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Author Topic: PC141: The Bear In The Cable-Knit Sweater  (Read 7580 times)
Ocicat
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« on: January 25, 2011, 01:31:44 PM »

PodCastle 141: The Bear In The Cable-Knit Sweater

by Robert T. Jeschonek.

Read by Cheyenne Wright.


A PodCastle Original!

How’d you like to go through life looking like a werewolf, right down to the hair on your palms?  All thanks to the miracle of hypertrichosis, the disease that blasts hair growth into perpetual overdrive.

Welcome to my world.

Imagine the constant ridicule and abuse I put up with from day one.  Imagine being abandoned by my parents at age three, then juggled like a hot potato from one foster family to the next.  Always the freak, always the outcast, always the dog-faced boy.  Growing up to scrape by as a home-based telemarketer.  Hardly ever leaving my apartment, and then only with everything under wraps.  Always just hanging on to life and sanity by the skin of my teeth.

Imagine living like that, and maybe you’ll get it.  Maybe you’ll understand just how happy I was with Stan and the bears.

And why it hurt so unbelievably bad when I lost them.  Why that birthday party turned out to be my last happy night on Earth.


Rated PG:  Contains Some Violence
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 01:34:20 PM by Ocicat » Logged
ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2011, 07:54:37 PM »

I am the king under the mountain, and this is the first post.

What.

The.

Hell.

I loved this story, but man what. Man the mother f^%*ing what. This story was one brilliant, beautiful, (and bold and bearlike) pile of weapons grade nonsense. I loved it. I'd had a rough day on the job, and a little nonsense exactly what I needed.
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 01:45:52 AM »

What do you mean?  It was clear as crystal.  A classic tale of the oppression and revolution of tutu-clad bears.  I don't see the issue.  Smiley

It was a reasonably interesting premise ('bear' is really an escaped fairy-world bear) to set an "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!" story in.  I'm glad the story wasn't any longer, though, or it would have overstretched what that world could handle, I think.

I liked Cheyenne's reading, and the echo effects he used for the coliseum shouting and announcing.
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 03:26:06 PM »

I love how "fairy" was worked into the story along with "bear".  Tongue
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 04:46:41 PM »

Yeah, well... I did like the strangeness, but I have to say that the story itself felt thin. Especially the part in the fairy world followed a very simple pattern and delivered its message heavy handedly.
It also annoyed me that a whole part of the story was repeated verbatim. I really can't stand that narrative device - repeating a sentence to close a circle is fine, but not such a long part.
So, I didn't hate the story, but it didn't do much for me.
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tinygaia
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 05:10:28 PM »

Why, yes, Dave. Since you asked, I am entertained.

I love how "fairy" was worked into the story along with "bear".  Tongue
I know, right?

I laughed so hard I had to pull the car over. I was already tickled by the premise in the opening lines, but when Cheyenne broke out the echo effects, I lost it.

At first, I was waiting for the story to make sense, but eventually my logic button toggled off and I just went with it. Nearly an hour later, I said, "Wait a minute... that story didn't actually get around to making sense... Oh well." That's a good nonsense story, right there. During the bad ones, your inner critic hammers at the sides of your brain the whole time, reminding you that you haven't suspended your disbelief yet.

This one was fun.
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2011, 07:01:30 PM »

I gotta say, I think Cheyenne made this story.  I wouldn't have liked it half so much if I'd read it.  Having that buttery growl to give the lines just the right amount of over-the-top snarl really gave this story a whole new level.

It was fun, but it really was just as long as it needed to be and not much more.  Good times.
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blueeyeddevil
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2011, 06:34:53 AM »

Yeah, gotta agree about the narration; excellent. First time I can remember effects being used in an Escape Artists piece (doesn't mean it hasn't happened, just the first time I've noted and remembered it).

The story was a little abrupt, but I can shrug that off.

One thing, tutus yes, no sweater. Or did I miss it?
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2011, 09:40:01 AM »

I was looking forward to this one after being impressed by Jeschonek's story on Drabblecast this week but I didn't care for this one.

So, where was the sweater?  And what is "cable-knit" anyway, and how is that detail relevant enough to be worth the premium real estate in the title?  I believe in the importance of titles and so a title that means nothing to me is a huge missed opportunity.

So...  All "bears" are actually Fey skinwalkers or just the guy that the protagonist happened to be dating?  Why doesn't this guy turn into a bear when he crosses over?

So the Russian dude is what, a fairy?  Why does he have a Russian accent?  If he's just a regular Russian dude why does he have a Coliseum in Fairy?

Why does he suddenly unleash his fury at the end?  Why didn't he do it earlier and try to save his boyfriend?

