Author Topic: PC221: A Hunter in Arin-Qin  (Read 19362 times)

DKT

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Reply #25 on: August 30, 2012, 02:37:38 PM
First time poster.

I couldn't finish this one. I really wanted to like it, but I had to hit stop less than 1/2 way through.

I was not pulled into the character, so nothing that she did interested me. I didn't understand her motivations, who this father figure was, etc. I couldn' t keep my attention focused on it, so I couldn't really follow the plot.
The use of cliche made me cringe; black as ink, simile, simile, almost a nice metaphor hampered by another tired simile, teeth like razors, followed by another cliche.
The reading was very hard for me. She carried things on her "bock" and that made my eye twitch every time. I'm not a fan of feigned 'accents' and this just felt so forced.

That all being said, I have loved many a PodCastle story & I hope that this author puts something else out there that i can love.


Hello.

I'm sorry my reading didn't hold your attention, but I'm not feigning an accent. That is how I speak.

Not sure what else to say about that, really.

This reminds me of back when Good Will Hunting came out, and some people at my college criticized Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's lame attempts at Boston accents.

"You...know they grew up in Boston, right?" I asked.

"Uh, whoops?" was the response.

--

This is coming up in this thread, after piscean's comments, so I want to stress that this is not aimed at piscean. It's more something I've been thinking about the last few months, and this seems like as good a time as any to mention it.

Unfortunately, PodCastle and Escape Artists as a whole do not (yet) pay our narrators. (I say "yet" because I am hopeful this will change, and hopefully soon.) We rely on volunteers to read our stories, simply because they love reading them. We have a diverse group of volunteer readers that we rely on to bring the best audio experiences. They put in literally hours of their free time just because they want to help tell awesome stories to our audience. So, I always get a twitch more defensive when our readers are criticized, or worse - raked across the coals. (FWIW, I don't think piscean was raking Amal across the coals. But I've seen it done to other readers from other stories, and, well, like I said. It makes me twitch. I'm defensive of our readers.)

Now, I am not saying, "Don't be critical." This is a forum for discussing fiction, so by all means be critical. But please be thoughtful, also. Remember The One Rule. A lot of time goes into this that you don't see, particularly on the side of our readers.

One of my favorite parts of doing PodCastle is reading a story in text, and trying to match it with the right voice. Maybe this isn't always successful - for instance, the surfer dude, who read that Ragnarok story - I don't know what we were thinking. But Amal's reading upped my love for a story I already loved, and I'm grateful for that.


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Reply #26 on: August 30, 2012, 03:00:14 PM
Then the 'flashback' was done and I belatedly figured out that I had managed to miss the transition. I think this is yet another story that "suffers" from the audio format in that there is really no good way to let the listener know the scene has shifted and that the time frame has changed.

FWIW, I believe the chapter breaks are indicators that the timeline is shifting/flashback. I know sometimes people are frustrated by chapters in short stories particularly), but I'd argue this is a pretty excellent way to use them (again, particularly in audio).

Oh. For what it's also worth, I never noticed a chapter break until I heard the fifth or sixth one? So perhaps the whole 'commute' thing detracted more than I thought. :)

Ha. I hear that :)


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Reply #27 on: August 30, 2012, 06:57:26 PM
I can’t place the reader’s accent, but (or maybe because of that) I think it goes well with the story where the two protagonists speak unfamiliar languages.



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Reply #28 on: August 31, 2012, 01:35:39 AM
First time poster.

I couldn't finish this one. I really wanted to like it, but I had to hit stop less than 1/2 way through.

I was not pulled into the character, so nothing that she did interested me. I didn't understand her motivations, who this father figure was, etc. I couldn' t keep my attention focused on it, so I couldn't really follow the plot.
The use of cliche made me cringe; black as ink, simile, simile, almost a nice metaphor hampered by another tired simile, teeth like razors, followed by another cliche.
The reading was very hard for me. She carried things on her "bock" and that made my eye twitch every time. I'm not a fan of feigned 'accents' and this just felt so forced.

That all being said, I have loved many a PodCastle story & I hope that this author puts something else out there that i can love.


Hello.

I'm sorry my reading didn't hold your attention, but I'm not feigning an accent. That is how I speak.

