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Author Topic: Pseudopod 120: Iowa Highway  (Read 9488 times)

Bdoomed

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on: December 13, 2008, 05:10:24 AM
Pseudopod 120: Iowa Highway

By Brendan Detzner

Read by Ralph Walters

The first thing they did when they took a trip like this was pick new names. This time they were Michael and Jennifer. The house was empty when they got there; it was beautiful, the summer home of very wealthy people. The interior was an open shell, rugs on a stone panel floor with a kitchen in back and an open-sided spiral staircase that led up to a balcony bedroom and another set of stairs in back that led to a kitchen. The house was surrounded by grass, which was surrounded by woods, which were surrounded by a wooden fence. They took their clothes off as soon as they got inside. Jennifer threw hers in the corner; Michael left a trail, starting with his shirt at the front door and ending with his underwear at the kitchen. “Jesus, I’m hungry…” He stopped suddenly and looked at her sheepishly, like a dog that knows it’s done something wrong. “No, I didn’t mean…” Jennifer shook her head. “I know you didn’t. Don’t worry.” She hoisted herself up onto the counter, put her hand on his shoulder, and tilted her head to the side. He spit on her neck. His saliva was bright green; it hissed like oil in a frying pan, and a second later there was a swollen red mark on her neck. He nibbled on it gently, and her skin tore and split like tissue paper. She closed her eyes as he pressed his mouth against the wound. They stayed at the house for about two weeks.


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« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 02:33:34 AM by Bdoomed »

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


umamei

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Reply #1 on: December 16, 2008, 04:22:08 AM
I just finished listening to this, and honestly the only thing I'm horrified about is the fact that I just don't get it.  That aside, Walters did a fabulous reading.  Anyone able to summarize this story for me and help me "get it"?  I'm going to blame my inability to understand this one on it being finals week, and listen again next week after finals are over.



600south

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Reply #2 on: December 16, 2008, 11:27:31 AM
I have to admit, this one went right over my head as well.
I think some stories work much better in print. Especially those with four or more characters identified only by one-syllable names. I'd like to read this story in print because it sounded interesting...



umamei

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Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 03:22:52 PM
I have to admit, this one went right over my head as well.
I think some stories work much better in print. Especially those with four or more characters identified only by one-syllable names. I'd like to read this story in print because it sounded interesting...

It's comforting to know I'm not the only one that felt that way.  Do you know if the stories ever get posted in print format through Escape Artists?  I'll took a look later post-caffeine and see if I can find any.  I think re-listening might help me understand it better, even if it turns out reading it isn't an immediate possibility.

And I totally agree about it sounding interesting.  There were glowy eyes at one point and blood, and those are two things that always make me want to like a story.



Raving_Lunatic

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Reply #4 on: December 16, 2008, 04:40:05 PM
Meh. Sorry.



Zathras

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Reply #5 on: December 16, 2008, 05:41:31 PM
Ugg. Truck driver like.  Ugg.

Ok, I liked this, but I get tired of the same voices that are used for truck drivers.

A gift for all the people who haven't driven across I-80 in Iowa:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyeY0hWU28I

Oh, and the world's largest truckstop?  It's on I-80 in Iowa.



gelee

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Reply #6 on: December 16, 2008, 10:42:55 PM
So, forewarned by the comments here in the forum, I paid extra special attention to the different characters and narrative threads.  The results, I'm afraid, are only so-so.
A modern take on the classic vampire (not the Anne Rice vampire).  I applaud adherence to tradition.  Rice's followers have failed miserably in their attempts to ride on her coattails.
That said, this story was not a winner for me.  I don't know if it was the writing or the reading, but the sudden shifts in the narrative thread were tough to follow.  The individual characters didn't have sufficiently distinct "voices" to be easily differentiated.  Again, I'm not sure that was how they were written, or how they were read.
I also agree with Z.  The trucker voices were a bit stereotypical.



Sgarre1

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Reply #7 on: December 17, 2008, 05:49:46 AM
Patchy, uneven, seemed to follow thoughts down dead ends and then track back.  The start was promising.  Was it a fractured time narrative or did it just lose its way?

Agree about the voices - none seemed to work and the "rural trucker" voice/s (couldn't tell where the primary narrator started and the asshole who only talked about politics and sex ended, confusing the story) sounded so much like Matt Besser from UPRIGHT CITIZEN'S BRIGADE doing his "redneck" character that it was hard to take seriously.  A shame, as there were some nice moments.

Pass.

Thanks for listening

“If you are different from the rest of the flock, they bite you.”
Vincent O’ Sullivan, “The Next Room” (1928)



umamei

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Reply #8 on: December 17, 2008, 06:00:23 AM
After hearing what everyone has said about the voices, I'm rethinking my assessment of the reading.  Maybe this contributed to my confusion.  Other than the voices, I really liked that guy's reading.  One more final, and then I listen to it again.  :D



Listener

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Reply #9 on: December 18, 2008, 03:36:42 PM
Maybe the reader was practicing his George W. Bush impressions?

Not all truckers sound southern. Not all religious people sound southern. I wish fiction writers and readers would get that. (I am neither religious or southern.)

