrible shame if it had been rejected for breaching some self-imposed limit.  Please keep running the good stories, whatever pigeon-holes they miss on the way.
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2008, 04:25:25 PM »

I found this story to be pretty boring, the first half hour or so was pretty good, but then it turned into dull court politics and the fantasy element completely disappeared. It doesnt help that Steve Anderson was the reader, no offense to the man but i have to resist the urge to fall asleep when he reads stories, everything just comes off as dull and flat
« Last Edit: September 11, 2008, 03:24:36 PM by Rain » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2008, 11:13:00 PM »

Finished listening to it on the drive in today - it filled the majority of three commute legs. :-) 
It occupied 45 minutes of my lunch hour and 45 minutes of my bus ride home today.  I finally resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to have an uninterrupted 90 minutes so I just plunged in.  Some shorter PC and EP stories don't get finished in one sitting, so this wasn't really anything new.

The story was very good.  I really liked the atmosphere... I'm a sucker for court intrigue, and love medieval Japan, so I was thrilled with the combination.  The fantasy elements really added to the atmosphere too, even though the plot didn't really hang on them.  But I loved the matter of fact way that they were handled. 

If I had any kind of skill at drawing people, I'd be adapting this one as a manga right now.  I thought it could also be a good 45-to-60-minute OAV in the right hands.
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ajames
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« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2008, 06:33:04 AM »

If I was wearing a hat, I'd tip it to both Steve Anderson and Richard Parks. Intrigue, ghosts, sorcery, mystery, poetry, and more, all done very well. And the length was just right (although I've debated whether or not it was two words too long, for now I'm sticking with just right).

Glad to see Podcastle is trying some new things without sacrificing the quality.
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JoeFitz
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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2008, 07:00:08 PM »

(And it slotted perfectly into my commute, finishing about two minutes before I walked into the office.)

Ouch. That's quite a drive. I barely have time to start the story before I'm arriving.
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2008, 07:38:26 PM »

(And it slotted perfectly into my commute, finishing about two minutes before I walked into the office.)

Ouch. That's quite a drive. I barely have time to start the story before I'm arriving.

Depending on how long I have to wait for a (1) train, I can either finish a miniature or about half of a regular story. If I walk I can finish a regular one. When I was commuting to work this summer I would have been able to finish this story with about ten minutes to spare, so I'm quite glad to be back at school.

I really liked this one. The length was good — I listened to it as I was walking around taking pictures in Central Park (is that name dropping?) and otherwise just wandering around before classes started, so it was nice to lose myself for a decent length of time before having to do battle with old and middle english, plus the story wouldn't have worked shorter. I saw the ending coming a little bit off, but the suspense about the possible end of the main character/story compensated quite well for that.
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« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2008, 07:56:15 AM »

Other than one or two of the Miniatures, this is the only PodCastle or EscapePod that I've listened to more than once.  That right there is glowing review considering I barely have enough commute-time to even keep current on all my podcasts!
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« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2008, 11:05:47 AM »

I thought the story was well-written and certainly a good listen.  It wasn't something that I'd rate 'WOW!'

As for the run-time of the story, it didn't bother me.  However, I thought it was hard to find a good 90 minutes to get the whole thing in.  I know it's a new sort of experiement, but once every few months I think it's quite reasonable.
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2008, 02:17:39 PM »

I really enjoyed this first giant cast.  The reader really brought life to the story, and I loved how the ending twisted from what I had expected.  Delicious.  Plus, I am such a sucker for good asian fantasy.  (Though I suppose, given the stories you guys have seen from me, you know that already.)

I did not listen to this story for a commute, but used it to get me through laundry folding and a ton of filing at home.  It made these onerous tasks really enjoyable.

Thanks for running this one!

Hmm

PS Now I am going to have to look up that Emperor... You know a story is good when you get so excited by it you want to indulge in spontaneous research to enrich your understanding of it.
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« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2008, 01:27:09 AM »

I listen while I work, so bigger is bettah!

The tad bit at the end through me for a loop. I had actually considered it, but I didn't think it was so. I was expecting that she didn't really kill herself, that she used a, uhm, ghost thingy, that looked like her. I thought this because Wossesname found a scrap of paper in her bed, and it was never revealed, and the ghost thingies don't dissipate until job is done, so I calculated that perhaps until all was revealed, that she didn't die, the body would not vanish.

Other than I felt that scrap of paper was a loose end, BEST STORY EVER on Podcastle, so far...
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« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2008, 10:05:40 AM »

LONGEST. PODCASTLE. EVER.

(Come on, someone had to.)

I really liked this story as a piece of historical fiction. Not being a student of Japanese history I don't know how speculative it actually is (fantastical elements aside), but I enjoyed it.

From a fantasy perspective (and the voice of Lyle Konkiel just echoed in my head as I wrote that), I felt the fantastical elements were given very short shrift. It's like... okay... there are demons and monsters and ghosts, but aside from that one ghost that gives the information to Lord Yamada and the monsters the prince (I forget his name) fight, there's really no NEED for the fantasy. Had there been an informant that could've been bribed with food or money, had there been mercenary guards, had the CONCEPT of ghosts been discussed without actually seeing them, I think the story would've been just as good, if not better -- and the whole thing with the demons... I felt a little cheated not seeing more of them. I feel that for a fantasy or sci-fi story to really justify the genre label, SF or F needs to be a part of the climax, even if it's not the point of the story... and in this story, it wasn't. Lord Yamada simply washed off the ink, then pulled a Scooby Doo ending on the princess's brother.

Also, the ending -- when Yamada and the prince got drunk -- went on FAR too long, and I think the whole "my son" thing felt tacked on. I think you'd really have to be a student of Japanese classical literature -- haiku/tanka format, and more than just counting syllables -- to really have picked up on the fact that the child emperor (Takahito, was it?) was Yamada's son.

Make it a non-fantasy story and I'll like it a lot better.

As for the reading, Steve Anderson is a talented voice actor, but he always sounds pained, like he's trying too hard to get the words to come from his diaphragm, and like he's actively trying not to read too quickly. Okay in small doses, but I think he may have contributed to my feeling that the story went on TOO long.
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