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Author Topic: PC154: Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Under the Still Waters  (Read 16434 times)
Talia
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« on: April 26, 2011, 08:18:56 AM »

PodCastle 154: Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Under the Still Waters

by N.K. Jemisin

Read by Laurice White

Originally published in Postscripts

Tookie sat on the porch of his shotgun house, watching the rain fall sideways.  A lizard strolled by on the worn dirt-strip that passed for a sidewalk, easy as you please, as if there wasn’t an inch of water already collected around its paws.  It noticed him and stopped.

“Hey,” it said, inclining its head to him in a neighborly fashion.

“‘Sup,” Tookie replied, jerking his chin up in return.

“You gon’ stay put?” it asked.  ”Storm comin’.”

“Yeah,” said Tookie.  ”I got food from the grocery.”

“Ain’ gon’ need no food if you drown, man.”

Tookie shrugged.

The lizard sat down on the sidewalk, oblivious to the driving wind, and joined Tookie in watching the rain fall.  Tookie idly reflected that the lizard might be an alligator, in which case he should maybe go get his gun.  He decided against it, though, because the creature had wide batlike wings and he was fairly certain gators didn’t have those.  These wings were the color of rusty, jaundiced clouds, like those he’d seen approaching from the southeast just before the rain began.


Rated R: Contains Language, Violence, and Disturbing Imagery circa Hurricane Katrina.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 11:40:47 AM by Talia » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2011, 11:17:16 PM »

Quite simply: Thank you Nora. For someone who's just lived through a natural disaster, I finished this story with tears in my eyes. I completely identify with a broken and ugly (in spirit) city still being called "home".

Laurice's reading was absolutely masterful.
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 10:34:32 AM »

I'm only halfway through, so I can't comment on the whole story yet, but I wanted to stop and comment that I do hope Laurice White will be reading for us again.  Excellent.
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011, 03:32:40 PM »

I thought this one was very cool. I loved the idea of the little storm dragons, and their role as sort of custodians of natural order. "Storm gotta come...gotta go too." Though I am a little nonplussed at how easily the main character just accepted that some little lizard started talking to him out of the blue. I mean, I hear New Orleans is a mellow town, but that's just silly...
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2011, 03:57:52 PM »

I loved the story. The reading was excellant as well. Its amazing how being a few hundred miles away from a disaster makes it easier to listen and enjoy. Then again, even though the story is based on disaster, it reads like a "unlikely hero" story so while bad, there is a lot of hope. Excellant work!
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 05:00:14 PM »

Absolutely loved Laurice White's vocal characterizations and how they brought the story to life for me.  Please bring her in for more readings if you can.  What struck me most about the story itself was that Jemisin tied the trigger for human ugliness to the source - ourselves.  That monster was certainly big and evil, but the true monstrosity has its seed within each of us.  And we're the ones who have to face it and, hopefully, do away with it.
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2011, 05:23:21 PM »

Wow, what an incredible story and gorgeous reading!

I am the type of reader/listener that gets lost in the story and let me tell you...I was right beside Tookie throughout the whole adventure.  Ms. Jemisin's words spoken by Ms. White brought me to New Orleans and dumped me into the Ninth Ward.  When the little lizard was carried away at the end, I was sobbing.  Tookie, as a character, was perfect.  Flawed but noble.  Angry, but loving.  I want to hug him, I really do.

I absolutely LOVED this one, guys.  Thank you!!!!
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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2011, 10:31:19 PM »

Though I am a little nonplussed at how easily the main character just accepted that some little lizard started talking to him out of the blue. I mean, I hear New Orleans is a mellow town, but that's just silly...

Don't you know? We all got little animals coming up on the front porch and having a talk with us.

Okay but seriously, I absolutely LOVED this story. I was really scared to listen to it, but wow. Captured the feel that many of us had before, during, and after the storm. The thought that the storm wouldn't be too bad, and then it got a whole hell of a lot worse, the fear of that first step trying to determine the damage, the huge terrifying monster that turned everyone into monsters, the hate and anger that filled us, and then the love and determination that this is our home and nothing can ever really change that. I know I didn't get that all right, but wow.
Loved Laurice White's reading as well, made me feel like my neighbor was telling me a story. Gave "And welcome back" a whole new meaning.
My one criticism (cause it's me and I always have one) is there was a missing element of the main character's emotions. There could have been a bit more of a build up there, and the main character seemed to just accept everything as it came at him until the end(ish). Okay, I guess it was really just his apathetic attitude to the storm and the levee breaking that bothered me. But even that has a whole New Orleans feel to it of accepting things as they come. I might just be over analyzing again.
Truly enjoyed this one, I sincerely hope there are more like this to come!
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2011, 12:28:24 AM »

I had a hard time finishing this one, i found it boring and i am not sure if anything actually happened in it. I can appreciate the work that went into the reading, but the way of speaking made for a bad listening experience to me.

