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Author Topic: EP264: St. Darwin’s Spirituals  (Read 7686 times)
eytanz
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« on: October 28, 2010, 01:58:05 PM »

EP264: St. Darwin’s Spirituals

By D. K. Thompson
Read by Mur Lafferty

---

The ghosts wanted a threesome – the two of them in Lucy’s body. It wasn’t an unheard of proposition, or so Lucy had been told. Prostitutes considered psychic whoring one of the safest tricks on the streets. All the pleasures of intimacy without the messy clean-up.

Ghosts had a nasty reputation for vanishing the moment after, though, no matter the talisman around your neck or the potion drunk before sunset, and so payments were usually collected up front. Not that Lucy was worried about the money. Her husband was the only thing that concerned her.

She adjusted her brass and leather goggles, peering through the ethereal tinted lenses to examine the ghosts.

They looked like the average apparitions. Both female. One spiraled around Lucy, long and curly hair obscuring her face. Large black blotches covered her body, causing her skin to peel off in patches. The other hovered several feet above the cobblestones in front of Lucy. She had a noose around her throat and her neck was bent so her head hung to the left side. She crossed her arms and took several breaths. Or whatever passed for breaths in the afterlife.

How long had it been since they’d felt someone’s touch? Lucy wondered. She remembered something her husband had told her long ago, before the murders, before he’d disappeared. “Spirits linger in this world longing to be a part of it, to reconnect, to have some kind of physical, sensual experience,” Thomas had said. “Only a host can provide them that.”

Ghosts aren’t the only creatures haunted by the memory of a touch, my love, Lucy thought. And yet, despite being a devout spiritualist, she shuddered at the idea of the cadaverous spirits making love inside her. She’d never had a ghostgasm before, much less been paid for one. The ghosts looked sincere in their desire, not like dangerous murderers. Certainly not monsters. Still, lonely as she was, a ghostgasm wouldn’t help her find Thomas.


Rated R For paranormal sexual situations.

Show Notes:

  • Enjoy our Halloween episode, which mixes a bit of paranormal in with our science fiction. Hey, it’s a special holiday, and we’re apt to get a little crazy around here.
  • If listeners want some lighter Halloween fun, “Horrorworld,” DK’s short story collaboration with Kevin David Anderson, is running as a two-part special at Drabblecast this Halloween. If people have ever had a desire to see Yul Brynner fight zombies, that’s the story for them.
  • Feedback for Episode 256: The Mermaids Singing Each to Each.
  • Next week… A special election day episode!



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 03:05:06 PM by eytanz » Logged
stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 02:04:56 PM »

Is this the same story that ran on Variant Frequencies?

If so, I'll still listen... at least this one won't have Dani Cutler's heinous attempt to affect a British accent.


[edit]
...wait, why is this on Escape Pod, not Podcastle? Aside from DKT being the main host of PC, I mean?
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2010, 02:47:22 PM »

...wait, why is this on Escape Pod, not Podcastle? Aside from DKT being the main host of PC, I mean?

Wasn't Darwin a champion of science?  So why not science fiction?  Turns out there was more to the story than he first imagined.  Now, you must follow the path of one with more wisdom--one who has helped us see the source of both our biological and spiritual natures.  I refer to the one and only St. Darwin.  Put on your goggles, people, and prepare to see the truth.
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 03:46:08 PM »

Is this the same story that ran on Variant Frequencies?

It is the same story, although it's a slightly different version that appeared in the Triangulation: Dark Glass anthology (thanks for giving me an excuse to link to that Wink)!
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Boggled Coriander
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 06:05:10 PM »

Very cool!  I have to admit I couldn't quite get through this one when it was on VF.  It wasn't any one reader's fault; something about the production just caused it to not mesh with my head.  I'm excited to have another chance to listen!
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2010, 09:25:48 AM »

...wait, why is this on Escape Pod, not Podcastle? Aside from DKT being the main host of PC, I mean?

Wasn't Darwin a champion of science?  So why not science fiction? 


Because ghosts have nothing to do with science. They belong in the fantasy or horror genre.


It is the same story, although it's a slightly different version that appeared in the Triangulation: Dark Glass anthology (thanks for giving me an excuse to link to that Wink)!
Any time, Dave  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2010, 10:15:16 AM »

Arguments about whether this was horror, sci-fi, or fantasy aside, I reallly enjoyed this story. I liked the world that it built, and the story that was told in it. I would love to see more stories set in this world, although not necessarily about Lucy.
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2010, 10:36:20 AM »

You're in luck on both counts.  Check out "Heart of Clay".  Happy Halloween!
« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 11:20:38 AM by Swamp » Logged

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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2010, 06:29:31 PM »

Listened today. A good story... but science fiction it ain't, and Norm's intro indicates y'all damn well knew it. If this were still the pre-Podcastle days, I would understand running it here. But since there's a better-suited EA podcast for this story... why?  Huh
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2010, 06:48:47 PM »

A good story... but science fiction it ain't, and Norm's intro indicates y'all damn well knew it.

