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Author Topic: PC107, Giant Episode: The Behold of the Eye  (Read 19540 times)

DKT

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on: June 09, 2010, 07:23:22 PM
PodCastle 107, Giant Episode: The Behold of the Eye
by Hal Duncan

read by MarBelle of the Directors Notes podcast.

Originally published in Lone Star Stories


Flashjack had hauled himself up beside her on the rim of the wine-glass he was skinnydipping in, shaken Rioja off his wings, and looked around at the crystal forest of the table-top he’d, just a few short hours ago, been born above in a moment of sheer whimsy, plinking into existence at the clink of a flippant toast to find himself a-flutter in a wild world of molten multicolour— mandalas wheeling on the walls and ceiling, edges of every straight line in the room streaming like snakes.  He’d skittered between trailers of wildly gesticulating hands, gyred on updrafts of laughter, danced in flames of lighters held up to joints, and landed on the nose of a snow-leopard that was lounging in the shadows of a corner of vision.  He’d found it a comfy place to watch one of the guests perform an amazing card trick with a Jack of Hearts, so he’d still been hunkered there, gawping like a loon at the whirl of the party, and making little flames shoot out of his fingertips (because he could), when Pebbleskip came fluttering down to dance in the air in front of him.

“Nice to get out once in a while, eh?” she’d said.  “Hi, I’m Pebbleskip.”

“I’m… Flashjack,” he’d decided.  “What’s in a while?  Is it like upon a time?  And out of what?”

Her face had scrunched, her head tilted in curiosity.

“Ah,” she’d said.  “You must be new.”

Since then she’d been explaining.
Rated R for Foul-Mouthed Fairies and Ever-Shifting Landscapes

(Check out the shiny new Directors Notes iPhone App)
« Last Edit: June 22, 2010, 02:00:35 PM by Heradel »



eytanz

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Reply #1 on: June 09, 2010, 10:38:31 PM
Geesh. I haven't yet started listening to this one, so I have no idea what triggered the response above, but I can certainly see how you might not want to see certain subject matters on Podcastle, and it's fair to express that opinion. I just wonder if there's a way to express that opinion without insulting the listeners of another podcast. I mean, it's not the pseudopod listeners who put this story here, is it?

For what it's worth - and again, I'm ignorant of the actual content of the story - I do think that the content warnings in podcastle (and escape pod) have taken a turn for the fanciful, rather than useful, in recent months. Rated R for "ever shifting landscapes"? How is that supposed to help me decide whether or not the story is to my sensibilities?



DKT

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Reply #2 on: June 09, 2010, 11:13:22 PM
Rated R for "ever shifting landscapes"? How is that supposed to help me decide whether or not the story is to my sensibilities?

Well, I did say Foul-Mouthed-Fairies before that. But you're right in that the rest of it is fanciful. Mostly because I don't like being the MPAA.

In response to Alllie, I'm sorry you're upset by this story, but I have to admit, I'm having a hard time seeing this one as horror. I mean, I could understand Smokestacks Like the Arms of Gods maybe, or even the Mermaid's Tea Party, but this one feels pretty safely fantasy to me.

(Of course you're free to disagree. I just can't see why you're disagreeing right now.)

And yes, let's try to refrain from calling people mentally sick, and from suggestions such as this is similar to false-advertising for "rape porn" please.

ETA: Need to mind my you're and yours
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 12:20:29 AM by DKT »



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Reply #3 on: June 10, 2010, 02:29:44 AM
Having heard the whole story I'm more than a little startled by your response, Allie. To my mind.. its pretty clearly 100% fantasy. There are darker aspects to it, very dark even, but isn't there in most tales?

Finish listening to the story. It does not "revel in torture, gore and death." The violent scenes are included for a very specific reason, and its representative of one boy's inner turmoil and absolute suffering. The only person being tortured here is the boy himself, and he's partially doing it to himself.

Making such severe accusations without having finished the story is really pretty unfair.

