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Author Topic: PC202: The Rugged Track  (Read 4651 times)
bluetube
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Old geeza.


« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2012, 03:56:53 PM »

I enjoyed this story. By sheer chance, I'd watched a YouTube video of some Roller Derby, with interviews of the participants (and their strange names). Otherwise I would have been a little lost as to what was going on.

The story felt like it should have been two or three times longer, particularly the journey of Princess Bite. Being longer would also have allowed for a little explanation of the whole ROller Derby thing. I liked the way that the magical aspects of the plot were not given any kind of special mention... they were just normal aspects in the lives of the characters.
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rotheche
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« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2012, 03:49:00 AM »

I say win.  Faery and roller derby: they do tie together, and I think the tie is in that line about 'the glitter and ferocity'.  Roller derby is an unreal world, where people wear a different identity and behaviour; a kind of faery realm in an odd way.
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Mex5150
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« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2012, 09:46:10 AM »


Hi,

I started of really hating this story, but it grew on me a little, and by the end I just disliked it.

I know when people first get into roller derby, they tend to get obsessed with it (I have a few derby-girl friends), and the derby part of the story seemed shoehorned in just to fit the authors latest obsession (which isn't necessarily a bad thing if it works, but sadly this didn't). The plot line was blindingly obvious, and the characters were not really that appealing, nor did they grow. The only positive about it was the emotional side of the story, but this too felt a little forced, and formulaic.

I'm possibly somewhat biased after listening to the fantastic 'In the Stacks' an episode or two before, but this was still a very weak story in my opinion.

-Mex
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Fenrix
Curmudgeon
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Have you found the Yellow Sign?


« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2012, 05:03:16 PM »

I liked the story, but felt the transgender theme detracted from the story rather than added. It only seemed to be a MacGuffin to make the listener think that the wish was to change genders, rather than have a baby. I think the story could have been written with a simpler, more relatable conflict, broadening the potential appeal of this story.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2012, 05:50:01 PM »

I liked the story, but felt the transgender theme detracted from the story rather than added. It only seemed to be a MacGuffin to make the listener think that the wish was to change genders, rather than have a baby. I think the story could have been written with a simpler, more relatable conflict, broadening the potential appeal of this story.

I disagree. The gender-switch was for the purpose of creating the child. Real-life gender reassignment surgery cannot give someone the ability to father or give birth to children. The only reason she wanted to become physically female was in order to have a child.

I thought the story's appeal was plenty broad. This was a fair-tale, not a "transgender story."
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Fenrix
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Have you found the Yellow Sign?


« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2012, 11:19:12 PM »

I liked the story, but felt the transgender theme detracted from the story rather than added. It only seemed to be a MacGuffin to make the listener think that the wish was to change genders, rather than have a baby. I think the story could have been written with a simpler, more relatable conflict, broadening the potential appeal of this story.

I disagree. The gender-switch was for the purpose of creating the child. Real-life gender reassignment surgery cannot give someone the ability to father or give birth to children. The only reason she wanted to become physically female was in order to have a child.

She also could have been barren, necessitating the wish, without any additional confusion.

This could be a touching fairy tale to share with mothers who like fantasy, but that detail makes it a bit tougher to share this on Mother's Day.
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Talia
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« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2012, 12:00:32 AM »

I liked the story, but felt the transgender theme detracted from the story rather than added. It only seemed to be a MacGuffin to make the listener think that the wish was to change genders, rather than have a baby. I think the story could have been written with a simpler, more relatable conflict, broadening the potential appeal of this story.

I disagree. The gender-switch was for the purpose of creating the child. Real-life gender reassignment surgery cannot give someone the ability to father or give birth to children. The only reason she wanted to become physically female was in order to have a child.

She also could have been barren, necessitating the wish, without any additional confusion.

This could be a touching fairy tale to share with mothers who like fantasy, but that detail makes it a bit tougher to share this on Mother's Day.

I don't agree that writing a story that would identify with the MOST people necessarily makes for a better story. I'd argue that commonality would even lend itself to triteness. The author chose that route for a reason, to create a certain feeling. I think the very specific issue here - a guy who wanted to be a mother, specifically, rather than just wanting to be female - is an interesting thought. I mean, why not? Aren't there some elements of the idea that might appeal to some men?
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DKT
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« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2012, 12:12:08 PM »

I liked the story, but felt the transgender theme detracted from the story rather than added. It only seemed to be a MacGuffin to make the listener think that the wish was to change genders, rather than have a baby. I think the story could have been written with a simpler, more relatable conflict, broadening the potential appeal of this story.

