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Author Topic: PC279: Thorns  (Read 2400 times)
Talia
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« on: September 25, 2013, 10:35:07 AM »

PodCastle 279: Thorns

by Martha Wells

Read by C.S.E. Cooney

Originally published in Realms of Fantasy

We reached the landing above the Hall.  Below, Electra’s husband, Mr. John Dearing, was personally receiving a guest, a young man in the act of handing his greatcoat to the butler.

There were no guests expected, and just before the dinner hour is not considered an appropriate time for casual calls, yet Dearing was greeting this presumptuous fellow as a prodigal son.

He was a striking figure. (The guest, I mean.  Dearing is a stout bewhiskered muskrat of a man, a fit mate for Electra.)  Blond curls, broad shoulders, a chiseled profile.  I felt a feather of unease travel down my spine; old instincts rousing, perhaps.  His garments, though somewhat the worse for travel at this rainy time of year, were of fashionable cut and fine cloth.

Frowning, Electra caught the attention of one of the footmen stationed at the bottom of the stairs, and called him up to her to ask, “Why, William, whoever is that?”

“Madame, they say it’s a foreign Duke, the son of the King of Armantia.”

“I see,” Electra dismissed the man and looked to me, her mild dove eyes vaguely troubled.  ”Oh, dear.  A prince.”


Rated PG.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 08:14:47 AM by Talia » Logged
amalmohtar
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 05:32:55 PM »

Oh wow, I really loved this! Cooney's narration just wonderfully fit the archness of the dialogue, and I could listen to her forever. Story-wise I LOVED the narrator's poise and wit, and also loved how effectively rendered was the creepiness of the whole dude-leers-over-girl's-bed-to-wake-her-with-kiss thing.

I did think it was kind of hilarious that someone coming into a room to assassinate an old woman would knock first.

Admittedly, while I was on the Fairy's side, I wasn't really convinced by her argument -- but the thought that she's actually holding out for a GOOD candidate for marriage is actually kind of a wonderful turn of events.

Also HA I see you making that tenuous connection with the intro, Ann! Botanical indeed!
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jenfullmoon
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2013, 02:18:13 PM »

Oh wow, I really loved this! Cooney's narration just wonderfully fit the archness of the dialogue, and I could listen to her forever. Story-wise I LOVED the narrator's poise and wit, and also loved how effectively rendered was the creepiness of the whole dude-leers-over-girl's-bed-to-wake-her-with-kiss thing.

Seconded. The voice really made it work for me--both writer and narrator.
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InfiniteMonkey
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2013, 11:36:33 PM »

It was a good story, well read. Thanks to Bill Willingham, I was alerted by the thorns as to who lay at the center of this story.

The narrator was wonderful anti-hero, both intelligent and hilariously condescending.
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bounceswoosh
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2013, 09:12:57 PM »

I agree with everyone else - excellent story; excellent reading.
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Cynandre
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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2013, 02:45:03 PM »

I really enjoyed this Story and the Voice behind it.

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LadiesAndGentleman
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 09:33:54 PM »

I'm making my return to the boards to say...this story was very pretty!  And fun!  C.S.E. Cooney should read for PodCastle more often.  She definitely has a radio voice, there.
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Moritz
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 01:50:31 AM »

I still have some Martha Wells books on my to read list, so I was glad podcastle featured this one. I usually love adaptations and twists of fairy tales, but this particular story didn't quite work for me, even though the writing and the narration was really good. I think I simply had a too strong disconnect to the setting and characters.
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flintknapper
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2013, 02:55:35 PM »

Okay, so I agree with a lot of what everyone else said. It is a great story. I was a little nervous going in because it set off in the direction of a political intrigue tale, which I am not a fan of, but it developed quite nicely to be more about magic. I really loved the line, and I am not going to remember it perfectly now, where our heroine argues that she should "hardly be blamed for the actions of cat" after she told one of her servants to let loose a house cat on her would be assailant turned into a mouse. Our heroine (or in this case antihero) was evil, but she did it with style.

