Author Topic: Pseudopod 324: Wings  (Read 8637 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5036
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Pseudopod 324: Wings
« on: March 09, 2013, 01:28:22 AM »
Pseudopod 324: Wings

By Nathaniel Lee.

Wings” was previously published nowhere else (though not for lack of trying)

NATHANIEL LEE recently turned 31. He’s got an English degree and thus considers himself basically unemployable if he ever loses his current (unrelated) position. His son, Archimedes Lee (a.k.a. Archie) is 13 months old, and Nathaniel can’t get any work done around the house. But at least he’s not someone’s flying monkey.

He still runs MIRRORSHARDS, which is now on an erratic “whenever he gets the chance” schedule because: baby. The MIRRORSHARDS book still exists at Amazon, too. His self-described sappy little story “The Alchemist’s Children” is in Alex Shvartsman’s extremely entertaining UNIDENTIFIED FUNNY OBJECTS anthology.

John Bell - is your reader this week. John is the president and CEO of John Bell Creative, LLC, and is available to write, produce, and/or voice anything from radio commercials to audio dramas to you-name-it. You can contact him at jbellvoice@gmail.com. For family-friendly fun, listen to BELL’S IN THE BATFRY, a comedy podcast available on iTunes and/or at the link under the name.



“Fresh wails assault my ears as I leave the cell and haul the rusty door shut. The lock clicks. I wonder briefly if anyone still has the key. Well, the witch can sort it out if she wants to. I’m too tired to care.

I see the witch, standing two cells down. She seems hesitant. ‘It’s very… damp,’ she remarks.

‘Apologies, mistress,’ I say, sweeping into a bow. ‘I gave the girl water to drink.’

‘She’s losing it fast enough,’ the witch remarks. ‘What has her crying so hard?’

‘Her lost friends, mistress. And her pet. A small dog. Toto, I think.’

‘She must be calm if I am to speak with her,’ says the witch, rubbing at her chin. ‘We must have leverage.’

I close my eyes and pray for patience before speaking. If I do not offer, she will command it of me. ‘Permission to go and retrieve the child’s missing pet?’

‘Yes,’ says the witch. ‘We have Dorothy. Bring me her little dog, too.’”



We have a Flash Fiction Contest starting up!  Check it out!



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2013, 01:32:21 AM by Bdoomed »
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

Just Jeff

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 72
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2013, 01:56:14 PM »
Great story, great reading, pity about all the noise when there was more than one monkey in the scene.

Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 616
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 12:45:46 AM »
I agree absolutely with Just Jeff. The monkey sounds just KILLED my enjoyment. Cute idea, but . . . it drowned out the narrator and just scraped my nerves raw. It was a cute idea, but about half the volume would have made it less obtrusive.
I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5036
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2013, 12:56:05 AM »
Shrug, I got over the cacophony pretty quickly.  It was jarring at first, but I sorta tuned it out.  Also, ABSOLUTELY loved the story!  Fantastic stuff!
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

SBC-B

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
    • Author Page
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2013, 09:29:16 PM »
The story was great, I really loved how he delved into the psyche of the flying monkeys and developed them into believable, sympathetic characters. I always found them awkward in the movie.

As stated above though, the sound effects got terribly grating (same with "I am the Box, the Box is Me"). I appreciate sound effects to add depth to the stories, but not when they drown out the reader/loop until I go mad.

benjaminjb

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1389
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2013, 09:44:55 AM »
I enjoyed the story also and thought the narration was very evocative. And, curiously, while I often find sound effects take more than they give, here I was not bothered by them. Is it my faulty memory or were the sfx often used between scenes? (Or at least, not overlapping with the prose?)

(Also, I thought the intro and outro were nicely informative. Maybe Daylight Savings just has me in a good mood?)

lowky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2698
  • from http://lovecraftismissing.com/?page_id=3142
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2013, 03:03:23 PM »
excellent story.  Sound effects here didn't bother me as much as on previous stories, but volume level ratio to narrator could be better. 

I especially liked the description of the tin man. 

