Escape Artists
September 25, 2018, 12:19:53 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2  All
  Print  
Author Topic: PC131: Skatouioannis  (Read 10947 times)
DKT
Friendly Neighborhood
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4980


PodCastle is my Co-Pilot


WWW
« on: November 17, 2010, 11:50:55 AM »

PodCastle 131: Skatouioannis

by Nick Mamatas

Read by David O. Englestad


Originally published in Lenox Avenue

The first time Skatouioannis made an appearance was the morning of the SATs. I had just started the ignition and was pulling out of the driveway when the ground gave way. It felt like I had hit a speed bump, or a kid, then it all went black. The edge of a shovel and a drizzle of broken glass woke me up – he was there, a silhouette with the sun behind his head, branches and telephone wires criss-crossing the sky, poking away at the windshield of my car, which was standing nearly straight up, the trunk and back seat in the sinkhole left by the collapsed septic tank. A mostly empty septic tank. The shovel came down hard.

I woke up in the hospital three days later, my first year’s tuition already spent on a new septic tank and driveway. Plus the medical bills. If there were big muddy footprints all around the front yard, they had been swept away before the doctors let me go home. Old, empty septic tanks collapse all the time, you know. It was another two seasons of mowing lawns for the little old ladies my mother knew from church before I actually got to go to school.


Rated R: For language, and other shit.

Cooks Source links: Copyright Follies

« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 11:47:34 AM by Talia » Logged

DKT
Friendly Neighborhood
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4980


PodCastle is my Co-Pilot


WWW
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2010, 12:16:10 PM »

A note about the Cooks Source thing: Since I recorded the intro, Cooks Source issued something of an apology to Monica Gaudio, and has made a donation to the charity she requested in lieu of pay. I...actually can't find that apology anymore. But there are reactions to it from John Scalzi and Nick Mamatas.

Now it seems that Cooks Source editor Judith Griggs has issued a second apology/rebuttal of the whole thing, essentially suggesting Gaudio never gave her a chance and that her reaction has destroyed Cooks Source. I haven't actually seen anyone's response to this second statement.

ETA: I stand corrected - here is Ms. Gaudio's response to the new "apology".

Anyway, I guess that's what happens when I record stuff "timely" things that won't go live for weeks. Still, thanks for listening, and hope you enjoyed the story!

Skatouioannis Skatouioannis Skatouioannis!!!!!!!!
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 04:16:32 PM by DKT » Logged

eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 6067



« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2010, 01:20:09 PM »

I enjoyed this story as long as I wasn't thinking about it too hard. But when I did, I started wondering - the toilet-digging-spirit started a cholera epidemic in Africa to stop the narrator from going there? Or was that a coincidence? Why was this one Greek kid so important to him?

The problem isn't exactly with this one plot point, so much as it's really hard for me to reconcile the different parts of the story into a coherent whole. It doesn't work as a metaphorical story for a 1st generation's immigrant's experiences because the method used to defeat the obstacle - sewage-eating nanotech - doesn't represent anything. It doesn't work as a story about a supernatural encounter in our world, since, even if we ignore the nanotech, none of the characters (esp. the girlfriends) acted the least bit believably. It does work as a fantasy alternate reality, but then it feels weird that it's set in Long Island, in a real immigrant community.

It did amuse me, and time went relatively fast in the gym as I was listening to it, but it's not a story that will stick with me in any way.
Logged
Listener
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3187


I place things in locations which later elude me.


WWW
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2010, 01:26:05 PM »

Cute, funny story. I'm 12 on the inside, so I love a good poop joke.

Enjoyed the reading.
Logged

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 6067



« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2010, 01:29:13 PM »

Oh yeah, forgot to mention the reading, which was pretty cool, and worked a lot towards my enjoying the story.
Logged
danooli
Moderator
*****
Posts: 1480



WWW
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2010, 05:00:38 PM »

I really really enjoyed this one.  Probably mostly because 1. I also really enjoy a good poop joke/story.  I guess I'm also 12!   Grin Mainly, though, I think it's because I am actually FROM where this story takes place. I grew up in the town between Port Jefferson and Stony Brook, 2 towns mentioned in the story.  (I'll forgive the author for creating a new road map since he was correct about the Long Island Rail Road  Wink )  There's a large Greek population in the area and a nice little Greek cafe right in downtown Port Jefferson Village.  Not to mention the beautiful Greek Orthodox Church on Sheep Pasture Road...

