Escape Artists
April 26, 2018, 11:23:54 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 3 ... 5 [All]
  Print  
Author Topic: PC165: The Paper Menagerie  (Read 16936 times)
Ocicat
Castle Watchcat
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2818


Anything for a Weird Life


« on: July 12, 2011, 03:35:10 AM »

PodCastle 165: The Paper Menagerie


by Ken Liu

Read by Rajan Khanna

Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

A little paper tiger stood on the table, the size of two fists placed together. The skin of the tiger was the pattern on the wrapping paper, white background with red candy canes and green Christmas trees.

I reached out to Mom’s creation. Its tail twitched, and it pounced playfully at my finger. “_Rawrr-sa_,” it growled, the sound somewhere between a cat and rustling newspapers.


I laughed, startled, and stroked its back with an index finger. The paper tiger vibrated under my finger, purring.

“Zhe jiao zhezhi,” Mom said. This is called origami.

I didn’t know this at the time, but Mom’s kind was special. She breathed into them so that they shared her breath, and thus moved with her life. This was her magic.


Rated PG.
Logged
iamafish
Matross
****
Posts: 261



WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2011, 09:43:12 AM »

I am the king under the water and this is the first post in this thread!

Another really touching story. I loved the way in which the mother's story was held back until the end, so that neither we nor the main character realised just how hurtful and tragic his actions were. I thought they way in which the magic was used in a really subtle way, rather than dominating the story was really well done, especially when the practical use for the origami was revealed at the end. It's a really good example of how to effectively use magic in a story and integrate it into the world, while still having a story where the focus is on the characters and the emotions, not the magic itself.

I also would really like an animated origami tiger. If someone knows how i can get one, pm me, please.
Logged

Lionman
Peltast
***
Posts: 144


Next time, I'll just let sleeping dogs lie.


WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2011, 10:54:13 AM »

Yeah, yeah...you warned me, but I was dubious and didn't wholeheartedly believe you.  I was wrong.

A very touching story.  It plucked the heartstrings for me, but I think I'm probably a bit out of the ordinary.  I connect with the alienation a child feels for their parents.  My father was the Superintendent of Schools for the small, 400 student school I grew up in.  While a PK feels the pressure of what could be conveyed on Sunday, a TK feels the pressure of teachers looking for an opportunity to feel vindicated because of tension with their supervisor.  It makes for a heavy weight upon the shoulders that usually ends in outright rebellion, or a moderately disassociated social life.  My folks are still happily married now for more than 40 years, and the older I get, the "cooler" my parents become.  We're a pretty tight-knit, extended family.  Our Thanksgiving holiday is a 75 person affair, so for me, it isn't as hard to touch my heartstrings with a story like this, talking about the relationship between a son and his Mother.

Now, I need to go find a podcast that's as intersting, but isn't likely to make my eyes all teary.  Well done.
Logged

Failure is an event, not a person.
jenfullmoon
Palmer
**
Posts: 46


« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2011, 11:01:59 AM »

Ouuuuuch. Oh, the shame and the parental guilt, and that feeling of "Don't do that to your mom before she dies..."

I'm not even Chinese and I already have issues on this topic, eh?

I also want some animated origami. HOW CAN YOU NOT APPRECIATE ALIVE ORIGAMI, KID?!
Logged
Leishalynn
Extern
*
Posts: 9


« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2011, 04:18:26 PM »

Make me cry at work, will you? I had to stop during the reading of the mother's note. I'm in love with the paper tiger, what a wonderful reinterpretation of that old metaphor!

(Check the Wikipedia listing of "Paper tiger" (zhǐ lǎohǔ) for elaboration on the Chinese connection.)
Logged
ElectricPaladin
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1005


Holy Robot


WWW
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2011, 04:23:07 PM »

Ouuuuuch. Oh, the shame and the parental guilt, and that feeling of "Don't do that to your mom before she dies..."

I'm not even Chinese and I already have issues on this topic, eh?

I also want some animated origami. HOW CAN YOU NOT APPRECIATE ALIVE ORIGAMI, KID?!

Also, HOW CAN YOU NOT APPRECIATE A MOTHER WHO LOVES YOU EVEN WHEN YOU ARE AN UNGRATEFUL LITTLE SHIT?!

Seriously. My mom is a raging ball of crazy. I wish I had a mom who was half as patient, loving, and willing to share as this kid's mom.
Logged

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.
Calculating...
Palmer
**
Posts: 56


Too much knowledge never makes for simple decision


« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2011, 04:37:31 PM »

Only redeeming quality for this story is the living origami. The rest of the story was one big tug on the heartstrings of anyone who has ever had a mother, which isn't really fair. Especially because at the end I wanted to hear what was in the other letters in the animals. And I really want a menagerie of real origami animals to play with.
Logged

I don't know who you are or where you came from, but from now on you'll do as I tell you, okay?
Wilson Fowlie
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1466


WWW
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2011, 05:23:23 PM »

As this story was reaching the end, I thought, I really hope this gets translated into [or, maybe better, was translated out of] Chinese; it'd be a shame if her Uncle* didn't get to hear it.

Just now, I went to the author's site and read, 6/2/2011, sold Chinese translation rights to “The Paper Menagerie” to 科幻世界 (Science Fiction World Translations) and that made me happy.

I was disappointed in the main character's father. There was much opportunity for him to either explicitly teach his son about standing up and being himself, or, better, showing him how to demonstrate that he is a valuable person just the way he is (he speaks two languages, for crying out loud!). But he let himself be weak and take the easy way out. Of course, since he did that to find a wife in the first place, I suppose it's not all that surprising.


*Yes, I know it's fiction; he stands for all the family members left behind.
Logged

"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
Spindaddy
Peltast
***
Posts: 158


Small god of doughnuts


« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2011, 09:30:07 PM »

Anyone else cheer when the paper tiger kicked Obi Wan's ass?

I loved the story. Yeah, it tugged on my heartstrings a little bit, but mostly it really made me appreciate the loving family I do have. More to the point, it also made me think about the many different friends I've had where they either choose to fully embrace their ethnic heritage or refute it completely to be 'All American, bro!' I was a bit irritated the guy was so heartless as his mother lay dying, but what irritated me the most was the father's complete lack of everything. A wife and a child aren't like furniture you trot out to show the neighbors. They aren't some sort of action figures you pull out to impress your friends.

