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Author Topic: PC065: Foam On The Water  (Read 2595 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« on: August 13, 2009, 08:34:29 AM »

PC065: Foam On The Water


By Cat Rambo.
Read by C. G. Furst.

“What’s that?” Ivory said.

We stared down through the darkness. There was no one else around; it was off-season and our waiter had deserted us before the sun had set.

Trevor stood, glancing at me. “I’m going to check it out.”

“Could be a crocodile. You never know what you’ll find in Thailand.” Ivory didn’t move but her voice was unalarmed. “Feel free, boys. I’ll be right here.”

“Where’s your sense of adventure?” He grinned at her, flashing perfect white teeth.

“Left behind in an LA hotel room,” she said.

So Trevor and I went together with cautious steps. There was a steep grade to the side of the river, and thorny vines tore at us as we half-fell down it before encountering the sticky grasp of red clay mud threatening to pull our Tevas off.

She lay naked on the riverbank like a fallen swan. Her bare flesh white as snow, her hair midnight black. Her feet were thin and fragile as newly pedicured mourning doves, not a smudge or callus except for the mud that covered her.


Rated R. Contains non-vanilla adult sex.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2009, 10:12:11 PM »

Was about to post "Fistful of meh" but remembered that I used that one already.  Too bad, this one was even more so.  Double-fistful of meh.
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Anarquistador
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2009, 05:32:22 PM »

I sort of agree. It was too short to really get into any of the characters. It really felt like a Cliff's Notes version of a bigger story. Which is a pity, because I think the bigger story could be pretty cool.

I did find the narrator character fascinating, though. The author put a nice twist on the concept of "keeping your heart locked up." In this case, it's like he knows he's got a demon inside him, and he keeps himself romantically detached so as not to let that demon out and hurt someone. Between that and Ivory's occasional outbursts, there's the germ of a compelling theme developing in the story, something about the casual sadism and/or misogyny of human society. I just wish it was longer.
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gelee
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2009, 03:29:12 PM »

This was a bit of a mixed bag.  The writing was gorgeous, and some of the characters were strking.  Ivory and the narrator were fascinating, but the other guy and mermaid seemed like throwaway props.  Finally, just when the story seems to be taking off, it ends much too abruptly.  I'd like to see the four together a bit longer to describe the relationship that they have.  I enjoyed it on the whole, though.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2009, 08:03:09 PM »

Hmm. Didn't much like the guy's... umm... sexual prefs and couldn't see how it related to the mer-thing.
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alllie
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2009, 08:57:38 AM »

Hmm. Didn't much like the guy's... umm... sexual prefs and couldn't see how it related to the mer-thing.

I thought he was a sadist who liked to see women hurt, so, since the merwoman was hurting all the time, that should have turned him on all the time.

Since he was originally aroused by his nanny hurting mice, he should be turned on by a woman hurting him or other creatures. This was once when I felt a story needed to be more explicit since I didn't feel I knew (maybe I missed it) what their sex was like, how much sadism and masochism there was and who hurt and who was hurt. Without that I was left kinda puzzled by their relationship and her flight.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2009, 10:33:41 AM by alllie » Logged
lowky
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2009, 11:56:11 AM »

I just hear deep purple every time I look at the title.  Havent been able too listen yet
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2009, 07:08:54 PM »

Hmm. Didn't much like the guy's... umm... sexual prefs and couldn't see how it related to the mer-thing.

I thought he was a sadist who liked to see women hurt, so, since the merwoman was hurting all the time, that should have turned him on all the time.

Since he was originally aroused by his nanny hurting mice, he should be turned on by a woman hurting him or other creatures. This was once when I felt a story needed to be more explicit since I didn't feel I knew (maybe I missed it) what their sex was like, how much sadism and masochism there was and who hurt and who was hurt. Without that I was left kinda puzzled by their relationship and her flight.

I got from it that he himself was disgusted by his own sexual preferences. That he saw the mermaid as something pure and didn't want to expose her to the horror that was himself. She just didn't understand why he wouldn't love her, and so she fled.
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"Technology: a word we use to describe something that doesn't work yet."

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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2009, 09:14:40 PM »

I just hear deep purple every time I look at the title.  Havent been able too listen yet

Oddly, Ditto. I've got a long drive tomorrow, I'll probably listen to it then.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2009, 06:05:08 AM »

Quote
Since he was originally aroused by his nanny hurting mice, he should be turned on by a woman hurting him or other creatures.

I read this story when it was still in draft form (in 2005), and I think this is one of the critiques I gave the author.

