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Author Topic: PC Giant 4: Captain Fantasy and the Secret Masters  (Read 7407 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« on: July 15, 2009, 09:16:34 PM »

PodCastle Giant 4: Captain Fantasy and the Secret Masters

by Tim Pratt.
Read by Matthew Wayne Selznick.

The door slid open, revealing another corridor. Floor, walls, and ceiling were all the color of used motor oil, and cameras bristled every couple of feet. “Welcome to the Black Wing, Li.”

I didn’t step inside. “I heard you’ve got Bludgeon Man locked up in here. And Junior Atwater’s brain, in a jar.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard those, too,” Brady said. “People believe any damn thing, don’t they? Now come on. If this door stays open too long, alarms go crazy, and we’ll be neck-deep in very tense guards.”

I stepped over the threshold. The black wing was like the inside of a tumor. No wonder mental institutions favor soothing colors to pacify the patients. These walls had the opposite effect; they could drive a sane person mad. The Black Wing surely held a few mental patients, the ones with extraordinary powers. The ones who could enforce their delusions on the world, if they got free.

Rated R. contains violence committed in spandex.
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ajames
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2009, 05:52:54 AM »

Two thumbs up for the reading (if I were a metamorph, I'd throw a third thumb in for good measure).

I'm not a huge fan of this genre, but I was entirely entertained by the story. Some smart writing and an interesting plot that kept me guessing about a few things without getting needlessly complicated.

Thanks Mr. Pratt and Escapepod!
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Ocicat
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2009, 06:51:49 PM »

I'm amused that superheroes are a genre that fits well into both Podcastle and Escape Pod.  And this was a nice take on superheroes, a mix between the hyper realistic view that the Union Dues stories take, and indulging in Silver Age comics silliness.  I loved throwing around names like "Dr. Morlock", but the real Big Bad is just... Kelly.  Great contrast.  And using Josef Mengele in a superhero universe is just brilliant. 

The story itself was engaging and well told.  Good character bits, great action scenes.  Pratt doesn't disappoint.
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2009, 10:06:24 PM »

Personally I wanted to hear more about the Hitlerbot and Junior Atwater's brain.
 
Smiley
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H. Bergeron
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COACH! Check this out!


« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2009, 11:50:47 PM »

Alright, so I just listened to this - finished about ten minutes ago - and WOW, that was really cool!  I enjoyed the story, it was engaging all along.

I only have one problem with it, but it's a philosophical disagreement with the Captain, not with the author.  I mean, seriously... Suicide is a coward's way out, but inflicting that syndrome whose name I can't spell on yourself isn't?  That is, to my mind, basically just as much a form of suicide.  Refusing to confront the problem and retreating from it utterly.  In fact, it's almost worse than suicide, in this case, since he is himself an extremely powerful weapon and I would bet that the nature of his real problem probably won't be forgotten any time soon by Kelly or anyone with whom she's shared it.  It's only so long until this IMMORTAL SUPERHUMAN who is the most powerful creature on Earth is tapped as a force for evil through the manipulation of his self-inflicted syndrome!


...Alright, so I'm tired and rambling, but that was my only real peeve with the story.  Other than that, I really liked it a lot!

PS: I don't dislike the Captain's decision in context.  I think it fits with the character as he's established.  I just disagree with the character's opinion and choice, lol.
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Listener
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2009, 08:14:22 AM »

Good reading.

Is this two Tim Pratt stories in a row that contain either explicit or implied buttsecks? Just an observation. I kind of saw that CF/SB slashfic coming from the moment the hug happened.

This is an interesting story to which the term "rollicking" could be used. I think the introduction dragged a fair bit (not the part where Lee is collected, but the part at the Facility). I don't know that the payoff (Lee's stumps closed themselves off) was hinted at QUITE enough in the beginning. Perhaps he should've cut off more than just the very tip of a finger?

The jarring moment where CF suddenly forgets everything was very well done.

Overall good.

On an administrative note, this story was indeed very long, but it seems as though the average PC story is 45-55 minutes anyway. Short fantasy tends to be longer, IME, than SF or horror, but I think I for one would like more shorter episodes -- 30-35 minutes. Maybe short-long-short-long-etc, with short on either side of giant. Just a thought.
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Talia
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2009, 08:47:26 AM »

Lots of fun. I most definitely saw a Batman parallel there - heh heh.

Still shuddering at the thought of willingly dropping onself into a pit of blades and feeling yourself being hacked to pieces.

blehhh
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Anarquistador
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2009, 06:22:22 PM »

Batman's not gay, dammit!

...not that there's anything wrong with that. But he's not!
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"Technology: a word we use to describe something that doesn't work yet."

- Douglas Adams

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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 08:00:19 AM »

Batman's not gay, dammit!

...not that there's anything wrong with that. But he's not!

Am I really the only one that was thinking Captain America the whole time? Didn't he have some sort of young, vaguely feminine-looking, sidekick back during early issues? And now that I walked away from the computer for a minute to get coffee, came back and chided myself for being lazy: Bucky.

