Author Topic: PC395: Winter Jinni  (Read 4046 times)

Talia

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PC395: Winter Jinni
« on: December 23, 2015, 08:36:33 PM »
PodCastle 395: Winter Jinni

by Tim Pratt and Heather Shaw

Read by Dave Thompson

The day I emancipated Izzy, in the lull of winter break when the students were mostly gone visiting their families, the boss had left a jumbled box of his latest decorative scroungings, and my job as manager included finding a place to put them. After we closed and cleaned up and I shooed out my best barista Jade, I opened up the box.

There was a red Fiesta tea pot that would have been pretty if not for the inexpert glue job someone had used to repair it, but maybe I could turn it so the crack wasn’t visible. There was a French press, pretty standard, except the glass was cobalt blue, which I’d never seen before. The last thing was the best, though: a brass dallah, the traditional Arabic coffee pot. I’d often listened to boss go on about the origins of coffee brewing, and he’d talked about the perfection of the dallah, a design unchanged for centuries. Basically it resembles a fancy pitcher, with a bulbous hourglass shape to the body, a curved handle, and a crescent-shaped spout that looks kind of like a bird’s beak. This particular dallah was old, the brass darkened by age and patina, but its entire surface was intricately filigreed with images of flowers, clouds, curves that might have been water, and spikier curves that might have been fire. The thing was a work of art in a coat of dust.


Rated PG-13.

Tim Pratt’s fiction has won a Hugo Award, and he’s been a finalist for Sturgeon, Stoker, World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, and Nebula Awards, among others. He works as a senior editor for Locus magazine, and lives in Berkeley CA with his wife Heather Shaw and their son River. Find him online at timpratt.org.

Need your monthly fix of Tim Pratt fictional goodness? Support his Patreon. For as little as $1 a month, you’ll get a new story from him in your inbox!

Heather Shaw is a writer, editor, bookkeeper, and lindy hopper living in Berkeley, CA with her husband and 8-year-old son, River. She’s the fiction editor at the new pro SF zine, Persistent Visions (persistentvisionsmag.com). She’s had short fiction published in Strange Horizons, The Year’s Best Fantasy, Escape Pod, PodCastle, and other nice places. She’s been a featured author at the SF in SF Reading series in San Francisco and read her poetry in front of disgruntled grunge concert-goers at Lollapalooza back when it was a thing.

Heather is also the fiction editor of a new SF magazine, paying pro rates, called Persistent Visions. It will be free to read online, and she’ll be looking for fresh fiction that skirts the edges of reality, pushes the boundaries of where we’ve been, and has an updated, innovative perspective on the people we will become; she wants stories that include a diverse cast of characters, that push conventional assumptions regarding race, gender, neurodiversity, disability, and sexuality in thought-provoking, exciting new ways.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 04:33:27 PM by Talia »

raetsel

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2015, 02:03:26 PM »
I am the King under the Christmas Tree!

It really is a proper tradition of Christmas to have the Tim Pratt & Heather Shaw story and this one was great. I listened to it on my drive home from work on Christmas Eve and got a lovely warm feeling as the story went on. Great atmosphere built up with little touches here and there and just the right amount of predictability to make you feel comfortable whilst keeping you interested which is what you want from a Christmas story.

Thanks for getting my holidays off to a great start, Podcastle.

Merry Christmas!

racerxmachina

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2015, 12:45:28 AM »
/Sarah McLachlan song playing mournfully in the background, pictures of sad men with well-defined abs in cages and kennels/

"Every new year, hundreds of handsome Australian men are returned to shelters across the country, victims of well-meaning but unwanted love-spells during the holiday season. Some may be straight. Or have girlfriends. Or both.  Please, don't use ancient jinni magic to compel hot Australian men into relationships, and avoid the overcrowding of our shelters. Thank you."
 
--The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Australian Hotties

Varda

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2015, 08:31:08 PM »
/Sarah McLachlan song playing mournfully in the background, pictures of sad men with well-defined abs in cages and kennels/

"Every new year, hundreds of handsome Australian men are returned to shelters across the country, victims of well-meaning but unwanted love-spells during the holiday season. Some may be straight. Or have girlfriends. Or both.  Please, don't use ancient jinni magic to compel hot Australian men into relationships, and avoid the overcrowding of our shelters. Thank you."
 
--The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Australian Hotties

*slowly raises hand*

Where can we volunteer to help console these poor, lonely, beautiful Australian men? What's the address for the nearest shelter?