Uncanny Valley

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 26
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2013, 04:58:11 PM »
I didn't give it much of a shot, but I'm so tired of Oz-alternate-perspective stories that as soon as I realized what it was, I lost interest.  Plus I see many more to come from Hollywood.  The fairy tale is the new superhero.  I may try again after reading the comments, but I couldn't make it through ten minutes of 'The Box...' because those sound effects were so distracting. 
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 05:48:01 PM by Uncanny Valley »

Thulsa Morgue

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 37
  • So many drummers, so little time...
    • Watch the coming breakdown slowly happen...
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2013, 12:20:53 PM »
I'm so rarely a fan of "alternate takes in someone else's universe" stories but this one really got its teeth into me.  Like some of the previous comments already said, the SFX were more harmful than helpful and the moment of "Oz" realization was a decision point for me but by then, the author had me hooked and I was in for the full ride.  Well written and compelling, thanks.

Also, now I have to delve back into the rest of the Baum books.  It's always nice when my reading list grows from story inspiration. 

Peter Germany

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 03:43:00 PM »
This is the first story on Pseudopod in quite a while that I have really enjoyed, although as other fine comentors have said the sound effects were a little heavy in places. Aside from that I really enjoyed it :D

Uncanny Valley

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 26
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 05:50:39 PM »
Okay, I went back and listened to it... it was great.  I really enjoyed it and the narration was brilliant.  The sound effects were a bit distracting, but nothing as bad as 'the box...'  I should have given this a chance right from the start.

Scumpup

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 102
  • ...
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2013, 08:16:53 AM »
I liked the reader very much.  He did a great job with the material and even managed to overcome the sound effects.  Kudos to him. I'd like to hear more from him.
The material, itself, I found unappealing.  The Land of Oz, no matter who is writing about it, just isn't a place I enjoy visiting.  I tried reading a couple of Baum's books and gave up on both of them.  A co-worker bullied me into reading "Wicked" because she loves it; it was a chore for me to finish it.  The Judy Garland movie mostly irritates me. The "Tin Man" tv series was just heinously bad.  I'm hoping to get through the new James Franco movie's theatrical run without my daughter deciding that we must go see it.  Zach Braff's involvement in the project is enough to tell me that I will hate it. 

Loren Eaton

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • I Saw Lightning Fall
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2013, 01:15:19 PM »
The monkey screeching didn't really bother me, although I thought it could've been a bit shorter. Overall, a fun story that dialed up the darkness in Oz a bit without getting oppressive. And the narrator did a great job with the reading.
ISawLightningFall.com
Narrative, Genre, and the Craft of Writing

ogopogo

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2013, 05:05:23 PM »
I liked the story, I liked the production,  I even liked how the sounds of a million monkeys screaming in the background grated on me.  The sound effects were a nice touch and added to the tension in the story.  The story was like a pressure vessel with a broken relief valve.  The pressure kept building.  When the monkeys killed the witch, the pressure was released.

Lisa3737

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 34
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2013, 07:06:07 PM »
I absolutely LOVED this story, and the narration was FABULOUS!!!!  The flying monkeys in the original Wizard of Oz movie scared the beejeezus out of me as a child, but through this story, they became multi-layered and sympathetic creatures.  Very well done!

Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2013, 07:25:24 AM »
I liked the reader very much.  He did a great job with the material and even managed to overcome the sound effects.  Kudos to him. I'd like to hear more from him.
The material, itself, I found unappealing.  The Land of Oz, no matter who is writing about it, just isn't a place I enjoy visiting.  I tried reading a couple of Baum's books and gave up on both of them.  A co-worker bullied me into reading "Wicked" because she loves it; it was a chore for me to finish it.  The Judy Garland movie mostly irritates me. The "Tin Man" tv series was just heinously bad.  I'm hoping to get through the new James Franco movie's theatrical run without my daughter deciding that we must go see it.  Zach Braff's involvement in the project is enough to tell me that I will hate it. 

