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Author Topic: PC396, Giant Episode: Spirits of the Wind  (Read 3414 times)

Talia

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on: December 29, 2015, 05:13:43 PM
PodCastle 396, Giant Episode: Spirits of the Wind

by Brendan Detzner

read by Wilson Fowlie

First appeared in the short story collection Beasts, by Brendan Detzner.

She was surprised how fast she’d caught herself missing the time that she lived here. She knew that she and Jessica and Rina had been driving each other crazy all cooped up together, and she remembered climbing up to the third floor and down again and how she thought she was going to slip and fall on the ice each winter when the landlord never laid down salt, and she missed it anyway, and could anticipate feel herself looking back and missing it more and more. A simple thing, gone now.

The truth, which she knew and thought everybody in the room had to know too,was that this had been a big year. They’d reached the top of a hill and were on their way down, and some of them were heading towards other hills and maybe some of them weren’t. People’s parents were dying. Guys were going bald, girls were covering up tattoos and using concealer. Mike, who was always a little crazy and fun to have around and who liked to drink, wasn’t around anymore, and still liked to drink and probably was drinking out there somewhere. Kat missed him, but she knew it was better that he was gone. She couldn’t afford to be around a guy like that anymore.


Rated PG-13 for some language.

Brendan Detzner lives, works, and writes in Chicago. His work is sometimes funny, sometimes scary, and usually very strange. His work has appeared in Pseudopod, Bizarrocast, Tales to Terrify, and other places. He still needs to get into Escape Pod to complete the hat trick. Check out his short story collection “Beasts”. He also runs a monthly reading series in Chicago called Bad Grammar Theater.

Wilson Fowlie has been reading stories out loud since the age of 4, and credits any talent he has in this area to his parents, who are both excellent at reading aloud. He started narrating stories for more than just his own family in late 2008, when he answered a call for readers on the PodCastle forum. Since then, he has gone on to become PodCastle’s most prolific narrator, reading or appearing in nearly 30 episodes. He’s also narrated for many other podcasts, including PodCastle’s sister casts, EscapePod and Pseudopod, as well as StarShipSofa and other District of Wonder podcasts, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine and the Journey Into… podcast. He fits in all this narrating between his day job as a web developer in Vancouver, Canada, and being the director of a community show chorus called The Maple Leaf Singers. He’s still hoping to find a paying gig narrating stories, someday.

Read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.


Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 07:56:05 PM by Talia »



Maxilu

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Reply #1 on: January 03, 2016, 07:45:45 PM
The best thing about this story, I thought, was how subtle the fantastic was. I thought the spirits were paying attention to Kevin, not Kat, for the first half of the story.

I'm not sure how I feel about the POV shift in the middle. It generally doesn't work in short stories, and I'm not sure this is an exception. I think it would have worked better to stick with just Kat or Kevin's POV, but I'm not sure which would work better.

I'm also not sure about Kevin's reaction to Kat's beloved. You're an avowed atheist, and a great, horned god tells you to by your girlfriend flowers, and it doesn't cause any mental angst?

Still, I enjoyed this story. It's an interesting world, and I'd like to learn more about Kat and her beloved.



danooli

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Reply #2 on: January 06, 2016, 03:46:54 PM
Wait...was Kevin one of Odin's sons? I was sure he was, what with the eye being removed and the Ravens and all, but then Kat was a goddess?  I think I need to listen to this one again.



Unblinking

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Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 03:37:49 PM
I'm afraid I found this one really dull.

In the mundane portion, the people felt real so that was good.  It was interesting study in "what things may be crossing a person's mind on a first or second date", as she is closely examining his tone of voice to gauge his sincerity, he is closely examining her reaction to driving through a neighborhood that's rougher than she is accustomed to.  It felt real, but for me it felt kind of exhausting.  Maybe this is just a personal hangup from having in-person social issues--I can't read other people's social cues very well and the cues I give are often misleading.  I think that I might've been dismissed early in her date because of cues I was giving that I wasn't even aware of, so even though I understand where it's coming from I found it very frustrating for that to be the basis of everything those subtle tones of voice and etc.

Maybe because of the super in depth scrutiny in each POV, I found the characters hard to relate to.  They felt real, but I didn't really care how things turned out.  I wasn't really invested in their budding relationship. I kept waiting for something to happen that I would feel invested in, and that never happened.

The fantastical parts...  They just felt really tacked on.  I didn't think they added anything.  The first one, the request for her to give up this mortal life while she chooses to stay here, I'm not sure what that accomplished story-wise.  Although the goddess in that scene was our protagonist from before they were clearly so very different characters because of the memory limit that it wasn't really enlightening to understanding the protagonist at all, in my opinion.  And the second scene boils down to godly advice to give her flowers... maybe it would've been more significant in my mind if it hadn't been the basic standard advice that about what to give a woman as a present, like "give her a Dosoyevsky book" or "buy her a Roomba" would've been much more interesting simply because they would not be standard practice.

Just not for me, I guess, on to next week.