Sorry to me mr. negative, but i just didnt care for the story.
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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2011, 09:56:21 AM »

Though I am a little nonplussed at how easily the main character just accepted that some little lizard started talking to him out of the blue. I mean, I hear New Orleans is a mellow town, but that's just silly...

Don't you know? We all got little animals coming up on the front porch and having a talk with us.

Neat.

I'm jealous. Up here in Boston the only things that come up on the front porch are drunk Red Sox fans. Not quite as much fun.
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2011, 10:12:03 AM »

Of the two "contemporary fantasy" stories over the past two weeks, this one was IMO far better. Right from the get-go we had a character we could root for. I found it well-paced, except for a couple of slow areas (like when Tookie meets up with Dre), and the imagery was very vivid without being overwritten.

Plus: thunderbolt lizards!

Throughout the piece it got a little preachy from time to time, but it was never really out-of-character. And if that's how the characters were feeling, then they were perfectly justified to say or think it. Having worked in the news media through MANY disasters, natural and otherwise, I can imagine how those who stayed felt when all these news crews flew over in their choppers and didn't do anything. From their side -- many newspeople are inured to disasters, especially since, to them, all a disaster is is an excuse for the station to get more ratings, and then after covering death and destruction and despair we would get congratulatory e-mails and win awards that allowed us to (before the death of local TV news) command more money and better jobs.

Great choice of reader. Other than a couple of word flubs (vehemence, misshapen) and some very peculiar lack-of-empty-space-to-denote-section-breaks issues, she did a wonderful job.
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2011, 08:57:34 PM »

Sometimes a story stands on its own as a work of art, and having never read this story in print, I can't speak for whether I would have enjoyed it as much as I did this episode. But what I can say is that the narration of this story quite simply turned it into a masterpiece. Extremely well-done, Laurice. I hope you're reading this. You did a fantastic job of bringing those characters to life, and with a "native" southern accent. (I'm from rural Alabama, and more often than not I cringe when people try to fake it.)

Excellent episode, guys. One of the better ones.
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« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2011, 01:23:43 AM »

Nthing the praise for the reading.  Laurice White's interpretation of the storm dragon has given me a new favorite creature-voice (displacing Regis St. George.)
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2011, 02:48:33 AM »

Nthing the praise for the reading.  Laurice White's interpretation of the storm dragon has given me a new favorite creature-voice (displacing Regis St. George.)

Maybe so but the image of Regis St George prancing about in a Tina Turner-style dress still can't be beat.
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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2011, 07:47:30 PM »

This is one of the best stories Podcastle has had in a while.  That statement comes from someone who thinks Podcastle has been on a very good run the past month or so.  This is one that I will be saving.  Thanks.
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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2011, 04:25:27 PM »

Kudos to the editorial staff for sitting on this forever until you got the perfect narrator. This story really cranked up my desire to visit New Orleans again. I was supposed to go the spring Katrina hit and haven't gotten a good chance again since.

Also, having visited enough and ingesting enough local flavor, I think there's some folks there who wouldn't look crossways at a talking lizard on their porch.

Nthing the praise for the reading.  Laurice White's interpretation of the storm dragon has given me a new favorite creature-voice (displacing Regis St. George.)

Maybe so but the image of Regis St George prancing about in a Tina Turner-style dress still can't be beat.

Also, the storm dragon had no horribly mindwormy line like "Lisa Lisa Lisa". He can have second place, though.
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2011, 04:57:41 PM »

Kudos to the editorial staff for sitting on this forever until you got the perfect narrator. This story Also, the storm dragon had no horribly mindwormy line like "Lisa Lisa Lisa". He can have second place, though.

He ain't no foot soldier. He's a fucking lizard!

(I wish I could say that and sound half as cool as Laurice did Grin)
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« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2011, 06:44:54 PM »

An excellent story and an excellent reader.  This was my first trip here and it was a winner.
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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2011, 12:42:29 PM »

I loved the reading, and the 'realistic' elements of the story, but I found the 'fantastic' elements, when they arrived, weak. Of course Tookie and the lizard kill the monster that can't be killed, it wouldn't be a story otherwise would it?
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2011, 10:05:06 AM »

Thoroughly enjoyed this one.  I'm a middle aged, upper middle class white man in New England, and this story really brought home to me what the poor souls of the ninth ward(as well as many other locations in the South) went through in 2005, and what that city is still going through today.  It will never be the same city, and it angers me that so many people are intent on keeping out the poor from the ninth ward so they can rebuild it as trendy housing and shopping for rich white folks.  I saw that happen with South Boston, and while it is good in a way that liquor stores and pawn shops are now turning in to wine stores and antique shops, I feel bad for a people that have been forced out of a place they've called home, in some case for generations.  I watched the first season of Treme, and found it to be bitter and preachy, and not quite aimed correctly.

