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Author Topic: Pseudopod 334: The Curse Of The Mummy  (Read 4104 times)

Bdoomed

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on: May 18, 2013, 05:47:31 AM
Pseudopod 334: The Curse Of The Mummy

by Andre Harden

“The Curse Of The Mummy” is making its debut on PSEUDOPOD.

ANDRE HARDEN is a freelance screenwriter. He has several scripts in development, one of which is in casting, but its up in the air and there are no details he can share at this time.
His thriller script, NUMB, won the 2011 Praxis Screenwriting Award. He is working on a fantasy novel, more short stories and several other screenplays. He Blogs at Andre Harden.com

Your reader this week - Emily Smith - Works as a physician in the Central Valley of California which helps pay for her fiction addiction and keeps her cats and dogs in kibble. She’s previously narrated two works for PodCastle - “El Regalo” by Peter S. Beagle and “Sugar Skulls” by Samantha Henderson. Her piece “Escape” won the Pseudopod Flash Contest II.” She would like to acknowledge the efforts of the good folks at Escape Artists, especially the hard working volunteers helping with the Flash Contests..



“She’d driven out of town a thousand times. Sometimes east, sometimes west, always alone. Anywhere was better than here. She tried to keep it real for the most part: a safety deposit on an apartment, a total make over, a new job; waitressing or maybe something else. Maybe a photographer. Maybe a dog walker. Maybe a nanny for rich people. Those were real jobs in some places. Sometimes she couldn’t keep it real at all: She’d flown to Paris and shared a taxi with a man who wanted her and who turned out to have millions. Fantasy, like real life, had a way of spiraling out of control.”




PLEASE HELP PSEUDOPOD AND ANSWER A VERY SHORT DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY AT THIS LINK. IT WILL HELP US IMMEASURABLY! and thank you!

SURVEY



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?


BlueGildedCage

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Reply #1 on: May 18, 2013, 01:12:56 PM
I absolutely loved this story.  And I absolutely loved Alasdair's 'Demon Knight' references in the outro!

Long-time listener, first time commenting. 

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Kaa

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Reply #2 on: May 18, 2013, 02:50:19 PM
I was solidly loving this story up to a certain point. I've now listened to the end four times. And I'm no closer to figuring out what I missed than I was the first time through, when I was convinced that the reader must have left out a paragraph. Or two. Maybe I'm just being dense, but...what the hell happened? Did she look into the sarcophagus and I just managed to miss it four times?

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

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flintknapper

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Reply #3 on: May 18, 2013, 02:53:39 PM
I loved the way the story seemed to be going in one direction and then quickly took a right-hand turn off in another (multiple times). If it hadn't been for the title, I would not have seen the mummy or the curse coming. The author did an excellent job of creating a mundane setting and then introducing in the fantastic elements. I would love to hear more of Andre Harden's work.

Also, I always try to comment on the narration which in this episode was spot on for the character.

Great pseudopod episode all around. It is stories like this one which make me such a fan of the podcast.




Just Jeff

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Reply #4 on: May 19, 2013, 03:14:56 AM
I enjoyed this one. When the ticket fluttered down, my response was, "Of course it does." A perfect moment in a good story.



adrianh

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Reply #5 on: May 19, 2013, 01:37:18 PM
I was solidly loving this story up to a certain point. I've now listened to the end four times. And I'm no closer to figuring out what I missed than I was the first time through, when I was convinced that the reader must have left out a paragraph. Or two. Maybe I'm just being dense, but...what the hell happened? Did she look into the sarcophagus and I just managed to miss it four times?

No she didn't ;-)

She "owed" the keeper of the mummy.

She originally thought it was repaid by supplying a victim. Instead she repays him by taking on the burden (and the hunger) of the mummy. Original mummy keeper wanders off into the sunset. She goes on the road with the mummy.

That was my reading anyway.




Kaa

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Reply #6 on: May 19, 2013, 02:45:00 PM
Ooooh. Because SHE was the one who shoved him in there, and not the dude. OK. That just wasn't getting through. Maybe I'll listen to it a fifth time.

