Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: Pseudopod 154: Raising Eddie  (Read 5397 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5319
  • Mmm. Tiger.
on: August 07, 2009, 04:55:29 PM
Pseudopod 154: Raising Eddie

By Mark Felps
Read by Cayenne Chris Conroy

Eddie had the little .22 semi-automatic that we used for shooting rabbit and squirrel, and I had Daddy’s .30-06. It was his favorite deer gun, and he would have tanned my hide if he knew I had it. That day wasn’t the first time we’d come down to the creek to shoot. We didn’t do it all the time, because sometimes the guns cracked so loud that our neighbor across the creek, Mr. Davenport, would hear and call up Momma. Most times, we shot on the bank of the creek, setting up dirty beer bottles – leftovers from teenage parties. It was our land, and we kept it fenced, but a fence never did mean much to a kid of any age.

When we got to the ghost house, Eddie didn’t want to go any further. He didn’t start fussing, but he started dragging his feet, covering his Keds with dust. I wasn’t in the mood to fight with him, so I just kept walking. Faced with being alone in the woods, or with his big brother at the ghost house, Eddie came on along. I wonder, sometimes, if he knew something. If he had some sort of feeling about what was going to happen. It’s the kind of thing that can drive you crazy. If you let it.



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?


Christo13

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • Christopher Gronlund's Web page
Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 09:14:20 PM
I'm in a writing group with Mark Felps, so I've read this story before. But it's very cool hearing it read aloud.

While the story is set in Texas, it reminds me of places where I grew up (northern Illinois and in Kansas).

I think that's what I liked most about the story when I read it: it hits on the whole feeling of being young and fighting summer boredom with siblings or friends. While there were no neighborhood witches in the places I grew up, everything leading up to the mishap in the story could have happened to any of my friends or me.

I like that aspect of the story almost as much as the creepiness...

I'm looking forward to seeing what others think.

Christopher



kibitzer

  • Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2228
  • Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice
Reply #2 on: August 09, 2009, 02:18:17 AM
The story was well-written and interesting. Also very well read with lots of appropriate emotion -- loved it.

I felt it too highly reminiscent of others to be exceptional, though. (e.g. The Monkey's Paw, Pet Semetary). I don't have a problem with walking well-trodden plots, but they need to stand out.


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #3 on: August 12, 2009, 12:39:44 PM
Good story but for two things I noticed: the narrator's accent grew stronger and weaker at seemingly-random points, and I felt the whole story was too fast -- it all happened basically in the same day. I admit that adds urgency but I almost feel it could've been even weirder if it took days for Eddie to "recover".

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #4 on: August 12, 2009, 03:30:13 PM
I noticed the accent too, but as the story progressed I stopped hearing it. The writing of this one and the sense of dread it kicked up really drew me in. (Aside from the accent, I thought the reading was great.)

I think all-in-one day worked well for this format. It would've been a much different story (possibly a much longer one) if the story had been split over a longer period of time.


Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1211
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Reply #5 on: August 16, 2009, 10:41:23 PM
Really liked the narration job on this and the attention to (but not too much use of) detail.

“They had...finished their lives before their death – which is not always the end of life and often comes long before the end.”
Jules Barbey D'Aurevilly, “At A Dinner Of Atheists”



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #6 on: August 17, 2009, 04:38:02 PM
I enjoyed this one.  I noticed the slipping accent but it didn't really bother me for some reason.
This is definitely well-trodden ground, but I thought it was well-done nonetheless



umamei

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 32
Reply #7 on: August 21, 2009, 09:29:23 AM
Did you know there are multiple ways to pronounce "coyote"?  I couldn't help but laugh when I heard the familiar Texan accent pronouncing "coyote" with 2 syllables instead of 3.  My parents and most of my family are Texans, so this had a bit of nostalgia attached to it for me.  The story itself was mostly a Texan-ized version of a well-known tale, so the suspense wasn't there except for wondering if the author would end it the way I expected it to end.  It did end the predicted way, so that was sort of a let-down.  I'm not sure how else it could have ended, but when doing remixes of previously-told-tales, I prefer to hear stories with some sort of twist on the original aside from a change of setting.

It was a great reading, and I really loved that the reader got those Texan accent details correct in the places where it really counts.  I know the accent came and went, but I guess I didn't notice as much.  My mother's does that after living outside of Texas for so long, so I'm used to it, I suppose.  In any case, I thought the reader did a great job.

The highlights of this story for me--the characters were spot-on.  I could picture these two kids clear as day in my mind, and even though the adults never made much of a real appearance in the story, it wasn't hard to conjure up an image in my mind for the parents.  I would definitely listen to more of this author.



Mark Felps

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #8 on: August 25, 2009, 04:16:08 AM
Thanks to everyone that commented on the story.

I enjoyed writing "Raising Eddie."  It's obviously "The Monkey's Paw" set in the Texas of my youth, and I enjoyed writing about the green creeks and cactus-patches, not to mention wild boys with easy access to firearms.

I thought Cayenne Chris Conroy did a great job with the reading.  I really enjoyed the experience.  Hearing Vera Wash in that rasping voice gave me chills.




wakela

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 779
    • Mr. Wake
Reply #9 on: August 28, 2009, 01:59:49 AM
I admit that the story pulled me in. I cared about the characters, and I felt the dread of the older brother, but over all this one didn't really do it for me.  Too similar to other stories, and the writing could have been tighter.

It opens with "I didn't mean to shoot my brother." But this would have been clear to anyone after listening to the story, so it felt like a cheap hook.  If he had had motive for killing his brother, and the shooting weren't so obviously an accident this opening would make more sense.



countblackula

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 28
    • Portfolio
Reply #10 on: August 28, 2009, 03:39:21 PM
Ben Phillips always does a great job reading.

