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Author Topic: PC124: Squonk And The Horde Of Apprentices  (Read 21144 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« on: September 28, 2010, 08:40:54 AM »

PodCastle 124: Squonk And The Horde Of Apprentices

by P.M. Butler

Read by Wilson Fowlie

A PodCastle Original!

Most dragons learn to love fire as soon as they come out of their eggs, when their parents celebrate their birth by spitting great gouts of flame into the sky; dragons often use fire to express joy.  Or anger. Or surprise.  Or boredom.  Or the fact that they’re still breathing. Dragons really like fire.

But Squonk didn’t even know he could breathe fire.  That’s because his adoptive mother, a little blue bird named Mrs. Tweedle-Chirp, didn’t know he could breathe fire, either–and even if she did, she certainly would have forbid him from ever doing it.  Like most forest creatures, Mrs. Tweedle-Chirp didn’t like fire one little bit.

But her not-so-little boy was, indeed, a dragon.  And while there are some things you can teach out of a dragon….

Rated G: Contains Dragons, Wizards, School, and Fire (which is Awesome)
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2010, 10:04:01 AM »

SQUONK!    Grin  YEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!   *muppetflail*
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2010, 10:10:09 AM »

  It was nice to hear a Squonk story again after so long. While I was a little dissapointed (but not at all surprised) that the Eleys were not reading it, I think Wilson did a fantastic job bringing the story to life, although he did nothing to remove the mental image of Squidward as Wendel, but I think that is just the character and not the reader.

  As for my first Escape Artists story: I am pretty sure it was Escape Pod 132: "Sparks in a Cold War". I was looking for something to listen to while playing "Guild Wars", and when I was in high school I would listen to audiobooks while playing video games, so it seemed like a good idea to see what podcasts had to offer.
  It was Escape pod that started my wife and I listening to podcasts while commuting as well; we almost never listen to the radio anymore.
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2010, 12:44:46 PM »

As usual, Squonk is fluffy but entertaining.  I do wonder how well something like this would hold up if one hadn't read the previous stories, for all the effort made to refer to previous events coherently.

My first Escape Artists story was "The Inevitability of Earth," over at Pseudopod #144.  I loved the subtlety of the horror and the skillful symbolism, and I pretty quickly tore through the archives in reverse.  Then I started at the beginning with PodCastle, and lastly worked through Escape Pod itself (sci-fi always being my least favorite genre.)  Given Pseudopod's variety and tendency to explore all the possible places horror can go, I always think it was fairly lucky I hit it when I did and got interested.
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2010, 01:05:49 PM »

I can't remember my first escape artist story but I remember going back and downloading all the old ones I could find. And I did listen to them and enjoy them. There was no podcastle or pseudopod when I started.
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2010, 04:43:08 PM »

My first Escape Pod story was episode 105: "Impossible Dreams" by Tim Pratt.  A friend of mine recommended the story to me, and knew that I'd recently started listening to audiobooks on my commute (my carpool partner moved and I hadn't been able to find another - still haven't), so recommended that I download it from EP.  This was before I'd heard of podcasts, so I was grateful that Steve had put up a 'What is a podcast?' page to explain the idea.

After picking up a few back episodes to see if I liked what Escape Pod had to offer, I started downloading the stories regularly (I was still quite a podcast newbie and hadn't discovered podcatching software yet).  When episode 109: "Squonk the Apprentice" came out, I decided I didn't want to listen to a sequel before the original, so I went back and downloaded episode 70: "Squonk the Dragon".  I loved them, to the point of making my family listen to them on a day trip we took somewhere.  My daughter liked them so much, I burnt them onto a CD for her (this was before we got her an MP3 player of her own).

Normally, I don't like to talk about my readings in this forum - it seems at least a touch crass - but I have a couple of thanks that I want to make public.  First, thanks to Dave and Anna for picking me to do it; it's an honour I didn't take lightly.  I'm grateful for every story that I get to narrate, but these stories are special to me because of the connection to my family.

Second, thanks to my family for vetting this recording, particularly my daughter: she (because she has listened to the originals far more often than I have) was my quality control department.  Cheesy


the mental image of Squidward as Wendel

??

(I know who Squidward is; that's not the source of my confusion...)
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2010, 05:03:38 PM »


the mental image of Squidward as Wendel

??

(I know who Squidward is; that's not the source of my confusion...)