The story itself was pretty much all that eytanz wrote.  An enjoyable, amusing tale.  It will stick with me, but I think that might be for wishful thinking about the poo-eating nanobots cleaning up the Sound!
Logged
Boggled Coriander
Lochage
*****
Posts: 545



WWW
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2010, 05:21:41 PM »

Man, PodCastle comedies have been on a real winning streak for me lately, and I have yet to hear a Nick Mamatas story I haven't liked.  I really enjoyed this, and even though the nanotech was obviously going to be more than just window dressing, I was pleasantly surprised by how it figured in the ending.
Logged

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest
iamafish
Matross
****
Posts: 261



WWW
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2010, 07:11:56 PM »

This one didn't really work for me at all. I didn't find it all that funny and never really got into it. I think I was slightly distracted while listening to some of it, but that may be because it pretty much failed to grab my attention and hold it for very long.
Logged

Anarquistador
Matross
****
Posts: 267


Servant of Fire


WWW
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2010, 11:26:58 PM »

Wait, THAT's what "Malacha" means?
 Angry

Excuse me, I have some childhood acquaintances I need to hunt down and put to the sword...
Logged

"Technology: a word we use to describe something that doesn't work yet."

- Douglas Adams

http://www.thereviewpit.com
http://thesuburbsofhell.blogspot.com
ElectricPaladin
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1005


Holy Robot


WWW
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2010, 02:16:23 AM »

Eh... I didn't like this one much. Maybe I'm just in a grumpy mood, as I didn't like the other Podcastle story I listened to today (Chemical Magic). I guess the main character kind of annoyed me. He had this smug acceptance of his parents' Greckomania that I found kind of offputting... Maybe I'm just off identity stories right now and should go read some comforting stories about aliens. I dunno.

My final reaction was a resounding "meh." There were moments I loved, moments that made me squirm a little (in the bad way, not the good way), and a lot of moments that I'll probably forget in a week.
Logged

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2010, 09:41:31 AM »

I work with a few Greeks, though in Minnesota not New York.  Even multiple generations after immigration they are much more family and tradition oriented than my family, the Norwegian on my mom's side or the German on my dad's side.  On the Norwegian side the only pointers to tradition are:  1.  my late Grandpa's love of Ole and Lena jokes.  2.  ethnic foods like lutefisk and lefse.  3.  The Lord's Prayer in needlework in Norwegian on my Grandma's kitchen wall.  On the German side... I don't know of anything that really links to the heritage.

Anyway, the story was cute.  Not bad, not among my favorites.  I liked the Greek family perspective.  I thought the haunting demon was interesting, though it would've been nice if there had been some reason why this particular fellow gets to be the butt of it. 

The only real problem I had with it was that I didn't realize that Skatouioannis was a shit-demon until that became important to the story.  I mean, I know he backed up the toilets at the parents' house, but I interpreted that as just one in a string of pranks and interferences of various types, and that they didn't all have to be poo-related.  I didn't realize he was strictly fecal-focused until the nanos got him, and then it referred to him as a "shit demon", at which point I was caught by surprise--I figured they'd eat the poo off his clothes, but not actually him.

I've never heard of Skatouioannis, I'm guessing it's closely rooted with "scatalogical"?  Smiley
Logged
Wilson Fowlie
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1467


WWW
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2010, 01:46:32 PM »

I didn't mind this story, though I didn't think it was all that funny.  I laughed in a couple of places, though. 

Dave, I think you may have done the story a disservice by building it up as hilarious in the intro.  Humour is very subjective.  It might have been better just to say that you found it hilarious (which I expect you meant to imply by saying it's funny, but some people will take it as you meaning it's intrinsically funny for everyone).

I liked that the author had a 'magic vs. technology' battle sorts and liked even more that the technology won.

Like eytanz and Listener, I liked the reading, though I felt that the completed recording could have used a going-through to remove all the mouth-smacking noises, which got distracting at times.  (And yes, I do go through my own recordings and remove at least the worst of those noises.)

The only real problem I had with it was that I didn't realize that Skatouioannis was a shit-demon until that became important to the story.

I got it a little sooner than that.  I was able to relate the English translation of his name - "Shitty John" [hah! just got the pun in the second name there] - to the poo-related 'pranks', which were, of course, not really pranks at all, but measures to keep George from leaving home.

