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Author Topic: Pseudopod 231: Tippler’s Bane  (Read 9262 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: May 27, 2011, 01:20:30 PM »

Pseudopod 231: Tippler’s Bane

By Evelyn Wang

Evelyn is an editorial intern for the as-yet unpublished issue 6 of Coilhouse magazine.

Read by Paul Jenkins & Eve Upton.


“Creatures of dusk, creatures of dank and dark and dregs of mealy meaty toxins, we sit here in the dust and the damp, in the many shadowy shadows that lurk like pockets. Creeping, slithering, longer and lengthier the shadows grow, into our kingdom of shit and mildew. Nighttime, yes, and we stumble, tumble, unmoving, into the moonlight. Moon, moon. Renders us ghostly little babies, and that we are, nothing but stupid putrid babies, only living, always dying unmentionable deaths, drowning constantly in our own little babies.

We grow, we grow, crop up, pop down, we, we, creatures of grandmamma-secrets and impish delights. A carpet of heads, unfurling to tasty death and hasty birth. Food between our toes and drink from the cracked pipes, bloody rusty nourishment and filthy sustenance, our constant diet, our home.”




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2011, 12:18:04 AM by Talia » Logged

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
flyonwall
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2011, 11:24:18 PM »

I'd like to comment on the story but I'm halfway through the story and have no idea what the mushroom lady has been saying.  It was a nice attempt at something different with dual narrators but the execution isn't working for me.
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Sgarre1
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"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2011, 01:24:14 AM »

We have covered that contingency - stay tuned!
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zoanon
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2011, 08:20:02 AM »

I don't know if you have changed anything, but I can understand her fine.
wish I couldn't, my ears feel like they are filled with filth now.
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ectoBiologist
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2011, 11:30:00 AM »

I also found myself having to listen quite closely to our myconid narrator. I dug the distorted whisper–who knew that would be such an appropriate-sounding voice for a fungus?–but its playback level could've used a boost, so that I didn't have to keep playing with my volume settings while I was listening.
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iamafish
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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2011, 07:54:15 AM »

I couldn't here much of what the mushroom was saying either.

Just commenting on the bits i could hear, the story seemed pretty drab. I didn't ever find any reason to care about either the protagonist or his mushroom. I never got his motivation, either. It all seemed pointless and uninteresting. It seemed like an interesting idea that just wasn't at all realised. Maybe the mushroom parts made it more interesting, but i can only comment on what i can actually hear.
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Hafwit
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2011, 09:27:39 AM »

I could easily make out the 'mushroom voice'. I was lying in my bed in the stillness of the night, so I guess that helped too. Nice and creepy. The 'goth language' (better term needed!) was laid on a little thickly, but the idea was good and generally well carried out.
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AndyTheGray
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2011, 10:05:36 AM »

I just listened to this and thought it seemed like an interesting idea but I also had a lot of trouble understanding the mushroom voice.
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Sgarre1
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"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2011, 03:58:11 PM »

Alternative version is now up on the show page

http://pseudopod.org/2011/05/27/pseudopod-231-tipplers-bane/

That addition is not showing on the general front page of the site - but it may be a "waiting for it to update" situation.  Not sure.  Anyway, the alternate is available for download on the page.

I also have no idea how adding the new to a pre-existing page will effect podcast catchers.  But you know where it is.

Shawn
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evelet
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2011, 08:14:32 AM »

I normally read everyone Elses responses to work through what I think, but the forum seems surprisingly quiet, so I'll have a go. I guess the whisper was too quiet for some situations (I do the lying in bed to listen thing, so fine for me). I have listened to both - and I like the idea of having different narrators, and of playing with the sound for the fungi. I say keep experimenting. As long as the story stays central.

