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Author Topic: PC Miniature 55: Ghost Market  (Read 10324 times)

Heradel

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on: October 15, 2010, 04:26:22 PM
PodCastle Miniature 55: Ghost Market

by Greg van Eekhout

Read by Kane Lynch

Originally published in the Paper Cities anthology

Every third Tuesday of the month, they hold the ghost market beneath the Washington Street Bridge. You have to get there early if you want the best bargains, before the sun has a chance to warm the day.

“Hey, you wanna be a red-hot lover boy?”

I shrug. “Who doesn’t?”

Behind a folding table, in a stall built of PVC pipe and crinkled blue tarp, she’s shaped like a Willendorf Venus in a Che Guevara T-shirt. “Some people are scared to be red-hot lover boys,” she says, showing me an apparently empty beer bottle sealed with wax. “I knew this one personally. He was my neighbor. He fathered seventeen kids. Energetic, you know?” She winks. “He was in the act when his heart exploded.”

“How romantic,” I say, taking the bottle and holding it up to the gray-lilac sky. There’s nothing to see inside. “But that doesn’t sound like red-hot lover boy to me. It’s more like horny-old-man-who-wouldn’t-give-his-wives-a-break boy.”

Rated R: Violence and Disturbing Themes

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Pirvonen

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Reply #1 on: October 15, 2010, 06:38:57 PM
This story brought a tear to the eye of this middle-aged gay male.

Thank you.



lhoward

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Reply #2 on: October 16, 2010, 12:45:08 PM
Nice inventive story.  Really managed to pack a lot in to a short form.  Great story for the haunting season too.



danooli

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Reply #3 on: October 16, 2010, 01:31:02 PM
this was a nice mini.  although, i was convinced that the shopper was going to turn out to be the victims boyfriend, somehow trying to bring his ghost back to life.  am I correct in my assumption that the vendor of the ghost bottles was actually the murderer?  or was the cop/shopper arresting the vendor simply for selling the ghost of a murdered person?



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #4 on: October 16, 2010, 06:51:38 PM
As Greg van Eekhout said in his blog, this was a beautiful, nasty little piece.

I have to admit that I didn't like the reading so much, though.The reader seemed to be taking too much glee at parts of the story that should have been grim and hard-boiled, and he talked through his nose :(. I think he'd be a good reader, but this wasn't his story.

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Pirvonen

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Reply #5 on: October 17, 2010, 10:54:41 AM
Yeah, Paladin, the reader sounded rather a recently post-teenage frat than a hardcore police detective. At times, however, it seemed to fit the story really really well. Not always.



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Reply #6 on: October 18, 2010, 10:37:41 AM
I liked this story, very short and bitter



Unblinking

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Reply #7 on: October 18, 2010, 01:30:14 PM
This one didn't really do it for me.  The initial section made for a jarring POV switch only a few paragraphs in, and didn't really add to the story.  And almost all of it was too familiar to cop stories I've seen where a narcotics officer samples his own evidence bags--changing it to ghosts added a bit of a new flavor, but it still struck me as a simplified version of that story, and one where I never really get to know any character.



Loz

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Reply #8 on: October 18, 2010, 03:54:56 PM
am I correct in my assumption that the vendor of the ghost bottles was actually the murderer?  or was the cop/shopper arresting the vendor simply for selling the ghost of a murdered person?


I thought it was just the latter. What I don't get is why capturing the souls of the murdered is illegal when everything else seemed fine. But was the end of the story to mean that the cop actually ingests the ghosts he comes across while busting crims like the old guy here, a paranormal twist on the cop who deals with the pressures of the job by engaging in risky behaviour, or did I misunderstand?



DKT

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Reply #9 on: October 18, 2010, 04:21:22 PM
am I correct in my assumption that the vendor of the ghost bottles was actually the murderer?  or was the cop/shopper arresting the vendor simply for selling the ghost of a murdered person?


I think you can read it either way. Or additionally: if the vendor wasn't the actual murderer, that he colluded in the murder.

I thought it was just the latter. What I don't get is why capturing the souls of the murdered is illegal when everything else seemed fine. But was the end of the story to mean that the cop actually ingests the ghosts he comes across while busting crims like the old guy here, a paranormal twist on the cop who deals with the pressures of the job by engaging in risky behaviour, or did I misunderstand?

