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Author Topic: PC154: Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Under the Still Waters  (Read 24004 times)

Unblinking

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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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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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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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Fenrix

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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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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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Kaa

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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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danooli

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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 :) There's a lot of culture and fun activities and intelligent people around.  ;D )



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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.


mbrennan

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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.



kibitzer

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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.


justenjoying

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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, 11:57:59 AM by justenjoying »



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Episode 503 is a re-issue of this episode. Please add commentary for the story to this existing thread! Thanks.



Kaa

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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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Khaalidah from Vega

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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!

K from Vega


Kaa

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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. :)

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.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 12:08:40 AM by Kaa »

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Kaa

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

Yes! Yes, it is. :)

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

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AliceNred

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I found this highly enjoyable too.

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Ocicat

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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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TrishEM

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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!



Ichneumon

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