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Author Topic: PC 074: The Firemen’s Fairy  (Read 13180 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« on: October 14, 2009, 12:07:43 PM »

PC 074: The Firemen’s Fairy

by Sandra McDonald.
Read by David O. Engelstad.

“I present to you the academy’s 150th class of brave, skilled, hard-working probationary firefighters!” Chief Kelly finally said.

Steven barely heard the applause and cheers when his turn came to cross the stage. His hand was clammy as he shook hands with his teachers, the school administrators, and Chief Kelly. He knew he was blushing and grinning like a fool. Some days, back in the desert, he’d figured to be dead by dusk. Now he was a fireman like his dad, and both his grandfathers, and all the other Goodwin men whose pictures hung in the fire museum gallery.

At the far end of the stage, the phoenix peered down at him with wide black eyes. He could see himself in those eyes, twin reflections of his black and gold uniform. She lifted her whitish-gray beak and passed a scroll off to Chief Kelly, who pressed it into Steven’s hand.

“Good luck, son,” Kelly said.

Steven waited until he was off the stage before he unrolled his assignment.

Oh, shit.

Rated R. for fiery language.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2009, 12:18:57 AM by Heradel » Logged

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Gia
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 02:40:43 PM »

The title told me that there was going to be a fairy in this story so I was thinking "Yeah yeah fairy." Then the story got to Tinker Bob. My first thought was "What the F?" Huh My second thought (half a second later) was "Epic win!" Grin Bob was mildly annoying, but in a remarkably funny way, especially with his voice and dialogue. I also liked how Bob's . . . peculiarities affected Steven.
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Joaquin Escudero Jr
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 02:51:59 PM »

I have to admit that this is the first PodCastle Story that I've had the chance to read, I've been lurking around EscapePod for a short while and decided to take a hear to the folks over in fantasy land. I don't know what this says about my character and pre-conceived notions and prejudices but when I read the title that first image I got was one of a surly man been rescued by a gorgeous yet minuscule woman that loved him.

And then came tinker bob! This story was beautifully done and it's true that the "fairies" in our lives are often forced to hide and must be feel like mythical creatures at times. I say we update the Disney version of Peter Pan and make Tinker Bell into Tinker Bob!

Seriously this story was great, I loved the idea and it shed some light I my own backward thinking.

I simply adored it.
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Pirvonen
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2009, 05:36:28 AM »

Loved the subject matter. Brought me to tears at the end.

Was uncomfortable with the flamboyance of the fairy-fairies, though. I am a male homosexual in (non-US) military; seeing the discrepancy between the flaming daaahhlingness of the Bob and the LGBT folk I know (and am) felt like "oh here we go again with the stereotypes". Well, given how the human BLTG were portrayed, this wasn't the author's intention, I'm sure.

Good work. I needed the cry.

 
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Talia
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2009, 08:43:12 AM »

I liked the setup and characters. Except Bob. Bob annoyed the ever-living crap out of me and I didnt even have to put up with his whistling. Which was the point I suppose. Smiley I do harbor some doubt that someone even in dire peril would ask someone to do the very thing that had been annoying them endlessly for months, though.  As someone who had to deal with a coworker who was endlessly quietly singing to himself, let me say - if I never hear that crap again it will be too soon. It seriously pushed me the hell over the edge.

Course I've never been lying on the floor thinking I was dying. Maybe that'd make a difference, I donno. But.. I doubt it.
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Prairiedaun
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2009, 05:45:14 PM »

Eee! I loved this story. I'm really fond of stories where mythological and fantastic characters exist, work and play in the same 'verse as humans and I thought it was done well here. No need to go into explanation into how or why, just... they do.

The only small disappointment came right at the end with the comment about Bob being the best fairy he'd ever worked with- after the emotional upheaval and having heard what the other man had been through, it felt a bit like a flip comment that the author felt clever putting in there. But that was the only thing that really struck me as off throughout the entire story, and it was just a moment.

I'm not a firefighter, so I don't know much about fires or how the action goes down, but as a civilian the scenes felt right to me and I really got caught up in the action in the final fire (I even put down my knitting because I was getting so nervous).
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gelee
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2009, 10:05:28 PM »

I was VERY sceptical when I saw the title in my pod catcher, but I had some fun with this. The characters felt reasonably complicated and rounded, which you don't often get in stories with a social message.
I DID feel a little uncomfortable with the way some gay stereotypes were used. Like Pirvonen, I figured it must be a fluke (or a point over my head) give the way other gay characters are portrayed. It still made me squirm, though.
Good show on the whole, and an excellent reading as well.
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Scattercat
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2009, 10:52:51 AM »

I initially rolled my eyes when I saw the "wrong" spelling of faerie, but I was highly amused when the story made it clear just how intentional it was.  I think this story did a pretty good job of balancing the fantastical with the underlying theme; I could have used a teensy bit more explanation of exactly what Bob was supposed to do for the firemen other than annoy them (since most of the other supernaturals had some sort of obvious utility on the job, and even the leprechaun helped out around the firehouse by cooking and making coffee, whereas Bob just got waited on.)

