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Author Topic: EP355: Grandmother  (Read 3178 times)
eytanz
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« on: July 26, 2012, 03:22:15 PM »

EP355: Grandmother

By Cat Rambo

Read by The Word Whore of Air Out My Shorts

An Escape Pod Original!

---

Most people called her Phoenix. Her former crew used “Captain” before that and “Sir” afterward. Ruby and Ada respectively called her “mother” and “g’ma.” Her hair was silver – not white, but genuine, metallic silver, a long fall against her pale blue skin, the color of a shadow on a piece of willow ware, that made her seems ageless despite the century and more that lay upon her, not to mention all those decades of pirating.

They said she’d been the best slideboard rider of her time, and perhaps the best battleship pilot of all time, back before her parents and sister were killed and she turned rogue.

They said she had done terrible things in her pirate days.

They said she’d been ruthless in her rise to power, moving up the chain from god knows where, an origin she’d never, ever spoken of to anyone, not even her own daughter. She’d killed some captains, slept with others, called in favors and maneuvered and betrayed and seized power with a brutal efficiency that still underlay what now seemed a calm and orderly, rules-bound government that she and Mukopadhyay had created.

They said she had killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people — sometimes at a distance, sometimes up close, with knife or fist. They said she’d killed a crew member when the shuttle she was in needed its mass reduced and the man hadn’t even argued, just nodded and stepped into the airlock, never said a word as the door closed and the lock cycled, staring in at his captain as she stared back.

They said time had mellowed her.
 They said working with Mukopadhyay, even though he was crazy as a spiral comet, had mellowed her.

They said helping colonize a whole planet, setting up its government, the rich and intricate power structure that now encompassed the whole solar system called Shiva, had mellowed her.

Not to mention motherhood, they said, a change which no pregnant woman escapes. It alters the hormones in your body. Softens you. Makes you less rash, less harsh. Takes away even the sharpest edge, not to mention the hormonal craziness, which some women never recover from, after all.

Sure, changes you in a good way, they were quick to say. 
But definitely softer.

They said she’d never do those sorts of things now.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2012, 08:53:46 AM »

I listened to this one about halfway through, but never really got into it.  It's not that the story ideas themselves bothered me, but they were told in a way that I just found very dull.  The opening excerpt in eytanz's post at the beginning of the thread is a good example.  1800 words of "Phoenix was like this.  Phoenix was like that.  Some people said that Phoenix had done this."  That's the kind of writing that I care the least about.  Give me a scene that shows me what Phoenix is like, for the love of Pete.  I hate it when people use the advice "show don't tell" as if it is a commandment, but in this case I think the story would've been better if that advice had been followed.

And halfway through, I found that was still my reaction.  Some stuff had happened, I'd just gotten to the part where Ruby brought the soldiers in, and Phoenix was somehow surprised, as if she wouldn't have done the same.  That was the first part that I really had any interest in, and that was too little too late for me.

I love the Word Whore (I still need to make a donation, have been meaning to do that).  I love the sound of her voice.  But I think that in this case, I'm not sure that her voice matched the story very well.  She is the epitome of mellow and sexy.  But the story was already so slow-paced that it can't afford to get any mellower.  And I personally didn't find Phoenix sexy.  So the Word Whore's voice didn't really fit the story, to me.
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--David Steffen
The Submissions Grinder:  Fiction market listings, submissions tracker, always free, poetry and nonfiction markets coming soon!
LHnTX
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2012, 02:26:54 PM »

I enjoyed the story, but I found it very hard to follow at times. I don't know if it was the editing, or what.  Some of the dialog pauses seemed too short, which made it difficult for me at times to figure out who was talking, so I got confused.  It took me all of two seconds to figure out that the daughter did it. Huh
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The Word Whore
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2012, 02:56:11 PM »

my sincere apologies for the confusion-causing editing  Cry    that's all on my head!!
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Cheers,
~tWW
..................................
Air Out My Shorts
www.airoutmyshorts.com
matweller
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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2012, 10:45:56 AM »

I listened when I assembled the episode and I didn't find it confusing at all. A fun story by a brilliant author, well read.

My sincere apologies, Ms. Whore, on behalf of my foolish country for making you a victim of our health care system. It's weird, I thought there was some kind of arrangement between most first-world countries to excuse debts like that which are incurred. You are lucky, though, if you were a native and didn't have insurance, they would have just amputated both hands (and probably a foot for good measure) and the bill would have been easily $20,000.
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The Word Whore
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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2012, 05:22:11 PM »

I listened when I assembled the episode and I didn't find it confusing at all. A fun story by a brilliant author, well read.

