Escape Artists

News:

  • Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

News

Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

Author Topic: PC 074: The Firemen’s Fairy  (Read 20195 times)

Boggled Coriander

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 545
    • Balancing Frogs
Reply #25 on: October 25, 2009, 06:06:03 AM
I checked the story excerpt again. Stephen Steven.

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #26 on: October 25, 2009, 06:16:39 PM
I didn't think Stephen wasn't homophobic, anyone constantly whistling would get on one's nerves!  But I do agree that the idea of supernatural beings living among us with us is intriguing.  Does anyone know of any novels like this?

This is actually pretty much its own genre, the wikipedia page as a rundown of examples: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contemporary_fantasy

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #27 on: October 25, 2009, 07:41:32 PM
But I do agree that the idea of supernatural beings living among us with us is intriguing.  Does anyone know of any novels like this?

I'm quite fond of Charles DeLint's Someplace to be Flying

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #28 on: October 26, 2009, 03:21:52 PM
I kept wondering about how supernatural creatures fit into the larger world, beyond fire-fighting.  We keep hearing about Stephen's experiences in Iraq; does the American military have supernatural creatures working with them there?  Do the insurgents?

Wow, Boggled Coriander. I have to say I find this question about the larger world of this story completely fascinating. I hadn't thought about the world that far, but it's a perfectly valid question. I'm going to be thinking about that for a long time now. Thanks!


kibitzer

  • Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2228
  • Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice
Reply #29 on: October 26, 2009, 10:08:10 PM
Wow, Boggled Coriander. I have to say I find this question about the larger world of this story completely fascinating. I hadn't thought about the world that far, but it's a perfectly valid question. I'm going to be thinking about that for a long time now. Thanks!

We should maybe expect a story?


DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #30 on: October 26, 2009, 10:41:24 PM
Wow, Boggled Coriander. I have to say I find this question about the larger world of this story completely fascinating. I hadn't thought about the world that far, but it's a perfectly valid question. I'm going to be thinking about that for a long time now. Thanks!

We should maybe expect a story?

Heh. Well, not from me. At least not anytime soon.

You could start emailing Sandra McDonald, though  ;)


Gamercow

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 654
Reply #31 on: October 28, 2009, 02:37:12 PM
My wife is an ex-firefighter, and she said that the author did an excellent job describing life as a probie, and the scene at an actual call.  The only nit she picked was that you can turn on your alarm manually, that you don't have to wait 30 seconds for it to start, though that will work as well.  At one point, she actually said "I can smell where they are."  In short, she loved it, and is now a Podcastle fan. 

I enjoyed it as well, and liked the story as a whole, even though I didn't like Steven that much.  Solidly written, decently narrated, and a well thought out world.  7/10

The cow says "Mooooooooo"


Loz

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 370
    • Blah Flowers
Reply #32 on: October 31, 2009, 09:34:27 AM
Oh, the Fairy was a fairy! Oh the hilarity! What I don't understand is why the editors cut out the last scene, where Orko or Man-At-Arms comes on to gravely tell us that prejudice against people because they are different is always wrong. Indeed, if it wasn't for the swearing and the references to serving in Iraq then I would have assumed this Very Special Episode of Podcastle was considered to be a rather unsubtle story aimed at younger listeners.

The only thing I liked was the reader, more from him please!



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #33 on: November 01, 2009, 10:54:02 AM
It's taken me some time to get to this one because of its length and my lack of free time, so I don't really have much to add. Especially since Loz in the post above says both things I really felt about it -

1. The narrator did a great job.

2. This was an after-school special. Bigoted person hates the *insert minority population here* until *minority* proves his worth to bigoted person, leading to a full transformation in the final act when bigot realized that the misguided person was himself all along.

I guess this kind of story has its value, as it seems to be effective when played to 10 year old kids (I do remember actually learning stuff from this kind of story when I was a pre-teen). I don't know what I find more depressing - that there are some (authors, podcast editors, etc.) who believe that this kind of story has value when played to adults; or the thought that they might be right and there may be adults who can benefit from this.

(Note - I am entirely sure that there are many adults who can benefit from the moral of this story. It's the technique that I'm questioning).



Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4904
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #34 on: November 01, 2009, 08:51:14 PM
Actually, Bob the Fairy isn't the target here.  It's the protagonist's friend (whose name I forget) who actually IS gay and the protag never realized it.  Bob the Fairy was a convenient way to provide a ridiculous, extreme, almost parodic version of what many perceive gay men to be like.  Yes, the faerie WAS a fairy, and because he wasn't a real person, he could BE that exaggerated stereotype, be the thing which the "manly" fireman culture feared deep in its overcompensating soul.  He made everyone uncomfortable because he wasn't hiding, wasn't trying to fit in or conceal what he was.

The main character's discomfort doesn't come from Bob.  It comes from himself, from what he suspects about his friend but has never managed to admit to himself.  That subtle internal conflict is personified in Bob.  Bob "saving" the character might not even have actually happened - Bob was dead four floors away at that point, remember - and the outcome was not "Oh, a gay person saved me so gay people must be okay," but "Why was I so angry at Bob?  What is it in myself that brought out that fear and revulsion?"

Calling this an after school special shows that you missed the boat.  You saw the surface of the story, just like the protag saw the surface of Bob.  There's more to it than that.  I'm actually very impressed by the way this story manages to use the elements of the fantastic in subtle ways, concealed beneath the broad "fairy" joke.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #35 on: November 01, 2009, 10:10:56 PM
Actually, Bob the Fairy isn't the target here.  It's the protagonist's friend (whose name I forget) who actually IS gay and the protag never realized it.  Bob the Fairy was a convenient way to provide a ridiculous, extreme, almost parodic version of what many perceive gay men to be like.  Yes, the faerie WAS a fairy, and because he wasn't a real person, he could BE that exaggerated stereotype, be the thing which the "manly" fireman culture feared deep in its overcompensating soul.  He made everyone uncomfortable because he wasn't hiding, wasn't trying to fit in or conceal what he was.

The main character's discomfort doesn't come from Bob.  It comes from himself, from what he suspects about his friend but has never managed to admit to himself.  That subtle internal conflict is personified in Bob.  Bob "saving" the character might not even have actually happened - Bob was dead four floors away at that point, remember - and the outcome was not "Oh, a gay person saved me so gay people must be okay," but "Why was I so angry at Bob?  What is it in myself that brought out that fear and revulsion?"

I am well aware of all of the above, and was aware of it at the time I wrote my post.

Quote
Calling this an after school special shows that you missed the boat.  You saw the surface of the story, just like the protag saw the surface of Bob.  There's more to it than that.

No. I didn't "miss the boat" (and I don't appreciate your tone here - just because we disagree on the merits of the story doesn't mean we should insult each other's intelligence) - the fact that the target wasn't just Bob doesn't make a difference here. Note that I didn't mention Bob's name in my above post, partially because the problem I have with this story isn't about Bob. It's about the overall pattern of the narrative, and the fact that the character who acted out the gay stereotype and the actual gay character were different does not save the story as far as I am concerned.



Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4904
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #36 on: November 02, 2009, 05:11:57 AM
Yet it's not really following the after-school special pattern that you bemoaned.  It's subverting that pattern for a deeper purpose.  I'm saying that your reasons for disliking the story are inaccurate and suggesting that you give the story a second look, because it's not doing what you said it's doing.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #37 on: November 02, 2009, 09:24:12 AM
Yet it's not really following the after-school special pattern that you bemoaned.  It's subverting that pattern for a deeper purpose. 

One thing I agree with you is that I don't see this. I do see, along with your original post, that the story is more layered than a real after-school special. But that's a far cry from "subverting the pattern" - it's perhaps a more sophisticated after-school special, in the same sense that, back when I lived in New York I could step in to a restaurant that was on my route from my flat to my office, and buy a $64 burger made of Kobe Beaf and really fancy ketchup. Sure, more care and thought went into it than into a McDonald's patty, but at the end of the day it's still a burger, and this story is still an after-school special.

To subvert the pattern, the story would have to make some commentary *about* the form, and I really don't see it; and you haven't mentioned such a metacommentary in your posts. If there is, I'd really appreciate it if you explain it to me.