Back to this story though.  The pacing was excellently slow in a way a story about the Big Easy should be.  Tookie had seen so much in his life, such as laying low in his house because he didn't know if the person outside was just a normal robber or an assassin, he took the thunder lizards in stride, because hey, weird shit happens. 
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« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2011, 10:18:03 AM »

While I would rarely ever give a bad rating for anything on Podcastle and usually always love the choices of story and narrator, "Sinners/Saints" was off the charts!  Five++++ stars!!  This was an excellent story in and of itself, but the narration was what gave it the heart to really sing and climb into my psyche like few short works can.  Your new narrator, Laurice White, has a real future in this type of work, and a new fan.  And huge props to N.K. Jemisin, who consistently delivers the goods in extraordinary fashion, in whatever category or format she hurls words!
"
I rarely take the time to write in - my bad - but I had to comment today.  And listen to Dave's tip at the end of the show, too..."Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers is a must read!  For every individual who thinks,"Why the hell didn't people just leave when they knew a hurricane on the way?!",   the story of the Zeitoun family gives one of the many different plausible answers.

Thank you, Podcastle staff for all the great work you do!
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2011, 11:01:34 AM »

I loved this story. It was wonderful. I give it six Zeppelins out of five.

The City. The City. The life that hums beneath our feet and flows in our veins and drifts in and out of our mouths like smoke when we breath. The City is in us, it is us, all of us, in each of our disparate ways. The City shelters us from storm and fire and earthquake, whenever it can, and in return the City calls on its sons and daughters to defend it, when need be.

I loved the storm dragons, the "haint," the real and flawed and fascinating characters... I loved it all.

Story time here: I'm a middle school teacher in East Oakland. Tookie could have been one of my kids. I can see the hate infecting them, I can feel its hot breath on the back of my neck, and I know they can, too. I watch as it pushes them to destroy and self-destruct. If I could pick up a gun and blow that hate away, with the power of the City in me, I'd do it. I'd do it in a heartbeat.

In real life, it's more complicated, but that's what we have fantasy for.

I also have a deep fondness for stories in which it is pure emotion or virtue - love, friendship, faith, passion - that wins the day. It's Tookie's compassion and self-love that conquers the monster, not his strength, skill, or aim. I dig that kind of thing.
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« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2011, 11:34:16 AM »

Loved, loved, loved the reading. Excellent story, and Laurice brought it so alive. Thank you!

The evil in all of us, the strength of the city - all good, powerful themes. But I think one of my favorite parts of the story was the relationship between Tookie and his elderly neighbor. It said much about Tookie, that he reached out to her. And their exchanges felt so real.

Towards the beginning of the story, when Tookie is chatting calmly with the talking lizard - it took me awhile to figure out that was supposed to be *during the storm,* and it shook me out of the story a bit when I grasped that fact. I've never been in a cat 4 or cat 5 hurricane, but I've sat tight through my share of 2's and 3's. In my experience, in the middle of the event, there are no calm neighborly conversations outside. Too much wind, it's hard to hear. And you really don't want to be standing outside shelter for too long. I wasn't in New Orleans for Katrina, so maybe the experience there was different. Anyhow, after the initial "huh?" I suspended my disbelief over it just fine.

And the rest of the tale just blew me away. Good, good stuff.
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« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2011, 11:21:14 PM »

Towards the beginning of the story, when Tookie is chatting calmly with the talking lizard - it took me awhile to figure out that was supposed to be *during the storm,* and it shook me out of the story a bit when I grasped that fact. I've never been in a cat 4 or cat 5 hurricane, but I've sat tight through my share of 2's and 3's. In my experience, in the middle of the event, there are no calm neighborly conversations outside. Too much wind, it's hard to hear. And you really don't want to be standing outside shelter for too long. I wasn't in New Orleans for Katrina, so maybe the experience there was different. Anyhow, after the initial "huh?" I suspended my disbelief over it just fine.

Wasn't there a time lag between the storm and the levee breaking?
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2011, 10:09:43 AM »


Quote
Wasn't there a time lag between the storm and the levee breaking?

Details like "watching the rain fall sideways" and "driving wind" make me think that first conversation was actually supposed to be during the storm.
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« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2011, 07:49:39 PM »


Quote
Wasn't there a time lag between the storm and the levee breaking?

