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Author Topic: PC127: The Belated Burial  (Read 12575 times)

DKT

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on: October 20, 2010, 04:38:40 AM
The Belated Burial


by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Read by Amy Elk

Originally published in Subterranean Online (Read the text)

Being buried when one is fully conscious and keenly aware of the confines of her narrow house and the stink of cemetery soil, these things are terrible, but, as she has learned, there is always something incalculably worse than the very worst thing that she can imagine. Miss Josephine has had centuries to perfect the stepwise procession from Paradise to Purgatory to the lowest levels of an infinitely descending Hell, and she wears her acumen and expertise where it may be seen by all, and especially where it may be seen by her lovers (whether they are living, dead, or somewhere in between). So, yes, Brylee objected, but only the halfhearted, token objection permitted by her station. And then she did as she was bidden. She dressed in the funerary gown from one of her mistress’ steamer trunks, the dress, all indecent, immaculate white lace and silk taffeta; it smells of cedar and moth balls. Amid the palest chrysanthemums and lilies, babies breath and albino roses, she lay down in the black-lacquered casket, which is hardly more than a simple pine box, and she did not move. She did not make a sound. Not breathing was, of course, the simplest part. Miss Josephine laid a heavy gold coin on each of her eyelids before the mourners began to arrive, that she would have something to give the ferryman.

“She was so young,” one of the vampires said, the one named Addie Goodwin.

“Your sorrow must be inconsolable,” said another, the man whom they all call simply Signior Garzarek, who came all the way from New York for the mock-somber ceremony in the ancient yellow house on Benefit Street.


Rated R: Violence, Sex, and Disturbing Themes
« Last Edit: November 09, 2010, 12:20:10 PM by Heradel »



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #1 on: October 20, 2010, 04:42:01 AM
I am King Under the Mountain, and this is the first post!

*Ahem*

So, I liked this one. True, nothing much happened, but it was a beautifully creepy, dirty, atmospheric little piece that reminded me of all the beset parts of the entire Anne Rice canon, but short, and therefore without the bad parts. In fact, I will expound further on how much I liked this piece's length and pacing. It was exactly as short as it needed to be: any longer and the non-action would have dragged, and any shorter and it would have been, as my younger brother once put it "into the decimal."

He was trying to say "infinitesimal."

Anyway.

This one gave me shivers in all the right and wrong places. Wonderful. Would listen to again. Five out of five zeppelins.

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Swamp

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Reply #2 on: October 20, 2010, 11:02:23 PM
I think this tale does a good job of stradddling the funk of a new take on a classic theme, vampires, without going the True Blood / Twilight route.  It feels somewhat older in writing style, but is also very fresh.  The subject matter of being buried alive falls in perfect synch with my mindset as of late after recently narrating "The Premature Burial" by Edgar Allan Poe for my own personal pleasure.  I also enjoyed Amy Elk's narration.

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Unabridged Chick

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Reply #3 on: October 21, 2010, 01:08:12 AM
This was my first Pod Castle podcast, and my very first fiction podcast so I didn't know what to expect.  The story was great: I definitely inwardly groaned at the mention of vampire, but I was surprised by the real creepy feel of the characters.  I especially liked the narrator -- lovely, velvety voice!

My favorite part was Brylee's question about the girl's name -- it was poignant and touching and cruel all at once.



SacredCaramel

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Reply #4 on: October 21, 2010, 03:38:42 AM
This one just didn't do it for me.  I was in a state of "ungrippedness" for all of it, and it just left me thinking, "That's it?  Meh."  It could just be me; I freely admit to being sick to death of erotic vampire stories. 



DKT

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Reply #5 on: October 21, 2010, 03:46:43 AM
This was my first Pod Castle podcast, and my very first fiction podcast so I didn't know what to expect.  The story was great: I definitely inwardly groaned at the mention of vampire, but I was surprised by the real creepy feel of the characters.  I especially liked the narrator -- lovely, velvety voice!

My favorite part was Brylee's question about the girl's name -- it was poignant and touching and cruel all at once.

Wow, that's awesome. Thanks for stopping by!