I also gotta say Dave's story in the intro took me back to the days where Luke Skywalker and his band of lego jawas stormed the mountains of Navarone in an attempt to stop an alliance between the Imperial Empire, COBRA and Skeletor. Many lego jawas were lost that day, but a tiny band of commandos yelling 'yo joe!' appeared just when things were darkest and He-man was able to banish Skeletor back to Eternia.
Logged

I'm not evil. I'm corporate.
iamafish
Matross
****
Posts: 261



WWW
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2011, 04:26:45 AM »

i have similar experiences with Lego, my brother and I fought endless wars between pirates and native Americans.

Don't ask
Logged

danooli
Moderator
*****
Posts: 1453



WWW
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2011, 06:03:45 AM »

Well, my heartstrings were certainly plucked with this one.  As soon as the son found the Chinese characters on the tiger (my favorite character, roarsa!) I started welling up.  I'm pretty sure I saw some other drivers look sideways at me and the tears streaming down my cheeks.  (And, it was my commute home at this point, luckily, so I didn't have to face my co-workers with teary and red eyes!)  

I agree that the father should have stood up for the wife, I felt so badly for that poor, lonely woman.

The story was well-written and I loved the reading, it really did bring up some heavy emotions.

Now, as far as listening to the outros, of COURSE I do!   Grin  Every second, even the quotes at the end.   Grin  (And I think being Regent of the PodCastle Paper Menagerie would be an honor and a whole lot of fun!!)
Logged
acpracht
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 197


« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2011, 09:10:47 AM »

More by Ken Liu and read by Rajan Khanna! Please, please, please!
This story was just about perfect. It was magical, but grounded in the reality with that cruelty of children and the aching beauty of realizing too late just how much you love someone.
Even though I was forewarned, the tears came unbidden while I tried to stay on the road.

The "friend" tearing up the tiger made me shocked, then angry.

But the moment that will cling to me is Jack tracing the character for "love" through every line of the letter from his mother, trying desperately to find a way to show her that he was wrong; that he loves her.

Dang, there I go again. Where's the tissue?

This story is definitely being shared.
Logged
acpracht
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 197


« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2011, 09:12:18 AM »


I also want some animated origami. HOW CAN YOU NOT APPRECIATE ALIVE ORIGAMI, KID?!

I know, right?
Logged
InfiniteMonkey
Lochage
*****
Posts: 483


Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2011, 04:35:25 PM »

OK.... chocked up? Check!
 
At work? Check!

This hit home because of health issues with an elderly parent. Things are better now, but two or three weeks ago this would have killed me.

I loved the origami menagerie. I loved the matter-of-factness about it to the young narrator. I loved that writer did almost as good a job of making the animals alive as the mother did. I thought all the characters were well-done. Yes, he's an ungrateful little shit, but most kids are at some point, and he's in a very difficult position. No, he doesn't act ideally, but he behaved perfectly believably. His father, too, was of a recognizable type. And then there was his poor, wonderful mother, completely confused and just wanting her boy back again (*sniffle*  Cry )

Wasn't there another Podcastle story with origami ... and a bookstore in the American frontier with a Japanese immigrant woman??
Logged
Frungi
Palmer
**
Posts: 66



WWW
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2011, 04:45:16 PM »

I cried.
Logged
Brynn
Extern
*
Posts: 17



« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2011, 06:51:40 PM »

It was a very sweet story. I didn't get choked up, but I am a hardened ol' hag. Smiley

I appreciated the light fantasy touch in this one, too. Live origami is way cooler than Star Wars action figures. 
Logged
olivaw
Matross
****
Posts: 268



« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2011, 06:56:07 PM »

I ended up thinking of the various members of my own family who left one culture behind to marry and live in another culture - probably not in as dire a situation as the mother here, but with stories I barely know the tip of.

A lot of painful truth in that story.

I was surprised, though, at the reading of the letter. It seemed to have exactly the same timbre, meter, idiom, as the narrator. Maybe that's fair enough for a retelling of a translation, but it felt off-kilter even as it revealed the tragedy.

Oh, and my software said there was a parsing error in the feed, so I had to download it manually. I guess I should go look for a technical bit of the forum to discuss this.
Logged
Ocicat
Castle Watchcat
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2818


Anything for a Weird Life


« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2011, 12:52:56 AM »

I really loved this one, it was very well painted.  Or maybe folded?  Anyway, I found it quite touching, and loved all the little details of the menagerie.  The kid's attitude, though regrettable, rung true.  I'm just glad he'll be getting lots more of these little notes as the years go on, and more visits from his animal friends.
Logged
kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2224


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2011, 05:30:52 AM »

As pure and true and sweet and beautiful a story as I've heard. May be my favourite this year. Tears? Yes.
Logged

Salul
Palmer
**
Posts: 26


Spiritboard


WWW
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2011, 07:00:39 AM »

Haven't yet read the comments, but just wanted to say this was a truly outstanding piece. I would love to hear more from Ken Liu, and the narrator was also pretty darned good.

he he...ok, just read that bit about the origami kicking Obi Wan's butt. Absolutely. Go paper tiger!
Logged

There be islands in the Central Sea, whose waters are bounded by no shore and where no ships come...

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany
radlilim
Extern
*
Posts: 5



WWW
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2011, 02:28:00 PM »

This was beautiful, I love the animals (like most other commentators it seems). I felt I had a connection to this one, my boy friend is half Korean and I know his mother had a hard time when she came over to the US with a child and a new husband. I don't know her whole story, and I don't know if it has much in common with the one in this story, but knowing how strong she is allowed me to understand the mother better.

Great work!
Logged

Why do they call us fan boys and not fan men?
Seekerpilgrim
Palmer
**
Posts: 35


Content to walk alone, happy to have company.


« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2011, 02:39:03 PM »

Another beautiful story, showing that fantasy doesn't always have to be large and noisy, and that magic sometimes is more powerful for it's subtly. A bittersweet reminder that you will one day run out of tomorrows to tell the people you care about how much you care about them, so you'd better do it today...and yes, I did start tearing up at the end.
Logged

By Grabthar's Hammer...what a savings.
Gamercow
Hipparch
******
Posts: 654



« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2011, 02:40:57 PM »

Very beautiful story with a touching look into the life of an immigrant, and her family's story.  Part of me worried that the MC would fall in love with the girl translating his mother's letter, but I'm glad it ended the way it did.

For me, it was legos.  Lots and lots of legos.  My friends, brother, and I all pooled our Star Wars legos to make a 5 ft long star destroyer, before any such kit was available.  
Logged

The cow says "Mooooooooo"
Scattercat
Caution:
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4847


Amateur wordsmith


WWW
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2011, 05:52:18 PM »

I'm a cynical bastard, I guess.  It was a nice story, but I found it a little too overt in its attempts to pluck my heartstrings.  It just lunged right in with both fists; didn't even buy me a drink first.

