Author Topic: PC010: Magic in a Certain Slant of Light  (Read 34495 times)

Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
on: June 03, 2008, 01:13:26 PM
PC010: Magic in a Certain Slant of Light

By Deborah Coates
Read by Cat Rambo
Introduction by Ann Leckie
First appeared in Strange Horizons (full text at link.)

“If you could wish for something magical, what would you wish for?” Jeff asks Nora as he enters the kitchen.

Jeff has been gone all day, helping a friend fix the plumbing in his basement. There’s no “Hello,” or “How was your day?” Just Jeff, in the doorway, asking about magic. “It can’t be about yourself,” he continues. “I mean, like making yourself immortal. Or about world peace. It has to be—”

“Talking dogs,” Nora says.

Jeff smiles in that way he has that seems to change his face. He’s wearing faded jeans and a sweatshirt that’s been washed so many times its cuffs are all unraveled; it’s a change from pin-striped suits and crisp white shirts. “You know, Dexter made a dog talk once and it didn’t work out like he figured it would. That dog was annoying.”

“Well, I don’t know how to tell you this”—Nora chops onions under running water, then transfers them to the frying pan on the stove—”but I don’t rely on Dexter’s Laboratory for my scientific knowledge.”

“Talking dogs are not scientific.”

“Yeah, magical.” Nora turns the heat up on the pan and looks through the cupboards for the spices that she needs. She swears that they’re never where she put them, no matter how often she returns them to their proper place. “That’s what we were talking about, right? Magic? You tell me, what would you wish for?”

“Zeppelins,” he says without hesitation.

“Uhm, zeppelins actually exist.”

He stands in the kitchen doorway, slouched against the frame, and she knows that he will leave her. There is something in the way he looks, a shadow in his eye, that wasn’t there yesterday or even this morning. And it almost kills her, like being stabbed right through the heart, because he’s the only one she ever really loved.

“Zeppelins,” he says, crossing to her and putting his arms around her waist from behind as she turns back to the stove, “are a collective figment of the imagination.”

“Zeppelins are totally possible. Plus, you can ride in one.”

He kisses the back of her neck and it feels like the soft brush of sun-warmed honey. “Bring me a zeppelin,” he says. His words murmur against her skin as he talks and she can feel his smile through the small hairs along the nape of her neck. “Then I’ll believe you.”


Rated PG. Contains zeppelins. Of a sort.


Listen to this week's Pod Castle!



I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #1 on: June 03, 2008, 01:29:37 PM
Just curious... why did it sound like Cat Rambo was recording this in her bathroom?  Or possibly the underpass where Harry saved Dudley from the Dementors?  There were parts that got too soft, parts that were too fast, and at least one audio artifact (I believe around the word "hammer").

As for the story... not what I was expecting, though once we got to the end, I understood the title.  I personally might have called it "Zeppelins and Talking Dogs", but then, I'm no good at titles. 

Sarah (the English Professor) was a tad too MarySue for me. 

I didn't like Nora at first, but once we got to know her as a professor, I started to warm up.  The whole Dr. No/Dr. Know thing was kind of cool.  Her magic was more Holmesian (I'm reading the complete works, so it's kind of influencing the way I think about other stories) -- Holmes could look at you and tell a LOT about what you did, where you lived, your monetary status, et al, and Nora, I think, takes it one step further.  Meteorologists can read patterns in the weather and tell you when/where storms will be to a certain degree of accuracy, and the really good meteorologists (ie: My Husband Was a Weatherman) can tell you even more.  I imagine Nora just could read the patterns in things -- hyper-observant -- which is magic, in a certain slant of light.

(See what I did there?  ;D )

Anyway, aside from the reading, I enjoyed the story for the most part, especially the grass/bottle zeppelin* and how Nora saw Jeff's pro bono case progressing.  That was an entire story in and of itself that I'm betting the author has already written in her head, even if she never puts fingers to keyboard.  But the dog on the table?  Neither Jeff nor Nora struck me as the kind of person who would let a dog jump up on a table.

* Due to the reading, I was really garbled on what she was doing out in the field at first, and didn't figure it out until she gave it to Jeff.

Not my favorite PC so far, but not bad.

(I'm sorry... I keep getting distracted by my coworker as he walks by -- he's got on an Aquafina-bottle-blue shirt, black slacks, and he's rocking the white belt and white loafers. *headshake*)

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


Void Munashii

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 267
  • twitter.com/VOIDMunashii
    • Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse
Reply #2 on: June 03, 2008, 02:58:00 PM
Just curious... why did it sound like Cat Rambo was recording this in her bathroom?  Or possibly the underpass where Harry saved Dudley from the Dementors?

  The sound really made an impression on me as well, I thought that maybe she was recording in her bathtub, and that perhaps she had two mics, and was talking directly into the one that was not turned on. I was also getting this really high pitched tone through most of the story that was making my head hurt.

