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Author Topic: PC011: Fourteen Experiments In Postal Delivery  (Read 31205 times)

hautdesert

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Reply #50 on: June 13, 2008, 02:40:43 AM


Having spent some time recently listening to stuff in old English, Scottish is much more comprehensible for modern ears. If it had been read in old English I think a good half of this thread would have been "did anyone understand the section with the knight" "I think he said something about a helicopter dog" "No, I thought it was about a viking god" and so on.

Chaucer wrote in Middle English, not Old English.  Middle English is a great deal more comprehensible, with a bit of effort--witness the very charming and readable "Geoffrey Chaucer Hath A Blog."  Which, sadly, Mr. Chaucer has not posted to recently.

As to the pronunciation of Chaucer's brand of Middle English (there are other dialects of it, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which was written by someone whose name we don't know at about the time Chaucer lived, was written in a Northern dialect that actually does require translation for us today)--where was I?  Oh. The pronunciation of Chaucer's dialect of Middle English.  No recordings to tell us, but there are some educated guesses out there.  The wikipedia entry on Chaucer, as it happens, says:

Quote
This change in the pronunciation of English, still not fully understood, makes the reading of Chaucer difficult for the modern audience, though it is thought by some that the modern Scottish accent is closely related to the sound of Middle English.

edited to add links.  cause, what was I thinking, not putting in the links?  :P
« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 02:52:55 AM by hautdesert »



Hatton

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Reply #51 on: June 13, 2008, 02:49:44 PM
... you really should have copied something useful, like the rating warnings Steve gives.

+1!

This story made me laugh out loud but I'm REALLY glad I had headphones on when I listened!

The reader did a great job of a wounded lover, especially the drunk section and the "still hating you."

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yicheng

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Reply #52 on: June 13, 2008, 04:36:13 PM
I loved the characters *because* they were crude and idiotic.  Speaking for myself, of course, I think it reflects (in a grown up kinda way) how a lot of people really are in their every day mundane life.  Personally, the fact that Christopher is a philanderer and Jessica an unforgiving perfectionist is exactly why the story works for me.  Real life people and real life relationship aren't perfect.  Real people are often shallow, self-absorbed, and plain stupid.  I know I am all that and more on a daily basis. 

As for why they get back together:

1) Because deep down they truly do love each other.
2) Because they're codependency forces them to stay with the other in a cycle of hellish mutual-torture.

Take your pick. 



Yossarian's grandson

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Reply #53 on: June 13, 2008, 08:59:12 PM
Ehm...what?


That about sums up my thoughts about this story.



Cerebrilith

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Reply #54 on: June 14, 2008, 12:57:58 AM
I liked this story a lot.  The progression from the mundane to the trippy was a lot of fun.  I wouldn't advise anyone to get back together with someone who cheated on them with their sister, but past that this story was great :-)



Bunter

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Reply #55 on: June 14, 2008, 01:11:26 AM
This is my favorite PC story so far, and one of my favorite EP/PP/PC episodes ever.  The reading was the *best evah* in the Escape Artists universe!

What I especially enjoyed about the story is - as others have mentioned - how you gradually came to see  that the narrator still liked Chris even as she was writing that she didn't.  People are often complicated in ways like that, and I think that SF/F too often ignores this facet of human nature.



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Reply #56 on: June 14, 2008, 01:52:03 AM
What I especially enjoyed about the story is - as others have mentioned - how you gradually came to see  that the narrator still liked Chris even as she was writing that she didn't.  People are often complicated in ways like that, and I think that SF/F too often ignores this facet of human nature.

I might have to disagree that fantasy ignores the problems and failings of humans, but SF can focus a lot on neat gadgets or situations more than character development. The recent Slant of Light story had characters with problems and I really enjoyed that story (eventually).

