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Author Topic: PC031: Colin and Ishmael in the Dark  (Read 20991 times)

Heradel

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on: October 30, 2008, 07:46:46 AM
PC031: Colin and Ishmael in the Dark

By William Shunn
Read by MarBelle (of Director’s Notes)

The fifth of our Halloween features, continuing through October 31.

In the total darkness, the incessant _drip! drip!_ of limewater on stone was the only sound to be heard. Steady as the beating of a heart, ceaseless as the motion of the stars, that sound filled the darkness, fed the darkness, _became_ the darkness. It stitched the seconds together loosely into minutes, the minutes into long ragged hours, and the hours into great tattered sheets that flapped like ghosts in an unseen wind, leaving behind only gray threads of time to mark their passage as
they unraveled. In all of creation there was only dripping water, and beyond the reach of its echoes the world no longer existed.

This changed only twice a day, when metal ground harshly against metal and the bolt sprang back from the rusted lock with the sound of a crossbow quarrel being loosed. This particular
day began like every other–the resonant creak of the hinges, the crushing reverberation as the door slammed shut, the tread of steel-toed boots crossing the damp stone floor and then pausing. “Breakfast, Ishmael,” said a voice worn into a sing-song by the repetitiveness its daily routine.

“Just put it there on the settee, will you?” This dry voice spoke wryly and precisely.


Rated R. Dark as an oubliette.

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stePH

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Reply #1 on: October 30, 2008, 01:12:24 PM
Okay, why do I not have this yet?  ???

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Heradel

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Reply #2 on: October 30, 2008, 02:57:13 PM
Okay, why do I not have this yet?  ???

There's a slight formatting problem with the blog post, it should start working soon.

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stePH

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Reply #3 on: October 30, 2008, 03:57:16 PM
Okay, why do I not have this yet?  ???

There's a slight formatting problem with the blog post, it should start working soon.

So that's why it's not in my iTunes feed either?

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Heradel

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Reply #4 on: October 30, 2008, 04:07:26 PM
Okay, why do I not have this yet?  ???
There's a slight formatting problem with the blog post, it should start working soon.
So that's why it's not in my iTunes feed either?

The blog is what creates the RSS feed that goes out to iTunes, there's an issue with the formatting of the blog post's bit that says "I am a Podcast, here is my file" that is causing the problem.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


stePH

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Reply #5 on: October 30, 2008, 04:15:42 PM
The blog is what creates the RSS feed that goes out to iTunes, there's an issue with the formatting of the blog post's bit that says "I am a Podcast, here is my file" that is causing the problem.


Ah.  You can learn something new every day, if you pay attention.  :)

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Heradel

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Reply #6 on: October 30, 2008, 04:32:11 PM
I just got it, looks like everything's ok.

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Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #7 on: October 30, 2008, 04:33:02 PM
Should be fixed now. :)



thomasowenm

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Reply #8 on: November 01, 2008, 12:14:09 AM
Starting off I was not sure if I was going to like this one, but I did.  It had enough of a psycological edge to keep me wanting to know more as the story progressed.  It felt sort of Silence of the Lambsish but at least didn't use any chiante or fava beans.   As for the discussion that will probably arise as to fantasy or not...  It took a long while to reach the point of "the sight" which didn't add much to the story.  It could have been as good without it, leaving it as a PP story and not PC but "the sight" qualified it I think. 

MarBelle read the story spot on.  He delivered a very good performance, it let me really concentrate on the story and not be distracted by errors.
Well Done.



Rain

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Reply #9 on: November 01, 2008, 07:59:07 AM
I hate to be on a negative streak, but i didnt like it. I was tempted several times during the ten hour or so story (atleast it felt that long) to just stop and listen to something i actually enjoyed, but the ending was pretty good, and if the story before that had been half the length and it had a reader that was a little less dry i would have had likes the overall story better i think.

Again i hate to jump on the bandwagon, but was there anything fantasy about this story?



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #10 on: November 01, 2008, 03:19:23 PM
"was there anything fantasy about this story?"

This was one of the stories that Steve accepted before he stopped running fantasy and put on special hold for PodCastle. I read it it in February of 2007, so my memory of it's not really strong -- but the character's psychic, isn't he?



ajames

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Reply #11 on: November 01, 2008, 07:29:10 PM
... As for the discussion that will probably arise as to fantasy or not...  It took a long while to reach the point of "the sight" which didn't add much to the story.  It could have been as good without it, leaving it as a PP story and not PC but "the sight" qualified it I think. 

MarBelle read the story spot on.  He delivered a very good performance, it let me really concentrate on the story and not be distracted by errors.
Well Done.

I agree - MarBelle's reading was excellent! And the story kept me interested and had some brilliant moments (the opening sentences which ended up framing the story were incredible). I also agree that "the sight" probably qualifies this as fantasy, but I disagree that it doesn't add much to the story. It's strongly implied if not stated that Ishmael's sight got him thrown into prison in the first place, it is his sight which allows him to get in the head of poor Colin, and yet it is his sight which fails him once again by not showing him he was about to be released (it could be argued that his "sight" could not have shown him this because it may have only been spoken, but that conflicts with the the ability to hear sounds Ishmael describes hearing during his visions - of course, that could be a lie just to get under Colin's skin, but then the whole sight thing could still be that, too). It opens up speculation as to whether the sight is a gift or a curse, whether the sight betrays Ishmael or whether he misuses the sight due to his own character failings, etc.

