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Author Topic: Pseudopod 177: Turning the Apples  (Read 9411 times)

Bdoomed

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on: January 15, 2010, 06:55:17 AM
Pseudopod 177: Turning the Apples


By Tina Connolly
Read by Cayenne Chris Conroy

Getting infected makes your brain rewriteable. Surviving makes you able to rewrite. Not everyone gets it; most natives are immune and even many tourists are. One half percent is a low enough number that tourists flock in by the thousands, through the major port city and down south to the waters. The adults that get it are in a coma within 24 hours.

It’s only kids who sometimes survive.

By the time Szo saw his mother, he’d turned nineteen minds for Hawk. He remembers the first one particularly, like you remember a first girl or first trick. But he remembers all the others, too. “Don’t know why you would,” says Jonny. “I don’t remember all the men.” But Szo does, and he clings to each one, proof that somehow he is not like Jonny, not like Hawk, not like himself. This is all temporary and therefore changeable, rewriteable.




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 06:02:08 AM by Bdoomed »

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
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Scattercat

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Reply #1 on: January 16, 2010, 06:38:49 AM
Telepathy isn't often paired with an addiction metaphor in quite this way.  Intriguing.  It says something interesting about the concept of closeness and relationships, I think.  And given that Szo basically gives people uncontrollable urges, there's a lovely conceptual game of being addicted to addicting.  High marks on giving us English majors lots of bits and pieces to take apart and puzzle over; I like a story that's the thematic equivalent of a Tangram set.  This one has some nice, hefty grips on it, too; easy to pick up, handles well, rewards poking and prodding.

I also enjoyed the moral grayness of this one, and I appreciate the ending left open as it is.  I always prefer to think of the protagonists as succeeding at a cost, but the darker reading would hardly be inappropriate here, especially considering the venue.

I did initially say, "What, MORE stories about carnivorous apple trees?"  :-P  (And the phrase "new world" had me picturing Tonto hawking cellphones to the Pilgrims as they disembarked, which was momentarily disconcerting.)  I think that was due more to the fact that it's an audio story, and those opening paragraphs take a minute or two to hear rather than ten seconds to read, than to any weakness in the actual process of setting the scene for the story.

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Unblinking

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Reply #2 on: January 18, 2010, 03:58:26 PM
I enjoyed this story very much for it's setting, the disease that kills most but leaves some kids able to reprogram others and addicted to it, the morally gray areas and the conflicting orders from the cops and the criminals.  Very cool!  It kept me engaged throughout and managed to keep me sympathetic with the protagonist despite what he was doing.

I have noticed a trend, however, in fruit favoritism here at Pseudopod!  Why is it that so many stories have "Apple" in the title?  This one, Crab Apple, The Apple Tree Man.  In the coming weeks I hope to see more stories about bananas, and maybe mangoes, or even cumquats!



nathonicus

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Reply #3 on: January 18, 2010, 06:34:46 PM
Solid story with one of the best readings I've heard on Pseudopod.  This story could have been easily podcast on Escapepod, and indeed, seemed more Sci Fi than horror to me, but it still was the most enjoyable Escape Artists production I've heard in several weeks.



gelee

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Reply #4 on: January 18, 2010, 10:40:01 PM
Excellent piece.  Scattercat summed it up nicely.  I'd have liked to see the relationship between Szo and the cop played out a little longer.  He seemed a bit bolted on, but I still think the whole story was great.
Oh, and have I mentioned that Cayenne Chris Conroy is an excellent reader?  If not, I should have.  Great work, as usual.



cdugger

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Reply #5 on: January 19, 2010, 01:04:42 AM
Another from The Pod that I liked. While agree that it may have been better suited on Escape Pod, that doesn't take away from it at all.

I do think it took a tiny bit too long to explain the "survivors can rewrite" point. I was left with the feeling of wanting more. Maybe another story set on the same world?

The reading was, as always from Chris, excellent!

I read, therefore I am...happy.


DKT

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Reply #6 on: January 19, 2010, 04:52:20 PM
That's one twisted take on telepathy! I LIKE IT!

And congrats to Tina Connolly for completing an Escape Artists Trifecta! (I think this is her first PP appearance...)

Another solid reading by Chris, too! Well done all around :)


Kanasta

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Reply #7 on: January 19, 2010, 09:05:11 PM
I liked this story a lot, but I did find it a little unlikely that this place would get so many tourists- at least not without a really good reason, which I didn't hear. If there was a one in two hundred chance that going somewhere would leave you in a coma, wouldn't you just holiday elsewhere? I mean, quite a lot of people are put off going to exotic places in case they get a bit of an upset stomach, let alone turned into a mindless zombie!



wakela

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Reply #8 on: January 20, 2010, 02:23:21 AM
I have a hard time with this reader.  I think his voice acting is very convincing, but I just have a hard time understanding him.  And he tends to read each sentence in the same pattern of starting off very strong and clear but finishing in a near mumble with no gaps between sentences.



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Reply #9 on: January 20, 2010, 02:24:15 PM
And congrats to Tina Connolly for completing an Escape Artists Trifecta! (I think this is her first PP appearance...)

How many authors have managed the Trifecta?  I know Eugie Foster's been on all three.  Cat Rambo, maybe?  Greg Van Eekhout?



stePH

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Reply #10 on: January 20, 2010, 11:35:40 PM
And congrats to Tina Connolly for completing an Escape Artists Trifecta! (I think this is her first PP appearance...)