Details like "watching the rain fall sideways" and "driving wind" make me think that first conversation was actually supposed to be during the storm.

I'll pay better attention next listen. This didn't make an impact on me.
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« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2011, 11:47:30 PM »


Quote
Wasn't there a time lag between the storm and the levee breaking?

Details like "watching the rain fall sideways" and "driving wind" make me think that first conversation was actually supposed to be during the storm.

I got the impression that the first conversation was in the early parts of the storm, when it's just starting to get bad, and the latter parts took place after the majority of the storm was past.
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« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2011, 02:24:55 PM »

Thoroughly enjoyed this one.  I'm a middle aged, upper middle class white man in New England, and this story really brought home to me what the poor souls of the ninth ward(as well as many other locations in the South) went through in 2005, and what that city is still going through today.  It will never be the same city, and it angers me that so many people are intent on keeping out the poor from the ninth ward so they can rebuild it as trendy housing and shopping for rich white people.

That is not what is happening in the ninth ward. Many people who lived there have chosen not to return to the city, they lived in a bad neighborhood in not so great housing to begin with, and the storm took what little they had. They have made their choice to move somewhere else and start over. So a lot of the area is remaining unused and empty. There are houses being built in that area now that are a he'll of a lot better than what was there before, but that doesn't mean it's a shopping mall for rich white people. What pisses me off is the people who come to visit and take 'destruction tours'. What is wrong with people that they feel the need to see the area where the storm was the worst? That is something I will never understand.
The  9th ward will not be anything like what is was before, and honestly that's not a bad thing. People living there now have better houses and the levee will never be faulty again in that area. But trust me it's still not the best neighborhood and 'rich white people' are the minority in this city and none of them are moving initial that neighborhood and would not want to shop there anytime soon. Sucks but it's true.
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« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2011, 02:54:57 PM »

Thoroughly enjoyed this one.  I'm a middle aged, upper middle class white man in New England, and this story really brought home to me what the poor souls of the ninth ward(as well as many other locations in the South) went through in 2005, and what that city is still going through today.  It will never be the same city, and it angers me that so many people are intent on keeping out the poor from the ninth ward so they can rebuild it as trendy housing and shopping for rich white people.
What is wrong with people that they feel the need to see the area where the storm was the worst? That is something I will never understand.

I'm assuming they want to have some idea of what these people went though, to get a clearer idea of the devastation than TV or first-hand accounts can provide. I don't think there's anything terribly abnormal about that. I mean I suppose some people are there for the "car crash" factor, but I expect they are the minority rather than the rule.
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« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2011, 03:56:09 PM »

[lots of great info]

Thanks for clearing this up for me.  I've heard many versions of what is going on, and yours seems the most sensible.  Part of what colored my view was my experience with South Boston .

I also do not understand the destruction tours, I mean, why not take the money you spent on the tour and give it to a Katrina charity?  I guess what Talia says makes sense, that people want to understand first hand what people are going through, but I don't comprehend that mindset, personally.
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« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2011, 10:51:19 PM »

Really fantastic tale that nailed two things I like in a story:major disasters and the casual mixing of the fantastic and the mundane. I wasn't put off by the readiness with which Tookie accepted the talking lizard. Really big storms or disasters of any kind can get pretty surreal. There comes a point where your environment lacks credibility. Your neighbor's SUV can't be buried in snow. The house down the street can't have just been torn in half by a tornado, especially when the two next door are fine. That can't really be Mr. and Mrs. Morgan paddling down the street in a canoe.

In short, this is the right environment to build a fantasy story.

Great reading by Laurice White. Characters' voices were really distinct.
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« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2011, 10:54:10 AM »

Wow. I loved the reading, I thought the mixing of reality and fantasy was incredibly well done, and the characters were all believable, even as they changed over time. I also thought that the slow reveal of the haint was awesome- the first hint of it came and went so quickly I was wondering if I just misheard something, the next mention was a little more explicit and a little more ominous, etc... I think this one will stick with me for a while Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2011, 07:45:29 PM »

Entertaining! The banter between Tookie and the lizard was great, and the casual surreality was surprisingly easy to accept. The ending was pretty well telegraphed, but getting there sure was a fun trip. The moment of suspicion between Tookie and the old woman whom he'd rescued was really telling- the human condition covers a wide spectrum between light and darkness. Like the story says, humans don't need magic to do evil shit. Finally, Laurice's reading really wowed me. I checked out her website, and although I generally find audio erotica trite, if any voice can make it work, it might be hers.
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« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2011, 10:10:55 AM »

This was a great story.  And, once again, Laurice White astounds!  And it's more than just the authentic accent.  Like the linked website says: "There is power and beauty in the single human voice."
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« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2011, 05:02:20 PM »

I'm only twenty-one minutes in, but this story had me from the moment the dragon strikes up conversation with Tookie. The reader is excellent (but slow; I guess that's why this one clocks in at an-hour-and-eight.)
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« Reply #35 on: May 12, 2011, 08:38:16 AM »

The reader is excellent (but slow; I guess that's why this one clocks in at an-hour-and-eight.)

