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Author Topic: Pseudopod 509: Night Games  (Read 5701 times)

Bdoomed

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on: September 24, 2016, 12:58:31 AM
Pseudopod 509: Night Games

by Aeryn Rudel.

“Night Games” was originally published by The Devilfish Review on June 27th, 2014. It is still available to read on their site here. “If you’re unfamiliar with baseball, consider these two things. One, the pitching mound is a lonely place, not only because the pitcher is separated from the rest of the team, but also because he dictates the pace of the game. There’s a very real sense of isolation and pressure. Two, the catcher is both field general and psychologist to the pitcher. He calls the game (suggests which pitches to throw), and when the pitcher gets into trouble, the catcher goes to the mound to calm him down. As such, the relationship between pitchers and catchers is often quite strong. The pair are often called the “battery,” a word with appropriate military connotations, as the pitcher and catcher form a strategic plan throughout an at bat to get the hitter out.”

AERYN RUDEL is a freelance writer and editor from Seattle, Washington. He is currently writing a series of novels set in the steampunk world of the Iron Kingdoms for Privateer Press. He is a notorious dinosaur nerd, an obscure polearms expert, a baseball connoisseur, and he has mastered the art of fighting with sword-shaped objects (but not actual swords). Aeryn runs a blog called Rejectomancy, which is a blunt and honest look at professional writing and the rejection that goes along with it. The tag line is: Writing, rejection, and taking it like a pro.

Your reader – Rish Outfield – can be heard regularly on THE DUNESTEEF.



Dock at MOTHERSHIP ZETA for all your far-flung fiction and non-fiction needs!



The Eighth Day Brotherhood is a new novel by Alice M. Phillips that should be of interest to PseudoPod listeners. If you want a novel with the milieu of The Stress of Her Regard but tighter pacing, look no further. Couple this with the sensibility of Fincher’s Se7en and you have a tense and relentless thriller. Alice’s love for the tenebrous portions of the Decadent period glows through Paris while the Eiffel Tower rises on the bank of the Seine and as the city prepares of the Exposition Universelle. It manifests with an abiding love for the period supported by an incredible depth of research. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book from Black Rose Writing.

The Eighth Day Brotherhood by Alice M. Phillips — Black Rose Writing

One August morning, in Paris, 1888, the sunrise reveals the embellished corpse of a young man suspended between the columns of the Panthéon, resembling a grotesque Icarus and marking the first in a macabre series of murders linked to Paris monuments. In the Latin Quarter, occult scholar Rémy Sauvage is informed of his lover’s gruesome death and embarks upon his own investigation to avenge him by apprehending the cult known as the Eighth Day Brotherhood. At a nearby sanitarium, aspiring artist Claude Fournel becomes enamored with a mesmerist’s beautiful patient, Irish immigrant Margaret Finnegan. Resolved to steal her away from the asylum and obtain her for his muse, Claude only finds them both entwined in the Brotherhood’s apocalyptic plot combining magic, mythology, and murder.



The beautiful Horror in Clay 01 – The Murders in the Rue Morgue mug Kickstarter can be accessed at the link! Check it out, for the love of God, Montressor!



The CAST OF WONDERS Flash Fiction Contest info can be accessed at the link.



Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.



Randall Simmons only plays night games. As he steps into the right-handed box and taps his bat on the plate, he reminds me why. His smile, aimed directly at the pitcher’s mound, is wide and predatory. The bright stadium lights catch for a moment on his teeth, and even from 60 feet, 6 inches away, I see those teeth are too long and too sharp.




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


ElectricPaladin

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Reply #1 on: September 25, 2016, 01:11:26 AM
I really like this story as a metaphor for men acting against male violence. Simmons pretend that he's a normal man, but he's actually a predator; the narrator is a great model for a man recognizing this and doing what needs to be done to stop him. It's a really powerful story in that light, and I kind of want to play it for all my male friends.

And, you know, also, vampire killing is neat.

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Just Jeff

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Reply #2 on: September 26, 2016, 12:32:36 AM
Love this one. Fantastic story with the tension of the great baseball game. (Even though the ambient sounds help build that tension, I could have done without them.)



Jethro's belt

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Reply #3 on: September 26, 2016, 02:37:26 AM
Great story, great narration, great baseball, Unexpected ending, I liked the sound engineering too. My favorite part: our hero wondering if he was facing more vampire or more baseball player, priceless.
 I never did trust those toothpick handled modern maple bats. I'll keep my old ash or oak.




Frank Evans

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Reply #4 on: September 29, 2016, 12:57:56 PM
I loved this. Captured the pitch to pitch tension of baseball perfectly. I thought the background sounds were a great addition and I really liked the effect used for the vampire's death scream. And I loved, loved, loved the last line. Great job all around.