My sincere apologies, Ms. Whore, on behalf of my foolish country for making you a victim of our health care system. It's weird, I thought there was some kind of arrangement between most first-world countries to excuse debts like that which are incurred. You are lucky, though, if you were a native and didn't have insurance, they would have just amputated both hands (and probably a foot for good measure) and the bill would have been easily $20,000.

oh you sweet darlin'. it is absolutely NOT your country's fault. it is just incredibly unfortunate, for me, that such an unfathomable freak accident took place in it. i need to trust that -if they had actually flown me home, instead of treating me immediately- the permanent physical damage would have been much much worse. that said, had i been conscious....   had i known my tally would be <cough> 3.6 times the amount you're tossing out there....  i might have insisted  Undecided
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Cheers,
~tWW
..................................
Air Out My Shorts
www.airoutmyshorts.com
matweller
EA Staff
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Posts: 555



WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2012, 08:59:26 PM »

I listened when I assembled the episode and I didn't find it confusing at all. A fun story by a brilliant author, well read.

My sincere apologies, Ms. Whore, on behalf of my foolish country for making you a victim of our health care system. It's weird, I thought there was some kind of arrangement between most first-world countries to excuse debts like that which are incurred. You are lucky, though, if you were a native and didn't have insurance, they would have just amputated both hands (and probably a foot for good measure) and the bill would have been easily $20,000.

"...had i known my tally would be <cough> 3.6 times the amount you're tossing out there....  i might have insisted  Undecided "

Oh, I didn't know you stayed in the hospital for TWO days...well yeah, you deserve it then. Rubber gloves don't pay for themselves. Speaking of, if you ever need a laugh, look at the itemized list of your bill. I know it sucks, but if you can't laugh at being charged $10 per pair of gloves (which, incidentally is more than the price of a box), there's probably no hope. Wink
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lisavilisa
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2012, 10:47:53 AM »

Is there anywhere I can see an example of your artwork like the kind offered in the raffle?
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Dem
Lochage
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aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com


WWW
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2012, 08:22:00 AM »

I listened to this one about halfway through, but never really got into it.  It's not that the story ideas themselves bothered me, but they were told in a way that I just found very dull.  The opening excerpt in eytanz's post at the beginning of the thread is a good example.  1800 words of "Phoenix was like this.  Phoenix was like that.  Some people said that Phoenix had done this."  That's the kind of writing that I care the least about.  Give me a scene that shows me what Phoenix is like, for the love of Pete.  I hate it when people use the advice "show don't tell" as if it is a commandment, but in this case I think the story would've been better if that advice had been followed.

And halfway through, I found that was still my reaction.  Some stuff had happened, I'd just gotten to the part where Ruby brought the soldiers in, and Phoenix was somehow surprised, as if she wouldn't have done the same.  That was the first part that I really had any interest in, and that was too little too late for me.

I love the Word Whore (I still need to make a donation, have been meaning to do that).  I love the sound of her voice.  But I think that in this case, I'm not sure that her voice matched the story very well.  She is the epitome of mellow and sexy.  But the story was already so slow-paced that it can't afford to get any mellower.  And I personally didn't find Phoenix sexy.  So the Word Whore's voice didn't really fit the story, to me.


My feeling too - right down to the narration. Add to that, it felt like a kind of female Flash Gordon episode (probably all that fancy red, orange, and gold uniform malarkey) and I couldn't really commit to the characters.
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Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2012, 09:55:33 AM »

Is there anywhere I can see an example of your artwork like the kind offered in the raffle?

I'd like to see that too.  I followed her link on her name, to Air Out My Shorts but didn't see a art portfolio.  Where should I look?
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--David Steffen
The Submissions Grinder:  Fiction market listings, submissions tracker, always free, poetry and nonfiction markets coming soon!
The Word Whore
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2012, 10:42:47 AM »

Thank you so much for your interest.   I really don't feel comfortable allowing the thread to pull away from the story itself / feedback for the author, so will make this quick Kiss  > 

As mentioned in the raffle promo clip, a very early "sneak preview" of (a very small portion of)  the raffle painting is on the air out my shorts facebook page (more will be posted there, as the piece progresses):  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Air-Out-My-Shorts/119105408120810

...and a selection of past work was posted in the air out my shorts forum (also known as the "playpen")... believe it's in the AoMS Exclusives category:
http://prestonbuttons.proboards.com/
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Cheers,
~tWW
..................................
Air Out My Shorts
www.airoutmyshorts.com
Pirvonen
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Posts: 35


« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2012, 01:04:13 PM »

Intriguing. The levels of indirection and misdirection, the social rules and subverting them... This was not a comfortable listen, but it kept me in its grip quite securely.

