Author Topic: PC123: Black Feather  (Read 14046 times)

Heradel

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PC123: Black Feather
« on: September 21, 2010, 02:49:12 PM »
PodCastleeasy as123: Black Feather

by K. Tempest Bradford

Read by Amal El-Mohtar

Originally published in Interfictions

Exactly one year before she saw the raven, Brenna began to dream of
flying.  Sometimes she was in a plane, sometimes she was in a bird,
sometimes she was just herself–surrounded by sky, clouds, and
too-thin-to-breathe air.  In the dark, in the light, over cities and
oceans and fields, she flew.  Every night for a year.

Then, on the twelfth day of the twelfth month, the dreams changed.
They ended with a crash and fire and the feeling of falling.  Most
nights she almost didn’t wake up in time.

Exactly one year from the night the dreams began, Brenna struggled out
of sleep, the phantom smell of burning metal still in her nose.  She
reached out for Scott–he was not there.  He was never there.  He had
never been there.  She fell back onto her pillows and groaned.
Another dream of flying, another reaching out for Scott; she wished
she could stop doing both.

Rated PG: Contains Death, Life, and Ravens.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 05:47:15 PM by Heradel »
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Void Munashii

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2010, 02:59:25 PM »
  This story did a great job of making itself feel very dreamlike. In fact it did such a good job that I found it very hard to follow. I may have to listen a second time because I'm not 100% sure what actually happened.

  I personally did not like the repeated use of "back, and back, and back", but this may be largely because after the second time my wife asked in the narrator was a chicken. After that I could not help but focus on it.

  A very pretty story, but not really to my liking.
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seth.e.shaw

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 03:20:34 AM »
I am not a fan of this story's style—I wouldn't have sought it out—but when it was over I found I enjoyed it anyway.

Once it was revealed the protagonist had native-american ancestry I subconsciously started viewing the dream sequences as parts of a vision quest. After reflecting on this thought I find the story even more compelling. The contrast between the psychologist's & Scott's dream-remembering [I don't recall the term the story used] attempts themselves is interesting enough but the contrasts with the naturally occurring dreams is even more so and deserves more reflection.
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momerath

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2010, 10:57:39 AM »
I enjoyed the story as it went along, but the ending wasn't as powerful for me. Maybe it happened too quickly?

Baine

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 10:34:06 PM »
I really liked this one the mood was well set and the hole going back in to pat life's and finding you're worst fear was an amazing.

Lamb E.

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2010, 10:40:32 PM »
The tempo of the story was very dreamlike - I'm reminded of those sleep deprived days after a bout of insomnia.  Although I enjoyed the story overall, the end fell a little flat for me.

Arcana

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2010, 01:05:52 AM »
It was very dreamlike.  I've always heard the tale told with the twelve brothers turned into black swans rather than ravens, so this was an interesting and different take for me.

Grayven

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2010, 01:12:41 AM »
But why did the brothers get killed?

ElectricPaladin

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2010, 04:53:34 AM »
You know, I feel like I often end up being the voice of conventional narrative, the grumbling grognard who shows up to kvetch about how stories need to make sense and communicate something and other stuff like that.

And then stories like this come along and show me that I'm sometimes wrong.

That doesn't mean that conventionally making narrative sense isn't usually a good thing, but it isn't always necessary. Some stories, like this one, pull off miracles without it. Not despite lacking sense, but because they aren't tied down by little things like "sense," "coherence" and "story." I love the dream within a dream within a dream. I love that the boyfriend was also the hanged man. I love the bent and recursive fairytale archetypes, wrapped around a character of complicated heritage.

All in all, one of the best stories I've experienced in a while. Five out of five zeppelins, and they're all on fire.
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Forgetmenot

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2010, 08:39:29 AM »
I was worried when I first started listening because it seemed so very much like one of my favorite farietales, the one with the 7 black swan brothers. But this story acknowleged that tale and still had more to say. I liked it

Unblinking

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2010, 03:24:23 PM »
I'm not a fan of this vein of fantasy, I'm afraid.  I like the dream images, but literally nothing happened of interest in the real world.  Dream, dream, dream, hypnosis, dream, hypnosis, dream, dream.  I never really believed that her 12 brothers actually existed so I came out of the story just thinking that she could really use a therapist.

jenfullmoon

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2010, 03:57:13 PM »
I'm not a fan of this vein of fantasy, I'm afraid.  I like the dream images, but literally nothing happened of interest in the real world.  Dream, dream, dream, hypnosis, dream, hypnosis, dream, dream.  I never really believed that her 12 brothers actually existed so I came out of the story just thinking that she could really use a therapist.

Yeah... I would have liked it better had it been NOTHING but a dream story. I was interested in the 12 brothers story, but if it's only in a dream? Eh.

But then again, I've never really been into dream stuff.

DKT

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2010, 06:12:11 PM »
Hey all - apparently, I confused several people about where to go for the exclusive stories for forumites, so I'm just popping by again to point everyone to the I <3 Escape Artists thread. Apologies for not being clear enough!

This is not a recording.

Yet.  :)

Talia

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2010, 07:07:38 PM »
I thought it was very poetic, but I don't really understand what happened.

I did like the dream within a dream within a dream within a dream part. If only she'd had a top to spin... ;)

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2010, 08:16:39 PM »
Doubleplus meh. This story did nothing for me except occupy forty minutes of my time, during which I might have listened to Skepticality instead.
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soapturtle

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2010, 09:21:49 PM »
It was OK.  I wanted to love it, I really did.

I also liked that the boyfriend was the hanged man and and the 12 brothers tie in, but overall, just... Ok.
I felt like this story had potential to be really compelling and something I couldn't stop listening to, so I stopped doing whatever else I was occupied with.  Instead it was the opposite, I turned off the story for several hours while having to get some work done.  I didn't even realize I hadn't finished it until I came back to my itunes. :/
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Duriyah

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2010, 11:04:27 PM »
I really enjoyed listening to this story. The language and reading were lovely and, as others have said, had a very dreamlike feel. Figuring out parallels between the dream/myth imagery and reality kept my interest and pulled me along in the story. But the ending left me feeling empty. Okay, so she went through the initiation that she needed to...got over her fear of flying or death or independence or whatever. But nothing really happened.  It was all imagery, no substance.

But then, that's kind of what dreams are like, and maybe that was the point. Maybe the whole story a dream.

alllie

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2010, 12:50:17 PM »
Flying is not controlled falling. Gliding is controlled falling.

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2010, 01:25:30 PM »
Flying is not controlled falling. Gliding is controlled falling.

Yes!  That claim did bug me, but I guess it's dream logic, so it doesn't have to make sense?

ElectricPaladin

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Re: PC123: Black Feather
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2010, 01:27:40 PM »
Flying is not controlled falling. Gliding is controlled falling.

How so? I'd say it's pretty apt.
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