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Author Topic: PC079: Marsh Gods  (Read 7799 times)
Heradel
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« on: November 25, 2009, 11:55:38 AM »

Podcastle 79: Marsh Gods

by Ann Leckie
Read by Phoebe Harris

Originally Published by Strange Horizons.

Irris was a changed man. When he went out fishing, he didn’t spend the day drunk or asleep in the boat and then come home with nothing, the way everyone expected. Instead he made a full day’s catch early, and then picked up an axe and went to cut wood. He sat down to dinner sober, played with the baby, spoke pleasantly to his wife and sister. In the evening, instead of drinking, he sat in front of the fire and knotted nets, or carved fishhooks. It’s because he almost died, the neighbors whispered. Everyone had seen the scar. Everyone wondered how long the change could last.

There were other things, little strangenesses that never made their way out of the house for the villagers to be aware of them. For instance, one afternoon Ytine brought him a dish of vetch, and he said, “My dear, it amuses me to call this gravel. So the next time I ask you for a bowl of gravel, you’ll know what I want.” Water was poison, working was sleeping. The list of changed names seemed to grow every day. Voud wasn’t sure why Ytine went along with it, except that the new Irris was kind and hard-working, and doted on the baby. And maybe, thought Voud, that was reason enough. The crane had said not to waste her grief on Irris, and she hadn’t cried when she’d heard the whispery-voiced god say he was dead.

But one evening Irris came home in an especially good mood. “Good fishing means good trading,” he said. He had needles, and fiber — dyed and spun — for Ytine, and a tiny, wheeled cart for the baby. “And Voud,” he said, “I hear you’re a hunter.” He handed her a bronze knife. It was small and its plain haft was dented, but it was a real metal knife and it was hers.

That was when she knew for certain that her brother was dead. Irris would never have thought to buy her something she wanted so much. Not without her telling him, and likely not even then. She sat there with the knife in her hand and cried.

Rated R: For Gods, Mortals, Frogs, and Other Potential Sacrifices
« Last Edit: December 08, 2009, 08:17:42 AM by Heradel » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2009, 12:42:19 PM »

Yay!  I haven't listened yet, but I read this story last year.  It's a good'n.
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2009, 09:47:08 AM »

hautdesert scores again; this story's another winner.  Smiley  I think my two favorite PC authors are Eugie Foster* and Ann Leckie.

* or was it Richard Parks?  He wrote "On the Banks of the River of Heaven" and "Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge", but I think Foster wrote "Tanuki Kettle" and "Returning my Sister's Face", right?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2009, 09:49:17 AM by stePH » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2009, 10:48:48 AM »

Richard Parks wrote "On the Banks of the River of Heaven" and "Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge", but I think Foster wrote "Tanuki Kettle" and "Returning my Sister's Face", right?

That is correct!  Smiley
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stePH
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2009, 04:36:15 PM »

Richard Parks wrote "On the Banks of the River of Heaven" and "Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge", but I think Foster wrote "Tanuki Kettle" and "Returning my Sister's Face", right?

That is correct!  Smiley

Okay, just call them my three favorite.   Tongue
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2009, 12:57:59 PM »

Constraints can strengthen a story and some of the best constraints in fantasy are the rules of a magic system or the rules by which gods play.  I particularly like how this relatively straight forward murder mystery hints at a world in transition from the rule of gods to the rule of man.  That transition is echoed in the growth of story's young protagonist.
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2009, 02:07:59 PM »

Yet another I can allow the elder daughter to listen to! Great strong story. I enjoyed the layers of gods, the concepts, and the wording used. Many many steps above "once upon a time"
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2009, 03:06:08 PM »

My comment won't be very in depth or analytical, but I have things to say and having compliments and not giving them is like wrapping presents and throwing them down a well . . .  that doesn't have gnomes in it.

1. I have been listening to Podcastle since late January and November has been the best month yet.

2. I read this story a long time ago and it was a real treat to come across it again.
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2009, 06:07:06 PM »

I loved this week's story, the narrative was easy to follow and the fact that the whole story was told from the perspective of a young girl was refreshing. Probably one of my favourite PodCastle episodes in a while  Smiley
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Talia
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2009, 12:37:17 AM »

I do very much enjoy the mythology of this particular universe. As for this particular tale, I did enjoy the moral ambiguity that ensued. Semi-godlike characters whose moral pursuasions are unclear add an air of suspense/mystery that's intriguing.
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2009, 06:40:32 PM »

I love stories in characters strike bargains with the supernatural. I delight in stories where someone finds the loophole in their pact with the devil, or outwits an ancient spirit.  I love the idea of a world where bargains with the supernatural are woven into every aspect of life, and the favors of Gods can be won by anyone clever and brave enough, even if they're only a ten year old girl
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2009, 12:57:29 PM »

I really like the metaphysical mechanics of the gods' limitations in speaking truth and lies.  To say something is to make it so.  Lots of good meat there, tying back to eons of myth and folk magic.