  Sound quality aside, I found the story to be enjoyable if not remarkable. It was a bittersweet story to me, showing Nora as the ultimate pessimist, she doesn't just think things will go badly, she knows they will. I liked her as a character, but I couldn't really care about any of the characters too much. Also, the ending felt a bit awkward, I like the bit about the dog and all, it just seemed a little awkward.

  This story did make me think of one thing as Nora was thinking about how Jeff was going to leave her. If there is one thing I have learned in my life, one truth I am certain of, it is that everyone leaves eventually.

"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
http://mallvillestory.blogspot.com


Chivalrybean

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
    • The Space Turtle
Reply #3 on: June 04, 2008, 12:16:40 AM
It took me a while to like this one, but I did. At first I was disappointed that there wasn't zeppelins flying around, but I started to enjoy the story a lot around 20 minutes into the podcast. I was just hoping she would buy a toy zeppelin, build one, something. It took her thinking outside the box to solve her problem and she did it, and in the end I liked the characters a lot. they listened to each other and made their lives work together.

Took me a bit to like it and I still want a story with real zeppelins flying around doing neat stuff, but I can always go watch Castle in the Sky if I want.

I was also thinking a great ending for the story would have been the dog standing on the table when they were having an argument suddenly going "There ain't no ticks on me, there ain't no ticks on me! There may be bugs on some of your mugs, but their ain't no ticks on me!"

The Space Turtle - News that didn't happen, stories to entertain.


hautdesert

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 315
Reply #4 on: June 04, 2008, 12:39:57 AM



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #5 on: June 04, 2008, 12:47:21 AM
I was kind of left wanting by the ending.  More than anything, I wonder whether her "knowing" that Jeff would leave her within the year was an immutable fact, or if it could possibly change based on something she might or might not do -- particularly since she provided him with his "zeppelin".

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Chivalrybean

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
    • The Space Turtle
Reply #6 on: June 04, 2008, 01:09:16 AM

The Space Turtle - News that didn't happen, stories to entertain.


deflective

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1171
Reply #7 on: June 04, 2008, 02:09:57 AM
despite the worst audio quality ever from escape artists i really enjoyed the story.

i particularly liked the way that the information constantly suggesting itself kept getting in the way of conversation. made me think that Cassandra may have been one of the worst conversationalists in history.



Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Reply #8 on: June 04, 2008, 04:09:41 AM
Quote
despite the worst audio quality ever from escape artists

Unfortunately, we had some trouble with this one, as you've all correctly identified.

Steve ran this file through audio editing and came up with the version you hear. I tried to back up by giving it to Ben, who's produced some (IMO) very nice readings by Cat Rambo for Pseudopod. Unfortunately, by the time Ben threw up his hands in defeat, there wasn't enough time to get a new recording.

We'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again.



Chivalrybean

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
    • The Space Turtle
Reply #9 on: June 04, 2008, 04:43:16 AM
Quote
despite the worst audio quality ever from escape artists

Unfortunately, we had some trouble with this one, as you've all correctly identified.

Steve ran this file through audio editing and came up with the version you hear. I tried to back up by giving it to Ben, who's produced some (IMO) very nice readings by Cat Rambo for Pseudopod. Unfortunately, by the time Ben threw up his hands in defeat, there wasn't enough time to get a new recording.

We'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

I noticed it right away, but it wasn't bad that it bugged me the whole episode, just for a minute or so.

The Space Turtle - News that didn't happen, stories to entertain.


Chivalrybean

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
    • The Space Turtle
Reply #10 on: June 04, 2008, 04:45:59 AM
Can't forget this:

The Space Turtle - News that didn't happen, stories to entertain.


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #11 on: June 04, 2008, 08:58:26 AM
I really liked this story. Not really much to say about it beyond that. I think it edged out "Fiery Horse" as my second most favorite PC story ("Lady Death" still holds number one for me).

I was kind of left wanting by the ending.  More than anything, I wonder whether her "knowing" that Jeff would leave her within the year was an immutable fact, or if it could possibly change based on something she might or might not do -- particularly since she provided him with his "zeppelin".

I certainly got the impression from the ending that she stayed - the future with the hidden valley and the dog that doesn't bark seemed to be her new future, rather than something that would happen before he leaves.

Though actually the ending was my least favorite part as well. I think a more straightforward ending - or maybe a more carefully ambiguous one - would have worked better than the over-elaborate prediction at the end.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2008, 09:00:53 AM by eytanz »



Darwinist

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 701
Reply #12 on: June 04, 2008, 05:41:03 PM
I liked this one.  I would've liked it much more if there would've been real zeppelins and talking dogs in it as I thought there would be when it started.   I guess I'll have to reread City for my talking dog fix.   Another Podcastle winner. 

