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Author Topic: PC088 / 631: Another End Of The Empire  (Read 14005 times)

Heradel

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on: January 26, 2010, 04:04:06 PM
PodCastle 88: Another End Of The Empire

by Tim Pratt.
Read by Cheyenne Wright.
Originally Published in Strange Horizons.

“I am here,” Mogrash said. “Give me the bad news.”

“A child dwells in the village of Misery Chin, in the mountain provinces to the east. If allowed to grow to manhood, he will take
over your empire, overthrow your ways and means, and send you from the halls of your palace forever.”

Mogrash relaxed. This was, at least, not an immediate threat‚ not like the pronouncement of metastasized bone cancer she’d given his grandfather. He sighed. “So I’m expected to send my Fell Rangers to the mountains, raze the village, leave no stone upon a stone, enslave the women, and kill all the younglings to stop this dire prophecy from coming to pass.”

“It’s what your father would have done.”

“Yes, but I’m more modern than he was. Besides, we’ve seen this happen a thousand times‚ the attempt to stop the prophecy will make it come to pass, won’t it?”

Rated PG for superseded oracles, despots past their expiration dates and probability witches.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 08:44:37 PM by Ocicat »

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fearthepenguin

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Reply #1 on: January 26, 2010, 04:19:59 PM
What a great story and narration.  Voices were excellent, fun twist on the "If I were an evil overlord" story and a happy ending. Left me smiling at the end of my commute.

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Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 06:39:27 PM
  I really enjoyed this story; I liked that Mogrash was so genre savvy, and tried to use that knowledge to get around standard fantasy tropes. Of course he still ended up being right; anything he tried to do to prevent his downfall only caused it to happen, but at least he was thinking outside the box.

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danooli

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Reply #3 on: January 27, 2010, 12:00:35 PM
I truly loved this story!  All of the characters were likable, even Mogrash, who I don't think wanted to be liked.  :)  The reading of it was superb too, but the story itself just had me smiling throughout.

Another fantastic work by Tim Pratt!



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Reply #4 on: January 27, 2010, 12:28:22 PM
This story was a lot of fun, a playful reworking of some of the oldest tropes of fantasy and mythology.

However, it did feel a bit too rosy-tinted and idealist for my tastes. What was best from a moral point of view, and from the view of the happiness of the people, always turned out to also be the best economically. I guess that this is a fantasy story, and why not engage in one more bit of fantasy, but it made it hard to take this story as anything but a piece of whimsy. Which is probably how it was intended.



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Reply #5 on: January 27, 2010, 02:01:46 PM
Loved this story.  Well done!  Well done!

The word choices and the plot were so hilarious.  What an excellent 'inside job' by Tim Pratt.  Only an insider could write such a story.  It was ironic without being empty. 

The reading was wonderful.  Back slaps and cheers to Cheyenne Wright.  You did it right.  (oh.  that was unintentional.)  Anyway, you did.  Your performance fit the story so well as to feel indistinguishable from it. 



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Reply #6 on: January 27, 2010, 03:22:46 PM
  I really enjoyed this story; I liked that Mogrash was so genre savvy, and tried to use that knowledge to get around standard fantasy tropes. Of course he still ended up being right; anything he tried to do to prevent his downfall only caused it to happen, but at least he was thinking outside the box.

I saw the end coming from the moment he started improving the village.  But yeah, if he were a comic book or Bond villain, he wouldn't be the type to waste time explaining his plan to the captive hero... he'd just waste him.

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danooli

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Reply #7 on: January 27, 2010, 10:53:13 PM
I saw the end coming from the moment he started improving the village. 

Did the fact that you saw the ending coming take away from your enjoyment of the story?  I had an inkling about the way it would end, but i still loved every word of this story.  However, I've loved every Tim Pratt story I've heard so far on Podcastle so I fully expected to enjoy this one as well...



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Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 01:33:26 AM
I saw the end coming from the moment he started improving the village. 

Did the fact that you saw the ending coming take away from your enjoyment of the story?  I had an inkling about the way it would end, but i still loved every word of this story. 

  I suspected that his undoing would be becoming a good person, but it did not detract from the story at all. Just because you know where you are going doesn't mean the ride is boring.

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Jim F

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Reply #9 on: January 28, 2010, 01:52:15 AM
Hated it.

Narration was excellent, and the writing was good.  The story was banal, uninspired and predictable.



stePH

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Reply #10 on: January 28, 2010, 03:37:53 AM
Did the fact that you saw the ending coming take away from your enjoyment of the story? 

Not a bit of it!  :)  Like Void Munashii said, it was a fun ride.

