Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: Pseudopod 259: To My Wondering Eyes Did Appear  (Read 3515 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5319
  • Mmm. Tiger.
on: December 10, 2011, 08:34:35 PM
Pseudopod 259: To My Wondering Eyes Did Appear

By Larry C. Kay
His blog, Scribbleninja, is you know where. Also, check out STEAMPUNK TALES for more of his work.

Read by Stephanie Morris. Click her name to hear more from her at the Scribbleomania blog!

“A figure obscured the flames of the fireplace: a man. Bettia sat up quickly, blinking away sleep, thinking it was her father. But this man was shorter, rounder, and part of her groggy mind considered Santa Claus, and that she must have slept for days.

Her eyes adjusted and she could see that the man indeed wore a red shirt. Not like a dumb mall Santa, but a working man’s shirt: rough and stained darker red on top of the red. And not any fire engine red, but crimson; just like his Converse All-Stars. His jeans were black or maybe just covered in soot. His face was dirty like a coal miner’s, but Bettia thought he was a white man.

He carried a black bag slung over one shoulder, an empty bag, but Bettia knew this man was no burglar. This shaggy buffalo of a man smiled when he noticed Bettia, and showed his sharp fighting-dog teeth. Bettia heard a whimper, and shame crinkled her face as she realized it was she that sounded like a whipped mutt.”




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?


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #1 on: December 12, 2011, 03:04:13 PM
I thought this one was pretty good.  Rumple Claus reminded me a bit of legends of Black Pete, though it seemed to be going a different direction with it (arriving with an empty sack and leaving with people stuffed into it made me think of that). 

It also reminded me a bit of Terry Pratchett's Hogfather, who is a Santa-Claus like character but in one of the books you find out that he had an origin more akin to boogeymen, and only evolved into his current incarnation by filling a niche in the society. 

This was a well-written story, well-narrated.  I like how the letter to Santa Claus sealed with blood made the change come about, blood sacrifice is an important ingredient to summoning Rumple Claus I'm guessing.  I thought it was a good twist that her secret hate had killed her mother too, and that secret hate is what really split them up and left them orphans.  Often I don't like flashback formats well, but here it worked extremely well, because you see all the breadth of the consequences of that day in the details of their adult lives and then you go back to find out how they got there, so rather than having less impact (like flashback stories often do for me) there is much much more impact.



Balu

  • Guest
Reply #2 on: December 12, 2011, 10:33:17 PM
Nice. By which I mean, horrific.

The framing of this really elevated it above the traditional monster of the week story. Not that there's anything wrong with those, of course.

I like the way things kept clicking into focus all the way through, from the elder sister's horror of asking for things to the importance of the blood she got on the letter.  I want to know what was in the package that was left, though. And if the narrator can keep from opening it.



Swamp

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2229
    • Journey Into... podcast
Reply #3 on: December 13, 2011, 02:46:19 AM
I really enjoyed this one!  It's my kind of horror.   I also loved the narration.  Rumple Clause, Phantom Clause, what's next.

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast


Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1211
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Reply #4 on: December 13, 2011, 03:32:34 AM
see next week!



Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 618
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Reply #5 on: December 13, 2011, 05:14:00 AM
Delightfully grim and horrible. The narrator really stepped it up a notch, too. You guys have really been getting some good readings out of the narrators lately. I loved the format of this one, too, with the framing story and the flashback. And Stephanie Morris made it readily apparent which voice was which.

Bravo, and brava.

Note to self: Must not get blood on letter to Santa, then burn...

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


Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4880
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #6 on: December 13, 2011, 07:58:54 AM
Krampus!

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


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #7 on: December 13, 2011, 02:38:33 PM
Oh yeah, one more thing, I didn't really dig the ending with the unopened package.  It seemed to be trying really hard to be creepy, but just left me more confused.



ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #8 on: December 13, 2011, 02:48:53 PM
Krampus!

Me, too.

I quite liked this one, though I thought the relationship between the narrator and her sister was a little tame. I would have preferred a little more tension than acceptance of Bettia's insistence on living on the street rather than accepting her sister's help. It seemed like the narrator basically bought it, which bugged me.

Also, I agree with Unblinking. The unopened package felt a little distracting. Why bother including it, at that point? The story could easily have ended without it. With it, it felt... well, honestly, I'm not sure what the package was supposed to mean.

Those are small nits to pick in an otherwise excellent story, though. I love it when stories explore the dark, dangerous side of magic without actually eliminating its faery-tale charm.

Additionally, I deeply loved the narration. The reader's inflection(s), tone(s), and accent(s) were perfect.

EDIT:

Also.

"What to my wondering eyes did appear? An evil Saint Nicholas, asking for beer."

Ahem. I'll see myself out.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 02:53:32 PM by ElectricPaladin »

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

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


Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3925
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #9 on: December 20, 2011, 02:46:59 PM
What's in the box?!?

I liked the box mystery, although it's a whole lot of tease. Ultimately, it's a mechanism to convey to the younger sister that the magic is real. And anything our imagination fills in for the contents will satisfy each individually more than if there was something placed there for us.


I quite liked this one, though I thought the relationship between the narrator and her sister was a little tame. I would have preferred a little more tension than acceptance of Bettia's insistence on living on the street rather than accepting her sister's help. It seemed like the narrator basically bought it, which bugged me.


Stubbornness, pride, and guilt are strong motivators for the elder sister. There's also the bit about magic which kept the younger sister sleeping throughout the whole howling ordeal. It might have been part of the deal.


EDIT:

Also.

"What to my wondering eyes did appear? An evil Saint Nicholas, asking for beer."

Ahem. I'll see myself out.

I have no words left.

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


yaksox

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 70
    • sunny breaks
Reply #10 on: December 24, 2011, 01:55:16 PM
Just listened to this one now.

Very good story. Just 2nding what others have said - well written, worked well in the audio format, easy to visualise and a great narration.