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Author Topic: PC165: The Paper Menagerie  (Read 30410 times)


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Reply #80 on: April 06, 2018, 06:00:24 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. 


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Reply #81 on: April 09, 2018, 12:07:41 AM
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 09, 2018, 12:22:17 AM by Onikaze »

“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 \


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Reply #82 on: April 09, 2018, 12:14:58 AM
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. :)

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


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Reply #83 on: April 09, 2018, 12:36:57 AM
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.

“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 \


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Reply #84 on: April 11, 2018, 06:12:50 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.


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Reply #85 on: April 24, 2018, 03:25:45 AM
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 24, 2018, 03:37:26 AM by Katzentatzen »

"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."


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Reply #86 on: May 08, 2018, 09:50:23 AM
Deeply touching, even more so the second time I listened. As someone from a multicultural family (my mom, dad, and wife are literally from three different continents, though we're all of European descent and can "blend in" were we live. all three have different native languages though) I can deeply sympahzsie. As a kid, I also didn't want to talk my dad's "crazy moon language" because no one in kindergarden was talking it. Then, on vacation, I couldn't talk with my grandparents anymore, so at 5 I asked my dad to teach me again.

My dad wanted to introduce his local holiday celebration, like creating a demon face out of fruit. Crazy!
At school it got a bit easier, because we had to learn English anyways, and after a while, other people started celebrating Halloween, too.

So thank you again Ken, I'll certainly catch up with more of your work and your translations. If those books aren't available in my other language(s) as well, though I don't speak Chinese (took one semester and gave up because of the characters).
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 09:52:42 AM by Moritz »


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Reply #87 on: August 30, 2018, 03:20:58 PM
I couldn't listen to this story again. At the point where the Obi Wan figurine came out, I had to turn it off. There is so much pain packed into this story, which speaks to the author's talents.