Anyhow

I thought it was a fantastic story. The opportunity to get these elaborate visuals about one boy's mental and emotional state as he grows was just really neat (though at points the passage of time was a little unclear to me). Also seeing the way he was grappling with his sexuality through this.. kind of oblique lens was a most interesting perspective.

I enjoy the thought of having a little fairy riding around in my head, making a plaything of my desires. Although I suspect my fairy would not be having a great time of it these days.

Also, Fuzzy rocked. It just occurred to me, I bet he represented lost innocence, huh.



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Reply #4 on: June 10, 2010, 06:23:01 AM
What a beautiful story.  I loved the image of Fuzzy, "the most loyal imago," smashing and destroying because it's the only way he knows how to help and just making it worse, worse, worse...

Resonant imagery that comes round full circle with that ending.  Puckerscruff was just a delightful character.

ETA:
I really liked how the story portrayed the mutability of identity, with the blankness slowly filled up by the things that strike us or that make us think, gradually shifting in tone and theme while still maintaining a cohesion of... character, I suppose.  We are what we love and what we hold onto...

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My one quibble, and this has come up before, is that chapter headings do not work at all well in audio fiction.  :-P
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 06:35:31 AM by Scattercat »

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Kaa

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Reply #5 on: June 10, 2010, 04:08:22 PM
I started this last night on my drive home from work and finished it this morning on my drive in.

I enjoyed the first part, even up through the darker aspects of the story. It made me wonder what imagos I would keep in my own behold, and what my internal fairy would do with them. I rather liked the idea of the fairy--born of a whim--being the sparkle in your eye, and what's behind your imagination. And if you have too much of an imagination (i.e., more than one fairy), it can do bad things to you. All good stuff.

Then...I got to the sexuality part.

Is it just me, or was the story suggesting what it sounded like it was suggesting? That Toby's homosexuality was because he had a fairy inside him?

Because really? REALLY? I don't know. Because the story seems an awful long way to go for a pun that lame.

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DKT

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Reply #6 on: June 10, 2010, 04:14:16 PM
The discussion on episode ratings and genre debates has been moved to About PodCastle.

My first split, so possibly a little messy. Feel free to participate here or there, but let's focus on the story here.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 04:16:53 PM by DKT »



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Reply #7 on: June 10, 2010, 05:15:03 PM
It took me a minute or two for my brain to sync with the reader's accent. After that the only problem I had with the reading/production was that the section headers seemed dropped in, with no adequate pauses before or after. Oh, and the music still playing under it for a good five minutes in the beginning.

I didn't like "Vellum" when I read it. I don't mind a complex story but it was way too hard to follow. Not so with this piece, which had a relatively simple premise: fairies are benign parasites living inside our brains. I can follow that. I also caught echoes of the id/ego/superego debate inside Toby. If you go by this explanation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Id,_ego,_and_super-ego), then I saw Flashjack as the id, Fuzzy as the ego, and the Voice as the superego (although I'm not 100% sure on id/ego and I think it could be argued either way). When I started thinking of it that way, I appreciated the story even more.

It's very hard to read a story like this and not wonder what it was like inside one's own mind, and that definitely engages the reader. If you measure success by how well your readers were engaged, then this story was a smash hit for me.

I do feel like the epilogue was WAY too long.

Is it just me, or was the story suggesting what it sounded like it was suggesting? That Toby's homosexuality was because he had a fairy inside him?

I don't think so. I think the statues inside the behold were from what the narrator said they were from -- old books about Greek/Roman statuary.

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Reply #8 on: June 10, 2010, 05:39:36 PM
Is it just me, or was the story suggesting what it sounded like it was suggesting? That Toby's homosexuality was because he had a fairy inside him?

I think it's just you, d00d.  ;D

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Reply #9 on: June 10, 2010, 10:16:30 PM
Is it just me, or was the story suggesting what it sounded like it was suggesting? That Toby's homosexuality was because he had a fairy inside him?

