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Voting has started for the Podcastle Flash Fiction contest. Anyone who has made at least one post should be able to see the stories down in the Arcade.

New groups are posted every two days through the end of April.

Author Topic: PC417: Archibald Defeats the Churlish Shark-Gods  (Read 4016 times)

Talia

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on: May 24, 2016, 06:06:31 PM
PodCastle 417: Archibald Defeats the Churlish Shark-Gods

by Benjamin Blattberg

read by Norm Sherman


A PodCastle original!

My Dear Professor Stern,

While we’re all impressed with Georgie’s little scholarly article on Pacific Island folkloric sea life, with all of its precise details and analysis and whatnot, I fear she left out the thrilling heart of the matter. To wit: how I saved countless Hawaiians from gruesome death. Because of my quick thinking and pluck and heroism and charm and grace and quick thinking, I not only saved Hawaii from an oceanic scourge beyond the imagination of modern man, but also deserve a passing grade for this quarter’s Independent Study in Applied Folklore (PhD track).


Ben Blattberg is a software developer, improviser, and writer currently living in Austin, TX, as long as there are no follow­up questions on any of those facts. His stories have appeared in Tina Connolly’s Toasted Cake, Crossed Genres, and Pornokitsch. You can find him on Twitter @inCatastrophe, and follow his adventures at his blog.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!

Your narrator is the the King of Kitsch, the Sultan of Strangeness, the Odin of Oddity, the Nadir of non­Normalcy, Mr. Norm Sherman. You’ve probably heard Norm over at our sister podcast, Escape Pod, where he is Editor. And if not there, you’ll surely have heard him over on his own podcast, the Drabblecast, strange stories by strange authors for strange listeners, such as yourself. And if not THERE, well, just about anywhere in the genre pod­-o­-sphere.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2016, 06:00:23 PM by Talia »



danooli

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Reply #1 on: May 28, 2016, 11:36:40 AM
Wow, Archibald is quite the douche! That was fantastic. There were so many fun little bits in this story, I was laughing to myself as I was listening on my walk. I think I actually snorted when Archie tossed the emergency beacon at the sharks.

I've, thankfully, never personally known anyone quite as over-the-top as Archibald in real life, but I felt the caricature painted here of the entitled, narcissistic, misogynistic, clueless and obnoxiously wealthy grad student is perfect.  As Graeme points out, we've all had people take, or try to take, credit for our own work before, but the way Benjamin wrote this was great, in that Archibald REALLY thought he was the savior-of-the-day. Just wonderful.

No reflection of Norm's personality, I'm sure, but he really nailed egotistical that voice.  I loved this.





bounceswoosh

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Reply #2 on: May 29, 2016, 04:37:13 PM
No reflection of Norm's personality, I'm sure, but he really nailed egotistical that voice.  I loved this.

Half way through, I thought to myself, Norm is far and away the best reader for this sort of story. He really nails these over the top characters. I can't remember the name of his intrepid explorer character from Drabblecast, and there was a great Cthulu sendup with ivy league grads visiting a trailer park ... Sorry, this would have been a better post if I could find the stories right now and link them.



kibitzer

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Reply #3 on: May 29, 2016, 10:33:50 PM
You're thinking of Connor Choadsworth, I believe.


bounceswoosh

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Reply #4 on: May 29, 2016, 10:39:35 PM
You're thinking of Connor Choadsworth, I believe.

Yes! That one. He also narrated a Cthulu-oriented story with a similarly entitled PoV.



adrianh

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Reply #5 on: May 30, 2016, 08:31:51 AM
Fun story made more fun by the narration ;-)



Frank Evans

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Reply #6 on: May 30, 2016, 02:55:04 PM
Not much to add here besides doubling down on how well the narrator nailed the character's voice. Really enjoyed this one and was happy to hear at the end that the author has a couple of stories in the same universe.



Unblinking

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Reply #7 on: June 02, 2016, 02:11:09 PM
You're thinking of Connor Choadsworth, I believe.

Yes! That one. He also narrated a Cthulu-oriented story with a similarly entitled PoV.