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nevermore_66

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Reply #11 on: January 28, 2010, 12:28:24 PM
  I really enjoyed this story; I liked that Mogrash was so genre savvy, and tried to use that knowledge to get around standard fantasy tropes. Of course he still ended up being right; anything he tried to do to prevent his downfall only caused it to happen, but at least he was thinking outside the box.

I saw the end coming from the moment he started improving the village.  But yeah, if he were a comic book or Bond villain, he wouldn't be the type to waste time explaining his plan to the captive hero... he'd just waste him.


I'd love to see a scene with Mogrash doing just that.  Not a big scene, almost an absent-minded chore amidst his bigger plans.

For a bit of whimsy, I enjoyed this story quite a lot.

"There is no exquisite beauty…without some strangeness in the proportion."
~Edgar Allan Poe, "Ligeia"


Kaa

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Reply #12 on: January 28, 2010, 12:29:28 PM
The only thing better than this story was its narration. I haven't giggled while listening to an Escape Artists story since Squonk the Dragon. This one had me howling.

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Talia

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Reply #13 on: January 28, 2010, 05:04:39 PM
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Absolutely adored.  I listened to this this morning in the car while stuck in two hours of accident-related traffic, and it really helped me cope! Hehe.

A really fun poke at all the old fantasy concepts. Was one of the sons really named "Meth" or was I mishearing that? :P


Hated it.

Narration was excellent, and the writing was good.  The story was banal, uninspired and predictable.

You musta been listening to a different podcast, there was nothing banal or uninspired about this story. :p



Kaa

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Reply #14 on: January 28, 2010, 05:50:18 PM
A really fun poke at all the old fantasy concepts. Was one of the sons really named "Meth" or was I mishearing that? :P

That was one of my favorite things. That all the tropes were not only acknowledged, but completely subverted. :)

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nevermore_66

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Reply #15 on: January 28, 2010, 07:46:42 PM
Yes, forgot to mention the narration. Thought it was excellent as well.

"There is no exquisite beauty…without some strangeness in the proportion."
~Edgar Allan Poe, "Ligeia"


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Reply #16 on: January 28, 2010, 08:08:09 PM
I saw the end coming from the moment he started improving the village.

I suspected it was going to be that kind of story just from the title.  As soon as Magrosh reacted to the prophecy, I flashed on the Evil Overlord list and saw how the story would go.  (As I recall, several of the entries on the Evil Overlord List involve making sure all the peasants are well-fed, well-treated, and happy.) 

And yet it was still enjoyable and fun.  Good writing carries the day far more than mere novelty.

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danooli

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Reply #17 on: January 28, 2010, 10:01:52 PM
Good writing carries the day far more than mere novelty.

So very true, I just had to quote it.



Dave

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Reply #18 on: January 29, 2010, 01:36:03 AM
Can I just say that I love Tim Pratt?

I mean, yeah, the ending was predictable, but the journey... oh, the journey.

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)


stePH

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Reply #19 on: January 29, 2010, 03:01:35 AM
Good writing carries the day far more than mere novelty.

So very true, I just had to quote it.

If you want to say "QFMFT!" then just say,
QFMFT!  ;)

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Kaa

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Reply #20 on: January 29, 2010, 03:11:46 AM

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

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stePH

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Reply #21 on: January 29, 2010, 04:20:33 AM

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


Kaa

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Reply #22 on: January 29, 2010, 04:42:35 AM
It means...
So very true, I just had to quote it.


o.O <backs away slowly> Whatever you say.

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Heradel

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Reply #23 on: January 29, 2010, 05:10:09 AM
It means...
So very true, I just had to quote it.

o.O <backs away slowly> Whatever you say.

A tactic many of us have adopted.

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


danooli

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Reply #24 on: January 29, 2010, 11:24:24 AM
Good writing carries the day far more than mere novelty.

So very true, I just had to quote it.

If you want to say "QFMFT!" then just say,
QFMFT!  ;)

 ;D  I love words too much to use abbreviations, but I can appreciate the sentiment LOL





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Reply #25 on: January 29, 2010, 09:09:15 PM
i mentioned recently (on the drabblecast forum) how much i hated the Tim Pratt story Cassie.

This was the best Tim Pratt story i have heard. It was such a good way to tell a predestination story and knock it on its side. (I guessed how it would end but never knew for certain.) I felt that Evil Overlord's journey was worth following and it was because he was able to try something different. The bad guy is usually the most "fixed in their ways" character and in this case being different made him the best listenable character. Loved loved loved the story.

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Ocicat

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Reply #26 on: January 29, 2010, 09:22:41 PM
Very fun story, with some wonderful touches for color.  Yes, very predictable.  In fact, the moment the prophesy was uttered, I had some clue where it was going.  So... you'll be overthrown and your way of life overturned and you'll be turned out of the castle forever.  Doesn't sound so bad - this prophesy has a nice retirement plan.  He never mentioned heirs, so probably one of the kids becomes his heir and does things in a non-evil way and he gets a nice beach side villa. 

