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Author Topic: PC172: Doors  (Read 5313 times)
Ocicat
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« on: August 30, 2011, 12:17:33 PM »

PodCastle 172: Doors

by Rajan Khanna

Read by David O. Engelstad

Originally published in GUD (Greatest Uncommon Denominator).

You will never find this world in a book. It is spelled out on the walls of bathrooms, in janitor’s closets and bomb shelters, in the scrawl on an alley wall. But only if you know where to look. There are maybe a hundred people across the world who do.

From the moment you find your first tag, you become a collector. Some people collect figurines or stamps or comic books, you collect locations. You’re a gambling addict in a million dollar game, a pothead with a giant brick of BC’s Finest, a sexaholic at a gang bang.

I used to be into sex. Like really kinky shit. You could tie me up and beat me with a riding crop and I’d be as happy as a pig in shit. Because in those moments, when someone was treating me like an object, I could switch off from bills and mortgages and loans and fucking laundry. Push it to one side and let the pain wash it away.

Fuck S&M, Traveling is better. Fuck meditation, Traveling is better. God help me, fuck sex.

Traveling is better.


Rated R: Contains explicit language.

Want the summer to keep rolling on? Check out Marshal Latham’s Journey Into…Podcast!
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 06:45:32 AM by Talia » Logged
danooli
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2011, 05:02:47 PM »

Wow, I really loved this one.  I was absorbed from the very beginning and felt a strange sense of sadness at the end that I didn't have a notebook full of phone numbers and Door locations.  I wish I knew how to activate tags, but I don't think I'm going to go around touching the walls of public bathrooms, so I'm probably not going to accidentally stumble through a Door. 

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iamafish
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2011, 05:51:17 PM »

Wow!

Awesome ep. I have done quite a lot of travelling in the last 12 months and I know exactly how the MC feels. OK, i did it by conventional methods, so getting from place to place was often more of a drag than the best bit! Meeting new people, spending time in completely new places, chatting about our experiences with other travelers over a drink. Awesome. Ok there were downsides, like the loneliness and stress of being on your own and alone in a completely alien place, missing friends, family and loved one, missing home, but they were worth it. I'd love to be able to use Doors to get around the world, to be able to get from one side of the planet to another in a heart beat. Worth the price? We'll that's the conundrum of this story. Is it all worth it? The MC seems to think so, but we see what it does to his friend.
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InfiniteMonkey
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 07:40:41 PM »

"For a good time, Call Dave Thompson and Ann Leckie at Podcastle!"

This reminded me of the doors in another PK Dick movie (as it were) "The Adjustment Bureau" and in the SciFi short series "The Lost Room". SO much easier to travel by magic door.
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DKT
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 08:04:06 PM »

"For a good time, Call Dave Thompson, Anna Schwind, Ann Leckie, and Peter Wood at Podcastle!"

Fixed that for you Smiley
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Scattercat
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2011, 06:41:20 AM »

I loved the idea.  I remember when "Mighty Max" became a cartoon, and they had to come up with an explanation for why this random kid in a red hat kept showing up in such bizarre locations (as in the toy playsets.  "Mighty Max" was a male equivalent for Polly Pocket, with hand-sized spiders or wolf heads that opened into mad scientists lairs or dungeons.)  Anyway, the TV show decided that there was a system of ancient portals lying around, and the red hat was the token that opened them.  Whoever possessed the hat was the "Mighty One," and was obliged to go around and solve problems due to being the only person who could get there in time.  There was a talking owl for some reason, and a big badass swordsman.  It was oddly entertaining.

Anyway, this was a good story, and good stories rarely have much one can say about them other than "yay."  So "yay."

(Also, since when is name-dropping ME considered good advertising for a podcast?  :-P  I like "Journey Into..." though; it's fun and, importantly, short.  Hopefully it carries on.)
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Lionman
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2011, 09:07:19 AM »

This reminded me of the 2008 movie, Jumper.  Which, I must admit, I rather liked the idea of moving from place to place, a sort of teleportation.

Both stories seem to pair up the romance of travel with our love for the fantastical.  This is a key part of what makes them intriguing to the audience.
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grokman
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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2011, 09:47:40 AM »

As others have pointed out, nothing too innovative or original here with the mechanics of the Door portals. But just like a good apple pie is no less delicious just because it isn't innovative or original, this story was very delicious, too.
I'm tempted to stop scribbling my buddy's phone number in toilet stalls and using my own - maybe one of the travelers will find ME!
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Devoted135
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2011, 11:17:43 AM »

Great story, paired with a great narration. Smiley The concept was intruiging, and all of the relationships were really believable.

One nitpick though: While I am convinced that the MC and all the rest of the travelers believe that the doors are worth the price, I'm still not convinced that traveling via the doors is all that the MC says it is (how can it possibly be such a rush that it's worth 7 months off your life each time, plus a horrible death at the end??). He spent a lot of time telling us that it was awesome, but never once said why it was so great. Or did I miss something?
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raetsel
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« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2011, 01:24:34 PM »

I liked the story right up until the end which I felt was rather unsatisfactory and didn't really go anywhere (no pun intended, well maybe a bit). OK so the MC has the address of the door in New Jersey but the real drama and tension would be what happens when he goes to Brodie with the information. That could go any number of ways and I don't think the ending that just leaves us to decide what happens next is good enough.

One of the best things about this story though was the description of an addiction in a new setting. Seems humans can turn anything into a vice given time.

Good narration from David O. Englestad. Given his other narration is he the go to guy for vaguely scatalogical based stories?  Wink
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Lionman
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2011, 03:15:26 PM »

I'm tempted to stop scribbling my buddy's phone number in toilet stalls and using my own - maybe one of the travelers will find ME!

I thought we were putting Ocicat and Scattercat's numbers on walls? ;-)
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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2011, 02:15:57 AM »

Well... I'm gonna go against the flow. I found this one curiously uninteresting and bloodless. The central idea seemed... not sure of the right word... underdone? half-realised? wasted, even? Don't know, but quite unsatisfying. And did not like any of the characters, nor did I feel sympathy for them. An oddly flat story.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2011, 06:52:29 AM by kibitzer » Logged

raetsel
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2011, 04:12:40 AM »

..........did not like any of the characters, nor did I feel sympathy for them. And oddly flat story.

That is an interesting point about sympathy. The main character is basically an addict and the only "redeeming" feature of his character is that he wants to get his friend a final fix which is probably not the most noble of actions.

Do you need to sympathise with a main character to enjoy a story? I think as long as they are believable it's not always necessary in a short story, but in a novel it would be too much to bear for long.
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debzilla
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2011, 09:01:34 AM »

This was my first podcastle story to listen to!  Found it searching stitcher.  Not only did I love the story, but for me it is a metaphor for my life with my smartphone.  Podcasts lead to discovering more podcast radio that I had no idea existed.  I used to be limited to my local NPR line up, now I'm discovering a whole new world of doors into online radio!  I no longer panic that I've run out of radiolab or this american life episodes!  I fall asleep traveling through a new narrative nearly every night (much to the annoyance of my husband).   At least I know it isnt taking any years off my life.

On~on
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kibitzer
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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2011, 10:16:53 PM »

Do you need to sympathise with a main character to enjoy a story? I think as long as they are believable it's not always necessary in a short story, but in a novel it would be too much to bear for long.

Since I read this I've been racking my brains for a story I liked where I didn't sympathise with the characters.

I can't think of one.

In fact, thinking of discussions elsewhere on the boards here, I'll give up on a book if I don't care what happens to the characters.
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Max e^{i pi}
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« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2011, 07:45:57 AM »

This reminded me of the 2008 movie, Jumper.  Which, I must admit, I rather liked the idea of moving from place to place, a sort of teleportation.

Both stories seem to pair up the romance of travel with our love for the fantastical.  This is a key part of what makes them intriguing to the audience.
My thoughts precisely.
But I was also thinking of the doors that we see in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. In fact, in that first jump I thought maybe the protagonist had made it through to a different world.

Also, for a good time send an email to <redacted>(AT)<redacted>(DOT)com or look for us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Myspace.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 08:15:13 AM by Max e^{i pi} » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2011, 12:01:24 AM »

I really liked this one right up until the end. I feel robbed actually... I wanted to hear how the MC grabbed Brody, stole him out of the hospital and raced to some stank ass restroom for that one final trip. The ending felt like a "dine and ditch" to me, leaving me hanging.

What really invested me in this one is all the times where I've been in public restrooms/ fitting rooms/ cramped out of the way places and I've always been drawn to the weird graffiti and short messages that show up. Sometimes you see the weirdest little doodles or pictures while you are pretending you are somewhere else. Maybe thats what struck a cord--the wanting to be somewhere, anywhere else while ignoring everything going on around you. I've always been tempted to add my little stamp on fitting rooms and public toilets just for the hell of it, but its really just sort of a crappy thing to do because eventually SOMEONE has to clean up the mess.
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2011, 01:11:54 PM »

I enjoyed this one. At first it was a bit iffy when I thought it might be one of those second-person POV stories, and given the length, I didn't think it could sustain that POV for that long. Luckily, it quickly shifted and held my interest all the way to the end.
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2011, 04:59:25 PM »

At first it was a bit iffy when I thought it might be one of those second-person POV stories

Oh, good, it wasn't just me, then. I had pretty much the same reaction.
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« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2011, 03:31:47 AM »

At first it was a bit iffy when I thought it might be one of those second-person POV stories

Oh, good, it wasn't just me, then. I had pretty much the same reaction.
Me too.
Also the constant switching of POV from second to first and back confused me, until I realized that part of the story was him telling me (the listener) what happened, and part was a sort of guidebook for Travelers.
I bet that in print (or pixels) it's a lot less confusing. I'm trying to think of a way to make it less confusing in audio but drawing a blank.
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