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Author Topic: PC043: Sweet, Savage Sorcerer  (Read 16296 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« on: March 11, 2009, 07:44:28 AM »

PC043: Sweet, Savage Sorcerer

By Esther Friesner.
Read by Rachel Swirsky.

Arrows whizzed past her as Narielle drummed slender heels into the heaving sides of her faithful unicorn, Thunderwind. Her bosom rose and fell in perfect cadence with the noble steed’s movements as the Black Tower of Burning Doom thrust its massive structure into view. Behind her, the sun was setting in a fiery ball, quenching its flames slowly, achingly, in the moist depths of the Lesser Sea of Northern Alraziah-le-Fethynauri’in-ebu-Korfiamminettash.

Bitterly, Narielle reflected that if her father’s men had not stopped to ask directions to the sea, they would never have been caught with their lances down by Lord Eyargh’s mercenaries.

Rated R. Contains sexual innuendos, and a word classified as swear.
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Aquarello
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2009, 11:29:52 AM »

Gah. I kept entertaining the idea that this was somehow a satire of a fantasy romance novel, kept looking for some twist to make it really amazing, or funny... but it never came. I appreciated the skill in describing every bit of setting as a sexual metaphor, but it doesn't make a good story. For me, it was all the worst parts of fantasy writing mixed with all the worst parts of cheap romance novels.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2009, 04:19:33 PM »

Quote
this was somehow a satire of a fantasy romance novel

Oh, it is.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2009, 04:50:40 PM »

Gah. I kept entertaining the idea that this was somehow a satire of a fantasy romance novel, kept looking for some twist to make it really amazing, or funny... but it never came.... For me, it was all the worst parts of fantasy writing mixed with all the worst parts of cheap romance novels.

Exactly my thoughts.  I wanted to believe it's a parody, but having actually once read a "serious" romance novel, I found the prose of this story (even combined with Rachel's reading) not nearly over-the-top enough to make clear its satiric intent.

Just awful.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2009, 05:41:05 PM »

Did you notice the scene where there just happens to be a mirror available for the heroine to gaze into and declare her beauty from?

The whole piece, actually, is a send-up of really bad fantasy writing. If it were being written seriously, the mirror wouldn't be noted as "conveniently hanging on the opposite wall", which draws the reader's attention to how stupid a device that is. It'd just be there.

The whole piece is written like that, very carefully drawing the reader's attention to all the stupid shit that happens in bad fantasy.

Also, I call your attention to the fact that the territory is called "Alraziah-le-Fethynauri’in-ebu-Korfiamminettash" and that they live in the White Castle of the Golden Arches where they serve fried food.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2009, 06:59:02 PM »

Did you notice the scene where there just happens to be a mirror available for the heroine to gaze into and declare her beauty from?

The whole piece, actually, is a send-up of really bad fantasy writing. If it were being written seriously, the mirror wouldn't be noted as "conveniently hanging on the opposite wall", which draws the reader's attention to how stupid a device that is. It'd just be there.

The whole piece is written like that, very carefully drawing the reader's attention to all the stupid shit that happens in bad fantasy.
The audio form doesn't really lend itself well to deep analysis of the text.  Even when one doesn'thappen to be weeding the yard while listening.

Also, I call your attention to the fact that the territory is called "Alraziah-le-Fethynauri’in-ebu-Korfiamminettash" ...
This (joke?) is lost on me.
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"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2009, 07:04:22 PM »

Also, I call your attention to the fact that the territory is called "Alraziah-le-Fethynauri’in-ebu-Korfiamminettash" ...
This (joke?) is lost on me.

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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2009, 08:54:58 PM »

Also, I call your attention to the fact that the territory is called "Alraziah-le-Fethynauri’in-ebu-Korfiamminettash" ...
This (joke?) is lost on me.



Still don't get it.  But thanks for posting the map; I've got a game of Fantasy Geography going on at another board, and this gives me some more places to use.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2009, 08:56:29 PM by stePH » Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2009, 10:15:40 PM »

Also, I call your attention to the fact that the territory is called "Alraziah-le-Fethynauri’in-ebu-Korfiamminettash" ...
This (joke?) is lost on me.
[map of Middle Earth]

Still don't get it.  But thanks for posting the map; I've got a game of Fantasy Geography going on at another board, and this gives me some more places to use.

It's making fun of the convoluted made up names that fantasy generates by going reductio ad absurdum on it. The map is of Middle Earth.
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I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.
stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2009, 12:12:30 AM »

It's making fun of the convoluted made up names that fantasy generates by going reductio ad absurdum on it. The map is of Middle Earth.

Again, when the thing being parodied is not very far removed in degree from the parody itself, it's not so easy to tell it's a parody.  I mean, for example, from all I've heard about it, Eragon sounds like a parody to me (I haven't read it of course ... do I look like a masochist to you?)  And the couple of examples I've seen of the bodice-ripper genre read so like this story that I couldn't help but think I was hearing more of the same.
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"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
salimfadhley
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2009, 09:04:00 AM »

"Arrows whizzed past her as Narielle drummed slender heels into the heaving sides of her faithful unicorn, Thunderwind."