Because really? REALLY? I don't know. Because the story seems an awful long way to go for a pun that lame.

I think everyone had a fairy in the story. They're like a magical symbiotic parasite that either makes sense of our desires, or is a symbol of our creativity.



Kaa

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Reply #10 on: June 10, 2010, 10:19:13 PM
I didn't think so because the other fairy at the end said he was looking for the sparkle and didn't see one, and it seems like I remember the narrator fairy remarking a time or two that he didn't see sparkles in very many eyes. Maybe I misheard? [shrug]


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Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #11 on: June 10, 2010, 10:22:32 PM
Is it just me, or was the story suggesting what it sounded like it was suggesting? That Toby's homosexuality was because he had a fairy inside him?

Maybe it wasn't just you, but I didn't hear it that way.

Until fairly far into the story, I felt that Flashjack was an observer, not a participant (except, perhaps, to tidy his living space by putting books on bookshelves and the like).  It wasn't until just before the disasters started happening that (I think) he even realized what was was going on.  I got no hint that his presence caused Toby's homosexuality.

I didn't have a problem with the chapter (well, section) headings, except for "Epilogue".  In most cases, the sentence to which the heading referred occurred almost immediately in that section, which I actually found to be a little amusing.  I was glad of that, because I needed that touch of comic relief amongst all that darkness.

That part felt way too long and expository to be a cleaning up of the story's loose ends, which is what I generally expect an epilogue to be.

Like Listener, it took me a bit to get used to the reader's accent, and I never did figure out one word, it sounded like "repentance", but I couldn't make that make sense.  The imagos of their repentance?  Can someone explain (or clarify) that to me?

I think everyone had a fairy in the story. They're like a magical symbiotic parasite that either makes sense of our desires, or is a symbol of our creativity.

Actually, the story stated that not everyone had one - only those who could see them and let them in and (this is where I agree with you) foster/symbolize creativity.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 10:26:43 PM by Wilson Fowlie »

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Anarkey

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Reply #12 on: June 10, 2010, 10:30:10 PM
Like Listener, it took me a bit to get used to the reader's accent, and I never did figure out one word, it sounded like "repentance", but I couldn't make that make sense.  The imagos of their repentance?  Can someone explain (or clarify) that to me?

The Imagos of Their Appetence

Text of the story here, if that helps.

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Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #13 on: June 10, 2010, 10:43:36 PM
The Imagos of Their Appetence

Text of the story here, if that helps.

Thank you!  It did!  Mostly because I was able to look up the word (one I've never seen/heard anywhere before, to my recollection).  It's a good one, too:

appetence n. A strong craving or desire. A tendency or propensity. A natural attraction or affinity.


ETA: A friend of mine says that the OED has no citations of this word later than 1836. Hmm. Given that, I think it might have been worth defining somewhere in or before the story (by the author, not necessarily the podcasters, though including it as part of the introduction wouldn't have hurt) for the benefit of readers (let alone listeners!).
« Last Edit: June 11, 2010, 05:52:40 PM by Wilson Fowlie »

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


danooli

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Reply #14 on: June 10, 2010, 11:16:10 PM
wow, from the 98% of the story I was able to understand (due to the narrators exquisite yet sometimes difficult to comprehend accent) i loved this story!  the whole concept of it has gotten my imagination so fired up, it's as if my Behold has a Behold.  i adore the idea! and, it makes me wonder if i have a twinkle in my eye...


i don't think the author meant what Kaa thought about Toby's homosexuality.  I just think Toby had a fairy in his Behold because he was sensitive enough to have had Flashjack catch his eye.  Simple as that.



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Reply #15 on: June 12, 2010, 01:35:41 AM
I loved this story. I cried at the "end" but then was put off by the epilogue. I guess I'm so used to the stories I read just ending, no explanation. Other than that I though it was a fair representation of the teenage soul, though my beholden is exactly opposite(points at name). I wonder how having a fairy changed Toby's life, though I don't think the author intended the fairy to make Toby gay.



