Escape Artists
July 16, 2019, 05:54:42 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: The final group of the Podcastle Flash Fiction contest is live! Voting lasts through July 13th.
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2  All
  Print  
Author Topic: Pseudopod 329: Red Rubber Gloves  (Read 14974 times)
Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4913


Mmm. Tiger.


« on: April 13, 2013, 06:09:37 PM »

Pseudopod 329: Red Rubber Gloves

By Christine Brooke-Rose - presented here through the kind courtesy of her literary executor, Jean-Michel Rabaté, who has allowed us to produce this story.

This week’s episode sponsored by Audible.com; they offer Pseudopod listeners a free audiobook download of their choice from Audible’s selection of over 100,000 titles.

“Red Rubber Gloves” was originally read by your editor in the late 1970s (when he was a small lad) in a collection called TALES OF UNEASE edited by John Burke and published in 1966. The book was a tie in to a soon-forgotten, and now seemingly lost, regional television anthology horror show of the same name that ran on London Weekend Television.

CHRISTINE BROOKE-ROSE (1923-2012) was one of the greatest British experimental novelists (the novel, BETWEEN (1968) is written entirely without using the verb “to be”), as well as a critic and a leading interpreter of Modernism. She was born in Geneva, Switzerland. During World War II she worked at Bletchley Park as a WAAF in Intelligence, later completing her university degree. She then worked for a time in London as a literary journalist and scholar. Because she often used alternative narrative devices (including unorthodox chronology and unusual typography) to create alternative realities, her work is sometimes classified as science fiction, though much of it is beyond category. As with much postmodern fiction, her writing — organized around an unspoken compact between the author, who is unspooling the text, and the reader, who is watching it unspool — is about the act of writing itself. As her New York Times obituary said “Ms. Brooke-Rose was a linguistic escape artist. In book after book she dons self-imposed syntactic shackles, and in book after book she gleefully slips them.”

Your reader this week - Kim Lakin-Smith - writes dark fantasy and science fiction short stories that have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Black Static, Interzone, Celebration, Myth-Understandings, Further Conflicts, Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse, The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories By Women, and others, with ‘Johnny and Emmie-Lou Get Married’ shortlisted for the BSFA short story award 2009. She is the author of the gothic fantasy Tourniquet; Tales from the Renegade City, the YA novella Queen Rat, and Cyber Circus which was shortlisted for both the 2012 BSFA Best Novel award and the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

Her short story ‘Beyond Hope’ features in Solaris Rising 2, which is launched at this year’s Eastercon. Later in the year, her crossover YA novel Autodrome will be published by Snowbooks. Autodrome is part Speed Racer, part Death Race - on the same day that 15 year old Zar Punkstar qualifies as Pro Leaguer, he finds his inventor father murdered. His opposition are polished Pro Leaguers, hired thugs, and parts pirates. But who to trust in a world of competitors?

Visit Kim at her website



“In the kitchen window of the right-hand house the panel of two squares over two over two over two is open to reveal a· black rectangle and the beginning of the gleaming sink. Inside the sink is a red plastic bowl and on the window-sill are the red rubber gloves, now at rest.

In the morning the sunlight slants on all the windows, reflecting gold in some of the black squares but not in others, making each rectangular window, with its eight squares across and four squares down, look like half a chessboard gone berserk in order to confuse the queen and both her knights.

In the black rectangle of the open kitchen window the sunlight gleams on the stainless steel double sink unit, just beyond the cream-painted frame. Above the gleaming sink the red rubber gloves move swiftly, rise from the silver greyness lifting a yellow mass, plunging it into greyness, lifting it again, twisting its tail, shifting it to the right-hand. sink, moving back left, vanishing into greyness, rising and moving swiftly, in and out, together and apart.

On closer scrutiny I can see that in the left-hand house the wooden frames of the thirty-two black squares, eight by four in each of the rectangular windows, are painted white. It is only the right-hand house which has cream-painted windows. They all looked the same behind the trees against the strong September sun that faces me on my high balcony. The left-hand house seems quite devoid of life. Possibly the two rectangular windows, one above the other in the square end of the inverted U, are not the windows of the bathroom and kitchen at all in the left-hand house. It is difficult to see them through the apple-tree, and of course through the goldening elm in the garden at the back of my block. In the right-hand house, however, the lower room is definitely the kitchen, in the black rectangle of which the red rubber gloves move swiftly apart, shake hands, vanish into greyness, lift up a foam-white mass, vanish and reappear, move to the right, move back, lunge into greyness, rise and move swiftly right. Beyond the red rubber gloves is a pale grey shape, then blackness.”



The Flash Fiction Contest is moving into the semifinals on Monday, so stay tuned!



