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Author Topic: EP292: In the Water  (Read 3219 times)
eytanz
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« on: May 12, 2011, 05:33:09 PM »

EP292: In the Water

By Katherine Mankiller
Read by Kim Gianopoulos

Originally appearing in Fictitious Force.

---

Yvonne looked up from her monitor, the beads in her cornrows clattering as Roger walked into her office.

Roger sat in the dark wooden chair opposite her desk. “Weren’t you assigned Alice van Buuren?”

“Oh, no you don’t,” Yvonne said. “You can’t have her.” Yvonne hadn’t been assigned Alice; she’d requested her. Alice was probably the only murder victim’s wife she would ever meet. They hadn’t even put the murder in the papers. Maybe they thought there’d be a panic.

“Please,” Roger said. “I’m just trying to save you some trouble. I’ve already spoken to her, and…”

Yvonne crossed her arms and glared. “Wouldn’t you raise hell if I talked to one of your patients behind your back?”

“She’s refusing modern therapy. What are you going to do, use the old-fashioned techniques your grandmother used?”

Roger had a lot of nerve mentioning Grandma. Yvonne glanced at the photo on the corner of her desk. Grandma Jackson had been a big woman, with braids down to her hips and skin like chocolate. Grandma Jackson smiled back at the camera, all reassuring good nature.

Roger said, “I think we should just wipe her and have done with it.”

“Too bad she’s not your patient,” Yvonne said.

“I could take her away from you, you know.”

“Don’t you dare!”


Rated PG


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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Gamercow
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2011, 07:18:00 PM »

I AM THE COW OVER THE MOUNTAIN AND I AM EATING ALL THE GRASS!

That's not how it goes?   Huh

Another Katherine Mankiller story read by Kim Gianopoulos.  Kim's unique reading style fit this one better than the grandpa killing Annes from Grandfather Paradox.  That said, I can't say I liked this one much more than Grandfather Paradox, it was fairly straightforward and easy to figure out.  I didn't like the characters much, the plot was interesting enough to keep me listening, but will be forgotten quickly.  I may not be the best judge of this story however, as I am not a huge psychiatry/psychology fan. 
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iamafish
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2011, 08:51:46 AM »

I don't know if it's Kim's reading style or just a coincidence, but i can never get into stories which she reads. Maybe she's a little too bland to really grab my interest, or something. This one didn't really work for me either way, sorry. It wasn't bad in the way that some stories are bad, it just wasn't terribly good either. Sorry.
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zoanon
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2011, 10:23:29 AM »

I liked this story. Mystery drugs in the drinking water is pretty much my worst case scenario, so this came off more like horror then SF to me  Tongue
I felt like the story didn't go anywhere, there was the set up, and rising action, then she just got mind wiped again and we were back at the beginning.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2011, 10:35:04 AM »

I AM THE COW OVER THE MOUNTAIN AND I AM EATING ALL THE GRASS!

Works for me.

Anyway, this story didn't really strike me as terribly powerful, but it was certainly an enjoyable little yarn. I may be in the camp of disliking Kim's style for most stories. It could see it working for some stories, but not for any story where I'm supposed to take the characters and their individual drama seriously. Her style is just too cutesy-cruel.

What I liked most about this story is how it presented a slice of a larger story. We got the impression of vast forces moving, just out of sight, but all we got was... all we got. And really, that's all we needed.
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2011, 07:44:38 AM »


  I may not be the best judge of this story however, as I am not a huge psychiatry/psychology fan. 

