Author Topic: PC474: Asymmetry  (Read 3270 times)


  • Castle Watchcat
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on: June 16, 2017, 08:43:02 AM
PodCastle 474: Asymmetry

by Kendra Fortmeyer
read by Dagny Paul
hosted by Setsu Uzume

First published in Forge Journal

Rated PG-13.

She arrived at his apartment ten minutes late and discovered that she was already there.

The woman was a champion worrier, but this was something she had not thought to worry about. She had considered: is this a date, is this not a date, am I ready, is he a psycho/rapist/murderer who is going to drug/rape/murder me, what if I am a bad kisser, and even what if dinner makes me gassy and he leans in to kiss me and I let one rip and the whole evening comes down around our ears.

She rang the doorbell and the man appeared with a rosy smile that drained slowly from his face like paint.

Click here to continue reading.

Kendra Fortmeyer is a writer of strange fictions. She attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ workshop in 2016 and has work appearing or forthcoming in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Lightspeed, the Toast and elsewhere. Her debut magical realist novel is forthcoming from Little, Brown in June 2017. She loves mermaids and the word ‘swamp,’ and can be found at

Dagny Paul is a former English teacher, failed artist, and excellent waitress who lives in New Orleans with an insanely talented roommate, a mostly-toothless Pomeranian, and her comic book collection. She likes writing, drawing, and spending time with her five-year-old son.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!


  • Palmer
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Reply #1 on: June 18, 2017, 03:34:27 PM
I initially understood this story as an account of the woman's response to a relationship that ended badly. By the end, I found myself thinking that splitting, shrinking, and disappearing could describe the process recovery from ANY trauma that leaves one a different person than before.

It also struck me as a good description of recovery from mental illness. And really, who's to say that grief and distress over a failed relationship ISN'T comparable to the grief and distress one feels after the death of a loved one?


  • Palmer
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    • Mokalus of Blog
Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 11:10:18 PM
I thought the same thing - the response could be the same for any trauma.

At certain points, I found The Other's treatment of The Woman somewhat uncomfortable, even though I also felt that it just represented frustration at being unable to let go and move on. I had worried at first that the split was going to paint the "no worries" Other as the better version of the Woman, but in those uncomfortable moments, I felt like none of the characters were better, or even especially good as people.

The last thing I'd like to say is that it sounds like a nice idea to be so cleanly and painlessly separated from the parts of yourself that you'd like to leave behind. Sometimes, I'd like that.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Is that a kind of self-loathing?
PPS - Maybe it's just that same frustration.

Tomato is a fruit, watermelon is a berry, banana is a herb and everything you know is wrong.
PodCastle Miniature 82


  • Matross
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Reply #3 on: June 29, 2017, 11:07:47 PM
Yeah, I believe that anyone that's ever been dumped can relate to this story. Sometimes you have to kill a part of yourself to survive and maybe flourish.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 12:37:46 AM by Katzentatzen »

"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."


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Reply #4 on: July 03, 2017, 10:25:59 PM
I'm fairly new to the forums, but I decided that on the stories I listen to, I will leave a rating that is on the 1-10 rating scale...

This story was interesting and well written. At first, I thought this was some sort of neat science fiction tale of unknowingly being cloned, but it wasn't. It was a story of metaphors - overcoming a tough emotional breakup. Dealing with hardship when you don't want to. Instead of viewing it as "her" or "the other" or two separate women, you should view it as one woman with two sides fighting against one another. The shrinking self is the side that wants to go back to what she knows, wants what's comfortable, wants to be loved. The "new" self (at least as I thought of her) is the strong one, the one that is trying hard to move on - even as you see her attempt a new job. She doesn't want anything to do with her ex-husband. However, there were times in this story that this version became annoying. There is a part of human life, emotions, and love where you can simply realize mistakes were made and seek a second chance. So, this story can also be read in that understanding.

Overall, I liked the story, but I didn't love it. 7/10 rating


  • Matross
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Reply #5 on: July 21, 2017, 07:19:18 PM
I feel like at the end the (true or whole or composite) woman finally came to terms with the fear and sadness and parts of herself left from her marriage to come to terms with them. The schism between who she was and who she wanted to be was closed by understanding herself and forgiving herself.
Instead of the two wolves in the heart battling to the death, there were two women who wanted to help eachother, but couldn't understand eachothers feelings.
I feel this way sometimes, asking myself, "why are you doing this?"  It would be nice to have the ability to confront myself and have real conversations like in this story.