But despite that, the journey was great.  It's all in the details.



cdugger

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Reply #27 on: January 30, 2010, 03:22:42 AM
Best. Podcastle. Ever. Period.

And I haven't even finished listening to all of them.

This may end up being my favorite podcast ever. Unless I sit down and look at a list, it will be.

The story was hilarious! So what if it was predictable! As I've said a thousand times (+1 now), they all are, for the most part. To quote above, "it's the journey"! It was great!

"Your father would." That line was so unexpected! I almost laughed out loud in the office.

And, the reading was the best I've heard on any podcast. It's now on my list of "people who's names I'm going to remember". On the list are Jim Dale, Frank Muller, Steve Anderson, Ben Phillips, and now Cheyenne Wright.

Anyone who has read many of my posts has come across my main requirement: Did I enjoy this? That's my first question. The answer is a resounding "YES!". It was probably the best experience I've had with any of the EA stories.

Not that I'm enthusiastic about it or anything...

I read, therefore I am...happy.


Gia

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Reply #28 on: January 30, 2010, 05:11:25 AM
It took me a few days to get around to listening to this one and I regret not listening to my own sibyl when she told me to check it out right away. I am in a buoyantly happy state and likely to remain so for the next hour or more. I wish I could say what my favorite part was, but there was very little about this story that wasn't great.

My compliments to both the author and the narrator for a job well done.



Kanasta

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Reply #29 on: January 30, 2010, 09:05:04 PM
I've nothing new to add to this one, but just wanted to say I also really enjoyed this; great story and narrator; despite being composed of stereotypes and the usual suspects of fantasy, the story had real depth and warmth. The evil overlord's voice brought to mind the comic book crush I had on Luiz Cannibal, the general from Halo Jones when I was 11... Wonderfully evil rumblings.



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Reply #30 on: February 02, 2010, 02:00:07 AM
Tim Pratt has consistently entertained me on every forum which he has appeared. This one is right up there with his best. The main plot was entertaining but one could see it coming from a mile away. The ultimate payoff for me was the completely unexpected twist in the end.

Well done, Mr. Pratt!

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Reply #31 on: February 02, 2010, 03:44:20 PM
Another fantastic Podcastle Pratt story!  He is officially my hero in the short story world--no other author has managed to write stories that entertain me so consistently over so many stories.  Well done!

I did see the ending coming from the very beginning, but that didn't bother me at all.  Every moment in between was worth the journey.  I loved how he was so able to see the usual fantasy tropes and avoid them, even though it didn't prevent his "downfall" in the end, it made his "downfall" a rather pleasant experience.  To avoid his own death he ends up becoming a kind ruler.  As someone else said, it did seem a little convenient that the choices that made the people happy also were economically advantageous and best for the kingdom as a whole, but I only thought of that afterward.

And, as if the story itself wasn't enough, I was very thrilled to hear the Diabolical Plots mention in the outro, and after a Pratt story even!  Not that I'm biased on that subject or anything.  ;)



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Reply #32 on: February 02, 2010, 03:49:15 PM
Also, Cheyenne continues to be among my favorite narrators.



yicheng

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Reply #33 on: February 02, 2010, 10:03:23 PM
Instant classic, this one.  Cheyenne is probably my favorite Escape Artist reader right now.  The story was creative, entertaining, and had me giggling more than a few times, especially with Cheyenne's voicework (over the top, but rightly so, and in a wonderful way).  While I generally don't like predictable plot, this one had a feel of a fun amusement park ride where you just throw your head back and enjoy the ride.



danooli

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Reply #34 on: February 02, 2010, 10:47:18 PM
I had my husband listen to this one and he pointed out that this would be great animated and aired on Adult Swim  :D  I'd love to see Lord Mogrash's teeth, carved into little skulls  ;D



WillMoo

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Reply #35 on: February 03, 2010, 03:08:58 AM
Very predictable but HIGHLY entertaining. Great narration that I thought was going to be tedious at the beginning.



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Reply #36 on: February 08, 2010, 02:32:49 PM
Very predictable but HIGHLY entertaining. Great narration that I thought was going to be tedious at the beginning.

Yeah, that about sums it up for me, too. I was really worried this would turn into another "Sweet, Savage Sorcerer", but it was about 65,536 times better than that one, despite its predictability.

Also, I enjoyed the reading. I think Wright's readings are better suited to humorous tales, because he can do a dry narrator voice very well, and dryness is good for humor -- unlike the reading in "Beast's Life", which was dry but didn't work because of it.

