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Author Topic: PC200: In the Stacks  (Read 16218 times)
Talia
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« on: March 13, 2012, 07:12:07 AM »

PodCastle 200: In The Stacks

by Scott Lynch

Read by…well, A LOT of cool people! How about a full cast list?

Norm Sherman as the Narrator
Peter Wood as Lazlo
Dave Thompson as Casimir
Wilson Fowlie as Master Molnar
M.K. Hobson as Astriza
Graeme Dunlop as Lev Bronzeclaw
Anna Schwind as Yvette
Ann Leckie, Alasdair Stuart, Talia, Ocicat, and Marshal Latham as the Librarians, Indexers, and Vocubavores
and Rachel Swirsky as the Head Vocabuvore


Originally Published in Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery

On the clock outside the gate to the Manticore Wing of the library, the little blue flame was just floating past the symbol for high noon when Laszlo and Casimir skidded to a halt before a single tall figure.

“I see you two aspirants have chosen to favor us with a dramatic last-minute arrival,” said the man. “I was not aware this was to be a drama exam.”

“Yes, Master Molnar. Apologies, Master Molnar,” said Laszlo and Casimir in unison.

Hargus Molnar, Master Librarian, had a face that would have been at home in a gallery of military statues, among dead conquerors casting their permanent scowls down across the centuries. Lean and sinewy, with close-cropped gray hair and a dozen visible scars, he wore a use-seasoned suit of black leather and silvery mail. Etched on his cuirass was a stylized scroll, symbol of the Living Library, surmounted by the phrase Auvidestes, Gerani, Molokare. The words were Alaurin, the formal language of scholars, and they formed the motto of the Librarians:

RETRIEVE. RETURN. SURVIVE.

Rated R: Contains violence, some language, and the coolest, most dangerous library ever!

Thank you, listeners, for an amazing two hundred episodes!

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
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Fenrix
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 08:30:36 AM »

Congrats on 200! The full cast list sounds fantastic. Looking forward to listening to this one.
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4bidden
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2012, 01:18:14 AM »

I'm going to start by giving the good stuff first then go into the less good stuff.
Congratulations on turning 200 twice.I enjoyed the story it reminded me of my days working in a Sci-fi bookstore.The re-shelving of books has its own trials and tribulations,this is a pretty extreme version,but there are days that were close.Startling the store cat hiding in the shelving cart as your setting the books in it,and having it scare the crap out of you.The teetering piles of books stacked in odd places by customers,waiting for you to trip over them.The overly smelly homeless man wandering the stacks and mumbling about how "they" are coming for him.The tornado reminded me of the children that would come in and rearrange half the store in their loud and special way.I loved the vocabuvores they were a great idea and well thought out as a briefly described species.It was over all a very good quality piece of writing.
  
I was disappointed to find it was a full cast reading,I just personally prefer a single reader for my stories.The wildly varying audio quality from character to character was the major distraction in this for me.I know that Peter did what he could to clean up the really bad variances but there were a few spots that were just rough.Thanks Peter for doing what you could with so many different kinds of audio input.The end was pretty obvious way to early on,but I didn't let it ruin the story and hoped for a different ending.

TLDR version I enjoyed the story but the full cast reading was not my cup of tea.
 
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Anarquistador
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2012, 10:26:16 AM »

Hunh. See, I thought the exact opposite: I loved the presentation, with the multiple voices and such. But I found the story to be a little lackluster. It was an interesting universe - I loved the concept of a library full of magical books somehow attaining a mad kind of sentience - but otherwise it was just a very typical fantasy adventure. Everyman hero! Spitfire female companion! Charming rogue with his own agenda! Token non-human muscle! Let's go crawl this dungeon! Sure, the dungeon itself was interesting - vocabuvores, what a neat idea! - but in the end they were just crawling it.
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Chuk
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2012, 11:14:13 AM »

Great story, I usually like Scott Lynch and this was no exception. Also I work in a library and it is exactly like that.

I usually would rather read (in text form) than listen to a story but I liked the full cast presentation for this one. Great voices and effects, worked really well with the story.
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chuk
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2012, 11:59:00 AM »

I really liked the story, but like 4bidden would have preferred a single reader, even when the audio quality is at its best, multiple readers just feels a bit like a gimmick to me. But it is only a minor complaint since tthe story was so good.
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4bidden
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2012, 01:40:52 PM »

I loved the concept of a library full of magical books somehow attaining a mad kind of sentience
I also loved that part of the story.I wish my home library was even half as dungeony and interesting.

but otherwise it was just a very typical fantasy adventure. Everyman hero! Spitfire female companion! Charming rogue with his own agenda! Token non-human muscle! Let's go crawl this dungeon! Sure, the dungeon itself was interesting - vocabuvores, what a neat idea! - but in the end they were just crawling it.
You are totally right that it was an almost cookie cutter dungeon crawl story.As an old D&D player I can't help but love a cool idea for a dungeon and some hero's to take it on.

« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 09:35:59 PM by 4bidden » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2012, 10:31:38 PM »

This story was really fun.  There's nothing wrong with a dungeon crawl now and then, and this one was so much more.  Even though I read some lines for the vocabuvores, I didn't read the whole story when I did so.  I wanted to save it for when the episode aired.  I'm glad I did.  It was a fun romp!

Full cast? Yeah, I'm a fan.  It's not for everything, but...
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2012, 12:07:09 AM »

I did read the story when I was preparing to perform Master Molnar, but it was a long time ago and I forgot a lot of details that I was pleased to hear for the 'first' time this week.

