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Author Topic: PC391: In the Rustle of Pages  (Read 1063 times)
Talia
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« on: November 24, 2015, 10:39:55 AM »

PodCastle 391: In the Rustle of Pages

by Cassandra Khaw

read by Anaea Lay

First appeared in Shimmer Magazine. Read it here!

In the armoire beside the marital bed sleeps a chronology of her husband’s metamorphosis: scans inventorizing the tiling on the walls of his heart, the stairwells budding in his arteries. For all of the hurt it conjures, Li Jing thinks his metamorphosis beautiful, too.

Rated PG.

Cassandra Khaw is the business developer for Singaporean video games publisher Ysbryd Games. She also writes for Ars Technica UK whenever possible. When not doing either of those things, she practices muay thai, tries to find time to dance, and reads voraciously. She also writes a variety of fiction, and has a novella entitled RUPERT WONG, CANNIBAL CHEF out with Abaddon Books.

Anaea Lay lives in Seattle, Washington where she sells Real Estate under a different name, writes, cooks, plays board games, takes gratuitous walks, runs the Strange Horizons podcast, and plots to take over the world.  You can hear her audio work in other places including John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey’s The End is Nigh and The End is Now anthologies.  You can find her writing in places such as Lightspeed, Apex, Daily Science Fiction and Escape Pod.  You can stalk her blog or follow her on twitter @anaealay.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2015, 10:29:47 AM by Talia » Logged
SpareInch
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2015, 09:57:27 AM »

Hmm...

I have to admit, In the early stages of this one, I was thinking, "Oh no, not another story about forcing Granny into an old folks home so the grandkids can sell her house!" But as it went on, I was hooked in by the idea of people turning into buildings instead of dying.

I still think the story would have been at least as enjoyable without the Bully Granny out of her home trope, but perhaps that's just a matter of taste. I just feel like I've seen too much of that cliche.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2015, 05:06:31 PM »

I kept getting sidetracked trying to figure out if everyone becomes a building when they die?  I kept going off on tangents about the idea, and about the idea that one's death blueprint is on your skin and that special people can re-architect it, that I think I might've missed some important bits of the story. 

I didn't understand some parts, again because I think my mind was chasing the weird idea down rabbit holes.  I didn't understand the bit about her family coming and finding a featureless building.  Did she die to become a vault to protect her husband's body from being carried away?  Or what was that?

Hmm...

I have to admit, In the early stages of this one, I was thinking, "Oh no, not another story about forcing Granny into an old folks home so the grandkids can sell her house!" But as it went on, I was hooked in by the idea of people turning into buildings instead of dying.

I still think the story would have been at least as enjoyable without the Bully Granny out of her home trope, but perhaps that's just a matter of taste. I just feel like I've seen too much of that cliche.

When things happen commonly in real life, I don't think of them as cliches.  It would be weird to avoid topics that we see frequently just because we see them frequently, right? 

I've seen this happen with two grandparents as they slipped into dementia or Alzheimer's.  In some stages of the condition it's very hard to tell how advanced it is, because the person can seem very bad one day and entirely lucid the next.  This often results in arguments among the family about whether the person can take care of themselves or not.  I have not been part of making that decision for anyone but I've seen other people argue over it, and it can be very difficult to tell when a person going through that is safe to live by themselves, or safe to live with a little assistance, or needs more care than that. 
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Devoted135
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2015, 10:22:11 PM »

I quite like this one, especially once we got past that opening scene. It made her seem like she was too busy thinking about things in her mind to bother interacting with people, and I was glad once she started voicing her opinions more. Looking back, I think that was meant to set up the way that she was the passive parent and her husband was the disciplinarian of the family.

I was very curious about her ability to guide her husband's transformation into the sort of building they both wanted him to become. It seemed like a rare gift, and I wanted to be able to explore it more.


I didn't understand some parts, again because I think my mind was chasing the weird idea down rabbit holes.  I didn't understand the bit about her family coming and finding a featureless building.  Did she die to become a vault to protect her husband's body from being carried away?  Or what was that?

I took it that he died and became the featureless building, and she's still alive inside. He died sooner than they expected so the front wasn't quite finished yet.
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2015, 08:52:46 AM »

I thought that is was a great way to turn the tables on the typical story of an older couple forced after a full lifetime together to do "what is best". By the end of the story the protagonist was fierce, smart and in control, showing that a lifetime of experience is something to be valued and respected. The way it should be in my opinion.
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2015, 08:29:07 PM »

I listened to this one twice. The second time I had my wife (who is a writer) listen to it as well. The story was incredible, but what we both found that really set it apart was the incredible writing, the choice of words to describe even the most mundane details in ways we had never heard before.
Excellent reading, timing. 

Loved it.

Thanks for putting this one on the podcast.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2017, 09:22:49 PM »

This story made me call my mom.
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