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Reply #37 on: February 11, 2010, 07:01:46 PM
Absolutely loved it, late to the party, but was reading about how much more likely people are to give negative feedback than positive and felt compelled to come back.

The girlfriend is a lady of the Disney princess generation, so I passed this on to her and she looked like she'd die laughing. Totally commendable :)



Loz

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Reply #38 on: February 14, 2010, 08:17:39 AM
A great story that helped dull the pain somewhat of being at work on a Saturday.



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Reply #39 on: February 14, 2010, 09:02:59 PM
And let me be one of the last to say -- wonderful!! What a virtuoso piece of entertainment! And, as always, Cheyenne Wright -- what a voice. Wonderful.


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Reply #40 on: February 18, 2010, 01:54:11 AM
Another great story by Tim Pratt!  I love how he can take a fantasy cliché, poke fun at it, but at the same time write a serious, rich, satisfying story and not just stop at a simple parody.  He's done it time and again and this is just another great example.  Tim is a true artist and I'm glad to see his work appear frequently here.



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Reply #41 on: February 20, 2010, 03:24:36 PM
I am very much in agreement with almost everyone here. I loved it, it is going on my "Best Of" list, and particularly liked how it poked at the fantasy tropes.

I was reminded all the way through of a book I read in the last few years, which I enjoyed as much as this story, simply because it poked hard at fantasy tropes. But I can't remember the title or author!! Can anyone help?

It had a little aside concerning a fledgling evil overlord who, upon conquering a kingdom's castle, ordered all the heirs killed. He was told that some heirs escaped. About 17 of them. 17 potential points of revolt. It seems that the previous queen was quite prolific with the babies, and when the castle was invaded, there were washerwomen with babies slipping out secret passages everywhere. What's a poor over worked evil overlord to do?

The main evil overlord had this massive castle with traps for the inevitable invading barbarians. they would climb onto the roof and see this sign which read something like, "Secret Entrance", next to a ladder. The Barbarians would generally climb down the ladder into an ambush.

At the last scene in the book, just as the boy and girl kiss, the great fortress explodes. One of them remarks to the other, "See? I told you that always happens."

I can't remember the title of this book for anything, though I'm certain I have it floating around the house somewhere....



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Reply #42 on: February 22, 2010, 03:14:19 PM
I am very much in agreement with almost everyone here. I loved it, it is going on my "Best Of" list, and particularly liked how it poked at the fantasy tropes.

I was reminded all the way through of a book I read in the last few years, which I enjoyed as much as this story, simply because it poked hard at fantasy tropes. But I can't remember the title or author!! Can anyone help?

It had a little aside concerning a fledgling evil overlord who, upon conquering a kingdom's castle, ordered all the heirs killed. He was told that some heirs escaped. About 17 of them. 17 potential points of revolt. It seems that the previous queen was quite prolific with the babies, and when the castle was invaded, there were washerwomen with babies slipping out secret passages everywhere. What's a poor over worked evil overlord to do?

The main evil overlord had this massive castle with traps for the inevitable invading barbarians. they would climb onto the roof and see this sign which read something like, "Secret Entrance", next to a ladder. The Barbarians would generally climb down the ladder into an ambush.

At the last scene in the book, just as the boy and girl kiss, the great fortress explodes. One of them remarks to the other, "See? I told you that always happens."

I can't remember the title of this book for anything, though I'm certain I have it floating around the house somewhere....


It doesn't ring a bell, but if you figure out the title, please post it here--it sounds fun!



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Reply #43 on: February 26, 2010, 05:26:48 PM
I read this story in Strange Horizons, so when it popped up in my playlist, I knew immediately what would happen. What stayed my hand from pushing the fast forward button was Wright's portrayal of Morgrash. Hilarious, fun, and instantly drew me in. This was a fun story, but Wright pushed it over the top with his narration and had me grinning all the way through. Well done!

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Talia

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Reply #44 on: February 26, 2010, 08:27:40 PM
I read this story in Strange Horizons, so when it popped up in my playlist, I knew immediately what would happen. What stayed my hand from pushing the fast forward button was Wright's portrayal of Morgrash. Hilarious, fun, and instantly drew me in. This was a fun story, but Wright pushed it over the top with his narration and had me grinning all the way through. Well done!

I agree, his reading was fabulous. Also, RE Mr. Wright, you may wish to have a look at this thread:

http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=3373.0



Ocicat

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Reply #45 on: June 29, 2020, 08:45:16 PM
This episode was re-run as PodCastle 631: TALES FROM THE VAULTS — Another End of the Empire



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Reply #46 on: July 01, 2020, 04:32:26 PM
One of my all time favorite episodes.