The speed is regionally appropriate though. Why you such a hurry, sugar?
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« Reply #36 on: May 12, 2011, 08:57:06 AM »

The reader is excellent (but slow; I guess that's why this one clocks in at an-hour-and-eight.)

The speed is regionally appropriate though. Why you such a hurry, sugar?

I've just noticed that Podcastle stories tend toward the long end of the spectrum, even the ones that aren't designated "Giant". Fifty minutes to an hour is not uncommon. Pseudopods tend to be much shorter, about a half hour or less, with Escape Pod stories comfortably between.

At least, that's how it seems to my memory.
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« Reply #37 on: May 12, 2011, 11:07:59 AM »

The reader is excellent (but slow; I guess that's why this one clocks in at an-hour-and-eight.)

The speed is regionally appropriate though. Why you such a hurry, sugar?

I've just noticed that Podcastle stories tend toward the long end of the spectrum, even the ones that aren't designated "Giant". Fifty minutes to an hour is not uncommon. Pseudopods tend to be much shorter, about a half hour or less, with Escape Pod stories comfortably between.

At least, that's how it seems to my memory.

This is actually a good example of how a reader's own pace impacts the story. There's about 7,400 words in this story, so it is kind of long (although yeah, it seems we tend to prefer longer stories to shorter ones). Anyway, it's still a couple thousand plus words shorter than Giants. Those are 10,000+

Some narrators read faster than others, and they both have their uses for different types of stories. That said, I wouldn't trade Laurice's reading for anyone else's   Cheesy
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« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2011, 07:38:04 PM »

Some narrators read faster than others, and they both have their uses for different types of stories. That said, I wouldn't trade Laurice's reading for anyone else's   Cheesy

Agreed; I was hooked almost from the first, with the voice characterizations of Tookie and the dragon.

Have I said "Cool story, bro!" yet? <skim upthread>. Nope, guess not... Cool story, bro!
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« Reply #39 on: May 15, 2011, 11:38:26 AM »

I was bored, maybe it was the mood I was in but I couldn't finish this boring story.
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« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2011, 01:43:01 PM »

Not too much to say about this one - it's length meant that I took a while before I found the time to listen to it comfortably, but I'm really glad I did - I enjoyed it very much. And I'd like to agree with all the praise put on the narrator - it was a perfect reading for this story and really elevated it.
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« Reply #41 on: May 25, 2011, 12:39:35 PM »

This story was splendid and could not have had a better reader.  Laurice's voice took the story to a whole new place.  Masterful!!!
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« Reply #42 on: May 25, 2011, 05:14:49 PM »

Oh, that was lovely.

Normally I chafe a bit at slow narration (especially when the story is as long as this one), but in this case a faster reading would have really destroyed the atmosphere.  There's such beauty in different ways of speaking; I wouldn't want a New Orleans narrator to be going at the pace of a New Yorker.  So include me in the chorus of praise for Laurice White.

And a beautiful story, too, both on the level of the idea and its telling.  People with that kind of strong connection to their city are one of the tropes I go squish for, so Tookie's fierce devotion to New Orleans at the climax, and his awareness of how it had shaped him, got me like an arrow to the heart.  I also very much appreciated the story framing the post-hurricane ugliness as coming from inside people, not being imposed on them by the Plot Monster (though the monster can bring it out of them).  A wealth of wonderful details, too, from the phrasing of the dialogue to the well-observed detail of the environment.  Lovely, lovely stuff.
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« Reply #43 on: June 15, 2011, 02:43:54 PM »

::in the middle of listening::

Tookie: I got some Vienna Sausages....

::DIES::::DIES::::DIES::::DIES::::DIES::::DIES::
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« Reply #44 on: June 15, 2011, 02:50:32 PM »

You know, I can't remember: Did Laurice say that in the proper southern way? "vie EE na" (or possibly vie EE ner) Smiley
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« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2011, 11:07:21 AM »

Okay. Finished listening.