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #16 on: June 13, 2010, 05:26:42 PM
I hope, Dave, when you do the feedback for this story, you catch the triple 'L' in 'alllie' when you pronounce it.  :)

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


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Reply #17 on: June 13, 2010, 09:56:32 PM
I think this story didn't work well in audio format.  Lots of convoluted sentence structure that was beautiful, but easy to loose track of in a reading.  

The initial idea was pretty neat, but I had a hard time caring about either Toby or his fairy.  Which really just reduced the whole thing to a series of interesting images.  And extra-long epilogs.



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Reply #18 on: June 14, 2010, 02:27:38 PM
This story was perfect. Unmitigatedly, brilliantly perfect. I loved every moment of it and it made driving hard more than once. Like a lot of people, it seems, I was most fond of Fuzzy. His transition from comforting toy to cartoon villain to genuine monster was handled deftly and subtly and left me shaking my fist gleefully at my car radio.

One thing I want to know if anyone else noticed - and if the author graces us with his presence, know if he intended - was this: Fuzzy is a perfect image of the persecutor/protector. My fiance is in shrink school, and in the creative therapies (drama therapy, art therapy, etc) they talk about the persecutor/protector as the part of you that protects you from bad stuff, but not always in the most healthy ways. When part of you causes you to withdraw from an abusive relationship, ruining the parts of the relationship that are good so you eventually leave your abuser, that's the persecutor/protector. Unfortunately, when the same thing happens in your next, non-abusive relationship, that's also your persecutor/protector. Same thing about the part of you that helps you block off bad experiences to keep them from traumatizing you and then leads you to drinking or drugs to keep those emotions blocked off. People tend to describe their persecutor/protectors in pretty apocalyptic ways: they are shadowy villains, dark jesters, childhood toys gone bad. The fact that Fuzzy's first really crazy act was to murder the imago that represented Toby's growing suicidal urges and then go on to preside over a reign of terror in Toby's head makes him a perfect prosecutor/protector. Did anyone else see that or have thoughts on whether or not the author intended it?

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Reply #19 on: June 14, 2010, 03:22:47 PM
Given that the whole story is a psychodrama, I'd say it's pretty safe to assume that's what the author was getting at, yes...

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Reply #20 on: June 14, 2010, 09:27:43 PM
I liked this one. Although what I liked most about it was the idea of the 'behold' rather than the fairy. Didn't mind the violent scenes-this is supposed to be someone's head, right? and I liked the way the behold changed with its owner. I wanted to know more. What happens when the owner of a behold dies? Where do the fairies come from? If fairies exist, what else exists too? Has any human ever found out about the fairies, and what did they do when they did? That made it for me.

As for the previous comment about the torture, I don't see the problem there. It was supposed to be the inside of Toby's head after all, it wasn't like he was out on the streets slaughtering people. Everyone has unpleasant things in their subconscious. Maybe not raining corpses, but hey. We all think dark thoughts sometimes. If the bodies were a bit over the top, then they were showy and melodramatic in a teenage-boy sort of way. After all, I remember being a pretty unpleasant person growing up.

Although I bet I wasn't the only one who thought he was going to do something horrible to the dog.
 




ElectricPaladin

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Reply #21 on: June 14, 2010, 09:41:35 PM
Given that the whole story is a psychodrama, I'd say it's pretty safe to assume that's what the author was getting at, yes...

Not necessarily. You'd be surprised at how often authors stumble into things like that without knowing the theory behind it.

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Reply #22 on: June 14, 2010, 10:34:04 PM
Fuzzy. From inception, to name, to purpose in the story, right down to his end scene is one of the most incredible characters I've ever encountered. Friend, foe, catalyst, solution--wow. Seriously wow.

Was the first comment (Allison?) deleted? Because I couldn't find the post that initiated half of this thread. Then again--you know me Dave. It's probably right under my nose!



