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Author Topic: PC157: As Below, So Above  (Read 5559 times)
Talia
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« on: May 17, 2011, 11:40:29 AM »

PodCastle 157: As Below, So Above

by Ferret Steinmetz

Read by Norm Sherman (of The Drabblecast)

Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Read the story here.

Up at the shimmering edge of the sky, where the water met the air, Son spread his tentacles out beneath the terrible shadow of his father. They were waiting for the ships. Son felt the approaching heart-thrum bouncing off the coral-crusted hulls below as the ships crested the painwall.

Are you sure you should do this, Father? Son thought. He twisted his mantle around to gaze at the scarred stumps of his father’s tentacles. You’ve trained me well. There’d be no shame in letting me take this harvest.

My name, thought Two-Father, his beak clacking shut with the finality of a ship’s hull crunching into stone, is Two, formerly One. It is a name I earned, one murder at a time. And I will carry out the harvest until Dysmas decides I am no longer worthy. He flexed his tentacles experimentally, then added: Perhaps He already has.


Rated R:
Contains Violence and Disturbing Imagery
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 08:50:30 AM by Talia » Logged
iamafish
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2011, 07:34:17 AM »

I AM THE FISH UNDER THE MOUNTAIN, BOW BEFORE MY FEEDB-OH GOD, I NEED WATER FOR MY GILLS TO WORK

another kraken story from podcastle. I kinda got the point straight away - the title is a dead giveaway - but the way in which the worldview of twofather was built, then deconstructed was so good that it didn't matter. I also loved how Son began to doubt his father's faith and everything that he'd been taught, only for it to turn out to be true. We often get people asking the god they start doubting to prove himself to them, but rarely see anything come about because of it.

Incidentally i wasn't entirely clear on whether the arrival of all those ships was simply a coincidence, or somehow a result of Son reaching out and touching the beach. I'm leaning towards the former, but i'm not 100% sure.

I'd usually object to the exposition drop towards the end of the story, but it actually felt very natural. The mad scientist was really well characterised and it felt exactly like the kind of thing that character would do. He treated his creations as tools for his own continued existence, rather than autonomous beings. This arrogance meant that him patronising Son by telling him all the stuff that many of us had already worked made a lot of sense.

Fantastic reading by Norm, as we would expect!

tentacles out of ten from me

ok, enough with the puns.
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011, 11:18:50 AM »

I AM THE FISH UNDER THE MOUNTAIN, BOW BEFORE MY FEEDB-OH GOD, I NEED WATER FOR MY GILLS TO WORK

 Grin  Between you this week, and Listener last week, you all are making me grin like an idiot. I look forward to future kings (and fishies) under the mountain!
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 01:00:07 PM »

I quite liked this one.  It's hard for me not to like a good kraken story, so I freely admit prejudice here.  Smiley

I liked that the son was so willing to question his father's god and seek justice of a sort for the abandonment of his father once he was no longer useful to the man.

edit: apparantly I can't tell the different between U and I.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 04:11:04 PM by soapturtle » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 01:18:41 PM »

Will duck out of the comments shortly, but...

Holy Sky Father, Soapturtle - that scarf is awesome!

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zoanon
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2011, 02:33:47 PM »

I'v been a bit disappointed with the stories on podcastle lately, they just haven't been my thing, but I LOVED this. as soon as the story was over I listened to it again three times. It is my favorite  since songdogs.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 11:56:41 PM by zoanon » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2011, 12:23:02 PM »

Wow.  Just wow.  This might be my favourite story this year so far.  It’s amazing how an author can make me empathize so completely with a creature who would consider me nothing more than a tasty crop.  I mean, how does an author do that?  These characters were so distinct and I knew them so well and they were freaking krakens.  I loved the development of the belief system and how it evolved over the course of the story. 