Fenrix

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Reply #4 on: January 07, 2016, 07:46:25 PM
Great character study that effectively captured the anxiety of these two characters. Not sure how I felt about the intrusion of the horned demon at the jazz club. Didn't help that I kept picturing him as Tim Curry in Legend.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Dave

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Reply #5 on: January 13, 2016, 11:40:12 PM
So, I am fortunate in that I have had the pleasure of hearing Brendan read his stuff at live events for many years now. I'm familiar enough with his voice that, while Wilson is one of my favorite narrators, I heard this story in a sort of weird brain-stereo, as if Wilson was in one channel, and Brendan in the other. As always, I love the little snatches of local color he works in, familiar landmarks to a fellow Chicagoan (okay, well, Chicago-adjacent-an, anyway). And for whatever reason, I have always been a sucker for antlers, so that was cool. Like another poster, I also thought Kevin was going to turn out to be the son of a god, which might have put an interesting spin on his backpack patch- an atheist, but definitely not an agnostic! Hm, now that I think of it, there was nothing in this story precluding a sequel in which we meet Kevin's dad... As for the roses, I'm pretty sure that if Kat doesn't remember being a goddess, Kevin doesn't remember visiting the astral plane to chat with her hubby either. He probably thought the flowers were his own idea. I like both of the protagonists, they're portrayed as thoughtful, considered and considerate people, and we could do with more of that in relationship-centric fiction, to counterbalance all the brash, foolhardy romanticism that sets such a terrible example for all the impressionable youths. Thanks, Brendan, for another fun yarn. Now get to work on some sci-fi so you can polish off that hat trick!

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)


Moon_Goddess

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Reply #6 on: January 14, 2016, 03:12:22 PM
I'm really behind on my podcasts, and so I'm just now listening to this one today....

The poster of Jareth, really took me out of the story right now, just bad timing obviously, made me sad enough I was distracted for the rest of the story and didn't really enjoy it.

Sorry I didn't listen to it last week.

Was dream6601 but that's sounds awkward when Nathan reads my posts.


Chuk

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Reply #7 on: January 26, 2016, 06:31:50 PM
The poster of Jareth, really took me out of the story right now, just bad timing obviously, made me sad enough I was distracted for the rest of the story and didn't really enjoy it.
That hit me too although not so hard that I had to stop listening.
I really liked the in depth character stuff on the dates and the jazz music scenes (even though I'm not personally a huge jazz fan). I almost thought the second half (third half?) from Kevin's POV was because the King had moved in to him.

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chuk


Devoted135

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Reply #8 on: February 26, 2016, 01:43:35 AM
I'm not behind in listening, but I am super behind in commenting! My favorite part of this one was the descriptions of the jazz clubs. I miss Chicago! I'm not sure I was convinced by the over-analysis she was going through of her date's reactions. We probably do all that analysis, but on the subconscious level, not consciously.



Unblinking

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Reply #9 on: February 26, 2016, 03:05:18 PM
I'm not behind in listening, but I am super behind in commenting! My favorite part of this one was the descriptions of the jazz clubs. I miss Chicago! I'm not sure I was convinced by the over-analysis she was going through of her date's reactions. We probably do all that analysis, but on the subconscious level, not consciously.

I think everyone does it on some level, some much more conscious than others. 

I am more conscious of it than most, and so if I am dealing with someone I'm not familiar with I am probably using like 50% of my mental processing time gauging reactions, and it is very much on a conscious level.

I think it's especially plausible for a woman on a first date with a relative stranger because there is some danger inherent in the situation and a heightened situational awareness is a reasonable way to approach it.

*shrug*



Devoted135

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Reply #10 on: February 26, 2016, 07:19:31 PM
I'm not behind in listening, but I am super behind in commenting! My favorite part of this one was the descriptions of the jazz clubs. I miss Chicago! I'm not sure I was convinced by the over-analysis she was going through of her date's reactions. We probably do all that analysis, but on the subconscious level, not consciously.

I think everyone does it on some level, some much more conscious than others. 

I am more conscious of it than most, and so if I am dealing with someone I'm not familiar with I am probably using like 50% of my mental processing time gauging reactions, and it is very much on a conscious level.

I think it's especially plausible for a woman on a first date with a relative stranger because there is some danger inherent in the situation and a heightened situational awareness is a reasonable way to approach it.

*shrug*


For sure, she just seems to be giving about 80% of her mental energy to the analysis. That could lead back to the fantasy element though. If she isn't actually human, then maybe she has to work a lot harder at these sorts of social interactions.



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #11 on: February 26, 2016, 07:38:16 PM
It's hard to tell. She could be devoting only 30% (which, perhaps, isn't as good as having Devoted 135 ;) ) of her energy to the analysis but that's all we get to hear about. The narrator isn't telling much of what she's seeing out the window, or about the itch in her upper arm, or other things she might be thinking about, but that doesn't mean she isn't; it's just not germane to the story.

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


Devoted135

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Reply #12 on: February 28, 2016, 03:43:16 AM
It's hard to tell. She could be devoting only 30% (which, perhaps, isn't as good as having Devoted 135 ;) ) of her energy to the analysis but that's all we get to hear about. The narrator isn't telling much of what she's seeing out the window, or about the itch in her upper arm, or other things she might be thinking about, but that doesn't mean she isn't; it's just not germane to the story.

 :D :D :D