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Author Topic: Pseudopod 382: Her Face All Sharp  (Read 3186 times)
Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
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« on: April 19, 2014, 05:33:59 AM »

Pseudopod 382: Her Face All Sharp

by Sara Larner.

“Her Face All Sharp” has never been published before. “I began writing this story with the intention of justifying vengeance. I wanted it to take the sort of clear but twisted moral stance that defines a fable as a fable (to me, anyway)..

SARA LARNER is a young writer living in the Bay Area with her cat, her snake, and her books. When not writing she reads, paints, dances, and acts, in about that order. She posts her poetry at: Sara Larner.

Your reader – Marguerite Kenner – can be found working her magic at CAST OF WONDERS, more of which, anon….. because I can’t seem to find a link that works….

SLINGERS by Matt Wallace can be purchased here.

Lance Roger Axt’s UTOPIATES Audio Drama can be found at the link.



“But he had read deeply about such a creature as she, in his uncle’s old library, and had been prepared for the unlikely contingency that everything went according to plan. He threw a leather hood soaked in semen, blood, and tears over her head. He could not hear her through it, which was how it must be.

He put his fingers around her neck. Onyx and sapphire, brilliant and beautiful, her neck feathers were soft and short. He ran his thumb along her inner throat, pushing gently, just to see how it felt. She twisted her head away, in the dumb manner of a hooded bird; unwilling to move but inclined away from pain. He readjusted his hand and pushed a little harder.

He couldn’t hear anything through the hood, but he knew she must have made some sound at that, some squawk or chirp. A plea.”





Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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MayBe
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2014, 11:00:43 PM »

I think I may have posted only once before... but I could be wrong, sometimes I think about it but I abort the post at the last moment. I don't want to be unkind, however, today I felt the need to be frank - I just could not finish listening to this podcast. I don't know if it was the narration, or the story, but I gave up after only a few minutes. I did honestly try to give it a chance to draw me in but it just wasn't happening for me.
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adrianh
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2014, 07:56:43 AM »

I liked this. I liked it a lot. Nice narration, and I'm a sucker for stories with a fairy-tale / fable structure.

Felt like it would be something more at home in Podcastle than Pseudopod — didn't really pluck at my horror strings — but I listen more for the story than the genre so who cares Wink
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Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2014, 08:37:17 AM »

I liked it.  It did feel more Podcastley than Pseudopody, but I listen to all of them so I don't care. 

It felt mythical in a classic kind of way, person treats fairy badly and gets his comeuppance.  I thought it was interesting that he somehow convinced himself that he was acting for her own good even when he was beating her senseless with a stick--that takes some powerful self-delusion there!  I'm not sure if she's supposed to have been telling the truth when she explained that her approach to him in the woods was not malicious--that was only given in dialog so I wasn't sure if she was lying to support her curse or not.

In any case, good solid stuff.
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DerangedMind
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2014, 03:21:41 PM »

I liked it.  It did feel more Podcastley than Pseudopody, but I listen to all of them so I don't care. 

That's Ok, the last PodCastle one (PC307: Out of the Deep Have I Howled Unto Thee) felt more Pseudopoddy to me, so its all balanced...
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DerangedMind
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2014, 03:27:00 PM »

It was an interesting take on a classic fairy tale.  I'm still trying to figure out what I want to say about it.

It turns around the classic elements of who the monster is in the narrative.  And despite all of the warnings in the books, he does succumb to his hubris, and dies because he captured the creature.

I think I'll just leave it at that I enjoyed it.
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Iamthelaw1979
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2014, 07:51:48 AM »

I'm always disturbed by stories about violence against women. This fable had some dark themes about how abusers are the heroes of their own stories, and about justification for victimization. It's fascinating to watch the apparent victim and hero become repurposed into the oppressor. Great job on this.
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albionmoonlight
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2014, 11:39:01 AM »

Good one.  I was expecting the classic horror tale where our hero is destroyed by the woodland creature.  And I guess we got that by the end.  But, man, the twists and turns along the way were great. 
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Thundercrack!
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2014, 10:02:58 AM »

I found this one a bit dull. The subject matter didn't grip me at all: I had no interest in any of the characters. Also, I felt some of the writing could have been tightened up a little. A particularly clunky example of this was just after the 5 minute mark: "In the darkness he saw two beautiful orange eyes, like those of a cat, stare out of the darkness...". I couldn't decide if the repetition was deliberate or an oversight. It certainly didn't strike me as lyrical. A minor point; but my preoccupation with this made me realise that the plot was failing to hold my interest.

I was listening while out for a walk in a forest. Upon reaching the end of the podcast, I happened upon a trickling waterfall, and noticed a couple of upturned fish in the shallow pebbly puddle at its base, having presumably been washed over the edge and dashed upon the rocks. One was clearly dead, the other was writhing, weakly. We shared a moment in contemplation of each other, even as Alasdair's words about The Forest (capital T, capital F) were still ringing in my ears. In that moment, those words seemed quite profound.
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Thundercrack!
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2014, 04:10:09 AM »

To the person who PM'd me: I wouldn't say this story is boring. There are some striking images, and certainly there is inventiveness here. It's just that, the framing device of the fable, a story within a story, makes the characters less real, and holds them at one step removed from the listener, so that it's difficult to engage with them, or to care about them.

This was my main point. I mentioned the clunky sentence only to point out that it jarred, and distracted me, and that I don't think I would have been worrying about this had the characters themselves been more compelling and accessible to the listener.
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doctornemo
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2014, 10:46:12 AM »

A solid fable.  This story didn't grab me at first, but by midpoint hit its folkloric stride.
I agree with earlier commentators re: the genre.  It strikes me as more Podcastle than Pseudopod.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2014, 01:31:41 PM »

And I'll say it again - Pseudopod & Podcastle share dark fantasy.  Sorry folks, just the way it is!
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doctornemo
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2014, 06:01:58 PM »

Sure, the boundaries blur.  Think of writers like Poe or Lovecraft who did it all: sf, horror, fantasy.

But I haven't seen a lot of dark fantasy on Pseudopod, nor on what I've heard of Escape Pod.  Maybe I'm missing out from the latter.

to be clear, I don't want to play the game of genre police.  I'm just interested in what we do with stories.
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