On the other hand, I do tend to dislike direct sentimentality in general.  Here, Mom's letter was just... it was like getting hassled by an emotional panhandler.  "Give me some wistful tears or I'll cough on you!"  Ah, well.  The living origami was fun.  I enjoyed how it was central to the story without being the point of the story. 

Overall, I liked "State Change" way, way more.  This wasn't bad, it just wasn't at all suited to my tastes. 

(I was strongly reminded of "American Born Chinese," a graphic novel that deals with many of the same issues, and likewise has a light and deft touch of fantasy to it.  If you liked this story, give that book a try.  I had similar reservations about it, but if you loved this story, then you already know that you don't mind that stuff.)
Logged

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book
Djinndustries
Palmer
**
Posts: 23


Half genie, all man


« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2011, 02:59:00 AM »

The story was heart-wrenching and well-executed without a lot of unnecessary exposition.

Great reading, too, though typical of Mr Khanna. That said, one of troublesome things about reading stories is, of course, the rare mispronounced word. They crop up from time to time (I seem to remember a 'propriety' pronounced as 'property' in a story not too long ago) and are forgivable, certainly. The trouble is, though, they are jarring when you hear them and take you abruptly out of the story for the moment. While most Americans are becoming increasingly familiar with Spanish and say quesadilla correctly, most are not so familiar with Chinese. But mispronounced foreign words are just as jarring as mispronounced English words for those that are familiar with the language. So, I think next time, a bit of research should be done to make sure the foreign words are a bit more accurate and we're not yanked prematurely out of our reverie.
Logged
Devoted135
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1252



« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2011, 03:58:46 PM »

Such a beautiful story. It made me tear up several times, in a good way. Like many others, I loved how the origami animals were infused with so much personality. I shook my fist at my ipod when the MC's friend tore up his tiger and cheered when he came back so many years later. Smiley
 
Logged
yicheng
Matross
****
Posts: 221


« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2011, 05:27:51 PM »

I normally don't say this, but this story really should have used either a native Chinese reader or someone that could speak fluent Chinese.  While I'm sure Mr. Khanna tried his best, the Chinese language is very tonally dependent.  Being a native speaker, I honestly don't know how a non-native reader would learn the tones except by massive immersion and vocal coaching, but I have seen and talked to incredibly fluent non-natives of the language (so it's definitely possible).  I had to spend several minutes after each line trying to figure out what he said.  Normally, this wouldn't have mattered to me, but in this case, I felt that mother's words were very central to the story, and it was a bit off-putting trying to piece together what was said.  I do give him credit for trying, though.  It was on-par with the Chinese on Firefly/Serenity.

The story itself was a bit too depressing and melodramatic for my taste, although to Ken Liu's credit, this is actually pretty typical of Chinese stories and soap operas.  True love is never requited unless it's way too late and the love of your life is dying in your arms, the parent sacrificing for the child who never realizes it until the parent is dead, the dutiful child sacrificing for the parent and the parent not realizing until it's too late, etc...   

To me, the characters were a bit too one dimensional: the father was largely known by his absent, the mother was long-suffering tragic and sacrificing, and the narrator was the ungrateful brat who realizes that he's ungrateful.  They seem to make a point of asking the mother to adjust to learning how to live and act "American", and yet the father seems to get a complete free pass at marrying a foreign mail-order bride.  If I were to go to the trouble of marrying an American (which I have) and ask her to move to China, I would at least expect to meet her half way and learn the language, culture, and customs of my wife's homeland.  I also thought the Mother dying of cancer was a bit too convenient of a plot device. 

Personally I would have wished for Mr Liu to paint a less stereotypically subservient picture of the Chinese mother.  Chinese women are so much more than the docile housewives or exotic sex-objects that popular media seems to portray them as.  The Chinese women in my life are some of the most spunkiest, entrepreneurial, independent, hard-working, and (yes) fiery women I know.

Finally, I guess I was lucky that I grew up with a father that would echo the words of Tyrion Lannister, saying to me: "Never forget that you are Chinese.", meaning that I would always have to work/study harder than my american friends because the odds were against me.  To me, "fitting in" and acting "normal" was always just that: an act.  Actually being normal was never an option, so I never bothered.

Quote
Never forget who you are, for surely the world won’t. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.  -- Tyrion Lannister
Logged
grokman
Palmer
**
Posts: 25



« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2011, 10:31:48 PM »

I liked how the fantasy aspects of this were barely more than part of a character's feature list. We didn't have to sit through another story about how a new generation attempts to, and finally, learns the magic of the previous generation. I found it very gratifying that the boy didn't have the ability to breathe life into origami, nor even have the desire to acquire that ability. His mother's magic was not a freaky device to fear and exploit - in fact, he struggled with whether or not it even really existed or was just faulty childhood memories.

My own family dysfunctionality is too different from the family in the story, so I was not able to connect to their struggle very deeply on any emotional basis, but I can appreciate how others might.
Logged
Swamp
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2227



WWW
« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2011, 10:47:27 PM »

I loved this story, though I was less affected by this than I anticipated, not that that makes the story a failure.  I think it was very well written.  I dig stories with lots of emotion in them.  

But yeah, between this story and "Hokkaido Green" by Aidan Doyle which the Drabblecast ran a few weeks back, I think the theme of "appreciate your parents while you can" has been well represented on the podosphere.


Edit: Added some verbage to help express how much I liked the story.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 11:11:42 AM by Swamp » Logged

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast
Thomas
Palmer
**
Posts: 58



« Reply #29 on: July 20, 2011, 08:34:25 PM »

Thank you, podcastle for this sweet touching story.

yes it was manipulative, but that's true of any story.
Logged

Enjoy and be nice to each other, because "WE" is all we got.
kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2224


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #30 on: July 20, 2011, 09:56:22 PM »

But yeah, between this story and "Hokkaido Green" by Aidan Doyle which the Drabblecast ran a few weeks back, I think the theme of "appreciate your parents while you can" has been well represented on the podosphere.

That one was also very good. Recommended. However, it ended on quite a different note.
Logged

Talia
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2680


Muahahahaha


« Reply #31 on: July 20, 2011, 11:03:11 PM »

Wonderful story, though the husband was definitely an ass for not sticking up for his wife a little.