Not sure what else to say about that, really.

This reminds me of back when Good Will Hunting came out, and some people at my college criticized Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's lame attempts at Boston accents.

"You...know they grew up in Boston, right?" I asked.

"Uh, whoops?" was the response.

--

This is coming up in this thread, after piscean's comments, so I want to stress that this is not aimed at piscean. It's more something I've been thinking about the last few months, and this seems like as good a time as any to mention it.

Unfortunately, PodCastle and Escape Artists as a whole do not (yet) pay our narrators. (I say "yet" because I am hopeful this will change, and hopefully soon.) We rely on volunteers to read our stories, simply because they love reading them. We have a diverse group of volunteer readers that we rely on to bring the best audio experiences. They put in literally hours of their free time just because they want to help tell awesome stories to our audience. So, I always get a twitch more defensive when our readers are criticized, or worse - raked across the coals. (FWIW, I don't think piscean was raking Amal across the coals. But I've seen it done to other readers from other stories, and, well, like I said. It makes me twitch. I'm defensive of our readers.)

Now, I am not saying, "Don't be critical." This is a forum for discussing fiction, so by all means be critical. But please be thoughtful, also. Remember The One Rule. A lot of time goes into this that you don't see, particularly on the side of our readers.

One of my favorite parts of doing PodCastle is reading a story in text, and trying to match it with the right voice. Maybe this isn't always successful - for instance, the surfer dude, who read that Ragnarok story - I don't know what we were thinking. But Amal's reading upped my love for a story I already loved, and I'm grateful for that.



No, I'm not raking anyone over the coals; I appreciate the time & effort from everyone involved...and that's why I said it was hard for me (certainly not saying it doesn't work for others). There have been times in the past that I've loved the story & reading, but others didn't agree. We're all different and we all like different things.

Also, I'm not claiming to know the accent...maybe the reading just didn't feel natural to me. I'm not claiming that someone doesn't sound like the "right" place, so comparing me to the 'silly little plebes' who don't know a Boston accent is, quite frankly, offensive.

Anywho, maybe I'll have to give it another listen and see if maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind the first time I tried.



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Reply #29 on: August 31, 2012, 02:50:32 AM
I dug the dearth of dialogue. There were some great concepts here. Unfortunately, the story couldn't consistently wrest me from the travails of the day, and my mind kept wandering and I'd lose the thread. Due to the temporal shifts, this story requires solid focus from the listener, which I was unable to devote.

As to the accent discussion, if I recall correctly, Amal is Middle Eastern (Lebanese?) and I suspect the English she learned was from someone more strongly versed in French. I'm going with the pronunciation of short "a" sounds longer than 'mericans do. At least that's what I've got in my head.

Amal, I'm sorry this reading didn't capture me. It's not you, it's me. If it's any consolation, in particular, I love your reading on the "Call of Cthulhu" segment of "5 Ways Jane Austen Never Died".

I'm really sick of stories that jump forward and backward and forward and backward like this.  Except for stories that are particularly well-suited to it, I find the technique clumsy and ineffective.  Stephen King's "It" does well with it, because the child and adult stories are essentially parallels, and so are told in parallel. 

The temporal jumping also fits well with the frame narrative, which has adults recalling specific details they had forgotten about their past. The reader gets to experience the restoration of the memory along with the character.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


kibitzer

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Reply #30 on: August 31, 2012, 02:55:21 AM
As to the accent discussion, if I recall correctly, Amal is Middle Eastern (Lebanese?) and I suspect the English she learned was from someone more strongly versed in French. I'm going with the pronunciation of short "a" sounds longer than 'mericans do. At least that's what I've got in my head.

She is "A Canadian-born child of the Mediterranean...."


Fenrix

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Reply #31 on: August 31, 2012, 02:57:35 AM
As to the accent discussion, if I recall correctly, Amal is Middle Eastern (Lebanese?) and I suspect the English she learned was from someone more strongly versed in French. I'm going with the pronunciation of short "a" sounds longer than 'mericans do. At least that's what I've got in my head.

She is "A Canadian-born child of the Mediterranean...."

I'm sticking with the French bit then...

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


amalmohtar

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Reply #32 on: August 31, 2012, 05:50:30 PM
Danooli, Dave, Frungi, Humanus: You're all super kind. Thank you.

