Author Topic: PC110: The Alchemist’s Feather  (Read 6607 times)

zora_db

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Re: PC110: The Alchemist’s Feather
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2010, 01:35:50 PM »
I love this story. It balances so many things so beautifully; awful but gorgeous, sinister but also sentimental (without ever quite tipping over into manipulation). Yes, it is familiar in many ways, but since when has that detracted from a fairy story?

yicheng

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Re: PC110: The Alchemist’s Feather
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2010, 10:49:23 AM »
It was okay overall.  Good reading and execution.  I enjoyed the relationship between the little girl and the homunculus.

I was a bit confused at the plot twists towards end, as to why the homunculus was about to break free of the alchemist's will, and why the little girl was suddenly plump instead of starving to death after turning back from a Phoenix.  And how exactly did they survive afterwards?

Fenrix

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Re: PC110: The Alchemist’s Feather
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2012, 10:08:02 AM »
Nice story. Not certain that it will make a favorites list, but it made my morning commute better.

To answer some of the questions lingering here, my listening of the story indicated that the free will and memories started with the drop of blood. Blood magic is a strong theme and powerful agent with homunculus stories. It also tends to lead to unintended consequences when the blood is provided by someone with passion or in a moment of passion, as it becomes a literary mechanism to transmit emotions and passion. With the drop of blood, the perspective altered slightly.

The fingers disappearing coordinated with different feathers being plucked - crow, swan, peacock, and pelican. The fifth one, the thumb, was the phoenix. After being reborn while a phoenix, the homunculus regained his four previously lost fingers. This would fuel his logic in that turning into a phoenix would heal the child.

Something that makes the story all the more tragic is the suffering that will continue after the story is over. A child in thin clothing in the woods two days from town in the winter doesn't have great odds of survival. Also, there's room to turn around the alchemist as a character. Yes, children died before during failed experiments, but he fixed the flaws and the experiment works with the subject surviving the ordeal. While the child was the victim of neglect and abuse, an argument can be made that it was the only method the alchemist could devise to keep the child weak and therefore controllable during the painful experiment. He only needed a phoenix feather, not phoenix blood, so the girl would have been alive and whole at the end of the process with or without the escape. I'm not sure the escape was a good thing. The alchemist will likely be killed by the prince for failure to produce a feather. The child will die in the snow due to exposure. The homunculus will have his shiny eyes pecked out by birds, and wander blindly as he slowly falls apart. What a horrible tragic story.
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ElectricPaladin

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Re: PC110: The Alchemist’s Feather
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2012, 10:14:43 AM »
Nice story. Not certain that it will make a favorites list, but it made my morning commute better.

To answer some of the questions lingering here, my listening of the story indicated that the free will and memories started with the drop of blood. Blood magic is a strong theme and powerful agent with homunculus stories. It also tends to lead to unintended consequences when the blood is provided by someone with passion or in a moment of passion, as it becomes a literary mechanism to transmit emotions and passion. With the drop of blood, the perspective altered slightly.

The fingers disappearing coordinated with different feathers being plucked - crow, swan, peacock, and pelican. The fifth one, the thumb, was the phoenix. After being reborn while a phoenix, the homunculus regained his four previously lost fingers. This would fuel his logic in that turning into a phoenix would heal the child.

Something that makes the story all the more tragic is the suffering that will continue after the story is over. A child in thin clothing in the woods two days from town in the winter doesn't have great odds of survival. Also, there's room to turn around the alchemist as a character. Yes, children died before during failed experiments, but he fixed the flaws and the experiment works with the subject surviving the ordeal. While the child was the victim of neglect and abuse, an argument can be made that it was the only method the alchemist could devise to keep the child weak and therefore controllable during the painful experiment. He only needed a phoenix feather, not phoenix blood, so the girl would have been alive and whole at the end of the process with or without the escape. I'm not sure the escape was a good thing. The alchemist will likely be killed by the prince for failure to produce a feather. The child will die in the snow due to exposure. The homunculus will have his shiny eyes pecked out by birds, and wander blindly as he slowly falls apart. What a horrible tragic story.

Or maybe the homonculous will help the child reach safety. It's not beyond possibility.
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justenjoying

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Re: PC110: The Alchemist’s Feather
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2012, 04:37:00 PM »
Even animated dolls can love. This almost seemed too scary to be a Pod Castle, but I loved it. Elaberating on
Phenixes and making them little girls. It's amazing how putting a little girl into the cross fire makes it ten times worse. If this
had been a story where he was using cats or puppies it would have been sad, but not nearly so monsterous. From stuffing them
into a jar to burning them alive, this story is horrific, but some how pails in conparison to Peagent Girls, when we are talking to
the horrors we put little girls through. This story has little basis in reality, but still has an ability to hit home in the worst kind
of way, and all through wooden eyes.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 06:54:12 AM by justenjoying »

Fenrix

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Re: PC110: The Alchemist’s Feather
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2012, 01:40:55 PM »
It's amazing how putting a little girl into the cross fire makes it ten times worse. If this
had been a story where he was using cats or puppies it would have been sad, but not nearly so monstrous.

I'm not so certain about this. I've seen and heard a lot more visceral reactions to descriptions of bad things happening to animals. There's a handful of threads of on the PseudoPod side of things where animal cruelty was part of the story, and the topic gets a lot of traffic. Another example a little closer to home for me is that my wife has a high tolerance for horror. That is, until they stick the dog in the microwave (e.g. American Horror Story) or chop up the kitten (e.g. Drag Me to Hell). After that it's like a switch for her and the product is unredeemable.
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Re: PC110: The Alchemist’s Feather
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2012, 03:33:22 PM »
I'm not so certain about this. I've seen and heard a lot more visceral reactions to descriptions of bad things happening to animals. There's a handful of threads of on the PseudoPod side of things where animal cruelty was part of the story, and the topic gets a lot of traffic. Another example a little closer to home for me is that my wife has a high tolerance for horror. That is, until they stick the dog in the microwave (e.g. American Horror Story) or chop up the kitten (e.g. Drag Me to Hell). After that it's like a switch for her and the product is unredeemable.

I can relate to that reaction.  For me the difference between a human being the victim, and a pet, is that the pet has no control over its life.  Its life can be wonderful or terrible on the whim of its owner.  The humans in charge have a responsibility over this creature, and not fulfilling this responsibility is violating a sacred trust.  Your average adult generally has control over their own lives and their own choices, so I don't feel the sense of betrayal for a human being who is hurt as I do for a pet.  (which doesn't cover children, I realize, but speaking on the difference in general)