My biggest complaint structurally was that the entire introductory section was completely unnecessary; the story could have opened with Steven entering his new boss's office and there would have been almost no editing needed to get the audience up to speed on what was happening.  I like long intros, but I like them a lot less when they're as talky as this one; I'd rather see the characters in action than have them think at me about all the basic details of their world and history.  Steven's character and backstory are quite adequately displayed through showing rather than telling later on, which made the somewhat rambling intro section and extended graduation scene even more gratuitous.

I was pleased that the "twist" didn't involve Steven himself being a repressed homosexual; that would have felt a little cheap and easy (and I was so afraid that was where it was going when his girlfriend evaporated in a single scene break.)  Overall, I enjoyed the story more than I feared I would; overcoming an initial bias is a strong sign of quality, I think.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2009, 03:36:49 PM »

I initially rolled my eyes when I saw the "wrong" spelling of faerie, but I was highly amused when the story made it clear just how intentional it was.  I think this story did a pretty good job of balancing the fantastical with the underlying theme; I could have used a teensy bit more explanation of exactly what Bob was supposed to do for the firemen other than annoy them (since most of the other supernaturals had some sort of obvious utility on the job, and even the leprechaun helped out around the firehouse by cooking and making coffee, whereas Bob just got waited on.)
Bob clearly went into one burning building to search for a woman who was still inside (and came back out to report her already dead). He also went into a wrecked car, then came back out to report that there was a still-alive infant crying inside.  "Not completely useless" as they say on AbFab.
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ajames
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 06:47:21 PM »

Great story - I was skeptical at first but completely won over by the end. I'm not a vet or a fireman, but the situations seemed real to me and the characters were interesting. The juxtaposition of the fantastical with our world in this story worked for me - the pheonix scene at the end was brilliant, even if the first phoenix scene reminded me a bit of the sorting hat in Harry Potter.

Very good narration, too (a few kinks in the editing, though).
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kibitzer
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2009, 05:11:37 AM »

K, up front, nice reading -- I wouldn't ha listened all the way through otherwise.

One of the great things about SF/fantasy/horror is: you can wrap a fairly standard tale in genre trappings. This was clearly a gender / workplace / living-with-other-people / sexual preference fable dressed up in fantasy. I have no problem with that, as long as it's done well.

As was this.

Nicely done. Liked it a lot.
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Pinwheel
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2009, 12:06:30 PM »

I loved this story.  It was funny and honest.

I didn't have a problem with the sterotypes, because it was addressing the problems that come when someone, well, fits the sterotype.  Bob's flirting and "sissy" behavior isn't that hard to find in the real world.  And as others have pointed out, not every queer character in the story was like Tinkerbob. 

I think it nicely addressed how many people think of gay people -- "I don't care what they do in private, but I don't want to see it."  Or "He's a nice guy, but does he have to act so GAY?" The main character didn't think homosexuality was wrong, he was just annoyed seeing someone act like a big gay fairy.   Plus the firehouse was such a hypermasculine environment, where the women were also pressured to be as macho as possible. 

Though, of course, Bob really was annoying.  But that also struck me as honest -- I'm tired of minority characters who are perfect and wonderful and Here To Teach Us All A Lesson.  In real life, sometimes they're annoying, or jerks, and people can unfairly lump that in with reasons to dislike that minority group. 

So yeah, I loved the story.  It dealt with subtleties that are almost never addressed.

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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2009, 04:08:24 PM »

not quite on-topic, but I'd be willing to bet that the proportion of homosexuals in my workplace is higher than average.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2009, 04:28:12 PM »

not quite on-topic, but I'd be willing to bet that the proportion of homosexuals in my workplace is higher than average.

You work where?
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2009, 06:15:11 PM »

not quite on-topic, but I'd be willing to bet that the proportion of homosexuals in my workplace is higher than average.

You work where?

Yeah, without StePH saying describing the workplace/locale that comes off weird.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2009, 07:43:45 PM »

not quite on-topic, but I'd be willing to bet that the proportion of homosexuals in my workplace is higher than average.

You work where?

Sorry ... Planned Parenthood.  I have several co-workers that I suspect are gay (though I haven't asked ... nothing to me one way or the other)
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just_jeepin
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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2009, 09:05:32 AM »

I really enjoyed the story, my only complaint is the repeat in the audio.

15 minutes and 10 seconds in is this:

Bob spent most of his time gossiping, reading celebrity magazines over Paula's shoulder, and playing dressup with a bunch of other fairys that lived in a nearby oak tree

And 15 minutes and 19 seconds it repeats the same thing.
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just_jeepin
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« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2009, 10:45:47 AM »

I edited the mp3 file (removed the repeated phrase) and uploaded it to MegaUpload.

[Mod Edit: Podcastle is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license. That includes repeated phrases.]
« Last Edit: October 23, 2009, 12:02:25 PM by Heradel » Logged
Ben Phillips
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« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2009, 12:36:46 PM »

Yeah, that's a legal technicality.  Not that we don't appreciate the helpful effort.  Sorry about that!
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2009, 04:02:26 PM »

Yeah, that's a legal technicality.  Not that we don't appreciate the helpful effort.  Sorry about that!

Can we stomp hem/hir in the parking lot now?  Grin
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"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
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