Even Mur's show notes indicated it was a stretch for sci-fi.  I don't think they were trying to hide it.  (And my previous comment was tongue in cheek, btw.  I really wasn't really trying to pass it off as scifi  Tongue.)

If this were still the pre-Podcastle days, I would understand running it here. But since there's a better-suited EA podcast for this story... why?  Huh

I think Mur may have answered that as well.  It's Halloween, so they went for something more supernatural.  My guess is she liked it so she wanted to read it.  I agree that last year's Halloween episode, "Infestation" by Garth Nix, was an excellent example of how to achieve both scifi and Halloween.

I also agree that this is a good story.
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2010, 09:17:10 PM »

Ah, but this story was science fiction, see?  It's science fiction set in a universe where the rules of science are different, that's all!

Anyway, my only problem is, with a story that contains the confluence of the character names Lucy and Ethel, how come Norm thought of "The Golden Girls" first?
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2010, 09:45:30 PM »

Ah, but this story was science fiction, see?  It's science fiction set in a universe where the rules of science are different, that's all!

This.

We're a genre podcast, but we're not going to wear it like a straightjacket. We all have to let our hair down sometime.
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eytanz
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2010, 12:48:31 PM »

I very much enjoyed this story. I liked the world building, and the characters came through very clearly.

I was also confused by the Golden Girls reference; "Lucy & Ethel" certainly trumps "Rose" as a reference in my head.
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2010, 05:17:47 PM »

Reminds me, I really should read "Immortality, Inc" again sometime.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2010, 07:00:32 PM »

Anyway, my only problem is, with a story that contains the confluence of the character names Lucy and Ethel, how come Norm thought of "The Golden Girls" first?

Maybe Norm spends every round looking at Bea Arthur nudes  Tongue
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« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2010, 09:15:32 AM »

SF or not SF, it fitted the moment and, if it had been on PC instead of here, I would have missed it. Curiously, I found my enjoyment enhanced by being able to read-along-a-mur. I had imagined this might be a conflicting experience but picked up the text today due to the danger of nodding off after a burst of work and a late lunch. Now I'm not sure if hearing or reading alone would have enhanced or diminished that experience. I suspect my overall impression might have been the same but with quite different niggles as some of the narrative sounded good but looked naff while other parts worked better as text than audio. There's a particular problem for those of us writing in 'Brit' because that's the voice in our heads and some of what is written doesn't work well with a different emphasis (rhythm, cadence and all that). Somebody earlier picked up on that, commenting on a version of this story read by someone trying to anglicise it (re-corrects spellcheck that wants to spell that with a 'z' - that's 'zed'!) and I know that I would have found that grating too. The Scots probably have it hardest though, I've heard one or two Scottish authors here and I know that what I'm hearing isn't quite what they were saying sometimes. Going the other way, we're inundated with Americanisms, videos and films to the point that we're incapable now of singing in English so we're probably quite good at sub-vocal reading in the accent of origin, at least insofar as we can find the right stereotype!  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2010, 11:38:59 AM »

Don't ya wish your girlfriend was hot like Bea?

Despite a surfeit of horror or horror-tinged stories round Stately Escape Artist Mansion recently this was certainly one of the better offerings of recent times and I'm glad to see there's another story in this universe already.
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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2010, 11:58:31 AM »

Whoa - just became a mattress! Grin
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2010, 01:01:50 PM »

I didn't quite get the connection of the ghosts with Darwin.  Maybe I'm missing some part of his studies, but the existence of ghosts seems to not have anything to do with evolution--in fact, it sort of contradicts it, in that we only see human ghosts, implying that humans are special in their afterlife existence--unless that's a specific species trait that gives us a survival advantage, I don't get why humans would be the only one to have ghosts.

The story was reasonably good.  The POV character was interesting, especially when it came to light that she was trying so hard to avenge a husband that spent all of his time sleeping around anyway, and that she's trying to not think about that part too much, instead idealizing him in retrospect.  There wasn't really anything about the writing that I disliked, I just don't think I tend to like "ghosts as a mundane part of existence" so much as the focal fantasy element.  The golems were much more interesting to me.

I didn't really get how the monster got killed though, did the ghosts diving into it somehow discombobulate it?  Or did the golems kill it?
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« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2010, 03:51:58 PM »

I didn't quite get the connection of the ghosts with Darwin.  Maybe I'm missing some part of his studies, but the existence of ghosts seems to not have anything to do with evolution--in fact, it sort of contradicts it, in that we only see human ghosts, implying that humans are special in their afterlife existence--unless that's a specific species trait that gives us a survival advantage, I don't get why humans would be the only one to have ghosts.

I think that was to emphasise the difference between their reality and ours, they have a reality in which ghosts exist, unlike ours (SPOILER ALERT! The boy doesn't see dead people, he's just really emotionally disturbed and will grow up to think his name is Tyler Durden) and it just so happens that Darwin figured that out too. Perhaps the life you lead determines how strong and together a ghost you are?
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