Unblinking

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Reply #5 on: September 29, 2016, 05:53:14 PM
I'm often not that interested in vampires and I'm rarely interested in baseball, but this story did really well with both, actually interesting me in both to a great degree.

Generally I find baseball slow-paced and dull compared with other sports (I'm not really a sports aficionado, but I've watched my fair amount of hockey, basketball, and football in my day), but I thought this story did well describing the strategy and drama involved in those quiet moments, the communication between pitcher and catcher, the strategy of what kind of pitch to use against what batter and with what else is going on at the time. 

And that quiet kind of strategy played into the story in really cool fashion in the strategy that he devised to try to hurt or kill the vampire with bat splinters, all while maintaining the facade of this just being a normal game.

After the vampire was obviously not killed by the bat splinters, and the narrator remarked that the catcher was nowhere in sight, I was disappointed at the missed opportunity for the catcher to kill the vampire as it charged the mound, given what he had remarked about that being part of the catcher's responsibility.  So I was very relieved and satisfied when it did take that turn in the end and it was the catcher that dealt the blow.  (more plausible too since the vamp's attention was on the pitcher it would've been infeasible for the pitcher to have accomplished much at that point)

Fun!  Well told!  Actually made me care about topics that I'm usually pretty disinterested in!



Fenrix

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Reply #6 on: September 29, 2016, 08:24:33 PM
“Nobody,” he says, “charges the mound on my pitcher.”

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


Aeryn Rudel

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Reply #7 on: September 29, 2016, 09:57:42 PM
I'm often not that interested in vampires and I'm rarely interested in baseball, but this story did really well with both, actually interesting me in both to a great degree.

That's really the best reaction I can hope for with this story. If I can hold your attention with the combo of an admittedly overused monster and a sport you don't follow (and even find a bit dull), then I've done something resembling my job as a writer.  ;) I would guess Rish's great narration helped more than a little on both points. 

Thanks for the feedback.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 10:05:28 PM by Aeryn Rudel »



dagny

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Reply #8 on: October 01, 2016, 03:33:36 PM
I hate vampires. I hate baseball.

I LOVE this story.

I'm so impressed with both the narration and production. This was fantastic! One of the most entertaining Pseudopod stories I've listened to.

Great job, everyone! :)

"Wolfman's got nards!"


Metrophor

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Reply #9 on: October 02, 2016, 12:17:37 AM
...Well, all I have to say is that's going to be a PR nightmare.

One more for the 'not into baseball and tired of vampires, but this story was amazing' camp. I had a feeling, right from the start, that the pitcher's plan wasn't going to work out the way he expected, but the last line of the story really sold it for me. I also quite liked the narration and the sound mixing; well played all around.

Although, and it's probably because I played Vampire: The Requiem through a good chunk of college, as with any vampire story I spent a portion of it trying to figure out what clan their hitter was in. Gangrel? Nosferatu with a really good disguise?
« Last Edit: October 02, 2016, 02:52:26 AM by Metrophor »



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #10 on: October 02, 2016, 05:04:41 AM
Although, and it's probably because I played Vampire: The Requiem through a good chunk of college, as with any vampire story I spent a portion of it trying to figure out what clan their hitter was in. Gangrel? Nosferatu with a really good disguise?

This is why I can't have too much sympathy for vampires - I spent to long being one ;D

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Aeryn Rudel

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Reply #11 on: October 02, 2016, 02:58:04 PM
Although, and it's probably because I played Vampire: The Requiem through a good chunk of college, as with any vampire story I spent a portion of it trying to figure out what clan their hitter was in. Gangrel? Nosferatu with a really good disguise?

With that frenzy problem? Simmons was totally clan Brujah. ;)



Unblinking

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Reply #12 on: October 03, 2016, 01:50:00 PM
That's really the best reaction I can hope for with this story. If I can hold your attention with the combo of an admittedly overused monster and a sport you don't follow (and even find a bit dull), then I've done something resembling my job as a writer.  ;)

Yes!  I think the only monster-sport combo that would be more impressive to me is if you wrote a zombie golfer story that I liked!



triccardi

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Reply #13 on: October 05, 2016, 07:09:54 PM
I am not a real die hard baseball fan but when I was listening to this story I felt as if I was at the game watching it. This is one of the best stories I have heard so far this year. Great job



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Reply #14 on: October 11, 2016, 08:07:13 AM
I made a mistake, on this one. I read the comments before listening to the story, so I expected to be blown away.

The story was good. The writing was great. Don't get me wrong. I was enjoying it right up until the end.

But I had a problem shutting off my brain at the end. (I think that I only bring this up because baseball guys and girls are notorious statistics hounds). The odds of a bat shatter leading to a catastrophic injury for the batter is almost impossible, unless he (or she) oddly falls on a shard resting oddly at the plate.

