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Author Topic: Pseudopod 226: The Sound Of Gears  (Read 4828 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: April 25, 2011, 12:53:24 PM »

Pseudopod 226: The Sound Of Gears

By Ferrett Steinmetz

This story was originally published in The Edge of Propinquity.

Read by Bob Eccles


“Bit by bit, he took apart his wife’s murderer, hammering the cracked windshield behind his desk like a strange map, tacking the rubber hoses in snakelike trails around the room, carefully nailing every gear and fanblade to each of the four walls until he sat at his desk, surrounded by the guts of a dead car.

He took the key out of the ignition and kissed it, then hung it on a silver chain around his neck.

‘Now,’ he said. ‘I am ready to begin.’




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2011, 10:10:23 PM »

<3 for this story, definitely.  I loved the moment of, "You... you shouldn't touch the car like that."  Awesome.

If I have a complaint, it's my usual one about things being made too obvious.  I tuned out a bit during the overly-lengthy explanation of the nifty concept, where we get a little lecture about the nature of the new god and the old god.  It felt unnecessary after the delightfully subtle story had worked so hard to convey the idea.  Luckily, it had a most excellent closing one-liner to wrap it up and give it a bit of lift as it roars off into the night. 
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kibitzer
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2011, 01:35:00 AM »

Yeah, I thought this a great one too. I'm a bit slower on the uptake than you, Cat, so the explanation at the end helped me understand what was going on. I missed most of the subtle clues before then. Great concept, though... and what it if were true?
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 04:26:16 AM »

A very good and well-read story.  Smiley Thanks.

I didn't personally mind that the point was really walked home and kissed goodnight at the end. Maybe I just like being reassured that I'm correct.

In some way it seems like a different and more subtle take on Stephen King's "Trucks".

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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 05:21:02 AM »

I also enjoyed the story. I agree that the new/old god concept was hammered a little too hard, but otherwise it was pretty good.

As someone who commutes 50 miles round-trip each day (of course I've got NOTHING on Zorag's fuel bill, but still), it makes me wonder about the god of cars, and how much of a hand it had in making sure the trains and buses run NOWHERE near my house and NEVER will.
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2011, 08:28:17 AM »

Ooh, this one was good.  I'm a little slow, so it didn't feel like it was overexplaining to me.  I like the eventual explanation for the disemboweling of the car that goes beyond the obvious conclusion.
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2011, 12:35:31 PM »

I would have hated this story without the explanation of what exactly was going on, it needed that for me to feel the story was worth caring about.
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NoNotRogov
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2011, 07:04:21 PM »

The implications of the organization he works for, how it operates, and just who procures and delivers "anything" and how the gods send communicate with their messengers is subtly horrifying in of itself.

Also, I could totally do with more occult intrigue dealing with popular pseudoscience like antigravity belts, perpetual motion, and engines that run on tap water.
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Millenium_King
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 09:23:18 PM »

Oil is the new god?  Yeeeeeeesh.

I loved Bob Eccles reading of this story.  Bob was the voice of Ardan St. Cygnus in my story "The High Priest" over at Castmacabre.org and I was absolutely blown away by his reading of the character.  Needless to say, I was super excited to see he was the narrator of a PP piece.  He has this huge, deep voice that is just fantastic for horror and he did a great job here.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 12:27:15 PM by Millenium_King » Logged

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Bdoomed
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2011, 12:12:35 PM »

Eccles intimidates me... that voice is so intense.  Cheesy
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2011, 03:22:46 PM »

Quote
Oil is the new god?  Yeeeeeeesh.

The internal combustion engine, surely?  Think Stephan Grabinski....
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Millenium_King
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2011, 06:33:14 PM »

The internal combustion engine, surely?  Think Stephan Grabinski....

Wait, now I'm even more confused: the story referenced engines that got hundreds of miles per gallon that the CIA was destroying for their new "god" - aren't those internal combustion engines?  And even the one that ran on water, the way it was described, it still had pistons etc. - possibly still new internal combustion as well?