Man, I swear, Laurice was channeling my great-grandma Vashti. That was such a beautiful narration. And the story! This will be my favorite story from NK so far. Loved Tookie, loved the storm lizard, LOOOOOVED the "old biddy"! And Laurice's reading put it way over the top. I really did feel like I was five years old again listening to my great grandma tell stories (though, to be honest, I have more memories of her yelling at us kids to quit jumpin on her furniture).
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« Reply #46 on: June 21, 2011, 01:28:14 PM »

I've never posted about a story before, but this one was so enjoyable, that I am moved to comment.

I echo much of the praise above. The story was completely engaging and the reading was fantastic!

I am not from New Orleans, but it does hold a special place in my heart.  I can imagine that anyone
born and bred there would have a fierce loyalty.

I found the relationship between Tookie and the lizard to be quite charming. It seemed to me that
the mutual respect between them was a rare and welcome thing. I got choked up when they had
to say goodbye.

I don't have the words to adequately describe how I felt about this story and how much it touched me.

Thank you to the author, the reader, and to Podcastle for sharing it with us!
"I'm gonna go eat my thanks right now!"

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« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2011, 11:38:48 PM »

I got a backlog of podcasts to get through and just started making my way through the ones on podcastle. Got to this one last week and was kinda nervous about it. I'm from the red stick myself but I've spent a lotta time in NOLA and lived there for a while. I love it there. The author, she did a pretty decent job. Got some stuff right, which I thought was nice. In all, I liked it.
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« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2011, 09:35:50 PM »

Listened to this again with the wife. She wanted me to pass along that she thought this was the best story any of the 'casts has ever run. Also, it made her cry. Again thanks for sitting on this until you had the perfect narrator. This will be in my top stories to suggest to folks to sell them on listening to EA.

Quote
Quote
Wasn't there a time lag between the storm and the levee breaking?

Details like "watching the rain fall sideways" and "driving wind" make me think that first conversation was actually supposed to be during the storm.

I got the impression that the first conversation was in the early parts of the storm, when it's just starting to get bad, and the latter parts took place after the majority of the storm was past.

Upon the second listen, I concur with Scattercat's assessment here.
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« Reply #49 on: September 12, 2011, 04:56:31 PM »

For those of you who loved Laurice's reading here, go check out the latest at PseudoPod. She really elevated the reading of The Eater. If you like the dungeons in the 'Castle you'll like that dark tale.
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« Reply #50 on: October 19, 2011, 08:59:01 AM »

I was very wary of listening to this one, after being extremely bothered by the one the week before that had a similar pre-show warning.  I was relieved to find that in this case the usage of the real-life event didn't bother me at all.  Phew!

I struggled to maintain interest in the first half of the story.  There was just too little happening for me.  I like dragons, but having a low-key conversation with this dragon on the porch while the city is in real peril didn't do much for me.  He just seemed so apathetic about his own survival, I found it hard to care;  if he isn't driven to survive, then it doesn't give me much to root for.  When he actually took the dragon up on its advice to go find his way to the barge, I found the story much more interesting.  When he saw firsthand hints of the "Haint" that's where I really decided to listen to the rest.  I think I would've given up before that point, but I did really enjoy the narration and I was just enjoying listening to the sound of her voice.

I was glad the Jemisen managed to tell this story about Katrina, with a worthy speculative element, and without blaming the ugliness afterward on the monster, and without being preachy. 

Besides the sloooow beginning, the only other thing that bothered me was that the Tookie POV seemed distant, and sometimes inconsistently so.  As the water is rising and the city is in peril, I never really got a hint of emotion from him.  This made it hard to really get into the story because it seemed like he just didn't care if he died or not.  His intelligence seemed inconsistent too.  In the beginning he sees the dragon and he's pretty sure it's not an alligator, but only pretty sure, as if alligators have wings.  He takes it speaking into stride as well.  But then near the end of the story the dragon tells him that he is one of those who works to bring in the storms, and Tookie says in his narration that he'd suspected from the first time he'd met the dragon.  And I wanted to say "No, you didn't.  You thought he was an alligator.  You were telling me your thoughts at that time and you never said anything about suspecting this flying alligator was bringing the storm with it".  It seems for this reason that the POV is inconsistently distant, only telling me some parts of his thoughts, which I find distances me from a character.
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« Reply #51 on: October 24, 2011, 08:44:20 AM »

Oh, I forgot to talk about one other thing:  Loyalty to a city.

I find the concept of extreme loyalty to a city rather foreign to my way of thinking.  Maybe I just haven't yet lived in a city that really mirrors my personality.  I lived in Sioux Falls SD until I was 10, and it was an okay city, I didn't hate it nor love it, it was just there.  From 10-18 I lived in Irene SD, a town that was definitely too small for me, too few cliques of people and those too solidified by the time I was there, I never felt a part of it.  From 18-22 went to college out in Rapid City SD, that's where I met my wife, and we go back there to visit her family frequently.  Not a bad town, but if my family weren't there I would be content to never go back.  And since then living in Twin Cities MN, which is fine too, but nothing I'm particularly attached to.  What's keeping me here is that I like my job, and I have a house.  But if I found a new job and traded in the house, I'd be content moving somewhere else instead.