How many authors have managed the Trifecta?  I know Eugie Foster's been on all three.  Cat Rambo, maybe?  Greg Van Eekhout?


Cat Rambo hasn't been on Pseudopod that I can tell. But Greg Van Eekhout has done the hat trick.

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MacArthurBug

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Reply #11 on: January 21, 2010, 02:19:22 AM
across the bord excellent. The world was a twisted fun dark place- the ideas were well manipulated. Good really really good. AND the reading was beyond fantastic

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.


DKT

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Reply #12 on: January 21, 2010, 03:21:59 AM
And congrats to Tina Connolly for completing an Escape Artists Trifecta! (I think this is her first PP appearance...)

How many authors have managed the Trifecta?  I know Eugie Foster's been on all three.  Cat Rambo, maybe?  Greg Van Eekhout?


Cat Rambo hasn't been on Pseudopod that I can tell. But Greg Van Eekhout has done the hat trick.

That's a great question. We should put together some kind of list, but I know Tim Pratt and M.K. Hobson have been on all three, as well. There may be a few others I can't think of right now.


Unblinking

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Reply #13 on: January 21, 2010, 02:49:13 PM
That's a great question. We should put together some kind of list, but I know Tim Pratt and M.K. Hobson have been on all three, as well. There may be a few others I can't think of right now.

Maintaining a list would be fun.  A very elite club, to be sure.  One of my long-term milestones is to get the hat trick.  :)



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Reply #14 on: January 25, 2010, 03:56:28 PM
So as not to distract the story thread too far, I've started a separate topic for the Hat Trick List.  :)
http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=3286.0



heyes

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Reply #15 on: January 28, 2010, 04:27:56 PM
Now THAT is horror!
Seriously, I kept thinking that if the writers of Law & Order wrote future horror, this would be their Pilot.  Law & Order: Psionic Crimes Unit.

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Dave

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Reply #16 on: January 29, 2010, 01:35:24 AM
Some interesting twists in this one. I like it.

That is all.

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)


goatkeeper

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Reply #17 on: March 17, 2010, 07:02:42 AM
I'm catching up-- THIS STORY is a stand out. 
Favorite Connolly story so far-- so rich in world building, so many cool ideas and implications.  Listened to it twice to catch details, and loved ever word.
I think that Scattercat's comments are valid and I think most of the things I'd mention would also be addressed if this story was expanded by maybe 1-2K more words.  Or more? A series perhaps?  There are so many areas left to explore here, so many things "not quite."

I feel strongly that all of the fantastic ideas and energy put into this story should not end with this story.

Also, wasn't going to mention it, but Wakela's reaffirmation on the narration has given me the balls.  I think Chris Conroy has done great work at PP and I love his expressiveness in this piece.  But I definitely also find his patten of "SHARP LOUD LOud Soft smumble mrrff mrr..." in reading to be troublesome on my speakers and distracting to my ears.  Less so in this story than others.  Also, occasional line edits re-enter far too sharply and seem to break the flow.  I think he's outstanding and only mention these as constructive criticisms because I always appreciate such feedback myself. 

But overall, this PP was outa the park.  And Al rocks.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2010, 01:25:32 PM by goatkeeper »



Tina Connolly

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Reply #18 on: April 18, 2010, 03:45:15 PM
I just wanted to come by and say a belated thank you for all your kind and thoughtful comments on my story.  AND to Dave for mentioning my trifecta (which I am totally stoked about), and to Goatkeeper for mentioning that Apples should develop into something longer (which I had not thought of, and though may not do anything about, is still one of those interesting ideas that strikes you in the back of your skull somewhere and says, think about me.)

Also, Cayenne Chris Conroy did a fabulous job reading.  (As did Norm Sherman for On the Eyeball Floor.  I am very lucky.)

As I said offlist to Dave, I guess now I just need to volunteer to read a story for Pseudopod, and I can complete a reading trifecta too.  ;)

Thank you all, muchly.  Glad to be a part of Escape Artists.



Nitequill

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Reply #19 on: June 13, 2010, 08:13:04 PM
This reader could be a good reader given his voice and diction but as it stands he reads every line with same overheated emotion. The rythm is relentless and trying on the ear... sort of like those very exciting big wheel truck ralley commercials or a ChamWow! ad. It's like he has his pinkey toe caught under a cinder block and he is spitting his lines at us. Readers need to trust the writing a little more.
In this case the reading made it hard for me to enjoy or appreciate the story. I wonder if there might be a listener poll concerning what styles of reading are most condusive to the enjoyment of a story? Maybe most people find that agressive thespian style of reading exciting... I don't know. Personally I like a very level and un-imposing style of reading so I can draw my affect from the text rather than the performance. I came by PP when things slowed down at EP and I don't recall be distacted much by the style of reading there - I'll have to re-listen.
I like radio drama such as CBS Radio Mystery Theater (which was done in a pretty naturalistic style aside from the occasional wacky jive talking hippies) and The Whistler but I think I like kind of mater of fact reading of texts as opposed to single person dramatizations. That's just me though.
I really appreciate PP and have enjoyed a wide range of stories but I amsaddened by how often I bail on a story on account of overly dramatic narrators and goofy dialog voices and accents.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 08:32:00 PM by Nitequill »