I liked it, more like this please.
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DKT
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2009, 03:11:20 PM »

Batman's not gay, dammit!

...not that there's anything wrong with that. But he's not!

Am I really the only one that was thinking Captain America the whole time? Didn't he have some sort of young, vaguely feminine-looking, sidekick back during early issues? And now that I walked away from the computer for a minute to get coffee, came back and chided myself for being lazy: Bucky.

I liked it, more like this please.

Nope. I definitely thought of Cap and Bucky while reading this. Also, Cap fought Nazis, too and Bucky died in a similiar way. (Although I hear he's recently been resurrected, and that Cap is now dead, although he might have been resurrected by now, too.)
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2009, 07:14:03 PM »

Actually, it turns out Bucky never really died. He was just brainwashed and borgified by the Soviets.

Thus, breaking one of the unwritten laws of the Marvel universe: the only people who cannot ever be resurrected are Bucky and Uncle Ben. And I'm pretty sure they broke THAT one too...
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"Technology: a word we use to describe something that doesn't work yet."

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Portrait in Flesh
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NO KILL I


« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2009, 08:47:05 AM »

All this talk of Bucky...what, no love for Speedy?



Fun story...felt good, like the best spandex costume should.
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eytanz
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2009, 12:02:54 PM »

This was a great story. It worked both on the superhero-action-adventure fun romp level, and the realistic, troubled-individuals-behind-the-mask level.
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veganvampire
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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2009, 03:16:56 PM »

Definately worth my time.  It really gave me a lot to think about.

Quote
Still shuddering at the thought of willingly dropping onself into a pit of blades and feeling yourself being hacked to pieces.

blehhh

If it makes you feel better, earlier in the story it mentions that he can shut off his nerve endings to avoid feeling pain.  So maybe it didn't even hurt.
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danooli
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2009, 09:34:12 PM »

this is my first time commenting on a story here (most likely won't be my last) but i really enjoyed this!  I was a great witty story and a wonderful reading!  (I barely noticed the length LOL)

i've never read super hero stuff but very recently i picked up a novel called Captain Freedom: A Superhero's Quest for Truth, Justice, and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves and this story reminded me of that, which was a nice surprise. 
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izzardfan
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« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2009, 02:37:29 AM »

I loved the story, and the reading, except for part of the beginning.  I felt like Matt was putting too many spaces (quiet, dead air) inbetween lines, at first, and I had to replay the initial phone call conversation three times before I really got it.  But later, his voices—especially when he did Space Boy with the high pitch—were spot on.

I don't follow comics (I know, just shoot me now), but I did watch the Adam West version of Batman years ago, and I love the camp that this had.  More, please!
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kibitzer
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« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2009, 03:53:20 AM »

This one kinda left me cold. That's mainly because I read a lot of graphic novels (ahem) and there was nothing really new to me in this story. In this genre, it's very hard to compete with some of the truly great writers such as Kurt Busiek, Brian K Vaughn, Alan Moore, Andy Diggle and Brian Michael Bendis, to name but a few.

Competent but not great.
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Boggled Coriander
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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2009, 10:15:47 AM »

I'm going to start off by saying that I am not and have never been a comic book/graphic novel fan.  It's not that I actively dislike them; it's more that the medium has always left me cold and I've never felt inspired to seek out comics that I'd like (I'm sure they exist). 

That said, I seem to like prose fiction that's explicitly based on comics.  Maybe that's because it tends to be meta (and I like meta) and riffing on tropes that I never had the chance to grow weary of.  I like the Union Dues stories, and I liked this. 

And the story had another thing I like: totally whacked-out alternate history.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2009, 06:28:01 PM »

I'm going to start off by saying that I am not and have never been a comic book/graphic novel fan.  It's not that I actively dislike them; it's more that the medium has always left me cold and I've never felt inspired to seek out comics that I'd like (I'm sure they exist). 

That said, I seem to like prose fiction that's explicitly based on comics.  Maybe that's because it tends to be meta (and I like meta) and riffing on tropes that I never had the chance to grow weary of.  I like the Union Dues stories, and I liked this. 

Shall I recommend Lafferty's Playing for Keeps and Selznick's Brave Men Run or have you already been there and done that?
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DKT
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« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2009, 06:21:28 PM »

In this genre, it's very hard to compete with some of the truly great writers such as Kurt Busiek, Brian K Vaughn, Alan Moore, Andy Diggle and Brian Michael Bendis, to name but a few.

Ah, another BKV and BMB fan. Excellent. The others are good, too Smiley

An interesting thought I had about this story. Someone mentioned Kelly upthread. I really dig that "Kelly" is the real bad guy here. Not some supervillian sidekick. But the brains behind the operation. I can't think of a lot of genius female supervillians right off the top of my head. We've got Dr. Doom and Lex Luthor and then we have Harley Quinn.
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