As far as why capturing murdered souls is illegal, my take was that it had more to do with the trafficking and profiting off of a violent crime against someone, as opposed to a natural death (Old guy who had a heart attack while having sex).

Inhaling the ghosts (heh...I love that I just wrote that) to me was kind of like a cop in deep cover who must engage in the crimes he's trying to prevent to make the case. In this world, they needed to verify a murder victim's ghost was being sold, and taking a taste is the only way to verify that. So, my read was that it's similar to what you mention, except it's actually a job expectation.


Unblinking

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Reply #10 on: October 18, 2010, 05:25:55 PM
As far as why capturing murdered souls is illegal, my take was that it had more to do with the trafficking and profiting off of a violent crime against someone, as opposed to a natural death (Old guy who had a heart attack while having sex).

And a natural extension to the selling of ghosts is the creation of a ghost.  So even worse than trafficking being a profitable side effect of murder, it may actually CAUSE more murder.  If there's enough demand for ghosts, then that's the quickest way to increase the supply.



internalogic

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Reply #11 on: October 18, 2010, 06:30:47 PM
I have to admit that I didn't like the reading so much, though.The reader seemed to be taking too much glee at parts of the story that should have been grim and hard-boiled, and he talked through his nose :(. I think he'd be a good reader, but this wasn't his story.

I thought there was a certain appeal to the reader/narrator's style.  I see what you mean that the story could have been read as a straight, hard-boiled kind of piece.  But I thought that this reader brought a kind of youthful, edgy, angsty, and vulnerable kind of energy to it.  Somehow that worked to bring out a certain poignance. 

(Makes me wonder just how many alternate reading styles could be drawn out of any one piece.)




DKT

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Reply #12 on: October 18, 2010, 08:06:04 PM
As far as why capturing murdered souls is illegal, my take was that it had more to do with the trafficking and profiting off of a violent crime against someone, as opposed to a natural death (Old guy who had a heart attack while having sex).

And a natural extension to the selling of ghosts is the creation of a ghost.  So even worse than trafficking being a profitable side effect of murder, it may actually CAUSE more murder.  If there's enough demand for ghosts, then that's the quickest way to increase the supply.

Right. Which is why I mentioned collusion  ;)


Unblinking

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Reply #13 on: October 18, 2010, 10:53:52 PM
As far as why capturing murdered souls is illegal, my take was that it had more to do with the trafficking and profiting off of a violent crime against someone, as opposed to a natural death (Old guy who had a heart attack while having sex).

And a natural extension to the selling of ghosts is the creation of a ghost.  So even worse than trafficking being a profitable side effect of murder, it may actually CAUSE more murder.  If there's enough demand for ghosts, then that's the quickest way to increase the supply.

Right. Which is why I mentioned collusion  ;)

Oh yeah.  I was responding specifically to that paragraph, hadn't been considering it with respect to the response above that.  :P



Katie

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Reply #14 on: October 20, 2010, 06:03:56 PM
I liked this story, and liked the ambiguity of what the captured ghosts were, and how that actually affected the POV character's experience of life. So, I guess I liked it as much for what was left unsaid, versus what was explained.



icegirl

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Reply #15 on: October 22, 2010, 09:06:44 PM
I loved this one. I'm guessing the reason for the black market is at least partly because people who die in their beds are less interesting than those that are murdered for their spirits?? Not sure if this makes a case for a boring, sedentry life or an exciting short one!



Ocicat

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Reply #16 on: October 24, 2010, 05:51:27 PM
Reminded me a lot of Tim Power's Earthquake Weather trilogy.  Mmm, ghost eating...



Obleo21

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Reply #17 on: October 31, 2010, 10:25:00 PM
I thought this story was awesome and (as far as I know) totally original.



kibitzer

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Reply #18 on: December 11, 2010, 05:28:52 AM
Reminded me a lot of Tim Power's Earthquake Weather trilogy.  Mmm, ghost eating...

Was wondering whether anyone would mention that. I've just now listened to it and felt like it was being written for a Tim Powers universe. Little bit on the unoriginal side for me.


LaShawn

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Reply #19 on: December 29, 2010, 05:13:35 PM
Brrr....creepy. Great story!

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yicheng

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Reply #20 on: January 03, 2011, 11:24:04 PM
I don't know I'd call it original.  It reminds me of Strange Days (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114558/) adapted to a fantasy setting.