Stories are not necessarily written to appeal broadly. And I suspect PodCastle listeners know that Anna and I delight in intentionally throwing curveball stories that, though we realize they may not appeal broadly, are worth being heard. (FTR, this was not one of those stories.)

Additionally, I'd prefer to steer us away from the potential "this story felt too transgender" conversation - its' pretty much the same as the "this story felt too gay conversation," and I find that a bit offensive.

(FWIW, I don't think Fenrix was trying to be offensive. I'm just being pro-active this time out.)
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Fenrix
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« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2012, 04:14:05 PM »

Stories are not necessarily written to appeal broadly. And I suspect PodCastle listeners know that Anna and I delight in intentionally throwing curveball stories that, though we realize they may not appeal broadly, are worth being heard. (FTR, this was not one of those stories.)

Additionally, I'd prefer to steer us away from the potential "this story felt too transgender" conversation - its' pretty much the same as the "this story felt too gay conversation," and I find that a bit offensive.

(FWIW, I don't think Fenrix was trying to be offensive. I'm just being pro-active this time out.)

I also accept that criticism of a generally loved piece draws passionate discussion. I'm not trying to be offensive or argumentative, I'm just trying to provide feedback. Smiley

What are the curveball stories you've been most happy with the response? The least happy?

I don't agree that writing a story that would identify with the MOST people necessarily makes for a better story. I'd argue that commonality would even lend itself to triteness. The author chose that route for a reason, to create a certain feeling. I think the very specific issue here - a guy who wanted to be a mother, specifically, rather than just wanting to be female - is an interesting thought. I mean, why not? Aren't there some elements of the idea that might appeal to some men?

It didn't feel to me that the link was strongly established regarding the wish to become a mother. Then again I could have missed the link building while I was going through the Huh moment when that detail was introduced.

Also, while the wish was central to the story, the motivations were not. Maybe what bothers me is that it felt like inclusiveness for the sake of inclusiveness, not for depth. Conveying the desires of the mother were more adeptly handled in "The Paper Menagerie". Conveying the frustrations and impacts of being in an "outsider" group were better conveyed in "Behold of the Eye" and "The Fireman's Fairy".
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childoftyranny
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« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2012, 05:18:38 PM »

I wonder if the best question might not be why we see inclusiveness rather than it simply being a person who want a child but was unable? I do not mean to insinuate thoughts to anyone, reading the current thread just made me wonder that. I know that at first it seemed to me the transgender elements figured into the Roller Derby and sort of gender-smashing(meaning of gender norms, rather than of a gender) that sport does. Then reading over the current discussion I think that might be something I should have considered later when thinking over the story, rather than a thought helping to filter the story. I don't know that these thoughts go to make the story better or worse, but something worth sharing I hope.
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lisavilisa
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« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2012, 09:21:55 AM »

Well, for one thing it created a red haring as to what the mother's "one wish was". The daughter assumed it was to transition to a ciswoman's body, which led her to swear to undo the wish and find the fairy. If the daughter had known the wish was for her own conception she may have not been so so hasty with such a vow.

This also serves to go with the "careful what you wish for" theme of the story.
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Listener
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« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2012, 02:44:35 PM »

Stuff that bugged me:

* Some of the repetitive elements.
* Took a minute to get through the exposition.
* Wasn't sure until halfway through whether it was "Princess Spite" or "Princess Bite".
* Confusion over the transgender character (specifically -- she became a woman, and then joined Derby? what were her motivations to become a Derby girl after she changed? how did she deal with the change? I realize that part was fairy-tale-ish, but it still threw me a bit).
* The ending was a little bit like the end of A.I..

Stuff I liked:

Everything else. Especially "Icy France" as a name.
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eytanz
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« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2012, 03:28:12 PM »

* Confusion over the transgender character (specifically -- she became a woman, and then joined Derby? what were her motivations to become a Derby girl after she changed? how did she deal with the change? I realize that part was fairy-tale-ish, but it still threw me a bit).

I believe (from trying to reconstruct it myself) that she was already a rollerskater (though not in the derby, obviously) when she was in her male body. Then she went through standard gender reassignment, and joined the derby. I don't see why it's necessary to explain her specific motivations for joining the derby compared to any of the other characters - why did the fairy join? We're not told either. I also don't think that an explanation of how she coped with the change is particularly relevant, except that obviously she felt disappointment at being unable to bear a child, which led to her wish.
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Listener
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« Reply #33 on: May 09, 2012, 10:42:55 AM »

* Confusion over the transgender character (specifically -- she became a woman, and then joined Derby? what were her motivations to become a Derby girl after she changed? how did she deal with the change? I realize that part was fairy-tale-ish, but it still threw me a bit).

