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Author Topic: Pseudopod 128: Bone Mother  (Read 13294 times)

Bdoomed

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on: February 06, 2009, 04:51:21 PM
Pseudopod 128: Bone Mother

By Maura McHugh

Read by Cat Rambo

The house tilted. A thighbone rolled off my kitchen table and clattered onto the floorboards. I cocked my head and waited for a warning. Silence. It was still sulking.

I whacked its bony walls with my hawthorn stick. “Out with it!” I said.

“A man approaches, you withered old crone!” The floor trembled with irritation.

“A fine house you are! Allowing a stranger to sneak up on me.”



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

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


MacArthurBug

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Reply #1 on: February 06, 2009, 09:51:41 PM
This whole story was gorgous. Well woven and fantastic. the telling bringing to mind the best and worst of the brothers Grimm.

On another note- the outro gave me a case of Déjà vu I can not shake.

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.


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Reply #2 on: February 06, 2009, 10:14:51 PM
Well done.  I never thought I'd hear a story where Baba Yaga is a sympathetic character.

MacArthurBug, I can think of 5 times 5 times 5 reasons for your Déjà vu...b 8)



MacArthurBug

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Reply #3 on: February 06, 2009, 11:24:59 PM
MWAH! Oh good. I am really glad I'm not now pre-dreaming Al outros. That'd be a really awkward thing to bring up to the hubs.

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.


Sgarre1

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Reply #4 on: February 09, 2009, 11:31:33 PM
Very nice story.  I have a bias against fantasy horror but still enjoyed this very much.  And extra points for not knocking us over the head with the Wallachian.  Good job.

Thanks for listening.

“At the word witch, we imagine the horrible old crones from Macbeth. But the cruel trials witches suffered teach us the opposite. Many perished precisely because they were young and beautiful.”
Andre Breton, ANTHOLOGY OF BLACK HUMOR



gelee

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Reply #5 on: February 10, 2009, 02:18:52 PM
Excellent.  Beutifully written twist on the old Babayaga tale.  Probably the best characterization of the house I've encountered yet.  Certainly the best Babayaga I've yet read/heard, and easily the best origin I've come across for Dracula.  I'd love to hear more from this writer.



DKT

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Reply #6 on: February 10, 2009, 05:03:01 PM
Baba Yaga vs. Dracula? AWESOME.

Although I wish I could've seen Dracula as Dracula a little sooner.  Still, very cool story.


Poppydragon

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Reply #7 on: February 10, 2009, 05:24:44 PM
Really enjoyed this one today. made the miles fly by. It's a splendid origin story for Dracula, but also a lovely take on Baba Yaga, she's one of those characters that I've heard of since I was tiny but never read much about so it was reallynice to see this portrayal. I thought the narration was excellent too, setting the whole story off to its best advantage.

Man - despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.


Sylvan

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Reply #8 on: February 10, 2009, 05:43:51 PM
Well done.  I never thought I'd hear a story where Baba Yaga is a sympathetic character.

No?  Have you ever read the traditional folk story Vassalisa and the Magic Doll?  (Pardon my spelling on the Russian name; it's been a long, long time since it was read to me as a kid...)

In that tale, Baba Yaga was more cantankerous than downright evil or, well, upon second thought more of a force of nature than anything else.  Beyond good or evil, really...

This story fit the legendary witch quite well and depicted her perfectly!

I'm saving this one and telling all my friends to listen!

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)



Poppydragon

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Reply #9 on: February 10, 2009, 06:17:12 PM
Well done.  I never thought I'd hear a story where Baba Yaga is a sympathetic character.

Have you ever read the traditional folk story Vassalisa and the Magic Doll?  (Pardon my spelling on the Russian name; it's been a long, long time since it was read to me as a kid...)

In that tale, Baba Yaga was more cantankerous than downright evil or, well, upon second thought more of a force of nature than anything else.  Beyond good or evil, really...


Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)

Vassilissa is mentioned in Old Peter's Russian Tales as an example of Baba Yaga's ability to be nice, although the story actually told of her in there is not quite so nice. The book is available via Gutenberg Press http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16981/16981.txt as a free e-book if you like Russian Folk Tales

Man - despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.


Ocicat

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Reply #10 on: February 12, 2009, 10:10:15 PM
Loved, but I'm a huge Baba Yaga fan, and this story depicted her quite well.  I'm not really sure it did much else all that well, but it didn't need to - it had Bab Yaga!  With the house, and the skull fence, and the ridiculous and wonderful mortar and pestle. 

And Baba Yaga isn't evil.  She's a force of nature, and she's an elder, and she's to be respected.  If you don't follow all the forms and politeness, she'll probably eat you.  It's what she does.  But she's not exactly a villain - she doesn't want to take over Russia or anything.  A lot of stories she's in are like this one starts - some hero needs some item or secret from her, and has to outsmart her (while being polite!) in order to get it.  Usually it ends up better for the hero than it did this time...

I liked Vlad's becoming undead via both the waters of life and of death... but the whole vampire blood and sunlight things just seemed to come from nowhere.  It only worked because we already know all about vampires.

Was the blue flower an invention for this story, or is it from folklore somewhere?  Either way it was neat.



Zathras

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Reply #11 on: February 13, 2009, 03:57:06 AM
I'm not sure how to explain this.  I don't think a Force of Nature is a sympathetic character.  A woman striving to fill that role is.  Hope that explains it better.



Sylvan

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Reply #12 on: February 13, 2009, 01:53:09 PM
I'm not sure how to explain this.  I don't think a Force of Nature is a sympathetic character.  A woman striving to fill that role is.  Hope that explains it better.