  It's not the reading or the voice, I have always seen Wendel as Squidward. I think it's just his personality; he seems like a gruff and uncaring person, but beneath that is a nice person who just wants a little peace, quiet, and organization in his life... and beneath that is a somewhat petty person who just wants to prove he can do anything better than someone else can.
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telimain3333
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 10:12:34 PM »

this is one of my Favorite stories in a long time
and now i've had to go to and to look up the old ones

i find that i like the kids stories the best
the more adult stories never have the feeling of wimsy

as for my 1st story at  escape pod it was episode 219: sleepy joe
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2010, 11:05:18 PM »

SQUONK!!!! SQUEEEEEEEEE! Smiley (So what if Gamercow beat me to the response?)

Love me some Squonk. The reader did a good job, but I think I detected him imitating Steve Eley a time or two on Wendel's lines. Smiley

As for first episodes, when I start listening to a new podcast, I start at the beginning.

So my first episode of Escape Pod would have been episode 1, but not "live." Took me a good while to catch up, too. That whole 'going back to the beginning' thing can get tedious if I start listening to a podcast with several hundred episodes. Like The Geologic Podcast, which is the most recent one I started from the beginning. I'm almost up to May of 2009. Smiley

Keep the Squonk a-comin'! We could all use a dose of pure fun and joy on our commutes.
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2010, 08:30:05 AM »

This had the feel of a children's story and I LIKED it.  Cheesy

What does that say about me?
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2010, 08:40:22 AM »

I've only listened to the intro so far, but I thought I'd respond to the question in the intro.

My first Escape Artists story was Pseudopod #153:  The Hay Devils, by Colin P. Davies, read by Jaron Cohen.

I had just signed the contract for my very first fiction sale ever, to Pseudopod, and that one couldn't have come at a better time--The seemingly infinite stack of rejection slips was really starting to wear on me, and that email from Ben Phillips saying that he liked the story, making one small and reasonable editorial suggestion, was nothing short of amazing.

So then, since I'd never heard an episode before, I figured "Hm, I should probably find out what kind of things Pseudopod produces and what authors they've published, so I download the whole story archive and put it on my iPod.  I started with that one because it was the most recent at the time.

Now, audio fiction was very new to me.  I actually had only the vaguest idea what "podcast" meant (I still think it's a bad name, but that's a rant for another day).  But I had listened to my dad reminisce many a time about the old radio drama serials that he used to listen to. I'd always thought they sounded pretty awesome, and thought it was a damned shame that they had died out.  So I was very excited to learn that they haven't died out, they've just evolved into new distribution formats!  Alasdair's smooth tones and interesting discussions multiplied the coolness by a factor of 10.

And thus my mad run of threadomancy began!
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Talia
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2010, 09:11:04 AM »

I have to confess, and this may render me forever an outcast in the minds of all fellow forumites, that I didn't really dig the first two Squonk stories. Not because they were bad stories, mind you, just that children's stories don't do it for me generally. I did like this one much better, as a good deal of the humor was of the sort that managed to be appealing for both adults and kids - the sort of humor they work into movies like 'Toy Story' so they appeal to the adults too. I appreciated that and was entertained.

As for my first EA story, I'm not entirely sure. I know it was  Pseudopod - I needed something to listen to on my IPod while i was out running, and I decided to look up these "podcasts" I'd been hearing about, and Pseudopod was on the top of some list I googled up. (I was later thrilled to learn about its sister podcast EscapePod, as sci fi/fantasy is much more my cup of champagne than horror).

Now the first one i very clearly remember listening to was "Returning My Sister’s Face," (episode 4) which as it turns out is a Eugie Foster story. I kind of have this thing about listening to things in order, so its possible I started back at episode 1, 'Bag Man' by Scott Sigler.  (reading the quote from it, it sounds very familiar...).
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kristofor.wilson
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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2010, 09:55:57 AM »

I liked the story well enough, but I have to admit I didn't really like the voice the mother bird was portrayed with, if only because it was pretty annoying.  Maybe that was the point though =).
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DKT
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« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2010, 10:30:07 AM »

This had the feel of a children's story and I LIKED it.  Cheesy

What does that say about me?