As far as I can see this is a story in five acts:

ACT I - SETUP - The graduation ceremony

ACT II - BUILD UP - The first few weeks at the fire station. We get introduced to the character of Bob, who acts very flamboyantly and superficially homosexual (though that is never claimed out right). We get introduced to the character of Paula, who is a woman. We get introduced to Steven's father, who is a male chauvenist. We get introduced to Jimmy, the character's best friend, who seems to be part of the same ethos.

ACT III - CRISIS - the car accident, and Steven's flashback. We learn that Jimmy has depths beyond what we thought so far. It is heavily implied that Jimmy kissed Steven, though Steven won't admit that to himself. Steven misdirects his tension with Jimmy and his anger at himself towards Bob.

ACT IV - CLIMAX - The warehouse fire. Paula proves her worth by having better instincts than the male firefighter. Steven gets lost, and (hallucinates? sees?) Bob come to rescue him. He realizes that the very thing that annoyed him about Bob (the whistle) was something he is thankful for. He then learns that Bob died trying to find him. Note that it doesn't matter whether it was really Bob that he saw. What matters was A - Bob proved his worth by attempting, and, more importantly B - When the time came, what Steven had attributed to be the cause of his hatred of Bob turned out to be a red herring. Steven reaches awareness of Jimmy's homosexuality and attraction to him.

ACT V - DENOUEMENT - Some time later, Steven is a reformed man. He honors Bob's memory. He accepts Paula as both a woman and a firefighter. He is friendly to the rumored gay firefighter who conveniently showed up.

Am I missing anything?

The main point in my earliest post is the same - the transformative effect on the bigotted character (Steven) comes through the actions of others, in this case, the hated Bob. You are arguing that because Bob is not actually a homosexual human, but Jimmy is, then the story is more sophisticated. I'm saying that it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. This isn't a twist, it's a variation within the theme.

The problems I have with the after-school special format are these:

1. The structure of the story means that we are supposed to sympathize with the bigot, and learn his lessons with him. We have to be *shown*, by external evidence, just like the bigot, that his bigotry is wrong.

2. There is a clear moment that changes everything. Change is sudden and cathartic, not gradual and painful.

3. At the end, learning to accept one person (in this case, Bob) leads the bigot to accept a whole class of people (in this case, non-hetero males, including women and homosexual men).

Can you tell me which of the above doesn't hold of this story?

Quote
I'm saying that your reasons for disliking the story are inaccurate and suggesting that you give the story a second look, because it's not doing what you said it's doing.

I'm saying that my reasons for disliking this story are my impression of the story. I did not miss out on elements of the plot, as you seem to be convinced (at the very least, neither of your posts contain a single element of the story I had missed out on). I am just not particularly impressed by them. Maybe you got something closer to the author's original intention, but it's not my responsibility as a reader to understand the story as the author intended it. And note that reading this thread I see I'm not the only one.

From where I'm sitting, it looks like it is your reasons for liking the story that are inaccurate - you are reading more into it than is actually in it. I could suggest that you give it a second look, but I don't believe in doing so. Framing an argument about a story in terms of who is right and who is wrong is futile (which, I should point out, doesn't always stop me from doing it). We can fruitfully debate on whose interpretation is better, but to do that we should frame the discussion in terms of interpretation. As long as you keep insisting that you just know better, nothing useful will come of it.



Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4904
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #38 on: November 02, 2009, 11:50:49 PM
I'm not trying to insist that I know better, and I apologize if that's the impression you received.  I also was not saying that you were missing an element of the plot - you certainly summarized it thoroughly - but that you were seeing the traditional structure (Bob the Fairy Proves Himself!) and extending that to the actual story, which was about Steven and his relationship with Jimmy.

I agree that Bob the Fairy Proves Himself is an after-school special plot, through and through, but I think the reason it's there is to provide a sort of foil for the primary story of Steven coming to terms with himself, his own perceived masculinity, and his struggles with PTSD.  That is, I don't see Steven's relationship with Jimmy having any of the after-school special traits you mentioned; I think the story is functioning on multiple levels, with Bob heading up the Obvious Interpretation (with a raging brass band.)

Quote
1. The structure of the story means that we are supposed to sympathize with the bigot, and learn his lessons with him. We have to be *shown*, by external evidence, just like the bigot, that his bigotry is wrong.