DKT

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Reply #23 on: June 14, 2010, 10:40:47 PM
Hi Terri,

That thread was split off and sent here, so the ratings, etc. could be discussed there, and we could focus on the story here.

Welcome to the forum, BTW, and glad you enjoyed the story and Fuzzy.


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Reply #24 on: June 15, 2010, 06:44:08 PM
The part of the story that I really liked, and that helped give a touch of whimsy, is that time wasn't clearly defined.  There was both minute detail of time, and then months or years passing without being mentioned.  It made it feel more like it was being told by the easily distracted, forgetful fairy.

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Reply #25 on: June 15, 2010, 07:34:07 PM
Thanks, Dave!



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Reply #26 on: June 17, 2010, 01:58:22 PM
"Fuzzy," said Fuzzy.  Ah, Fuzzy, I couldn't have said it better.  I don't know how you manage to be so thoughtful, so insightful, and overall so darned concise!  When I have half your talent with words, I'll never have to read another form rejection again.  ;)

Seriously, though, the concept for this story was AMAZING!  One of those that I wish I'd thought of first so that I could write a story about it and get credit for coming up with it.  Like most of the Giants, though, I thought it would've done better with the same concept and half the words--it just went on for a very long time, and my mind kept wandering during long sections of not-much-happening.  Anyway, I'm glad the editors saw fit to buy it, it was well worth the listen, I just wish it would've been pruned back a bit to keep the power of the story from being diluted by the massive word count.

Is it just me, or was the story suggesting what it sounded like it was suggesting? That Toby's homosexuality was because he had a fairy inside him?

I didn't get that impression at all.  I thought the fairies were related to creativity, not to sexuality.  No fairies doesn't mean you're a bad person or anything, just that you'd be one to be more likely to not be interested in creative things.  One fairy brings out your creativity, most artists and authors, and other people who like to be creative in their spare time.  Two fairies is very uncommon but might be the case for those stars who burn hot and die young like Kurt Cobain or the like.

Anyway, the concept for this story was AMAZING.



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Reply #27 on: June 19, 2010, 10:54:05 AM
I feel the need to go and build a small and tasteful shrine to both author and narrator.  The whole thing entranced me all the way through.  Difficult to listen to in places, but so worth it.



DKT

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Reply #28 on: June 19, 2010, 09:54:30 PM
Oh, and the music still playing under it for a good five minutes in the beginning.


I just wanted to let everyone know that there's a corrected version of this now online. So if you redownload it, you'll get it without the music once the story starts. Sorry about that!


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Reply #29 on: June 20, 2010, 09:53:56 PM
I'm running behind, so I just listened to this one.  The first few minutes had my mind wandering, but once we got into Toby's story, I got into it and really loved it.  I sometimes think the giants take a little slogging, but I listened straight through eagerly.  As someone who as a child had a book of greek sculpture that I admired "a little too much," I felt very keyed into the story from that point forward.

Then, imagine my surprise when I came online to comment about it, and discovered that this was the story that launched the "ratings debate" thread I'd already been following!  Not to revive a dormant argument, but my view of the story was so different than alllie's that I didn't even recognize it from her criticisms as I was listening along.  I'll just say that I feel that the story of someone coming to terms with his sexuality clearly isn't horror.  (I debated where to put this comment, but finally decided that since I was commenting on the story, rather than the rating, the episode thread was the more appropriate place.)



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Reply #30 on: June 23, 2010, 09:07:25 PM
This was a beautiful, incredibly moving story.  To me, it's an excellent example of the way spec-fic elements can be used to address real-world issues: in this case, the process of maturation generally, and the issue of sexuality specifically.  I hurt for Toby during the bad times, when the fire came raining down, because we got such an inside view of what that felt like, and Duncan's choice of how to represent that pain felt so persuasive.

To weigh in briefly on a few things other people have said:

No, I don't think having a fairy caused homosexuality, just that this was a story a homosexual guy with a fairy -- which, yes, was obviously a deliberate play on the stereotype.

