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Author Topic: Pseudopod 293: Flash On The Borderlands XII - (Black) Arts & (Dead) Letters  (Read 2876 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: August 15, 2012, 12:16:11 AM »

Pseudopod 293: Flash On The Borderlands XII - (Black) Arts & (Dead) Letters

Three flash fictions about about the creative impulse that drives and maddens…



DANCING by Donna Glee Williams.

This will be the world debut of this story, which was written at Odyssey 2011, inspired by Ben Bova’s “Leviathan” and owes a lot to the feedback it got from Evil Overlord Jeanne Cavelos and her Minions.

Donna Glee Williams is a writer, seminar leader, and creative coach. A sort of Swiss Army knife of the page, Donna Glee has seen her work published in anthologies, newsstand glossies, literary magazines, academic journals, reference books, big-city dailies, online venues, and spoken-word podcasts, as well as on stage and CD recordings. These days, her focus is on speculative fiction, aka fantasy and science fiction. Check out her blog at the link under her name above.

Read by Heather Welliver, who continues singing and doing various voicework. Check out her website (link under her name, natch) and download some of her recent work.



““I do not pay you to tell me what cannot be done.” They used to call her Freedom on the Wing. And now… This fool said it could not be fixed.

“But this… This isn’t an illness, Diva,” he creaked. “This is natural. You’re maturing.”

The dancer hated being soothed. “I’m hardening,” she snapped. “I’m losing my range of motion. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, but suddenly my turn-out is shrinking. My forefoot extension is down. Do something. Why do I keep you if you can’t do something?”




LOST FOR WORDS by Kenneth Yu.

“Lost For Words” was won first place in FANTASY MAGAZINES 2009 Halloween Flash Fiction contest, which was overseen by writer Rae Bryant and under the ezine’s publisher, Sean Wallace. It can be read here.

Kenneth Yu is a writer from the Philippines. His work has seen print in his country’s various publications, including the Philippine ezines Usok and Best Of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2009. One of his stories also placed 3rd in the Neil Gaiman-sponsored 3rd Philippine Graphic Fiction Awards in early 2010. Elsewhere, his stories have been accepted by Innsmouth Free Press, The Town Drunk and AlienSkin.


Read by Marguerite Croft. Marguerite is a professional writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s a recovering anthropologist and a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop; her most recent publication was in the Boys of Summer anthology. She has also read fiction for Podcastle and Escape Pod, and can be found on Twitter as @albionidaho.


“When she was young, the words flowed freely, fearlessly, seemingly forming on their own into sentences and paragraphs, pages upon pages, blending together until they became stories.

She drew scenes with almost no effort, conjuring them with a vividness that took control of her readers’ imaginations. She could make her readers cry or laugh, fill them with anger or melancholy, leave them sighing in bittersweet pleasure, or stir them with high inspiration, all as she so directed with the words she chose.”




MUSIC ON THE MICHIGAN AVENUE BRIDGE by Mort Castle.

This story was originally published in Mort Castle’s 2002 anthology NATIONS OF THE LIVING, NATIONS OF THE DEAD. Originally was a story in the comic book NIGHT CITY (with art by Mark Nelson).

Mort Castle has three times been Guest of Honor at the World Horror Convention, has had multiple nominations for the Bram Stoker Award and the Pushcart Prize, and was cited as one of “21 Leaders in the Arts for the 21st Century in Chicago” by the Star/Sun-Times Newspaper Group. He won the Readers’ Choice Black Quill Award for Best Non-Fiction Work for editing ON WRITING HORROR (2007) and the collection, Księżyc na Wodzie (MOON ON THE WATER) was considered one of the “Best Books Published in Poland” in 2008. The hardbound edition of J. N. Williamson’s MASQUES, Mort Castle Editorial Director, presenting horror stories in comics format, is available from Checker Book Publishing Group.