I don't see the structure dictating that at all; it's a fairly standard five-act build, common to pretty much every story if you generalize it far enough.  The fact that the audience is shown Jimmy and his sexuality before Steven becomes aware of them is an argument against your interpretation, for me; if we have to be "shown" the truth just like Steven, then why would the author trust us not to recoil at Jimmy's kiss?  I understand and empathize with having a negative reaction to being preached to, especially if you're "in the choir," but I don't think the way the story reveals its truths supports an interpretation of the Author as Remonstrating Schoolmarm and the lesson as bone-simple "Bigotry is Bad." 

Really, Steven is hardly a bigot at all.  He moves in bigoted circles, but he's far warmer to Paula than the others, and he has less issue with homosexuality than the world portrayed around him.  He'd rather not think about it, is all, as opposed to being someone who actively hates it and pushes it away.  (Which is why Bob is so problematic, because Bob refuses to quietly sit in the closet like Jimmy and the other gay firefighters.  He is Out, and thus disables Steven's ability to pretend that gayness doesn't exist.  This parallels Steven's attempts to deny his PTSD, to try and be a firefighter despite knowing it triggers him.  He wants to be able to ignore things and have them not be true, and his "revelation" is more about seeing through that piece of self-deception than coming to the realization that Gays Aren't So Bad.)

Quote
2. There is a clear moment that changes everything. Change is sudden and cathartic, not gradual and painful.

It's only sudden in terms of story time.  Steven is portrayed as struggling with his feelings from pretty much Act II onward, and it covers weeks and months of subjective time.  As I said, I see Steven's struggle as more about self-deception than about accepting homosexuality; the acceptance of gay people is sort of a proxy for Steven's acceptance of his own weaknesses and failures, of his rejection of the worldview that says "As long as I don't have to see it, it's not a problem." 

Quote
3. At the end, learning to accept one person (in this case, Bob) leads the bigot to accept a whole class of people (in this case, non-hetero males, including women and homosexual men).

Again, I disagree with this interpretation.  I don't see the ending as "Steven learns to accept Bob, and therefore all gay males and also women," but rather that "Steven realizes his dislike for Bob was driven by his own willful blindness to his friend's struggles with sexuality and his need to hide his own weaknesses.  Steven accepts his own failures and becomes more aware of the needs and desires of those around him."  The ending, in which he offers to get some coffee with the new (presumably gay) fireman, displays not that Steven is willing to accept gay people, but that he has become AWARE of what it means to be gay and in the closet.  Through his own experience with concealing his PTSD, he has realized how hard it is to deny something about yourself, and he has learned that it is acceptable to seek help from a support structure.  He is making himself available to be a support structure for this other man, who has a secret which burdens him. 

Basically, I see the after-school special, same as you, but I see it as a part of a more complex structure rather than the core of the story's thrust.  The themes are interconnected and more universal than "Gay is Okay!"  Obviously, I'm not the author and can't speak to the thinking that went into this, but I continue to affirm that this story has more going on than the simplistic themes you described.  I spoke up because I felt you were dismissing it unfairly, and I hope I've clarified why I don't think it fits your perception of it.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #39 on: November 04, 2009, 04:38:53 PM
I kept wondering about how supernatural creatures fit into the larger world, beyond fire-fighting.  We keep hearing about Stephen's experiences in Iraq; does the American military have supernatural creatures working with them there?  Do the insurgents?

Wow, Boggled Coriander. I have to say I find this question about the larger world of this story completely fascinating. I hadn't thought about the world that far, but it's a perfectly valid question. I'm going to be thinking about that for a long time now. Thanks!

That was actually the biggest complaint I have about this story--that the consequences of mythical creatures on a world were not considered.  The creatures were added into the firefighting world, which was cool, but for them to be there in such a public way, there are two possibilities:

1.  Mythical creatures have always been visibly present in this parallel world.  But if that's the case, then human history would not have reached this exact same point.  The war in Iraq probably wouldn't've happened (though a completely different war may have).  The countries we know probably wouldn't all exist.  And social things that we take for granted would not necessarily be true in this parallel world (like prejudice against gays).  Wars would be entirely different if there are djinns and minotaurs and salamanders in the ranks.  Firefighting equipment might not even be remotely the same with the aid of these creatures.  None of this was even considered.
2.  Mythical creatures have only recently surfaced (this is what happened in the True Blood series, vampires have only come into the public eye in recent years).  But this doesn't ring true with the story either.  The mythical creatures' presence is taken for granted by everyone around them.  There's no mention of accepting mythical creatures, only mention of accepting a particular mascot.  They're clearly not new to the scene, this is supposed to be a well-established part of this world, and that just didn't ring true for me.

