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Author Topic: PC430: Thundergod In Therapy  (Read 1531 times)
Ocicat
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« on: August 24, 2016, 02:58:31 AM »

PodCastle 430: Thundergod In Therapy

by Effie Seiberg

It took three days, but he disconnected his entire condo from the grid. He smashed holes in the plasterboard walls and yanked out wire after wire—brute force was as good a method as any. Then, in a tangle of metal and plastic, he reconnected everything to the battery, which now sat in the middle of his beige living room instead of the shitty coffee table. The apartment was transformed. Once a beige box of sadness, it was now a rat’s nest of blue and red wire casings which covered the walls (and part of the beige carpet) like ivy with a faint snow of plaster dust.

He sat on his fake leather sofa, put a finger on each of the hulking thing’s contact points and shoved lightning in. The battery’s gauge on the side lit up red, then yellow, then green.


Originally published in Galaxy’s Edge, Jan 1, 2016.

Rated PG.



Effie Seiberg is a fantasy and science fiction writer. Her stories can be found in the “Women Destroy Science Fiction!” special edition of Lightspeed Magazine, Galaxy’s Edge, Analog, and Fireside Fiction, amongst others. This is her second appearance in PodCastle.

Effie lives in San Francisco, recently and upcoming (but not presently) near a giant sculpture of a pink bunny head with a skull in its mouth. She likes to make sculpted cakes and bad puns. You can follow her on twitter at @effies, or read more of her work at effieseiberg.com.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: August 24, 2016, 03:00:46 AM by Ocicat » Logged
ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2016, 04:15:52 PM »

My wife is a therapist and she has frequently complained about writing progress notes. I can picture Dr. Brinkman's notes "Writer provided a reality check. Writer provided unconditional positive regard. Writer reflected Client's feelings of frustration and reminded Client of his goals."

Though, I've got to say, the only thing that irritated me was Dr. Brinkman's accent. Not all therapists are German, even though the infamous Dr. Freud was. My wife isn't. Dr. Brinkman is Roman, so shouldn't he have an Italian accent, if any? Wouldn't he think it was pretty weird to talk in a German accent - that would be a barbarian accent from his point of view!
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DerangedMind
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2016, 04:44:12 PM »

I quite enjoyed this episode.  It had some good humour and excellent narration.

One thing I found interesting was that Zeus actually wanted to change, and at the end was quite proud of his progress.  I was quite impressed / surprised with his choice of punishments at the end -- I hadn't really thought of Zeus as a trickster god.
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EFBQ
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2016, 07:07:07 PM »

Speaking as someone who has dealt with her own mental health issues, I loved this story.

I was a bit confused at first, for some reason Grahams narration left me expecting Zeus to be going through the motions of therapy.  It wasn't something that he had chosen, it was something that the courts had forced him to do, he was going to just sit through it and show them all...  As the story progressed and I realized that the story wasn't about that kind of struggle at all.  It's really a pleasure to listen to a story which is really about internal conflict rather than external, with just enough zapping and mayhem to keep it from getting stale.

I was going to question Zeus's relationship to Themis, but I looked it up.  The story is officially educational, it taught me that Zeus had a second wife  [insert stormy marriage pun here.]
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TrishEM
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2016, 10:54:26 PM »

I love this story to bits!

Ordinarily, I'd be happy with anything that delivered comeuppance to Zeus, who was not a nice god. But starting him off in that sticky beige condo purgatory, then having his clever accomplishment destroyed, got me rooting for him against Techno-punk.

Great battlefield choice! The CloudyCat meme did sound cute. If Zeus had just brought down the Net, that wouldn't have felt like a win. But the timing made everyone blame the "Zeus sucks! virus" for it — even though that was more accidental than planned by Zeus — so that worked for me.

And I just loved the triple punishment that he imposed on the loser. Funny that Techno acted like such a whiny manboy when he heard it, rather than being happy at how lightly he got off, it seemed — and then *hilarious* that Zeus was having him do free taxes, immigration papers, etc. Way to build a new fanbase!

I enjoyed the new roles that the gods and goddesses were inhabiting. I figured Terminus was playing into stereotypes when being a psychiatrist, so the German accent didn't bother me. However, I was a little puzzled by the emphasis put on the committee not assigning a gender to GOB (bureaucracy), since a fair number of religions have at least some deities who encompass both male and female characteristics, so it shouldn't be a big deal. On the other hand, Zeus didn't seem bothered, just commenting, so ... yay?

