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Author Topic: EP224: The Ghost in the Death Trap  (Read 5375 times)
Swamp
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« on: November 12, 2009, 08:57:37 AM »

EP224: The Ghost in the Death Trap

by Marjorie James
Read by Steve Eley

This is a sequel to EP007: The Trouble With Death Traps.

Flies buzzed around the edges of the huge stone block, gathering at the rivulets of blood that ran down to the floor. A bit of what looked like it might be intestine hung off one corner, drawing special attention. It was a testament to the force of the collision that fragments of bone and tissue were scattered all the way down the passage, some even wedged in the carvings in the stone walls. Two men surveyed the scene with dismay.

“See? And this just keeps happening. It’s getting so we can’t get anything done around here,” said the taller of the two, a grey-haired man with red eyes and a patchy beard.

The other man, younger but not precisely young, hauled himself up on top of the block and examined the mechanism. “This bar’s been sliced right through.” He looked back down at his client. “You say this was a poltergeist?”


Rated PG for some violence and language.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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Atras
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2009, 11:06:20 AM »

Steve!  Great to have you back!  This is more about your intro than the story, but you DID have the Pete Butler stories about Squonk the Dragon - still my kids' favorite episodes and they still ask for a third part.
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jalsk
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2009, 12:44:09 PM »

Is it just me, or was there a minor Ghost Busters reference in there? When I heard "Don't cross the streams" it kinda caught my attention.

-jalsk
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Swamp
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2009, 01:15:10 PM »

Is it just me, or was there a minor Ghost Busters reference in there? When I heard "Don't cross the streams" it kinda caught my attention.

Oh no, I'm pretty sure the reference was intentional.  Loved it.  Cool
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Ocicat
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2009, 01:33:53 PM »

Steve!  Great to have you back!  This is more about your intro than the story, but you DID have the Pete Butler stories about Squonk the Dragon - still my kids' favorite episodes and they still ask for a third part.

Yup, I'd say the second Squonk story counts as a sequel.  Also, Escape Artists did run that winged cat story: PodCastle Miniature 27: Faery Cats: The Cutest Killers

As to this story - great stuff.  Loved the original, and this one was just as fun.  Mostly for the general "we build death traps" concept, but the details with the ghost and golden city were great too.
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2009, 01:35:11 PM »

If I were considering which EP stories cry out for sequels, I don't think the death trap one would have sprung to mind, despite the fact that is was a fun story. This sequel was just as good, if not better, than its predecessor. Its light sense of humor (and shout-outs to "Ghostbusters") was a welcome change from last week's plodding, ponderous tale of pomposity. Well paced, well written, and very ably read by Steve, this sequel did a fantastic job of expanding a bit on life in this trap-filled world, without overdoing it.
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2009, 04:10:03 PM »

Bursting into giggles at the refrence in public was awesome- as was this story. I'm going to re-visit it's first edition.

Well written, well read. Good to hear Steve.
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2009, 12:23:00 AM »

Very fun story. I too immensely enjoyed the ghostbusters reference (though I had a bit of a hard time imagining the visuals of the situation).

I also enjoyed the swipe at product development/enhancement/marketing or whatever near the end - I'm not sure what the right term is. The whole "upgrades"/ "their problem" thing. Cuz you just know thats how people behave. Smiley

I really enjoyed the petulant poltergeist and found the casual way the gruesome deaths were treated quite amusing.

Applause all around.
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Wandering knight
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2009, 03:59:19 AM »

Had to go back and read the first story and think this one came out better because of it. Sure it stands alone but getting the feel for Znob's job first really helps. 

I flashed on a scene from some episode of Hercules legendary Journeys where Herc wonders aloud as he works his way through another set of death traps,"who builds these things?" At least for one place and time we now know.

The digs in this story about longterm support pulled chuckles out of me. Esprcialy Znob's ire at doors being installed. Nothing new under that sun whether here or some fractious countryside full of citystates (and newts).
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2009, 04:41:42 PM »

Winged cats? This doesn't count?  Maybe because it didn't run on Escape Pod, I guess...
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ajames
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2009, 04:51:14 PM »

Great to hear Steve again, all around fun story, and solid narration. Thanks Escape Pod!
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2009, 06:04:55 PM »

I loved this, The Trouble With Death Traps was one of my favourites and I'm very glad to hear it return (even if its not sci-fi Wink).

As for the comments about Norm Serman (did I get the name right), he's alright and his intros are funny. I haven't liked a few recent stories, but EscapePod has always had periods like that.
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2009, 07:29:15 PM »

Since I hadn't heard the first story, I had the pleasure of listening to them back-to-back. I suggest it.

My co-workers were certain that I had lost my mind. Giggling out loud just make people wonder.

In really liked Steve's reading. Sometimes he doesn't hit the mark, but on these two stories, he did very well. He must have studied the first reading, because he carried the voices through perfectly.

What struck me about both stories was, as mentioned earlier here, that casual attitude toward death. No matter who died, or how they died, that was the least important part of the story. I hate to say this, but that was one of the things that made the stories great. These people were in the business of death, and there was nothing personal about it ever.

Favorite parts? The Shaman who doesn't speak to ghosts, but is a great source of gossip, and the fact that, of course it's difficult to find. It's a lost city! The remark about needing some signage made me pause it and back up. Can't hear it when I'm laughing.