Ditto the people who said chapter headers don't work well in audio.  I would have liked a bit more of a pause between sections, too, whenever there was a break between time-periods of action, because sometimes it took me a moment to realize the scene had changed.

Length . . . a bit long, yeah, but not in a way that bothered me at all.  I think that's because this was about Toby maturing from infancy to adulthood, and a quicker story would feel like it short-changed that process.  I enjoyed the prose, and Flashjack's experiences inside the behold, enough that once he got inside, I never felt like the story was moving too slowly.  If there was one part I could have seen reduced without much disappointment, it was the parts preceding Toby's arrival on the scene.



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Reply #31 on: June 29, 2010, 11:43:01 PM
Was the first comment (Allison?) deleted? Because I couldn't find the post that initiated half of this thread. Then again--you know me Dave. It's probably right under my nose!

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, I take it back. I thought I looked when you mentioned it, Terri-Lynne, but it appears the comment was deleted. Not by one of the mods or editors, as far as I know.


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Reply #32 on: June 30, 2010, 02:52:11 AM
Was the first comment (Allison?) deleted? Because I couldn't find the post that initiated half of this thread. Then again--you know me Dave. It's probably right under my nose!

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, I take it back. I thought I looked when you mentioned it, Terri-Lynne, but it appears the comment was deleted. Not by one of the mods or editors, as far as I know.

I certainly didn't.

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


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Reply #33 on: June 30, 2010, 07:36:31 AM
I took some time to listen to this story, partially because I wanted the ratings/is-it-horror debate early on to subside in my memory before I start it. Now that I have, I really love this story. Let me just quote mbrennan as she captures what I have to say exactly:

This was a beautiful, incredibly moving story.  To me, it's an excellent example of the way spec-fic elements can be used to address real-world issues: in this case, the process of maturation generally, and the issue of sexuality specifically.  I hurt for Toby during the bad times, when the fire came raining down, because we got such an inside view of what that felt like, and Duncan's choice of how to represent that pain felt so persuasive.



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Reply #34 on: July 18, 2010, 04:38:50 AM

Is it just me, or was the story suggesting what it sounded like it was suggesting? That Toby's homosexuality was because he had a fairy inside him?

Because really? REALLY? I don't know. Because the story seems an awful long way to go for a pun that lame.

It seems this point has been pretty much hammered flat, but it's a good place to jump in. I loved this story (and the narration since foul-mouthed fairies need that accent--it just wouldn't do having him sound as if he's from Ohio) because I could relate to it; having a fairy in my behold would go along way toward explain the chaos that reigns in my mind. Might be a psychological explanation as well, but I would prefer Pebbleskip.

This story turns all sorts of notions on their pointy little heads, particularly the one that fairies are real and yet creatures of 'pure whimsy' who live within our imaginations. I think Toby's homosexuality fits here; the author has made a good joke of the idiot notion that gays are fairies.

All in all, it's a brilliant piece of storytelling, one of the most inventive I've heard in awhile. I'm actually insanely envious.

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Reply #35 on: July 22, 2010, 05:20:52 PM
This is the first podcastle Giant where I actually found myself working past my usual quitting time at work just so I can continue listening to this story. It was hard to understand the beginning at first--I had to rewind it several times--but once I got what was going on...wow. I looooove the idea of fairies living in the Beholds of our Eyes. And it was so interesting to see Toby's life through the whimsical eye of the fairy...which I agree with everyone else, had nothing to do with his sexuality and more to do with the zest for life, the appreciation of life. Makes me wonder at my own Behold of my eye...

(::peers in and goes "Huh. Cheese. Didn't expect that..."::)

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Reply #36 on: July 27, 2010, 05:29:33 AM
Another 'meh' one for me. It kind of grated on me that the protagonist was FastJack, the same (very unusual) name of a very famous Decker in the Shadowrun universe. I know, I know, if you dont know it then you are probably like 'whatever', but for those who do, well, it's like having a character called 'Bilbo Baggins' who is a hard-nosed private investigator in Brooklyn. I mean, obviously different characters, but the names are very unusual and exactly the same, and it's a bizarre mashup.