I have a weird sort of connection to this story - I grew up in the Connecticut suburbs next door to my Chinese best friend, who was living in a bilingual household and who practiced origami herself. Heh. If any of her origami had come to life I would have been thrilled! Tongue



Wasn't there another Podcastle story with origami ... and a bookstore in the American frontier with a Japanese immigrant woman??


Perhaps you were thinking of this?
Logged
Contented Reader
Extern
*
Posts: 2



WWW
« Reply #32 on: July 24, 2011, 07:07:58 PM »

I loved the living origami animals, and the way they were described was my favorite part of this story.  But they were bonus features- this story didn't have to be a fantasy story, and if it were written as a contemporary story of a conflicted son and his sad mother, and a letter found after it's too late, the story would be just the same and have just the same effect. 

I'm not saying that's a good thing, or a bad thing.  It's just a thing I noticed.
Logged

Read my blog at Contented Reader.  Or don't.  It's entirely your choice.
InfiniteMonkey
Lochage
*****
Posts: 483


Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2011, 09:29:50 PM »


Wasn't there another Podcastle story with origami ... and a bookstore in the American frontier with a Japanese immigrant woman??


Perhaps you were thinking of this?
[/quote]

Yeah, that's it, thank you.
Logged
dromeda
Extern
*
Posts: 5


« Reply #34 on: August 04, 2011, 09:34:39 PM »

I might be in the minority here, but I cried at this one. Hard. Sure, it may have been melodramatic, and maybe I'm just a big old softie, but it really reminded of my relationship with my mother and Chinese culture in general- something that I'm only now at the age of 25 starting to fix. So this got me right where I am and it got me hard. So, I'm just saying, I really felt it, and I'm glad I wasn't at work or driving anywhere because I'm pretty sure I would've had to pull over.
Logged
mbrennan
Peltast
***
Posts: 120


« Reply #35 on: August 04, 2011, 11:53:58 PM »

Yeah, this one got me.  More than most stories do, in fact.  I wanted to beat the son's and father's heads in for being so freaking INCONSIDERATE of the mother -- seriously, Dad, not even one word to your son about "how's about you not be such a jackass"?  Things like the cancer were a bit too convenient, I agree, but given my visceral horror at the kid tearing up the tiger, and similarly strong reactions elsewhere in the story, I'm willing to forgive those touches.
Logged
rotheche
Palmer
**
Posts: 31


« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2011, 04:44:45 PM »

*sigh*

Driving through traffic telling myself, "Don't cry, damn it, it's just a story..."

That was lovely, beginning to end.

And put me down on the list for living origami when we find someone who can make them.
Logged
LaShawn
Lochage
*****
Posts: 550


Writer Mommies Rule!


WWW
« Reply #37 on: August 29, 2011, 03:44:57 PM »

Dang...I...dang. My work productivity slumped to zero when I heard this. And there was tears. Dude. Duuuuuuude....

Interestingly, while listening to this, I didn't think so much on my own mixed race son, who is still at the age where race is not so strong a factor in his development (although he is noticing that girls are different--yikes!), but I thought more to my own mother, who I don't have as strong a relationship with. This story piled the guilt on thick. THICK, I tells ya! It's a good thing that my husband wasn't like the one in the story, though I also felt sorry for him. The father in the story reminds me a lot of people who adopt children from other countries, and then become surprised when those children wish to go back to those countries to explore their roots.

And thanks, Daaaaave, for the ending comments. Now I gotta go call my mother. ::sniffles::
Logged

--
Visit LaShawn at The Cafe in the Woods:
http://tbonecafe.wordpress.com
Another writer's antiblog: In Touch With Yours Truly
Listener
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3187


I place things in locations which later elude me.


WWW
« Reply #38 on: August 30, 2011, 08:47:42 AM »

I'm a cynical bastard, I guess.  It was a nice story, but I found it a little too overt in its attempts to pluck my heartstrings.  It just lunged right in with both fists; didn't even buy me a drink first.

On the other hand, I do tend to dislike direct sentimentality in general.  Here, Mom's letter was just... it was like getting hassled by an emotional panhandler.  "Give me some wistful tears or I'll cough on you!"  Ah, well.  The living origami was fun.  I enjoyed how it was central to the story without being the point of the story. 

Pretty much my opinion.
Logged

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

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42
Fenrix
Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
Editor
*****
Posts: 3660


I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.


« Reply #39 on: September 27, 2011, 09:24:13 AM »

Time to call my Mom.
Logged

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #40 on: October 27, 2011, 08:56:47 AM »

Damn this story was good, probably my favorite from Podcastle in more than a year.  So sad!

I liked how the living origami was a clear speculative element, without which the story would have been diminished, but which was not he point of the story.  This is a good example of my favorite kind of speculative fiction, where the speculation serves as a tool to emphasize the human story.

I could understand every character in the story and they all seemed very believable.  As a kid I never really fit in, and I was desperate to do so, a doomed prospect since I moved to a very small town with well-formed cliques when I was about ten.  The best that can be said of those years is that they are over.  I didn't have anything so obvious to set me apart, and there were others there who had a much harder time of it than I did.  We had one African-American family that moved into the town a few years after me and plenty of rather racist long-term residents.  But I can imagine if I had been in his shoes at that age that I would have probably done the same thing as he did, or tried to, as much as that makes me feel ashamed to admit it. 

The father I related to the least, because he really should have stepped in and made his son behave as less of an ass, but even him I can understand.  Especially since he ordered the bride in the first place, it is not surprising he is not assertive enough to handle this task.

I don't understand why a couple people have said that the cancer was a convenient plot device.  It's not like cancer is that rare a disease that it must be a plot device to happen like this.  I've known at least one person who was in a situation like this, where a parent died while they were being a teenage ass and they regretted it forever.  This captured that very well.

Logged
Scattercat
Caution:
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4847


Amateur wordsmith


WWW
« Reply #41 on: October 27, 2011, 10:42:56 AM »

Yeah.  Basically, if you live long enough and avoid accidental death, you generally end up with a choice between heart failure and cancer.  Huzzah, or something.
Logged

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book
ElectricPaladin
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1005


Holy Robot


WWW
« Reply #42 on: October 27, 2011, 10:45:15 AM »

Yeah.  Basically, if you live long enough and avoid accidental death, you generally end up with a choice between heart failure and cancer.  Huzzah, or something.

Nah. Death is a mug's game.
Logged

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: 8660



WWW
« Reply #43 on: October 27, 2011, 11:22:08 AM »

Yeah.  Basically, if you live long enough and avoid accidental death, you generally end up with a choice between heart failure and cancer.  Huzzah, or something.