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2013, 06:11:44 PM by Bdoomed » Logged

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
Brynn
Extern
*
Posts: 17



« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2013, 07:59:45 PM »

I will have to return to comment on this when Ive read the story on the page, in written form, because the audio was really wonky for me. Not the narrator's fault, but there was a metallic type of echo on the recording, making the narrator's "S" sounds like daggers in my ears. Sad

As far as I listened, however, I found the narrative repetition pretty fascinating, so I'll definitely be interested to see how the rest of the story is told.  Smiley
Logged
Just Jeff
Palmer
**
Posts: 72


« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2013, 11:19:36 AM »

The title sent my mind chasing off after many unsettling possibilities, but I found the story monotonous.
Logged
AliceNred
Peltast
***
Posts: 86



« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2013, 01:04:13 PM »

I liked the title and I had great hopes for this one. I haven't read anything by CHRISTINE BROOKE-ROSE but she sounded like someone I should read.

The recording sounded hollow.

As to the story, I hated it. I thought it was repetitive and well... boring. 

The idea of spin off of Rear Window is great, but  phrases used with small changes for over 30 minutes, just to get to the "shock" and then back to normal... Well, I wish I had a different view on this, rear or front, or how about looking at something more than gloves.

A little part of my soul went down the food disposal with this one.

Logged

Stop throwing gnomes at me. They hurt.
Scattercat
Caution:
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4866


Amateur wordsmith


WWW
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2013, 05:32:02 PM »

This was brilliant.  The loops and repetitions, the speculations and "Wait, no" self-corrections.  I loved the subtle shifts in tone and direction; the structure was such that the smallest word choice change suddenly became significant, just like the narrator's world, so constrained that s/he fixated on the smallest details.  I wonder if there even was a baby, if the woman ever was pregnant.  The whole story is filtered through a cracked and crazed lens; the narrator seems not at all averse to stating as fact the barest suppositions.

The reading was great, too, the precise pronunciation coupled with the apparent unawareness of repetition or irrelevance putting me in mind of GlaDOS ("...flooding the lab with deadly neurotoxin...").
Logged

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book
lisavilisa
Peltast
***
Posts: 114


« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 12:30:37 AM »

I can't tell if it was the narration or the story, both were a great fit for the other, but I loved to just listen to this story. I played it twice when I worked and it was almost hypnotic and peaceful. It let my guard get nice and down for when things started to get truly gruesome.

Well done.
Logged
Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4913


Mmm. Tiger.


« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 02:08:34 AM »

Man, I was going to write up a long accolade of this story, but then Scattercat went and said literally everything I was thinking.  This story was downright poetic, wonderfully crafted, and perfectly executed.  The narration was spot on too, really well done on all accounts.

Also, lisavilisa, maybe google ASMR.  I could be wrong though.  (I love my ASMR)
Logged

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
lisavilisa
Peltast
***
Posts: 114


« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 09:22:13 AM »



Also, lisavilisa, maybe google ASMR.  I could be wrong though.  (I love my ASMR)

Hee, I used ASMR sites as my new before bed routine after I posted that.
Logged
flintknapper
Lochage
*****
Posts: 323



« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 01:30:00 PM »

Not for everyone. I had not read or listened to anything by this author before. The voice of the story had a strange vibe. The repetition didn't bother me to much, but made the story difficult to follow. The visuals were amazing though. 

After it ended, I am not sure how I feel. I guess it is not my cup of tea, but I think it was a good choice for pseudopod. If nothing else, it exposed me to an author I was unware of.
Logged
Acth99
Extern
*
Posts: 11


« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2013, 10:29:50 PM »

I liked the languorous feel to the narration.
Logged
benjaminjb
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1389



« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2013, 09:24:14 AM »

I've only previously read some Brooke-Rose criticism (Rhetoric of the Unreal), so I'm glad to hear some fiction. In structure, it reminded me very strongly of Alain Robbe-Grillet, like his novel La Jalousie, where a husband-narrator who absents himself from the story grows increasingly jealous of his wife and a neighbor, to the point perhaps of hallucination and uncertainty. And, whaddayaknow, Brooke-Rose translated Robbe-Grillet (I'm finding now in her obit).

