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Author Topic: PC428: Madame Félidé Elopes  (Read 2387 times)


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on: August 09, 2016, 05:34:30 PM
PodCastle 428: Madame Félidé Elopes

by K. A. Teryna translated by Anatoly Belilovsky

read by Tina Connolly

On Friday Madame Félidé bought all the smiles the local merchants had for sale. Merry and sad, shy and modest, childlike and old, tender, happy, polite, ugly, warm, soft, villainous, ironic, open, timid, grudging, obsequious — every single one. Shopkeepers dug through their deepest cellars to find silly grins that rarely sold and usually gathered dust amid bits of obsolete gossip and jokes peeled off the floor after they had fallen flat. She emptied the display cases of fleeting smiles and gullible smiles and especially made sure to acquire every single sincere smile in the entire town. She also bought two ounces of contagious laughter and half a pound of good cheer. For change, the sales clerk gave her a tulle sachet full of pointed double entendres.

This is this story’s first English publication. Click here to find the original story in Russian.

Rated PG.

K. A. Teryna is an author, screenwriter, and illustrator. Since her first publication in 2008, she has won multiple awards and had a number of her stories published in Russian Sci-Fi magazines ESLI, MIR FANTASTIKI, and other Russian publications. She lives in Moscow.

This story was written for a contest, and was based on an original painting by Yekaterina Yeliseeva.

Anatoly Belilovsky is has had over 40 original and translated stories published in English since 2011. He is a member of SFWA and Codex Writers, and has been translated into Russian, Chinese, and Spanish.

Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin trilogy from Tor, and the Seriously Wicked series from Tor Teen. Her novels have been finalists for the Nebula and the Norton. Her first collection, On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories, is releasing August 2016 from Fairwood Press. She is one of the co-hosts of Escape Pod, and her narrations have appeared on all 4 Escape Artists podcasts, as well as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and her Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake. Find her at

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!


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Reply #1 on: August 16, 2016, 03:01:13 PM
I liked the premise of being able to buy all the smiles--that kind of magical realism is quite up my alley.  I found my mind was wandering toward the end and then popped back into focus just at the end as it looped back around to the beginning.  I'm not sure what I missed in that last stretch but I think I need to give it another listen to fill that part in. 


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Reply #2 on: August 16, 2016, 03:29:51 PM
  I found my mind was wandering toward the end and then popped back into focus just at the end as it looped back around to the beginning. 

My attention wavered at the end of the story as well.

I loved the narration of the story, unfortunately the story itself had a hard time keeping my attention.


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Reply #3 on: August 21, 2016, 11:58:10 PM
Too gossamer for my taste I'm afraid.

I agree with Unblinking that the starting hook was interesting. A pity in some ways since it lured me into listening to the rest of the story to see where the idea was going to lead - but the answer was nowhere.


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Reply #4 on: August 24, 2016, 03:22:11 PM
I love the idea behind this story - it reminds me of playing games like The Sims where you have to buy hairstyles or clothing to flesh out your character in the way you want. Looping back to the beginning was clever, too, and not in a petty way. I love the idea of stepping into a canvas and it makes me wonder how different our world could be if we could step into paintings like The Last Supper, The Mona Lisa, or The Scream...


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Reply #5 on: August 29, 2016, 06:26:08 AM
Huh, I'm surprised by other readers' reactions. I really liked the ending, the way that while she had been painting her dream man, in the alternate universe, he had been writing stories of his dream woman! I was very satisfied with how it turned out.


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Reply #6 on: August 30, 2016, 01:57:05 PM
I actually missed the looping end and had to go replay it after hearing the outro. But somehow, what got my attention was the sentient airplane. I want to hear more about its travels!


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Reply #7 on: October 15, 2016, 12:40:31 AM
I was amused by the concept of being able to not only buy your expressions, but also the idea that a town could literally run out! I was a little creeped out by the dream boyfriend ending, but the looping was clever. Interesting story!