Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: PC126: Creature  (Read 14087 times)

Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
on: October 12, 2010, 05:49:00 PM
PodCastle 126: Creature

by Ramsey Shehadeh

Read by Norm Sherman (of the Drabblecast)

Originally published in Weird Tales (Read the text of the story here)

And so came Creature out of the wasteland and into the city, bouncing from hilltop to hilltop like a bulbous ballerina skipping across the knuckles of a great hand. He was big as the moon and black as the night, and he came crashing into the city like a silent meteor. The cityfolk watched his approach with wide eyes and open mouths, and then scattered like leaves.

The sun sat smudged and pale behind a grey smear of cloud, and the air stank of scat and putrefaction. But Creature said: “What a fine day it is!” Though he did not say it, of course, he thought it, and so the cityfolk thought it too. And when he released a great bolus of happiness into the air, they paused in their desperate flight, and smiled, and thought: “What a fine day it is!”

Creature surveyed the sea of smiles around him, and was well pleased. He rolled along, growing and shrinking and flattening and widening as he went, dispensing false joy to the destitute and the hopeless, the desperate and the sad. They lined his path like parade-watchers, caught helplessly in his spell.

Rated R: Violence and Disturbing Themes
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 10:57:35 AM by Heradel »

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


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #1 on: October 13, 2010, 01:28:39 PM
I'm about halfway through listening and so far I'm really enjoying it!

So far the only thing that bugged me was that the writer seems to not understand how a shotgun works.  It does not scatter bullets, it scatters pellets, like BB's.  One pellet hitting the girl isn't liable to cause any major damage even if it hadn't just grazed her.  A shotgun blast is dangerous not because of an individual pellet being dangerous, but because, when fired at relatively short range,  hundreds of the pellets hitting the same area simultaneously can cause much greater damage.



blueeyeddevil

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 104
Reply #2 on: October 13, 2010, 05:53:53 PM
Norm Sherman's voice,
Alisdair's outro...
either one of these things is enough to elevate any non-terrible story, for me, to enjoyability.

This story has both, and is better than non-terrible.

No deep commentary this time, just a favorite line:
'-one morning he didn't wake up, because of the knife in him.'



Meh_Sweet

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Reply #3 on: October 13, 2010, 06:29:38 PM
The story's allusion to the wider world, other monsters and curious things like "semaphore ravens" piqued my curiosity for Shehadeh's world building. 

The lack of clear direction for Creature (who I can only really visualize as a negative giant-sized version Gloop or Gleep from the Herculoids - with the mandatory goatee) left me wondering if this was all just an ordinary day from it and that Melody would wake up tomorrow with out her malleable bodyguard, of if was moving along its character arc; continue moving from its feral life, to wanted to be loved by humans, to actually learning to love/be loved.




ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #4 on: October 13, 2010, 06:51:28 PM
I loved this one, from the evocative descriptions of a radiation-maddened post-apocalyptic wonderland to the story of Creature itself. It was sad and beautiful and strange. I like that it managed to end on a hopeful note. With a human to serve as an interlocutor, perhaps there is some hope for Creature. With Creature to serve as her protector, perhaps there is some hope for Melanie. All in all, a beautiful tale.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


Ocicat

  • Castle Watchcat
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3294
  • Anything for a Weird Life
Reply #5 on: October 13, 2010, 08:42:48 PM
Giant Monsters.  I love them too.  This was a great story, partly for the monster, more for the little girl and her outlook on the world, and mostly for the world itself.  So many great little throwaway bits of this dreamlike post apocalypse landscape, and the amusing critters therein.  It just really added to the feeling of the main narrative.  I'm not sure I want more detail - I don't think the world really holds up to close examination, that would just destroy the dream-like quality.



Wilson Fowlie

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1473
    • The Maple Leaf Singers
Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010, 09:04:56 PM
My goodness, I enjoyed this so much!  This is the most I've liked a Podcastle story since ... oh, wait, last week's.  :)

I fell in love with this story right from the opening sentence.  Bulbous ballerina skipping across the knuckles of a great hand is unutterably delightful imagery.

I was afraid that the sadness in this story was going to depress me enough to make me like it less, but for me at least, Shehadeh balanced Creature - both character and story - perfectly on the high wire between sombre and (gently) silly, sometimes leaning one way, sometimes the other, but ultimately making it all the way to the other end with a focused tension that was deftly released with the final paragraph.


