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Author Topic: PC213: Wane  (Read 978 times)
Talia
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« on: June 21, 2012, 10:35:58 AM »

PodCastle 213: Wane

by Elizabeth Bear.

Read by Marguerite Kenner and Alasdair Stuart.

Originally appeared in Interzone #203.


Garrett lowered her gaze from the beaten-copper diameter of a rising moon to regard the soft-eyed wampyr beside her. The dark fabric of his sleeve lay smooth under her fingertips. A breeze still tasting of winter ruffled the forensic sorcerer’s carefully arranged hair and shifted the jewels in her earlobes. “Thank you for coming, Sebastien.”
“On the contrary, Abby Irene,” the Great Detective murmured through lips that barely moved. “What man could refuse your company of an evening?” A lifted eyebrow made the double entendre express. The moonlight lay like a rush of blood across his cheeks, making Don Sebastien de Ulloa look almost alive. “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships/ And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?”
“Perhaps in my youth.”
“To a connoisseur, value increases with time.”
She permitted herself an unladylike snort.


Rated R for sex and violence.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 09:38:09 PM by Talia » Logged
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2012, 08:57:29 AM »

I guess this isn't my kind of alt-history.  While I am intrigued by versions of this time period that have Aztecs as a major political power (like the "Curious Case" stories at the Dunesteef), I felt like that just kind of existed in the background where it didn't get much attention and instead it focused on the mystery.  I'm not sure exactly why, but the mystery genre rarely grabs my attention--I just usually don't care enough to engage with it fully and try to figure out the killer, I just kind of ride along until the killer is revealed, and that was how this one was for me.  I listened to about 3/4 of it, and I thought the writing was smooth and I thought the characters were kind of interesting, but I realized that I didn't really care at that point how it ended, so I skipped to the outro.

One thing I did find a bit confusing about the story production was that I kept losing track of which Alasdair-voiced character was speaking.  Early on, I didn't realize that there was more than one Alasdair character, which was even more confusing, and I kept wondering why he only sometimes had a lisp.  If Alasdair had voiced the entire story then I don't think I would've been confused by it, but because there were multiple voice actors it for some reason threw me off to have one of the actors (and specifically the non-narrating actor) voice more than one character. 
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Melsana
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 09:26:06 AM »

Yeah.  I couldn't get into this story either.  I fell like maybe I would have liked this if I just read it, but in audio format it just had a  couple of problems that kept me from enjoying it.

1.  Way too much unnecessary descriptive words.  I didn't need to know you just opened a solid mahogany 6-panel door, just opening the door is sufficient.  At least in an audio format that much description gets in the way...my brain can't process and build up the world in my head fast enough before something else is happening.  I think if I was just reading it, I could slow down and build up at my own pace so I wouldn't have had as much problems with it. 

2.  While I like both the narrators separately, my brain had a hard time switching to Alistair's accent each time, and I think I missed half of what the male characters were saying.  By the time he finished, I think my brain switched just in time to be thrown off again by her (sorry don't remember her name) voice.

The combination of both of those things and me being a little tired on my drive home made me start to fall asleep while driving, so I had to turn it off during my first attempt at the story and come back to it another day when I was hopefully refreshed.  That did help.  While I'm not sure I could tell you much about what happened in the story at the start, I think I got the general jist of it by the end, but by that point I still wasn't really sure what was going on. 

I actually found myself listening specifically for the descriptions trying to decide if they added to or complicated the story telling. 

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kibitzer
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 06:00:34 PM »

...

flensing a sperm whale??
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DKT
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 06:02:37 PM »

...

flensing a sperm whale??

There's a story behind that, but it's kind of embarrassing...
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gifo
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2012, 05:21:59 AM »

Sorry, I just couldn't understand the male narrator due to audio quality. I had to give up a few minutes in.
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augustleo
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2012, 08:06:00 AM »

I lost interest mid way through, but finished it the following day. I lost track of the characters and their motivations, but did not like the story enough to give it a re-listen. I felt the narration was a little rushed and the male narrator confused me as to which character he was at many points in the story. I thought the concept was interesting, but needed better execution.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 09:09:19 AM »

First, I'll say that I really enjoy full-cast productions. In this case, I thought the narrators and the producers did a fine job of putting it together, but it wasn't the right story for only two narrators. Had there been only one male and one female character (or many of each) then it would have worked, but the imbalance of male/female characters made the two-person cast not work for me.

So, once I figured out that the Aztec ambassador and the wampyr were NOT the same person...

I enjoy a good murder mystery every so often, and this hit the spot. The alternate history details blended nicely with the iconic grand ballroom trope to make the setting seem fresh. And all of the relationships and character backstories were so intertwined that they provided the perfect misdirection to distract us from figuring out who the real killer was. Well done. Smiley
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patriciomas
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2012, 05:25:11 PM »

I sometimes have trouble keeping track of names in stories, especially when there are a large number of characters. It's worse in audio than in print (I retain information I read better than when I hear it, I suppose). So it was difficult for me to follow the first third or so of this story, which introduced a number of characters, sometimes using their first names, sometimes their last, and sometimes their titles. I felt like I needed a cast of characters to remember who went with what title and the various connections between them. I did grasp the plot by the end -- after all, only a handful of the characters were actually important -- but I feel like I'd understand it better if I listened to it again and took notes at the beginning.

That said, I thought the story was quite nice. I enjoyed the descriptions that Melsana wasn't really a fan of, actually, and the mystery was fun. I'd love to have heard more about world (and the MC). Perhaps another story in the same world someday?
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Fenrix
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2012, 07:26:31 AM »

I sometimes have trouble keeping track of names in stories, especially when there are a large number of characters. It's worse in audio than in print (I retain information I read better than when I hear it, I suppose). So it was difficult for me to follow the first third or so of this story, which introduced a number of characters, sometimes using their first names, sometimes their last, and sometimes their titles. I felt like I needed a cast of characters to remember who went with what title and the various connections between them. I did grasp the plot by the end -- after all, only a handful of the characters were actually important -- but I feel like I'd understand it better if I listened to it again and took notes at the beginning.

This was my biggest problem with the story. The protagonist was called four different things? More? I struggled to reconcile the protagonist, let aloe the wide and varied cast of characters at the ball.

Couple the name problem with my disinterest in this period of writing style and murder mysteries, and this one is a big miss for me.
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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2012, 07:37:58 AM »

I liked the concept of this story, but the performance didn't keep me interested past the 10-minute mark or so. I think I'd rather read this one in text form, as I do enjoy alternate history. Plus, I'm a little more keyed into the concept of an Aztec empire what with my recent playing-way-too-much of Civilization V.

I do think that the differences in audio quality between MK and AS were distracting -- when listening to a narration, your ears tend to get used to a certain performer after a few minutes, which is why the quality of "The Curandero and the Swede" didn't bother me after the first five minutes or so. But the switching back and forth was hard to listen to, because each time AS spoke I had to re-train my ears to hear his voice the right way. This happens in a lot of full-cast productions where not everyone has the same quality equipment. There's only so much producers can do sometimes, and as someone who's put together a few full-cast pieces, believe me, I feel the producer's pain.
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