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Author Topic: PC202: The Rugged Track  (Read 4362 times)
Talia
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« on: March 27, 2012, 08:53:17 AM »

PodCastle 202: The Rugged Track

by Liz Argall.

Read by Tina Connolly.

Originally appeared in Strange Horizons. Read the text beginning here.

Once upon a time there was a plucky young woman called Princess Bite. She loved to roller-skate, and Roller Derby was her community.

Her mother, Lady Push Comes to Shove, had felt her daughter jamming from inside the womb.

“I had to keep the sounds of whistles away from you,” Lady Shove would say as she helped Princess Bite into her aqua and purple quads. “The slightest peep and you were off, bouncing around my insides like the joyous devil you are. The only way I could get you to be quiet was to zoom around the track.”

Princess Bite learned to skate as she learned how to walk. Lady Push Comes to Shove and Princess Bite would hurtle around the track so fast it felt like flying. Princess Bite and Lady Shove skated together every day until Lady Shove’s illness made it too difficult and painful.

Princess Bite loved everything about Roller Derby. She even loved cleaning up after a game, sweeping the floor with a broom twice her size, coiling cables and emptying endless garbage cans. Princess Bite loved the spectacle, the makeup, the glitter and ferocity. She loved crashing into people and trying to keep her feet when they crashed into her. She loved watching the teams train and playing with the other kids of roller mums.


Rated R for language.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 12:45:20 PM by Talia » Logged
Anarquistador
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 12:13:41 PM »

Interesting story. A curious take on a classic fairy-tale setup.

I'm not exactly sure if Roller Derby works as a metaphor for sisterhood - or as a metaphor for trans...something...ness - but that might be just my stupid Y chromosone getting in the way.

Also: Oh NO! M K Hobson has been assimiliated! Stay strong, Ma'am, I'll save you!

I just need a ragtag band of misfits, a broken-down spacecraft, and The Power Of Love(tm) in weaponized quantities...
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 12:21:03 PM »

I just need a ragtag band of misfits, a broken-down spacecraft, and The Power Of Love(tm) in weaponized quantities...

I can hook you up. PM me. I've got all kinds of love. Prime quality weaponized love straight from the old USSR, dirty love from my ex-girlfriend, or good old fashioned home-grown weaponized love from my crazy passive-aggressive mother.

Anyway, I'm only halfway through - had to stop for work - but I've got to say that I'm enjoying it so far. I wasn't in the mood for a girl-power story - read a frustrating article last night - but this one has really won me over. I'm looking forward to finishing it, and I'll definitely do that when I get back.
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012, 01:10:42 PM »

I just need a ragtag band of misfits, a broken-down spacecraft, and The Power Of Love(tm) in weaponized quantities...

I can hook you up. PM me. I've got all kinds of love. Prime quality weaponized love straight from the old USSR, dirty love from my ex-girlfriend, or good old fashioned home-grown weaponized love from my crazy passive-aggressive mother.

Hmm...not sure if those have the kick we need. Do you have any of those depleted love shells left over from a long unfulfilling relationship? I fired my last one off yesterday.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2012, 01:31:07 PM »

I just need a ragtag band of misfits, a broken-down spacecraft, and The Power Of Love(tm) in weaponized quantities...

I can hook you up. PM me. I've got all kinds of love. Prime quality weaponized love straight from the old USSR, dirty love from my ex-girlfriend, or good old fashioned home-grown weaponized love from my crazy passive-aggressive mother.

Hmm...not sure if those have the kick we need. Do you have any of those depleted love shells left over from a long unfulfilling relationship? I fired my last one off yesterday.

Oh, yeah. I got what you're looking for. It'll cost you, though. I take hopes, dreams, joy, and Paypal.
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Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2012, 02:27:38 PM »

Ok, actually got through the story.

As I wrote before, I wasn't in the mood for a girl power story, and this one really got through me. It had everything I want in a fairy tale. Take me to the place where love is pure, magic is magic, the faeries are always bastards, the way is always long, and the prices are always paid.

In full.

I also loved the way the fairy tale was skinned in roller derby. It didn't make a lick of sense, but it was a wonderful combination of elements, creating a world that was as weird as it will be memorable.

And the conclusion - ah, that was great. It was wonderful how everything came together at the end, and the natural order is restored - brutal and beautiful at the same time.

Five zeppelins out of five, and rollerskates to boot. Or, um, to skate.
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Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

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Anarquistador
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 02:59:15 PM »

I just need a ragtag band of misfits, a broken-down spacecraft, and The Power Of Love(tm) in weaponized quantities...

I can hook you up. PM me. I've got all kinds of love. Prime quality weaponized love straight from the old USSR, dirty love from my ex-girlfriend, or good old fashioned home-grown weaponized love from my crazy passive-aggressive mother.

Hmm...not sure if those have the kick we need. Do you have any of those depleted love shells left over from a long unfulfilling relationship? I fired my last one off yesterday.

Oh, yeah. I got what you're looking for. It'll cost you, though. I take hopes, dreams, joy, and Paypal.

Crap, I'm all out. What could I get for nihilistic rage at the indifferent universe?
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 03:04:58 PM »

I just need a ragtag band of misfits, a broken-down spacecraft, and The Power Of Love(tm) in weaponized quantities...

I can hook you up. PM me. I've got all kinds of love. Prime quality weaponized love straight from the old USSR, dirty love from my ex-girlfriend, or good old fashioned home-grown weaponized love from my crazy passive-aggressive mother.