Fenrix: It's totally cool! Honest, I completely understand and appreciate that enjoying a narration is fully as subjective as enjoying a story, and that the intersection between narration and story is a chancy thing; there are stories that are improved by a reading and stories that are perhaps obscured by a reading. I sincerely do urge you (and anyone else!) who found it difficult to follow in audio to seek it out in print, because that is, after all, how I first experienced it, and I just think it's fabulous and worth checking out.

Piscean: A few things.

1) Where did you get the "silly little plebes" quote? I don't think anyone called you or the people in Dave's anecdote that, so I'm not sure where your offense is taken from. You didn't specify where you thought my accent is from, but you did say you thought it was feigned, so the comparison is valid.

2) It's totally fine if the narration didn't work for you -- as I said to Fenrix, it's a very subjective experience, and I'm not by any means offended by someone finding it forced or unnatural-sounding. I do, however, have a problem with your assuming that an accent unfamiliar to you must be in some way artificial, and would appreciate your owning up to that.

To everyone speculating about my accent -- please, guys, stop. I'm right here! It's weird to read about you trying to figure out my accent's origins based on my bio as if I'm not participating in this conversation.

For what it's worth, I'm often startled by my accent's hybridity. It's a fluid thing. I speak three languages in varying dialects and they all intersect with and influence each other. I was born in Ottawa, grew up in Quebec, lived in Lebanon for a while, came back to Quebec, went to uni in Ottawa, lived in the UAE for a while, and for the last four years have been living in the south-west and then the north-west of the UK. I speak differently now than I did four years ago; listening to a recording of myself from that time is a profoundly dislocating experience.

It may also amuse you to know that most Brits assume I'm American, most Americans assume I'm British or Australian, and Canadians tremulously express their confusion by asking me where that accent's from before blinking in disbelief when I present my Canadian credentials.

So! How aboot that story, eh? (See what I did there. O the cleverness of me.)



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Reply #33 on: August 31, 2012, 10:22:12 PM
Canadians tremulously express their confusion by asking me where that accent's from before blinking in disbelief when I present my Canadian credentials.

I can understand their confusion. You can pronounce the letter "o". Can you prove your Canadianism by enjoying poutine?

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Frungi

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Reply #34 on: September 01, 2012, 03:46:33 AM
To everyone speculating about my accent -- please, guys, stop. I'm right here! It's weird to read about you trying to figure out my accent's origins based on my bio as if I'm not participating in this conversation.
Ha, sorry about that! I for one posted more for the benefit of whoever happened to read it than actually expecting an answer. I was wondering though, so thanks for explaining!



amalmohtar

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Reply #35 on: September 01, 2012, 09:05:47 AM
Canadians tremulously express their confusion by asking me where that accent's from before blinking in disbelief when I present my Canadian credentials.

I can understand their confusion. You can pronounce the letter "o". Can you prove your Canadianism by enjoying poutine?

That is only one small part of the elaborate ritual of proving one's Canadianness, and it, like Tim-Bits, is being phased out on account of its enjoying widespread appeal. While I am unable to divulge the complexities to non-Canadians for reasons of national security, I will merely state that it is possible that maple syrup, Great Big Sea, Slings & Arrows, and accompanying a seal out on to the dance floor after a vigorous bout of ice hockey all have a place within it.



ThomasTheAttoney

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Reply #36 on: September 04, 2012, 12:15:56 AM
Wow this story was long.  And the nonlinear structure, where a nonlinear structure was not at all needed, made it a hard trudge.
I'm really sick of stories that jump forward and backward and forward and backward like this.  Except for stories that are particularly well-suited to it, I find the technique clumsy and ineffective.  Stephen King's "It" does well with it, because the child and adult stories are essentially parallels, and so are told in parallel.  In this case, and in most cases, it was just irritating because:
1.  The past scenes have no tension, because we know the outcome of what's going to happen.
2.  The past scenes kill the momentum of the present story.  Which in this case actually HAD a lot of momentum.
3.  This format tends to make the story much much longer than it ought to be, rather than just telling us what we need to know in the present.
4.  At least to me, I tend to view the prose as a filter to see the character's thoughts.  If it's a single POV like this that constantly shifts in time backwards, it gives me the distinct impression that the character is not living in the present, but instead is staring blankly into the distance while they think back in nostalgia.  Which doesn't really work when the present time has such time-critical tension to it.
And in the end I really felt for the monster much more than I felt for the protagonist. . 
Unblinking, why don't the writers read your posts and save us the time?  So many of the writers we get these days  seem to have come off the same boring printing press.  So often with the flash backs so we can start with action.  Then long and intricate exposition through the flash back.  Could you start blogging the recurrent problem themes and then make a link back to your blog when writers transgress?  I expect finally to see " okay story but suffers from Unblinking's standard problem #1, #3, and #5.   
Why cant they just send the story to you first?
Thank you.



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Reply #37 on: September 04, 2012, 01:49:05 PM
Unblinking, why don't the writers read your posts and save us the time?  So many of the writers we get these days  seem to have come off the same boring printing press.  So often with the flash backs so we can start with action.  Then long and intricate exposition through the flash back.  Could you start blogging the recurrent problem themes and then make a link back to your blog when writers transgress?  I expect finally to see " okay story but suffers from Unblinking's standard problem #1, #3, and #5.   
Why cant they just send the story to you first?
Thank you.

I appreciate the vote of confidence.  The thing about art is that the judging of it is entirely subjective, and so any rules about it are even more subjective.  I hate 2nd person, but I loved "The Button Bin", for instance.  And my list of rules are entirely different from other people's lists of rules, so if I made rules and someone cited them, others would probably just ignore it anyway, and rightfully so because I am no authority to anyone who likes stuff that I don't.  :)

On the other hand, I don't think I've written a blog post about that particular quibble I have with writing style.  So I think I ought to.

And thanks again for the vote of confidence.  I do like to rant about fiction--that's what I'm here for.  :)



Unblinking

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Reply #38 on: September 04, 2012, 01:51:30 PM
For what it's worth, I'm often startled by my accent's hybridity. It's a fluid thing. I speak three languages in varying dialects and they all intersect with and influence each other. I was born in Ottawa, grew up in Quebec, lived in Lebanon for a while, came back to Quebec, went to uni in Ottawa, lived in the UAE for a while, and for the last four years have been living in the south-west and then the north-west of the UK. I speak differently now than I did four years ago; listening to a recording of myself from that time is a profoundly dislocating experience.

It may also amuse you to know that most Brits assume I'm American, most Americans assume I'm British or Australian, and Canadians tremulously express their confusion by asking me where that accent's from before blinking in disbelief when I present my Canadian credentials.

For what it's worth, I enjoyed the narration, which I sometimes forget to say because Escape Artists in general does such a good job of finding good readers.

And your story reminds me of a guy I met at WorldCon this weekend who I would've pegged as having a stereotypical California surfer accent, but who has never lived in California.  he said that it was just a mix of a bunch of places he's lived, including Seattle, North Dakota, and somewhere in New England that I forget.  Interesting how that can happen!



Unblinking

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Reply #39 on: September 04, 2012, 01:57:16 PM
Unfortunately, PodCastle and Escape Artists as a whole do not (yet) pay our narrators. (I say "yet" because I am hopeful this will change, and hopefully soon.) We rely on volunteers to read our stories, simply because they love reading them. We have a diverse group of volunteer readers that we rely on to bring the best audio experiences. They put in literally hours of their free time just because they want to help tell awesome stories to our audience. So, I always get a twitch more defensive when our readers are criticized, or worse - raked across the coals. (FWIW, I don't think piscean was raking Amal across the coals. But I've seen it done to other readers from other stories, and, well, like I said. It makes me twitch. I'm defensive of our readers.)

I was talking with Mur about criticism of readers at WorldCon this weekend (that was so cool and surreal to meet in person she who has kept me company on so many commutes), and how some readers have been criticized for not having perfectly fluent Chinese pronunciation, and how it's not exactly trivial to find an English-speaking person fluent in Chinese pronunciation who is willing to read stories for a fiction podcast for free.  I certainly wouldn't want a story with Chinese words in it to be rejected due to that, so I am content to listen to a narrator try their best at the pronunciation so that I can hear the story.

Again, I thought Amal did a fine job with this story.  Her voice fit the role well for me, and I didn't have any problems with it.  So I'm just making this commenton the topic of finding narrators ingeneral.  And as a challenge, that if anyone here has a friend with an unusual accent or language pronunciation skills that might like to read fiction, encourage them to drop Escape Artists a line.



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Reply #40 on: September 11, 2012, 11:37:38 AM
I have always thought that accents add tremendous charm and character to a narration (and to life in general).  Even if the accent (or other elements of the speaking style) make me work harder to listen, I'll take character over bland every time.



 ::) Hear, hear!


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Reply #41 on: September 14, 2012, 07:15:55 PM
I thought there were problems in this story. The mother-motivated-to-fight-because-her-child-was-stolen is an old and tired trope -- it reduces women to only fighting because of maternal instinct.

I definitely sympathized with the poor monster. The ruthless actions of the protag in flashback did not engender any like for her or her daughter (whom I had also imagined to be much younger and more helpless than she was, apparently).

I didn't get many good visuals of the world: maybe because it was snowing? All I got was blankness and people walking.



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Reply #42 on: September 14, 2012, 11:14:49 PM
The mother-motivated-to-fight-because-her-child-was-stolen is an old and tired trope -- it reduces women to only fighting because of maternal instinct.


I dunno if the qualifies as the trope

A) The character is fairly decently painted as a fighter and a hunter, it's not just the threat to her offspring that brings out this side to her
B) The male in the story is performing the same action with the same single mindedness. The only difference is that the protag's training makes her a better hunter.



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Reply #43 on: September 17, 2012, 01:51:36 PM
The mother-motivated-to-fight-because-her-child-was-stolen is an old and tired trope -- it reduces women to only fighting because of maternal instinct.


I dunno if the qualifies as the trope

A) The character is fairly decently painted as a fighter and a hunter, it's not just the threat to her offspring that brings out this side to her
B) The male in the story is performing the same action with the same single mindedness. The only difference is that the protag's training makes her a better hunter.


I agree with that.  She was trained by her father to be a badass monster hunter before her child ever disappeared.  Nowhere near a trope.  And some things are tropes because they have a basis in truth--these things tend not to bother me.



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Reply #44 on: October 03, 2012, 04:46:37 PM
I really loved this story, but I had to listen to it twice to get the full impact of it. Amal did a glorious job of reading it, and I LOVED the dialogue restriction...Daniel managed to put so much emotion into the heroine's internal dialogue. Keep 'em coming, guys. You save my sanity.



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Reply #45 on: October 19, 2012, 04:28:56 PM
Hmm...have to agree with everyone in saying that I didn't get caught up in the story until when the monster captures the hunter's child, and then I was all ears. And I can listen to Amal FOREVERRRRRRR...

I think what really impressed me about this story was that the main character and the male companion never have sex while they are tracking their children down. I've seen too many stories where you got two people and "Oh, got nothing else to do. Hey, let's tumble in the furs to get our minds of things!" While it's obvious that she finds the foreigner attractive, and she regrets his leaving towards the end, there was never a move by the author to get the two of them together in a neat, romantic package. She was a hunter, and he had another life somewhere else, so while they could have worked it out, neither was inclined to, but the main character was still left with "what if I did?". It enabled me to share in the MC's regret in a more realistic way.

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Reply #46 on: October 25, 2012, 04:51:48 PM
Hmm...have to agree with everyone in saying that I didn't get caught up in the story until when the monster captures the hunter's child, and then I was all ears. And I can listen to Amal FOREVERRRRRRR...

I think what really impressed me about this story was that the main character and the male companion never have sex while they are tracking their children down. I've seen too many stories where you got two people and "Oh, got nothing else to do. Hey, let's tumble in the furs to get our minds of things!" While it's obvious that she finds the foreigner attractive, and she regrets his leaving towards the end, there was never a move by the author to get the two of them together in a neat, romantic package. She was a hunter, and he had another life somewhere else, so while they could have worked it out, neither was inclined to, but the main character was still left with "what if I did?". It enabled me to share in the MC's regret in a more realistic way.

I agree!  It seems like a foregone conclusion in much fiction that the leading male and leading female will hook up, but it doesn't always work that way in real life, so it shouldn't in stories.