Also, I was glad that Creature was able to defend Melanie from the monster.  :Þ

"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

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
    • Who Doesn't Love Stories?
Reply #7 on: October 13, 2010, 09:40:13 PM
oh, wow.

I absolutely love this one.  LOVE.  Everything about it was delicious.  As Wilson Fowlie wrote, Creature was nicely balanced.  He and Melanie complimented each other in such a beautiful way.  When I got home tonight from work, I told my husband that I heard my favorite PodCastle today :) 

I can see this world developing.  I want Creature to go back to the city and save Rat from the city-dwelling monsters and bring him back to the forest with Melanie...and then I want adventures!   ;D

blueedyeddevil...thanks for reminding us about that awesome line!  :D It made me grin when I heard it!



Wilson Fowlie

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1473
    • The Maple Leaf Singers
Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010, 10:21:43 PM
I forgot to mention that besides the awesome story, the excellent (as usual) reading from Norm, and the interesting analysis from Alasdair (though I confess I had to rewind a couple of times and sort of mentally 'squint' to catch a couple of Al's lines), I thought this was one of Dave's better story introductions.  It felt somehow a little livelier than Dave's usual laid-back delivery.

Don't get me wrong: I like both the 'caffeinated' and 'uncaffeinated' versions of Dave.  Each has his own virtues and in this case, I thought the 'caffeinated' version fit well with the story that followed.

"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


DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #9 on: October 13, 2010, 10:53:02 PM
Heh. Thanks.

Note to self: Drink more triple cappucinos right before recording intros. If necessary, eat a couple double chocolate chip cookes, too.

Additional note to self: If you overdo it, the badass Wolverine costume you're thinking about for next Halloween will never fit.


Grayven

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 35
Reply #10 on: October 14, 2010, 01:59:34 AM
So who built this "creature". While the story is sweet, the unlikeliness of a "creature" ever existing ruined it. If any such creature existed, it would not give a care about a little girl.

Sweet, treacly, and false just like the dreams the creature foisted on the normal people.



bethelash

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Reply #11 on: October 14, 2010, 03:06:30 AM
Really liked this one!! Great world building and discovery through the Creature and child. I have a soft spot for Norm Sherman's reading too. I couldn't help but think Norm added the clown piranhas  ;D

The worst thing that could plausibly happen to anyone would be to not be used for anything by anybody. Thank you for using me even though I did not want to be used by anybody.


Max e^{i pi}

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1038
  • Have towel, will travel.
Reply #12 on: October 14, 2010, 09:25:46 AM
Listening to this story, I was correctly able to predict each and every plot element, and this was bothering me.
Until I realized why.
The whole story felt like a "been there, done that, bought the proverbial one-size-doesn't-fit-anybody T-shirt" experience.
Let's look at the story elements.
First, we have the setting, post-apocalyptic world. This is the stereotypical post-apocalyptic world, a world of extremes. Extremely cool mutants, and extremely diverse worlds. You have the city representing "order", humanity (more on that in a minute) and the wastelands.
In the city you have the Black Clads whose job it is to separate two extreme opposites: the haves and the have-nots. The haves live in an ordered, civilized world (speculation) at the expense of the have-nots, who have brought the word poverty to a new low. I'd like to hear more of their stories. We're only treated to a glimpse, but I get the feeling that the "ordered" and "civilized" cities are far from either.
The main characters are themselves diverse opposites, and contain within them opposites. There's the innocent little girl, the stereotypical embodiment of innocence, and the monster.
The girl herself contains innocence "...didn't wake up because of the knife in his back" as well as a deep understanding of the world and life and death.
The monster has the power to be the ultimate evil and has used that power. But now he is reformed, and sees something akin to love in the little girl.

These elements play off each other very nicely, and thus the story has all the ingredients necessary for a great story.
But it wasn't.
Creature reminded me too much of Dr. Frankenstein's monster.
The girl reminded me too much of every single child hero in most movies, games and books I can recall.
The story itself has a faded feeling to it, like it's been fingered far too many times.
Movies like ET and The Iron Giant, books like Frankenstein's Monster and The Big Friendly Giant. Games like Resident Evil. All of them have elements in this story.
That's why it was too predictable and why I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have.