What I didn't get was why Skatouioannis was doing all that crap.  Did I miss a mention somewhere that the MC's parents had invoked him in order to keep their kid at home and 'safe' (perhaps accidentally, as a result of the childhood threats they dumped on him)? Or was Skatouioannis doing all that on his own recognisance, just to be an asshole*?



*(See what I did there? Wink )
Logged

"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
Scattercat
Caution:
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4847


Amateur wordsmith


WWW
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2010, 05:20:51 PM »

Skatouiannis was the threat that enforced the parents' less appealing instructions ("Eat your greens" etc.)  I suspect that the parents' desire for their son to stay close to home and the old ways and not assimilate is really the unspoken driving force behind the haunting.  The son doesn't want to, but the threat of the boogeyman keeps him in line.

(Skato - root for, indeed, scatological; Iannis = Janus/Johannus = John.)
Logged

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book
birdless
Lochage
*****
Posts: 581


Five is right out.


« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2010, 01:38:11 AM »

This one is very hard for me to rate: my attention kept drifting off, though i found the character likable, and parts of the story were cool, funny, gross and completely blank because my attention wandered. I think the narrator did a good job—that is to say, i think it was the story that kept losing my focus, rather than the reader.
Logged
Anarquistador
Matross
****
Posts: 267


Servant of Fire


WWW
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2010, 09:24:22 AM »

Yeah, I thought it was well written, and well read, but I think a lot of it just didn't appeal to me. I kept thinking that maybe if I was Greek I would get more enjoyment out of it.

I also kept thinking, "So...a Greek stereotype is basically what happens when an Italian stereotype and a Jewish stereotype have a baby?"
Logged

"Technology: a word we use to describe something that doesn't work yet."

- Douglas Adams

http://www.thereviewpit.com
http://thesuburbsofhell.blogspot.com
Loz
Lochage
*****
Posts: 370


WWW
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2010, 09:28:06 AM »

Not so much a story as an action scene with a bit of scene-setting and an ending tagged on around it. I also forgot that it was supposed to have been funny until I came here to see what people thought of it. What was supposed to be the humorous bit, the fact that this was some poo-demon? I mean, I liked Dogma too, but come on.

So I'm not dumping on it for not being funny, just for not really being any good. Perhaps as a longer story with more fibre it might have passed easier for me.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2010, 09:34:23 AM »

Dave, I think you may have done the story a disservice by building it up as hilarious in the intro.  Humour is very subjective.  It might have been better just to say that you found it hilarious (which I expect you meant to imply by saying it's funny, but some people will take it as you meaning it's intrinsically funny for everyone).

That's a fair point.  I know a writer who submitted a story to particular magazine, referring to it in the cover letter as a "humorous story".  The editor liked it, but didn't think it was funny, and rejected it saying "if you hadn't said it was funny I would have been more likely to take it."
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2010, 09:35:41 AM »

Skatouiannis was the threat that enforced the parents' less appealing instructions ("Eat your greens" etc.)  I suspect that the parents' desire for their son to stay close to home and the old ways and not assimilate is really the unspoken driving force behind the haunting.  The son doesn't want to, but the threat of the boogeyman keeps him in line.

(Skato - root for, indeed, scatological; Iannis = Janus/Johannus = John.)

Sure, but why that family and no other family?  I've heard stereotypes about Greek families like that, so I suspect it must be fairly common, why is this the only one with an infernal fecal fiend?
Logged
Scattercat
Caution:
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4847


Amateur wordsmith


WWW
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2010, 10:05:34 AM »

Skatouiannis was the threat that enforced the parents' less appealing instructions ("Eat your greens" etc.)  I suspect that the parents' desire for their son to stay close to home and the old ways and not assimilate is really the unspoken driving force behind the haunting.  The son doesn't want to, but the threat of the boogeyman keeps him in line.

(Skato - root for, indeed, scatological; Iannis = Janus/Johannus = John.)

Sure, but why that family and no other family?  I've heard stereotypes about Greek families like that, so I suspect it must be fairly common, why is this the only one with an infernal fecal fiend?

Who says they are?

Skatouioannis in particular is based on a sewage man of the same name from the protagonist's father's "tiny village," so I presume the reason he personally isn't involved elsewhere is because no one else from that village made it to America and told their kids about him.
Logged

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book
Talia
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2680


Muahahahaha


« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2010, 11:05:11 AM »

So I'm not dumping on it for not being funny, just for not really being any good. Perhaps as a longer story with more fibre it might have passed easier for me.

*snicker*

I see what you did there.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!