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Author Topic: PC301: In Metal, In Bone  (Read 1655 times)
Ocicat
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Anything for a Weird Life


« on: March 06, 2014, 04:32:29 PM »

PodCastle 301: In Metal, In Bone

by An Owomoyela

Read by MarBelle (of the Directors Notes podcast)

Originally published in Eclipse Online. You can read it here!

Colonel Gabriel met him in a circle of canvas-topped trucks, in an army jacket despite the heat of the sun.  he stood a head taller than Benine, with skin as dark as peat coal, with terrible scarring on one side of his jaw.  When his gloved hand shook Benine’s bare one, he closed his grip and said, “What do you see?”

Benine was startled, but the call to listen in on the memories of things was ever-present in the back of his mind.  It took very little to let his senses fuzz, obscured by the vision curling up from the gloves like smoke.

He saw a room in a cottage with a thatched roof, the breeze coming in with the smell of a cooking fire outside, roasted cassava, a woman singing, off-tune.  He had to smile.  There was too much joy in the song to mind the sharp notes.  This must have been before the war; it was hard to imagine that much joy in Mortova these days.

The singing had that rich, resonant pitch of a voice heard in the owner’s head, and his vision swung down, to delicate hands with a needle and thread, stitching together the fabric of the gloves.  Neat, even rows, and as the glove passed between the seamstress’s fingers, he could see the patterns of embroidery on the back.

Benine banished the vision and pulled his hand back.  ”But these are women’s gloves!”

Colonel Gabriel gave him an appraising look.  ”So you can do something,” he said.  ”Not just superstition and witchcraft.”


Rated R. Contains war.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2014, 07:31:05 AM by Talia » Logged
Moritz
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2014, 09:52:53 AM »

I had difficulties liking this story, not because of the writing or the reading, both of which were really good. The topic was just way to close to real life tragedy that it didn't make this "enjoyable". Of course not every story needs to be fun, but the day I was listening I wanted something fun, and this was just too similar to "depressing news".

And... nitpick of the day: It's written and pronounced Srebrenica, not Šrebrenica...
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2014, 08:32:16 AM »

Similar to Moritz, may have been too close to real life tragedy to really say I enjoyed it. 

And as the story was going on, I thought I was following everything, but in the end it didn't really seem like a great deal happened onstage.  I did like the new wrinkle in the trope of psychometry in being able to affect actions of the past.  If anyone is looking back at me I am so screwed because I am very absent-minded and my muscle memory sometimes does weird things--I have to double check when I come back from those moments that I haven't accidentally put tomorrow's lunch in the cabinet instead of the fridge and that kind of thing.  I liked how that tied in at the end as he continually looked at his dogtags.  I like the ambiguity that concept adds to whether those small things we do without thinking are actually things that we do or things that someone looking back at us are doing.

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ChairmanDances
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2014, 10:50:21 PM »

Have to agree with the two prior comments; this one was a little too real for me.  The fantasy elements really didn't add a lot to the story - it could have been done as a more mundane tale with Benine working with DNA, etc.  to identify the deceased without losing much.  Part of why I say this is we know Benine's is positively identifying at least some of the victims, but we don't see the consequences of Benine's gifts within the story; i.e., the family or loved ones getting some closure after an identification or learning a final thought, etc.  The story works well as a tale of two people, one a resident and one an outsider, dealing with the aftermath of atrocities, without the need for the supernatural.
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bounceswoosh
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 07:56:28 AM »

I liked this story. I especially liked the character of the sergeant - his portrayal left me musing on his backstory. I can't decide if the suddenness of the ending is a bug or a feature.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2014, 12:54:42 PM »

A haunting story, very challenging, but I think worth the listen. It reminds me strongly of an interview I heard with Mercedes Doretti, a forensic anthropologist who specializes in unearthing mass graves created in civil war/despot situations. She emphasizes our human need to bury our dead to find closure. Art imitates life, yes?

http://www.onbeing.org/program/laying-dead-rest/120
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Myrealana
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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2014, 10:20:38 AM »

Like Devoted, I was struck by the similarity to the work of forensic anthopologists in war zones, trying to give names and burials to soldiers and innocent victims. It was an interesting way to look at a very real task that people take on.
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evrgrn_monster
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SQUAW, MY OPINIONS.


« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2014, 09:06:18 PM »

Due to the heavy subject matter and the quality of the narration, I am a little embarrassed to say that I actually found this story to be weird mix of boring and depressing. Thinking back on it, this story felt like a slow trudge through a dark, moist marsh; the pacing was slow and, in reality, very little seemed to happen, besides the naming of the bones. I was actually a bit exhausted by the end of the story and was glad to hear the ending music, which isn't a normal occurrence with this podcast for me.

On the subject of the bones, which I think that was quite an interesting take on empathetic magic, and one that I wish had been focused on a bit more, because those were the best parts of the story.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2014, 10:01:34 AM »

Great haunting stuff. The moment where the officer lets his fear just start to crack through the stiff upper lip routine by mentioning that he has found himself looking at his dogtags without knowing why - truly chilling. That little exchange is some incredibly compelling writing and encapsulates the mortality and fear of the peace-keeping soldiers in a war zone, while also hinting at the possibility of a future horrific tragedy. How many times will he check his dog tags? Once for each bone?
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2014, 11:19:16 AM »

Great haunting stuff. The moment where the officer lets his fear just start to crack through the stiff upper lip routine by mentioning that he has found himself looking at his dogtags without knowing why - truly chilling. That little exchange is some incredibly compelling writing and encapsulates the mortality and fear of the peace-keeping soldiers in a war zone, while also hinting at the possibility of a future horrific tragedy. How many times will he check his dog tags? Once for each bone?

Probably more than once for each bone.  Some of the looks might be from a future empath, but it's the kind of idea that would get under your skin and probably make you develop it as a nervous tick as well. 
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Anarkey
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...depends a good deal on where you want to get to


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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2014, 05:23:37 PM »

And... nitpick of the day: It's written and pronounced Srebrenica, not Šrebrenica...

My apologies.  I did make an effort to get it right.  Looked it up.  Practiced.  Etc.  I suspect my ear is tuned to the way I've already heard it mispronounced many times on the radio.  Could be worse, you could be one of our (beloved) authors and narrators, whose name I've been mispronouncing for years.  My apologies to her, too.  Smiley

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