Throughout the whole thing, it felt like two disparate stories that had been completed on their own, found to be unsatisfying by themselves, and so were brutally severed and slapped together with Crazy Glue.  Which didn't really improve the picture.  The initial scene just seemed to be there for the sole purpose of getting the spec element on the first page but served no real narrative purpose and gave away what little ending there was, also setting up a huge rift between that first scene and most of what came after, a rift that I never felt was really bridged.  It just seemed like it was hurriedly slapped together with no thought to how the final product would look.

There's just too many questions raised and glossed over, the story felt too hacked together, the ending was given away in the first lines, and I didn't come away with anything to really ponder.  This one not for me.
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DKT
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2011, 11:37:39 AM »

So, where was the sweater?

Angus is wearing a sweater at the beginning of the story - at his birthday party. Blink, and you miss it.

So...  All "bears" are actually Fey skinwalkers or just the guy that the protagonist happened to be dating?  Why doesn't this guy turn into a bear when he crosses over?

No, I don't believe that's suggested by the story. Stan is from Fairie. Angus is not. From my reading, the rest of the Boilermaker bears are not from Fairie either.
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2011, 12:19:36 PM »

So, where was the sweater?

Angus is wearing a sweater at the beginning of the story - at his birthday party. Blink, and you miss it.


Ah, apparently I am not unblinking as my name states, because I missed that.  Still, why put it in the title?  It was a briefly mentioned and completely irrelevant detail.  The sweater is not a result of any events in the story, does nothing to characterize the protagonist, does not foreshadow any event.  Its inclusion in the title implies that it is important but I can see no way in which it is important.
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hautdesert
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2011, 12:58:23 PM »

And what is "cable-knit" anyway,

Cable-knit

Another cable pattern

And another one  That one's actually a sweater, but not on a bear.

I could go on, there are jillions of different cable patterns.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some knitting to attend to.   Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2011, 01:22:28 PM »

There was kind of a strong disconnect, I have to agree.  I was expecting a considerably long period of durance in Faerie before we made it back to the opening scene, and I think the brevity in both real and story time had a chilling effect on the story as a whole.
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2011, 01:45:29 PM »

Quote
I was looking forward to this one after being impressed by Jeschonek's story on Drabblecast this week but I didn't care for this one.

I'm going to have to go with unblinking on this one.  I loved the narration - it made the piece.  The details in the story were vivid, and it has all the plot element that make a 'story' that some in other threads like to point to if they are not existent (On a Blade of Grass over in Escape Pod for example, which I quite liked) but here, IMHO, we have a case of all the structural pieces being there, but it not taking me anywhere that I did not roughly surmised after the first couple of paragraphs.  I as soon as Uri is introduced, I knew Stan was going to be turned into a bear, I knew Uri was going to be somehow responsible and Angus was going to try 'fix' the situation.

I had trouble with the ending as well.  Our protagonist has been in the Faire realm for a whole ten minutes and has no concept of the physical/magical rules of this realm, nor it's structure of power - yet is able to cause a bear revolution by grabbing a couple of faries?  OK, he's angry at the fact his lover has just been killed, but really?

I admit to liking the idea of this story, but I needed more background/world building in this farie realm if I was to suspend my disbelief and carry me through to the end.  Much like WIlson Fowlie, I liked the premise and the idea, I just really thought it needed to be expanded upon.  Sometimes leaving details to the imagination work, but here I feel it fell short.
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2011, 04:54:36 PM »

I'd forgotten that Jeschonek was the one who wrote The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake too, one of my faves of 2010.  So between that one and A Matter of Size, he's definitely got a style that I tend to dig.  I'll be watching for his name in the future.
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2011, 05:05:10 PM »

I could go on, there are jillions of different cable patterns.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some knitting to attend to.   Smiley

Hey, thanks for the links.  Smiley  Heather's trying to learn to knit, but so far she's doing just the most basic pattern possible, making scarves.

But...  now that I know what "cable-knit" is, I still have no idea why it's important enough to go in the title.
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icegirl
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2011, 03:15:50 AM »

But...  now that I know what "cable-knit" is, I still have no idea why it's important enough to go in the title.

Well... cables are made by twisting the stitches as you knit and this story was certainly twisted... I was half asleep the first time I listened to this, so I ran it back to the beginning to see if I had missed something, but it was just as weird and wonderful the second time as through my drowsy brain...
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Talia
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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2011, 09:48:29 AM »

I like the cable-knit detail myself, if only because the title sounds better than 'The Bear in the Sweater' would.
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stePH
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« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2011, 10:14:34 AM »

I like the cable-knit detail myself, if only because the title sounds better than 'The Bear in the Sweater' would.

I would have called it "The Bear vs. the Fairies"  Tongue
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« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2011, 10:59:22 AM »

A funny, fantastic bit of nonsense.  You definitely need to carry suspension of disbelief to the Nth degree with this one.  I have to agree that Cheyenne's reading was inspired.
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