Anyway, I do agree it doesn't have the strongest fantasy element, but I think it is within the range of fantasy stories already posted on Podcastle.



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Reply #12 on: November 02, 2008, 12:45:43 PM
I loved this story.  It held my attention and took little twists and turns along the way.  The reading was superb.

It did leave me wondering one thing, though:  Did he really have a week left?  I think the answer is no, that it was just the cruelest part of the story.



deflective

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Reply #13 on: November 03, 2008, 03:31:47 AM
all the escape artist podcasts are great and of course i love you all equally but podcastle is just a little more favorite today for having the halloween episode that i liked the most.



Zathras

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Reply #14 on: November 03, 2008, 03:34:03 AM
all the escape artist podcasts are great and of course i love you all equally but podcastle is just a little more favorite today for having the halloween episode that i liked the most.

What he (she?) said



stePH

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Reply #15 on: November 03, 2008, 02:11:10 PM
I enjoyed the story, and I didn't have the "is it fantasy" issue this time.  I guess that only happens when I don't think much of the story, that I pick at it like that.

As for dining in the dark, I became aware of it when my wife was listening to the audiobook of Chelsea Handler's Are You There, Vodka?  It's Me, Chelsea a couple of months ago; the sixth chapter details Handler and her friend going to London where they try a "dark dining" experience with disastrous (and funny) results.  (Briefly, the friend starts feeling claustrophobic and hot, so Handler tells her to take off her sweater, and as a show of solidarity she will remove her pants -- it's in the dark so who's going to notice?)

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Reply #16 on: November 03, 2008, 02:26:43 PM
I quite enjoyed this story.  Ishmael struck a deep chord within my heart, the shackled mystic forced to listen to the inane drivelings of his guard.  Like another poster, I did wonder if I could truly call it fantasy, as the 'sight' that Ishmael had could easily be explained away as ramblings of a mind driven insane by the continual darkness, lacking any in-story confirmation of veracity, but it was an enjoyable tale nonetheless.

I was rather surprised this story didn't end up on Pseudopod; it seems more that style.



Anarkey

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Reply #17 on: November 03, 2008, 04:29:43 PM
I've eaten at the Blindekuh in Zurich!  It was really neat.  We had the added complication of a language barrier in addition to the utter darkness, but we muddled with Italian to Spanish, and had a great time.  Food was good, but the overwhelming sense I recollect was completely disoriented kinesthetics: that the table was angled, or suddenly triangular instead of square, that my utensils and glassware were nearer or futher than I remembered placing them, that the people at the table next to me were within a half armlength of me (they weren't, though they were closer than is habitual in American restaurants, I think, and they were LOUD), and a constant feeling that space was elastic, malleable because I couldn't correlate the spatials visually.

Also, really liked this story.  Thanks, PC.

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Reply #18 on: November 04, 2008, 07:29:46 PM
The reading was good.

The very thought of Ishmael being able to break himself out of his shackles in the way he described was chilling.

My problem was with Colin. Was he blind too? Was he only memorizing the layout of Ishmael's room? Was Ishmael actually sighted, and it was just pitch-dark? If Colin was sighted, why would he have missed the pit in the floor, and if Ishmael was blind, why would they not allow Colin to have a torch? I think it would've come across better as written -- or, at least, easier to understand that point.

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wintermute

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Reply #19 on: November 04, 2008, 08:05:28 PM
I believe the room was pitch-black. They mentioned the torches as not having been lit since Ishmael lost that priviledge, or some such.

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Loz

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Reply #20 on: November 04, 2008, 08:21:29 PM
Locked room stories are great, I watched the new version of Sleuth the other week and it reminded me of that, only gothic. The sudden reversal of fortunes at the end was really surprising, how often do you have a carefully organised plan that has been several years in the planning that goes wrong? It took me a little while to warm to MarBelle's reading, it felt a bit like it took him a while to settle into the reading and get confident doing it.



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Reply #21 on: November 04, 2008, 08:44:23 PM
I liked the story right until the twist at the ending. My sympathies were with Colin throughout, and the story was very effective as horror, as Ishmael manipulated him and it was unclear how much he was actually able to do and how much he just wanted Colin to think he could. I liked the fact that Colin ended up getting the upper hand, that he had a trick up his sleeve that Ishmael didn't account for - especially so since he telegraphed it earlier, but both myself as a reader and Ishmael as an over-confident schemer failed to pick up on it. Well one.

But the last twist - regardless of whether Colin was telling the truth - essentially detoothed Ishmael. He was no longer the master who made one crucial mistake, but rather he just royally screwed himself over. I would have liked to keep all the amibiguity in Ishmael's camp - does he really have the sight or was he just using information he picked up from Colin years ago? And leave the story with a sense that sooner or later Ishmael would try this again, with some other guard perhaps. End with him beaten, not broken. That would have been a lot more powerful an ending.



stePH

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Reply #22 on: November 04, 2008, 10:27:58 PM
Was Ishmael actually sighted, and it was just pitch-dark?

I thought that was made quite clear at the beginning.

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Reply #23 on: November 08, 2008, 02:20:53 AM
Yay! A Halloween story from Escape Artists that doesn't suck!

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. I don't have much more to say, but I don't want to be one of those people that only chimes in when I have something overwhelmingly negative or positive to say. This was just superbly set up and brilliantly, ahem, executed. Good show.



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Reply #24 on: November 08, 2008, 03:16:21 PM
Capital story!  This twisted little tale was a lot of fun.