I'd say it means you're in good company  Grin
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2010, 11:08:17 AM »

That whole 'going back to the beginning' thing can get tedious if I start listening to a podcast with several hundred episodes. Like The Geologic Podcast, which is the most recent one I started from the beginning. I'm almost up to May of 2009. Smiley

I'm doing that with The Brain Science Podcast.  It doesn't even have hundreds of episodes - the one posted this month is #70 - but it's pretty dense material (in a different way, I imagine, from The Geologic Podcast Cheesy), but it's taken me over a year to get almost to the end of 2008...
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« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2010, 01:02:44 PM »

That whole 'going back to the beginning' thing can get tedious if I start listening to a podcast with several hundred episodes. Like The Geologic Podcast, which is the most recent one I started from the beginning. I'm almost up to May of 2009. Smiley

I'm doing that with The Brain Science Podcast.  It doesn't even have hundreds of episodes - the one posted this month is #70 - but it's pretty dense material (in a different way, I imagine, from The Geologic Podcast Cheesy), but it's taken me over a year to get almost to the end of 2008...

The way I've done it (with the 5 podcasts I've listened to backlogs of).  I start with the most recent episode and work my way back about 10 episodes or so, so I can get up to speed on what they're up to recently.  Then I start back at #1 and go sequentially, but swapping in the newest episodes as they come out.

I kind of like it that way, because as you're listening to the origins you already know where the podcast has reached today.  This is especially true for Starship Sofa, which I've been listening through for many a month.  As I'm listening through their first year's fiction offerings, in the current episodes they have been talking about the Hugo award they just won.  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2010, 01:17:40 PM »

I'm doing that with The Brain Science Podcast.  It doesn't even have hundreds of episodes - the one posted this month is #70 - but it's pretty dense material (in a different way, I imagine, from The Geologic Podcast Cheesy), but it's taken me over a year to get almost to the end of 2008...

OMG neuroscience podcast!  DO WANT!

Thank you SO much!
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Talia
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« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2010, 01:23:04 PM »

Hehe. When I first started listing to Escape Pod (in the pre-Podcastle era), I determined I needed to listen to the ENTIRE backlog before I could listen to the newer ones. Because.

I tried gamely to catch up so I could participate in the discussions on the forum boards but  after several months of determined efforts, with new EP episodes accumulating weekly, I had to throw in my hat and skip forward to the newer episodes.

Somewhere in the middle of the EP archives is several months (maybe as much as a year's) worth of stories I've never heard, but I couldn't tell you exactly where that begins or ends. :p I have abandoned similar efforts with Drabblecast, and never even started with SSS. :p
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2010, 01:40:23 PM »

Hehe. When I first started listing to Escape Pod (in the pre-Podcastle era), I determined I needed to listen to the ENTIRE backlog before I could listen to the newer ones. Because.

I tried gamely to catch up so I could participate in the discussions on the forum boards but  after several months of determined efforts, with new EP episodes accumulating weekly, I had to throw in my hat and skip forward to the newer episodes.

Somewhere in the middle of the EP archives is several months (maybe as much as a year's) worth of stories I've never heard, but I couldn't tell you exactly where that begins or ends. :p I have abandoned similar efforts with Drabblecast, and never even started with SSS. :p

I'll admit that I'm in much the same situation. Podcastle I've heard all of, because, well, I was here when Podcastle started, and if PC gave out employee numbers I'm probably #3 behind Ann. But there are definitely some EP episodes out there that I haven't listened to, either because they came out when I was going through an acutely busy phase and never got back to them, or because I still haven't managed to go through all the 75-odd episodes that were out before I started subscribing.

In terms of the first one for me, I'm fairly certain it was EP079: Mountain, Man, because I can remember that one, but it was definitely somewhere in the late 70s/early 80s. And a few short months later the Forums came about in the current incarnation, and lo, did we begin the tumult of a birthing flash contest and the early childhood injuries of the First Great Flamewar Period.
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2010, 01:49:32 PM »

I have no clear recollection of my first story. It was some time last summer, during my six weeks of teacher boot camp, and my memories of that period are... spotty, at best. I'm pretty sure it was poscastle, though.

As to this story... I didn't much get drawn in. It was a little too cutesy for me. I would have loved it at six - I'll probably go through the feed and play it for my kids when they exist, and are six - but it didn't quite do it for me. Some whimsical kids stories can pull that off - The Goats are Going Places, for example - and some can't. This one didn't. I don't know exactly why, but there you have it.
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