Unblinking

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Reply #6 on: October 21, 2010, 01:11:59 PM
This one had a great idea, interesting characters, and a creepy setup.  The idea of a "live" burial being a vamp tradition is particularly interesting, but to me it was but half a story.  The most interesting part was the sounds of the passage of the great unknown but that lasted a few lines and then it was gone.  Also, since she doesn't have to breathe, the stakes in this are low as can be.  Her mistress herself said that she'd had to dig her own way out of a grave--I'm guessing that's what's going to happen here too, but even so that doesn't really give me much reaction--she's more than capable of doing so, after all.  Sure, digging out would be unpleasant, but not life threatening or really damaging in any way.



blueeyeddevil

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Reply #7 on: October 21, 2010, 01:19:23 PM
This one just didn't do it for me.  I was in a state of "ungrippedness" for all of it, and it just left me thinking, "That's it?  Meh."  It could just be me; I freely admit to being sick to death of erotic vampire stories. 

The 'Erotic Lesbian Vampire Fiction' label is a big hump (forgive the word choice) to overcome, in fact, 'erotic-vampire' anything has a lot to answer for...
I don't think this story overcame said hump.
A lot of good honest ink and paper(more recently, electron and pixel) has been slain in the pursuit of purple-prosed blood/sex fetishism.

This genre suffers from the same problem all, yes, I mean all erotic fiction suffers from:
Eroticism and its triggers vary on a person by person basis, as such, all erotic fiction is by definition subcategorized and specialized. Even the 'vanilla' Harlequin stuff can generally be categorized as: 'heterosexual, white, bourgeois tales ending in long-term commitment/marriage.' (I know this is a tendency, not an absolute. Save your words, Harlequin fans.) People into different things will likely be nonplussed by such stories.
Erotic fiction, by its very nature rarely has universal appeal, even if the main thrust (forgive the wording, once more) of the work isn't titilation.
I'm not personally offended when someone has a scene describing acts involving body parts I don't have, and erotics triggers that don't effect me (some people are), but I'm often bored.

Leaving all this aside:
This story, in my opinion, failed to acheive plot. Vignettes are fine, but again, a specialty work.

What was actually different at the end of the story? A giant thing moves in the deep, and the main character says 'oh, my master mentioned a giant thing...I hope she digs me up soon.' Meh.




stePH

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Reply #8 on: October 21, 2010, 03:41:59 PM
This one did nothing for me. After she was buried I was waiting for something to happen. And then the story ended.

I'm not the greatest fan of vampires either.

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internalogic

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Reply #9 on: October 21, 2010, 05:49:56 PM
It's important to say that this was very well-written.  Compared to our forebears, it's much less common today to linger over the sugestive beauty of a phrase or to wander through a descriptively layered paragraph.  This writing has the meditative quality of previous eras when reading was basically what you were going to do. 

But that was also kind of a problem for me, I guess.  There was an insular, pretentious quality to the protagonist's mistress.  But I kind of wound up generalizing that out to the story as a whole. 

The protagonist felt kind of overwrought and self-absorbed to me.  (Yes, I know she'd probably sigh contentedly over my remains after liberating my precious humors.  And then I'd be the one absorbed.  But I fear that directly after doing so, she'd start in with some maudlin reflection on how the moon is never as bright anymore as it used to be or something like that.)  I'm probably just reacting to an established theme in the vampire aesthetic or something.



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Reply #10 on: October 22, 2010, 05:19:56 AM
Win!

Doggone shovelheads.  Always mucking up a town.

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ElectricPaladin

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Reply #11 on: October 22, 2010, 05:38:27 AM
Win!

Doggone shovelheads.  Always mucking up a town.

*snerk*

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Talia

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Reply #12 on: October 22, 2010, 02:40:44 PM
Well, I thought that was splendidly creepy. Although I couldn't shake the impression that the protagonist was a child, so the suggestive scenes were disturbing. Vampire pedophelia sucks. (ba dum ching).

I  like vampire stories myself. Vampires are probably my favorite monster.



icegirl

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Reply #13 on: October 22, 2010, 09:50:40 PM
The reading of this story was deliciously creepy - too bad the story itself was not much more than that. Creepy is great for Halloween, but I would have enjoyed a bit of a plot.



Loz

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Reply #14 on: October 22, 2010, 10:10:32 PM
What, you mean this wasn't a parody of goths?



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #15 on: October 22, 2010, 10:11:16 PM
This one just didn't do it for me.  I was in a state of "ungrippedness" for all of it, and it just left me thinking, "That's it?  Meh."  It could just be me; I freely admit to being sick to death of erotic vampire stories. 

The 'Erotic Lesbian Vampire Fiction' label is a big hump (forgive the word choice) to overcome, in fact, 'erotic-vampire' anything has a lot to answer for...