Hmm...not sure if those have the kick we need. Do you have any of those depleted love shells left over from a long unfulfilling relationship? I fired my last one off yesterday.

Oh, yeah. I got what you're looking for. It'll cost you, though. I take hopes, dreams, joy, and Paypal.

Crap, I'm all out. What could I get for nihilistic rage at the indifferent universe?

Come on, man. You know you can't get love for nihilistic rage at the indifferent universe. The best I can give you for that is ennui and self destruction. I live in the Bay Area, though, so it won't be hard for me to scare up weapons grade versions of either. You don't have the same kind of variety, though. It seems like there are so many ways to love, and only a few ways to hate.

Anyway, you want to turn nihilistic rage into love, you're going to have to do it yourself.
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Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 03:28:38 PM »

Anyway, you want to turn nihilistic rage into love, you're going to have to do it yourself.

...so, marriage, then? Damn.
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danooli
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2012, 05:17:50 PM »

kick ass.

Like Electric Paladin said, the roller derby background doesn't make a whole lot of sense - it almost could have been any sport or hobby it seems - this was a beautiful story with so many elements to love.  The fact that it WAS roller derby though makes it so much cooler  Grin

And Tina Connolly was a great choice of narrator.  She's kind of kick ass herself, isn't she?  As is an android M.K. Hobson.

(No wonder I love this.  All it needs is Marla Mason and Katniss Everdeen...kick ass)
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olivaw
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2012, 08:57:01 AM »

Joyous.

Perfect for podcasting, too. I suspect I wouldn't have found it as much fun as a written text, but a reading like that really brings it to life.
(I think there are a lot of stories that work better on the page than read out loud, which sometimes lead to unengaging podcasts, but on the whole I think Escape Artists do a good job of finding the ones that work)
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Devoted135
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2012, 09:04:44 AM »

Overall I enjoyed this one, though I did want to slap Fierce Fairy's jealous face a few times. The concept of a mother sacrificing everything for her child was really touching, as was a daughter's desperate gambit to keep hold of her mother.


Tina did an excellent reading, it really brought me into the emotion of the story. Also that intro was great, even if it did cause me to spend the whole second half expecting either Lady Shove or Princess Bite to turn into an android as a way to keep both of them alive..
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childoftyranny
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2012, 04:55:32 PM »

I smiled, I frowned, I pondered, I enjoyed. I liked this story and didn't feel that any of its elements detracted from it. I thought is was particularly interesting just how little and fragile the magic seemed in this world. We have a somewhat all powerful fairy, but that seemed the only really magical element, though maybe Roller Derby itself is magic, it held an entire world together it appears! When the actual wish was revealed it reminded me of a comment about the last Harry Potter movie, where Hermione erases herself from her parents memory and just how terrible that really was. To remove the joy and love, along with fear and possible hurt that came through parenthood and felt that applied greatly to this story as well. I expected a bit more anger from Lady Push but that would have taken a longer time to resolve and it is short fiction.

And oh how the constant refrain of the promise kept me giggling, one carton I cannot forget so saying the same thing over and over is The Cowboys of Moo Mesa, and every episode ending with some anecdote about how that is the LAW OF THE WEST. She has to follow the LAW OF ROLLER DERBY.
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« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2012, 11:56:08 PM »

I resurrected my account to say something I thought I would never say.
A story about Roller Derby just made me cry.

Great reading for a great story. This is one that's going to stick with me for a long time.
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WinBear
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2012, 08:12:08 AM »

I enjoyed this story. I liked the misdirection about Lady Shove's wish. I kind of expected Princess Bite's desire was at odds with her mother's wish, but I liked the way it played out. All the roller derby names were clever and I appreciated the disclaimer up front about researching all these names ahead of time.
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LaShawn
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« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2012, 11:59:50 AM »

Awwwwww...what a sweet, kickass story. Beautiful reading by Tina as always. The devotion the characters felt for each other was strong, even in Fierce Fairy's case, the poor dear. Made me think back to when I was a kid and I used to watch roller derby on public television. It ranked just a little lower than wrestling. I know Madison here has a team--maybe it's time to buy a couple of tickets and take my son to it.
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eytanz
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2012, 12:46:34 PM »

Wonderful story, a new favourite. Excellent on every level (including the wonderful reading).
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2012, 11:39:59 AM »

John Scalzi sez (in part):

My friend Pamela Ribon has a philanthropic side, which comes out every year with the Dewey Donation System, her drive to connect books with needy libraries in the United States and abroad.

This year, Pamie’s focused her donation efforts on two libraries: One in Thailand, connected to a local charity that reaches out to poor and sexually exploited children in that country, and one in Washington, DC, where DDS is teaming up with a local roller derby team to provide books for a literacy initiative aimed at that city’s underprivileged children. Both are worthy causes, and both are worth your donation consideration.


It seemed at least somewhat germane. Links to the actual donation drive are at the link at the top of this post.
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InfiniteMonkey
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2012, 12:56:45 PM »

An emotional story. Perhaps a bit too emotional for my current state, but a nicely done fairy tale all the same.

As for the roller derby aspects not making "a lick of sense", I suspect this is not only a case of writing what you know but writing what you love as well. And it is a fairy tale, so Princess Bite undergoes a hero's journey. I think it's really no different than tales of fantastical librarians. Of which Pod Castle has had at least two that I can recall.
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« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2012, 11:18:02 AM »

WIN.
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