Exactly.  And plenty of people get it when they're young as well.  If it's not diagnosed in time, the survival rate is much lower, and it seems likely that neither she nor her husband would insist on her getting regular checkups, so I think that not diagnosing it early would be likely in her case.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #44 on: October 28, 2011, 08:33:25 AM »

Was this the episode where DKT asked what our favorite childhood toys were?  I think it was.  I'll just pretend it was, at least.

For me, although Transformers have always been very high on my list of toys, there is one that tops it in my own childhood, though I certainly would not have admitted in my more self-conscious teen years:  Pooch Patrol.  

I'm not sure how widespread they were, so for those who haven't heard of it, it came out when I was in about grade school.  It was a stuffed dog toy, but the big selling point was that with a couple folds of fabric you could change the dogs mood from mellow to guard dog:






The commercial showed this being used in ways that even I as a kid knew were pretty dumb, like scaring an older brother who's terrorizing you.  I didn't have a terrorizing older brother that needed scaring, but I would've known that it wouldn't've worked anyway.  It was, however, very effective against monsters under the bed.

When I saw the commercials I knew I wanted it, and my dad got it for me for my (9th?) birthday.  He didn't get me the one that I'd asked for (there were 4 different breeds), but it was awesome all the same.  Pooch is still in my storage room with a bunch of other stuffed animals and old toys I haven't wanted to part with.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 09:10:30 AM by Unblinking » Logged
kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2224


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #45 on: November 01, 2011, 03:38:30 AM »

Was this the episode where DKT asked what our favorite childhood toys were?  I think it was.  I'll just pretend it was, at least.

For me, although Transformers have always been very high on my list of toys, there is one that tops it in my own childhood, though I certainly would not have admitted in my more self-conscious teen years:  Pooch Patrol.  

Well, God. If we're baring our souls like this, mine was a golden-haired rabbit I called "Junior". He squeaked when you squeezed his belly.
Logged

Mex5150
Extern
*
Posts: 14



« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2012, 07:39:44 PM »


Hi,

I'm a big roughty-toughty Glaswegian biker (complete with long hair and a silly beard), but I cried like a little girl with this one.

This was a double whammy for me, when I was growing up although my farther was always there, he was also very distant. I never really got to know him that well. After he died I started hearing stories about him, and discovered just how similar we were. The second whammy was my kids are Eurasian, so again it cut deep.

This was without doubt the best PodCastle (or in fact any of the 'pod' family) story I have listened to so far. As others have said, more from this author please.

I normally don't say this, but this story really should have used either a native Chinese reader or someone that could speak fluent Chinese.  While I'm sure Mr. Khanna tried his best, the Chinese language is very tonally dependent.
I do agree, I have commented on this before (although that was about the Thai language). I am not a native speaker of either language, but speak it well enough to be temporarily jared out of the story by mangled pronunciations, like yicheng, I am not attacking the narrator, it is VERY hard to get right.

-Mex


Logged
justenjoying
Peltast
***
Posts: 144



« Reply #47 on: February 04, 2012, 09:59:27 PM »

Any one know how to fold an oragami tiger, or a good video on how too
I found a website and got super stuck on step 11
here's the link if anyone wants to try it and get back to me:
Logged
DKT
Friendly Neighborhood
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4980


PodCastle is my Co-Pilot


WWW
« Reply #48 on: February 20, 2012, 12:22:29 PM »

Congrats to Ken, who is now a Nebula nominee for this story (as well as his novella: The Man Who Edited History: A Documentary).
Logged

Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #49 on: February 21, 2012, 10:19:09 AM »

Congrats to Ken, who is now a Nebula nominee for this story (as well as his novella: The Man Who Edited History: A Documentary).

Always good to see an award nomination that I think is really deserving.  Usually I am just left perplexed.  Smiley
Logged
Umbrageofsnow
Hipparch
******
Posts: 752


Commenting by the seat of my pants.


« Reply #50 on: March 06, 2012, 04:12:57 PM »

Between this, Man Who Ended History (Panverse 3), Simulacrum (Lightspeed), and, to a lesser extent Tying Knots (Clarkesworld) and The Countable (Asimov's), Ken Liu deserves a whole menagerie of Nebulas and Hugos for making me cry like a little girl about once a month last year.  I hope he wins.
Logged
DKT
Friendly Neighborhood
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4980


PodCastle is my Co-Pilot


WWW
« Reply #51 on: March 06, 2012, 04:29:42 PM »

Between this, Man Who Ended History (Panverse 3), Simulacrum (Lightspeed), and, to a lesser extent Tying Knots (Clarkesworld) and The Countable (Asimov's), Ken Liu deserves a whole menagerie of Nebulas and Hugos for making me cry like a little girl about once a month last year.  I hope he wins.

I'm in total agreement. I kind of wish there was a storyteller of the year award, because I'd vote for Liu to receive it. He's had an incredible year. (I thought "Staying Behind" at Clarkesworld was also excellent.)
Logged

Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #52 on: March 07, 2012, 09:30:57 AM »

Between this, Man Who Ended History (Panverse 3), Simulacrum (Lightspeed), and, to a lesser extent Tying Knots (Clarkesworld) and The Countable (Asimov's), Ken Liu deserves a whole menagerie of Nebulas and Hugos for making me cry like a little girl about once a month last year.  I hope he wins.

I'm in total agreement. I kind of wish there was a storyteller of the year award, because I'd vote for Liu to receive it. He's had an incredible year. (I thought "Staying Behind" at Clarkesworld was also excellent.)

I'm a big fan of Ken's.  "Tying Knots" is the only one of those I think I've read, but that one was really great, and I think I've read something else by him that I enjoyed (at least I have a warm fuzzy association when I think of Ken Liu stories)
Logged
DKT
Friendly Neighborhood
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4980


PodCastle is my Co-Pilot


WWW
« Reply #53 on: March 07, 2012, 11:52:26 AM »

We ran his story State Change back in episode 148, as well (wasn't originally published in 2011, of course Smiley)
Logged

Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #54 on: March 08, 2012, 09:33:12 AM »

We ran his story State Change back in episode 148, as well (wasn't originally published in 2011, of course Smiley)


That's right, thanks for reminding!  That story had a lot of neat ideas in it.  Smiley
Logged
Kaa
Hipparch
******
Posts: 610


Trusst in me, jusst in me.