I believe (from trying to reconstruct it myself) that she was already a rollerskater (though not in the derby, obviously) when she was in her male body. Then she went through standard gender reassignment, and joined the derby. I don't see why it's necessary to explain her specific motivations for joining the derby compared to any of the other characters - why did the fairy join? We're not told either. I also don't think that an explanation of how she coped with the change is particularly relevant, except that obviously she felt disappointment at being unable to bear a child, which led to her wish.

I agree with your last sentence. I can forgive not knowing about the fairy because it's a fairy tale. But as far as I know, there's no male equivalent of Roller Derby (except maybe rugby). The only men I've seen skate are guys on roller blades on boardwalks and suchlike, and even that's rare these days (in my eyes, at least).

I don't really have a problem with the gender reassignment part, per se, but I really am curious about what possessed her to join Derby after she was changed.
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InfiniteMonkey
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« Reply #34 on: May 09, 2012, 11:00:33 AM »


But as far as I know, there's no male equivalent of Roller Derby (except maybe rugby).

Every male dominated sport (except maybe baseball?)?   Wink

Seriously, though - ice hockey. Different kind of skates, plus a puck, but the same basic idea. Beat the crap out of the other team.
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Zuishness
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« Reply #35 on: May 12, 2012, 04:21:48 PM »

I liked this story from the get-go, but then I like the idea of tough girls on quads skates in general.

I would have adored this story as a young girl. I was good six inches taller than all of my friends, and mighty sick of hearing and reading about fey, delicate heroines and their inability to sleep on peas and whatnot.

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Zuishness
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« Reply #36 on: May 12, 2012, 04:25:45 PM »


But as far as I know, there's no male equivalent of Roller Derby (except maybe rugby).

Every male dominated sport (except maybe baseball?)?   Wink

Seriously, though - ice hockey. Different kind of skates, plus a puck, but the same basic idea. Beat the crap out of the other team.

It's probably wrestling. Camp costumes and cute nicknames AND it's kind of sexy.

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danooli
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« Reply #37 on: May 13, 2012, 09:00:55 AM »


But as far as I know, there's no male equivalent of Roller Derby (except maybe rugby).

Every male dominated sport (except maybe baseball?)?   Wink

Seriously, though - ice hockey. Different kind of skates, plus a puck, but the same basic idea. Beat the crap out of the other team.

It's probably wrestling. Camp costumes and cute nicknames AND it's kind of sexy.



'cept, I think the derby is real and not scripted.  But, I am admittedly way too gullible, so I made have been fooled :p
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InfiniteMonkey
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Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2012, 11:28:36 AM »


But as far as I know, there's no male equivalent of Roller Derby (except maybe rugby).

Every male dominated sport (except maybe baseball?)?   Wink

Seriously, though - ice hockey. Different kind of skates, plus a puck, but the same basic idea. Beat the crap out of the other team.

It's probably wrestling. Camp costumes and cute nicknames AND it's kind of sexy.



'cept, I think the derby is real and not scripted.  But, I am admittedly way too gullible, so I made have been fooled :p

It's not (scripted, that is). (I know people)
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Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #39 on: May 15, 2012, 09:03:38 AM »

This story had a lot of things going for it.  I haven't had a lot of exposure to roller derby, apart from watching "Whip It" which was awesome enough that I want to go to a local derby match some time, but both that movie and this made its appeal pretty clear.  I like how there were some details that were exaggerated because of the fairy tale style, such as her skating from town to town instead of, you know, taking a bus or something.  I like how nonchalantly it mentioned that Fierce Fairy actually had magical powers.  I liked the relationship between mother and daughter, and I thought the transgender elements totally fit.

I really wanted to scream at Princess Bite, though, when she decided that she was going to save her mother even at the cost of unraveling herself.  "Your mother wouldn't want that!" I wanted to yell while shaking some sense into her.  "You'll be dead so you won't enjoy your company, and you will have stolen away the very best aspect of your mother's life.  Don't do it, you idiot!"  And her justification that she HAD to do it because she'd sworn to do it I just found annoying--I'm afraid I have trouble respecting determination to go through something you've sworn to do that you later realized is worse for everybody, just because you swore to do it.  At least it ended as well as can be expected though.

I do wish it had had a closer POV, though, as I found the distant fairytale telling style rather distancing.  It was serviceable, and got the point across, but I felt like I was just listening passively rather than becoming engaged in the story. 

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.

I think it was the CODE OF THE WEST.  The only reason I remember is that they chose the name specifically to be an acronym for COW.  I think the title was even written sometimes the C.O.W.BOYS OF MOO MESA, (what makes them cowboys is that they follow the C.O.W.)  God, I hated that show, but I still watched it when I was bored enough.
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