I just found that I like old-fashioned descriptive and discursive prose quite as well as more action-driven contemporary style, and then came to feel that various EA podcasts have been catering to my taste for variety.
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Dem
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aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com


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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2012, 01:15:40 PM »

Thank you so much for your interest.   I really don't feel comfortable allowing the thread to pull away from the story itself / feedback for the author, so will make this quick Kiss  > 

As mentioned in the raffle promo clip, a very early "sneak preview" of (a very small portion of)  the raffle painting is on the air out my shorts facebook page (more will be posted there, as the piece progresses):  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Air-Out-My-Shorts/119105408120810

...and a selection of past work was posted in the air out my shorts forum (also known as the "playpen")... believe it's in the AoMS Exclusives category:
http://prestonbuttons.proboards.com/
Just want to 'like' this post. I can't imagine (well, I can, a bit) what it must be like to lose such a vital function. Your dignity in not allowing your own plight to hijack the story's thread is gracious.
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Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.
SF.Fangirl
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2012, 10:47:35 PM »

Yeah, what Unblinking said.  I did listen all the way through, but I just never got into it.  I endured more than enjoyed.  I didn't notice any sound editting problem, but I never got a full picture of the universe or characters.  I took that more to be a plotting problem caused by leaving key explanatory facts out until the reveal.  It's another story with unlikeable and rather uninteresting characters.  That is not to say I can't enjoy a flawed character or an antihero, but I really couldn't have cared less if boy toy was mind wiped or if Phoenix or Ruby came out on top.  Although, it was fairly obvious that Phoenix was going to win.  I was a rather long story for Escape Pod and I just didn't care how it ended.  I think I need to care about the outcome for me to actually like the story. 
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timprov
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2012, 07:30:28 AM »

I always feel bad when I don't like a story.  I know the author, the editor, the narrator, worked really hard to make it the best story they could.  Sadly, I didn't like this story too much an stopped listening about half way through.  I found my mind drifting off (I listen when I work out) which doesn't happen when a story engages me.  I used to attribute my mind drifting to me but now I'm not so sure because the last few batches of stories engaged me enough that it made my workout go by much faster.

-Tim

« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 07:35:47 AM by timprov » Logged

Even in failure there can be Nobility! But failing to try brings only shame!
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InfiniteMonkey
Lochage
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Posts: 468


Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2012, 11:31:59 AM »

It was an interesting depiction of a really dysfunctional space-tyrant's family. One that's been pared down so much that it's more of a bush than a tree. I'm not sure that either side - Ruby or Phoenix - were "good"; certainly they were mostly self-interested. 

I was a little surprised of the choice of narrators. She was very good, but I would have to agree that the subject matter didn't exactly match her delivery. There have been much more explicit material on Escape Pod.

And I'm personally embarrassed by her medical travails at the "hands" (pardon the expression) of the "greatest healthcare system in the world". There should be some sort of compensatory system for this sort of thing.
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The Word Whore
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2012, 02:51:59 PM »

Oh dear  Cry  I feel just terrible about the mismatched voice/style/narration.  Deepest apologies to Ms. Rambo!!  There was a fair amount of 'liquid courage' involved --not a very good excuse, I know-- and it was an unusually long piece...  wish I'd thought to apply an "increase speed" filter, across-the-board, after I'd finished.  Hope you can forgive me for putting y'all to sleep  Kiss
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Cheers,
~tWW
..................................
Air Out My Shorts
www.airoutmyshorts.com
Andy C
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Posts: 21



« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2012, 04:20:15 PM »

Well, I thought it was a good story, I can see why some people lost teh thread mid way, I was listening to it on a journey and was therefore a slightly captive audience, but hey was was captured! It was worth a bit of perseverance to give us a thoughtful piece of work.

I also enjoyed the narration, didn't spot the editing blips and liked the voice work on this one.

Thanks guys!
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Pirvonen
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Posts: 35


« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2012, 12:55:39 AM »

I feel just terrible about the mismatched voice/style/narration.

Bah! and double Bah! I enjoyed the narration. To my (admittedly old-geezerish) mind it fitted the vintage style of the prose, and the regal voice of Ms Phoenix rather well. So you smiled while reading aloud a story of loss and conflict? So bloody what, it worked. I think your voice gave the story an additional layer of feeling of alienation, complementing the confusion of the protagonist.

I, for one, am glad you did not choose to put the pedal to the metal. The young these days are too much in a hurry for the bang-bang-rattatata-sploit-aargh to savour the words, enjoy the atmosphere. You did good here.
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Listener
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2012, 07:30:39 AM »

I couldn't make it more than five minutes into the story. I believe our esteemed Assistant Editor explained why in the feedback for the most recent Lavie Tidhar story, so I won't rehash that.

Believe me, living in the US and having insurance doesn't guarantee you coverage, either. I have two doctors saying I need a specific type of surgery, but my insurance company has a blanket exclusion against it, which means that no matter how many doctors say I need it, or even if I'm in the ER, unconscious, and the doctor there decides that I need it stat, they STILL won't pay for it.

(It's not terribly expensive, compared to what WW went through -- the total bill is estimated to be only 35k not including prescription medications -- but still, that's more than the down payment on my HOUSE.)

(I have a short-story about the US health care system that no one seems willing to buy. I think EP is 2 or 3 more steps away on my list of places to send it.)
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