And like Alain Robbe-Grillet, this isn't going to be for everyone. Frankly, I like the stretching this story causes--it is work, not best done while trying to fall asleep--but it also seems like an exercise, too, without much of what we expect in fiction to grab our empathy.
Logged
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 1201


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2013, 10:01:58 AM »

BenjaminJB thank you for catching and articulating many of my own thoughts when I picked the story.  Yes, Robbe-Grillet is an apt comparison and that Nouveau Roman style was, I felt, an interesting experimental challenge for the podcast - does such writing work in audio?  I can think of lots of reasons why not (much like I can make the same arguments for Henry James) but there seemed to be many reasons why it would work as well.  I'm glad it seemed to have grabbed some people (I do think the map-like, repetitive visual schematic laid out by the writing probably helped) and this year in general is proving to be one where PSEUDOPOD gets to stretch it's many plastic tendrils in all directions - some of which, no doubt, will prove not to everyone's taste.  But I'd rather we prove unpredictable than merely stodgily reliable - most of my personal breathroughs in critical thinking came not from a positive "why do I like this?" or even a "why don't I like this?" but rather a rigorous "Why do - or even - how can others like this?" and then attempting to fit those presumptions into my critical framework.  "Disrupting pattern recognition" is how I think of it and it's one of my underlying approaches to editing Pseudopod.

Thank you again for your comments.
Logged
Scattercat
Caution:
Hipparch
******
Posts: 4866


Amateur wordsmith


WWW
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2013, 12:39:28 PM »

I think this story actually works better in audio, at least for someone like myself who reads very quickly.  In a story where repetition and small details are crucial, I would likely have had to stop and reread several times, battling my instincts to skim over irrelevancies.  Additionally, having it read aloud enables the structure to become more apparent than it would on the page (unless one went all-out and formatted it like a poem, which has its own readability issues.)
Logged

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book
benjaminjb
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1389



« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 12:51:55 PM »

I think the best format these days might be some sort of app. I'd love to press a button and have the story visualized architecturally or to time-lapse some of the repetitions-with-a-difference. I wonder: are there any Nouveau pieces that are out of copyright?
Logged
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 6109



« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2013, 01:27:57 PM »

This was an excellent story; I basically agree with everything Scattercat said above. I don't know how much what the narrator saw was real and how much was delusion, but that's sort of not the crux of the horror in this one - for me what it really conveyed was the feeling of being trapped in one's own body that the narrator was experiencing and how it warps her experiences of the world.
Logged
Loren Eaton
Extern
*
Posts: 5



WWW
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2013, 09:37:33 AM »

Quote
I wonder if there even was a baby, if the woman ever was pregnant.

Ditto for me too, Shadowcat, although the effect wasn't a positive one for me. I suspected that the author wanted us to question whether or not the entire "narrative" was simply an invention of the ill narrator, but there wasn't much textual evidence to go on. And while the repetitious sections worked really well for literary effect, they were a bit dull. Still, an interesting story even where it didn't entirely work.
Logged

ISawLightningFall.com
Narrative, Genre, and the Craft of Writing
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2013, 09:45:39 AM »

I didn't care for this story.  The repetition was much too much, especially of the colors that are mentioned ever time the object they're tied to is mentioned.  Maybe I just don't think that way but it just made the whole thing feel stilted and unnatural and dull.  It was about 90% dullness, and then maybe a butchered baby, and then some more dullness.  The moment of the reveal of the apparent baby was well done, honestly, but the dullness before it was much too much.  I don't care when the woman hangs her laundry.  I don't care that she is sunbathing.  I don't care that she is washing dishes.  I care even less the more it's repeated.

I wonder if there even was a baby, if the woman ever was pregnant. 

I wondered that too.  For me, though, that didn't make me like it more but less.  If no baby was butchered than it was just about a bored person watching their neighbor doing everday things.
Logged
Uncanny Valley
Palmer
**
Posts: 26



« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2013, 03:42:55 PM »

I don't know if I've ever hated a story this much.  It was tedious, repetitive, and made me want to scream.  I literally felt like I was going insane while listening to it.  In other words, it was a 100% effective horror story.  And I never want to go through that again.  Narration was brilliant.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 05:18:47 PM by Uncanny Valley » Logged
chemistryguy
Matross
****
Posts: 261


Serving the Detroit Metro area since 1970


WWW
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2013, 05:59:35 AM »

I don't know if I've ever hated a story this much.  It was tedious, repetitive, and made me want to scream.  I literally felt like I was going insane while listening to it.  In other words, it was a 100% effective horror story.  And I never want to go through that again.  Narration was brilliant.

I'd been trying to think of how to comment, but this sums it up pretty well.
Logged

Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4913


Mmm. Tiger.


« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2013, 12:39:50 PM »

I'd suggest listening to the story again with the mindset that while it is prose, it is a poem.  I think it worked so much better in audio than it ever would in text, for me.  I would simply gloss over all of the repetition, mildly annoyed, and keep going, wondering why my professor assigned this reading Tongue.  In audio, however, I am forced to listen to the flow of the story, the rhythmic repetitions, and the wonder at whether or not the narrator is seeing anything that she claims, despite the detail put into these descriptions.

I also think it would be interesting to illustrate the scene, there's certainly enough information there.
Logged

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
Pages: [1] 2  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!