I know that literature has been around for a long time, and good ideas will be constantly reused, but when reusing an old idea, try to put your own personal touch on it. I saw none such individual touches here. It was just a cast of stereotypes playing out a well-rehearsed act on an overused stage.
Had I been reading this story I would probably have speed-read through the last two-thirds of it, if not skipped them all together.
BUT, Norm's reading saved it for me.
He injected an element of sadness into the whole thing that I'm not convinced the author intended.
Creature came off as a world-weary traveler who has witnessed and caused far too much sadness and pain and is now trying to atone for some of it, rather than as an O' Henry type villain who turns out not to be.
And that is the reason why I kept listening, and why I liked this story.
Norm gave it the personal touch it was missing.

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!



Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #13 on: October 14, 2010, 02:30:10 PM
So who built this "creature". While the story is sweet, the unlikeliness of a "creature" ever existing ruined it. If any such creature existed, it would not give a care about a little girl.

Sweet, treacly, and false just like the dreams the creature foisted on the normal people.

Did you miss the part where the creature was born of woman and half-man soon after the apocalypse?

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


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #14 on: October 14, 2010, 02:51:32 PM
I know that literature has been around for a long time, and good ideas will be constantly reused, but when reusing an old idea, try to put your own personal touch on it.

I thought there were plenty of personal touches to it.  For instance, the language itself, the odd nature of this particular monster who wasn't just a generic vamp or boogeyman from central casting.  The nature of the monsters abilities--at the beginning the monster storms into town... spreading happiness wherever he goes?  Yes it's reminiscent in some ways of stories like The Iron Giant, but not in a way that makes it derivative, it's just that "kid befriends monster" has been done.  Most stories are derivative if you break them down to that extent, like "boy meets girl and they fall in love" or a typical quest format.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #15 on: October 14, 2010, 02:55:35 PM
No deep commentary this time, just a favorite line:
'-one morning he didn't wake up, because of the knife in him.'

Ha!  Yes, that was my favorite line in the story.  Friggin fantastic.

This could very well be my new favorite Podcastle episode.  The nature of the monster was unique enough with it extruding mouths to speak, eating and cubing those who oppose him, sliding his face onto a mountaintop, and his blooming feelings for the girl that he doesn't understand.  Lines like the above gave it a touch of silly even while being dark, a precarious balance to pull off but done superbly here.

Loved it loved it.  All except for botching the details of a shotgun--that still bugs me, partly because it would've taken only a few word changes to have made it describe a shotgun accurately without having to change the story details at all.  I still love the story, but I wish that would've been caught.



falconesse

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 91
    • L'esprit d'escalier
Reply #16 on: October 14, 2010, 03:17:12 PM
I really liked this one, and Norm Sherman's reading was outstanding.  I'm casting about for something insightful to say about it, but all I can come up with is, "wow."  I guess that means I need to give it another listen.  Poor me.   :D

Like blueeyeddevil and Unblinking, the line
Quote
'-one morning he didn't wake up, because of the knife in him.'
was my favorite.




Marguerite

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 305
    • Cast of Wonders
Reply #17 on: October 14, 2010, 03:46:28 PM
I fell instantly and deeply in love with the story as soon as I heard it.  Crying on the treadmill was a fascinating new experience.  I've been trying to process my thoughts into something coherent or insightful ever since. 

But I can't, I really can't.  I just have to love it as a whole and let that be enough.  There is something deeply touching and pure about a monster that knows it's a monster and yet does good anyway, even with the occasional failure, that just wrenches my heartstrings.

I have to give a gigantic virtual hug to Norm Sherman for the reading on this.  Every time he read "Mister?" - "Yes, little girl?" was subtly different, perfectly done.

And Alasdair?  Thank you for reminding me of a story I haven't thought about since 6th grade.

Alea Iacta Est!


ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #18 on: October 14, 2010, 04:38:56 PM
The whole story felt like a "been there, done that, bought the proverbial one-size-doesn't-fit-anybody T-shirt" experience.

For me, the story was a beautiful allegory. It didn't need to be original - frankly, originality is a little overrated in my book - because it was beautiful.

Creature reminded me too much of Dr. Frankenstein's monster.