Narrator for Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Podcastle. Check out my YouTube channel here


BenjCano

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • This un-handsome bloke is myself.
Reply #11 on: September 01, 2009, 09:22:40 PM
I agree with the general consensus that the reading of the story was quite excellent.  Not being a native Texan myself, I have no idea as to the authenticity of character voice.  All I can say about the dialogue was that it didn't have the feel of something done either in exaggeration or parody.  Both characters whose voice the narrator provided felt audibly distinct and memorable, so high marks there.

The writing of the story is a different matter entirely.  Setting and scene description were very good, and I felt that the dramatic tension of the first half of the story were also strong.  But after Eddie's death I feel that the story took a downhill turn.

The character of the witch is introduced in a very convenient and diabolus ex machina kind of way.  It strains the willing suspension of disbelief for there to just happen to be a witch in the town that the protagonist can turn to after shooting his brother.  Without having done anything to establish her, I had a problem with her appearance in the story.

Other commenters have pointed out the similarity between this story and the classic "Monkey's Paw."  I agree, but feel that this is a weakness of the story more than a strength.  It's not just similar to "Monkey's Paw", it IS "Monkey's Paw."  It has nothing to distinguish itself, breaks no new ground, takes no chances deviating from the formula.  The only concession towards retelling is to change the setting and relationship between the characters, but aside from that it has the feeling of having been done well before.

Another story from Pseudopod, "Old Ways," covers the same ideas of meddling with the spirit world in order to cheat death but does so in a very novel way with the revelation that the person who is supposed to have died turns out not to have, because the author clearly established the dangers involved in resurrecting someone who died violently, and adds a horrifying last-minute twist.  By contrast, "Raising Eddie" offers no surprises, no suspense once we see where the story is going to go.

My criticism is not to imply that I did not enjoy "Raising Eddie."  As I said, the first half was truly suspenseful, and the evocative language is enjoyable throughout.  I especially remember how the narrator describes tackling Eddie, and how he fell like a scarecrow, which is a wonderful simile, and the characterization of the main character and the witch are both superb.

But Eddie himself is strangely uncharacterized before being killed, doing little more than following the protagonist like a puppy.  I can't even remember a single line of dialogue spoken by Eddie, which lead me to wonder just what the problem was later when he fails to speak after being resurrected.  Could he even speak before?  Was his behavior that different prior to setting fire to the trailer?  This details are omitted, and while I appreciate the closeness of the story to the rising tension of the narrative, I feel that a bit more work could have been done establishing Eddie as a character.  It would have made what happens to him later all the more poignant, all the more horrible.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 09:27:39 PM by BenjCano »

Chairperson of the Anti-Egregiously Long Signature Committee.

"Never attribute to malice what can easily be explained by stupidity."  --Hanlon's Razor


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #12 on: September 02, 2009, 03:25:39 PM
The character of the witch is introduced in a very convenient and diabolus ex machina kind of way.  It strains the willing suspension of disbelief for there to just happen to be a witch in the town that the protagonist can turn to after shooting his brother.  Without having done anything to establish her, I had a problem with her appearance in the story.

I didn't mind the introduction of the witch in the manner she was introduced.  You're right, it is a coincidence that there was a convenient witch, but if there hadn't been, then the story would've been a more mundane one, and probably would've been told in a mainstream market.  I'm sure accidents with kids and guns happen often enough, this is just the tale of the one time there was a handy witch.  But that's just my take on it.  :)



Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1211
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Reply #13 on: September 02, 2009, 05:02:57 PM
Quote
I didn't mind the introduction of the witch in the manner she was introduced.  You're right, it is a coincidence that there was a convenient witch, but if there hadn't been, then the story would've been a more mundane one, and probably would've been told in a mainstream market.  I'm sure accidents with kids and guns happen often enough, this is just the tale of the one time there was a handy witch.  But that's just my take on it.

That was my feeling as well, no problem with the witch woman.  If the problem was with there *being* a witch, well, hey, you're listening to a short on Pseudopod.  If the problem was with the fact that she was introduced the moment she was needed, then, yeah, a simple "the river keeps running down, past where the witch woman lives.." at the start of the story, during all the descriptions of the "ghost house", would have helped.



Russell Nash

  • Guest
Reply #14 on: September 08, 2009, 07:28:45 AM
Ben Phillips always does a great job reading.

Yes, he does, but he didn't read this one.



Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #15 on: June 08, 2010, 09:26:46 PM
A good, old-fashioned "Conjurin' Tale" if there ever was one.  I enjoyed it, although there was nothing exceptional about it.  A well-worn path gets a little more well-worn with this one, but it certainly wasn't bad.  Like "The Grave of Ships" it's not original, but is good... but just doesn't have the rocket-fuel it needs to launch it above similar tales.

I was a little reminded of "The Inmost Light" by Arthur Machen.  After imprisoning the soul of his wife in a gem, something else enters the empty vessel of her body.  Reminded me of this.  Did Eddie really return?  Or was his empty body simply filled by an opportunistic, metaphysical, organism...?

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


Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3925
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #16 on: October 02, 2011, 06:48:49 PM
The reading for this story really made it work.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Marlboro

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 130
Reply #17 on: December 20, 2019, 04:53:21 PM
The reading for this story really made it work.

Yep. Cayenne Chris Conroy is an excellent narrator.


This story is ok, but it's missing something. We needed to see more happen after Eddie's resurrection, I think. I would like to see the boy dealing with his newly evil sibling before the story's climax. Maybe another scene with the witch.


Anybody else think the witch amassed all of her land by conducting these types of bargains with her neighbors? She refuses payment from the kid and the author makes note of how much land she and the boy's father has.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 05:01:59 PM by Marlboro »