Went straight from these two to the two Squonk stories. I had a really good day.
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2009, 08:03:37 PM »

I really enjoyed this story.  I never listened to the first one, but I also don't think it's necessary.  This story worked just fine on its own.  It didn't suffer from sequelitis at all.
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martinifan
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2009, 10:33:46 PM »

It was great to hear Steve read again, and though I didn't realize it until someone mentioned it in the forum, he did do a wonderful job of keeping the character voices in line with the story's predecessor.  Loved the first story, loved this one, and will more than likely enjoy the next sequel/(chapter?), as well.

On Steve's outro: While not a forum regular, I have devoured every EP, including the metacasts, since its inception.  I'm also a huge fan of The Drabblecast, and love the work of Norm Sherman as its frontman.  That said, when Steve made his announcements in the last metacast, I confess to having been concerned about the mixing of the peanut butter of Escape Pod with the milk chocolate of Norm, so to speak.  Having always looked so forward to both entities every week, I wondered how such different individual styles would mesh.  I also confess to wondering if Norm's new responsibilities at Escape Pod would diminish his work at The Drabblecast.  I'm thrilled that DC hasn't lessened in humor or strangeness (not by a Mongolian Death Worm's inch), and have really enjoyed his work at Escape Pod, too.  He's not Steve, but as Steve said today, that was by design.  So we have the benefit of both talented, unique gentlemen, and all we've come to enjoy about Escape Pod-excellent tales.   Well done Norm, Steve, Jeremiah, and to Alasdair, Ben, Rachael, MK, and all the other immensely talented folks in the Escape Artists organization.  Thank you for bringing us such rich stories and narration!
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2009, 11:04:18 PM »

"We'll call it a feature."
"What does that mean?"
"It means it's someone else's problem."

Oh, did I lol.  And the ghostbuster reference.  And catching the poltergeist.

(And I went back and listened to EP007 again.  Two-for-one this week...)

Excellent story, and Steve's narration is perfect.  Not the hardest SF, but some of the funniest I've heard in a long time.  Thumbs up.

(And on the whole Norm thing... Norm's like British humor.  If you get it, it's funny.  If you don't... well, there's always fart jokes.  Undecided)
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2009, 01:32:15 AM »

(And on the whole Norm thing... Norm's like British humor.  If you get it, it's funny.  If you don't... well, there's always fart jokes.  Undecided)
YES!

Tongue

as for the story...
before I listened to this one I started listening to 007 because I didn't remember it, then I realized what it was and remembered it, and listened to most but not all of it, then listened to this one, and it hasn't lost its charm!  A very fun story, and I loved the Ghostbusters reference!  I lol'd at the "the guys with city of silver are always polishing it!" and the neglect at how hot the city buildings would get.
lotsa fun!  Put this in the "win" column for EP! Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2009, 09:46:04 AM »

I started listening at EP98, so I never heard the first Deathtrap story. But as a stand-alone, this one worked very well. I think it bogged down slightly with the city-of-gold part, but overall it was well-paced and funny (which is hard to do... at least for me), with the obligatory pop culture references thrown in which I think is a big part of humor. I'd really like to know when this story took place in Gregorian years... it sounded like the jungle world was the "whole world" for these characters, but they could just be Mayans or Aztecs or... um... the folks who live in the Brazilian rainforest (I know, I'm totally American and have no idea, forgive me) and there's a whole world going on out there in, say, 643 AD, and they just don't know about it.

I think the only thing I don't like about Steve's readings is that sometimes his 'deep character voice' sounds too forced.

As for the end... and mods, please feel free to censor/delete this part... but I personally have found that commenting on controversy can be a double-edged sword with the sharper edge pointed back at you. When I used to run a political blog, I wrote an extremely controversial post that dozens of people called for my head over. Me and my co-blogger responded and it just made things worse, and in the end we decided to leave it alone. The furor eventually died down. I think, similarly, the furor over Norm's hosting style will die down, especially as new EP listeners are rotated in and start commenting on stories. Norm's style is a radical shift from what we're used to -- that is, Steve or Alasdair or Ben talking about something tangentially or directly related to the story, instead of Norm doing the same but with sound effects and a more sly manner. I have to be honest: some of Norm's humor doesn't appeal to me either -- that whole giant monster deathmatch thing on Drabblecast goes right over my head and I usually fast-forward through it -- but then, I don't like every episode of every TV show I watch, either. Hell, I hated the Mrs. Troi episodes of TNG (with the exception of "Half a Life") but I still love TNG. So, y'know, I'm not part of the EA staff or anything but that's just my opinion.

Overall, a solid episode. Very enjoyable. Just to bother Swamp ( Roll Eyes ) I give this one a #2 lane.
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Swamp
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2009, 11:59:36 AM »

Just to bother Swamp ( Roll Eyes ) I give this one a #2 lane.

 Smiley  Hey, you know, knock yourself out.  It was brought up by other moderators (not just me) that ratings could devole.  Most everyone is providing good feedback along with ratings.  I said it wasn't a big deal, just a caution.  Go forth and comment at will (with respect).
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ancawonka
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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2009, 01:02:18 PM »

This story was thoroughly entertaining.  I loved the City of Gold - especially the rain scene.  That's going to show up in my next D&D adventure, for sure.   The engineering humor and Ghostbusters references were cute, though the "streams" seemed a little bit forced.

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