This story was pleasingly different for me. The obsession manifest was an interesting idea. I can follow that he came across the one thing he loved (loved? He identified himself as the mycologist, so maybe not love, but it was the focus of his life and interest) in a sea of the 'post-primordial soup of humanity', and took small steps that eventually lead to the wedding, but it is a hard thought-process to empathise with - not a character I can walk the path with. Maybe in a longer story you could see how each small step would be easy to make, and therefore you could understand the arc. Or maybe if that first step felt right it would be easier (you can tell now why I have to read what other people think to order my own thoughts - sorry for the ramble). Really don't know what see got out of the relationship, but I guess as long as a mushroom gets the manure, the rest is irrelevant. But she seemed to have invested in it because of the disappointment at the end.

The stylistic changes in the writing between the two voices were great, and I loved the language - all shuddering and papery, with myriad spinning fingers, and quiet as dead mice. The language drew attention to itself, so maybe that makes it overdone for some listeners, but I like it evocative and the touches of wit (but I liked an old story that everyone else hated because of the language, so hey). The time shifts between the voices was an interesting way of layering jeopardy over the other one. It took me a little while to work out who the voice of the fungi was/were, and towards the end I felt the order was not quite right, as if the fungi were a section ahead of where they should be, but having tried to reorder on my second listening I could not do it in a way that worked better.

The breadth of stories on pseudopod is the main reason I keep coming back for more. This one is still noodling at me, so I like it.

In the interests of full disclosure, I feel I must admit although I think fungi are fascinating and sometimes beautiful out in the wild, I hate eating them. Weird slimy spongy stuff. It's not a plant and not an animal, so why on earth would you want to put it in your mouth? Eugh. Nearly as bad as pineapple (with its freakish sinister left-handed enzymes that dissolve your tongue)...
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2011, 08:41:37 AM »

Count me among those who had trouble hearing the fungus voice (I haven't given the new version a listen).  I was listening on my car stereo as I was driving, as is usual.  The lower tones seemed so quiet so I kept wanting to crank the volume, but the sibilants were so harsh that a higher volume was too painful to listen to.  I think I got most of what it was saying, but with effort.  Some parts of what I did pick up didn't make sense to me, like she was talking about how the man had died but it appeared that he outlived her?  Unless that's a post-fungal-infected him afterward?  I'm not really sure.

I would've liked to get closer to one or both characters, as this was more distant than I tend to like.  It did have some great images.  Foremost among those is the image of the fungus woman at her wedding, in a nice dress, with shit-stinking steel-toed boots two sizes too large for her, with spats.  That would make an awesome cover image.
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Sgarre1
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"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2011, 11:00:53 PM »

Quote
Some parts of what I did pick up didn't make sense to me, like she was talking about how the man had died but it appeared that he outlived her?  Unless that's a post-fungal-infected him afterward?  I'm not really sure.

Yes, there's definitely a "time warped" effect going on in the content of the fungi narration but as to how to actually interpret it, that's up for grabs: is the fungi narration one step ahead of the action segments?  do the fungi exist outside of time and thus there is no future or past for them?  Or is this just the mindset of something that exists in an endless cycle and so all events are the same to it, all men "the man", all deaths "death" and all rebirths "rebirth"?  Hard to say...

"To understand the death of Lady Diana you only have to know two things. You have to know the lesson of THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, which is, if you look at it you will be blinded, and even a plant can kill you. The second thing is, you have to have seen the original BODY SNATCHERS and know that sometimes it’s impossible to know who’s a human being anymore.”
Dave Thomas of Pere Ubu, from the Invisible Jukebox, The Wire #170, April, 1998
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 11:08:05 PM by Sgarre1 » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2011, 09:39:14 AM »

I too had trouble understanding the effected voice, and agree with some others previous that there's some definite potential in a story dealing with fungi (and their cousin, mould, what about a mould story?).  Keep hacking at it, young writer!  Grin

Great to hear that guy that did the male narration. I remember him narrating pseudopod eps _years_ ago.
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Marguerite
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2011, 02:52:53 PM »

Between this story and "What Makes You Tick" I'm in audiophile heaven. 