Ugh... <barfs rainbow>

I almost instinctively pressed the delete button. Only hours later did it occur to me that it might have been intended as a satire. Oh well... did I miss anything important?

:-)
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Hatton
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2009, 10:55:30 AM »

This is one of the stories that I've listened to that made me rip my headphones off running for the story-sick bag.

Cliche, thy name is "Sweet, Savage Sorcerer".

Quasi-fantasy erotica, thy name is "Sweet, Savage Sorcerer".

A story so riddled with run-on sentences like this one:
Quote
So saying she drew the full awe inspiring length of the impossibly hard enchanted blade from the clinging embrace of the soft scabbard beneath her skirts.  With a wild untrammeled exultation to feel her hand close around the imposing diameter of that wondrous hilt once more, Nariel realized just how deeply she loved her sword.

Methinks the author was trying to make up for a bad romance novel just read.
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supergrover
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2009, 12:02:05 PM »

I'm sorry, but this send up is as bad as the material it mocks.  I found nothing about it humorous or enjoyable.
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Windfox
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2009, 12:46:11 PM »

Looking back, I really should have realized it was parody early on.  It's possible that I just wasn't paying close enough attention, but for all of the queues that were given, I either completely missed them or didn't realize their relevance.  Maybe I was too busy waiting for a massive punchline to catch it.

I've always felt this kind of satire works so much better with an outside observer, someone to point out the ridiculous situation and bad writing.  This can cause problems with breaking the fourth wall, but in most cases I think it's worth it to make absolutely sure that the reader/listener doesn't take it seriously.

Even after realizing it's satire, I still don't like the story very much.  Maybe it's because the audio format stretches it out to around 15 minutes instead of the shorter reading time.  If I'd realized it was satire early, I would have laughed (since this story is a perfect example of the worst parts of romance of fantasy).  But after a few minutes I think it would have started to be almost as grating as it was when I thought it was being played straight.

Part of me wants to relisten to try and catch all of the winks from the writer, and the other part never wants to hear story again.
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Corydon
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« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2009, 12:58:00 PM »

Hmm, I'm really surprised that folks had a hard time realizing it was a parody (n.b., not satire).  After 40+ episodes of Podcastle, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of the editors' tastes, and they don't seem to include a lot of heaving bodices and fair elf-maidens on snowy unicorns.  And for crying out loud... golden arches?  Eek!

Still, romance and bad fantasy are such easy targets for parody that the story didn't really succeed for me.  I feel like I've heard it done before, and more successfully, even on Podcastle (Hallah Iron-Thighs, I'm looking at you, babe!)  It seems like there are other subgenres that don't come in for parody as often but that could do with some fun poked at them.  Sexxxy vampires; Harry Potter and the Series of Knockoffs; oh-so-gritty dark fantasy, etc. 

I will say that one joke I really enjoyed was the excessive apostrophization of names; that's a particularly horrible tic, endemic to all sorts of SF, that needs to be killed off.  Moreover, Rachel did a great job of articulating the apostrophes in her reading.

Whoops, did I say "Rachel"?  I meant "Rac'h'el Sw'rs'ky."   Wink
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2009, 01:06:24 PM »

I will say that one joke I really enjoyed was the excessive apostrophization of names; that's a particularly horrible tic, endemic to all sorts of SF, that needs to be killed off. 

Another thing not easily noticed in audio form.
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Corydon
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« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2009, 01:10:21 PM »

I will say that one joke I really enjoyed was the excessive apostrophization of names; that's a particularly horrible tic, endemic to all sorts of SF, that needs to be killed off. 

Another thing not easily noticed in audio form.

True, which is why I thought Rachel's reading was so good.
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Praxis
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« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2009, 05:35:53 PM »

I didn't have any problem 'realising' this was (meant to be) a parody of fantasy writing.

Thing is, it was actually just a bad story.  Using bad writing and cliches, tropes, etc. *is* something you need to use in parody, I agree, but it isn't enough just to have a story with cardboard characters, dodgy names and clunky plot devices.

Same with last week's episode, I got what the writer was meaning, but the story didn't pull it off, imo.
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DigitalVG
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« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2009, 06:48:31 PM »

*whimper* I feel like I just got Rick Rolled.


The White Castle of the Golden Arches....  I hate you.
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Biscuit
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« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2009, 08:28:55 PM »

Elf Pr0n!

I got it. I was crying with laughter at "faking her unicorn" and "burying the unicorn".

It was so hideous it was splendid.

I'd like to examine whether the people who don't like this story like Mills and Boon/bodice rippers. Do you feel it's being unkind to schlock romance? Also, is fantasy sacred, it shouldn't be mocked?

Personally, I don't mind in the least. I find chest heaving romance like M&B an affront to literature. Super stereotypical fantasy also doesn't have a place on my bookcase. Anything that takes the pee out both is A-ok in my book.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 08:33:21 PM by Biscuit » Logged

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