WWW
« Reply #55 on: May 18, 2012, 04:59:35 PM »

It's seldom that I read a story where I want to reach into the story and choke the living crap out of the main character for being an idiot...and yet consider it an extremely good story. Well done, Mr. Liu.
Logged

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else
schizoTypal
Palmer
**
Posts: 64



WWW
« Reply #56 on: May 19, 2012, 04:27:54 AM »

This was my first time hearing the story, and it made my heart sink ... I felt the need to tell my Mom that I love her, and apologize for sometimes being an ass. I've heard a lot of stories that touched me, but this touched me in a way I have a lot of trouble actually describing. Something about the fact that she couldn't properly speak English like her Husband and Son made it hurt more, and I really don't know why that is. She was so sweet... cared so much for her Son, and yet he outright rejected her for so long. I do think that accepting her after death is still accepting her, and that was good - but I just really couldn't shake the utter pain I came away from the story feeling.

All in all ... it was a good story ... it just hurt.
Logged
Magic Smoke
Extern
*
Posts: 7



« Reply #57 on: May 19, 2012, 10:27:27 PM »

I have no words strong enough to describe my hate and disgust for the son. Against all efforts to stop it, I was really welling up at the end. I'll definitely look out for Ken Lui in the future.
Logged
schizoTypal
Palmer
**
Posts: 64



WWW
« Reply #58 on: May 19, 2012, 11:45:44 PM »

I have no words strong enough to describe my hate and disgust for the son. Against all efforts to stop it, I was really welling up at the end. I'll definitely look out for Ken Lui in the future.

Part of growing up is often a disdain for the parents, and for your own cultural background in favor of the one that surrounds you ... it's something nearly all of us go through, and most of us strongly regret. But, it is only nature...
Logged
Mav.Weirdo
Palmer
**
Posts: 34


« Reply #59 on: May 20, 2012, 10:04:38 AM »

The Paper Menagerie has won the Nebula Award for best short story 2011
Logged
DKT
Friendly Neighborhood
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4980


PodCastle is my Co-Pilot


WWW
« Reply #60 on: May 20, 2012, 12:53:51 PM »

The Paper Menagerie has won the Nebula Award for best short story 2011

Indeed, it has!   Cheesy

Huge congrats to Ken Liu for winning the Nebula!
Logged

Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #61 on: May 21, 2012, 08:27:41 AM »

The Paper Menagerie has won the Nebula Award for best short story 2011

Awesome!  Well deserved, Ken!  And good eye, Podcastle, for running the story.  Smiley

I tend to get frustrated at award season because of the stories that get nominated.  But often I really think the winner is deserving, and that's the case here. 
Logged
spiderking
Extern
*
Posts: 5



« Reply #62 on: May 23, 2012, 07:12:10 PM »

I can't believe how many people said that this was a "touching story", and it made them cry!  It made me furious. 

Were we supposed to feel sympathy for this selfish and spoiled boy who got everything that he asked for, and rejected his loving mother just because he was teased at school?  Give me a break!
I wanted to punch him.

This probably touches a nerve with me because I was in a similar situation as a kid.  My Mom was very different than the culture in which I was raised, and people teased me mercilessly.  But when they dared say anything about my Mom, I told them to go to hell.  And I went home every night and hugged her, and talked with her, and made sure that she felt loved.

Maybe the problem was the dad who had no empathy for his wife and no backbone, and did everything the son wanted.  It makes sense that someone who would buy a woman as property would act that way. 

Either way, no tears were shed, but a few "Are you kidding me?  What an a-hole!" comments did escape.  If the author was trying to make us feel sorry for a horrible son and person, they failed miserably. 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 08:21:46 PM by spiderking » Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #63 on: May 24, 2012, 08:59:18 AM »

spiderking:
I wanted to punch the boy too, and I wanted to cry for his mother.  But at the same time I wonder if I would be such an a-hole in my teenage years--I would hope not, but that's a time when my (and other's) empathy are not exactly at a high point.  I was embarrassed by my parents to some extent, but not to any greater extent than is normal for a teenager and I still did things with them.

In the present, now that the boy is older, I do feel some sympathy for him.  Not because I think that his actions towards his mother were at all justified, but because he has matured enough to realize how terribly he treated her.  At that point she is dead and beyond my sympathy (though her messages indicate that she is still around in some form and that she still loves him), and at this point he is alive and has no good way to make amends for the shameful acts of his past.  All he can do now is try to learn from his mistakes and have more empathy for other people, and I feel like he's in a place where he's capable of that.  So yes, in the later time period of the story I do feel some sympathy for him.
Logged
Devoted135
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1252



« Reply #64 on: May 24, 2012, 09:05:36 AM »

I can't believe how many people said that this was a "touching story", and it made them cry!  It made me furious.  

Were we supposed to feel sympathy for this selfish and spoiled boy who got everything that he asked for, and rejected his loving mother just because he was teased at school?  Give me a break!
I wanted to punch him.

This probably touches a nerve with me because I was in a similar situation as a kid.  My Mom was very different than the culture in which I was raised, and people teased me mercilessly.  But when they dared say anything about my Mom, I told them to go to hell.  And I went home every night and hugged her, and talked with her, and made sure that she felt loved.

Maybe the problem was the dad who had no empathy for his wife and no backbone, and did everything the son wanted.  It makes sense that someone who would buy a woman as property would act that way.

For what it's worth, I was tearing up for the mom in her years of rejection, and only later for the son's sorrow when he finally realized the opportunity he had missed. I agree about the dad being incredibly flawed; had he been able to support his wife as he should, then he would likely have also been able to teach his son to do the same.


Either way, no tears were shed, but a few "Are you kidding me?  What an a-hole!" comments did escape.  If the author was trying to make us feel sorry for a horrible son and person, they failed miserably.

Actually, my interpretation of this story is quite the opposite: don't squander the time that you have with your mom; spend your time right now being the loving son/daughter now that your future self will wish you had been.



ETA: ditto what Unblinking said while I was typing Tongue
Logged
spiderking
Extern
*
Posts: 5



« Reply #65 on: May 24, 2012, 06:48:53 PM »

You guys do have a point, and I was glad that the boy finally learned some empathy.  However I felt much more sorry for the poor Mom when all she did was show him love and he treated her horribly, and his final realization that he treated her as such after she had already lost his love and died without it wasn't enough to redeem the entire story for me.  But I greatly appreciate the message to show the ones you love how you feel and treat them kindly in the short time you have with them.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #66 on: May 25, 2012, 08:17:15 AM »

You guys do have a point, and I was glad that the boy finally learned some empathy.  However I felt much more sorry for the poor Mom when all she did was show him love and he treated her horribly, and his final realization that he treated her as such after she had already lost his love and died without it wasn't enough to redeem the entire story for me.  But I greatly appreciate the message to show the ones you love how you feel and treat them kindly in the short time you have with them.