Narration: Yes, it was very good in this story. So that makes two points good, the reading, and the Scotsman on a horse (I don't care what you say! Don't take away the Scotsman from me! {;0p )


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kathnich

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Reply #57 on: June 14, 2008, 02:41:24 PM
So ya, quite good and fun.  Though was I the only one who thought that in the end the postman was going to deliver him, then take her away to his place?  Actually, I think them missing each other like that would have been a better ending.

No, you weren't the only one.  I was chortling in anticipation, then had to catch up, wondering why the postmen brought them both inside...

I thought that Heather's reasoning was about as warped as the Bosch painting.  But it was also clear to me that the heroine (interesting that it's her name I've blocked on..) really did still care about Christopher.  You don't spend that much energy telling somebody you hate them if there's not some interest.



petronivs

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Reply #58 on: June 14, 2008, 04:46:44 PM
The most profound, deep, gaping hole in this story was the horrible absence of a water buffalo.

Apart from that, it was a fun listen.



Darwinist

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Reply #59 on: June 14, 2008, 07:50:15 PM
Ehm...what?


That about sums up my thoughts about this story.

Hopefully they'll both get lost in the mail and disappear.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan


ajames

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Reply #60 on: June 15, 2008, 01:34:53 AM
I don't want to be the guy next to Chris at the urinal when his cock and balls have been mailed away to Jess.



csrster

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Reply #61 on: June 24, 2008, 12:51:37 PM

12: Olde English horseman.

She started talking in a Scottish accent if I recall... or maybe I'm reading into the story something that isn't there...

I was going by the text that I saw; somebody else here mentioned he/she/it thought the horseman was the Pardoner from The Canterbury Tales, and the text resembled Chaucer's original in my copy.  I've never heard Old English spoken before, so it may well sound Scottish.

"Pardoner" makes complete sense for the story.  The accent used by the reader, however, was very clearly Scottish, and appropriate for reading Robert Burns, rather than Chaucer.  I think it's just a case of a really dynamic reader making a choice that ended up confusing the listeners, who assumed the horseman was Scottish based on the reader's accent, rather than the text.

Having spent some time recently listening to stuff in old English, Scottish is much more comprehensible for modern ears. If it had been read in old English I think a good half of this thread would have been "did anyone understand the section with the knight" "I think he said something about a helicopter dog" "No, I thought it was about a viking god" and so on.

It didn't sound anything like Scottish to my ears, but then what would I know, I'm only a Scotsman. It wasn't Old English either - in fact it sounded like perfectly straigtforward Chaucerian Middle English.



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Reply #62 on: June 25, 2008, 12:05:14 AM
Blech!  I really hated this one.  Initially, it reminded me of Sex in the City (double blech) and it just went downhill for me as I realized that they would end up together again even though the guy had sex with her sister and maybe others while they were dating or whatever.  The letters drove me nuts (I hate you, I hate you, but let me tell you all about his thing.....).   And towards the end when the sister says that he was having sex with her to get to our heroine and that our heroine drove him away with her lofty standards.  Geez.  Oh well, that's why they call it fantasy.   

Just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone. I didn't even finish listening to the story because I was utterly bored with the characters and the sense of "hey, look at me aren't I a clever story" that pervaded the piece.

Mark this one "return to sender" for me.

Why is this thus? What is the reason for this thusness? - Artemus Ward


sirana

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Reply #63 on: June 25, 2008, 07:19:21 AM
I liked this story, but not the ending. Not the most deep one, but funny and original. I liked the surreal touch, but the ending... I don't know, probably it got to surreal to me, or I stopped listening intently, well somehow it just didn't work for me.



JoeFitz

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Reply #64 on: June 30, 2008, 02:33:37 AM
This one was cute in places but overall struck me as just silly. I liked the wrap story (pun intended) but most of the items were just too cryptic. Struck me as a writer trying to be too clever by half. And the sister was just much too interested in getting these two back together. Made me think that she was feeling guilty and also wanting another shot at him.