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BoojumsRCool

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2015, 03:41:15 PM »
That was a great way to start my Sunday! I admit that I was prepared to be mildly amused by another Jin story, but wow, I was taken through quite a few emotions in a relatively short time. The best part was that nothing was heavy and I have a warm glow to continue my day with. Thanks!
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Moritz

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2015, 06:34:44 PM »
Not a fan of christmas stories as a theme, but this was a very good story on its own.

danooli

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2015, 09:51:18 PM »
I was worried a bit, at the onset, that some more conservative listeners would be incensed about a Christmas story featuring gay men.  If anyone does have a problem with that...well, they're probably subscribed to the wrong podcast...but that's beside the point...because after listening to the entirety of the story, I can't see anyone not finding it sweet and wonderful.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 03:56:27 AM by danooli »

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2016, 03:19:50 PM »
I enjoyed it.  I like that it started with a familiar premise: "A genie that can make your dreams come true", even cranked it up to 11 with "Oh, and you have unlimited wishes until you die", but then very quickly made it a different story with "Nope. I'm going to use my first wish to free the genie".  I love that the genie, though completely not obligated to do anything, nevertheless is searching for a way to make it up to the one who for just a moment was his master.  I felt really strongly for that friendship, whether they actually ended up being in a long-term relationship or not, the desire to do something that means as much to you as has been done for you even though you know you don't have to.  Even with the love spell, even thinking what a horrible thing that would've been if allowed to continue, I can see how it was meant with the best intentions from the genie's point of view. 

Very enjoyable.

Hatton

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2016, 11:34:16 PM »
I was worried a bit at the onset, that some more conservative listeners would be incensed about a Christmas story featuring gay men.  If anyone does have a problem with that...well, they're probably subscribed to the wrong podcast...but that's beside the point...because after listening to the entirety of the story, I can't see anyone not finding it sweet and wonderful.
Heh, even as a "more conservative listener" the relationship aspect of this story didn't ruffle my feathers. I do like how the narrator/lead stuck to his morals throughout.

Think about it, even the Disney version of Aladin had the genie freed on the third wish (sorry if that's a spoiler for anyone).  Here, it was more like, "screw this slavery thing" and *poof* one freed Izzy.  Then, rather than take advantage of the love-spelled Aussie, he does another "screw this slavery thing."  Both of those actions fall into the "person of great character" to a point that some might not believe.

It's a sweet, enjoyable story but not one that made me wish for a follow-up's.
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Ibn Daniel

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2016, 07:40:35 AM »
I guess I'm in the minority, I didn't enjoy this story overall and thought it was boring. Too much time was spent either on the narrator's complaining about his job or fantasizing about his crushes.

Like others, I was also impressed with the narrator's immediate decision to free the jinn, but then I realized how many people he could have helped. Seriously, unlimited wishes? If you hate slavery, wish for no more HUMAN slavery in the world. Wish for a better environment, no more diseases, peace on earth and goodwill towards men! This would also tie in better to the Christmas aspect of the story (giving back) which I thought was sorely lacking. The jinn didn't seem to be in pain from his service and a normal human lifespan is negligible time to him. Also, if the jinn tried to fulfill these wishes by forcing people to act a certain way, that might make for a more meaningful and powerful lesson on free will and a harder choice for the narrator than "Should I screw this insanely hot, but essentially drugged, guy or not?"

I was most interested in the idea of the jinn (an entity with PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER) learning to live as a human with the narrator. Maybe a summary of their relationship through little vignettes at each Christmastime, over the course of their lives, until one or the other dies and has to deal with this bittersweet sense of loss because even if the jinn's human life is over, he will go back to immortality. That's probably a little heavy for a light Christmas story, but I was expecting a bit more meat.

I've enjoyed all the other Pratt/Shaw stories at Christmastime, so I'm sad to say this was a disappointment.

zoanon

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2016, 10:39:57 PM »
that was a sexy, sexy story.
good story? I don't know.

Dave

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2016, 12:08:52 AM »
Really, really fucking loved this story. Kicked me in the face right off the bat with "so you're a slave? fuck that, you're free now".

I mean, OF COURSE you always use your third wish to free the Jinni. Of course. That goes without saying.

But... yeah, those first two wishes? That's fucking slavery, man. I mean maybe if you wish for world peace or something, but in the stories, Jinni didn't just clap their hands like they do now, they had to actually go and physically accomplish the tasks you set them to. Sure, they were tireless, immensely strong, could fly, move quicker than thought, and had access to a variety of magical powers, but still- you wish for a palace, the poor Jinni has to either go find a palace and move it brick by brick to your yard, or build one from scratch. Even if it can accomplish the task in a day, it's still work, and therefore slavery, and therefore not ok.

