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Author Topic: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat  (Read 14335 times)

Heradel

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on: December 16, 2008, 05:12:10 AM
PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat

by Peter Beagle
Read by Barry Deutsch.

One evening, when Gordon was only a few weeks old, his next-to-eldest sister was sent out to see if anything interesting had been left open in the pantry. She never returned. Gordon’s father shrugged sadly and spread his front paws, and said, “The cat.”

“What’s a cat?” Gordon asked.

His mother and father looked at one another and sighed. “They have to know sometime,” his father said. “Better he learns it at home than on the streets.”

His mother sniffled a little and said, “But he’s so young,” and his father answered, “Cats don’t care.” So they told Gordon about cats right then, expecting him to start crying and saying that there weren’t any such things. It’s a hard idea to get used to. But Gordon only asked, “Why do cats eat mice?”

“I guess we taste very good,” his father said.

Gordon said, “But cats don’t have to eat mice. They get plenty of other food that probably tastes as good. Why should anybody eat anybody if he doesn’t have to?”

Rated G. Contains talking animals.

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Void Munashii

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Reply #1 on: December 16, 2008, 03:54:43 PM
  I thought this was a really cute fun story, the sort of thing that could make a good children's movie. I did not however like the read, it seemed like the emphasis was being put on all the wrong parts of the dialog.

  The story did seem to drag a bit in the middle, but even though I saw the end coming as Gordon was marching out of the school it really made the story for me.

  So am I the only one that kept expecting Gordon's dad to say "oy" and comment about mice being the chosen people?

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Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #2 on: December 16, 2008, 05:35:00 PM
Re: mice as Jews: Because of the writing or the reading? (or because of Maus, I suppose ;) )



Void Munashii

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Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 06:44:58 PM
Re: mice as Jews: Because of the writing or the reading? (or because of Maus, I suppose ;) )

  I would have to say because of the writing. It was the 'some are the hunters, some are the hunted" part, it just made his father seem like an older Jewish man to me. I was actually kind of wanting the reader to put some of that into his voice during that scene, because that is how I was hearing it in my head.

  Admittedly after Gordon gets to school it made me think more of racial integration, but it seems like too light and fun a story to bring down by pinning that on it.

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Kaa

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Reply #4 on: December 17, 2008, 01:35:20 AM
I'll agree with Void on this one. The story itself is quite cute, but drags a bit in that middle part.  And the reading? Meh.

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Listener

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Reply #5 on: December 17, 2008, 02:43:44 AM
I felt the reading was overly precise, as if the reader wasn't sure how he should proceed.

I tried so hard not to hear anything about racial integration or religious integration or any of that stuff, but it was difficult. Very heavy-handed.

The story was creative and interesting, but WAY too long.

I'm sorry. I want to review this but my wife is watching "The Doctors" and it's really, really disturbing.

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Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #6 on: December 17, 2008, 05:17:41 AM
Quote
I was actually kind of wanting the reader to put some of that into his voice during that scene, because that is how I was hearing it in my head.

Oh, Okay. The reader is ethnically Jewish, and writes a comic book about a sword-wielding ten-year-old Orthodox Jew, so I blinked a bit to see you were flashing Yiddish. ;)



eytanz

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Reply #7 on: December 17, 2008, 11:47:50 PM
I basically agree with most of the comments above - great premise and plotline, but too wordy and slow, at least for audio presentation. This was most egregious at the point where we heard what Gordon told the mice he captured - I wasn't surprised they didn't understand, they probably forgot the beginning of the lecture by the time he reached the end.



Zathras

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Reply #8 on: December 17, 2008, 11:53:43 PM
Ditto on previous comments.

This would make an excellent bedtime story for my daughters.  I had to back it up a couple of times because I dozed off.



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Reply #9 on: December 18, 2008, 01:31:05 AM
Didn't like the reading.  At all.

Story ... not bad, but I don't generally like stories about anthropomorphic critters (Watership Down being one major exception.)  So I sat through this one but am not likely to revisit it.

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Peter Tupper

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Reply #10 on: December 18, 2008, 06:28:28 PM
I thought this was well written, and well performed, and an interesting parable about self-improvement. I could even imagine the illustrations for the children's book version of this, with a somewhat disturbing image of a formerly cute mouse self-transformed into a pointy-eared, slit-eyed, slinking cat.

However, I think the author copped out by arranging things so that Gordon is only an academic cat, and never put in a position where his loyalty to other mice conflicts with his self-improvement drive. Does Cat School never make its students do practical exercises in mouse hunting? When Gordon unwinds in the faculty lounge, does he just politely abstain when the other professors nosh on his relatives, served up with bruschetta on rye crackers?

That this situation never came up spoiled the story for me.



CammoBlammo

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Reply #11 on: December 18, 2008, 07:26:58 PM
Loved the story, and I didn't actually mind the reading. I've watched a fair bit of kids' TV over the years, and I've noticed a lot of narrators have a similar style---apparently emphasising the wrong parts of sentences and so on. Another example is Sam Mowry's brilliant reading of Charlie Stross' Trunk and Disorderly.

I just figured it was the mark of a really good narrator.