All said, I liked this one a LOT better than "The Nalendar."  The characters were more enjoyable and more sympathetic, the plot was easier to follow, and the conclusion more satisfying.  Mostly it's the protagonists actually being fun to root for.  I was able to really engage with Voud, and even with not-Irris.
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2009, 11:06:21 PM »

Did I hear novel in this setting? Did you say there would be a novel in the setting of The Nalendar and Marsh Gods? Oh, man, there has to be a novel. If you're reading this, Anne Leckie, you should know that I'll buy it. Hell, I'll buy it twice. I'll buy it so hard you'd make two dollars for every dollar I spend. I'll buy it so hard that the sequel will spontaneously appear in my house without having been written and then immediately ascending to heaven amid a choir of angels. Please please please write it. I'll buy copies for all my friends and relatives. I'll write a licensed roleplaying game based on it and be a douche on RPGnet defending it and give you half the cash if it sells any copies.

So, write it. Please?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2009, 11:10:36 PM by ElectricPaladin » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2009, 12:27:28 AM »

Did I hear novel in this setting? Did you say there would be a novel in the setting of The Nalendar and Marsh Gods? Oh, man, there has to be a novel. If you're reading this, Anne Leckie, you should know that I'll buy it. Hell, I'll buy it twice. I'll buy it so hard you'd make two dollars for every dollar I spend. I'll buy it so hard that the sequel will spontaneously appear in my house without having been written and then immediately ascending to heaven amid a choir of angels. Please please please write it. I'll buy copies for all my friends and relatives. I'll write a licensed roleplaying game based on it and be a douche on RPGnet defending it and give you half the cash if it sells any copies.

So, write it. Please?

FTR: I am totally quoting this in the Feedback  Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2009, 05:13:41 AM »

Oh, wow. This was just wonderful.

In a week that's been hellish on almost every respect so far, listening to this story made me truely happy. I don't have time right now for my usual analytic feedback, but I just wanted to say thanks to Ann and also to the entire Podcast crew (including Ann again for good measure).
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2009, 09:17:47 AM »

Did I hear novel in this setting? Did you say there would be a novel in the setting of The Nalendar and Marsh Gods? Oh, man, there has to be a novel. If you're reading this, Anne Leckie, you should know that I'll buy it. Hell, I'll buy it twice. I'll buy it so hard you'd make two dollars for every dollar I spend. I'll buy it so hard that the sequel will spontaneously appear in my house without having been written and then immediately ascending to heaven amid a choir of angels. Please please please write it. I'll buy copies for all my friends and relatives. I'll write a licensed roleplaying game based on it and be a douche on RPGnet defending it and give you half the cash if it sells any copies.

So, write it. Please?

FTR: I am totally quoting this in the Feedback  Cheesy

Hyperbole ftw. Looking forward to it.
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2009, 04:46:12 PM »

FTR: I am totally quoting this in the Feedback  Cheesy

SPOILER!  Shocked
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2009, 01:10:04 PM »

I liked this one alright, not nearly to the degree of most.  I liked the magic rule system with the bargaining gods and the restrictions on truth-telling.  I liked how the invading god foresaw his need to lie and carefully prepared by renaming all the stuff around the house to allow him to do so.

But I got a little lost about the time that the other god stopped in, the one that was just a remnant of a beak.  Was that the same god, funneling powering to the man?  Or was that another god?  It seems to have been clear to most, but I think I might've missed a vital bit of the story there.

I tend to raise an eyebrow when an editor publishes his/her own work in his/her own magazine, but this one was definitely of good quality (even though I missed something along the way).
« Last Edit: December 16, 2009, 04:36:41 PM by Unblinking » Logged
eytanz
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2009, 01:23:01 PM »

I liked this one

But I got a little lost about the time that the other god stopped in, the one that was just a remnant of a beak.  Was that the same god, funneling powering to the man?  Or was that another god?  It seems to have been clear to most, but I think I might've missed a vital bit of the story there.

The beak god and the brother-god were enemies; they belonged to opposite sides of the ancient conflict that created the desert where the (real) brother died and his body taken over.
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2009, 05:26:08 PM »

I really liked this. I like the gods needing prayers and sacrifices to gain power. and I like the old god war especially. I hope that there will be more in this universe.
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