Anyway, I laughed numerous times while listening to this story. Well done!
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2016, 09:05:14 AM »

This story was suuuuper fun, throughout.  Of all the gods I'm aware, Zeus is probably the one that could use therapy the most. It was to watch him try to deal with modern life and the godly bureaucracy and face off against techno.  I'm not sure that he actually ended up growing in the end, does Sisyphus have it worse than Techno?  Doing everyone's paperwork forever seems like a truly Sisyphean task, after all.  (But that's fine, I thought that was funny, and I thought it appropriate for Zeus to give a Sisyphean but MODERN task)

The only thing that didn't quite ring true to me was when the "Zeus Sucks" meme was going to be enough to declare Techno the winner.  If I were browsing the Internet, and I suddenly could not visit any site without seeing "ZEUS SUCKS" plastered all over, it wouldn't make me hate Zeus, it would make me hate whoever the hell was making it impossible to browse the web normally.  It didn't seem like the general public knew Techno by name, rather just when they worshipped technology he got the power by proxy, but I would become very quickly annoyed at whatever a-hole hacker was doing that in the general sense and technology in general, and I don't see how Techno would come out ahead in that game (and should know better, being Techno and all).  I could see the Cloudy Cat meme working as desired (and impressive to get a meme off the ground so quickly), but not that one.  I found I had to choke down the suspension of disbelief on that one.

But apart from that, I thought the whole thing was pitch-perfect.

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Fenrix
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2016, 11:03:45 AM »

The dig on Internet Explorer as a trap was the best.
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Frank Evans
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2016, 11:42:24 AM »

This was fun. Chock it up to too much Avengers, but for the first few minutes all I could think of was "wait, when does Thor come in?" Gonna need to reacquaint myself with some Greek mythology it looks like.

 
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danooli
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2016, 06:59:38 PM »

There was so much about this to love, I can't begin to unpack it. I am just going to say that it was fantastic.
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Maxilu
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2016, 04:31:53 AM »



The only thing that didn't quite ring true to me was when the "Zeus Sucks" meme was going to be enough to declare Techno the winner.  If I were browsing the Internet, and I suddenly could not visit any site without seeing "ZEUS SUCKS" plastered all over, it wouldn't make me hate Zeus, it would make me hate whoever the hell was making it impossible to browse the web normally.  It didn't seem like the general public knew Techno by name, rather just when they worshipped technology he got the power by proxy, but I would become very quickly annoyed at whatever a-hole hacker was doing that in the general sense and technology in general, and I don't see how Techno would come out ahead in that game (and should know better, being Techno and all).  I could see the Cloudy Cat meme working as desired (and impressive to get a meme off the ground so quickly), but not that one.  I found I had to choke down the suspension of disbelief on that one.

I completely agree. For a god of technology, Techno seems pretty oblivious to how the internet works. If he'd made the virus say "ZEUS RULZ", he would have garnered much more hate for Zeus, but then, Zeus might not have realized this strategy and lost the challenge.

Still, a fun story over all, and light enough to not warrant over thinking.

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2016, 01:11:10 PM »

I completely agree. For a god of technology, Techno seems pretty oblivious to how the internet works. If he'd made the virus say "ZEUS RULZ", he would have garnered much more hate for Zeus, but then, Zeus might not have realized this strategy and lost the challenge.

Still, a fun story over all, and light enough to not warrant over thinking.

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

Intelligence ≠ Sense
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2016, 12:37:22 PM »

Expected social norms, bureaucracy, young arrogant technological masters; Zeus gives us a glimmer of hope sticking it to the man, er god.
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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2016, 03:13:56 PM »

I completely agree. For a god of technology, Techno seems pretty oblivious to how the internet works. If he'd made the virus say "ZEUS RULZ", he would have garnered much more hate for Zeus, but then, Zeus might not have realized this strategy and lost the challenge.

Still, a fun story over all, and light enough to not warrant over thinking.

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

Intelligence ≠ Sense

Right, but Techno is a god of modern technology, and so it seems like he is meant to be a master of how to manipulate people by using the Internet.  If he wasn't good at that, then he wouldn't be much of a god of modern technology.

(Anyway it was a minor quibble, and I laughed throughout the story in any case)

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abgorged
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« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2016, 04:23:38 AM »

Nice narrations
« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 05:36:58 AM by abgorged » Logged
Devoted135
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2016, 08:01:57 PM »

I had a lot of fun listening to this one, and was rooting for Zeus the whole time. (A testament to the writing in itself Cheesy ) It made me pretty upset when Techno came in and destroyed his clever set up, and whole apartment, after Zeus did such good problem solving. I'm glad he got his comeuppance in the end.


