Escape Artists
November 19, 2018, 06:40:36 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3  All
  Print  
Author Topic: PC277: A Hollow Play  (Read 8706 times)
Talia
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2680


Muahahahaha


« on: September 12, 2013, 07:38:36 AM »

PodCastle 277: A Hollow Play

by Amal El-Mohtar

Read by Tina Connolly (of Toasted Cake). Check out Tina’s upcoming novel Copperhead, the sequel to Ironskin!

Originally published in the Glitter & Mayhem anthology, edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damien Thomas, and John Klima.

Dear Paige,

So, I’m here, but Anna’s not , and I awesomely left Memoirs of a Space Woman at home in spite of knowing I’d have two hours to kill, so I figure I’ll just keep writing to you.

Cabaret! I have no idea what to expect. Have you ever been to a cabaret show? I wasn’t sure how to dress for it either—when I asked Anna she just laughed and told me to use my imagination—so I’m wearing the red top you gave me, the button-down one with the sleeves that flare out and curl from the elbows. I can’t believe I still have it—it’s been, what, ten years, three moves? It’s not fitting so great now—since I started taking derby more seriously (I’m EMILY THE SLAYER now! Strong like Buffy!) my arms have gotten huge, and you should see the butt on me—but it’s still pretty and I love it, and it still matches my favourite earrings best.

I should probably tell you more about Anna, since obviously there’s more to her than being trans and my co-worker. She’s really great, and really cute—she just cut her hair short last week and dyed it bright orange-red, so she looks kind of like Leeloo from The Fifth Element. She’s vegan(sometimes I swear she likes the fact that I’m not, because it gives her an excuse to play “Meat is Murder” on loop in the cafe for the duration of my lunch break, which no one notices, because it sounds like every other Smiths song except the good ones, which she refuses to accept no matter how many times I explain it), an amazing cosplayer, and getting into burlesque. She hasn’t performed in public yet, just for friends in her living room, but she’s been developing this number that involves a chef’s hat, mixed greens, and oversized serving implements.

We’re not dating or anything. I’ve only known her for about a month, though it feels like way longer—and I refuse to entertain a crush, because she’s been in a closed poly triad for a while and they’re kind of going through a rough patch that she hasn’t told me much about. So I’ll tell you more about this cabaret thing instead.


Rated R: Contains Cabaret, Roller Derby references, and F-bombs. Let’s dance!

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 07:32:39 AM by Talia » Logged
danooli
Moderator
*****
Posts: 1511



WWW
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2013, 08:15:41 AM »

Holy cow. I loved this so much. the beginning was sweet and I loved the developing friendship between Emily and Anna. The scenes at the cabaret were fun and made me think of The Eolian from The Name of The Wind....
The reveal between Lynnette and Emily of who she and Kel are and where they came from was well done...

What really floored me was the reveal that Paige chose to cut ties with Emily and was seemingly living happily without her "best friend". Literally floored me as I sat down on my kitchen floor when I heard that.  Without going into details, I am the Paige to my childhood best friends Emily. I cut off all ties with her, even knowing that action would be hurtful, because of a toxic turn our relationship took. I don't quite feel guilty enough to reestablish a friendship but...it certainly dredged up some interesting emotions.

I am so SO happy that Emily and Anna have each other. <3

Tina Connolly's one of my favorite narrators and this story just adds to her awesomness. Paired with the beauty of Amal El-Mohtars writing makes this really special.
Logged
zoanon
Peltast
***
Posts: 126



« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2013, 09:10:39 AM »

damn.... Walking around my new school in my new town to keep from crying. I wish I could know the one I left is happy without me, but I can't give him up.

this was a good story, I want to know what happened between Paige and Emily, I guess I'll have to listen again for hints.

Logged
Moon_Goddess
Palmer
**
Posts: 50



« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2013, 12:17:46 PM »

Oh my god... I was supposed to be at work early today and I was listening to this story in the car on the way to work.

Next thing I know the story is over and I'm in the parking lot I can't even go in cuz I'm just sitting there crying.