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan


ieDaddy

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 55
    • Experiences of an Inland Empire Dad
Reply #13 on: June 04, 2008, 06:26:00 PM

I was kind of left wanting by the ending.  More than anything, I wonder whether her "knowing" that Jeff would leave her within the year was an immutable fact, or if it could possibly change based on something she might or might not do -- particularly since she provided him with his "zeppelin".

I certainly got the impression from the ending that she stayed - the future with the hidden valley and the dog that doesn't bark seemed to be her new future, rather than something that would happen before he leaves.

Ok, maybe I took the ending a bit differently, because from my point of view Jeff "left" to go discover the hidden valley where there wasn't any maps showing them.  I took it to mean it was a spin on "oracle of Delphi" proclamations that can be taken several ways.  i.e. "the enemy will be defeated" but they never say which enemy.  Jeff left, went somewhere that nobody had ever been, but he also came back.  Nora's sense of knowing seems to be somewhat time limited, she knows he's going to leave in a year, she knows people are going to blow up at someone else, or are necking in class or will write a story, but it doesn't seem to go much beyond that event.

This morning I left my wife.  Tonight I will go back.  I do this every day I go to work.

If I had only written that first statement, or if you could know certain things about me but only one or two specific things, it's easy to see why some people might jump to the wrong conclusion.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #14 on: June 04, 2008, 08:01:19 PM
I don't think you can explain her initial premonition that way - it wasn't a prophecy with wording that can be reinterpreted - I think it was pretty clear that she had a sense of what he will do, not what she can say about what he will do. Plus, she had a clear sense that he will break her heart, which the ending seemed to contradict.



cuddlebug

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Reply #15 on: June 04, 2008, 08:55:35 PM
It took me some time to make up my mind about this story, …. don’t get me wrong, I knew right away that I LIKED it, but I had to figure out what that bitter “aftertaste” was.

Though it is just sooooo obvious, I really identified with Nora, so much so it almost scares me. She felt so real and familiar and so did the story itself, down to the setting, characterization, behaviors, feelings....

We all had our heart broken before, and the more we love the more it hurts, the more we struggle with it and the longer it takes us to get over it. But it is not just that, it is also that everything in the story felt so tangible to me (actually, I think that is the perfect word for it, tangible or maybe tactile?), even down to the ‘premonitions’. 

…… NO, I am not clairvoyant, but I am sure everyone had that feeling before that we just KNOW what is going to happen, and I don’t mean we have a hunch, no, we actually can feel it, nothing major, usually just small things, but still. That is what made we shiver a bit when I listened to the story, almost like Nora, when she felt Jeff’s smile on the hairs at the back of her neck. Wow, I’ll certainly remember that image.

Great story. Almost too REAL to be true.



hautdesert

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 315
Reply #16 on: June 04, 2008, 09:59:52 PM
I liked this one.  I would've liked it much more if there would've been real zeppelins and talking dogs in it as I thought there would be when it started.   I guess I'll have to reread City for my talking dog fix.   Another Podcastle winner. 

Well, I had a zeppelin story up my sleeve, but I can't think of any talking dog stories, offhand. 

Now I'm going to be wondering all night if I know of any...

eta--Okay, not fantasy, and not talking dogs as such, but animal people--have you tried Cordwainer Smith?  I don't think he's available online, but you might be able to find him used at amazon, or at the library.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2008, 10:02:59 PM by hautdesert »



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #17 on: June 04, 2008, 10:03:34 PM
I liked this one.  I would've liked it much more if there would've been real zeppelins and talking dogs in it as I thought there would be when it started.   I guess I'll have to reread City for my talking dog fix.   Another Podcastle winner. 

Well, I had a zeppelin story up my sleeve, but I can't think of any talking dog stories, offhand. 

Now I'm going to be wondering all night if I know of any...

"A Boy and His Dog" by Harlan Ellison.  :D

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


hautdesert

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 315
Reply #18 on: June 04, 2008, 10:41:59 PM
D'oh!  Of course!   :D



deflective

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1171
Reply #19 on: June 04, 2008, 10:50:15 PM
I can't think of any talking dog stories, offhand. 

eta--Okay, not fantasy, and not talking dogs as such, but animal people

before the restrictions i was thinking of Gaspode and Barnabas. Gaspode's thoughts on the difference between a tame wolf and a wild dog were particularly poignant.

i'm sure there's an debate to be had whether or not a story about talking dogs is, by definition, fantasy.


from the story:
Quote
A memory six years gone flashes into Nora's head: her first postdoc in Finland. "Why would you want to go there?" her mother asked her nearly every time they talked on the telephone in the weeks before she left.

"For the lights," Nora told her.

"The lights? What lights? Are you insane?"