So strong loyalty to a city I find intriguing for its unfamiliarity.  I'm curious:  Are there a lot of you forumites who feel very strongly tied to a specific town?  Or are most of you like me, a drifter in mind if not body?

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« Reply #52 on: October 24, 2011, 09:54:10 AM »

Are there a lot of you forumites who feel very strongly tied to a specific town?  Or are most of you like me, a drifter in mind if not body?

I was born in a small town in Alabama (Eutaw) and I used to have a somewhat fierce loyalty to it. Until I realized somewhere in my 20s that it had not changed, was never going to change, and I had. I could never go back there. They're stuck in 1872. Then I lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I went to college. But as soon as I got the offer of better work, I left it and moved to Atlanta, GA. I could not move back to Tuscaloosa, either, I don't believe. It's a quait, southern city, but it's a suburb in search of a city.

I loves me some Atlanta, but if push came to shove? I'd leave it if the reason were good enough. Of course, right now, there's no way I could sell my house, so even if the perfect reason came up, I'm not sure I could leave. I'm sure I could be just as happy in any other reasonably sized city...or even a smaller town, if everything else were right. I get the loyalty, but I don't feel it myself, anymore.
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« Reply #53 on: October 24, 2011, 10:26:44 AM »

So strong loyalty to a city I find intriguing for its unfamiliarity.  I'm curious:  Are there a lot of you forumites who feel very strongly tied to a specific town?  Or are most of you like me, a drifter in mind if not body?

There are a couple cities I have intense loyalty towards. I have not lived in either San Diego or New Orleans, but have visited numerous times. They both have rich history, compelling architecture, fantastic food, and a diverse but integrated culture. I would happily reside in San Diego if I could find something that would support the cost of living there. Not quite so much with New Orleans. I love the city, but I'm not sure the filth and decrepitude (and corrupt politicians and crumbling infrastructure) is something that my heart could convince my head to get past. Savannah has the architecture and charm, but lacks the spirit of New Orleans.

Atlanta is a hard place to feel loyal to. It was razed in the mid 1800's, and rather than trying to recreate or preserve, they've worked hard to repeat the cycle of razing anything culturally or architecturally significant. There’s no cohesive skyline. There are numerous isolated enclaves connected by cars, rather than series of interconnected neighborhoods connected by sidewalk and transit. The impacts of rapid growth and racial politics and ethnic balkanization haven’t worked themselves out quite yet. Maybe in 25-50 years Atlanta will have a more cohesive personality worthy of loyalty. Until then, it’s the place where I have a significant geographically-specific network; I’m not ready to move, but moving in the mid-range is not inconceivable.
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« Reply #54 on: October 24, 2011, 10:30:53 AM »

Growing up and living most of my life near Boston, I have some loyalty to it, but not the intense loyalty that many have that live in the area.  I think that it is an amazing city, but I don't have the insular xenophobia many do.  I also went to college/lived near Philly for 5 years, and the only loyalty to that city is my love for cheesesteaks.

I honestly doubt I could live in a southern city, I have been to a few(Atlanta, Durham, Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix) on vacation/visiting friends, but they never felt right.  I felt more at home visiting Chicago, Toronto, and especially Halifax.  San Francisco also didn't seem quite right, and LA was just awful.  
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« Reply #55 on: October 24, 2011, 11:21:06 AM »

I honestly doubt I could live in a southern city, I have been to a few(Atlanta, Durham, Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix) on vacation/visiting friends, but they never felt right.  I felt more at home visiting Chicago, Toronto, and especially Halifax.  San Francisco also didn't seem quite right, and LA was just awful.  

I had the same reaction, but in the other direction. The few northern cities I've visited--Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, Trenton, Bangor--just didn't feel right. I didn't like San Francisco, either. And I'd never be able to afford it.
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« Reply #56 on: October 25, 2011, 06:56:00 AM »

I've lived on Long Island for all but 6 months of my life.  I love it here and can certainly understand loyalty to a region.  (Of course, I live in a "good" part of Long Island...near a major university and beaches and an hour from the nuttiness of the Hamptons Smiley There's a lot of culture and fun activities and intelligent people around.  Grin )
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« Reply #57 on: November 01, 2011, 09:30:16 PM »

I've lived in Melbourne, Australia for the past 15 years and I adore the place. "Traditionally" there's rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne about which is the better city. So when I tell folks I was born and raised in Sydney but having lived in Melbourne I wouldn't go back for quids, they think I'm nuts. I've seen and lived in a few cities around the world but Melbourne... as a place to live it's just fantastic. Sydney has some stunning scenery, it's true -- great place to visit.