I'll admit I had a hard time hearing the words, or maybe hearing isn't quite right - concentrating on them.  I was completely memorized by the cadence and timbre, the almost chant of the words.

Fantastic, FANTASTIC voice work on these last few stories!
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2011, 04:26:29 PM »

I didn't enjoy this story very much. I thought that the pacing and characterization were quite awkward - amateurish, even. The author definitely has a firm grasp of the creepy and disgusting, which is great. The story, however, just didn't hold together for me.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2011, 10:25:29 PM »

Quote
Between this story and "What Makes You Tick" I'm in audiophile heaven.

I'll admit I had a hard time hearing the words, or maybe hearing isn't quite right - concentrating on them.  I was completely memorized by the cadence and timbre, the almost chant of the words.

Fantastic, FANTASTIC voice work on these last few stories!

All kudos should go to our reader/narrators, who filled my requests spectacularly, and Graeme Dunlop (Kibitzer on the forums here), who went above and beyond in fulfilling my wildest dreams of audio.

This type of production *tweak* will still be fairly rare, only used when it can enhance a story, mostly.  I know we have a little bit of extra production for a story scheduled in July, and I just accepted a story that might benefit from some subtle extra production as well.  Keep an ear out!  And thanks for the kind words!

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dasleid
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« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2011, 12:38:40 AM »

I loved the concept of the story and would love to read/hear more of Ms. Wang's future work, which promises much, but I must say that this piece wasn't entirely fulfilling. 

First, I listened to the original version and did have much difficulty with discerning the text (actually impossible for some portions), which was off-putting.  No fault at all with the author in that regard, of course, but it did affect my appreciation of the work, and however I wish it otherwise, I do not think that I can be completely objective when I listen to the alternate version; I am tainted.

Second, the use of the term "mycologist" in reference to the protagnoist was extremely distracting; I would grant a first instance usage of the term as exposition (and I admit that I deduced the meaning from context rather than knowledge), but the continual usage of the term throughout the story nearly made me abandon the story altogether; it sounded akward and stilted and made me wince each time; dragging me out of the story into my own critical thoughts.

Finally, for me, the consumption scene lacked emotional depth; possibly I failed in my duty as reader/listener to flesh out the feelings and thoughts subtely expressed in the passage, but I would tend to belive that the passage was a bit lackluster and hurried. 

As a final note, I want to say that desipte my critiscisms, I really did enjoy the story and realize that experience will likely work those kinks out (or alternatively, I'm just a cranky fool who lets my personal predilections overpower simple enjoyment of a well imagined story). 
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kibitzer
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« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2011, 10:49:04 PM »

As a final note, I want to say that desipte my critiscisms, I really did enjoy the story and realize that experience will likely work those kinks out (or alternatively, I'm just a cranky fool who lets my personal predilections overpower simple enjoyment of a well imagined story). 

If this forum's about anything, it's personal opinions ;-) Come back again!
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2011, 08:39:34 AM »

As a final note, I want to say that desipte my critiscisms, I really did enjoy the story and realize that experience will likely work those kinks out (or alternatively, I'm just a cranky fool who lets my personal predilections overpower simple enjoyment of a well imagined story). 

If this forum's about anything, it's personal opinions ;-) Come back again!

Hier, hier!
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Faraway Ray
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« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2011, 12:50:38 PM »

If this is what you're looking for, here's a fine example!

The prose in this was amazing, though I admit I didn't catch 100% of the mushroom's raspy whisper. Still, this was one of those stories that you hear that makes you "Man, I wish I could write like that."

The caveat to this is that I didn't really much care about what happened, and didn't feel a whole lot of sympathy for either the mycologist or his fungus bride. Creepy, sure. But there needs to be some kind of connection to get a really visceral reaction from a listener, and I feel like there wasn't anyone developed enough for us to care. The mycologist was just as detached from people in the story as he was from the people listening to it.
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A story of lust, violence and jelly.

Well, Here I Am. My little slice of the blaggin' world.
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