"I mean the research," Nora said.

"All right, then," said her mother.

Nora has been telling people she means the research ever since.

i was wondering if anyone had thoughts on the lights?

my first thought was the aurora but there's that whole angle about how your views & reality can change under a different light. then there's the precog side to Nora. were there rare / unusual lights that appeared in norway she may have anticipated?



contra

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 100
Reply #20 on: June 04, 2008, 10:54:40 PM
I liked this story I think O_o.  i'll have to listen again.


As for the ending.  I took it that she had trouble predicting and knowing it will happen events that she could change.  He would leave her.  She becomes paranoid about it and tried to find the fault.  I assumed from there it would be her self destructinf the relationship and her seeing they would break up was the cause of it...

I'm very glad that didn't happen.  +10 points there.

She began acting irrationally while he still cared about her.  This lead them to go down a different path than the one she looked down.  He still went away, only for a while though.  The universe goes on slightly better. 

Whatever gave that power maybe was trying to tell her she didn't always know everything.  Or if she acts upon it it may change the outsome.

ie if she learned lottery numbers, different ones would come out.  If she picked a horse, it wouldn't get past the start line due to an error. 

Interesting ideas.

---
Mike---Glasgow.  Scotland.-->


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #21 on: June 04, 2008, 10:57:57 PM
I think what really struck me about Nora was that she noticed everything about what was around her - including stuff normal people cannot - except actually what people were trying to say to her. I know people like that, who spend so much time listening to/for the subtext of what people are saying they forget they also need to listen to the actual text.



ajames

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 358
Reply #22 on: June 05, 2008, 02:23:23 AM
I think what really struck me about Nora was that she noticed everything about what was around her - including stuff normal people cannot - except actually what people were trying to say to her. I know people like that, who spend so much time listening to/for the subtext of what people are saying they forget they also need to listen to the actual text.

Good observation, that.

I am having a hard time with this story. I want to like it, as there is a lot to like. Nora's character grew on me, I loved the premonitions (or whatever they are), the image of the soda bottle zeppelin, all great stuff as far as I am concerned.

And yet I am left with the impression that this story conveys a message that science is good for "knowing" certain things but misses the point of life, the magic of life if you will. In other words, science and magic are two separate paths, and science is the wrong path.

This is the message that Newton's prism destroyed the beauty of the rainbow. Nonsense, Newton's prism allowed him to appreciate the beauty even more. Science and magic aren't mutually exclusive, especially this magic "in a certain slant of light". Yet by the end of the story I no longer see a place for Nora's science.

However, that's just my interpretation, and it may not be the author's at all. Which is why I'm having a hard time with this one.



cuddlebug

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Reply #23 on: June 05, 2008, 08:49:17 AM
I think what really struck me about Nora was that she noticed everything about what was around her - including stuff normal people cannot - except actually what people were trying to say to her. I know people like that, who spend so much time listening to/for the subtext of what people are saying they forget they also need to listen to the actual text.

Good observation, that.

I am having a hard time with this story. I want to like it, as there is a lot to like. Nora's character grew on me, I loved the premonitions (or whatever they are), the image of the soda bottle zeppelin, all great stuff as far as I am concerned.

And yet I am left with the impression that this story conveys a message that science is good for "knowing" certain things but misses the point of life, the magic of life if you will. In other words, science and magic are two separate paths, and science is the wrong path.

This is the message that Newton's prism destroyed the beauty of the rainbow. Nonsense, Newton's prism allowed him to appreciate the beauty even more. Science and magic aren't mutually exclusive, especially this magic "in a certain slant of light". Yet by the end of the story I no longer see a place for Nora's science.

However, that's just my interpretation, and it may not be the author's at all. Which is why I'm having a hard time with this one.

Oh no, how can you say that. I thought we were in a SCIENCE Fiction forum !!! Science is sooooo magical, it all depends on what you do with it and how you use it to 'further' the magic, as it were.

And I don't see Nora's science as a barrier at all, in the beginning of the story it was, yes, because she interpreted everything around her using scientific knowledge alone to understand what was going on rather than instinct. Maybe her very keen perception was based on scientific observations, BECAUSE she had a hard time trusting people, and what they actually said to her. We know that people barely every say what they think and they usually hide their feelings, or we have been disappointed before and just don't know anymore what to believe and what not.

In any case, I admit she seemed too focused on all the wrong bits of information, but towards the end, we see how imaginative she is and how she can use the science to come up with 'magical' ideas. The zeppelin from a water bottle, that is so magical, but it also reminds me of what scientists do, use familiar ideas/objects to come up with something new, something original. I loved that about the story. I DO that all the time, actually. Try to CREATE something new based on something familiar.