Edited: Okay, I give up.  I thought it was Island of Dr. Moreau, which I hadn't read, but is the mad scientist base on a pre-existing story?  It feels like he is.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2011, 08:00:12 AM by BlueLu » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2011, 06:23:05 AM »

That was a great story. Full of heart and twists just right for a mighty squid story. Son ROCKS!
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2011, 06:55:39 AM »

"Let's get Kraken." Ouch. (in a sort of good way :-)
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stePH
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2011, 02:22:49 PM »

This one had me and never lost me. My only complaint is that it should have run on Escape Pod instead. It's totally science-fiction, from the engineered creature's POV.
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2011, 03:22:29 PM »

I love love love loved this one. I actually got teary near the end. Awesome story, self-discovery, giant squids... what's not to love.

Excuse me. I'm overcome by emotion.

Anyway, there was absolutely nothing I didn't like about this story, and everything I did like. A+, five zeppelins out of five, and all other accolades I can think of. Bravo!
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2011, 07:50:57 PM »

...oh, and I was also half-expecting to hear Shiva in Exile crossfade into "I Crush Everything" at the end of the episode.
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2011, 09:21:21 PM »

...oh, and I was also half-expecting to hear Shiva in Exile crossfade into "I Crush Everything" at the end of the episode.

Oo, that would have been awesome.
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« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2011, 02:25:28 AM »

Very shiny!
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« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2011, 03:01:00 AM »

The anthropomorphism in this kinda bugged me, but's that's a really small niggle.

In every other respect, Awesome. Including the choice of reader, for who but NORM SHERMAN could convincingly read as a giant squid?

Damn you, Dysmas!! You got yours!!
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2011, 09:47:55 AM »

...oh, and I was also half-expecting to hear Shiva in Exile crossfade into "I Crush Everything" at the end of the episode.

Oo, that would have been awesome.

I know, right? I mean, it's a song about a giant squid, yes?
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2011, 04:12:51 PM »

Will duck out of the comments shortly, but...

Holy Sky Father, Soapturtle - that scarf is awesome!



Late reply, but thank you sir!


And yes, I Crush Everything would have been a great closer.  It's one of my fav JoCo songs.
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2011, 09:32:39 PM »

also, I loved the imagery of son and two-father fighting the crops storming dysmas' fortress. reminded me a lot of the old flash game defend your castle, you kill as many tiiiiiny little guys as you can but they just keep coming!
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2011, 08:59:50 AM »

This one was not one of my favorites, but still I enjoyed it pretty well. I liked how the MC was horrified when he realized that Dysmas had been trying to kill his egg, not infuse it with more strength and power. I also liked their exchange at the end and thought that the dynamic between Dysmas and the spawn of his creations was great. The subtle balance and shifting of power as each character slowly figured out the full scope of the situation was really nicely drawn.
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eytanz
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2011, 11:51:07 AM »

Was I the only one feeling sad at the end for the protagonist about there being no females of his kind anywhere in the world?
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« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2011, 01:55:21 AM »

Was I the only one feeling sad at the end for the protagonist about there being no females of his kind anywhere in the world?

Given the way squid procreate, it's probably just as well.
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« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2011, 06:30:38 AM »

Was I the only one feeling sad at the end for the protagonist about there being no females of his kind anywhere in the world?

Given the way squid procreate, it's probably just as well.

Yeah, nature is gross. Ick.

This story filled me with a vague sense of Lovecraftian dread. I don't know, something about giant sentient sea-beasts and mad scientists playing God....guh. I wasn't really able to sympathize for the protagonist; I was too busy fearing for my sanity.
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« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2011, 07:05:03 AM »

I've only been listening to PodCastle for 4 months or so, and have to say this episode has pushed me over the edge.  I now find myself needing to donate some $ and to leave a comment about the awesomeness of Ferret Steinmetz's handiwork.  Nicely done, kudos, bravo, and encore please!  Thank you PodCastle for serving up such fabulous and delicious morsels of fantasy.  You are a continuous delight in my morning commute. 

Sincerely,
Dan Robb
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« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2011, 03:58:22 PM »

I thought this story was awesome too.  I especially like the ending and the references to invaders as crops. I don't normally cheer for giant sea monsters, but when I do, I prefer to cheer for intelligent man-eating Kraken.