So I've got to say the world-building was not good at all. 

I still gave a listen to it, but I have to say I tend to agree with eytanz that it was a bit too much after-school special for me.  I like a story that carries a message, but this was a message that carried a story.  If the world-building were more consistent I may have been able to look past that.




eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #40 on: November 04, 2009, 06:54:22 PM
I'm not trying to insist that I know better, and I apologize if that's the impression you received.  I also was not saying that you were missing an element of the plot - you certainly summarized it thoroughly - but that you were seeing the traditional structure (Bob the Fairy Proves Himself!) and extending that to the actual story, which was about Steven and his relationship with Jimmy.

In which case, I don't think it's particularly appropriate for you to say that I "missed the boat" or that my "reasons to dislike the story were inaccurate". I saw all the pieces. They did not fit into place as well as they did for you. That's a matter of my interpretation of the story, and it is just as valid and accurate as your own. The story didn't work for me. And indeed, it didn't work for many others here. Quite possibly you got more of what the story was trying to do. But in my case, it failed. The fact that there were many others who shared this reaction indicates to me that it is a flaw in the story, not in my reading. But I don't believe it is ever valid to tell a reader that they are inaccurate in disliking a story, unless they truly misunderstood some basic fact about it, any more than it would be valid for me to tell me you are wrong for liking it.

I am glad you enjoyed this story more than I did - I am glad that you saw in it more than I saw in it. I'm always glad when literature speaks to people, regardless of whether I am one of them. And I am not going to argue with most of what you say, since it seems to me it is mostly about subjective reaction rather than the facts of the story. With one exception:

Quote
Quote
2. There is a clear moment that changes everything. Change is sudden and cathartic, not gradual and painful.

It's only sudden in terms of story time. 

True. But my point was about the structure of the story, not about the world it depicts. One thing I agree with you on is that the characters are well fleshed out for what the story is. But I still think this is a bad way to structure a story.

Quote
I spoke up because I felt you were dismissing it unfairly, and I hope I've clarified why I don't think it fits your perception of it.

I will agree that my first posting was somewhat brusque, but I do not think it was unfair. You have certainly clarified why your perception of the story is different than mine, and I certainly agree that your perception of it is entirely valid. But I don't agree that my perception of it is any less correct, different though it may be. We are not seeing the story from the same perspective - no two readers ever do. And perspective is part of perception. To say that the story does not fit my perception dismisses my perspective, and you will never find me agreeing to that.



Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #41 on: November 05, 2009, 02:16:46 PM
The reading was good from an acting standpoint and fair from a technical standpoint. I kind of felt toward the end that either the reader was getting tired of reading the story or the editing was a little slippery -- the jump from graveyard to phoenix to two-weeks-later was very fast and I think would've worked better as text.

The story really felt more like contemporary fiction with mythical creatures grafted onto it -- none of them, except Bob, actually do anything onscreen. That said, it was good contemporary fiction. Very realistic fire sequences, good storytelling and good emotional investment in all the characters. In the Star Trek 4 featurettes they said it was hard to make a film without a bad guy, per se -- the bad guy is "the lack of whales", and when they go to the past the only antagonist is their dilithium crystals. At least with fire, we know that out of control fires are bad, and while they're not an antagonist you can root against, it provides a way to tell the story without having to build up a bad guy.

The discussion of homosexuality I think took this a little farther than I wanted to go. I didn't see Bob as a stereotype; given the other fairies he hung out with, it was more like that's how fairies are in this universe. Maybe they adopted their behaviors from the stereotypically-gay part of the gay population... I don't know. But I do think the homosexual angle in the story was hit perhaps a little too hard. I think Jimmy's homosexuality was a little too subtle, Paula was too much of a red herring (am I using that term correctly?), and Steven having pause when meeting Sam Capolongasslastname was a little much, given that until that point Steven had shown no signs one way or the other of being bigoted or fearful in any way.