I don't disagree at all.  I have some empathy for the boy, but much more for the mother because she was really trying the best that she could, and by all signs she did love him very much.
Logged
smileyinfesserton
Extern
*
Posts: 2


« Reply #67 on: May 29, 2012, 12:59:47 PM »

It hit me, too, very hard.  I think this story can speak to any family that stands out due to its religion, lifestyle, cultural background.  And its distressing, the amount of angst and confusion we can experience as children--loving our parents, and wanting to be wholeheartedly loved and accepted by them, but at the same time striking out against them, in a desire to fit in with the harder world outside.  Perhaps this was only for the insecure--but how many weren't insecure as children?  I was a pretty self-centred and snotty teenager, as awkward and gawky as it is possible to be: anxious for my parents to not add to my social ineptitude and resentful that their choices made me stand out even more than I did on my own. Perhaps part of the narrator's anger at his mother was misdirected from his largely absent father, with her being an easier and obvious target, easier as he was secure in knowledge of her love?  I'm not sure of the psychology, but in my experience, it seems to be easier for kids to express their anger at their mothers, vs. their fathers.  I think this story speaks to the self-centredness of some of us when we were teenagers, and the terrible regret when our parent dies before we reach maturity and self-knowledge and have the chance to share that awareness of our past idiocy with them...A quote from Paladin of Souls (Lois McMaster Bujold):  "how we fought when I was younger!  I am so glad he lived long enough for us to be grown men together".  And the terrible sadness when they don't live long enough.
Logged
hronir
Extern
*
Posts: 15



WWW
« Reply #68 on: June 04, 2012, 06:23:02 PM »

I just listened to this again on Escape Pod- I loved it as much if not more than the first time.

I love this subtle, elegant magic. It is such a beautiful jewell in an already gorgeous story. This as a plot device alone would have won me over. As it was, the the bones of the story is what spoke to everyone so elementally. It is great that this work generated such discussion as there are clearly so many layers here worth exploring.

Mr Khanna was the perfect reader for the job.
Congratulations on the accolades Ken. Well and truly deserved!
Logged
Garak
Extern
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #69 on: June 08, 2012, 11:29:01 AM »

I agree with what Spiderking said,

I kept thinking that the author had intentionally put an unsympathetic character as the narrator and was going to pull of some sort of reversal, but they didn't. I really didn't identify with the main character or care about them, which is the main problem.

The other problem(s) I had with it was that it is FANTASY, not Science-Fiction! I thought EP was a sf podcast, though in EPs defence I would say that this story probably would have felt out of place in Podcastle too. Anyway, this wasn't remotely science-fiction.

I also hated the glaring errors in this story - like the Obi-Wan figure which never existed; I had one as a child and his lightsabre never lit up! Also, how the hell did she manage to write all of that huge infodump at the end on the inside of a little origami tiger?

Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I just hated this story from start to finish (though strangely I didn't skip it like I normally do when I'm not enjoying a story).
Logged
Talia
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2680


Muahahahaha


« Reply #70 on: June 08, 2012, 11:41:08 AM »

I agree with what Spiderking said,

I kept thinking that the author had intentionally put an unsympathetic character as the narrator and was going to pull of some sort of reversal, but they didn't. I really didn't identify with the main character or care about them, which is the main problem.

The other problem(s) I had with it was that it is FANTASY, not Science-Fiction! I thought EP was a sf podcast, though in EPs defence I would say that this story probably would have felt out of place in Podcastle too. Anyway, this wasn't remotely science-fiction.

I also hated the glaring errors in this story - like the Obi-Wan figure which never existed; I had one as a child and his lightsabre never lit up! Also, how the hell did she manage to write all of that huge infodump at the end on the inside of a little origami tiger?

Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I just hated this story from start to finish (though strangely I didn't skip it like I normally do when I'm not enjoying a story).

Hi Garak,

Every year, Escape Pod runs all the Hugo-nominated stories back to back, both science fiction and fantasy (the stories they can get permission for, anyway). It's more efficient to run them all in one place than dividing them up between 'casts. So you are correct, it's fantasy. But it's Hugo Month, for which exceptions are made annually.

A couple other things:

"The the Obi-Wan figure which never existed; I had one as a child and his lightsabre never lit up! "

Next thing you'll be telling me orgami animals don't actually come to life! I mean that's just craziness!

" Also, how the hell did she manage to write all of that huge infodump at the end on the inside of a little origami tiger?"

I'd argue that because of the folding involved, there's a lot more writing room on orgami animals than you'd think.
Logged
LaShawn
Lochage
*****
Posts: 550


Writer Mommies Rule!


WWW
« Reply #71 on: June 08, 2012, 01:01:21 PM »

I relistened to this for the Hugos, and dang, the tears came aflowing, even after reading it again.

This story and "the Homecoming" deal with similar themes: a son turning his back on family. I found Paper Menagerie to be more heartbreaking though. Which is interesting, because both boys have similar motives: the one in Homecoming sees an opportunity to visit other worlds, and become something other than human. The one here in Paper Menagerie wants to fit in his world, so he changes himself to fit better.

At the heart of both stories is acceptance and blessing, which I think this story deals with it better than Homecoming. The son in Homecoming is estranged from his parents, but he still deeply loves them and yearns to be reunited with them. Even though he wears an alien body, he still considers himself human; just enhanced. The father is unable to see that; he thinks that in dumping his human body, the son is denying them, whereas the son argues it's not outside appearance, but what's on the inside. He never gave up that part of himself. Whether if this is true or not is debatable, but the son is secure in who he is, and ultimately receives the blessing he is looking for.

In Paper Menagerie, however, it is the mother who yearns to be understood. In a way, this story is more about her than the son, who has deliberately turned his back on her culture and denies that part of her exists in him. Thus, she is left alone with her pain, which ultimately kills her. But she leaves behind a trail anyway, always hopeful that he would come around. The heartbreaking part is that he does...too late for her to receive that blessing of finally being understood.

Hmm...after I listened to it again, I decided not to vote for it because I felt it ended too quickly. Now that I written the above, I understand why Liu ended it the way he did. I still would like to see more repentence on the son's part, but still, a very strong story.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 01:04:34 PM by LaShawn » Logged

--
Visit LaShawn at The Cafe in the Woods:
http://tbonecafe.wordpress.com
Another writer's antiblog: In Touch With Yours Truly
Scatcatpdx
Guest
« Reply #72 on: June 15, 2012, 03:59:29 PM »

Ok how sentimental pap got thrown into a science fiction podcast.
Burn it with fire.
I need a glass of Moloko and think of what violence desecration I can do with this story if the pages were in my hand.


