Author Topic: Pseudopod 028: Lorna  (Read 9182 times)

Bdoomed

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on: March 09, 2007, 08:34:05 PM
Pseudopod 028: Lorna


By Alasdair Stuart
Read by Stephen Eley

She leaned closer to him, conspiratorially. Somewhere at the back of his mind, he noticed her breath didn’t smell of alcohol. “You know how most people have a job?”

“Yeah?”

“I have a calling.”

He looked at her, his face carefully neutral. “And that is?”

“I’m what Guardian Angels dream of being. I protect one person from harm for their entire life, until their time has come.”

Psycho. Make your excuses. “I think I should be going.”



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


DKT

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Reply #1 on: March 09, 2007, 11:44:24 PM
Hey Alasdair, just wanted to let you know I liked this one a lot.  It started out with some lovely dark humor that reminded me of the tone of What Dead People are Supposed to Do and took kind of a wicked turn at the end.  Good story!


Alasdair5000

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Reply #2 on: March 12, 2007, 05:31:45 PM
   Thanks, glad you liked it:)  This was actually born out of a thing I used to do for fun (And later for opi8.com) called 'X Minute Theatre'.  Basically, I'd sit down with a rough idea and go flat out to try and get it finished in 30 minutes or less.  If I did, then it would be an XMT story.  If not, I'd expand it to a different length.
   It was an interesting experience which produced some deeply shoddy material and some stuff I'm really happy with, 'Lorna' being one of them.  It also taught me that the best thing to do, a lot of the time, is just write the damn story.  It can always be fixed or edited later but taking that first step is the most important thing for me.  It's also a lot easier when you've got a ticking clock:)



Bdoomed

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Reply #3 on: March 13, 2007, 10:58:44 PM
thats an interesting way to write.  seems to work too because i really liked this story!

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


fiveyearwinter

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Reply #4 on: March 14, 2007, 11:45:06 AM
The ending was so abrupt! I loved the concept, which is why I felt that it wasn't "fleshed out" enough. I was so excited at the idea that when it just sort of...ended...I felt a little disappointed. Well written, though!



Alasdair5000

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Reply #5 on: March 16, 2007, 02:34:44 PM
thats an interesting way to write.  seems to work too because i really liked this story!

   Thanks:)  I actually used it for a while to try and get past the procrastination phase that a lot of my fiction never made it past.  Inevitably, I ended up using it a little too much and had to re train myself to write stories in more than half an hour but it was a lot of fun, and along with the flash contest here, really helped me get to the immedicacy of an idea.



Alasdair5000

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Reply #6 on: March 16, 2007, 02:49:11 PM
The ending was so abrupt! I loved the concept, which is why I felt that it wasn't "fleshed out" enough. I was so excited at the idea that when it just sort of...ended...I felt a little disappointed. Well written, though!
   Thank you:)  I actually revised this from the version on Opi8 before submitting it to Pseudopod and spent a lot of time with the ending for that very reason.  It's actually quite a lot longer than the original version and I would have liked to bulk it out more but I just couldn't work out how.  Still, there is another Lorna story knocking around somewhere which I might try and revise, see whether I can get it in a fit form for submission which is a bit longer.



Russell Nash

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Reply #7 on: March 20, 2007, 10:37:24 AM
The tagline is back!! Whoo hoo!!



jdw

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Reply #8 on: March 21, 2007, 03:09:00 AM
I enjoyed the story and especially found the narrative voice to have a clear, easy flow, but like fiveyearwinter, I felt the ending was abrupt.

I also appreciated how the mc's nature was slowly revealed, which foiled my initial expectation that he was the fun, good guy you root for, like John Cusak on spring break in a romantic comedy. It was a pleasant bit of trickery. But after spending the majority of the story in a 3rd person, limited POV focused on him, I was a bit put off shifting, suddenly, to the guardian's perspective, and that trick felt less pleasant, like hustled at 3-card monte. It reminded me how often horror tales hinge on that last minute twist, and how delicate an operation it is: show too much and readers know it's coming, but don't show enough and it feels unearned. Lorna leaned towards the latter for me, but like I indicated before, I enjoyed the story up to that point, so kudos to Mr. Stuart.