So, on top of an adorable gay romance tale, of which there are patently not enough, and on top of a smart, secure, powerfully moral protagonist, of which there are patently not enough, this story also completely changed my internal script for Jinni-meeting for all time.

Not bad!
-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)

TrishEM

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2016, 09:51:27 AM »
/Sarah McLachlan song playing mournfully in the background, pictures of sad men with well-defined abs in cages and kennels/

"Every new year, hundreds of handsome Australian men are returned to shelters across the country, victims of well-meaning but unwanted love-spells during the holiday season. Some may be straight. Or have girlfriends. Or both.  Please, don't use ancient jinni magic to compel hot Australian men into relationships, and avoid the overcrowding of our shelters. Thank you."
 
--The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Australian Hotties

*slowly raises hand*

Where can we volunteer to help console these poor, lonely, beautiful Australian men? What's the address for the nearest shelter?

I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE

Hee, hee! Nice first post, racerxmachina; welcome, and I love your username.

What a delightfully charming story! Once in a while it's nice to just relax into an aura of good feelings. Sweet but not sappy. Hurray for the uncompromisingly good hero! (Happy sigh.)




Devoted135

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2016, 04:50:39 PM »
I love this tradition and am so glad to see it continue!

I was very impressed with the main character's character, he gave up lots of opportunities for fulfilling wishes because it was simply wrong! However, I think my favorite parts were the hints at the Jin trying to figure out a) how to not simply force his will on the world, and b) how to know what will and won't be valued by others. The 'not forcing his will' part is particularly interesting since he has spent eons being forced to force others' will on the world. Now, not only does he have the freedom to only pay attention to his own will and desires, but also he has to think about not infringing on others' will and desires in the pursuit of his own. That's quite the mindset shift!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2016, 09:53:51 PM by Devoted135 »

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2016, 08:04:20 PM »
Wanted to echo the sentiment that I'm glad to see the tradition continue. This was no Christmas Mummy, but it'll do just fine.
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FireTurtle

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2016, 09:49:36 PM »
Wanted to echo the sentiment that I'm glad to see the tradition continue. This was no Christmas Mummy, but it'll do just fine.

That sums it up for me as well.

Also, sign me up as a Volunteer for the AHRF. (Australian Hotties Rescue Fund). I'm sure they need hugs. Many hugs. Huuuuuuuuuuuuuugs.
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Moritz

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2016, 10:15:22 AM »
I just started reading Neil Gaiman's short story collection Trigger Warning, and there's a quite similar flash piece in there. It's not that one would be a copy of the other, but the set up with a jinn, someone not wanting to take the wishes, and a love story is quite similar.

Seems to be that they are catching the Zeitgeist or something.

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2016, 02:35:11 AM »
I was catching up on my PodCastle listening this weekend, and I loved this story; I thought it was a sweet and fun Christmas story. And it's set in my hometown! It's always nice to read a story that is clearly written by someone who knows and loves a place that you also know and love. This story definitely captured the Santa Cruz-ness of Santa Cruz, and I really appreciated that in addition to all the other great elements of the story.

danooli

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2016, 11:23:47 AM »
I was catching up on my PodCastle listening this weekend, and I loved this story; I thought it was a sweet and fun Christmas story. And it's set in my hometown! It's always nice to read a story that is clearly written by someone who knows and loves a place that you also know and love. This story definitely captured the Santa Cruz-ness of Santa Cruz, and I really appreciated that in addition to all the other great elements of the story.
You may enjoy Tim Pratt's novel The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl. That was also set in Santa Cruz. :-)

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Re: PC395: Winter Jinni
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2016, 02:48:42 AM »
/Sarah McLachlan song playing mournfully in the background, pictures of sad men with well-defined abs in cages and kennels/

"Every new year, hundreds of handsome Australian men are returned to shelters across the country, victims of well-meaning but unwanted love-spells during the holiday season. Some may be straight. Or have girlfriends. Or both.  Please, don't use ancient jinni magic to compel hot Australian men into relationships, and avoid the overcrowding of our shelters. Thank you."
 
--The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Australian Hotties

I love this post and I love that this person signed up for the forums just TO make this post. I hope it made episode feedback. (Man it's weird being so far behind. I'm trying to catch up, guys, I swear!)