Read by Patrick “The Voice” Bazile. Patrick was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and, many years ago, wrote, produced, and performed Hip Hop music. Patrick works as a professional voice artist (HIRE HIM…..HE HAS SEVEN CHILDREN!!!!!) and you can check out his “amateur looking voice talent page” at Patrick “The Voice”.



“It’s dark, the special dark of the city as it is punctuated by street lights. We see the shoes of the saxophone player on the sidewalk as he is moving right along.

The saxophone player is a man with somewhere to go.

He has somewhere to go tonight because –

–It is Springtime. We have Spring and we have the night.

We have Two A.M. and the city is angles and rhythms. The city is moves and slides and whisperings. You can hear the city breathe.”



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
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Umbrageofsnow
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 03:37:00 PM »

I am the Thing under the Mountain, and this is the first post in this thread!

DANCING - My Least Favorite Story of this FotB
Reminds me of the artist Bug Girl from Perdido Street Station, only superficially though. The actual story seems surprisingly commonplace, another woman going to extreme lengths for eternal youth. As she's not bathing in the blood of virgins, it doesn't really wow me, but it isn't bad either. Exactly average, which wouldn't be bad from most podcasts, but along with "Drowner" I'd say this ties for least interesting Pseudopod flash this year.

LOST FOR WORDS
Hard to really stay focused on this one, much like "The Eater" from last year, but the theme of the power of words and stories kept me interested... much like "The Eater." I love the idea of fading away because you aren't letting the stories out.  My brother died, and I had some of these feelings when trying to write about it. Eventually decided I would have to be better before writing about it, but I've gotten over the misgivings about profiting from his death. Assuming I ever sell a story anyway. 

I don't think the weird suicide at the end adds anything to the story though. This one I like better than "Dancing" but less than "Annotations", "Dog", "10 Darlings", and "Mother of Monsters". It's about even with "Forbidden Feast" for me.

MUSIC ON THE MICHIGAN AVENUE BRIDGE - My Favorite Story of this FotB
Love the narration on this one, although his White Guy voice is a bit funny. It's amazing how distinct all the voices are.

As to the story itself, when we start getting into how beaten up the man is, contrasted with the jazz it gets nicely surreal and I'm digging it.  Then they actually beat the guy and it's perfect. Reminding me of "Home" from this year's Stoker Awards, unclear what's going on, but delightfully weird and a bit creepy. Although the cops here are much creepier than the stuff in "Home".  I love the repetition of "you play beautifully," Not sure I caught everything going on in this story, but I enjoyed the hell out of it and I'll be listening to it at least one more time. Honestly, I think I like it better than the Stoker nominee it reminds me of, and I can't decide between this and "Mother of Monsters" for favorite flash so far.

I'm not usually one to nitpick about the audio editing, but did anyone else notice some weird skipiness in the intro to the third story?
P.S. Is something up with the episode numbering.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 03:58:00 PM by Umbrageofsnow » Logged
Sgarre1
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 10:35:23 PM »

Quote
P.S. Is something up with the episode numbering.

It just came out late
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2012, 09:11:20 AM »

Dancing
This was my favorite of the three.  It was a perfect plot for a flash story.  Simple character, simple idea, carried to its conclusion, and then ending before it overstays its welcome.  I thought it had plenty interesting to think about, particularly regarding the pursuit of beauty, fear of the next life stage, and the price you'd pay for immortality.  I imagine that she will stay in the exercise machine until she dies.  Maybe in a couple days, maybe in years if someone is willing to feed her and if her body trying to metamorphose doesn't kill her.  She might live near forever if someone feeds her, but ye gods what an unpleasant existence.  Her core drive is to maintain her freedom of motion, and to achieve that she locks herself in a skintight cage.

Lost For Words
I felt like this came from a real and true emotional place.  I felt for the woman, and felt for her concern about profiting from the death of a loved one.  But I've never been a big fan of stories that end with suicide (except when that suicide accomplishes something, like saving someone else's life).  I don't want to follow a protagonist who resolves all their problems by ending their life.  I've lost friends that way in real life and that's enough of that for me.