Stay hungry my friends!
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« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2011, 11:30:52 AM »

This was more SF than F, but don't care because I liked it. One of Norm's better readings. I liked the villainous nature of the creator, and he got what he had coming.
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« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2011, 08:26:30 AM »

Great reading, great story.
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« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2011, 02:40:06 PM »

I'm a sucker for any story that takes us behind the goggles of a nonhuman character. This was very well done. The perspective is natural but the differences are easy enough for my land-dwelling, non-squid brain to understand.
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« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2011, 03:00:45 PM »

This was in Beneath Ceaseless Skies? Huh...I listen to their podcast as well, and I haven't heard this one. It's just as well, because I probably wouldn't have heard Norm Sherman's awesome narrating. I would like to read it again, though, to get the full impact. Giant Squid and evil mad-scientist-gods rock!
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« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2011, 04:51:17 PM »

Yay! Loved it. A bit bumpy in the beginning getting my Think-Like-A-Kraken hat straight, but form then on it was a rollicking, boat-crushing (here I originally typed "oat-crushing" which makes me want to put Son in a little Quaker hat), good time! And Eytanz, no you were not the only one. I am holding out for the Creighton solution. Seriously wonderful story. PodCastle rocks my world!
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« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2011, 06:06:03 PM »

Son in a little Quaker hat

Its things like this that make me wish I had any sort of artistic talent. I would SO draw that.
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« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2011, 11:42:15 AM »

Holy crap!  Great story.

I'm not quite so easily sold on a story that having a giant squid will guarantee I like it, but if you make that squid the POV character, add in a mad scientist creator, armies of crops to eat, and a religion based on gross misinterpretation of observable facts, and with all that combined I could hardly dislike it.  And, well, Ferret's a hell of a writer, so he actually managed to do this premise justice.

I don't think there was anything I disliked about this one.  I liked Son's confrontation with his god, Dysmas's realization that he coudn't control this squid.  I liked the father's convoluted interpretation of the religion (especially Dysmas's "fertilization" of the eggs), and the fact that he had not realized that Dysmas was just another crop, expecting him to be huge because Twofather had been so tiny when he'd last seen him.  I liked how the world order isn't exactly explained, because how would this little one know about it?  I liked how the mother squid was not at all motherly in our apely view of the world because the family dynamic would certainly be different.

The one thing I didn't really understand is, if Dysmas didn't want the squids to breed (which I assume is the case from the destructino of the fertilized eggs), then why did he put a fertile male and fertile female in the same space?  Like most forms of birth control, dropping blankets of poison over an egg field is (apparently) not 100% effective.

This was in Beneath Ceaseless Skies? Huh...I listen to their podcast as well, and I haven't heard this one.

It hasn't been on the BCS podcast.  Since they started podcasting, they only podcast one story for every 2 in text, and I don't think they had the podcast at the beginning.  Maybe it'll be podcast later, but it hasn't yet.  

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« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2012, 12:56:01 AM »

I thoughouly enjoyed this story. The shout outs to every big squid reference and the personification is beutiffully done, with not just thoughts and feelings but food sources and religion. And the lesson of our responsibility to our "creations" rather than the other way around. Besides who could not love a sentient giant squid?
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« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2012, 03:13:24 PM »

Good pick y'all. This will comfortably go on the list of stories to recommend to folks to introduce them to the podcast.

This one had me and never lost me. My only complaint is that it should have run on Escape Pod instead. It's totally science-fiction, from the engineered creature's POV.

Clearly you can see the proper home for this thing is PseudoPod. Tentacles aside, it's the story of a man-eating monster who slowly has everything that he holds dear stripped from him. When he has nothing left but shaken faith, he confronts and then consumes his god.
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« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2012, 12:18:05 PM »

Clearly you can see the proper home for this thing is PseudoPod. Tentacles aside, it's the story of a man-eating monster who slowly has everything that he holds dear stripped from him. When he has nothing left but shaken faith, he confronts and then consumes his god.

It felt like it was written for Drabblecast.  Giant Squids are very near and dear to Norm's heart!
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« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2014, 09:04:04 AM »

I put this story on my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time list, at #48:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/05/the-best-podcast-fiction-of-all-time-41-50/
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