Anyway, I think the Science in the story/character was incredibly important (and without Nora being a Scientist, the character development would not have worked at all). To me it seemed a very well-crafted turn of perspective to show how the Science in Nora's life changed and became something new, something that does not necessarily stop her from living her life but rather made her change her outlook a bit and turn things around. At least that is how I saw the ending. It left me rather hopeful, actually.



iainjf

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #24 on: June 05, 2008, 09:10:48 PM
Just want to say that I think this story is simply beautiful, and was beautifully narrated.  So much unspoken, so much implied.  Fiercely intelligent and deeply moving. Whatever 'fantasy' may be, this transcends such limitations of genre - this is literature.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #25 on: June 05, 2008, 09:20:16 PM
Just want to say that I think this story is simply beautiful, and was beautifully narrated.  So much unspoken, so much implied.  Fiercely intelligent and deeply moving. Whatever 'fantasy' may be, this transcends such limitations of genre - this is literature.

It does strike me as the sort of story one might read in a high school or college English class, yes.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Void Munashii

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 267
  • twitter.com/VOIDMunashii
    • Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse
Reply #26 on: June 05, 2008, 10:23:14 PM
Just want to say that I think this story is simply beautiful, and was beautifully narrated.  So much unspoken, so much implied.  Fiercely intelligent and deeply moving. Whatever 'fantasy' may be, this transcends such limitations of genre - this is literature.

  I have to agree. This story, to me, is sort of the polar opposite of last week's EP. I decribed "Kallakak's Cousins" as literary popcorn, ligjt, fun, not particularly filling. MiaCSoL is the opposite, it's a sort of literary bran, you have to chew it a lot, it tastes pretty good (as opposed to say, brussel sprouts), and it's good for you.

  You have to think about what happened in the story to get the most out of it, my wife and I have spent some time discussing what the ending means. She felt there was really no resolution, as where I thought that everything was resolved, if a little awkwardly. On the other hand we have spent no time at all discussing KC, because while it was a very fun and enjoyable story, it did not have the fiber to really make us chew it over. There's nothing wrong with either, and it's good to have both in a balanced diet.

  Enough food comparisons... now I'm getting hungry.

"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
http://mallvillestory.blogspot.com


stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #27 on: June 05, 2008, 11:10:40 PM
This story, to me, is sort of the polar opposite of last week's EP. I decribed "Kallakak's Cousins" as literary popcorn, ligjt, fun, not particularly filling. MiaCSoL is the opposite, it's a sort of literary bran, you have to chew it a lot, it tastes pretty good (as opposed to say, brussel sprouts), and it's good for you.

  You have to think about what happened in the story to get the most out of it, my wife and I have spent some time discussing what the ending means. She felt there was really no resolution, as where I thought that everything was resolved, if a little awkwardly.

I'm inclined to agree with your wife.  I didn't feel the resolution when I listened, though I can see the point that others raise here (that the end indicates that Jeff will not leave and break her heart.)


(And incidentally, I happen to love brussels sprouts and will take any excuse to have them with dinner.)

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


ajames

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 358
Reply #28 on: June 06, 2008, 01:50:29 AM
Thanks to your reply to my post, eytanz. You make some good points, and I like your interpretation much better. I will have to listen to the ending again; I definitely was distracted at a couple of places the first time through.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #29 on: June 06, 2008, 01:54:20 PM
Thanks to your reply to my post, eytanz. You make some good points, and I like your interpretation much better. I will have to listen to the ending again; I definitely was distracted at a couple of places the first time through.

Um, did you mean Cuddlebug? I didn't post a reply on this thread since you last posted (and Cuddlebug and I may be co-workers, but we're not the same person).



Void Munashii

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 267
  • twitter.com/VOIDMunashii
    • Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse
Reply #30 on: June 06, 2008, 03:04:21 PM
I'm inclined to agree with your wife.  I didn't feel the resolution when I listened, though I can see the point that others raise here (that the end indicates that Jeff will not leave and break her heart.)

(And incidentally, I happen to love brussels sprouts and will take any excuse to have them with dinner.)

  He did leave though, he went and discovered that valley and found the talking dog, and he came back. What she couldn't see was that he wasn't leaving forever, not yet anyway (everyone leaves eventually, after all). That is hiw I saw the ending anyay.

  you know, I was originally going to suggest spinach instead, but I figured less people like brussel sprouts than spinach... how about lima beans then?

"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
http://mallvillestory.blogspot.com


stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #31 on: June 06, 2008, 04:22:35 PM
I'm inclined to agree with your wife.  I didn't feel the resolution when I listened, though I can see the point that others raise here (that the end indicates that Jeff will not leave and break her heart.)

(And incidentally, I happen to love brussels sprouts and will take any excuse to have them with dinner.)