Music on the Michigan Avenue Bridge.
Blech.  The core of the story reminded me of what I've heard people say about the inner city, where screams on the street would cause no one to call the police or to come to aid because of the fear overlaying everything.  Those anecdotes always unnerve me, but this story didn't do much for me. I guess it just didn't seem any different than those stories about the inner city, just telling the same story over again, and doing it in a way that added nothing.

Quote
P.S. Is something up with the episode numbering.

It just came out late

I'm not sure if he's referring to that, or the odd fact that the metadata of the episode name that shows up on my iPod says Pseudo282 (off by 11 episode numbers).  I changed it in my local file so that I wouldn't get mixed up when I'm making Best of lists later.
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Sgarre1
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"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2012, 03:21:40 PM »

Quote
I'm not sure if he's referring to that, or the odd fact that the metadata of the episode name that shows up on my iPod says Pseudo282 (off by 11 episode numbers).  I changed it in my local file so that I wouldn't get mixed up when I'm making Best of lists later.

No idea why this would be.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 08:56:28 AM »

Quote
I'm not sure if he's referring to that, or the odd fact that the metadata of the episode name that shows up on my iPod says Pseudo282 (off by 11 episode numbers).  I changed it in my local file so that I wouldn't get mixed up when I'm making Best of lists later.

No idea why this would be.

Just a typo by the person entering the title, I presume.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 09:00:46 AM »

My personal favorite, in "The Lost Treasures of Infocom II" that I bought recently, was "Bureaucracy, written in large part by Douglas Adams, with typical Adamsian humor.  You have moved to a new town for a job, and the company has given you money to get started with as well as a furnished apartment.  So you fly to this apartment, to spend the night before you fly out to a training seminar the next day.  But your luggage gets lost, your apartment is not actually furnished yet, your money is supposed to be in the bank but you don't have the authorization to get it out, and you have no cash.  Your goal is to make it to the training seminar, with no initial access to cash and very little information.
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Wizard of Gore
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 01:52:46 PM »

Ok Al, you get a pass because you are not from the States, but as someone from the greatest city in the world(and just voted most beautiful skyline) I should tell you following a story about Chicago with a story about New York is high amount to heresy in these parts. As far as Jazz is concerned, to paraphrase "Ed Wood" "New York? Sidekick? New York doesn't deserve to smell our S#!T!".
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Wizard of Gore
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2012, 02:22:25 PM »


Love the narration on this one, although his White Guy voice is a bit funny. It's amazing how distinct all the voices are.

As a white guy I have to say I love when people do the "white guy voice", its one of the funniest things in the world.
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Coolbreeze44105
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2012, 01:24:11 PM »

Good story. Good character development. Good story arc. Nice unexpected ending. I liked it.
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2012, 07:40:21 AM »

Good story. Good character development. Good story arc. Nice unexpected ending. I liked it.

Which story?  Or all three?
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2012, 06:48:37 PM »

Quote
By the way, is there a "Feed the man with 7 kids" button somewhere?

Click the link under his name - his website may be able to help!
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Scattercat
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2012, 10:19:50 PM »

"Dancing" was the weak one out of the trio for me.  I didn't have much empathy for the main character, whose dedication to her art seemed wholly secondary to her dedication to having people love her.  I never get terribly interested in stories about how a Bad Person has Bad Things happen to them because of their Badness.

"Lost for Words" was fun.  I didn't quite grok the central metaphor - it seemed to vacillate a bit between arrogance and grief - but the scene with the bird (while a titch forced) was dramatic and very easy to visualize.  I like it when harmless things are dangerous.  (And I like it even more when they don't have to be secretly a horrible monster to do it.)

"Music on the Michigan Avenue Bridge" was great, and the reading made it effing awesome.
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