Finally, I felt that Bob could have been given some sort of "power" to make it valid for him to be there -- the other supernatural beings clearly were useful in some way, but Bob was just a mascot. Maybe he could move people with magic (saving the mom), or maybe he could bring people back who were recently deceased by way of the whole "I do believe in fairies" thing from Peter Pan and Hook, or maybe under extreme stress he became big enough to beat back the flames with his wings. SOMETHING. Being able to know where the sun is is useful, sure, but it's kind of a limited skill. Even if the author had spent a few more words explaining how Bob's internal compass had saved lives in the past, I would've been happier.

I did like the ending, when the Captain cautions them against the corned-beef-and-cabbage. If Scooter stunk up the bathroom before, just you wait, Captain... oh, and a woman I used to work with had the same kind of coffee cup as the Captain. It was vile.

Overall, a pretty good story, though not without its fair share of flaws.

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

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


yicheng

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 221
Reply #42 on: November 05, 2009, 03:12:31 PM
I liked this story, even if it was a bit predictable.  I was a little disappointed that the main character's PTSD wasn't explored more.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #43 on: November 05, 2009, 04:11:49 PM
Being able to know where the sun is is useful, sure, but it's kind of a limited skill. Even if the author had spent a few more words explaining how Bob's internal compass had saved lives in the past, I would've been happier.

And even the mention of being able to find the sun was apparently just part of an hallucination.  He didn't do a very good job of finding the sun, since he got lost and died in the fire.



LaShawn

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 550
  • Writer Mommies Rule!
    • The Cafe in the Woods
Reply #44 on: November 18, 2009, 05:06:29 PM
I first read this story in Realms of Fantasy, and I really wasn't impressed. Then I decided to listen again and WOW! The narration totally made the difference. By the end, I had tears in my eyes. Maybe it's because David portrays Bob as so happy and cheerful, you can't help but smile. I really enjoyed it!

--
Visit LaShawn at The Cafe in the Woods:
http://tbonecafe.wordpress.com
Another writer's antiblog: In Touch With Yours Truly


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #45 on: November 18, 2009, 05:46:29 PM
I first read this story in Realms of Fantasy, and I really wasn't impressed. Then I decided to listen again and WOW! The narration totally made the difference. By the end, I had tears in my eyes. Maybe it's because David portrays Bob as so happy and cheerful, you can't help but smile. I really enjoyed it!

I really like the way an audio telling can change impressions of a story so drastically.  :)



MacArthurBug

  • Giddy
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 648
  • I can resist anything except temptation
    • undercaffinated
Reply #46 on: November 19, 2009, 09:05:04 PM
I enjoyed this story quite a bit. There were a few tiny nitpick points- but most of the homophobic stuff seemed more POV of our main guy then the story tellers point. The quiet underscore of his friends preferences WAS more downplayed then I'd have thought. I had to pause and go back to be sure I'd listned right. The reading had a few tiny editing flubs but noting unforgivable. This reader did Great voice, so I hope he keeps reading and just tightens his editing up a smidge. I loved the ideas of magical creatures in a firehouse- and was also left to wonder where else they were in this universe. The MC didn't seem familiar with working with them- which leads me to believe they didn't "volenteer" for the military. Interesting take on a universe.

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3996
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #47 on: October 27, 2010, 04:12:47 AM
I liked the story, and don't have much to add over what has already been brought up.

My criticisms are all technical in nature. The reader did a good job, but the modulation was a bit much and I had to futz with the sound settings until I was no longer distracted. The primary reading was low and even, while the characters seemed projected, so the volume was a significant and constant jump. It's possible this could be edited so the spikes are flattened. Also, I had to crank my treble very low as there were many sibilant hissing sounds that were significantly louder than the bulk of the reading. Add the two repeated segments in the story mentioned earlier in the thread to round out the technical criticism.

I would recommend this story to a friend, but not as a first listen. The technical issues bothered me enough that I wouldn't want said friend to think that was the usual sound standard to expect.

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