I have got to admit that - nothing personal - I am totally sick to death of this critique. The entire genre of "this story is close enough to this label that is widely disparaged and therefore not good" critique is boring and adds nothing. SacredCaramel, you do go on to to make some real points about the story, and for that I thank you, but you started there so I'm going to make my point.

So, the story is kinda sexy.

So, the story involves lesbian vampires.

So what?

The "Lesbian Vampire Erotica Hump" is entirely in your mind. It doesn't actually exist. The only person with a problem with lesbian vampire erotica is the person making the commentary. The silent disapproving majority of lesbian erotica-hating readers, whether or not they actually exist, is completely irrelevant in this case. Make your own points.

Which, later, SacredCaramel does, which is great.

But he begins by invoking the well known problems of lesbian vampire erotica... which is not so great.

I'm going to come out and say that I'm not a big fan of lesbian vampire erotica, myself. I mean, I'm not against it, exactly, but it isn't my thing. For me, this story had a lot of other things going on, and reducing it to one simplistic label does the story a great injustice.

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Reply #16 on: October 24, 2010, 05:50:47 PM
I enjoyed the writing, and the reading was fantastic.  Very atmospheric stuff, great mood setting.  Kind of a shame it didn't do much with the mood once it was established.  The story just sort of ended arbitrarily when I was wondering what was going to happen.  Now I can appreciate leaving uncertainty as to if she was going to be dug up or left there, but that didn't really seem to be a big question, and the consequences of her being left there weren't established. 



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Reply #17 on: October 24, 2010, 08:06:32 PM
I'm on the bandwagon when it comes to vampire stories.  :-\ It seems vampires no longer terrify as they once did, at least not to me.  I don't want my vampires to be mushy and all emotional. Tearing heads off in lakes of blood is what makes them vampires, no?  I did however enjoy this story, it was an interesting perspective to the much recycled genre.



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Reply #18 on: October 24, 2010, 09:33:47 PM
I completely fell in love with this story. It was so personal and the characterization was almost endearing. I find it hard to take vampires seriously, post-Twilight, but I'm trying to not let that ruin my vampire lit experiences. That being said, I loved this story and live burials give me the creeps! Definitely got me in the Halloween spirit!



SacredCaramel

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Reply #19 on: October 25, 2010, 02:34:00 AM
This one just didn't do it for me.  I was in a state of "ungrippedness" for all of it, and it just left me thinking, "That's it?  Meh."  It could just be me; I freely admit to being sick to death of erotic vampire stories. 

I have got to admit that - nothing personal - I am totally sick to death of this critique. The entire genre of "this story is close enough to this label that is widely disparaged and therefore not good" critique is boring and adds nothing. SacredCaramel, you do go on to to make some real points about the story, and for that I thank you, but you started there so I'm going to make my point.

So, the story is kinda sexy.

So, the story involves lesbian vampires.

So what?

The "Lesbian Vampire Erotica Hump" is entirely in your mind. It doesn't actually exist. The only person with a problem with lesbian vampire erotica is the person making the commentary. The silent disapproving majority of lesbian erotica-hating readers, whether or not they actually exist, is completely irrelevant in this case. Make your own points.

Which, later, SacredCaramel does, which is great.

But he begins by invoking the well known problems of lesbian vampire erotica... which is not so great.

I'm going to come out and say that I'm not a big fan of lesbian vampire erotica, myself. I mean, I'm not against it, exactly, but it isn't my thing. For me, this story had a lot of other things going on, and reducing it to one simplistic label does the story a great injustice.

Lest it be misquoted, I actually made no points, all the insight came from blueeyeddevil.

I freely admit to coming in and basically blowing a raspberry, and I stand by it.  In my opinion, and as it relates totally to me, this story had no substance worth commenting on.  For me, this was nothing but a marshmallow level vaguely erotic character study, that went nowhere.  It had potential, and could have been interesting, but this was like being served a beautiful-looking cake and discovering it was frosted in cool-whip and had no filling.

Was it well-written? Maybe, but it's been less than a week and I can barely remember anything about it.  The only thing it had to differentiate it from most pop-culture vamp stories is that it dealt with the aftermath of a full feeding -- something I have yet to see touched on in most of the genre, where the ultimate end of the "Food" is either quickly glossed-over, or turns into a gore-fest that would please today's movie-goers looking for a new SAW fix.

Am I sorry I heard it? No, it filled time on the road but that was about it for me.  I've heard many stories from Podcastle that I liked more, and this was definitely not the worst I've heard here.  I just didn't like it.