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Author Topic: PC441: A Shot of Salt Water (Aurealis Month)  (Read 2576 times)

Talia

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on: November 10, 2016, 02:01:30 PM
PodCastle 441: A Shot of Salt Water (Aurealis Month)

by Lisa L. Hannett

read by Cian Mac Mahon


First published in The Dark Magazine.

Part of our Aurealis Month, celebrating the Australian Aurealis Awards.

Hosted by Angela Slatter.

Accordions unpleated welcoming songs the day the mermaids returned.

The first notes droned joyful at dawn, played by young men with wool collars unrolled against the wind. Mattress-clouds bulged above land and water, miles of damp cotton dulling the fishermen’s music. As the sky blanched, fiddlers sawed harmonies, horsehairs screeching on weather-warped bows. Bodhráns were rescued from blanket boxes and cupboards, clatter-spoons from the backs of junk drawers. Soon drummers thumb-pounded down autumn-gold slopes from the village. Beats jigged and reeled past the wharves, along the coast, then splashed through froth seething to shore.

Sparking a cig, Billy Rideout watched the procession from the dunes. Nodded at the lack of flute-wailing. That hollow music wasn’t fit for a homecoming, he thought. Too much like drowning-storms. Like last breaths blown through old bones.


Click here to continue reading.

Rated R.



Lisa L. Hannett has had over 65 short stories appear in venues including Clarkesworld, Fantasy, Weird Tales, Apex, the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror, and Imaginarium: Best Canadian Speculative Writing. She has won four Aurealis Awards, including Best Collection for her first book, Bluegrass Symphony, which was also nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Her first novel, Lament for the Afterlife, was published in 2015. You can find her online at http://lisahannett.com and on Twitter @LisaLHannett.



Cian Mac Mahon is an Irish Software Engineer who in a past life was the world’s youngest professional podcaster, ran a radio station and very nearly ended up being a journalist. While he hopes to some day revive his show which podfaded many years ago, he now spends most of his free time playing about with cameras and cooking, as old microphones and sound-desks lurk in the shadows, right at the edge of eyesight.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!



DerangedMind

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Reply #1 on: November 12, 2016, 10:44:14 PM
This story just didn't do it for me.  I found the world setting interesting and the narration good.  But, I just couldn't get into the story.

I think the problem was that it seemed like the protagonist spent too much time wallowing in his misery rather than taking action against a sea of troubles....



Scuba Man

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Reply #2 on: November 19, 2016, 07:30:44 PM
This story just didn't do it for me.  I found the world setting interesting and the narration good.  But, I just couldn't get into the story.

I think the problem was that it seemed like the protagonist spent too much time wallowing in his misery rather than taking action against a sea of troubles....
I regret that I agree with you too. ~14 minutes in, and I'm unsure what's going on. Is this world a matriarcy where the womyn go out on the high seas for piracy? And the guys trying to figure out whether his lover bore him a child while away? Interesting narration. Confusing plot. Ah well... my $10/month donation still gives me a bounty of aural booty!

=====
Oh crap! At timestamp 31:43, the penny dropped for me. Mermaid-Mom fooling around with the seahorse! Twisted, rated-R tale.  ;D
« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 07:55:08 PM by Scuba Man »

"What can do that to a man?  Lightning... napalm? No, some people just explode [sic]. Natural causes".  Source: Repo Man.


DDog

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Reply #3 on: November 27, 2016, 03:31:51 AM
Oh crap! At timestamp 31:43, the penny dropped for me. Mermaid-Mom fooling around with the seahorse! Twisted, rated-R tale.  ;D

Oh, is that how it worked? I thought the mermaids just stole the babies from the seahorses in a raid. I guess I understand Billy's malaise a little better with that angle. I found his outlook frustrating because it seemed he was railing against an aspect of his culture that everyone else found perfectly normal, and it wasn't clear to me why.

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"Watching someone bootstrap themselves into sentience is the most science fiction thing you can do." -wintermute


Unblinking

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Reply #4 on: November 29, 2016, 02:35:08 PM
I'm not sure I entirely followed this one, though I did get some hint of the seahorse-daddy aspect.  I think it was a day of brainfog and nothing to do with the story.  I need to relisten.



lisavilisa

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Reply #5 on: December 02, 2016, 10:18:50 PM
I got the impression that some people try to steal mermaid babies and raise them as their own sort of inverted changelings; and that women were better at it than men? But sometimes the changelings don't take to land and if after a month they haven't adapted you have to give them back to the sea horses. Does this sound plausible? The whole thing had a dream logic to it.



Scuba Man

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Reply #6 on: December 05, 2016, 02:04:12 PM

...snip...  The whole thing had a dream logic to it.
I agree with you.  :)

"What can do that to a man?  Lightning... napalm? No, some people just explode [sic]. Natural causes".  Source: Repo Man.


Devoted135

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Reply #7 on: January 23, 2017, 08:15:19 PM
I got the impression that some people try to steal mermaid babies and raise them as their own sort of inverted changelings; and that women were better at it than men? But sometimes the changelings don't take to land and if after a month they haven't adapted you have to give them back to the sea horses. Does this sound plausible? The whole thing had a dream logic to it.

This is basically what I got from the story, but only through a haze of half-formed descriptions.