Roney

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Reply #65 on: July 01, 2008, 09:06:49 PM
I've got to love a story where the language can range from "petitio principii"* to a dismembered... member within a minute.  More importantly, it does it in a way that's true to the characters of both the narrator and her off-stage ex, and that advances the plot.  I thought the cleverness was always in the service of the storytelling.

The reading was great as well.  At times it made me imagine Jaye Tyler of Wonderfalls, grown up a bit and even more cynical.

I've enjoyed a lot of PodCastle's tour of the genre but this was definitely one of my favourites.  I'd love to hear more in this vein.

*Yay!  Finally my inner pedant doesn't have to complain about misuse of "begging the question" in a story.



stePH

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Reply #66 on: July 01, 2008, 09:33:16 PM
*Yay!  Finally my inner pedant doesn't have to complain about misuse of "begging the question" in a story.

You get your shorts in a bunch over that too?  :)  I usually get a blank stare as a reply when I say, "no, it raises the question; it does not beg it."

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Roney

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Reply #67 on: July 04, 2008, 11:32:52 PM
*Yay!  Finally my inner pedant doesn't have to complain about misuse of "begging the question" in a story.
You get your shorts in a bunch over that too?  :)  I usually get a blank stare as a reply when I say, "no, it raises the question; it does not beg it."

I try not to, I really try.  I tell myself that the original meaning is a terribly archaic use of "begging" and that language is always changing etc.  But if we lose begging the question then we'll only have petitio principii to take its place and that's an absurdly technical term that the misusers of beg-the-question are unlikely even to be able to pronounce.  (I know I can't.)

Some language battles need to be conceded so we can save our resources for the ones worth fighting.  I think this one is worth fighting... but I'm not sure.



stePH

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Reply #68 on: July 04, 2008, 11:50:46 PM
Some language battles need to be conceded so we can save our resources for the ones worth fighting.  I think this one is worth fighting... but I'm not sure.

Well, I for one will continue to correct abusers of the term, that what they really mean to say is that it raises the question.  Sometimes I even get to explain what begging the question really is.

Fight teh good fight, brother! (sister?)

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Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #69 on: July 05, 2008, 03:54:59 PM
FWIW, I think the guy who sent his ghoulies off in the post would be doing more begging than raising for quite some time, but...

Since I was on Southwest Airlines flight 1532 when I listened to this one, and spent the following two weeks away from the forum, it took me a while to catch up.  BUT, I enjoyed the story, and just wanted to add:

*I heard Middle English, too, and guessed at Chaucer, though for some reason I didn't make the jump to the Pardoner... which seems an appropriate reference in retrospect.

*I don't think PC needs a "tagline", but definitely needs more "sense of fun" and less "wikipedia quoting" in the intros/outros. 

Ann Leckie has a warm and friendly speaking voice, but I never feel like I'm hearing Ann Leckie's thoughts as much as I am hearing Ann Leckie's research notes.  Rachel's delivery has become more interesting and engaging as the 'cast has developed, and I think you will all hit your stride when you relax and start telling us what you feel about the stories.

And though we haven't nailed down a "I have a story for you..." or "It's Story Time" moment, PC does have some noticeable "small print" moments that it could probably stand to lose, or at least to smooth over.  Ex.:

1. We know the links to the sites you mention are going to be up on the site, so you don't have to read them to us.

2. "After the story, the feedback..."  and the ending quotation, "____ said..." are very formalized.  Nothing wrong with that, per se, but it adds to that feeling that we are hearing you read your English homework to us.  I think you can trust us that we'll be able to understand what you're talking about without spelling it out each week.  :)

Also, the quotations frequently relate to other things said in the story, the feedback, or the intro/outro sections.  You could easily fold the quote into your other thoughts without losing us; and link to http://www.quoteland.com/ or www.wikiquote.org in the show notes for those who secretly don't know what you're talking about.

But none of this is intended as nitpicking; things get better each week, and the stories are what really matter at the end of the day, anyway, right?

