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Author Topic: Pseudopod Special: The Alphabet Quartet (A Primer)  (Read 4702 times)

DKT

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Pseudopod Special: The Alphabet Quartet (A Primer)

by Tim Pratt, Jenn Reese, Heather Shaw, and Greg van Eekhout

Featuring: “Q is for Quit,” read by Graeme Dunlop.

“F is for Flotsam,” read by Dave Thompson of PodCastle.

Be sure to check out Escape Pod and PodCastle for other FREE Alphabet Quartet stories. While you’re at it, visit Daily Science Fiction, where you can read all the original Alphabet Quartet stories, and get FREE SF/F stories delivered daily to your email.

See you all July 1st!



Unblinking

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Reply #1 on: June 03, 2011, 01:22:13 PM
Hey, this is something new.  :)  I enjoyed them (though I'm a bit jealous at the prospect of selling a pack of 26+ stories in a lump sum).

I particularly liked Flotsam, with the carnival that was just a bit off.  Well, most carnivals are a bit off, but this was a bit off of a normal carnival even.  I liked the details like the fortuneteller who would NOT let you go, and the poor Ferris Wheelers who are just left upset down in their rigging.

The way the word "flotsam" was used at the end though didn't sound right.  It referred to the flotsam walking back into the water, but isn't flotsam just bits of broken ship and cargo left over after a ship wreck?  I guess it was saying that these people had died in shipwrecks?  I don't think the dead are usually counted as part of flotsam, and trying to figure out what was being referred to pulled me out of the story a bit.  I liked the rest though.

Also, for anyone who's interested in Daily Science Fiction, my site Diabolical Plots seems to be the only one who's been reviewing them with any regularity (reviews written by Frank Dutkiewicz).  Every story is reviewed, and the reviews of stories up through February are posted, including all the alphabet stories up to "H is for Horse" (with more reviews to come).  The reviews so far are the first few on this page:
http://www.diabolicalplots.com/?s=daily+science+fiction
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 01:25:41 PM by Unblinking »



eytanz

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Reply #2 on: June 03, 2011, 01:37:47 PM
The way the word "flotsam" was used at the end though didn't sound right.  It referred to the flotsam walking back into the water, but isn't flotsam just bits of broken ship and cargo left over after a ship wreck?  I guess it was saying that these people had died in shipwrecks?  I don't think the dead are usually counted as part of flotsam, and trying to figure out what was being referred to pulled me out of the story a bit.  I liked the rest though.

I don't think it was the literal sense of the word - I think the term "flotsam" was applied to the carnival system, in the sense that they wash out from the sea and return to it - it doesn't necessarily fit with how they got into the sea in the first place.



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Reply #3 on: June 03, 2011, 03:37:05 PM
For those of you who may not know, Greg van Eekhout's YA book Kid Vs. Squid is loosley based on "F is for Flotsam" (originally just "Flotsam").  It is a fun little book. I bought it "for my kids" and then read it before they could.

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DKT

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Reply #4 on: June 03, 2011, 03:56:22 PM
For those of you who may not know, Greg van Eekhout's YA book Kid Vs. Squid is loosley based on "F is for Flotsam" (originally just "Flotsam").  It is a fun little book. I bought it "for my kids" and then read it before they could.

It is a fun little book, isn't it? I "bought it for my kids" too, but have to wait 2-5 years to share it with them :)


kibitzer

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Reply #5 on: June 04, 2011, 08:08:51 AM
I particularly liked Flotsam, with the carnival that was just a bit off.  Well, most carnivals are a bit off, but this was a bit off of a normal carnival even.  I liked the details like the fortuneteller who would NOT let you go, and the poor Ferris Wheelers who are just left upset down in their rigging.

There's nothing creepier than a "slightly off" carnival, nor the suggestion of one. I can't remember which album or artist, but there's a carnival piece of music I remember which is just a happy calliope tune that just gradually becomes faster and faster until it's out of control. Induces real unease.


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Reply #6 on: June 09, 2011, 02:42:57 PM
There's nothing creepier than a "slightly off" carnival, nor the suggestion of one. I can't remember which album or artist, but there's a carnival piece of music I remember which is just a happy calliope tune that just gradually becomes faster and faster until it's out of control. Induces real unease.

Or the merry go round music in "Lost Boys", that slightly off-key tone that just makes your skin crawl.

If you ever locate that piece I'd love a link.  Thanks!  :-)

Alea Iacta Est!


Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #7 on: June 09, 2011, 09:22:30 PM
I can't remember which album or artist, but there's a carnival piece of music I remember which is just a happy calliope tune that just gradually becomes faster and faster until it's out of control. Induces real unease.

Or the merry go round music in "Lost Boys", that slightly off-key tone that just makes your skin crawl.

If you ever locate that piece I'd love a link.  Thanks!  :-)

If you can find a decent version of it, "Parade" by Eric Satie is also something along those lines.

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


kibitzer

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Reply #8 on: June 10, 2011, 11:08:08 AM
There's nothing creepier than a "slightly off" carnival, nor the suggestion of one. I can't remember which album or artist, but there's a carnival piece of music I remember which is just a happy calliope tune that just gradually becomes faster and faster until it's out of control. Induces real unease.

Or the merry go round music in "Lost Boys", that slightly off-key tone that just makes your skin crawl.

If you ever locate that piece I'd love a link.  Thanks!  :-)

Ha, I thought it was King Crimson!! The song's called "The Big Top"; it's the final track on their 1970 album, "Lizard". YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRSensa2cCQ


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Reply #9 on: June 10, 2011, 05:56:55 PM
Ha, I thought it was King Crimson!! The song's called "The Big Top"; it's the final track on their 1970 album, "Lizard". YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRSensa2cCQ

Many thanks!!  :-)

Alea Iacta Est!


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Reply #10 on: June 14, 2011, 01:43:19 PM
I particularly liked Flotsam, with the carnival that was just a bit off.  Well, most carnivals are a bit off, but this was a bit off of a normal carnival even.  I liked the details like the fortuneteller who would NOT let you go, and the poor Ferris Wheelers who are just left upset down in their rigging.

There's nothing creepier than a "slightly off" carnival, nor the suggestion of one. I can't remember which album or artist, but there's a carnival piece of music I remember which is just a happy calliope tune that just gradually becomes faster and faster until it's out of control. Induces real unease.

Yes, minor key calliope music is an extremely creepy sound!  Or anything in minor key.  Which is why "Carol of the Bells" is my favorite Christmas song (I think it's in a minor key at least)--that song just sounds sinister to me, and I love it.



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Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 03:18:58 AM
Yes, minor key calliope music is an extremely creepy sound!  Or anything in minor key.  Which is why "Carol of the Bells" is my favorite Christmas song (I think it's in a minor key at least)--that song just sounds sinister to me, and I love it.

This is venturing towards off-topic so I'll keep it short: The HPL Historical Society's version of "Joy to the World" is in a minor key and positively chilling.  Check it out if you're looking to add to your twisted holiday classics collection.

Alea Iacta Est!


Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #12 on: July 05, 2011, 03:47:30 AM
This is venturing towards off-topic so I'll keep it short: The HPL Historical Society's version of "Joy to the World" is in a minor key and positively chilling.  Check it out if you're looking to add to your twisted holiday classics collection.

That is excellent.

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham