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Author Topic: PC238: Sleep and Wake  (Read 1969 times)
Talia
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« on: December 13, 2012, 10:54:17 AM »

PodCastle 238: Sleep and Wake

by Holli Mintzer

Read by Brian Rollins

Originally published in The View From Here. You can read it at The Front View.

At the top of the Greenbriar Building, in Brooklyn, a girl has been sleeping for a hundred years. In fact, she may have been sleeping longer. But the Greenbriar was built a hundred years ago, and the room in which she sleeps was walled off and hidden, and ivy tangled its way up the sides of the building until even the window was lost. She would likely sleep there still, except that Rick wanted to know why his apartment was a hundred and fifty square feet too small.

It was a nice apartment– it had a breakfast nook, and a washer/dryer combo, and floor-to-ceiling built-in shelves in the living room and at the end of the hall. Rick liked it a lot. The building had never been renovated, not really, except to split the apartments up into smaller studios and one-bedrooms and to replace the stove and fridge. There were weird poky corners and weathered wooden floors and ornate brass fittings everywhere; Rick’s bathroom contained a massive claw-foot tub that, when she saw it, made Angela say “Oh, my God, no fair.”


Rated R, for an f-bomb or two, but really, it’s a sweet story.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 07:49:25 AM by Talia » Logged
chemistryguy
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 07:18:31 AM »

'fraid this one didn't do it for me.

The idea of a modern day sleeping beauty in NY sounded intriguing, but this just didn't deliver much.

There's no indication that Rick wants to have a relationship (other than friendship) with Angela until the very


I found part of my irritation with the story was that nothing developed between the sleeping beauty and Rick but that wasn't the point, was it?  As I'm writing this, I realize that he wanted Angela on a subconscious level, and sleeping beauty took advantage of that by gently pushing them together through his dreams?  My expectations were subverted...a good thing, really.  I think this one deserves another listen with fresh ears.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 10:04:48 AM »

Not a bad story, but I had huge problems with the pace.  The story starts as we're told that this woman has been sleeping being a walled off section of the apartment for a long time, and that the apartments had all been redivided multiple times--that's interesting, but if we hadn't been told that, and if we hadn't had the intro, the pacing wouldn't've been so incredibly off because then we spend the next 20 minutes coming to that realization.  For that first 20 minutes about half of the narrative he didn't remember anyway, and the other half didn't have much movement.

Finally it got going about 20 minutes in, after more than half the story is over, and then went exactly where I would've guessed it would.  None of this would've bothered me if I'd felt immersed enough in the character to really feel like a knew and empathized with him, but it was so distantly told I never did.

I think there's a good core of a story idea here, but the execution did not bring it out.
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scarcrow
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2012, 12:45:43 PM »

This was a sweet tale, and a bit too familiar from my stance...

o.O
(Did the writer just emulate my brain?!!)
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Max e^{i pi}
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2012, 05:35:30 AM »

I always love it when Anne does the intro. That always puts me in a good mood, and that carried over to the story.
I probably would not have enjoyed the story so much if it weren't for her fascinating and well-planned intro.
The story was nice, but I want to hear more about this girl who can only really live in dreams. I don't care about Rick. I want to follow her to Richmond and see how she does there.
Having lived for a hundred years (just a guess, based on Disney's version of the fairy tale) only in dreams she finds it very hard to cope with the real waking world. It's not just the spatial relations, it's the human relations and interactions. When you've been experiencing the world through other people's dreams, you're not experiencing it yourself, but getting a tainted second-hand experience from them. What you experience is clouded by their interpretation of it. So no wonder everything is not as she imagined it, she didn't imagine it. Other people did for her.
(Well, she didn't imagine it, others did for her and therefore her expectations were based on the tainted experience that she had so far had. But it's easier to say it the other way.)
This fascinates me, since I am very aware of how subjective one's experiences of the world are, and hence how we form opinions. This would eb a remarkable chance to do a very intricate investigation in how we perceive the world.
I want to read that story.

Also, 150 square feet is a lot of space. A real lot of space. You don't just lose that much space, even when subdividing apartments. If that was the size of the walled-off room.... well, she was at least accommodated in spacious quarters.
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eytanz
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 05:24:48 PM »

I am a big fan of magic realism, and in many ways this story was right up my alley. And as far as execution goes, I have no qualms - I enjoyed the writing, and the narration, and thought the interplay between magic and mundanity was quite successful.

But on another level, this story hit on one of my pet peeves - the trope wherein a platonic friendship between a man and a woman is really just a placeholder until they become a couple. It's a sexist trope (on multiple levels), it's demeaning to the concept of friendship, and it's just not true. I spent the first half of the story glad about how the friendship was depicted, then once it became clear where this was going, I felt the second half of the story getting more and more annoyed.
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danooli
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 06:37:19 PM »

I really liked this story.  I saw where it was going pretty early, but that didn't stop me from loving the execution.  (The fact that Jen stated her birthday as December 9 may have helped...I too was born on that day, albeit quite a few years prior to the one she claimed...)