Braff was better than Franco. I honestly didn't mind him at all.
"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42

Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2013, 07:27:48 AM »
The problem with first consuming a story in audio form is that if it doesn't grab me in the first five minutes it's really hard for me to muster up the desire to continue listening. I didn't realize up front that this was an Oz retelling, and I skipped ahead to the end. Stories that take a while to develop are sometimes ill-served by audio because of people like me. I would much rather read this story in text form, especially since it's Oz-related -- I really like most Oz retellings (although I didn't like Wicked Books 2, 3, and 4, and the first one took a WHILE to get into).

The narrator was really good, although the monkey cacophony after the last line went on so long that I actually said "really? c'mon now..."

By the way -- Al's recommendation of The Book of Drugs -- I second it. It's a GREAT book. And if you ever have the chance to see Mike Doughty in concert, GO IMMEDIATELY.
"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42

Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4880
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2013, 09:08:08 PM »
Welp, guess this thread's about dead, so...

Hey, y'all!  Nathan here, author and whatnot.  (And no, people who don't read the forums much, me being Assistant Editor at Escape Pod does not make me staff at Pseudopod, any more than working in one franchise Burger King lets me work in all Burger Kings.)  I want to thank Pseudopod and Shawn particularly for running this story; as I've said in the past, Shawn's thoughtful and generous feedback was one of the things that kept me plugging away at writing back in the Dark Days of 2008, when I was just starting out with serious efforts at publication.  This is now my fourth appearance on the 'cast, which I like to think makes me a regular contributor.

This story was written waaaaay back in 2009 for an anthology that was asking for "dark" stories set in Oz or using Oz characters.  It got immediately form-rejected, and has since accumulated 17 rejection notes.  (The most frustrating of which said that they'd have bought the story if they hadn't just run a flying monkey story the previous month, which just... gah.  Of all the things.)  I've always been rather fond of it, myself (and I'm talking relative among things I've written, not just among all stories, which obviously I'm fond of my own, yes.)

If anyone has any lingering questions, I am here to be your dancing monkey.  Peace, y'all.
---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book

chemistryguy

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 261
  • Serving the Detroit Metro area since 1970
    • 5000 People can't be wrong...or can they?
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2013, 01:08:18 PM »
Welp, guess this thread's about dead, so...

Time to reanimate the dead, this being Pseudopod.

As MANY have already said, the monkey sound effects were distracting, but mostly because I could hear exactly where the short loop began and ended.  Again, and again, and again.  It pissed me off because I was enjoying this story otherwise.

I was delighted at the beginning as the story resolves itself to be an alternate telling of Oz.  Though aggressive and unstable, I felt very sympathetic towards the main character.  He is, after all, a monkey being forced to do very un-monkeylike things.  At the climax of the story, I found myself rooting for the mob begin disemboweling Dorthy as well, but mercy was bestowed...or was it?

Two big thumbs up for the Monkey King!

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Re: Pseudopod 324: Wings
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2013, 08:26:03 AM »
I'm always keen to try out Oz variations, though I don't automatically love the results.  I hated Wicked the book.  I liked Wicked the musical.  The Great and Powerful Oz movie with James Franco was passable.  I liked most of the stories in Shadows of the Emerald City, and I'm not just saying that because I had a story in there (one which is about 4000 words too long to submit to Pseudopod).  I like the idea of Oz Reimagined, except that I'm annoyed that it was never open to unsolicited submissions.  And, hey, I'm the one who entered an Oz story in the Pseudopod flash contest.  :)

I liked this well enough.  I haven't read most of the Oz books since I was in grade school so I didn't remember that the monkeys hadn't gotten return appearances in the later books.  I had read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz a few years ago, and so the discussion of the golden cap and all that was cool in that it harkened back to that story.  I also think it did well in explaining the variations it had from that book--the witch did not dissolve in water because she is so aged and dry, but the monkey tells Dorothy that she can tell whatever story she wants and so that's apparently the story that she made up that got written into Baum's book.

Overall I enjoyed the story.  A well-told Oz tale.  Not my favorite of that ilk, but better than average I'd say.