I am, and it doesn't do it for me either. The idea itself is chilling, but it's also a bit familiar, and it didn't seem to be made much of. The characters seemed too archetypal; although in the UK, we have our fair share of grandiose and somewhat deluded shrinks, and the dialogue overly simplistic. Sadly, I don't think it benefited from the reading. Kim's style feels ponderously slow; and there were inflections and tones that I felt were unhelpful to the characters and the sense of the story. All a bit linear and slow, for me. So Sorry; I know how much work goes into these things.
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Kaa
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2011, 12:05:19 PM »

I'm purposefully not reading the other comments because I'm about halfway through the story. And I really don't like to make negative comments, but: is the reader purposefully being condescending and reading this like a children's story, or is it just me? I feel like the story is good, but I feel like SHE thinks I'm eight years old.
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Talia
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2011, 08:56:27 AM »

I liked the story and the reading. The part that mostly struck me was imagining how creepy it must be to come to realize your mind has been messed with. By the people who are supposed to be keeping you safe, no less.

I am uncertain why the protagonist's mother was killed, though. She was a conspirator with Alice & Pete, is that it? Why then was Alice left alive..? Perhaps someone can clarify this for me.
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Kaa
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2011, 09:42:04 AM »

Having now finished the story and read the other comments, I guess I'm not the only one who felt the reading didn't help the story. I enjoyed the story, but I really wish that if there is another Katherine Mankiller story waiting in the wings, EscapePod finds someone else to read it.

I did figure out what was going on about halfway through, but that didn't stop my enjoyment of the story. I am curious why the grandmother was killed, though.
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Super_Dork_42
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2011, 10:18:54 AM »

I did figure out what was going on about halfway through

Same here, that is about how long before I guessed the whole rest of the plot. Sorry but I just think this story has been overdone so many times that we really didn't need it on EP. I wish it were longer, with more details and hints about who was manipulating things and why. I could see this as the first chapter in a good book, where she fights the mind wipe and each time retains more information, but as is, it didn't do anything for me.

I would totally buy that book if this were the first chapter tho, amiright?
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AstroMatt
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2011, 08:40:25 AM »

I appreciate everything Mur, Bill, etc. do to bring us a quality podcast.  However, I have to say this was one of my least favorite stories and readings of the ~300 that have come down the pipe.  The story just didn't draw me in, and the reading did not help - to "dramatic" or something, but it drew focus from the words.  For example, mid-scene there'd be long pauses, but then there was a scene shift that was a short pause, so it took 1/2 sentence to realize the shift, pulling me out of the story.

Again, however, my thanks to everyone for bringing us a great podcast.

Matt Wood
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Devoted135
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2011, 10:44:54 AM »

As for the story, I felt that the build-up went on way longer than it needed to and the listener figured out what was going to happen before the author was done leading up to it. This had the unfortunate result of not enough time being spent on the climax and denouement, and I was left wanting quite a bit more once the story was done. Why was her grandmother killed, and for that matter why were we told that Yvonne and Alice might have been kissing in the kitchen if we were not going to learn anything concrete about the organization they work for? At the same time, did Yvonne remember enough to sabotage Roger and is that why he might be stepping down? What does it mean that business is booming if they are a psych unit? I'm all for letting the audience put together the last few pieces on our own, but to me this one took that to the extreme.

As for the reading, with apologies to Kim, the reading really took me out of it. I kept thinking about how that is not how adults talk to each other, and those inflections are not what an adult in a life and death situation would use to get their point across. I think that her style is appropriate for many stories, but apparently not those written by Katherine Mankiller.


I did figure out what was going on about halfway through

Same here, that is about how long before I guessed the whole rest of the plot. Sorry but I just think this story has been overdone so many times that we really didn't need it on EP. I wish it were longer, with more details and hints about who was manipulating things and why. I could see this as the first chapter in a good book, where she fights the mind wipe and each time retains more information, but as is, it didn't do anything for me.

I would totally buy that book if this were the first chapter tho, amiright?

yes, I want to read that book! Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2011, 11:08:25 AM »

I didn't really enjoy the reading.

The story not only didn't feel new enough to grab my interest, but it also seemed like it was trying to be more twisted than it actually was. Yvonne should've been smart enough to see that Roger was reverse-psychology-ing her into fighting harder for Alice's case; Yvonne had it too easy escaping with Alice; Roger's monologuing at the end was thoroughly predictable. Perhaps because the plot contained well-used sci-fi tropes -- something in the water, crime defeated by drugs, drug/memory modification therapy, the establishment member working with the underground, anyone who is against all this is considered a terrorist -- I was less enthused by it.