I saw zero points of similarity, except for the whole "sympathetic yet monstrous" thing. Frankenstein's monster was an artifact of one man's mad ambition, Creature was an accident of nature; Frankenstein's monster was brutish and uncontrolled, Creature was erudite and (mostly) gentle. Frankenstein's monster just wanted to be accepted, Creature wanted to make the world a better place, to change it until it would accept him; Frankenstein's monster is simply brutally strong, while Creature's telepathy added a very interesting dimension. There's not a lot of similarity in my mind.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


Windswept

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Reply #19 on: October 14, 2010, 07:33:12 PM
I liked this story if a bit predictable, but I must admit I did not see the turret crabs coming, the idea had me smiling all day ;-)
 



Max e^{i pi}

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1038
  • Have towel, will travel.
Reply #20 on: October 14, 2010, 11:40:23 PM

Creature reminded me too much of Dr. Frankenstein's monster.

I saw zero points of similarity, except for the whole "sympathetic yet monstrous" thing. Frankenstein's monster was an artifact of one man's mad ambition, Creature was an accident of nature; Frankenstein's monster was brutish and uncontrolled, Creature was erudite and (mostly) gentle. Frankenstein's monster just wanted to be accepted, Creature wanted to make the world a better place, to change it until it would accept him; Frankenstein's monster is simply brutally strong, while Creature's telepathy added a very interesting dimension. There's not a lot of similarity in my mind.
Frankenstein's monster was born(?) into a world that he didn't choose to be born into, nor did he choose the form he was given. He was sort of destined to be brutish and scary.
And yet he abhorred his "nature" and turned against it. (I'll admit that not at the end, but still, his intentions were good.)
Creature was in a similar situation. He took his brutishness further, but he also reformed further, not falling back and going off on some strange quest to drive his creator insane (or dead). On the contrary, he created a new image of his mother to help him uphold his better traits.
In a sense, he's the monster Frankenstein's monster should be. A little more extreme than him, but the same, nonetheless.

And originality isn't overrated, it's what drives people. It's what keeps us, as a race from stagnating. The business people like to call it "innovation", but it's the same thing. Without new ideas, where would we be? This is true in business, programming, engineering and yes, in art too.
I'm not saying the story is completely derivative, I'm just saying that there wasn't enough "innovation". The story didn't have me hooked, because I knew the whole thing already.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 11:43:19 PM by Max e^{i pi} »

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!



Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #21 on: October 15, 2010, 05:53:50 AM
Well, the problem is that Shelley's Monster is entirely defined by his relationship with his creator. Trying to do a one to one comparison with a creature who is clearly magical (we are comparing SF with F here), has no living creator, and for whom his only special gift is a super-human strength and keen intellect doesn't quite work. Frankenstein crafts the Monster into a world that isn't ready for him, and then abandons the Monster because "the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart", which is where the resentment from the Monster starts to come in.

I'm not saying there's no comparison to be made here, but I can't really view Creature as Monster+magic — too much of the DNA is altered between them. Creature has no Victor Frankenstein to go after — he begins life having apparently caused his mother's death, and his father (literally half a man) can't handle the loss of her. Creature and Monster both learn of humanity by observation, but Creature can manipulate humanity into tolerance in small groups and Monster is just attacked.

I mean, look, there are lots of monster stories. It's a Horror subgenre that I'm sure Pseudopod's slush readers will have to wade through unto the end times. But to argue that this isn't original enough because it shares some of those common tropes of the genre is silly. At several points this story hits forks in the road where Creature could have travelled down Monster's path, but instead it clearly took the other path.

We can argue that Creature's psychological state is what Monster would have progressed to if he'd been a magical shape shifter of great supernatural powers, wanted to make everyone else happy instead of just be accepting of him, if he hadn't had a living creator to blame and feel great anger towards (justifiably!) but was instead born of woman instead of stitched and shocked into being by man. But then Luke Skywalker's just Starbuck with the Force, a father that's mostly on the evil side of thing, carrying the fate of a galaxy on his shoulders instead of just the lives of a rag-tag fleet of survivors, and (in the better version of those events) a Y chromosome.