  He did leave though, he went and discovered that valley and found the talking dog, and he came back. What she couldn't see was that he wasn't leaving forever, not yet anyway (everyone leaves eventually, after all). That is hiw I saw the ending anyay.

No, I disagree.  I think eytanz had the right of it with:
Quote
I don't think you can explain her initial premonition that way - it wasn't a prophecy with wording that can be reinterpreted - I think it was pretty clear that she had a sense of what he will do, not what she can say about what he will do. Plus, she had a clear sense that he will break her heart, which the ending seemed to contradict.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Ragtime

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 45
    • Comic Book Thoughts
Reply #32 on: June 06, 2008, 06:32:55 PM
In literary terms, generally, fantasy literature tends to get grouped into the "Uncanny" and the "Bizarre."  The dividing line is generally whether or not the story is physically possible.

Henry James's fiction tends to be the prototype of "Uncanny."  The woman believes she is being haunted by a ghost of an ex-lover.  She runs into a dark room, screams, and when the lights come on she is dead.  Was it really a ghost?  Or was she going insane, and scared herself into a heart attack?  Either option is possible.

"Bizarre" is on the other side of the line, where the story makes it clear that the Ghost walked into the room and throttles the ex-lover.

Last week's Wisteria fell very clearly into the "Uncanny" category (which will always lead to some commenters saying that it's not really fantasy at all.)  This week's, I think, straddled the line very well.  Did the hero have magical pre-cognition, or was she just very intuitive?  I remember being at a wedding of two people I only barely knew (I was only a "date" of a real guest) and whispering that the marriage wouldn't last a year, based on body language, etc..  (As my pre-cognitive powers aren't quite so magical, the marriage actually lasted 13 months.)

I think what I liked most was how closely the story straddled the line.



deflective

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1171
Reply #33 on: June 07, 2008, 12:38:15 AM
speaking of uncanny, can fictional character influence reality? in the right light?



Windup

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1226
Reply #34 on: June 07, 2008, 04:06:28 AM

I had a hard time with this one.  I vacillated between being charmed by the language, world-view and main character, while periodically wanting to shout: "For heaven's sake, PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR NAVEL AND GET SOME AIR!!"  At times she seemed so tightly wrapped into herself, her "knowings," her relationship and her tight little world that it felt almost claustrophobic.  At the same time, what I loved about it was the emotion and the "magic" and the intimacy made possible by that same tight little world. 

Since I'm both Intuitive and Introverted (in the Myers-Briggs sense of both terms) it was probably a case of being bugged by seeing your own flaws in other people (either real or imaginary), though that commonality may also be the source of the story's charms for me. 

It comes down to a case of "the things I love about the story are also the things I hate about the story." I haven't really come to terms with that, and probably won't.

"My whole job is in the space between 'should be' and 'is.' It's a big space."


cuddlebug

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Reply #35 on: June 07, 2008, 12:18:38 PM

I had a hard time with this one.  I vacillated between being charmed by the language, world-view and main character, while periodically wanting to shout: "For heaven's sake, PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR NAVEL AND GET SOME AIR!!"  At times she seemed so tightly wrapped into herself, her "knowings," her relationship and her tight little world that it felt almost claustrophobic.  At the same time, what I loved about it was the emotion and the "magic" and the intimacy made possible by that same tight little world. 

Since I'm both Intuitive and Introverted (in the Myers-Briggs sense of both terms) it was probably a case of being bugged by seeing your own flaws in other people (either real or imaginary), though that commonality may also be the source of the story's charms for me. 

It comes down to a case of "the things I love about the story are also the things I hate about the story." I haven't really come to terms with that, and probably won't.

Oh, maybe we are the same type then, I am the 'Independent Free Thinker' (INTJ) according to Myers Briggs.

And I completely agree with you, I really identified with Nora and I was not entirely happy about it... seeing/reading about your own flaws is always a bit painful, and being told what your flaws are is even worse. I have friends who do that, who like doing that, and it often surprises me to see how well some people know me, given that I (like most people) try to hide my flaws.

Anyway, I LOVE personality tests, even though I am not entirely happy with the results. But knowing means we can maybe do something about it? That is what I liked about the story, it showed me someone who is like me, has my flaws, but it also made me realize I can try to change, just like Nora 
is not the same person at the end of the story.



JoeFitz

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
Reply #36 on: June 07, 2008, 05:38:32 PM
i was wondering if anyone had thoughts on the lights?

my first thought was the aurora but there's that whole angle about how your views & reality can change under a different light. then there's the precog side to Nora. were there rare / unusual lights that appeared in norway she may have anticipated?

I thought it was an obvious use of the "Paris, city of lights" nickname. Ironically, the lights in Paris are academic luminaries (and also street lights) so the lights are research and illumination.

When I hear "Paris, city of lights" I think of the night life, however, and this makes no sense to me in the context of the story.