About the past, and friends and lost opportunities, and   I'm going to have to listen to the outro again, I didn't even hear it.

I want to say more about this story but I just can't, I don't even know how to speak of it.

I dearly love that this story dealt with trans characters without it being a trans story.    AWESOME.

This story touched my life in ways that are so personal that I'm still wrapping my head around it.   Thank you thank you.
Logged

Was dream6601 but that's sounds awkward when Nathan reads my posts.
heyes
Peltast
***
Posts: 92



WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2013, 06:00:34 PM »

For me this story was hard to listen to because there was a high pitched noise in the background that was distracting from the story to the extent that I couldn't pay attention to the narrator. There was a break in the distracting noise at the beginning, but then it came back again and I had to abandon it.
Logged

"Feed me Seymour!"
     -Audry II
"You were not put on the Earth to get it, Mr. Burton"
     - Lo Pan
Melsana
Extern
*
Posts: 8


« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 02:28:04 PM »

For me this story was hard to listen to because there was a high pitched noise in the background that was distracting from the story to the extent that I couldn't pay attention to the narrator. There was a break in the distracting noise at the beginning, but then it came back again and I had to abandon it.

I had the same problem.  I got through about half of it before it starting causing too much of a headache for me to keep listening to.  It was an interesting story up to that point so I hated having to switch to listening to something else.  Maybe I'll be able to finish it in small spurts of listening.
Logged
InfiniteMonkey
Lochage
*****
Posts: 483


Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2013, 01:09:23 AM »

The high-pitched whine was noticeable to me as well, though only at the beginning and end.

This story didn't affect me as much as others, and I think that's because I'm bit more thick-skinned than Emily, and a lot of her personal awkwardness doesn't really speak to me. I'm not saying she isn't believable. I think there's not enough distance between the narration and the narrator for me to completely sympathize, if that makes any sense.
Logged
FireTurtle
Hipparch
******
Posts: 898



« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2013, 04:31:48 PM »

Oh, now that was quite enjoyable despite the previously mentioned high whiny noise. I really enjoyed the exploration of different kinds of love and relationships. I was especially struck by how deftly one-sided relationships are portrayed as relationships that are primarily with the self, and secondarily with the other. That sounds really like a bad college essay I might have written, but I simply don't have the literary savvy to say what I'm trying to say. Very interesting exploration of love and relationships. Very. Not tear-inducing for me but I rarely cry at stories. (commercials, yes, stories no, explain that one!)But, very memorable and hit that deep soft spot in my crusty soul where I hide the feelings away. That's just what good fantasy should do.
Logged

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin
jtollert
Extern
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2013, 03:13:01 PM »

I'll try again, but I also abandoned the story due to the noise.  That was on top of the engine noise in the car.
Logged
Moritz
Lochage
*****
Posts: 491



« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 02:05:08 AM »

I had a couple of issues with the story.

First of all, using fairies or changelings as metaphors for LGBT issues is in my opinion an overused trope and will just let me roll my eyes. Then I didn't like the use of the gender-neutral "they" in this case, because although I use it myself in phrases which are unspecific ("when someone smiles at me I try to smile back at them"), I found it really irritating when combined with a name. The whole story was too full with gender and sexual issues, in my opinion, e.g. every character with a speaking role was LGBT, as if they are an insular community, which is a portrayal I do not like.

Finally, I had problems connecting with the characters, because they kind of annoyed me. They were people I would walk away from if I met them, maybe because I try to stay away from people who are difficult.

Oh and I had to listen to the story twice, because I mixed up the characters the first time I listened and didn't pay my full attention.
Logged
jenfullmoon
Palmer
**
Posts: 46


« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 04:27:07 PM »

What really floored me was the reveal that Paige chose to cut ties with Emily and was seemingly living happily without her "best friend". Literally floored me as I sat down on my kitchen floor when I heard that.  Without going into details, I am the Paige to my childhood best friends Emily. I cut off all ties with her, even knowing that action would be hurtful, because of a toxic turn our relationship took. I don't quite feel guilty enough to reestablish a friendship but...it certainly dredged up some interesting emotions.