Like everyone else, I also thought the narrator was an excellent fit for the story. No complaints from me.
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evrgrn_monster
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2013, 09:23:33 PM »

This was a fun ride. I absolutely adored this main character, and ultimately, her motivations to keeping the spell afloat. I didn't necessarily agree with her reasoning for keeping the castle asleep, but at the time I could see her side of the story. The author did a great job making me empathize with her. It's pretty different to actually read a situation in a fairy tale type story that isn't black and white; she's obviously done a terrible thing, for awful motivations, and she hasn't necessarily gotten to be a more morale person in her older years, but she's still relate-able, and I still found myself cheering her on against our "gallant" prince.

More importantly, she was fascinating to listen to. I would read an entire novel around her, actually.

Great character driven story. Two thumbs up!
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Varda
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2013, 09:04:36 AM »

200+ posts under my belt... I think it's high time I joined the story feedback, don't you? Smiley

What impressed me most about this story was the characterization of the aging witch, who is both proud and competent. Proud in that she recognizes her actions in casting the curse may have been an overreaction, but competent and intelligent in recognizing that the time to undo it has passed, and that it may be wiser and even kinder to preserve the status quo. Honestly, it made me think of the curse of leadership, how in making decisions that are the best for a whole group, you sometimes have to do things that will hurt or disappoint members of that same group.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2013, 12:44:23 PM »

Joining in with all of the love for this story. Smiley I thought the author did a fantastic job of establishing the family dynamics and how she was fairly constantly annoyed by all of the "new ways." Of course, you don't realize until later just how old school she really is! I agree with the others, it's not every day that a story manages to make me root against the "hero!"
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« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2013, 09:10:48 AM »

Hmmm...  I think I liked this reasonably well.  I especially liked the detail that setting the cat loose is something she can't be blamed for.

For some reason, though, this is one of those stories that, like an undercooked spaghetti noodle, doesn't stick to the wall of my mind.  Some stories stick with me for years and years afterward, but I had to struggle to dredge up any details at all.  The title didn't help as it just brought to mind the recent Escape Pod story "Dry Bite" because the beasties in that tale have thorny mutations.

200+ posts under my belt... I think it's high time I joined the story feedback, don't you? Smiley

Hey!  Welcome to the story threads, Varda!!
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amalmohtar
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2013, 04:58:15 PM »

this is one of those stories that, like an undercooked spaghetti noodle, doesn't stick to the wall of my mind.

This is AN AMAZING SIMILE.
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Mouseneb
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2013, 09:22:25 PM »

I kind of love that aha moment when I say a small "oh!" out loud when I realize that this is set in the world of a great story, and that it's done so well that it feels like a completely new and compelling tale. I really enjoyed this, found myself rooting for the old fairy, and it's made me look at the original with a completely new perspective (wow, creepy man kissing sleeping girl!). Well done. I also especially liked the bit about her not being responsible for "the depredations of cats." Ha!
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2013, 08:47:45 AM »

this is one of those stories that, like an undercooked spaghetti noodle, doesn't stick to the wall of my mind.

This is AN AMAZING SIMILE.

 Grin
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Max e^{i pi}
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« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2013, 11:36:59 AM »

Point the First: Ann needs to do more intros. Or maybe just a podcast where she researches and reveals to us random facts.
Point the Second: The narration was truly excellent and has set the bar even higher for EA publications. (As if it wasn't high enough already).
Point the Third: I loved the story. I only recently had a discussion about what exactly it is that motivates "evil" people and whether or not they are truly evil. This was a magnificent piece on the motivations of the "evil" fairy godmother. It rather quickly was able to place the story in its proper context, and the revelation of her motivations was superb. Nicely done.
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ArbysMom
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2013, 02:02:41 AM »

Been listening to EscapePod and Podcastle since day 1. Former forum user under a few different names (no, I'm not saying which). Back to posting because I just loved this story and the perfect narration, and had to say so. I've also tweeted the same to the author.

The only negative I can say about this story is it wasn't long enough... I want more!
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