I'm not sure I'd say she's sympathetic until the tables are turned on her.

I'd say she's more fascinating and compelling is all.  It's like watching clock that's been opened up to expose the gears:  you know it's working -intricately- and you find yourself drawn to witnessing its complexity.

Now, once Vlad tried to screw her over then I felt some sympathy towards her and anger at him.  I guess that's just how my mind works, really.



Zathras

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Reply #13 on: February 13, 2009, 04:32:59 PM
I'm not sure how to explain this.  I don't think a Force of Nature is a sympathetic character.  A woman striving to fill that role is.  Hope that explains it better.

I'm not sure I'd say she's sympathetic until the tables are turned on her.

I'd say she's more fascinating and compelling is all.  It's like watching clock that's been opened up to expose the gears:  you know it's working -intricately- and you find yourself drawn to witnessing its complexity.

Now, once Vlad tried to screw her over then I felt some sympathy towards her and anger at him.  I guess that's just how my mind works, really.

I agree.  You voiced my feelings on it better than I did, thanks!



DKT

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Reply #14 on: February 13, 2009, 04:37:36 PM
I'm not sure how to explain this.  I don't think a Force of Nature is a sympathetic character.  A woman striving to fill that role is.  Hope that explains it better.

I didn't really feel sympathy for either of them, to be honest. But I was still hooked into because it was Baba Yaga vs. Dracula.

But I could be wrong. The intention could've been for Vlad to be sympathetic originally, and then for our sympathies to switch once he screwed Baba Yaga over. I just didn't really feel any sympathy for either of them.


Zathras

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Reply #15 on: February 13, 2009, 04:49:15 PM
Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series has a similar feel to me.  You have a person who is filling a role.  I don't feel for any of the Incarnations, but I do feel for the people who are doing those jobs.  My point was that I had never looked at Baba Yaga as a person doing a job before.



goatkeeper

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Reply #16 on: February 20, 2009, 09:02:10 AM
Best PP ever.  Monster conflicts make me tear up with joy.  Wasn't crazy about the narration, and I usually enjoy her reads, but that's pretty subjective, so whatever.  Anyways--  WOOHOO!



Listener

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Reply #17 on: February 20, 2009, 04:00:58 PM
Probably the best Cat Rambo reading I've heard on EA. Unlike certain previous ones she seemed to really "get" the tone of the story.

I think the story needed another beat or two for us to feel sympathetic ENOUGH with BY. Also, Dracula was far too flat as a character and the whole "he was pissed off so he went out and slaughtered a lot of people" angle suffered as a result.

Overall quite good; great descriptions.

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JoeFitz

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Reply #18 on: February 28, 2009, 08:11:11 PM
Somebody got PC in my PP! Still, an excellent episode with vivid characterization of the house.



600south

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Reply #19 on: March 04, 2009, 08:19:24 AM
That was a great story. Being creeped out is always far worse than being grossed out (and way too many horror writers resort to the latter).

Reading the first page of comments here made me laugh. I can't believe there are still people who wonder if Bonsai Kitten is real or not. That page is an internet classic.



eytanz

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Reply #20 on: March 04, 2009, 11:53:13 AM
That was a great story. Being creeped out is always far worse than being grossed out (and way too many horror writers resort to the latter).

Reading the first page of comments here made me laugh. I can't believe there are still people who wonder if Bonsai Kitten is real or not. That page is an internet classic.

Are you sure you posted this on the right thread?



600south

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Reply #21 on: March 06, 2009, 05:14:10 AM
That was a great story. Being creeped out is always far worse than being grossed out (and way too many horror writers resort to the latter).

Reading the first page of comments here made me laugh. I can't believe there are still people who wonder if Bonsai Kitten is real or not. That page is an internet classic.

Are you sure you posted this on the right thread?

oops, my apologies -- that was supposed to be in the 'Bottle Babies' thread. Not sure how it ended up here as I haven't listened to 'Bone Mother' yet...



DarkKnightJRK

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Reply #22 on: July 17, 2009, 07:23:34 AM
I definately dug it--only vaguely remembered Baba Yaga through the Hellboy comics, but I do know me some Dracula. Has this version of the origin been used before? It works so well as one for me that I'd be surprised if it hasn't.



DKT

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Reply #23 on: July 22, 2009, 10:25:53 PM
If it has been used before, I'm not familiar with it. But I agree that they went very well together.


Unblinking

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Reply #24 on: August 27, 2009, 04:57:30 PM
A very nice melding of two legends, and it was also good to hear a narration by Cat.

I didn't really consider either character sympathetic, but I like the clock analogy that Sylvan laid out.  Even when he betrayed her, I didn't really feel more sympathetic toward her, but I did rub my hands in anticipation of her revenge.



Millenium_King

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Reply #25 on: June 23, 2010, 09:13:53 PM
This was absolutely fantastic.  A reimagining of classic fairy-tale monsters done absolutely right.  Just subtle enough that it took a little while to figure out who each was.  Never once did it feel like a silly "vampires and witches story."  A very clever take on Dracula's origins, too.  Familiar enough that we recognize it, but different enough that we are surprised and remained spellbound.  It added to the old myths, but did not undo them to do so.

The imagery was great (the rat skulls that say "ouch!" the three hands, the blue rose).  The magic felt very real and believable as well.

I don't know if the author ever got this published anywhere else, but Pill Hill press is doing a "Monster Mash" anthology that this would seem to work very well for.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.