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


Max e^{i pi}

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1038
  • Have towel, will travel.
Reply #22 on: October 15, 2010, 07:23:07 AM
I'm not trying to do a one to one comparison.
All I'm saying is that I found this story to be "meh". Call it mediocre to good. On a scale of 1-10, probably a 6.
Why? Because it was too predictable. In addition, it kept sending me on flashbacks to other stories/movies/books/games/etc' and I didn't mind "missing" any of the action while I was reminiscing, because I knew what happened before it did.
And yet I still enjoyed this.
Why? Because of Norm's excellent (as usual) reading. He bumped this story from a 6 to a 9.

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!



DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #23 on: October 15, 2010, 04:07:40 PM
I'm not trying to do a one to one comparison.

Fair enough, but I think if you look back at your original post, and specifically, your second post, hopefully you can understand why people got that impression. I myself was kind of curious by you saying "Creature reminded you too much of Frankenstein's Monster," because the choices Creature and the monster make seem to go in such opposite directions. So if you do want to go more into that, I'd personally be curious to hear. If you don't, that's cool too.

And yet I still enjoyed this.
Why? Because of Norm's excellent (as usual) reading. He bumped this story from a 6 to a 9.

This part I can totally grok, and it makes me happy to hear people say. "Creature" was a story I've wanted to run ever since Anna and I got here, but like the Kelly Link story, we knew it all depended on finding the right narrator. And like with that one, I think Norm Sherman really made this story in audio.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback  :)

 


Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #24 on: October 15, 2010, 10:57:53 PM
Well, I thought this was just wonderful. Regardless of the predictability of it or what have you, what really made it great for me was the relationship between the little girl and Creature. They both had a need and in finding each other they fulfilled that need for each other. The little girl needed a pal and protector, Creature needed a friend and someone to help him become more human. Loved it.

To my mind it seemed a deliberate play on the Frankenstein theme, but with a happy ending instead of tragedy. Not a direct comparison obviously since Creature didnt have a "creator," but the parallels to me were too striking to set aside as coincidental. I think it was meant to be a play on the emotional part of the Frankenstein tale, only utilizing the parts of the story that fit.



Boggled Coriander

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 545
    • Balancing Frogs
Reply #25 on: October 16, 2010, 12:00:58 AM
I haven't listened to this story yet -- big podcast backlog after a hectic couple of weeks.

But I want to say that I read the story excerpt above, and I so naturally heard it in Norm Sherman's voice.  I mean, who else?

Looking forward to listening to this one.

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


internalogic

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 33
Reply #26 on: October 16, 2010, 12:07:05 PM
This story is beautiful and it's breaking my heart.

about 7 minutes left.

*listening*

There.  It's finished.

And that last sentence kicked literary gluteus.  Thank you.



Max e^{i pi}

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1038
  • Have towel, will travel.
Reply #27 on: October 16, 2010, 05:50:08 PM
I myself was kind of curious by you saying "Creature reminded you too much of Frankenstein's Monster," because the choices Creature and the monster make seem to go in such opposite directions. So if you do want to go more into that, I'd personally be curious to hear. If you don't, that's cool too.


I'm not talking about their respective choices, I'm talking about.... well, I'm not exactly sure.
Random preamble: I don't like taking public transportation, and I don't own a car, so I mostly walk from place to place. It takes longer, but I enjoy it more, and the exercise is an added bonus.
And that's when I listen to podcasts. I load a bunch onto my phone, plug my headphones in and start walking. I freely admit that I am therefore subject to external stimuli and that sometimes it affects my opinion on the podcast, or the story.
In this case, I didn't see any monsters or crazy doctors. (Frankenshtein) But, while I was waiting at a traffic light I realized I had been thinking of Monster, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out why.
Later, while digesting the story, I think it may be because Creature and Monster have similar histories.
(Yes, I know that life is a series of choices that you make, and since I already said that they made different choices their lives can't possibly be the same. But read on before flaming.)
Both of them are something new that world has never seen before, and in both cases the world was not prepared to accept them.
Yes Monster was created on purpose and Creature was the unholy union of a woman, half a man and post-apocalyptic chemicals. It doesn't matter. In both cases their "birth" was strange, unusual, and unacceptable by everybody, except perhaps the parties responsible for said birth.
Another thing.
I'm going to oversimplify here. If we were to draw the world in black and white, then both Monster and Creature found the rest of the world guilty of putting them in the black, when they clearly intend white.
Monster wanted to love and to feel loved, but was scorned. Creature wanted to make people feel happy, and help the little girl, but was accosted by the Black Clads, the crazy preacher, and the bridge denizens.
And this is where, in my opinion, they diverge. Monster took this very hard, and went on to lead his creator to his death, but not before driving him insane.
Creature simply understood that people suck, and will no longer have anything to do with them. He took the little girl and his compassion and fled to the wastelands.