Anyway, I'm not gay so I don't presume to know the struggles going on there. However, this story did basically just kinda fall flat for me. By the end, I didn't really give a damn about any of the characters, and for living his entire life through the eyes and the mind of his human (whatever his name was) the fairy didn't seem to give much of a crap about him or what was going on in his life, only the occasional glimpse whenever it was handy for changing the scene in his 'behold'.



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Reply #37 on: July 27, 2010, 02:16:02 PM
I was a big Shadowrun fan in college; the crossover occurred to me, but it didn't bother me.  (Possibly because I always found Fastjack to be cringe-inducingly irritating as a vehicle for "humor" and just generally Mary-Sue-ish.)

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Reply #38 on: July 27, 2010, 03:47:37 PM
Another 'meh' one for me. It kind of grated on me that the protagonist was FastJack, the same (very unusual) name of a very famous Decker in the Shadowrun universe.

Actually, the character's name in this story was FlashJack, not Fastjack. Only a slight difference, I know, but definitely not the same name.


Paranatural

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Reply #39 on: July 28, 2010, 03:22:49 AM
Another 'meh' one for me. It kind of grated on me that the protagonist was FastJack, the same (very unusual) name of a very famous Decker in the Shadowrun universe.

Actually, the character's name in this story was FlashJack, not Fastjack. Only a slight difference, I know, but definitely not the same name.

Oops, good call. It's been a few years (10...) since I have played so that was my bad. Anyway,still...



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Reply #40 on: November 03, 2010, 10:45:44 PM
I loved this story.

I'm raising a 9 year old son, who is somewhere on (or over) the Autistic Spectrum, and the whole thing struck one heck of a chord with me.

Every day is a battle for his heart and soul; fighting against the forces that might take his spirit and drop kick it firmly over to the dark side. This episode reinforced my determination not to allow his trusting and loving nature to be overcome by bitterness, disappointment and self-loathing.

Thank you so much for sharing this.



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Reply #41 on: November 08, 2010, 03:46:08 PM
I'm afraid I will have to be one of the dissenters here, and say that I didn't really like the story.  The imagery was vivid, lurid, and cinematic, but I didn't really feel like I got to understand the thought process or motivation of any of the characters.  The fairies just seemed "there" to experience things, and Toby (other than being a tormented gay artsy person) didn't really seem to be that fleshed out either.  While I found the changes in the internal landscape to be interesting, after about half-way through they had the feel of being over-the-top melodramatic.

Fuzzy was an interesting and original character, but I'm afraid I may have missed some point here as well, as I'm not sure what all the fuss was about.  Okay, so he's a manifestation of the Toby's hatred, self-loathing, and destructiveness.  What else?  I kept on waiting for something more.

On up-side MarBelle's reading was flawless as usual.  I've loved his style ever since he did Cinderella Suicide on EscapePod.  He has a fluidity with his dictation that makes all those quaint Victorian phrases come alive like he just stepped out of the Time Machine.



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Reply #42 on: November 08, 2010, 04:03:35 PM
Of course they're over the top melodramatic, I'd argue. It's a story about a person facing severe internal struggles - trauma, even. IMHO, extreme melodrama is quite fitting.



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Reply #43 on: November 08, 2010, 06:36:36 PM
Of course they're over the top melodramatic, I'd argue. It's a story about a person facing severe internal struggles - trauma, even. IMHO, extreme melodrama is quite fitting.

I agree.  Though I tend to be pretty reserved on the outside, I don't think the inside of my head is.  Definiitely melodramatic in there, and part social interaction for me is keeping that somewhat on the inside "Don't let the crazy out!"   :)



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Reply #44 on: November 08, 2010, 08:25:35 PM
Of course they're over the top melodramatic, I'd argue. It's a story about a person facing severe internal struggles - trauma, even. IMHO, extreme melodrama is quite fitting.

