Author Topic: Pseudopod 223: Murdock The Nobody  (Read 13848 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5891
  • Mmm. Tiger.
on: April 02, 2011, 08:50:52 AM
Pseudopod 223: Murdock The Nobody

By Kate Jonez. Click the link under her name for all kinds of macabre and creepy things.

Read by Matt Arnold, who previously read “Thinking About Polar Bears” for us way back in Flash On The Borderlands I.

Happy April Fools Day! Don’t get fooled by a fool…

“‘Destiny is what you make it,’ Murdock’s eyes were unnaturally bright. ‘And luck is what’s left over. If you want something to happen, you’ve got to make it happen.’"

The auction to raise money for the victims of the disaster in Japan can still be be accessed here: GENRE FOR JAPAN. Please take a look!


Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Loz

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 370
    • Blah Flowers
Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 07:45:05 PM
Am I the first? Gosh...

Take out the lazy generalisations about art critics, and the last ten to fifteen minutes and it was almost bearable. I did like the idea behind the story but felt the implementation left something to be desired.

That Murdock has no character is okay as a personification of chaos, but Scott also has no personality and we find out nothing about him other than he has a false hand that can be replaced like a slower version of Inspector Gadget. Eva and Ttocs are of art are even less defined so why and how are we supposed to care when they or any of the other guests the writer sneers at are attacked? And then the total drear of the last ten minutes when Scott whines, Murdock laughs and this just repeats in a loop. It wasn't terror. It was dull.

Worst Pseudopod for quite a while. But then, you did put it up on April the 1st, so you could still claim it was a prank...



ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 08:01:16 PM
I'm with Loz on this one. I found this one generally boring. The only interesting complication - that Scott was a buried aspect of Ttocs coming to the surface with the help of Murdock, that when he "killed" Ttocs he was taking over and when he killed everyone else he was... well that part didn't make any sense. That sentence kind of fell apart, too. Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that the story's only really interesting wrinkle kind of fell apart plot-wise. There was an awful lot of whining.

Although I like to think of myself as a compassionate man, I really didn't care what happened to any of these characters. The author went to such lengths to convince me that they were - all of them - totally worthless, that by the end of the story, I was convinced. Screw 'em all and let their blood paint the streets of L.A. What's on Podcastle?

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #3 on: April 04, 2011, 01:41:53 PM
I didn't really get this one.  So who's Murdock?  Who are the gray and brown people?  Near the beginning it seemed clear that Scott was Ttocs.  He even said "Anyone should be able to see that Ttocs is Scott spelled backwards" and that combined with the fact that they're both one-handed painters...  So then I spent most of the rest of the story confused why he considered Ttocs a separate person.  And then when he shot Ttocs and people reacted, I had to wonder what actually happened there--did he just fire nito the air or what?  I spent pretty much the whole

Yeah, I just didn't get it, whatever happened.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #4 on: April 04, 2011, 04:00:25 PM
This story had the kind of dream/nightmare logic wherein there doesn't seem to be much of a cause/effect sequence, but rather things just happen, characters are paper-thin and fade into each other and back, and peoples reactions are unnatural and odd. I'm not a huge fan of this kind of story in general, but I think it's particularly ill-suited for audio, which offers neither the flexibility of written text nor the more complete sensory experience of video.

So yes, I'm in the same camp as the posters above in that I found this hard to follow or relate to and overall a rather unsatisfying experience, though I think it's not so much bad writing as a story that just doesn't belong in the podcast medium.



Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4904
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #5 on: April 04, 2011, 07:05:10 PM
I'm going with the echo chamber on this one.  The story had aspirations it wasn't able to fulfill (at least in audio, where the odd Literature bits came off as awkward instead of artistic) and was generally bland and confusing.  I pegged Scott/Ttocs as a Tyler Durden situation far, far earlier than I think the story wanted me to, and I was not impressed when it went off.  I feel like an exploration of the nobody/somebody conflict might have been a more profitable route, as the bits with the street people following Murdock's lead were the parts I was most interested in.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 09:23:56 PM by Bdoomed »



Loz

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 370
    • Blah Flowers
Reply #6 on: April 04, 2011, 09:06:05 PM
I didn't really get this one.  So who's Murdock?  Who are the gray and brown people?  Near the beginning it seemed clear that Scott was Ttocs.  He even said "Anyone should be able to see that Ttocs is Scott spelled backwards" and that combined with the fact that they're both one-handed painters...  So then I spent most of the rest of the story confused why he considered Ttocs a separate person.  And then when he shot Ttocs and people reacted, I had to wonder what actually happened there--did he just fire nito the air or what?  I spent pretty much the whole

I wondered if it was supposed to be a Phil Dick/Horselover Fat type thing but I think they were two seperate people and the thing was that Ttocs was just like Scott except he'd been lucky and successful whereas Scott hadn't. I think it was just a slam on artists that do well these days by implying that they have no talent beyond self-promotion and aren't actually any good at their craft.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #7 on: April 05, 2011, 01:24:36 PM
I pegged Scott/Ttocs as a Tyler Durden situation far, far earlier than I think the story wanted me to, and I was not impressed when it went off. 

Really?  It seemed like it was supposed to be obvious from near the beginning.  Scott said straight out that Ttocs was Scott spelled backwards, and they are both one-handed artists, one of whom everyone is ignoring.  I rarely pick up that kind of thing earlier than an author wants me to, as I generally just go with the flow of the story, so if I pick something up very early it's probably not meant to be concealed.  What I wasn't sure about through most of it was whether Scott knew they were the same people--it seemed like he did early on, since he pointed out the spelling, but later it seemed he didn't.



Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #8 on: April 07, 2011, 03:28:05 PM
Good reading. The reader sounded like a cross between Steve Anderson and Wilson Fowlie.

I didn't really enjoy the story that much. Scott's one-handedness was a gun on the mantelpiece that was never fired -- oh, I know a bunch of people got shot, but what was the POINT of Scott only having one hand? In my opinion, one-handedness isn't a physical trait that you can put into a story just because some people on this planet lost one hand in an accident or something.

I don't know, I just didn't feel horrified. Or even slightly disturbed.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #9 on: April 07, 2011, 04:07:53 PM
In my opinion, one-handedness isn't a physical trait that you can put into a story just because some people on this planet lost one hand in an accident or something.

Why not?  I admit I don't really get what you're saying.  Some people have only one hand.  This is one of those people.

(I suspect he had only one hand to strengthen the conclusion that he and Ttocs are the same person, since Ttocs also has only one hand)



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #10 on: April 08, 2011, 04:01:08 PM
What was with all the tinkly-noise in the background?

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #11 on: April 08, 2011, 04:13:56 PM
What was with all the tinkly-noise in the background?

I noticed that too.  Twas weird, like crystal chimes or something.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #12 on: April 08, 2011, 05:37:17 PM
What was with all the tinkly-noise in the background?

I noticed that too.  Twas weird, like crystal chimes or something.

There's something similar on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond part I" if you listen.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #13 on: April 08, 2011, 07:48:39 PM
In my opinion, one-handedness isn't a physical trait that you can put into a story just because some people on this planet lost one hand in an accident or something.

Why not?  I admit I don't really get what you're saying.  Some people have only one hand.  This is one of those people.

(I suspect he had only one hand to strengthen the conclusion that he and Ttocs are the same person, since Ttocs also has only one hand)


Probably.

Like I said, it just felt like a Chekhov's Gun.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1214
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Reply #14 on: April 08, 2011, 10:40:33 PM
I noticed that as well - I think it may have been a low-bitrate sound.  I'll check with production - thanks for reminding me!



Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #15 on: April 10, 2011, 05:55:07 PM
(I noticed the sound in the background too - some sort of compression artifact?)

I didn't like this one very much.  It was long, fairly confusing and not very gripping or horrific.  Plus I could not stop thinking that "wow, isn't this exactly how Fight Club ended? With one personality shooting and killing the other?"

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


MattArnold

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 17
    • nemorathwald.com
Reply #16 on: April 11, 2011, 03:47:23 AM
What was with all the tinkly-noise in the background?
That's my fault. I used a noise removal filter before sending the file, and that created those sound artifacts. I record this at a local hacker space. Soon we will be finished with our podcasting trailer, which will reduce background noise significantly. Sorry about that. I intend to not use a noise removal filter in the future.

Before making this recording, I read the story several times, and still didn't know what was going on. I felt like it should be important to how I do the voices; but in the end, I had to make some guesses and try my best. I'm still not sure what was really happening in the story.



Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #17 on: April 13, 2011, 11:24:25 AM
What was with all the tinkly-noise in the background?
That's my fault. I used a noise removal filter before sending the file, and that created those sound artifacts. I record this at a local hacker space. Soon we will be finished with our podcasting trailer, which will reduce background noise significantly. Sorry about that. I intend to not use a noise removal filter in the future.

What sucks about NR filters is that... well, have you ever heard Eddie Izzard's bit on "turny-button things"? (reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0ec5u1NshQ)

NR filters are like that -- when you set it on 55, it reduces MOST of the noise without the artifacts, but when you set it on 56, it reduces ALL of the noise AND adds tinkling. Very frustrating.

"The same people who made toasters made showers... and we go into showers... but they have a turny-button thing... and all turny-buttons lie."

FWIW I accept NR filter artifacts as just a normal part of podcasting. If I had paid for an audiobook and I heard that, I'd be mad, but we're all doing this for the love of the medium, and I can forgive a lot, as long as the narration itself is good and the quality is passable.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #18 on: April 13, 2011, 02:02:08 PM
FWIW I accept NR filter artifacts as just a normal part of podcasting. If I had paid for an audiobook and I heard that, I'd be mad, but we're all doing this for the love of the medium, and I can forgive a lot, as long as the narration itself is good and the quality is passable.

The tinkly noise didn't bother me; it was more like a subtle sound effect line on the now-defunct Variant Frequencies. I thought maybe there were glass wind chimes hanging in the gallery.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 02:19:08 PM by stePH »

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #19 on: April 13, 2011, 03:08:24 PM
The background sound in this one didn't bother me that much, though I did note it.  The words and tones of the narrator were completely clear and understandable.  Much better than noise that drowns out the narrator.



NoNotRogov

  • Guest
Reply #20 on: April 14, 2011, 02:24:08 AM
It struck me that in order to escape the police Scott became one of the brown and gray people that follow around Murdock - perpetuating the cycle. Murdock ruins Scott's life and Scott escapes by joining the faceless mob that grants Murdock complete immunity for all of his actions.

Of course this might have been intended to be some kind of metaphor, but honestly I wasn't listening closely enough to this particular story to tell.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #21 on: April 21, 2011, 02:18:29 PM
Does Murdock look like this?



[edit] rakkin' frakkin' Tripod...  >:(
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 02:19:57 PM by stePH »

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #22 on: April 22, 2011, 12:19:24 AM
You know who Murdock reminded me of?!  I just realized it: Drop Dead Fred.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3996
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #23 on: September 25, 2011, 10:13:26 PM
I loved Murdock and his entourage. It made the rest of the story worthwhile.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”