Well done, Peter, Dave and Anna, both for this episode - especially Peter, because I do understand how much work that was! - and for getting to this episode. Here's to the next 800! Smiley

Wilson

(edited to remove a parenthetical comment that should have been in a different thread altogether :sigh:)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 11:22:59 AM by Wilson Fowlie » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2012, 07:11:58 AM »

I would gladly read a dozen novels set in this universe.

That can be done, right?
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2012, 08:27:46 AM »

I wouldn't mind seeing more stories set in this universe either.

So...was Rachel Swirsky's voice altered for this production? Or is that just how she sounds when she's knocking heads together in the editors' room?
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Devoted135
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2012, 09:24:19 AM »

LOVED this story! I tend to like full-cast productions and thought that this story lent itself particularly well to it. Plus, it was super fun to hear voice after voice and go "that's Wilson Fowlie!... that's Graeme Dunlop!... etc" Gotta be honest though, I never would have guessed that was Rachel Swirsky. Cheesy Congrats to all of you for making it to 200!


True, it was a fairly standard dungeon crawl, but it was done so well and often with tongue planted firmly in cheek! I especially loved the vocabuvores, but the bookstorm of the dying grimoir was also a cool idea. Plus, it was pretty hilarious to hear all the random words Lazlo came up with on the fly, both archaic and mundane. For me, this was warm fuzzies all around. Smiley


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danooli
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2012, 06:03:03 AM »

loved it.  loved everything about it.  It was fun, it was epic, it was...well, it was fantastic!  Like Devoted135, i had a great time identifying the narrators! 

Thank you PodCastle for 200(+) episodes of wonder!

May we have some more please?
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Mav.Weirdo
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2012, 09:37:03 AM »

I liked the story. It was good without taking itself too seriously.

I enjoy both single reader and full cast audio. I think this was a good choice of story to do full cast, and the casting and voice effects worked well.

My one issue is in the early part of the recording, we have long paragraphs of narration split by sudden short choppy comments by the characters. I don't know if there is a way to have edited that section to be less abrupt (possibly a slight pause between voices so it doesn't sound like the characters are interrupting the narrator). Once we arrive at the library I didn't have any issues.
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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2012, 02:29:17 PM »

I loved this story and the full-cast production of it. It had just the right amount of humor, I thought, along with the usual swords-and-sorcery adventure, a compelling setting, and great magical fauna. Additionally, it hinted at a fantastic world lurking around the corner that I, for one, want to read more about. I want more in this world, and I want it now.

But we can't have it now. Alas. So I suggest to those like me who enjoyed it that you check out Blake Charlton's books Spellwright and Spellbound. They're set in a superficially similar universe. It'll tide you over until Mr. Lynch is able to crank out a few more stories and/or novels set in this one.

[Disclaimer: I am not now nor have I ever been affiliated with Blake Charlton. I was just struck by the similarity and decided to suggest them to the rest of you. Smiley]
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« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2012, 09:05:06 PM »

Am I the only one who listened to this and thought "Unseen University Library" and L-space?  There's nothing wrong with riffing on the theme of sentient books, I guess.  At least there wasn't an orangutan there too.

The whole the whole book-returning quest was supposed to be a final exam for the students.  But the librarians were doing the lion's share of the work.  The students were just along as muscle.  Maybe in that universe that's considered a legitimate use of undergrads.   Wink

Add me to the list of folks that didn't like the full-cast recording.  There was really a lot of non-character narration.  I probably wouldn't have noticed this if there had been a single reader, but Norm Sherman's voice is distinctive, and I noticed it every time he spoke.
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landroide
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« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2012, 01:49:17 AM »

One of the best stories I've listened to on Podcastle (and that's saying a lot), and I love that they chose to do it as a fullcast production; that said, there were times when the lines or narration seemed to abruptly interrupt each other, which was a tad jarring.  Also it could have used maybe some background sounds or music.
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« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2012, 12:47:00 PM »

The whole the whole book-returning quest was supposed to be a final exam for the students.  But the librarians were doing the lion's share of the work.  The students were just along as muscle.  Maybe in that universe that's considered a legitimate use of undergrads.   Wink

Oh like English professors in the real world wouldn't do this if they could...

 Tongue
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childoftyranny
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« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2012, 05:51:35 PM »

Fantastic, I loved the universe and it was wonderful to hear so many voices I recognize though sadly wouldn't be able to put names too, I'm really bad with names, I'm lucky I remember my own..

Anyway I'm probably the only one who after listening spent time considering that this trap actually invites people into it by not telling others what happened. The sheer fact that they keep why certain people die in this test a secret ensures that young minds will assume they were the first to think of it, that is at the very least questionably moral..

Not a complaint as much as an amused comment, the world around the library seems quite fascinating as well but feels like a world invented with love and care, but only because we needed somewhere to hide a magic library, nevertheless I want to know so much more about it!

The dungeon crawl feel didn't hurt my enjoyment in the least, having played a few dungeons crawls in D&D in my day I have fond memories of the vaguely connected storyline that set it up and then amusing things that happen when people don't take themselves too seriously. Such as a discussion on whether or not it was right to steal the giant sentient piano as loot..
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olivaw
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« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2012, 07:16:43 PM »

Oook?

Fun story, and it was great to hear a rich set of characters with a wide range of voices.
I could have done with a bit less infodump at the beginning, and I do think action/combat sequences are one of the few areas where film and TV has the advantage over books (and podcasts), but despite that it belted along to a nice and satisfying conclusion.

And feeding the vocabulovore sounds like a great drinking game.

Hey, who turned out the lights?
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