Author Topic: CoW Ep. 185: Marley and Cratchit  (Read 2811 times)


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on: January 10, 2016, 06:46:02 PM
Episode 185: Marley and Cratchit by David Steffen

Narrated by Ian Stuart
Audio production by Jeremy Carter

Originally published at Escapepod (December 2012)

Hello everyone, and welcome to our last episode of 2015. To round out the holidays and the year, we have one more steampunk winter tale for you. Make yourself a lovely beverage, curl up in front of the fire or under a cozy blanket, and enjoy the Dickensian prose of ‘Marley and Cratchit’ by David Steffen.
David is a software engineer and writer living in Minnesota. He is the editor of Diabolical Plots, a zine on the topic of speculative fiction which publishes, among other things, original fiction as of this year and Best Of fiction podcast lists. Check out the 2014 list he created for us.

David is the administrator of the Submission Grinder, a web tool for writers to track their submissions and find markets for their work. His fiction has been published in Escapepod, Daily Science Fiction, and previously here on Cast of Wonders, among others.

David is also the editor of the Long List Anthology, a collection 21 stories collected from this year’s Hugo Awards lengthier nomination list. You don’t need to be familiar with the controversy surrounding this year’s awards to enjoy this excellent collection of tales from all corners of the world.

And what would a steampunk Christmas tale be without the Radio 4 stylings of Ian Stuart? Ian is a writer and performer from Northern England, and a regular and enthusiastic narrator for Pseudopod. He’s done voice-over work ranging from corporate videos to audio museum guides. You can find him at Voices, on Twitter or at his blog.

Click here to listen to Episode 185
Click here to read the text of Marley and Cratchit!

Tags accounting, alchemy, Cast of Wonders, Christmas, David Steffen, Ian Stuart, money, partners, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Young Adult fiction

Click here to read and comment on the original Escape Pod forum discussion for their Episode 375
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 11:23:34 PM by danooli »


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Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 06:05:13 PM
Loved this the last time I heard it. Can't wait to hear it again with Ian Stuart narrating.

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


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Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 10:58:57 AM
This was a great reading.  Now I could point out some minor quibbles about the Dickensian prose not sticking to the source material (especially with character descriptions), but this is what the original sounds like:

"Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice."

And this description goes on for pages, yes, literally pages.  But you don't have the space for so many descriptors in a short story.

This was fun.  I picked up on the direction when Fred came into the story (wait, who did he say was Fred's Uncle? ;) ) and I like how it came around, in the end, to setting up the Dickensian tale, and as an added bonus, it made a lot of sense.  This story could run right into the first line of the original story.  Especially since Dickens is so emphatic about Marley being dead.  The only part that caught me was the separator.  But that's personal preference.         


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Reply #3 on: January 17, 2016, 01:22:35 AM
Loved this story the first time around, and loved again with such a great reading! I'm enamored with how perfectly it sets up the original story. Poor Cratchit though, he should never have come back. Well, maybe a quick visit, but certainly not to stay!

The separator is a neat spin on the classic alchemist's quest to turn iron into gold. And of course the calibration has to be super sensitive and continually adjusted. I mean, this is a sensitive alchemical reaction, people! :)


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Reply #4 on: January 21, 2016, 03:22:35 PM
Thanks for the comments, folks!  Since I've talked about the story in the episode notes and the EP discussion thread already, I don't think I have anything else in particular to say right now.

Except that, I loved this narration.  When I was writing the story, Ian Stuart's voice was the one I heard as I wrote.  And he did not disappoint.  I am so happy to have him narrate this story of mine.  :)