The only place I've seen in the US is San Francisco. It blew my tiny mind with culture shock.
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« Reply #58 on: November 02, 2011, 02:14:45 AM »

The only place I've seen in the US is San Francisco. It blew my tiny mind with culture shock.

Okay, now you have me curious.  What was so mind-blowingly different?

(I live south of SF now; have for about three years.)

As for place loyalty -- it definitely happens, but I think it's strongly correlated to place identity.  I lived near Indianapolis for six years, and found it indistinguishable from any number of other Midwestern cities (and yes, I do have firsthand experience with a lot of those).  New Orleans, though, has a very distinctive identity.  So does San Francisco.  So do New York, and Boston (my husband's a Boston boy), and various other cities I could name.  Me, my "attachment loyalty" is probably with London; I've never lived there, but four years of researching and writing novels about the city means I know London in a way I've never known any city I actually lived in.  The more you have a sense of the place as distinctive -- and, I suspect, the more you feel a sense of kinship with other residents, that your residency gives you something in common -- the more likely you are to feel a sense of loyalty to the place.
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« Reply #59 on: November 02, 2011, 06:00:34 AM »

The only place I've seen in the US is San Francisco. It blew my tiny mind with culture shock.

Okay, now you have me curious.  What was so mind-blowingly different?

It's probably a long and boring story to anyone outside the US, which I mean in a way deprecating to myself. Understand, I'm Australian and until I went to SF, my experience with the US was largely to confined to television. Suffice it to say that several experiences felt like I was in a TV show which caused a high level of cognitive disconnect.
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« Reply #60 on: January 15, 2012, 05:32:28 PM »

This was the hight of Epic. The whole story was as big and all incumpassing as the disaster itself, and truly did the
horror of it justice. I feel, like any good peice of art, this captured the devistation better than any news reel ever could.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 06:57:59 AM by justenjoying » Logged
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« Reply #61 on: January 02, 2018, 11:44:07 PM »

Episode 503 is a re-issue of this episode. Please add commentary for the story to this existing thread! Thanks.
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« Reply #62 on: January 03, 2018, 01:20:07 AM »

I'm curious why it was reissued. Not that I didn't enjoy hearing it again, but I'm just curious.
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« Reply #63 on: January 04, 2018, 07:37:13 PM »

I'm curious why it was reissued. Not that I didn't enjoy hearing it again, but I'm just curious.

Thanks for asking!
Since switching over to our new jazzed up website (isn't it so pretty?) we've been in the midst of major overhauls and updates. We've come across some older stories that we consider gems and we thought it'd be fun to reissue them for newer listeners. We thought this story, in particular was a good choice for reissue considering that since we initially printed and cast it, NKJemisin has gone on to win the Hugo twice. *fans self* She's a particular favorite over in these parts.
Thanks for listening!
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« Reply #64 on: January 04, 2018, 09:04:35 PM »

Since switching over to our new jazzed up website (isn't it so pretty?) we've been in the midst of major overhauls and updates. We've come across some older stories that we consider gems and we thought it'd be fun to reissue them for newer listeners. We thought this story, in particular was a good choice for reissue considering that since we initially printed and cast it, NKJemisin has gone on to win the Hugo twice. *fans self* She's a particular favorite over in these parts.

Oh, that sounds like a good idea. Smiley

Also, I think Laurice White was magnificent in this one. Well, in all of the ones she's narrated. But this one in particular. I enjoyed listening to it again and settling into that perfect rhythm that she used to perform it.
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« Reply #65 on: January 04, 2018, 09:08:16 PM »

our new jazzed up website (isn't it so pretty?)

Yes! Yes, it is. Smiley
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« Reply #66 on: January 24, 2018, 05:36:01 PM »

I found this highly enjoyable too.
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« Reply #67 on: April 05, 2018, 01:53:47 AM »

This episode was voted the fourth best PodCastle story of our first ten years, and was re-aired (again!) as PodCastle 516c.

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« Reply #68 on: April 11, 2018, 01:42:02 AM »

I thought, "I just relistened to this in January. I'll just see what the intro and outro say this time."
Ended up listening all the way through, of course. Still every bit as good a story, but the fantastic narration makes it such a pleasure to hear!
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« Reply #69 on: August 27, 2018, 10:48:42 AM »

It's obvious why this one is a favorite. Super story, super narration.
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