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

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schizoTypal

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Reply #7 on: May 20, 2013, 03:37:45 AM
I've listened to the story a number of times now, and the same thing keeps popping out at me. The small factors that give a sense of who this woman is, such as her habitual buying of cigarettes while noting that she can't afford them, and the pointlessness of her lotto tickets. It gives a feeling that she could have been any one of the neighborhood Moms when I was a kid (on that note, I think I may have had a trashy childhood ...).



Unblinking

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Reply #8 on: May 21, 2013, 01:26:42 PM
I was solidly loving this story up to a certain point. I've now listened to the end four times. And I'm no closer to figuring out what I missed than I was the first time through, when I was convinced that the reader must have left out a paragraph. Or two. Maybe I'm just being dense, but...what the hell happened? Did she look into the sarcophagus and I just managed to miss it four times?

No she didn't ;-)

She "owed" the keeper of the mummy.

She originally thought it was repaid by supplying a victim. Instead she repays him by taking on the burden (and the hunger) of the mummy. Original mummy keeper wanders off into the sunset. She goes on the road with the mummy.

That was my reading anyway.

Ah, is that what's supposed to happen?  It may be sleep deprivation talking, but I didn't get that.  Even up until that point I didn't really care what happened to any of the characters, so it was hard to get into for me.



Cutter McKay

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Reply #9 on: May 22, 2013, 10:54:06 PM
I loved this one. Great twist ending. Admittedly, it could have been just a touch less vague in the transition, but by the end, I got that Tammy Lynn had become the Keeper of the Mummy, so-to-speak, a fact driven home when she catches the reflection of her eyes, glowing green like the truck driver from which she inherited this fate.

The only thing I wasn't clear on was exactly why she picked up the curse. Kaa mentioned it might have been because she shoved Jim in rather than the other guy, which is possible, but I got the feeling the truck driver was expecting this. If he was accidentally released from the curse, I think his reaction would have been more relief or excitement. Instead, he was sort of sorry and melancholy about the transition, sympathetic even, like he knew this was going to happen. But if so, how did he know it would happen? My first thought was that maybe it just passed on to the next person, but the truck driver seems to have been at this for years, so that can't be it. Maybe there's a set number of souls he has to feed, and he reached that, but if so, how did he know that number?

Anyway, whatever the reason, I still loved it. As Flint said, this was an awesome portrayal of a mundane setting suddenly turned fantastic, with dire consequences. Well done.

And I'll agree that the narration was perfect.

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Frabulon

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Reply #10 on: May 23, 2013, 10:12:30 PM
It's neat to hear the different comments. I'm glad it drew some of you in. Thanks for your kind feedback.

The mechanics of how the curse shifted are hinted at with subtlety as I wanted the reader to share Tammy Lynn's experience, and she is oblivious to what is happening until it is too late. How I see it: In the restaurant Tammy Lynn imagines a number of people who may be the next victim and decides to take responsibility for who is going to die. She chooses Jim and conspires to kill him. On the way to the motel, the keeper warns her, giving her a chance, in her ignorance, to back out, but she keeps on. She calls Jim to come. She hits him with the tire iron. She throws him into the sarcophagus. And so she becomes the Keeper, doomed with the responsibility of choosing and providing the next victim.

Is it all there on the page (or in the podcast)? I think so, but I suppose that's your call. In any case, I wanted the reader, like Tammy Lynn, to piece it together after the fact.  

Andre



Uncanny Valley

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Reply #11 on: May 30, 2013, 04:14:07 PM
I really liked this story.  I cared about Tammy Lynn, and maybe because I saw some of my traits in her.  I thought it was very effective, also, in that people don't really think through the consequences of their actions, especially under stress.  Lastly, from a storytelling perspective, the lottery ticket was a vital motivator in 'buying' her actions.  That lottery ticket was a symbol of the life she wanted.  Very cool.



Scattercat

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Reply #12 on: June 25, 2013, 10:12:07 PM
I thought it wasn't so much that the original mummy owner was free as that his curse didn't end when he got what he wanted, and in fact he has become something of a carrier himself, recruiting new soul-siphons to the mummy's service just like the vampires used to do (and did to him).

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