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Author Topic: PC387: The Half Dark Promise  (Read 2355 times)
Ocicat
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Anything for a Weird Life


« on: October 27, 2015, 02:25:58 AM »

PodCastle 387: The Half Dark Promise

by Malon Edwards
read by Mandaly Louis-Charles


First appeared in Shimmer Magazine. Read it here!

The first thing Bobby Brightsmith told me when I moved to the South Side of Chicago from La Petite Haïti with Manmi was to run like a scalded dog if I ever saw zonbi la in the half dark on the way home from school.

See, when Bobby was eight years old, a little girl and a little boy were snatched from the half dark not far from home. They were never seen again. Bobby said because of that little girl and that little boy, timoun yo in Chicago now walk home from school in groups, in the half dark just before nightfall. The half dark comes fast this time of year.


Rated R.

Malon Edwards was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, but now lives in the Greater Toronto Area, where he was lured by his beautiful Canadian wife. Many of his short stories are set in an alternate Chicago and feature people of color and Haitian Creole (Malon does not speak Haitian Creole). Currently, he serves as Managing Director and Grants Administrator for the Speculative Literature Foundation, which provides a number of grants for writers of speculative literature.

Mandaly Louis-Charles has been running the Haitian Creole Blog for five years now and is an advocate for the Creole language. The blog promotes the Haitian Creole language to foreigners and natives. The blog address is sweetcoconuts.blogspot.com with a Twitter page @creolelingo that publishes daily Haitian Creole words and terms for native and foreigners.

Mandaly just completed a project creating the first ever Creole alphabet song and animated video for the Creole language as the alphabet is unknown to most Haitians at this time. This successful project was done in collaboration with MIT linguistic professor Michel Degraff. Info on the alphabet Creole song may be found on the Haitian Creole blog at this address: http://sweetcoconuts.blogspot.com/2015/06/an-important-new-learning-tool-for.html

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
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Moritz
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2015, 03:15:59 PM »

This was beautiful. Loved how the realistic parts intermeshed with fantastical parts.

The use of Haitian Creole was very interesting. I have read two books which also intersperse the "foreign language" with English, but don't do it well. In Kite Runner, they sometimes put Farsi/Dari phrases and then repeat them in English, in The Book thief the same with German. I think it's stylistically problematic, because it gives you a glimpse of the culture, but obviously in the contexts (an Afghan in Afghanistan talking Dari, a German in Germany talking German) it makes no sense whatsoever to intermesh languages. It's especially annoying if you actually know both languages! In the movie versions, they integrate that better, e.g. in Kite Runner they just all speak Dari and you can watch it with subtitles. In this recording, it makes much more sense to have the Haitian Creole with translation, because unlike in a book we hear the sound of the language and of course the protagonist is an immigrant and might actually switch languages a lot back and forth.
/ I hope it wasn't too tangential, but as someone who grew up bilingually, this is a huge issue for me.
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Not-a-Robot
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2015, 03:51:04 PM »

I don't know about that Moritz.  I found it more like Yiddish.  Sometimes people speak english, but throw a yiddish word or sentence in every once and a while.  That's how words like schmuck and spiel became integrated in English.  My mother in law does it all of the time with Plattdeutsch / high German. She'll say something like 'Meen Jung' or 'Meen Levste' all of the sudden.
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Father Beast
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2015, 05:57:34 AM »

This was beautiful. Loved how the realistic parts intermeshed with fantastical parts.

The use of Haitian Creole was very interesting. I have read two books which also intersperse the "foreign language" with English, but don't do it well. In Kite Runner, they sometimes put Farsi/Dari phrases and then repeat them in English, in The Book thief the same with German. I think it's stylistically problematic, because it gives you a glimpse of the culture, but obviously in the contexts (an Afghan in Afghanistan talking Dari, a German in Germany talking German) it makes no sense whatsoever to intermesh languages. It's especially annoying if you actually know both languages! In the movie versions, they integrate that better, e.g. in Kite Runner they just all speak Dari and you can watch it with subtitles. In this recording, it makes much more sense to have the Haitian Creole with translation, because unlike in a book we hear the sound of the language and of course the protagonist is an immigrant and might actually switch languages a lot back and forth.
/ I hope it wasn't too tangential, but as someone who grew up bilingually, this is a huge issue for me.

Ando: Why are we talking in English instead of Japanese?
Hiro: Because in an audio file, nobody can hear subtitles, so we have to talk in broken English like we are in a Japanese comic book.
Ando: So, we are "Manga-ling" the English language?
Hiro: In a manner of speaking, Hai.
Ando: Oh.

- From the song, "Holding Out For Hiro" by The Great Luke Ski
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Father Beast
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2015, 06:02:39 AM »

As for me, I pretty much didn't pay any attention to the language, which is kind of like watching Lord Of The Rings and paying no attention to Elvish. I realize that the author had this for a starting point, but all I care about is the story.

But do I care about this story? Without the language stuff, it becomes a sort of boogeyman story, which doesn't interest me. However, I was curious about her odd skin condition, and how she used it in her magic. However, not interested enough to pull me into the story.
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Moritz
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2015, 07:04:07 AM »

I don't know about that Moritz.  I found it more like Yiddish.  Sometimes people speak english, but throw a yiddish word or sentence in every once and a while.  That's how words like schmuck and spiel became integrated in English.  My mother in law does it all of the time with Plattdeutsch / high German. She'll say something like 'Meen Jung' or 'Meen Levste' all of the sudden.

Well, I think these are two different things. In this story and in The Book Thief and Kite Runner, it's more a doubling. It's not "He was a schmuck" but "He was a schmuck - an asshole". Which starts to sound like a school lesson pretty soon, especially in those two books I mentioned. And in The Half Dark Promise, the audio-version didn't annoy me as much. "Ich hoffe ich habe mich klar ausgedrückt", he said, I hope I made myself clear. (argh, Kite Runner does this all the time)
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Unblinking
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2015, 11:42:36 AM »

I liked the interspersing of the language, and enjoyed the narrator's voice a great deal.  I didn't really get into the story a whole lot, but I did appreciate that the fear was over lost friendship rather than of the monsters and I thought the details of how to deal with monsters in the half-dark was cool.
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Songwind
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2015, 12:51:35 PM »

I enjoyed this story a lot.

Also, the quote at the end got me thinking. In a way, that's what internet communities are like - you get some idea of what's going on in people's heads first.
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Dwango
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2015, 09:32:57 AM »

I like that internet allusion.  All the voices of the different people from the monster, but in the end we care about those few who we interact with in real life (as it is) and who are a part of our life.  Its those relationships that really matter.  That's why so many on Facebook just include their family and closest friends in their lists.
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TrishEM
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2015, 04:09:07 PM »

I too like that what she was crying about was her lost friend. The end, when she carried home the severed tentacle housing the ghost/soul? of her friend, was both horrific and comforting -- two feelings that rarely blend well, but do in this case.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2015, 11:17:43 PM »

Ou, this one was good! I love the reader and the interspersing of Creole with English. The ghost was suitably scary, but she was still able to stand up to it and fight back. And that image at the end with her friend's tentacle wrapped around her? Super shiver.
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