I don't know if it's "happily." But (a) clearly Paige wanted to cut ties with Emily, so all Emily could really do was learn to accept that, and (b) at least Emily knew that Paige was happy and alive, rather than wondering if Paige had OD'd in an alley somewhere. Under those circumstances, it would probably be easier to deal with the truth than usual. God knows I've been friend-dumped out of the blue enough myself to know how this routine goes, and this story has a lot more than you get when it happens IRL.

I do kind of think that giving up your best friend (when ahem, she already gave you up) is kind of a cheat for a sacrifice, though. It's like giving up your favorite fruit for Lent when it's not in season during Lent anyway, or something like that. If I were the Mean Gods Of Dictating Sacrifices, I probably would have buzzkilled that one as a "not enough." But then again, I just finished reading a book (The Wishing Thread) that talks about the magic of sacrifices as being something that you want to keep and it hurts you to give up....but in Emily's case, she can't really "keep" Paige anyway, so it's still easier to sacrifice your hope of her. But maybe I'm biased on the topic.

My favorite moment of this was the John Cage "this has been going on for 4 minutes...OHHHHHHHHHHHHH...." without ever flat out saying "four minutes, 33 seconds." Adorable geek moment.

What does Lynette do about shoes? I want to know.
Logged
bizbrig
Palmer
**
Posts: 39



« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2013, 05:39:10 PM »

I really loved the way Tina Connolly voiced this piece. It more than made up for the occasional noise on the recording. Bravo!
Logged
yicheng
Matross
****
Posts: 221


« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2013, 12:48:45 PM »

Count me as another one that had audio troubles, although it was still listenable.

As for the story, to be honest, I had a hard time with this one.  I found the protagonist to be whiny, self-absorbed, and a too-stereotypical "special snowflake" emo kid.  While I realize that this is a LGBT story, the problem is that if you took the lesbianism out, it leaves a rather weak story which is basically about a teenager getting over her/his first crush.  I also found the whole concept of having a "loss" in order to open the "secret fairy portal" to be rather contrived and ire-inducing.  The first thing that came to mind was the Buddhist parable of the Mustard Seed:  http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/mourn.html.  Basically, the take away is that every single person in the world suffers loss, and it's only the extremely young, ignorant, or sheltered that imagine themselves somehow unique because of it.  Are we to assume that the protagonist's loss is somehow so profoundly great that only she was uniquely suited for the task?  If the metric is the quantity of suffering, the fairies could have literally walked down the street and stopped random people.
Logged
evrgrn_monster
Lochage
*****
Posts: 356


SQUAW, MY OPINIONS.


« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2013, 08:56:43 PM »

This gets a mixed review from me. There was a lot to like in the piece. For one, there was a great, easy-going flow from one scene to another, none of which felt rushed or unnecessary. I also enjoyed pretty much everything about Lynette and Kel's mythology, although I am still a bit mystified about exactly why they were kicked out in the first place. I was listening to this at work though, so I'll be the first to admit that this may have been me being distracted by paperwork. The narration was great too; Tina always knocks these things out of the park.

However, I too got the "special little snowflake" vibe from Emily, and found her to be more annoying than someone I could empathize with. (This is coming from a kid who hung out with the goths, gays, and outcasts in a tiny school on a military base, and therefore probably would know where this character was coming from.) I don't feel like she grew at all in this story; she simply switched her journal over to another person in the end. She doesn't change or learn how to be better or how to cope with people leaving. She remained static, and that just left a bad taste in my mouth.

I actually felt the most for Anna, who was just trying to show a new friend a nice night out on the town, and instead was given a bitter reminder that the person she loved didn't love her enough, only to see them fly away. Then, she has to go to work with the person that caused it the next day? Man, that has got to be absolutely awful.
Logged

Moritz
Lochage
*****
Posts: 491



« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2013, 01:45:59 AM »

@ evgrn_monster: I totally agree with your points.
Logged
Spindaddy
Peltast
***
Posts: 158


Small god of doughnuts


« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2013, 07:49:51 PM »

I liked the story, but mainly b/c I was listening to it on the way home after a long day of corporate drudgery and I wanted nothing more than to believe there is magic out there somewhere beyond spreadsheets and TPS reports.

