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Author Topic: Pseudopod 123: Bone Sigh  (Read 7396 times)

Bdoomed

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on: January 05, 2009, 07:35:59 AM
Pseudopod 123: Bone Sigh

By Tim Pratt

Read by Alasdair Stuart

I sit at the table and work on my bonsai scar. I press the silver head of the meat tenderizer into my left thigh, stippling the skin. I do not feel pain; I scarcely feel the pressure. My nerves are dead, there on my left thigh, where I grow my scar. Matches, hot needles, knives, and time. I tend my scar, I do not control it. Skin and muscle are unpredictable– this is not like painting a picture, carving a piece of wood. The flesh knows its own logic, the bruises come strangely, the healing proceeds unevenly. I collaborate with my flesh.


This week’s episode sponsored by CONTAGIOUS, by Scott Sigler.



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

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Listener

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Reply #1 on: January 05, 2009, 08:15:05 PM
I think the reading was too fast in many places, and the audio went up and down a bit.

The story didn't really hold my interest. There wasn't enough explanation, I thought, into why Our Hero thought that scarring himself in this way would show him the face of G-d, only that it would. And the "cliffhanger" at the end -- is he going to have her cut him up now? -- is kind of overused (though it may not have been in 2002, when this was published), because based on Our Hero and what we know of him, he's not going to do anything to her.

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Zathras

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Reply #2 on: January 05, 2009, 11:06:09 PM
Maybe it was the half bottle of NyQuil I drank or the fact that I just finished a Pseudopod marathon, but this one bored me.  I couldn't get into it, it's like there was nothing to catch my eye.

The end of the story flowed too quickly too the outro since Al was doing both.  The music levels weren't high enough or the pause wasn't long enough, maybe both.



MacArthurBug

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Reply #3 on: January 06, 2009, 04:03:06 PM
eeew creepy.  Great story. Obviously I liked the reading. The pacing/sound was a little odd in the beginning- strange backround noises initially distracting from the story. Once I got into it though I didn't notice if there was any other odd sound effects.
The story itself gave me the heebie-jeebies as in- Ick ick eww eww. Well enough put toghter, if not mind blowing.

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


gelee

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Reply #4 on: January 08, 2009, 03:08:31 PM
The story itself gave me the heebie-jeebies as in- Ick ick eww eww.

Me too.  Blick.
Great concept.  The comparison between bonsai pruning and ritual scarification is a great one, and never crossed my mind before.



Poppydragon

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Reply #5 on: January 13, 2009, 07:26:18 PM
The story itself gave me the heebie-jeebies as in- Ick ick eww eww. 

I have to agree, for me it was the contrast between this obsessive ritualistic man capable of murder and the loving father talking with his little girl that gave me the creeps. I found myself seeing him as having a face where the expression flickered from normallacy to insanity like the shifting static on a badly tuned TV every time his daughter looked away. Any shortcomings in the story itself were more than made up for by the sheer heebie jeebyness of it. :)

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eytanz

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Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 09:26:38 PM
Poppydragon's thoughts more or less sum up my feelings. I thought the story handled the character's insanity very well, making it really clear where it started and where it ended. Which made it worse, really - if he was totally out of his mind, it would have made him far less creepy.

based on Our Hero and what we know of him, he's not going to do anything to her.

Nothing physical, no, but dragging her into his insanity is quite a disturbing notion in itself.



MacArthurBug

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Reply #7 on: January 13, 2009, 09:38:20 PM
I found myself seeing him as having a face where the expression flickered from normallacy to insanity like the shifting static on a badly tuned TV every time his daughter looked away.

Yes! The shift to insanity- him dragging her into his delusions. That, and at first I weanted to like him- to understand him. Then- eew, The kid thing. That's probably the best way to unsettle me in a story bring kids into the insanity.

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


Coffee_Zombie

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Reply #8 on: January 17, 2009, 10:13:02 PM
I'm also going with not one of my favourites.  The idea of the bonsai scar was rather interesting but i felt that the story was just boring.  It reminded a bit of the escapepod marbles and beans the way your inside the nutter.

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goatkeeper

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Reply #9 on: January 18, 2009, 12:27:39 AM
Loved it. I didn't hear any music/soundeffects though, not sure how I missed what you are talking about?=.  The reading was particularly good I thought.



JoeFitz

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Reply #10 on: January 25, 2009, 03:05:21 AM
This had a few high points but largely was not my cup of tea. Great reading but the story didn't really work for me. The step father being a monster that only the narrator can see; the weird line that step-dad had not touched the kid yet; the brakes. The narrator was just too unreliable to make much sense of what was going on.



MacArthurBug

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Reply #11 on: February 04, 2009, 04:19:54 AM
Loved it. I didn't hear any music/soundeffects though, not sure how I missed what you are talking about?=.  The reading was particularly good I thought.

Now- this is a total note on what an absolute dweeb I am that I not only hang on my favorite narrators every word- I listen perhaps too thouroughly. In the very beginning there is a small bit of backround noise. It's only detectable if you're an uber geek. I am an uber geek.

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


Russell Nash

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Reply #12 on: June 03, 2009, 08:25:27 PM
Why do you guys keep mentioning insanity?  It all seemed pretty normal to me.



Unblinking

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Reply #13 on: August 31, 2009, 09:28:28 PM
Reasonably good, creepy ending as he is corrupting his poor daughter.
I was never really able to root for the protagonist.  that's not necessarily a problem, but it does make me care less about his personal outcome.  But to compensate for that, I do care about the kid's outcome, so that worked.

The idea of a bonsai scar isn't one I'd heard before.



Fenrix

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Reply #14 on: March 01, 2010, 07:38:26 PM
After the first line, I was expecting a bit of body horror with a couple large scoops of gore. I skipped to the next story and decided to come back when I felt more willing to deal with that (e.g. not going out for dinner). When I returned to the story I was pleasantly surprised by the descriptiveness without needless gore. This story could have gone for the easy gross-out, but it transcended what it could have been and became something more. Overall I found this to be an enjoyable diversion.

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Millenium_King

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Reply #15 on: June 25, 2010, 09:26:22 PM
Loved it (although, more of a B+ than a solid A).  Short and to the point (no pun intended - har har).  I thought it moved swiftly, had an interesting concept and a solid unreliable narrator (always one of my favorite tropes - go read "The Repairer of Reputations" for an excellent example).  Well told and narrated by Alasdair, one of my favorite readings of his.  I rather got the feeling that he enjoyed the subject matter.

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