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Author Topic: PC372: The Character of the Hound  (Read 2371 times)

Talia

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on: July 14, 2015, 03:09:37 PM
PodCastle 372: The Character of the Hound

by Tony Pi
read by John Chu


First published in The Dragon and the Stars, a DAW anthology that appeared in 2010.

Unlike the other wheel-ships in the fleet, which had been rigged with trebuchets, this squat vessel held on deck only a windowless cabin with a door slightly ajar. I gathered my courage and entered.

Two men stood in heated argument in the lantern-lit chamber. I recognized the wispy-bearded man in his early fifties as Admiral Zhang, bedecked in his imposing lamellar armor. A veteran of the war against the Jin, Zhang had been given the command of our river fleet by the Spirit General himself.

The other, a balding man in his thirties, bore a deep diagonal scar crossing both lips. His uniform marked him as a
Yongdui, a platoon commander.

 
Rated PG.

Dr. Tony Pi is a writer based in Toronto, Canada, with a Ph.D. in linguistics. Originally from Taiwan, he was nominated previously for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and is a double nominee in the 2015 Aurora Awards for Best English Short Fiction and Best English Poem/Song.

He has a story in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk from Running Press. It’s called “Cosmobotica” and was co-written with Costi Gurgu.

You can follow Tony’s adventures at tonypi.com.

John Chu is a microprocessor architect by day, a writer, translator and podcast narrator by night. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Uncanny, Lightspeed and Tor.com. He is the winner of the 2014 Hugo for Best Short Story, for “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere.”

He blogs (occasionally) at blog.johnchu.net. You can find him on Twitter @john_chu.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 11:11:11 PM by kibitzer »



uwtartarus

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Reply #1 on: July 16, 2015, 07:40:29 PM
I enjoyed this story's cosmology/magical system with their tattoos, and it makes me want to read more about the setting historically as well as this sort of fantasy.



SpareInch

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Reply #2 on: July 17, 2015, 12:28:37 PM
Magic by possession always has something a little scary about it. You can never be sure who is in charge, the possessed or the possessor. I loved the way this magic system let that balance of power shift according to whether or not the spirits could guess what the hosts had tattooed on their backs.

Plus, it made me laugh when the Hound spirit started running around in circles trying to see the tattoo, like a puppy chasing its own tail.

Fresh slush - Shot this morning in the Vale of COW


Unblinking

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Reply #3 on: July 23, 2015, 02:30:48 PM
I thought the tattoo-based possession system was interesting, and I liked the character of the hound (as in the nature of the hound, get it?  ha!)      I had a little trouble keeping track of the names--something I can do better with in text... almost all of my memory faculty seems to be dependent on knowing how to spell things, and I didn't know how to spell the names, but that's a personal hangup.  Because of getting some names mixed up, I think I missed some things, but overall I enjoyed the listen even though I don't have much intelligent to say about it.



Myrealana

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Reply #4 on: August 03, 2015, 02:49:24 PM
I thought the tattoo-based possession system was interesting, and I liked the character of the hound (as in the nature of the hound, get it?  ha!)      I had a little trouble keeping track of the names--something I can do better with in text... almost all of my memory faculty seems to be dependent on knowing how to spell things, and I didn't know how to spell the names, but that's a personal hangup.  Because of getting some names mixed up, I think I missed some things, but overall I enjoyed the listen even though I don't have much intelligent to say about it.

I, too, had a problem following the names at times. I was having a hard time picturing who was speaking in some scenes.

However, it all came together by the end, and I enjoyed the twist. I loved the world-building. The tattoo system was fascinating, how the characters could be broken down into their individual meanings to summon a spirit. It was a wonderful use of the intricacies of Chinese lettering.

"You don't fix faith. Faith fixes you." - Shepherd Book


Devoted135

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Reply #5 on: August 04, 2015, 04:38:34 PM
I also had a really hard time keeping the names/characters straight throughout most of the story. As a result, I'm sure I missed several key points that further revelations had hinged upon. The main character would suddenly have an epiphany about how this or that smell meant so and so was actually the culprit... Ah well. I did enjoy the ride and managed to get the gist of most of it. The very interesting concepts definitely made it worth the listen.



MooG

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Reply #6 on: August 28, 2015, 07:15:25 PM
I really liked this one.

I prefer plot driven stories myself; so getting a little crime drama to go with interesting concepts was a real bonus.