The story was TOO ambiguous. Were they vampires? A vamp and his human servant? Why didn't Jennifer want to kill Petey? Did they actually have sex?

The only thing I liked other than the reader's voice was the concept that Jim's faith could overcome the vampire's wiles even without an obvious holy object -- his faith in his deity, his faith in his wife, his faith in himself.

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Zathras

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Reply #10 on: December 18, 2008, 06:24:01 PM
I've listened to this one 3 times now.  I can relate to Jim's opinion of driving.  I have been married almost 2 years now, and it has changed the way I look at being on the road.  In this vein, the life of a truck driver was spot on. 

The truck stop scenes were a bit off for me.  Jim is on the road weeks at a time.  He spends time at the truckstop, which isn't too far from home.  He misses his wife fiercely.  It doesn't add up.  I live in Albuquerque.  If I had a load that went across I40 and delivered in Gallup (about 2.5 hours from ABQ), I wouldn't trash around in Santa Rosa, Tucumcari or Moriarty.  I would spend that time in Albuquerque.

It reminds me of Chuck Palahniuk's Survivor and Jeffery Derego's Union Dues Team Shikaragaki series.  They come close to understanding the trucking industry, but miss the mark.



gelee

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Reply #11 on: December 19, 2008, 01:42:35 PM
It reminds me of Chuck Palahniuk's Survivor and Jeffery Derego's Union Dues Team Shikaragaki series.  They come close to understanding the trucking industry, but miss the mark.
I see that a lot, and I'm sure you do as well.  People who don't work in transportation have basicly nothing to reference except Convoy, if you can even remember that one.  Folks seem to consistently under- and over-estimate just how far a driver can go in a day.  Even for owner-operators who have to spend down time between runs waiting for more work, I can't place the odds of running into the same people repeatedly at a truck stop very high, but Zathras would know better than I.



Zathras

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Reply #12 on: December 19, 2008, 01:57:11 PM
If a driver has a dedicated run or lane, it's possible to stop at a truckstop on a regular basis.  But for 3 guys to stop often at the same stop?  At least 2 of them would have to be local drivers.

Legally, most drivers can handle between 500 and 750 miles per day.  A team truck should be able to run at least 1500 miles per day not counting any time at a dock.  I have in the past turned 2200 miles in 2 days and more than 7000 miles in a week.  I stopped doing crazy stuff like that when I got married.

If any writers want feedback aobut truck stops, feel free to ask.

Oh, and if there are any independant film makers out there, I have an idea for remaking Duel.



DKT

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Reply #13 on: December 19, 2008, 07:54:00 PM
Nice to hear a vampire story.  I wouldn't mind reading this one sometime.  The way the audio was recorded really confused me because of the quick POV switches and the short time lapses.  So much so, at one point I thought the truckers were also going to be vampire hunters -- Petey the Asshole was a Van Helsing-like character and Jim was was kind of a Jonathan Harker dude.  His wife was similar to Mina.  And then we've got Dracula's bride seducing the victims.  I'm not saying that would be a better or worse story than the one that was actually written, but it's what I heard initially while listening to this story.

Actually, I really liked this one. The ending felt like a bit of a jolt but it was a really creepy vampire story nevertheless.


Zathras

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Reply #14 on: December 24, 2008, 09:55:35 PM
Kudos to Brendan Detzner for contacting me about the trucking info.  I can respect an author who uses tools offered to him.



RedArrow

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Reply #15 on: September 16, 2009, 12:59:12 PM
My one gripe about this story is that most people in Iowa do not have a southern accent.  I know.  I live there.  Of course, I have a theory that most people don't believe Iowa is a real place anyway.

That being said, I liked this story.  I thought it did a nice job of being creepy, while at the same time showing a moral person in a positive light, as opposed to the bible-thumping fanatical stereotype we see so often.  I really appreciated how Jim's wife, his true north, saved him from a grisly fate.  Any man who has ever truly loved a good woman knows the truth in this....  ;)



Unblinking

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Reply #16 on: November 02, 2009, 04:10:54 PM
I gave this one ten minutes, and there was nothing that interested me enough to keep my finger from the "next track" button.

There were too many disconnected threads, possibly in mismatched chronological order.  I didn't know who was who, what they were doing.  There were a pair of people who jumped a speeding semi, and a guy with acid speed, and some random truck drivers.  How do they relate to each other?  No clue.  And that's a problem.  Maybe I could've followed this one in text, but in audio it just didn't work.



Fenrix

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Reply #17 on: March 19, 2010, 12:47:48 PM
I think this story suffered from too much going on. I think there was a lot of ideas that could have been separated into a longer story or broken among several short ones. Or maybe all the included details could have been streamlined a bit better.

I think the strongest character was Jim, and it was refreshing to see a good strong Christian protag where faith actually meant something.

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Millenium_King

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Reply #18 on: June 25, 2010, 11:26:10 PM
I thought the guy had a great voice, but his voices were a little distracting.

As for the story itself, it was confusing and more than a little vague.  I could barely follow it.  I don't really have anything else to say.  All in all, very forgettable.

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