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Author Topic: PC044: Immersed in Matter  (Read 7578 times)
Heradel
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« on: March 17, 2009, 01:48:06 PM »

PodCastle 044: Immersed In Matter

by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Read by Chris Reynaga

One frosty evening at the leading edge of winter, when Golden had sent me out to study the night habits of deer, I crouched under a bush with one of the inn yard cats. She was pregnant and hungry. I had brought her a fresh-killed rat. I wanted to buy conversation with her.

“How can I get close enough to speak with horses?” I whispered.

“You won’t be able to, not while you stink of faery,” the cat said.

“What’s wrong with how I smell?”

“We know your kind means us no good.”

Rated PG. Contains magic, and horses, and transformation.
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2009, 04:13:05 PM »

What a beautiful voice Chris Reynaga has. His reading was so soothing, with just the right dollop of angst and empathy.

Lovely story.
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2009, 09:57:32 AM »

  This is exactly the sort of story I was worried would make up the majority of Podcastle when it started. It had some interesting ideas, and was well read, but it never grabbed me and I found myself wishing it would hurry up and end. It wasn't bad, but it was very much not my cup of tea.
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2009, 07:13:31 PM »

I liked it. I thought it was a nice departure from the typical fantasy tropes; the Elves in this story aren't inherently better at everything than humans, and humans aren't inherently horrible creatures. Every race has its own gifts. That's something that doesn't show up often in fantasy any more.
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2009, 10:11:21 AM »

I wonder at this equation "Faery = Elves".  Are they really one and the same?  I never think of elves in connection with Faery, except maybe in the aforementioned The Infinity Concerto by Greg Bear, wherein Elves are among the highest class of Sidhe.  Typically when I think of "elves" I think "Tolkien" and "EFP".

Story was okay.  A damn sight better than last week's, which admittedly isn't saying much.
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2009, 10:44:56 AM »

I wonder at this equation "Faery = Elves".  Are they really one and the same?  I never think of elves in connection with Faery, except maybe in the aforementioned The Infinity Concerto by Greg Bear, wherein Elves are among the highest class of Sidhe.  Typically when I think of "elves" I think "Tolkien" and "EFP".

I wondered about this, too. I always thought of faeries and elves co-existing. I've never considered them being the same thing. But I'm under-read in fantasy and could be missing some genre conventions.
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stePH
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2009, 12:53:24 PM »

I liked it. I thought it was a nice departure from the typical fantasy tropes; the Elves in this story aren't inherently better at everything than humans, and humans aren't inherently horrible creatures. Every race has its own gifts. That's something that doesn't show up often in fantasy any more.

The only advantage of being human over being Fey/Sidhe that I saw conveyed in this story, is that horses won't shun humans.  Doesn't seem like much to me.
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2009, 09:54:50 AM »

I wonder at this equation "Faery = Elves".  Are they really one and the same?  I never think of elves in connection with Faery, except maybe in the aforementioned The Infinity Concerto by Greg Bear, wherein Elves are among the highest class of Sidhe.  Typically when I think of "elves" I think "Tolkien" and "EFP".

I wondered about this, too. I always thought of faeries and elves co-existing. I've never considered them being the same thing. But I'm under-read in fantasy and could be missing some genre conventions.

Me too.
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2009, 09:57:10 AM »

The reading was very good for the character and the story. Again, another one where the voices did not overtake the actual reading.

I have no idea why the title was "Immersed in Matter". Did I miss something?

I think the story went on a bit too long after the horse ran away, and I think that scene itself was too quick and then it was over-with. I needed Owl to try harder. He did so much to get the horse, and now it's gone? Also, the tenuous link between the Horse, Owl, and Owl's father was, to my mind, wasteful. We could've done without that and I think the story would've been as strong.

"Dick" and "Robin". I have the golfclap version of a laugh when I got THAT joke.

Overall a very good story.
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2009, 12:31:32 PM »

while the story did have a slow pace, it didn't bother me as much as the abrupt ending. There was no resolution to this story at all. It felt like a prologue. If the writer wanted this story to be truly self contained, she should cut some of the fluff to speed it up a bit and add an actual closed ending. Open endings are tricky to get away with and usually leave you with a thoughtful question. This story didn't do that, and I'd have preferred something more solid. Or, the writer should keep working on the rest of the novel!

p.s.
good writing of horses. I'm no expert but have been around them and they felt realistic.
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DigitalVG
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2009, 02:05:10 PM »

Liked this right up to the stop.

It didn't end so much as just stop IMO.

I guess though, that if you accept the word 'fey' as having a double-meaning of faery and 'fated', then the end sort of makes sense as Owl inherited hope from his human side; something that would in theory be alien to true faery.