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Reply #12 on: December 18, 2008, 07:42:30 PM
I also agree with the other comments.  I'd read this story in print before, and thought it would be entertaining to listen to again.  Couldn't do it though, the reading was just too slow for me.  I really liked the story though, Peter S. Beagle always writes stories that I love.



cuddlebug

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Reply #13 on: December 20, 2008, 03:47:53 PM
What a cute story, very well executed on so many levels. This is definitely one for the kids, the ones I don't have and never will, but it is just as entertaining for grown up ones.  Contrary to many other listeners I did not mind the few slow passages, I was not in a rush and was not distracted by anything, and the very good reading was able to sustain my attention to the very end.

Good one, keep them coming.




Talia

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Reply #14 on: January 05, 2009, 10:45:30 PM
I actually loved the reading. Brought a lot of character to it, I thought,  a good match for the fable-like feel the story had for me.



MacArthurBug

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Reply #15 on: January 06, 2009, 04:05:47 PM
This story was a LOT of fun. This got a thumbs up not only from me, but from BOTH my girls. Usually the 5 year old will get bored or wander off when I find a story I think they'll like. This time both girls were enrapt from beginning to end- for that alone I'm SOoooo happy.

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DKT

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Reply #16 on: January 07, 2009, 06:52:04 PM
This story was a LOT of fun. This got a thumbs up not only from me, but from BOTH my girls. Usually the 5 year old will get bored or wander off when I find a story I think they'll like. This time both girls were enrapt from beginning to end- for that alone I'm SOoooo happy.

Yeah, I have to say I think the reader's tone was perfectly suited to reading children's books. I liked it.


Ocicat

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Reply #17 on: January 12, 2009, 05:29:12 AM
This story was an easy sell for me.  This cat gives it two paws up.



izzardfan

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Reply #18 on: January 15, 2009, 01:18:57 AM
Yeah, I have to say I think the reader's tone was perfectly suited to reading children's books. I liked it.

That's exactly what I didn't like about the reading.  I felt like I was being talked down to.  I do enjoy stories written so that children can appreciate and understand them, but with this narration, the pace and emphasis was just annoying.

Also, the reader doesn't know how to pronounce "feline" or "felis" with a long 'e' sound.

Edit:  "Also..." because I hadn't finished listening when posting the first part.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2009, 07:26:39 PM by izzardfan »



DarkKnightJRK

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Reply #19 on: July 19, 2009, 06:23:35 PM
Not a bad story at all--sounds like it's a good one for kids, and one that adults can listen/read to kids and not roll their eyes (which I've inwardly been guilty of a few times, I must admit).



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #20 on: July 20, 2009, 09:10:56 PM
Not a bad story at all--sounds like it's a good one for kids, and one that adults can listen/read to kids and not roll their eyes (which I've inwardly been guilty of a few times, I must admit).

Speaking of which: does anyone know if a podcast (or more than one) exists for juvenile fiction?  Not for really young kids, but say 6 and up?

I'm thinking of the "Squonk the Dragon" stories (of which my daughter wants more!) that Escape Pod ran.  But not necessarily sf (or even sci-fi).

(Hmm, that makes me wonder: would future Squonk stories - if Butler writes any more - be in EP or PC?)

This thread isn't really the best place in the forum to ask this question - the juvenile fiction podcast one, not the Squonk venue one - but it fit with the last comment.

Maybe I'll go ask the same thing in the 'Podcast Pedantry' section.

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Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #21 on: July 20, 2009, 10:01:22 PM
Future Squonk would be in EP, as a matter of tradition. That's why union dues is there, too, and any fantasy Christmas stories by Mur Lafferty.

I think Melissa Bugaj runs a podcast for young kids.



DarkKnightJRK

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Reply #22 on: July 20, 2009, 10:22:33 PM
Not a bad story at all--sounds like it's a good one for kids, and one that adults can listen/read to kids and not roll their eyes (which I've inwardly been guilty of a few times, I must admit).

Speaking of which: does anyone know if a podcast (or more than one) exists for juvenile fiction?  Not for really young kids, but say 6 and up?

I'm thinking of the "Squonk the Dragon" stories (of which my daughter wants more!) that Escape Pod ran.  But not necessarily sf (or even sci-fi).

(Hmm, that makes me wonder: would future Squonk stories - if Butler writes any more - be in EP or PC?)

This thread isn't really the best place in the forum to ask this question - the juvenile fiction podcast one, not the Squonk venue one - but it fit with the last comment.

Maybe I'll go ask the same thing in the 'Podcast Pedantry' section.

I seem to remember hearing that They Might Be Giants had some sort of podcast for kids. Don't remember if it was fiction though.



Doom xombie

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Reply #23 on: July 21, 2009, 04:45:41 AM
Now i could be wrong but isn't this an older story? Why teh sudden activity?

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Reply #24 on: July 21, 2009, 04:53:42 AM
Now i could be wrong but isn't this an older story? Why teh sudden activity?

Because, near as I can tell, DarkKnightJRK has been listening through the archives and posting in the comments threads along the way - if you backtrack to the first page, down at the bottom you'll see that the first post after the long pause was by him (her, I don't know).

Hey, it's a good reason to backtrack, re-listen and then post your thoughts :D (assuming you didn't before, lol, I forget these things)

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