Plus, I think the details were too much sometimes -- every single little detail of Yvonne's trip home, reading a book, drinking a glass of milk, etc. Some of them -- taking all those pills, for example -- were necessary and vivid, but others I felt dragged the story down.

I also think it was trying a little too hard to namecheck Atlanta points of interest -- Grady Hospital and MARTA, specifically. I fully admit I do the same thing in my stories, but maybe I'll back off a little in the future. I think there's a point writers have to reach that's just the right distance between accuracy and good storytelling. I might be sensitized to Atlanta namechecking in particular because I live here too, though.
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2011, 11:10:01 AM »


I did figure out what was going on about halfway through

Same here, that is about how long before I guessed the whole rest of the plot. Sorry but I just think this story has been overdone so many times that we really didn't need it on EP. I wish it were longer, with more details and hints about who was manipulating things and why. I could see this as the first chapter in a good book, where she fights the mind wipe and each time retains more information, but as is, it didn't do anything for me.

I would totally buy that book if this were the first chapter tho, amiright?

yes, I want to read that book! Smiley

http://escapepod.org/2011/02/18/endosymbiont/

Just sayin'.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2011, 11:48:35 AM »


I did figure out what was going on about halfway through

Same here, that is about how long before I guessed the whole rest of the plot. Sorry but I just think this story has been overdone so many times that we really didn't need it on EP. I wish it were longer, with more details and hints about who was manipulating things and why. I could see this as the first chapter in a good book, where she fights the mind wipe and each time retains more information, but as is, it didn't do anything for me.

I would totally buy that book if this were the first chapter tho, amiright?

yes, I want to read that book! Smiley

http://escapepod.org/2011/02/18/endosymbiont/

Just sayin'.

yeah, I really liked that one Smiley *goes and checks her post in that thread* yep, in fact I said I LOVED it Cool
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Thunderscreech
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« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2011, 11:37:46 PM »

Mr. Peters' diplomacy will be well tested when it's time to compile this thread to feedback.
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lordRochester
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2011, 07:04:24 AM »

I've only recently picked up on Escape Pod and have listened to a few stories and read some of the articles with interest. This is the first time I've felt compelled to comment.

This story was a reasonable variation on the "what reality is real" theme but as mentioned elsewhere, it has been done to death. New ideas please!

As for the reading; I startled fellow tube passengers with a heartfelt "Get on with it!" at one point. The delivery was far too slow and with no attempt at introducing any drama (or even inflection), especially when reading the characters' spoken words. I could listen to Mur Lafferty all day but I'll be giving a miss to any future stories read by Kim Gianopoulos, it's just too painful to listen to.
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Kanasta
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2011, 02:06:40 PM »

I'm afraid I only got halfway through the last story read by this narrator, and I turned this one off too. I just find her delivery too patronising, full of the 'fake awe' an adult uses when talking to a child, and not very well-suited to this podcast... Technically, she's fine, but I think she should be reading bedtime stories.
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Duriyah
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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2011, 01:27:43 PM »

I did enjoy this story, as far as it went, but there were just too many hanging threads left at the end. This is one that has a feel of being a study for a novel, and wasn't complete enough for a short story. I did get into the premise, though, even though this is a trope that I've seen/heard before.

As for Kim's reading, it did pull me out of the story somewhat. I noticed that I enjoyed her reading more in the non-dialog parts. Perhaps her skills would be better put to use in a story with little to no dialog.
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wekm
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2011, 06:03:39 AM »

You know, the only reason I finished listening to the story was that I was driving and couldn't be bothered to take my phone out and go to another playlist. The story was so-so, but the reading of it really let me down. While it did keep me semi awake, I was glad it was short and over quickly. If this had been an hour long, I think I would have turned it off.  Undecided
I'm sorry that this has to be my first post.
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