Since then, though, I've sort of revised my opinion. I think it's not unreasonable for sexual preference to develop slightly askance of its origins. Just IMO.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2009, 07:23:25 AM »

I got from it that he himself was disgusted by his own sexual preferences. That he saw the mermaid as something pure and didn't want to expose her to the horror that was himself. She just didn't understand why he wouldn't love her, and so she fled.

Hmm. Fair interpretation. I like it.
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madness42192
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« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2009, 08:51:50 PM »

I actually really liked this story. I thought that the BDSM theme running through it was unusual, something taboo and kinky, and like all things taboo it made you want to learn more, observe something you cant understand.
i really liked the little mermaid theme too. i never heard the original story, but after hearing this I read it and found it much more intriguing then the disney version.
I took it that the narrator was disgusted in his fetish and rejected in fear he would hurt someone. it would be interesting to see maybe a sequel dealing with mini getting a soul like the little mermaid.

i think ultimately the moral of the story is dont let fear make you loose out of things.
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Listener
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« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2009, 08:24:38 AM »

Perhaps Ann's intro was a bit TOO much of a giveaway as to what myth the story was (loosely) based upon? I had a little book of HCA fairy tales -- the originals -- when I was a kid, and they were weird and disturbing, but I liked them. My favorite was probably The Snow Queen.

The Podcastle "sex" disclaimer is one of my favorites.

I have to admit to something of a sense of dread when I see a Cat Rambo byline. Many of her stories (and readings) don't do it for me for whatever reason, and sometimes I think "well, if she's doing so well, she must be writing right, so do I want to compromise my own personal style so I write more like Cat Rambo/Jay Lake/Tim Pratt and have a better chance at getting published?" This one was better than most Rambo stories I've read, though -- at least in the beginning. However, as it went on I got more of a feeling that she had these three characters -- Trevor, Ivory, and the Narrator -- and she was going to make them fit in no matter what. When the Narrator talked about putting a coin and some hair on the boat, I knew the answer to the riddle right away.

Still, for all that, there were a lot of interesting details.

My biggest problem was with the ending: not that we didn't see the sex, because we didn't need to see the sex, but that one night with the Narrator was enough for Minnie to leave? Or are we supposed to infer that he's still in love with Nanny Mouse-Squisher?

The whole reveal of Minnie being the Little Mermaid (in the lobby scene) felt pretty forced.

The reader had a nice air of detachment to his voice but he didn't sound young enough to be believable. I wonder how the person who read Gordon the Self-Made Cat would have handled it.

Overall... better than most Rambo stories, but still not great overall, mostly because the ending was too fast.
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eytanz
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2009, 03:10:40 PM »

I agree with most of the commenters above - this story is a mix of some really interesting stuff with other threads that didn't feel nearly as well thought out. The narrator's backstory and sadistic tendencies didn't seem to fit in with the rest. And the end felt like it came too soon - it was inevitable, really, but there should have been more getting us there.
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Jagash
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2009, 08:24:47 PM »

Unfortunately I didn't feel as if the story held together coherently.  There were a host of interesting bits to the story, but I didn't find it as a unified whole.  It's a pity as there was great mythological potential in the mermaid.       
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Corydon
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2009, 01:34:22 PM »

I like Cat Rambo's writing, and the story showcased it well.  The connection between the mermaid's self-mutilation and the self-mutilations of modern life (tattoos, piercings, surgery) is a clever one. 

But I feel like the practice of updating fairy tales to reflect an older, unsanitized version has become such a cliche in fantasy.  The exposition here was particularly clumsy, but leaving that aside, I just don't know that the world needs another Little Mermaid + kinky sex, or Red Riding Hood + kinky sex or Snow White + kinky sex, or whatever.  I like kinky sex as much as the next person, but the frisson of seeing it added to familiar childhood stories has long passed me by.
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gelee
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« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2009, 10:45:13 PM »

Very good point. The whole "naughty fairy tale" bit is rather well worn. 
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2009, 10:53:02 PM »

Very good point. The whole "naughty fairy tale" bit is rather well worn. 

I like the "Grimm Fairy Tales" series from Zenescope Comics, though they're pretty firmly in the horror genre (but still qualify as fantasy).
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kibitzer
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« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2009, 06:19:25 AM »

I guess I could mention Bill Willingham's excellent "Fables" graphic novels at this juncture...
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AliceNred
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2009, 11:22:01 AM »

Most of the time I really enjoy Cat Rambo's writing. For the most part, I did here as well. I liked the usually rich settings and I liked that it was a modern mermaid tale. But the ending... I found to be quite unsatisfying.
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