[Edit: I wrote this before stumbling into the discussion of this same subject in the PC012 thread; apologies for any redundancies in bringing it up again!]
« Last Edit: July 05, 2008, 04:01:11 PM by Tango Alpha Delta »

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Myrealana

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Reply #70 on: August 04, 2008, 08:24:51 PM
This was a riot from beginning to end. I was on a long drive as I listened and this story made the miles fly past.

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koda

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Reply #71 on: August 11, 2008, 07:50:03 PM
It was totally romantic in a modern way.  Even mentioning poly.  Mistakes will happen. I really enjoyed that it used humor to ease something painful.  I do that - but usually not very well. =(

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Unblinking

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Reply #72 on: November 19, 2009, 09:21:07 PM
I really like a good piece of magical realism, and this was it.  At least that's what I would call it (that may not be the official definition).

I like that the surrealism was added gradually, as the plot seemed fairly straightforward at first.  I got a little bit lost when the first surreal item arrived (the bar), but caught up quickly once I figured out what was happening.

The low point of the story for me was the painting.  I didn't realize it was a painting, nor have I ever seen the painting that I remember, so I was left listening to the seemingly random things described and saying "huh?" lots of times.  And since it's supposed to be depicting hell in one of the triptych's, shouldn't her sister be feeling excruciating pain by having a corkscrew driven into her?  Else it's not really hell...  Hell isn't so scary if the torture is ignorable.

In the end I didn't want them to get back together, but it wasn't terrible either.  I don't know that I could forgive someone who cheated in that way, but maybe it wasn't as bad as it would seem to me because she's not opposed to polyamory?  Dunno.

My two favorite things about it:
1.  Unreliable narrator.  Despite her words, the very fact that she was writing letters to him at all meant that she didn't consider the relationship a done deal.
2.  Of everything in this surreal story, my favorite element was completely mundane:  the ski.  I love how he gets her on the hook by just sending one, so that her demands to have the ski back continue and escalate so that she no longer pretends she doesn't care.



Fenrix

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Reply #73 on: March 16, 2013, 03:03:08 PM

12: Olde English horseman.

She started talking in a Scottish accent if I recall... or maybe I'm reading into the story something that isn't there...

I was going by the text that I saw; somebody else here mentioned he/she/it thought the horseman was the Pardoner from The Canterbury Tales, and the text resembled Chaucer's original in my copy.  I've never heard Old English spoken before, so it may well sound Scottish.

"Pardoner" makes complete sense for the story.  The accent used by the reader, however, was very clearly Scottish, and appropriate for reading Robert Burns, rather than Chaucer.  I think it's just a case of a really dynamic reader making a choice that ended up confusing the listeners, who assumed the horseman was Scottish based on the reader's accent, rather than the text.

I was really enjoying the story and the narration. I was impressed with the narrator effectively conveying the drunk text. But I was blown away when the shift to Chaucerian English was so seamless. Good fun story with a phenomenal reading.

As an aside, I recognized it as Chaucerian Middle English immediately, and had no problems with Bosch, as I was familiar with both. There were other items, like the understanding comic books reference, I did not get but the lack of getting the barb did not diminish my appreciation of the story. The rich details and careful layering really made this one shine.

Ehm...what?

That about sums up my thoughts about this story.

I find it entertaining that a windy sonofabitch like Yossarian's grandson would find a surreal story with bizarre logic leaps an unpleasant challenge. Maybe if the narrator had told the story while she kept crab apples in her cheeks it would have made more sense to him.

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Umbrageofsnow

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Reply #74 on: March 16, 2013, 04:21:17 PM
As long as we're talking about this old experiment, I want to say that this is one of the stories I use to introduce people to Podcastle.  I listened to it when it first came out and was just blown away, and at this point I think I've forced it on any number of my friends.  The narration is definitely a major part of what makes it so great, although the story itself is great too.  I just love the drunk-text narration though.