The odds of a pitcher aiming for a bat shatter leading to a catastrophic injury and then doing it are... Then the catcher, who has no knowledge of the vampire, has to recognize the person charging the mound is a vampire, instead of a normal person. Pick up the broken end of the bat, which has to have broken into the perfect stake, and instead of grabbing the batter, stab him in the back with enough force to penetrate to the heart, not hitting a rib.

So I guess, what I am trying to say is that these events all might have been fine (implausible but not impossible), if the pitcher hadn't planned everything working out almost exactly as it did. Unless that pitcher is God.

So, anyways, I saw that the author was here, and was debating whether or not to post this, but if the author hadn't posted I would have posted this without a thought. I decided that honesty is that best policy, and that it is always nice to get well thought through feedback on a story.

Btw:

If you are a new writer and you haven't visited this Aeryn's Rejectomancy blog, do it. It's great. I always wondered about how other authors handle these things and what type of stats and rejections they get, but because of where I live and my science background, I never get to talk to published authors about these things.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 09:55:43 AM by Not-a-Robot »



Fenrix

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Reply #15 on: October 11, 2016, 08:10:07 PM

But I had a problem shutting off my brain at the end. (I think that I only bring this up because baseball guys and girls are notorious statistics hounds). The odds of a bat shatter leading to a catastrophic injury for the batter is almost impossible, unless he (or she) oddly falls on a shard resting oddly at the plate.

The odds of a pitcher aiming for a bat shatter leading to a catastrophic injury and then doing it are... Then the catcher, who has no knowledge of the vampire, has to recognize the person charging the mound is a vampire, instead of a normal person. Pick up the broken end of the bat, which has to have broken into the perfect stake, and instead of grabbing the batter, stab him in the back with enough force to penetrate to the heart, not hitting a rib.

So I guess, what I am trying to say is that these events all might have been fine (implausible but not impossible), if the pitcher hadn't planned everything working out almost exactly as it did. Unless that pitcher is God.


For someone who is Not A Robot, that sounded an awful lot like something C3PO would say.

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


Not-a-Robot

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Reply #16 on: October 11, 2016, 08:32:12 PM
Sorry for sucking the fun out of life  :(

Let's just be glad that the story wasn't about the binary language of moisture vaporators, because my first job was programming binary loadlifters—very similar to vaporators in most respects.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 08:40:11 PM by Not-a-Robot »



Frank Evans

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Reply #17 on: October 11, 2016, 09:51:19 PM
*quietly closes drawer on unfinished binary language of moisture vaporators manuscript*



Aeryn Rudel

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Reply #18 on: October 11, 2016, 11:03:42 PM
So, anyways, I saw that the author was here, and was debating whether or not to post this, but if the author hadn't posted I would have posted this without a thought. I decided that honesty is that best policy, and that it is always nice to get well thought through feedback on a story.

I'm always, always open to feedback, and I really do appreciate you taking the time to clearly explain the issues you had with the story.

Quote
If you are a new writer and you haven't visited this Aeryn's Rejectomancy blog, do it. It's great. I always wondered about how other authors handle these things and what type of stats and rejections they get, but because of where I live and my science background, I never get to talk to published authors about these things.

And thanks for the shout out about the blog. Much appreciated.



davidthygod

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Reply #19 on: October 12, 2016, 09:06:39 PM
Great story, very engrossing.  Agreed on the implausibility of the shattered bat stake through the heart, but there is just something about baseball that lends to narrative like no other sport (only boxing comes close). 

The one on one between pitcher and hitter, the mind of the pitcher thinking out every scenario, the pitch by pitch pressure escalating with each throw until a final inevitable ending that automatically results in both failure and triumph.  Baseball gets a bad rap.  Its the most intense, pressure ridden sport of all probably because it is such a long process driven game with no playclock to prematurely end the continuously escalating drama.

The man is clear in his mind, but his soul is mad.


Marlboro

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Reply #20 on: November 10, 2019, 06:41:26 PM
Re: Pseudopod 509: Night Games aka "Randall Simmons, Vampire Bunter" aka "The Lost Boys of Summer" aka "Salem's Sandlot" aka "Transylvanian Passtime" aka "Buffy the Umpire Slayer" aka "Casey and the Bat"


Not a bad little story. If Carl Kolchak ever became a sports reporter this is what his stories would be like.



Fenrix

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Reply #21 on: November 11, 2019, 12:33:10 AM
That is a beautiful list of alternate titles.

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


Sgarre1

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Reply #22 on: November 11, 2019, 02:50:24 AM
Quote
If Carl Kolchak ever became a sports reporter this is what his stories would be like.

"October 5th.....I told Vincenzo that Ron should cover the Cubs going down in flames...this year....but he wasn't biting and since I still needed to work off the ill will from that write up on that notorious gallery opening (two dead, no leads, no suspects), I figured what could go wrong? I shoulda stood in bed...." (cue Gil Melle music)