Anyway, I understand eytanz' pet peeve about the friend to lover trope, but I didn't mind it here.  Maybe since I think the author did a fine job of making me believe the romantic feelings between Rick and Angela took them both by surprise.   Maybe since there was also a platonic friendship between Rick and Jen that didn't grow into more...
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2012, 09:46:39 AM »

(The fact that Jen stated her birthday as December 9 may have helped...I too was born on that day, albeit quite a few years prior to the one she claimed...)

No kidding?  My birthday is December 9 too!
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danooli
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 10:13:11 AM »

(The fact that Jen stated her birthday as December 9 may have helped...I too was born on that day, albeit quite a few years prior to the one she claimed...)

No kidding?  My birthday is December 9 too!
wow! I knew I liked you!!
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Lionman
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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2012, 11:34:30 PM »

This story felt like a let-down.  The twist at the end was good, however, I was expecting more out of our Sleeping Beauty.

Everything seemed to be building and building and building and we get to her waking up...then we don't get any of the details or back story I was expecting we'd get, finding out why she was there, how she got there, etc.  And the attic..was the things there hers?

Maybe I wanted too much.
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flashedarling
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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2012, 07:56:07 AM »

Not a bad story, but I had huge problems with the pace.  The story starts as we're told that this woman has been sleeping being a walled off section of the apartment for a long time, and that the apartments had all been redivided multiple times--that's interesting, but if we hadn't been told that, and if we hadn't had the intro, the pacing wouldn't've been so incredibly off because then we spend the next 20 minutes coming to that realization.  For that first 20 minutes about half of the narrative he didn't remember anyway, and the other half didn't have much movement.

Ditto. I'm guessing the author wanted to do a standard "long ago in a land called New York" fairy tale opening but I think if we had just been started from "One day Rick wanted to know why his apartment was a hundred and fifty square feet too small." it could have given the story a little more of a sense of anticipation.

But on another level, this story hit on one of my pet peeves - the trope wherein a platonic friendship between a man and a woman is really just a placeholder until they become a couple. It's a sexist trope (on multiple levels), it's demeaning to the concept of friendship, and it's just not true. I spent the first half of the story glad about how the friendship was depicted, then once it became clear where this was going, I felt the second half of the story getting more and more annoyed.

I thought that was balanced out be the fact that it subverted the trope of sleeping beauty into "random dude rescues girl and instead of true love they turn out to have a platonic relationship". It was the opposite of the magical girlfriend.
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eytanz
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2012, 11:29:31 AM »

But on another level, this story hit on one of my pet peeves - the trope wherein a platonic friendship between a man and a woman is really just a placeholder until they become a couple. It's a sexist trope (on multiple levels), it's demeaning to the concept of friendship, and it's just not true. I spent the first half of the story glad about how the friendship was depicted, then once it became clear where this was going, I felt the second half of the story getting more and more annoyed.

I thought that was balanced out be the fact that it subverted the trope of sleeping beauty into "random dude rescues girl and instead of true love they turn out to have a platonic relationship". It was the opposite of the magical girlfriend.

True, and I did like that, but I'm still left with the sense that the story simply couldn't have left the protagonist without a girlfriend. So yeah, it somewhat subverted the trope, except that it didn't really - it just decoupled the girl he rescues from the girl he gets at the end as a reward. He's still a dude that rescues a girl and is rewarded by true love.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2012, 02:12:17 PM »

Overall I enjoyed this story, though I agree that the opening sort of stole the ending's thunder. Mostly though, I was fascinated by the idea that Jen would have such a hard time operating in the real world. By inhabiting her "roommate's" dreams she thought that she would be prepared for re-entering the world, and in a way she was right. Technology changes didn't seem to bother her too much, and her speech wasn't terribly antiquated. However, she couldn't account for the biases in our perceptions. The way we perceive the world around us and interact with each other is so subjective that it's hard to quantify and harder to calibrate between people. How can I know if I see a shade of green the same way that someone else does? Even the passing of time is subjective. Adding "dream-logic" to that quandary was the icing on the cake for me, and totally smoothed over any other quibbles I might have had.
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2012, 01:54:31 PM »

I loved this one. A sweet, clever, weird, and very New York faerie tale adaptation. I particularly enjoyed the idea that Sleeping Beauty has been entertaining herself in the dreams of those around her while she waits to be freed. The pacing was also very well done - so well done that I barely noticed it.

I'm definitely going to recommend this one to the Abigail (my wife - your Abigails my be fine, but my Abigail is the Abigail).
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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 12:54:17 PM »

I loved this story too. A nice subversion of the Sleeping Beauty tale. And I loved the depiction of the relationships in this tale, both romantic and platonic. I was very pleased to see that Rick and Jen did not get together, but they were able to have all these cool conversations and strike up a nice friendship, even if it was in dreams. I'm going to posit that while it was Jen who was under the sleeping spell, it was actually Rick who needed awakening, so to speak. I too would love to see more of Jen. I wonder if her entering dreams would be considered a super power now.
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