Author Topic: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat  (Read 12831 times)

Heradel

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PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« on: December 16, 2008, 12:12:10 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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2008, 10:54:43 AM »
  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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2008, 12:35:00 PM »
Re: mice as Jews: Because of the writing or the reading? (or because of Maus, I suppose ;) )

Void Munashii

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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 01:44:58 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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2008, 08:35:20 PM »
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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2008, 09:43:44 PM »
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.

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Rachel Swirsky

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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2008, 12:17:41 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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2008, 06:47:50 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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2008, 06:53:43 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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2008, 08:31:05 PM »
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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2008, 01:28:28 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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2008, 02:26:58 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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2008, 02:42:30 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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2008, 10:47:53 AM »
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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2009, 05:45:30 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.

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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2009, 11:05:47 AM »
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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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2009, 01:52:04 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.

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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2009, 12:29:12 AM »
This story was an easy sell for me.  This cat gives it two paws up.

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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2009, 08:18:57 PM »
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, 02:26:39 PM by izzardfan »

DarkKnightJRK

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Re: PC037: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2009, 01:23:35 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).