Plus, doesn't he reference how the "god" controls nuclear missiles?  I didn't think the internal combustion engine was involved with them.  Heck, I'm not positive solid-stage boosters use oil either.  I think I've just muddied the water further...
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2011, 07:41:58 PM »

Eh, not really - god of engines.  It just happened to like that type of engine.  Or god of dynamic energy, it just happens to dig internal combustion.  No idea about the water car or the other engines, and no need to know, really.  Applying that level of rational critique to an irrational horror is a bit more than I need out of a horror story of this type - it's not science fiction.  It is not known and knowing would just make the story weaker and over-explained (just as, again, Grabinski and the dynamism/horror of trains needs no explanation).  I'll keep an eye out in the subs for a screed against our oil-sick culture if you'd like, but it'd have to be a good story, of course.

“...for he had acquired, as time went on, the firm conviction that any thought, even the most audacious, that any fiction, even the most insane, can one day materialize and see its fulfillment in space and time.”
Stefan Grabinski, “The Area”
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Millenium_King
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2011, 01:08:49 PM »

Eh, not really - god of engines.  It just happened to like that type of engine.  Or god of dynamic energy, it just happens to dig internal combustion.  No idea about the water car or the other engines, and no need to know, really.  Applying that level of rational critique to an irrational horror is a bit more than I need out of a horror story of this type - it's not science fiction.  It is not known and knowing would just make the story weaker and over-explained (just as, again, Grabinski and the dynamism/horror of trains needs no explanation).  I'll keep an eye out in the subs for a screed against our oil-sick culture if you'd like, but it'd have to be a good story, of course.

“...for he had acquired, as time went on, the firm conviction that any thought, even the most audacious, that any fiction, even the most insane, can one day materialize and see its fulfillment in space and time.”
Stefan Grabinski, “The Area”

Hmmmm.  We'll have to agree to disagree there then, I suppose.  I felt it would have benefitted from a little more explaination.  I think it would have strengthened, rather than weakened, the story to know in a concrete fashion exactly what the nascent diety was in charge of (cf. "The Great God Awto" by Clark Ashton Smith).  After all, we are talking about the hyper-rational CIA targeting the "god" in scientific fashion.  As it stands, the little plot holes irked me.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2011, 02:20:11 PM »

BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
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eytanz
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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2011, 03:28:51 PM »

I hate to disagree with the editor - oh, who am I kidding, I'm pretty fond of disagreeing with people Wink - but I think the story made it pretty clear this was the god of the internal combustion engine, not the god of engines in general.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2011, 07:35:56 PM »

Oh, go ahead and dicker - I tend to stay out of these things nowadays and should have learned my lesson.  You and MK-K can kibitz over the supposed story holes then - me, as I said earlier - all for internal combustion engine (but that does make the nuclear missile line stick out like a sore thumb - unless we're talking transport), not oil per se (which seems a reductionist and a tad bit reactionary of a reading to boot).  I just don't need hit points, a flow chart and charisma ratings for an entity like this.  I trust that the narrator's not lying to me and more explanation would just detract.  Just as I think it's funny that everyone slaps CIA on this, when I'd just assumed it was a cabal of Detroit's finest - I don't really need more than that.  But then, my taste for ambiguity will lead to much worse bogs than this in the future, I reckon...

(no quote - I'm tired)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 07:38:38 PM by Sgarre1 » Logged
kibitzer
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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2011, 09:44:24 PM »

(hears name) Yes?

Oh, "kibitz". My mistake.

(disappears)
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Kanasta
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« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2011, 07:16:16 AM »

If every person who dies in pursuit of the oil needed to feed cars counts as a sacrifice to the Car God as well, you can see why it would not want engines to run more efficiently.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2011, 03:02:28 PM »

The cars don't run on oil. They run on blood.
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birdless
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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2011, 04:37:54 PM »

Well, I enjoyed this one. Stephen King should really regret Maximum Overdrive after this.
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justenjoying
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« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2012, 11:07:50 PM »

This is one of my favorite tropes and it comes up across the board of fantasy fiction and horror. It is the man made

g-d. American G-ds being my favorite books ever, I've always enjoyed the thought that we create the g-ds we hold so dear.

That thoughts and blood and sweat and love are what drives the things just out of sight. Belief coming later. Besides this is all

about cars, one of my oldest loves.
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