Sometimes you just get this weird thought and you wonder where it came from. Sometimes you can backtrack your train of thought, other times you can't, but you may be able to reconstruct the reasoning.
That's what (I think) I did here. I hope I made some kind of sense, it's all so clear to me, but putting thoughts down into the written word can be hard.

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!



Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4880
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #28 on: October 19, 2010, 06:09:47 AM
Hooray!  I'm finally in line with popular opinion! 

This story was awesome.  I love fables/allegories/fairy tales, so my biggest complaint (or perhaps simply least favorite part) was that there was occasionally a too-naturalistic tone to the dreamlike narrative.  (I also didn't really care for the extended backstory infodump; the birth scene was sufficient, to my mind, and the rest could have been spread more evenly and easily throughout the rest of the story.)  Otherwise, very much enjoyed this one.  Reminded me of this quite a bit.

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #29 on: October 19, 2010, 01:26:44 PM
Hooray!  I'm finally in line with popular opinion! 

Wait, I must've read the story wrong.  I'm going to go listen to it again, I'm sure I can't agree with scattercat...

Nope, still just the shotgun bullets thing, I still like think it's great overall.   ;D



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #30 on: October 19, 2010, 06:58:22 PM
So who built this "creature". While the story is sweet, the unlikeliness of a "creature" ever existing ruined it. If any such creature existed, it would not give a care about a little girl.

You did notice that this story ran on Podcastle and not Escape Pod, right?

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


Nixelplix

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Reply #31 on: October 20, 2010, 02:05:11 AM
This story was great!  I saw it as a sort of Gamma World love story. The Creature and the Girl will rule the Waste! Woe to any of the evildoers (or anyone else for that matter) that dare trespass their domain!  I wonder what their kids will be like.



nem0fazer

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Reply #32 on: October 20, 2010, 04:59:47 AM
Wonderful. Thanks.



jjtraw

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 24
Reply #33 on: October 21, 2010, 01:13:43 PM
LOVED this story!
Creature: way less Frankenstein, way more Daikaiju.
Some kind of weird-ass rainbow peace-and-love attack!
I had to go listen to Radioactive Runaway again :)

-Jijit



Boggled Coriander

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 545
    • Balancing Frogs
Reply #34 on: October 21, 2010, 02:09:57 PM
Finally listened to this one.  Loved it.  Met my expectations.

It's kinda funny - if I'd read a synopsis of this story without listening to/reading it in full, I would have thought, "Friendship between unhappy child and monstrous beast.  Okay, so it may not be a proper cliche yet, but it is a well-worn trope."

And yet I barely registered such thoughts while listening, because of the excellent writing.  And Norm's reading bumped it up yet another notch.

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


internalogic

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 33
Reply #35 on: October 21, 2010, 05:51:30 PM
And yet I barely registered such thoughts while listening, because of the excellent writing.  And Norm's reading bumped it up yet another notch.

yes.




Rain

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 178
Reply #36 on: October 22, 2010, 12:08:49 PM
I really liked the story and would like to hear more from the same world, i didnt hurt that Norm was the narrator. Norm makes everything better  :D



icegirl

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 20
Reply #37 on: October 22, 2010, 09:25:32 PM
I enjoyed this one - just the idea that Creature could survive by making everyone around him feel better made me happy!



Faraway Ray

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 340
  • "I loved it!" "So? You also loved World War II!"
Reply #38 on: October 23, 2010, 02:21:58 PM
This story was great!  I saw it as a sort of Gamma World love story. The Creature and the Girl will rule the Waste! Woe to any of the evildoers (or anyone else for that matter) that dare trespass their domain!  I wonder what their kids will be like.

I'm a little creeped out that you immediately thought of a romantic relationship between the young child and the monster, as opposed to the blatantly obvious paternal one that the story was going for.

I really loved this story. I'm always a fan of odd monsters, particularly outsiders. It's rare that a story about a misunderstood creature doesn't end up crossing the line into angsty "woe is me" territory. I think this one works because a reader's sympathy is primarily placed on the girl. Well, that and the fact that Creature is seemingly nigh-invulnerable and could easily tear a man in half.