One of the things that captured me early on was the journal writing. I enjoy stories that switch back and forth between journal entries or letter. I also liked the story because it reminded me of the hard lessons of learning to let go of the past, not being able to change someone I loved and to try to fit in with some completely different people. I didn't mind the LGBT themes in the story, but mostly because they seemed to be part of the background rather than central to the story. Honestly, I think the characters could have been of any orientation and the story would still be as good.

Emily was a bit on the annoying side, but I guess I saw her more as someone desperate to escape from depression without having a lifeline in a friend. I know what its like to have no one that 'understands' you like a best friend and to then lose that person suddenly with no explanation. I also felt sorry for Ana.

Most I want to know about the bird feet.
Logged

I'm not evil. I'm corporate.
evrgrn_monster
Lochage
*****
Posts: 356


SQUAW, MY OPINIONS.


« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2013, 01:44:39 PM »

Most I want to know about the bird feet.

I love how we're all like, yeah, this story was pretty cool, but can we please talk more about feet?  Grin
Logged

rlzack
Extern
*
Posts: 15



« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2013, 09:18:18 AM »

I enjoyed this one. Not a great story, but definitely worth the time to listen. Yes, the audio quality was not perfect. But that didn't distract me.

Quote
she simply switched her journal over to another person in the end

I think you missed something here. It was not Emily who was writing at the end, it was Anna. Or did I miss something? I hope I didn't miss something, because the fact that Anna is now writing a journal was very significant to me - it means that Emily is affecting others, hopefully in good ways. And since she seems to have been so bad for Paige (enough so that Paige terminated the friendship), that gave me hope for Emily.
Logged
quasidoza
Extern
*
Posts: 18


« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2013, 11:49:44 AM »

Lost about what Emily sacrificed, was it the self delusion that life continues without her and indeed improves.

The 'they' lost me as well, I kept thinking of multiple personalities or conjoined twins.

Being from, and being comfortable in, London I found the description of Emily's feeling when there odd - everyone is an outsider.

Nice flow of story and narration but I didn't connect with it.
Logged
Rindan
Extern
*
Posts: 9


« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2013, 01:19:38 AM »

I found the story okay.  It had some nice imagery and the narration was pretty good.  If it had been about a theme that did it for me and had a protagonist that I liked, I think I would have really enjoyed the writing style.  There was some stuff that didn't do it for me though.  I found the protagonist to be too much of an emotional mess to like.  Her sacrifice seemed pretty minimal compared to destroying a real relationships, but apparently worked because she was so self absorbed that it really was horrible for her.

The LGBT theme, which is something I am all for, was kind of hamfisted.  It seemed... I don't know, too explanatory?  The metaphors were all without even a hint of subtlety.  Maybe it was speed at which it all rolled out and is kind of dumped on your lap that got to me.  More than the kind of hamfisted nature of the LGBT theme, I am just bored to death of LGBT coming of age stories.  I can assume from all the LGBT stories I have read in sci-fi and fantasy that if you are gay you are going to feel like an outsider, have some really awkward unrequited love, maybe get over your childhood crush (or not), maybe find true love in the end (or not), and then apparently drop dead never having reached the relationship maturity of a 16 year old.  Why can't two gay men or women have an adult relationship?  If it has to be about relationship dysfunction, at least give them adult problems, not a crumbly mess of emo feels.  Yes, I know that is a painful and awkward time, but there is a solid half century of life that comes AFTER that time that seemed to be ignored.  I want a gay or trans Indiana Jones or Hon Solo chasing tail, awkwardly running to and getting stuck with former lovers, all the while rocking some high adventure.  Please, no more LGBQ coming of age stories.

Moderator's Note: I have moved follow-up discussions from this post over to the 'About PodCastle' board, here. Please respond there if you must.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 07:47:35 AM by Talia » Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3  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!