There was also something sort of interesting in the idea of a horse drawing a faery off into the human world, kind of reversing the idea of pookas.

Still.  I found the end as unsatisfying.  Lovely character development and nice use of standard faery lore, but then it kind of dead-ended
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2009, 09:47:42 AM »

I've read this before. In my reading, the repetition of horsie love irritated me a bit- but the narrator managed to catch the wonder of a true horse lover and really changed the whole feel of the story, helping me focus on the rest of it. Good story overall, EXCELLENT reading. I, too, was less then satisfied with the ending. Not an ending that leaves you riding along with the characters so much as a place that everything gets truncated for the sake of story shortening.

As to the fairy/elf thing- I'm sort of on the fence about it. I haven't done deep research by any means into this- but I've read a LOT (LOOOOT) of the older fairy tales, the books I could get my hot little hands on about magical creatures and such- and as far as I can tell (IMHO) the definitions are so varied that one could be exchanged for the other, depending on where/when you're from. But, I'm not by any means an expert, just a fan of fairy tales.
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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2009, 10:45:44 AM »

I guess I'm on a bit of an island here.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  I felt the pacing was perfect for an audio story.  I don't believe it would have worked in print or with a lessor narrator.  I don't believe this was an elf story.  This was a Fae story.

As for the abrupt ending, I liked it.  It gave me a feeling of more to come.  Whether I hear that story or not, whether it is ever written or not, that story is there, waiting to be told.  There was a bit of world building done, and an outstanding job of character building.  Maybe I'm just a little bit too old school, but I like fantasy series.  Give me a strong cast, flawed though they may be, and let me see them develop.  Owl has the potential to do just that.  We heard his back story here.  Now he is on the threshold of adulthood, or whatever the Fae equivalent is.  He has seen that there is more to his world, and is no longer a naive youth.  He still has much to learn, but it is now his time to seek that knowledge, not wait for someone to point him in the right direction.

Of course, that's just my opinion.
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2009, 08:38:42 AM »

Now, that's the stuff, right there.  More like that, please.

As an aside, the "abrupt ending" didn't bother me, nor did the fact that Owl lost his lifelong goal when he showed his real self to the horse. I thought it fit the story perfectly.  And I, for one, would enjoy reading the "rest" of the story, as well.  Owl's an intriguing character, and the world is interesting, as well.
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« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2009, 03:04:37 PM »

Thought this was swell and touching. The ending didn't bother me either, I think maybe the point was he wanted to help his sister/friend open her eyes the way his were opened. I think it was left where it was to emphasize the change in his mindset and his shift in becoming a different sort of elf.

As for elves vs. faerie, I've read plenty of stories that equated them. Why not? They are creatures of magic, after all, at least in many stories.
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stePH
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« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2009, 03:06:54 PM »

I don't believe this was an elf story.  This was a Fae story.

It is apparently the editorial position of Podcastle that Elves = Fae, and Fae = Elves.
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« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2009, 03:11:24 PM »

Finally a story that actually has elves!  In a non-ironic manner, even!  And a good, oldschool Titania and Oberon type fae elf rather than the modern overused Tolkien sort.  And yes, in legends elves were just fairies, or perhaps a particular type of fairy.  Tolkien drew his from the Norse Vanir type elf rather than the more celtic sidhe.

Anyway, the story.  Pretty good.  Great setup.  As the story progressed though, it wasn't clear if it was really about Owl coming to terms with his humanity, or his relationship to the horse.  I don't really feel these two threads came together well, and thus the ending was unsatisfying.    But still, it was fun, and the descriptive language was good.  As someone who owns horses, I thought they were captured quite well.  

The reading was, as noted, excellent.  
« Last Edit: March 24, 2009, 03:12:58 PM by Ocicat » Logged
Zathras
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« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2009, 04:27:00 PM »

This might cause a split...

Why are one set of legends of elves more valid than another?  I prefer Norse mythology over Celtic or Greek mythology.  It's probably got something to do with the fact that any creature, person or god from the Norse Mythos can kick their equivalent's (from any mythos) behind from Midgard to Asgard and back.
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Poppydragon
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« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2009, 04:39:56 PM »

I would agree that one form of elf is no more or less valid than the other, however I'm sure in the intro Rachel said that it was "classic high fantasy" which to me certainly implies Norse high elves rather than sidthe and this definitely felt sidthe. That said I didn't hate it but it all felt a little abrupt at the end, more a first chapter than a short story.
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« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2009, 10:22:09 PM »

I didn't mean to imply the Norse version was any less valid - just that it's been overused of late by authors who's knowledge of folklore begins with Tolkien and ends with D&D. 

Show me a story that uses elves in context of the Nine Worlds of Yggdrasil, and I'll probably be ecstatic. 
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