(drama off) ok I do not care for fantasy  or  sentential tear jerkers.
Logged
CryptoMe
Hipparch
******
Posts: 992



« Reply #73 on: June 18, 2012, 12:58:53 PM »

Okay, am I the only one who wanted to slap the *mother* silly? When your child (and I believe he was a child and not a teenager when he first rebelled) tells you they do not want to do something that you have told them to do, do you slump dejectedly in your chair and think "oh, okay...."? NO! You remind the kid who is the child and who is the parent and ensure that they comply!

Considering how important the mother claims it was for her to have her son speak Chinese, it seemed totally off to me that she meekly accepted the son's childish rebellion. She should have sent the kid to bed without supper until he smartened up. Kids are stupid, selfish creatures. It is the parents' responsibility to raise them out of that!! (BTW, I'm angry at the father too. I know this wasn't his issue, but he should have supported his wife, or at least not undermined her.)

For those who might be interested, here's where my POV is coming from...
I grew up in North America, to immigrant parents, and my mother *made* us learn Russian, at the height of the cold war! Did we kids want to? Of course not. Were we picked on at school because of this? You have no idea how badly. Did we rebel? We tried. But my mother was firm. This was important to her and we were going to do it or be punished if we didn't. And, in an interesting parallel to the story, my father did not support this decision. He wanted us to blend in. But my mother did the bulk of the child raising, so we kids did what *she* wanted in this regard. Yes, we resented her at the time, but now we really, really value all her efforts. 
Logged
patriciomas
Extern
*
Posts: 16


« Reply #74 on: June 18, 2012, 09:37:02 PM »

Yep, I cried. Loved it and would have voted for it.
Logged
danooli
Moderator
*****
Posts: 1453



WWW
« Reply #75 on: September 03, 2012, 08:29:30 AM »

Congratulations on the Hugo Award, Mr. Liu!
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #76 on: September 04, 2012, 12:02:54 PM »

Congrats!  Well deserved!  And I even got to see the ceremony in person, though I did not get a chance to met Mr. Liu in person (would've liked to but we never happened to cross paths).
Logged
acpracht
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 197


« Reply #77 on: September 04, 2012, 01:13:25 PM »

Adding my congratulations for the Hugo!
Well deserved.
Logged
Ocicat
Castle Watchcat
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2818


Anything for a Weird Life


« Reply #78 on: November 09, 2012, 05:24:31 PM »

Congratulations to Ken Liu and the Paper Menagerie for becoming the first story to ever win all three major spec fic awards: the Hugo, the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award!

To say nothing of the Best Podcastle of 2011 poll, which it also won...
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #79 on: June 24, 2014, 02:18:59 PM »

I placed this story as my #18 favorite podcast fiction of all time:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/06/the-best-podcast-fiction-of-all-time-11-20/

And #3 in my fave Podcastle of all time:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/10/podcast-spotlight-podcastle/
« Last Edit: October 06, 2014, 03:50:36 PM by Unblinking » Logged
Ocicat
Castle Watchcat
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2818


Anything for a Weird Life


« Reply #80 on: April 06, 2018, 01:00:24 PM »

This episode was voted the best PodCastle story of our first ten years, and was re-aired as PodCastle 516e.

Birthday celebrations end precisely at 11:59pm. The dragon's feeding time is midnight. Please exit the castle in a calm and orderly manner. 
Logged
Onikaze
Extern
*
Posts: 8



« Reply #81 on: April 08, 2018, 07:07:41 PM »

A poignant story about what it's like to be the outsider kid, choosing the dominant culture over family- regardless of the hurt that this decision inflicts on those who really matter.

Sadly, as a child I too lacked the wisdom to know that the rewards of "fitting in" wouldn't be worth wishing I could undo the pain I caused.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2018, 07:22:17 PM by Onikaze » Logged

“You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.”
-Inigo Montoya

“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
-Humpty Dumpty \
Kaa
Hipparch
******
Posts: 610


Trusst in me, jusst in me.


WWW
« Reply #82 on: April 08, 2018, 07:14:58 PM »

I think I've listened to this story about five times, and each time, it leaves me in tears. Damn you, Ken Liu. Damn you. Smiley
Logged

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else
Onikaze
Extern
*
Posts: 8



« Reply #83 on: April 08, 2018, 07:36:57 PM »

I can't believe how many people said that this was a "touching story", and it made them cry!  It made me furious...   

Though I share your anger at the narrator and his father's poor treatment of the mother/wife, this story touched and saddened me because of the mother's pain. My tears come from the awful hindsight of my own callousness, trying to fit in as a child at the expense of my family. In some cases it's too late and I can never make up for what I've done.
Logged

“You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.”
-Inigo Montoya

“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
-Humpty Dumpty \
TrishEM
Peltast
***
Posts: 153



« Reply #84 on: April 11, 2018, 01:12:50 AM »

I'm so glad that the 10-year anniversary poll of best Podcastle stories brought this to my attention! I've been listening to Podcastle for several years, but I've never made time to tackle the backlist from before my start point.

The animated origami animals were delightful. That boy didn't deserve magic in his life. I would say he didn't deserve love, but every child deserves love ... too bad he turned his back on it. 

It hurt my heart when the mom's letter talked about how happy she was when she had the baby, that looked a little like her own parents, so she didn't feel so alone, and she would have someone to talk with. But he hated his own face and ignored her. I was tearing up and sniffling in the grocery store.

But I need to remind myself not to just despise this fictional manchild, but to be aware of the real conditions in society that pressure children so hard to fit in and conform to the group, and are so awfully effective at it that people often end up hating "the other" in themselves and their own backgrounds. So sad.
Logged
Katzentatzen
Peltast
***
Posts: 157



« Reply #85 on: April 23, 2018, 10:25:45 PM »

This story made me cry the first time, and it makes me cry the second time too. I still felt the pain when Laohu was crumpled, I had to hug my own little tiger. The paper animals were sustained by his mother's breath, and my cat is sustained by my own, so I must keep breathing, and she sustains me that way. This is my very favorite magical realism story.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 10:37:26 PM by Katzentatzen » Logged

"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."
--LILIAN JACKSON BRAUN
Pages: 1 2 3 ... 5 [All]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!