Author Topic: Flash: Rite of Atonement  (Read 6285 times)

Russell Nash

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on: November 19, 2007, 09:39:06 AM
Flash: Rite of Atonement

By Melinda Selmys

Reading and music by W. Ralph Walters

She would not be able to fly, of course, but he had run the simulations carefully, had seized his achievement in the animated projections of the contact-lens computer screen that nestled against his natural eye. She would be chased to the cliff’s edge just like all the others, but when she arrived she would not tumble graceless to the stones. She would spread wide those gossamer-green constructs of his genius and for a few precious moments that wind would fill them and she would glide until the weight of her body broke the fragile bones of the living apparatus that held her aloft. Then she would fall like a wounded bird, like Icarus as he plunged, spinning, downwards from the sun. In a tangle of broken wings, she would carry all of the terrors and tortures that he had perpetrated against her down to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Listen to this Pseudopod Flash.


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Reply #1 on: November 21, 2007, 01:11:21 AM
Man, this was an INCREDIBLE piece- maybe the most engaged I've ever been in a podcast story.  The whole thing was so beautiful and terrible- great reading, perfect flash piece.  More Melinda Selmys!


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Reply #2 on: November 23, 2007, 10:29:14 PM
I really enjoyed this one. In PP's flash stories we rarely get to hear much of the backstory, but the images in this one were more than enough. Excellent!

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Reply #3 on: January 13, 2008, 07:53:28 PM
I am finally getting caught up on my podcasts that I missed since (oh, gosh) September, and - What?! This piece only got two comments?

This is my favorite piece of flash fiction I've heard on an Escape Artists podcast yet. Wow, loved it, recommending it to friends, the whole deal.

I would really love to see an artist's impression of what the offering looked like in her final hours. I've listened to the story twice now, and have come up with two different images. I wish I could draw...


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Reply #4 on: January 15, 2008, 05:33:37 PM
There was a little server burp shortly after this one was released, so a few posts got lost.  This was a great piece of genuinely disturbing fiction.


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Reply #5 on: January 27, 2008, 05:51:17 PM
I agree with Gelee.
This was a really terrific, grotesque piece. Colorfully and creatively written to evoke pity for the protagonist, and realistic enough to believe that someone really would try this somewhere in the world.
I wonder where the author got the inspiration for this story.

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Reply #6 on: January 27, 2008, 08:38:21 PM
Simply amazing. Evocative and terrifying. Thanks Pseudopod!

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Reply #7 on: May 22, 2008, 04:30:36 PM
I just listened to this yesterday.  Twice.

Hands down, this is the most deeply disturbing thing I have ever heard on Pseudopod.  I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

And that somehow owes as much to the music as to the story itself.

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Reply #8 on: May 22, 2008, 05:48:15 PM

And that somehow owes as much to the music as to the story itself.

I disagree.    I just listened again to the story- I don't even remember there being music the first time I heard this.  The music was nice, but the story would have still been (was?) amazing without it.


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Reply #9 on: May 22, 2008, 11:02:58 PM
Hmm... I don't remember any music either...  But I definitely remember this story.  It's my favorite psuedopod flash piece so far.  I think if the music is done well it can be subtle enough to add to the atmosphere without being particularly memorable in and of itself. 

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Reply #10 on: September 08, 2009, 03:18:10 PM
This one was really good.  Lots of grotesque imagery that I could imagine actually being perpetrated somewhere.

I wish I knew more about the backstory.  If the author expanded this into a longer short or even a book I would most likely pick it up.


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Reply #11 on: August 20, 2010, 11:29:32 PM
This one was fantastic.  By far the best flash story I have listened to here.  A great example of how to do speculative fiction correctly.  My only criticism is that, after the crowd tore the grotesque apart, we never got to see the creator's dispair at being denied his chance to see her fly.

One of my favorite parts of this was how scary-close to life it is: there are certainly cultures which metaphorically heap their sins upon certain individuals (willingly or unwillingly - although death is rarely a part of the scapegoating).  I cannot remember the name of it, but there are certain ascetics in India which live a spartan life and smoke marijijuana constantly so that they might bear the sins of the community.

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