JoeFitz

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
Reply #37 on: June 07, 2008, 05:48:08 PM

I had a hard time with this one.  I vacillated between being charmed by the language, world-view and main character, while periodically wanting to shout: "For heaven's sake, PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR NAVEL AND GET SOME AIR!!"  At times she seemed so tightly wrapped into herself, her "knowings," her relationship and her tight little world that it felt almost claustrophobic.  At the same time, what I loved about it was the emotion and the "magic" and the intimacy made possible by that same tight little world. 

Since I'm both Intuitive and Introverted (in the Myers-Briggs sense of both terms) it was probably a case of being bugged by seeing your own flaws in other people (either real or imaginary), though that commonality may also be the source of the story's charms for me. 

It comes down to a case of "the things I love about the story are also the things I hate about the story." I haven't really come to terms with that, and probably won't.

Oh, maybe we are the same type then, I am the 'Independent Free Thinker' (INTJ) according to Myers Briggs.

And I completely agree with you, I really identified with Nora and I was not entirely happy about it... seeing/reading about your own flaws is always a bit painful, and being told what your flaws are is even worse. I have friends who do that, who like doing that, and it often surprises me to see how well some people know me, given that I (like most people) try to hide my flaws.

Thank you for identifying what annoyed me the most about this story. As another INTJ, I was very frustrated that she, for all her brilliance and foresight (real and imagined) had done absolutely no self-reflection. (As it's rather dark in one's navel if not lower in the anatomy). The universe here is one which she either knows or defines, i.e. it revolves around her. Why has she never wondered how the universe would appear to her if it did not and what difference it would make?

She needs to get over herself.



deflective

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1171
Reply #38 on: June 07, 2008, 07:24:32 PM
i was wondering if anyone had thoughts on the lights?

I thought it was an obvious use of the "Paris, city of lights" nickname. Ironically, the lights in Paris are academic luminaries (and also street lights) so the lights are research and illumination.

the quote seemed pretty specific about finland (and not norway, as i said. but what's the difference really? sweden? phhht!).



JonCayen

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Reply #39 on: June 08, 2008, 02:31:37 AM
I liked this episode because it made me think, really think, about how we as humans view the world.

Nora viewed the world as a scientist does  ( a + b = c). However, Jeff sees the world with magic in it were sometimes ( 1 + 1 = 42). It really hard for us as human beings to change the way we think and see things, but when it happens we sometimes get a deeper understanding of ourselves, others, and the universe.

It takes a while for Nora to see other ways of seeing the world, mainly because she her Dr. Know abilitiy. But when she does it a good character defining moment and is rare to see in the "real" world. To me that is what the Zepplin and the talking dog represent. Its the moment when we break from the way we see the world, and get another perspective.








Schreiber

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 129
Reply #40 on: June 08, 2008, 06:07:16 AM
While I enjoy "genre" fiction as much as the next fanboy, I really appreciated the contemporary literary feel this story brought to the table.



Chivalrybean

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
    • The Space Turtle
Reply #41 on: June 08, 2008, 07:28:29 AM
Try this, Chivalrybean!

http://www.allstarstories.com/rosenbaum-notes.html



I haven't read this all yet, but I did start a story, and not only is it TOTALLY SWEET! it has a zeppelin in it.

The Space Turtle - News that didn't happen, stories to entertain.


cuddlebug

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Reply #42 on: June 08, 2008, 09:38:23 AM
Thank you for identifying what annoyed me the most about this story. As another INTJ, I was very frustrated that she, for all her brilliance and foresight (real and imagined) had done absolutely no self-reflection. (As it's rather dark in one's navel if not lower in the anatomy). The universe here is one which she either knows or defines, i.e. it revolves around her. Why has she never wondered how the universe would appear to her if it did not and what difference it would make?

She needs to get over herself.

Right, good point. Thanks for that. But all the "Nabelschau" (something like 'navel inspection' ...your own German lesson, and all for free  :)) and perceived/imagined similarities aside, it is a good story, one that resonated with quite a lot of people apparently, BECAUSE the main character was so flawed, but still able to 'get over herself' by the end of the story, if not entirely .. still noticeably. And who wants to listen to stories with flawless characters? Hell, to be honest, I prefer flawed people over perfection any day, and that includes friends and people I know.



hautdesert

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 315
Reply #43 on: June 08, 2008, 01:14:44 PM
Try this, Chivalrybean!

http://www.allstarstories.com/rosenbaum-notes.html



I haven't read this all yet, but I did start a story, and not only is it TOTALLY SWEET! it has a zeppelin in it.

I love that story.  It was one of the first things I ever read by Benjamin Rosenbaum and it made me an instant fan.