I believe you are thinking of "The Shunned Trailer" by Esther Friesner that ran on Escape Pod
http://escapepod.org/2013/11/01/ep420-shunned-trailer/

That one also came strongly to mind as I listened to this one.  :)



Unblinking

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Reply #8 on: June 02, 2016, 02:19:41 PM
Oh, this one was delightful in every way.  What a fun unreliable narrator story.

A few particular things I found delightful:
--The censoring of Georgie's cursing which only made me love Georgie more, and the absurd words he replaced the swears with.
--His griping about Georgie spraying the water around and defeating most of the sharks, but he can't help but gripe about how she is so hypocritical for using the water to drive back these deadly antagonists when he had had been criticized for using it to wash his soiled hands.  The nerve!
--The harpoon gun (sans harpoon).  And the "dispute" about who was supposed to carry it "and because it was heavy", given the rest of the narrative it leaves little doubt about who was SUPPOSED to grab the harpoon.  But Georgie still using a serviceable weapon in a pinch
--But most especially the misnaming the boater as "Raffi" and referring to his primitive native ways, when it suddenly turns out mid-story that that was never his name or his point of origin and there was no reasonable reason to think it was.  AND keeping in mind that this story, as told, is not a modern in-the-moment narrative, but it is framed as a letter written after the fact, and in the letter he not only misnamed Arthur until the point of the story where Arthur corrected him, AND included the part of the story where Arthur corrected, but he ALSO continues to misname Arthur for some of the rest of the story.  If this character were meant to be taken seriously at all, that wouldn't've made sense, but combined with all the other incredibly stupid things he does... it totally works.
--The sending of the moving shark teeth by post.  BY POST.



bounceswoosh

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Reply #9 on: June 04, 2016, 12:21:59 AM
You're thinking of Connor Choadsworth, I believe.

Yes! That one. He also narrated a Cthulu-oriented story with a similarly entitled PoV.

I believe you are thinking of "The Shunned Trailer" by Esther Friesner that ran on Escape Pod
http://escapepod.org/2013/11/01/ep420-shunned-trailer/

That one also came strongly to mind as I listened to this one.  :)

Yes! Thank you.



Windup

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Reply #10 on: June 04, 2016, 04:06:51 AM
I agree. This one was an absolute blast. The rising, unselfconscious douchery of the narrator, the wild absurdity of the situation and Norm's narration all combined to make this a terrific listening experience.

"My whole job is in the space between 'should be' and 'is.' It's a big space."


Devoted135

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Reply #11 on: June 07, 2016, 02:15:51 AM
Yes! Now this was fun. :D

He was so confident as he dug himself deeper, and deeper...



Envieddead

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Reply #12 on: June 07, 2016, 04:40:58 AM
This was a fun listen for me. I am currently wallowing in   academia and really enjoyed the pinpoint accuracy of the credit seeking underling in a PhD program. For some reason I fixated on an Octavia Butler reference this story made, which keeps making me giggle. 'The research on the Bloodchildren of Butler, California'. You see what he did there?



TrishEM

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Reply #13 on: June 08, 2016, 10:15:02 AM
This was a fun listen for me. I am currently wallowing in   academia and really enjoyed the pinpoint accuracy of the credit seeking underling in a PhD program. For some reason I fixated on an Octavia Butler reference this story made, which keeps making me giggle. 'The research on the Bloodchildren of Butler, California'. You see what he did there?

I noticed that, yes! There were lots of fun touches throughout this one.



benjaminjb

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Reply #14 on: June 08, 2016, 05:56:33 PM
Hello! Author here, just popping by to say how much I loved Norm's narration--I've revised and rewritten and reread this piece so many times that it kind of became a chore, but Norm's narration brought the story back to life for me.

If y'all have any questions or thoughts, I'm all ears!



DKT

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Reply #15 on: June 09, 2016, 01:55:37 AM
Hello! Author here, just popping by to say how much I loved Norm's narration--I've revised and rewritten and reread this piece so many times that it kind of became a chore, but Norm's narration brought the story back to life for me.

If y'all have any questions or thoughts, I'm all ears!

Thought: Write A LOT more of these stories, PLEASE!


Fenrix

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Reply #16 on: June 15, 2016, 02:34:50 AM
Fun stuff. Churlish is an underappreciated word.

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