I agree.  Though I tend to be pretty reserved on the outside, I don't think the inside of my head is.  Definiitely melodramatic in there, and part social interaction for me is keeping that somewhat on the inside "Don't let the crazy out!"   :)

LOL! I always know when the crazy leaks out by the looks of total bewilderment around me. Keeping in the crazy is a very integral part of my life!

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Reply #45 on: November 09, 2010, 03:22:40 PM
To clarify, I never said the over-the-top melodrama wasn't without reason.  It just detracted from the story for me.  I think the main reason, again, is that we're given then extremely intimate and, at the same time, really opaque view of the characters.  We see all these very lurid and vivid dreamscape images inside Toby's head, but we have no idea what they mean, what he's really thinking, how he's acting, or what person psychological struggles set off these heavy-metal video montages.  It's just one montage after another, with very little explanation, that ultimately leaves your senses deafened and you just end up not really caring about the character.  I would also level the same complaint at Flashjack's character, as in the end all we know very little about him, his kind, his hopes, or his motivations.  I suppose the author was hoping that the reader would fill parts of himself into Toby's or Flashjack's role and extrapolate, but it just really didn't work for me.



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Reply #46 on: November 09, 2010, 03:46:13 PM
To clarify, I never said the over-the-top melodrama wasn't without reason.  It just detracted from the story for me.  I think the main reason, again, is that we're given then extremely intimate and, at the same time, really opaque view of the characters.  We see all these very lurid and vivid dreamscape images inside Toby's head, but we have no idea what they mean, what he's really thinking, how he's acting, or what person psychological struggles set off these heavy-metal video montages.  It's just one montage after another, with very little explanation, that ultimately leaves your senses deafened and you just end up not really caring about the character.  I would also level the same complaint at Flashjack's character, as in the end all we know very little about him, his kind, his hopes, or his motivations.  I suppose the author was hoping that the reader would fill parts of himself into Toby's or Flashjack's role and extrapolate, but it just really didn't work for me.

I see your points.  In particular, the characterization of Flashjack was pretty light, and I wish it hadn't been.  I'm sort of left with the impression that fairies in this universe aren't necessarily very individual.  They're an embodiment of a creative spark, but more just a force of nature than real people.  I never really cared what happened to Flashjack, and I think the reason for that is that he seemed pretty generic.  I'm not sure if my disinterest in Flashjack himself was intentional, to allow the story to focus on the boy(which makes sense), or if it was accidental.

I also see your point about us seeing the internal video montages without seeing the external world that created them.  With context, we could've easily made more sense of them.  But to me that was a strength, not a weakness.  As implied by the choice of the title, the core of the idea is the Behold of the Eye, where Flashjack lives.  He's focused mostly on this internal home, and so that's what we see in this story told in his POV.  If we'd seen everything going on outside at the same time as what was going inside, then the story would've been less interesting to me, the internals would've created a great deal of redundancy in the information provided (and been even longer).  By only providing one side, and by only providing the side that is abstract, we can understand his emotional reactions and from them try to understand the context that created those actions--that was the most interesting part of it for me.




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Reply #47 on: November 09, 2010, 10:08:43 PM
Plus, by focusing on the emotional turmoil itself without being specific about the events in 'real life' that created it, that enables the reader to project more of themselves into the story.  One can empathize with the emotional upset qua emotional upset and substitute whatever has made you feel that way in the past with the sorts of reactions you see made concrete and symbolic in the Behold.  For a story intended to be basically an allegorical physical representation of an emotional journey, that strikes me as the correct route to take.

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Reply #48 on: March 04, 2011, 08:55:13 PM
Congrats to Fuzzy (and Hal Duncan) for winning eternal adoration with the Best of PodCastle 2010 poll.

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