Chivalrybean

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
    • The Space Turtle
Reply #44 on: June 08, 2008, 05:01:27 PM
Thank you for identifying what annoyed me the most about this story. As another INTJ, I was very frustrated that she, for all her brilliance and foresight (real and imagined) had done absolutely no self-reflection. (As it's rather dark in one's navel if not lower in the anatomy). The universe here is one which she either knows or defines, i.e. it revolves around her. Why has she never wondered how the universe would appear to her if it did not and what difference it would make?

She needs to get over herself.

Right, good point. Thanks for that. But all the "Nabelschau" (something like 'navel inspection' ...your own German lesson, and all for free  :)) and perceived/imagined similarities aside, it is a good story, one that resonated with quite a lot of people apparently, BECAUSE the main character was so flawed, but still able to 'get over herself' by the end of the story, if not entirely .. still noticeably. And who wants to listen to stories with flawless characters? Hell, to be honest, I prefer flawed people over perfection any day, and that includes friends and people I know.

Except maybe the flaw where they think they are perfect? {;0p

The Space Turtle - News that didn't happen, stories to entertain.


Planish

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 772
  • Fun will now commence.
    • northernelectric.ca
Reply #45 on: June 08, 2008, 10:46:07 PM
First of all, before I forget...
I listened to this at my workplace (a slow day, on a weekend shift) and was in the staff lunch room the first time the word "zeppelin" was spoken. I happened to turn around right at that moment, and there on the TV was a zoomed-in shot of the Goodyear blimp, on some Golf show. :o

This story had no small amount of charm, but I think I'd have to read it (not just listen to it) a few more times to fully appreciate it. It's one of those stories where you don't know what's going to be important the first time through. Or maybe you have to stand back and look at the whole thing as a tapestry.

Similar to "Come Lady Death", nothing really magical or mundanely impossible happened, yet it did a good job of showing the blurry line between the mundane, the magical, and the scientific.

Whatever gave that power maybe was trying to tell her she didn't always know everything.  Or if she acts upon it it may change the outsome.
Yeah, I'd say that was underlined by the reference to Schroedinger's Cat.

One of my "if I was a billionaire" fantasies has always been to have a dirigible and fly it along the Trans-Canada Highway, picking up hitch-hikers. I'd drift as silently as possible up behind them, and drop a ladder down to them with a "Welcome Aboard" sign on it. All just to see the looks on their faces.

I feed The Pod.
("planish" rhymes with "vanish")


ajames

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 358
Reply #46 on: June 09, 2008, 11:08:32 AM
Thanks to your reply to my post, eytanz. You make some good points, and I like your interpretation much better. I will have to listen to the ending again; I definitely was distracted at a couple of places the first time through.

Um, did you mean Cuddlebug? I didn't post a reply on this thread since you last posted (and Cuddlebug and I may be co-workers, but we're not the same person).

Yes, I did - sorry  for the confusion Cuddlebug and eytanz.

Oh, and a word on personality tests like the Myer-Briggs - they are almost certainly being used in ways not intended or scientifically validated, so my advice is to have fun with them (and I admit they are fun) but don't make life decisions based upon the results!



Archie

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Reply #47 on: June 20, 2008, 12:32:15 PM
Nice vocals and a beautiful, may I say magically, romantic story. Had me in tears at the end. Then I'm a sucker for a love story!



koda

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 12
    • The ManicMinute
Reply #48 on: August 11, 2008, 07:11:02 PM
We all had our heart broken before, and the more we love the more it hurts, the more we struggle with it and the longer it takes us to get over it. But it is not just that, it is also that everything in the story felt so tangible to me (actually, I think that is the perfect word for it, tangible or maybe tactile?), even down to the ‘premonitions’. 

EXACTLY.
I am going back through stories I have listened to before because and skipping the ones I know I hated.  I had to look for this thread on page 2 - that's how you know I am serious! =)

It isn't like I sit around wondering when the world will end, but I have considered what it might feel like.

Live every week like it's Shark Week!


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #49 on: November 20, 2009, 08:19:10 PM
This was an alright story, but the protagonist just got on my nerves.  Not that she was unrealistic, or a bad person, or anything, but I never really believed that she had real premonitions, and so the fact that she was so convinced that he was going to leave here started to grate.  If you believe so strongly that a relationship is going to end, it just seems more likely that you'll cause the end yourself by overanalyzing every meaningless detail. 

I did enjoy the talking dogs/zeppelin banter--that was cute and felt real.



chemistryguy

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 263
  • Serving the Detroit Metro area since 1970
    • 5000 People can't be wrong...or can they?
Reply #50 on: January 30, 2013, 11:50:31 AM
This story was beautiful and subtle.  Absolutely worth a visit for those who haven't heard it or for those who haven't listened to it recently.

Reality and fantasy were blended together in such a way that made the story not only plausible, but had me believing in magic.