A story of lust, violence and jelly.

Well, Here I Am. My little slice of the blaggin' world.


gateaux

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 124
    • sketch blog
Reply #39 on: October 24, 2010, 10:02:47 PM
I really adored this story. At the end I was left wondering what that little girl would be like after growing up in ... monster land, or hell, essentially.
And I pictured creature to look like a Hayao Miyazaki character, like No-face in Spirited Away.




Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #40 on: October 25, 2010, 03:58:43 PM
And I pictured creature to look like a Hayao Miyazaki character, like No-face in Spirited Away

Oooh. Good call!



Maplesugar

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 34
Reply #41 on: October 25, 2010, 04:06:33 PM
And I pictured creature to look like a Hayao Miyazaki character, like No-face in Spirited Away

Oooh. Good call!

I agree- that's exactly how I thought of him.



gateaux

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 124
    • sketch blog
Reply #42 on: October 25, 2010, 05:23:58 PM
:D :D :D



jay daze

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Reply #43 on: October 27, 2010, 10:26:12 PM
AWESOME!!!  Effortless surreal landscape writing goodness.  More please!



That Hirschman Guy

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 22
Reply #44 on: November 28, 2010, 04:25:15 AM
I love this story. LOVE.  Norm's delivery needs no praise from me, but consider it given anyway.

I fell in love with creature wholly as the episode unfolded. My heart sank as I feared the worst for the little girl being shot at, and I confess I suspected Creature wouldn't know to surface for air when he plunged into the river... but I am glad he did.

A grand listening experience. Plus bonus for having Al speak after the ep!



FireTurtle

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 898
Reply #45 on: December 04, 2010, 03:55:07 AM
I <3 Creature!

Yes, this is a horribly late comment. I just finished my book-on-tape extravaganza and am now feverishly working my way through two-plus months of podcast backlogs.

This was an excellent story with Norm's voice as the cherry on top. Fascinating. And for those of you who bemoaned the "predictability" of the story, I find great comfort in familiar, fairy-tale type plot sequencing. I think to many authors go far astray of a decent story trying to be hip and original. Sometimes a new story told in familiar ways can open our eyes to the world before we lost our reading innocence.

Fabulous.

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin


LaShawn

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 550
  • Writer Mommies Rule!
    • The Cafe in the Woods
Reply #46 on: December 16, 2010, 05:24:23 PM
Awww...a girl and her blob. How cute.

I guess I was waiting for the story to creep me out, but it didn't. This disturbs me. On the other hand, I guess that's why it's here on Podcastle and not on Psuedopod, which I don't listen to because I'm afraid the stories will creep me out, which I don't like, but I wouldn't mind here, because...

TILT...TILT...TILT...

Thus said, it was an okay story. Loved the language. The semaphoric crows got my jaw dropped in awe. But yeah, other than that, I expected...more. Or maybe it's because I spent the last couple of months reading a lot of Neil Gaiman and Gene Wolfe, and my tolerance for dark, squishy stories have built up more.

::sideeyes Pseudopod and considers::

--
Visit LaShawn at The Cafe in the Woods:
http://tbonecafe.wordpress.com
Another writer's antiblog: In Touch With Yours Truly


kibitzer

  • Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2228
  • Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice
Reply #47 on: December 17, 2010, 01:46:06 AM
Awww...a girl and her blob. How cute.

ROFLMAO! "a girl and her blob", hehehe.


::sideeyes Pseudopod and considers::

Depends a lot on what creeps you out...


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #48 on: December 17, 2010, 02:50:22 PM
Awww...a girl and her blob. How cute.

And the blob didn't even need jellybeans!

I guess I was waiting for the story to creep me out, but it didn't. This disturbs me.

I guess it creeped you out, once removed?




Wilson Fowlie

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1473
    • The Maple Leaf Singers
Reply #49 on: December 20, 2010, 06:45:19 PM
I guess I was waiting for the story to creep me out, but it didn't. This disturbs me.

I guess it creeped you out, once removed?

Heh.

"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


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #50 on: May 14, 2014, 02:03:20 PM
I put this story on my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time list, at #49:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/05/the-best-podcast-fiction-of-all-time-41-50/