The only thing that didn't quite ring true to me was when the "Zeus Sucks" meme was going to be enough to declare Techno the winner.  If I were browsing the Internet, and I suddenly could not visit any site without seeing "ZEUS SUCKS" plastered all over, it wouldn't make me hate Zeus, it would make me hate whoever the hell was making it impossible to browse the web normally.  It didn't seem like the general public knew Techno by name, rather just when they worshipped technology he got the power by proxy, but I would become very quickly annoyed at whatever a-hole hacker was doing that in the general sense and technology in general, and I don't see how Techno would come out ahead in that game (and should know better, being Techno and all).  I could see the Cloudy Cat meme working as desired (and impressive to get a meme off the ground so quickly), but not that one.  I found I had to choke down the suspension of disbelief on that one.

Thanks for explaining this so well, I had the exact same issue.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2016, 08:45:13 AM »

I had a lot of fun listening to this one, and was rooting for Zeus the whole time. (A testament to the writing in itself Cheesy ) It made me pretty upset when Techno came in and destroyed his clever set up, and whole apartment, after Zeus did such good problem solving. I'm glad he got his comeuppance in the end.


The only thing that didn't quite ring true to me was when the "Zeus Sucks" meme was going to be enough to declare Techno the winner.  If I were browsing the Internet, and I suddenly could not visit any site without seeing "ZEUS SUCKS" plastered all over, it wouldn't make me hate Zeus, it would make me hate whoever the hell was making it impossible to browse the web normally.  It didn't seem like the general public knew Techno by name, rather just when they worshipped technology he got the power by proxy, but I would become very quickly annoyed at whatever a-hole hacker was doing that in the general sense and technology in general, and I don't see how Techno would come out ahead in that game (and should know better, being Techno and all).  I could see the Cloudy Cat meme working as desired (and impressive to get a meme off the ground so quickly), but not that one.  I found I had to choke down the suspension of disbelief on that one.

Thanks for explaining this so well, I had the exact same issue.


I'll have to come in for the counter. It had to be a cat meme. The internet is for cat pictures.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2016, 12:12:31 PM »

I had a lot of fun listening to this one, and was rooting for Zeus the whole time. (A testament to the writing in itself Cheesy ) It made me pretty upset when Techno came in and destroyed his clever set up, and whole apartment, after Zeus did such good problem solving. I'm glad he got his comeuppance in the end.


The only thing that didn't quite ring true to me was when the "Zeus Sucks" meme was going to be enough to declare Techno the winner.  If I were browsing the Internet, and I suddenly could not visit any site without seeing "ZEUS SUCKS" plastered all over, it wouldn't make me hate Zeus, it would make me hate whoever the hell was making it impossible to browse the web normally.  It didn't seem like the general public knew Techno by name, rather just when they worshipped technology he got the power by proxy, but I would become very quickly annoyed at whatever a-hole hacker was doing that in the general sense and technology in general, and I don't see how Techno would come out ahead in that game (and should know better, being Techno and all).  I could see the Cloudy Cat meme working as desired (and impressive to get a meme off the ground so quickly), but not that one.  I found I had to choke down the suspension of disbelief on that one.

Thanks for explaining this so well, I had the exact same issue.


I'll have to come in for the counter. It had to be a cat meme. The internet is for cat pictures.

Yeah, I bought the cat meme working for sure. I just didn't buy the spamming of Zeus Sucks! as a working strategy.
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chromeratt
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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2016, 11:43:04 AM »

This had me laughing through out, except for the Internet contest. Probably because
a) the reasons that everyone else mentioned
b) I am unaffected by cat pictures memes. (I'm seeing a doctor about that)

I also was trying to merge the Thor from this story with the one from the version in Douglas Adams' _Long Dark The Time of the Soul_.
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effie
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« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2017, 02:23:28 PM »

Hi folks, thanks so much for reading/listening and commenting! It's much appreciated.

You're all totally right. It should't've been Zeus Sucks, but Zeus Rocks. Ah well. Clearly I'd be dead first in an deific internet battle.

I do maintain, however, that Cloudy Cat would be successful as a meme and that Zeus would get a ton of fake internet points for it. I'm also betting he went back after the duel to put up some more, just to rehab his image a bit after Tekhno's attack. After all, he's a pretty vain god!

I also maintain that Zeus would beat Thor in a fight. They both have thunder/lightning powers, but Zeus is known to be clever and a bit of a trickster at times. Even with Thor's hammer, Zeus would out-think him to win. Perhaps that's a story for another day though Smiley

--Effie
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Fenrix
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« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2017, 03:44:08 PM »


I also maintain that Zeus would beat Thor in a fight. They both have thunder/lightning powers, but Zeus is known to be clever and a bit of a trickster at times. Even with Thor's hammer, Zeus would out-think him to win. Perhaps that's a story for another day though Smiley


Zeus like raging fire. Thor like smoldering fire.
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