Alasdair5000

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Reply #9 on: March 21, 2007, 05:35:52 PM
I enjoyed the story and especially found the narrative voice to have a clear, easy flow, but like fiveyearwinter, I felt the ending was abrupt.

I also appreciated how the mc's nature was slowly revealed, which foiled my initial expectation that he was the fun, good guy you root for, like John Cusak on spring break in a romantic comedy.
   This comparison has honestly made my day:)  If I hinted at that sort of slightly crumpled good guy before pulling the rug out then I definitely did something right.

It was a pleasant bit of trickery. But after spending the majority of the story in a 3rd person, limited POV focused on him, I was a bit put off shifting, suddenly, to the guardian's perspective, and that trick felt less pleasant, like hustled at 3-card monte. It reminded me how often horror tales hinge on that last minute twist, and how delicate an operation it is: show too much and readers know it's coming, but don't show enough and it feels unearned. Lorna leaned towards the latter for me, but like I indicated before, I enjoyed the story up to that point, so kudos to Mr. Stuart.
   That's an interesting and very perceptive take both on the ending and the problems of horror short fiction.  It's honestly given me a lot to think about, especially in how I structure my stories.  Thank you, that's both positive, honest criticism and food for thought.



clichekiller

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Reply #10 on: April 17, 2007, 03:13:54 AM
This was a great story.  I loved the twist at the end. 



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Reply #11 on: June 24, 2007, 08:13:29 AM
I think I would prefer to have a guardian angel please. :)

Like jdw said, I was pulled in by the trickery of letting us think he was a nice guy. I almost decided something was wrong when he said his best memory was pushing the boy off the cliff because he "solved a problem".. but I thought it must be a good thing if it solved a problem!

I thought the story didn't need to have Lorna switching over to anyone else at the end. The irony and twist nicely lay within the idea that her job was to shuffle her subject off their mortal coil if required... Having her switch over confused me a bit, because she already stated that she would "protect one person from harm for their entire life", so I was wondering at the end: is she doing two jobs simultaneously or going back in time? Maybe I misunderstood the story, but I thought the twist was perfect without that part.

Well done Alasdair!


Leon Kensington

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Reply #12 on: July 09, 2007, 04:34:05 PM
Great story, one of the best of the this years between PP and EP, it reminded me a bit of another story I read once.  I wish I could remember its name.



Unblinking

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Reply #13 on: September 15, 2009, 06:50:05 PM
I enjoyed reading a story by Alasdair after enjoying his hosting abilities so much.  :)

I don't have a lot new to add besides that.  I liked the story reasonably well.  I'd also gotten fooled into thinking he was a nice guy, so that was well done, and I am still a bit confused on how she could kill him when her calling is to protect him for his whole life.  Unless, the only thing she didn't have to protect him from was *BAH bum bum* herself.  The POV shift at the end was a bit jarring for me, but I'm not sure how else the ending could've been pulled off. 



Millenium_King

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Reply #14 on: August 17, 2010, 11:13:28 PM
Eh.  This one gets a lukewarm reaction from me.  I will be the first to admit that I am no fan of supernatural-morality-enforcers, however.  The intro felt a little flat.  Once the main character admitted that seeing the look on his tormentor's face before he died was his best memory, I was suddenly drawn in.  It was unexpected.  However, the follow up was very predictable: he was punished for his sins.

I didn't like it because (1) our demoness was pretty uneven in how she chose to punish sin.  It was okay that a bully died, but the fact that our hero might commit future crimes is enough to kill him.  (2) in a larger sense, was John's death seriously a sin?  Suppose he had grown up to be a killer?  How many lives would be better off with him gone?  This is why I dislike celestial moral authorities: who's to say their judgment is correct?  (3) Given how sketchy our demoness' prior judgment had been, I felt she came across as the bully herself.  Free to punish with impunity when she felt necessary, but not punished herself for past mistakes.

I guess I'm saying here that my sympathy dried up for all the characters here.  Sympathy is not necessary in a horror story - but this one seemed to focus on divine wrath and the horror of one's sins, rather than the terror of being killed by otherworldly thugs who may or may not be acting justly (as in the case of revenants).

In all cases, this story seems to be implying that the supernatural judgment was correct.  That's just not something I could agree with or appreciate.  Now if the story had implied that supernatural "justice" is just as flawed, unfair and petty as mortal justice... Now that might be scary.

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