Author Topic: PC012: Barrens Dance  (Read 28852 times)

Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
on: June 17, 2008, 01:10:06 PM
PC012: Barrens Dance

By Peter S. Beagle.
Read by Stephen Eley (of Escape Pod).
Introduction by Summer Brooks.
First appeared in Wizards Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy, 2007.

Carcharos. One tends to think of wizards either as bearded and severe, bearded and bumblingly kindly, or bearded and dark and vaguely sinister. Carcharos was none of these things. There were broad blond planes to his friendly face, and if his blue eyes were a bit small, they were yet as candid as they could have been. His hair was red-gold in any light, as though the sun were always behind him. When he spoke, there was a deep thrum to his voice, like the singing of a giant cicada. There was no one living in the Barrens who was not afraid of Carcharos.

Yes, there was. One person. But that comes later in the story.


Rated G. Contains strange animals and high magic.


Listen to this week's Pod Castle!

« Last Edit: June 17, 2008, 04:51:56 PM by Heradel »

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 17, 2008, 01:37:37 PM
I didn't like the style of the story.  It was all in the telling.  I remember extremely little dialogue, and dialogue tends to improve pacing.  It was too slowly-paced for me, and the ending wasn't a big enough payoff.

The reading was as good as it could be, given the material.

Overall, not a good PC for me.

"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 17, 2008, 02:49:34 PM
  While this was a nice story it just took too long to get anywhere. I cannot really fault the writing of this story, as this is probably the exact way an old man would tell the story, I also tend to zone out on old men telling long rambling tales as well, no matter how interesting the story may really be. Even the mental image of a wizard version of Michael Flatley could not keep my mind focused on this one.

  On positive notes, the sound quality was good, and Mr. Eley did his usual great job reading.

  Not my favourite PC by a long shot, but there's always next week.

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


Chivalrybean

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
    • The Space Turtle
Reply #3 on: June 18, 2008, 12:30:26 AM
It had wizards, magic that was simply magic, and Steve Eley reading it. Not the best story,  but a better one on PodCastle as far as my own tastes go. I was worried when they said something about dancing. I was hoping it wasn't going to be some hoity toity artsy fantasy. It wasn't, so I was happy. I was in the mood for a straight story, and I got one. The 'talking to you' style worked even if it wasn't the best.

PC gets a few mana bars back from after last week.

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


ajames

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 358
Reply #4 on: June 18, 2008, 10:28:52 AM
Very solid story - I was into this one right away and loved every moment. I actually hadn't read anything of Peter Beagle's before Podcastle, so I owe the editors a big thank you.

Thank you!

And another very good reading by Steve.



CammoBlammo

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 199
Reply #5 on: June 18, 2008, 12:48:02 PM
I really enjoyed this story. It wasn't really suited to audio, but it did a great job with the world building. Steve's narration helped a lot. I loved the thought of the dancing wizard and the funny little creatures. The narration was a great touch. I spent a lot of time wondering how on earth the narrator knew everything he did, and the answer was both unexpected and satisfying.

The only real complaint (if I have the right to use that word) is that the end was a bit long. Once the reveal was made, there was far too much exposition left to do.

Also, I was pretty impressed with the first ninety percent of the intro --- it introduced the author and the reader perfectly. However, the person doing the intro proceeded to summarise the story. It didn't give anything away needlessly, but I did feel cheated in that I already had somebody else's interpretive framework in place when I heard the piece.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #6 on: June 18, 2008, 03:59:42 PM
Wonderful story, satisfying on many levels. Every exposure I have to Beagle's work leaves me more impressed.

Also, I was pretty impressed with the first ninety percent of the intro --- it introduced the author and the reader perfectly. However, the person doing the intro proceeded to summarise the story. It didn't give anything away needlessly, but I did feel cheated in that I already had somebody else's interpretive framework in place when I heard the piece.

I agree completely. The intro wasn't spoilery this time, just pointless and condensending. Let me say once more - Podcastle editors, your listeners are not idiots, and don't need to have stories explained to us in advance. Especially not clear, well-written stories like this one. Please, stop treating us like idiots.



Hatton

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 88
    • Front Porch Political Talk
Reply #7 on: June 18, 2008, 04:00:48 PM
I can't help thinking I should have heard "Pikachu" screams in the background.

Actually, I'll say this - I *like* hearing old men tell stories.  The fact that our old man wasn't born human in this story doesn't matter.  The premise is good but there's the whole problem of listening to a picture.  Dance is meant to be pictured, not described... kinda like golf.


Normal is just a setting on the washing machine.


Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Reply #8 on: June 18, 2008, 04:40:39 PM
Quote
Podcastle editors, your listeners are not idiots

Summer is not an editor.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #9 on: June 18, 2008, 05:13:08 PM
Quote
Podcastle editors, your listeners are not idiots

Summer is not an editor.

I know that; I was assuming that the intros undergo some sort of editorial oversight/guidance. If that's not the case then A - my apologies, and B - Podcastle presenters, your listeners may have mistaken assumptions on how the intros come to be, but that still doesn't mean we are idiots :)
« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 05:24:06 PM by eytanz »



DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #10 on: June 18, 2008, 05:17:49 PM
I don't know.  This one just didn't do it for me.  Not because it was poorly written or narrated, mind you.  The writing was nice enough, and it had magic and wizards, but I just had a hard time latching on to it.  It just wasn't my cup of tea coffee, I guess. 


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #11 on: June 18, 2008, 05:24:21 PM
Re-reading what I said in my posts earlier I think it comes out snotty and not quite as I meant it. I'll leave it up for context, but what I'm trying to say is - Pseudopod editors, please instruct presenters not to give story summaries and/or analysis in their intros. It is a really bad practice that at worst seriously detracts from the story, and at best is patronizing to the listeners. I like the rotating hosts format, and the different perspectives it has to offer, but this is, first and foremost, a story podcast, not a literary discussion podcast, and the intro should exist to introduce the story, not to interpret it.



Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Reply #12 on: June 18, 2008, 05:39:04 PM
At the moment, when we invite new hosts, our format is to send examples of what we think are successful introductions and then give the people free reign. Under most circumstances, I'm not going to ask for rewrites. It's not something that pays well.

So, most of our control at the moment is exercised through guidance ("please try to do something else in the future") or shaping who we aks to do introductions.

Ann and I are probably going to be doing most introductions from here on in, with occasional guests (for example Erin Cashier, who's running the crit group, is doing the intro for next week's story)... although, as a teaser, I have also asked a writer who wrote two popular podcast stories if she'd be interested in working with us as a regular host in the future.

(Oh, just for my reference, it seems like the stories people disliked the intros on are Pahwahke and this one? Is that more or less right, or were there other instances where you felt the plots were given away before the story started? [I know there were scattered complaints about Osteomancer's and Astarte, but that seemed to be on the order of "too much information I wasn't interested in as it was presented" rather than spoilage or condescension. Also, IIRC, people disliked the "Run of the Fiery Horse" intro for being too much personally about Tempest. It's just good for me to have the info on what's not working for people as we write new introductions :) ])
« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 05:43:23 PM by Rachel Swirsky »



Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Reply #13 on: June 18, 2008, 05:48:36 PM
Ack, just wanted to say, this is probably the last quiet moment I'm going to have before Saturday... who knew planning a wedding was so much work?? So I'm not ignoring y'all, just running off to scramble around and greet guests and make food and steam dresses and all. ;-)

Whew! There's one of the bridesmaids at the door now...



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #14 on: June 18, 2008, 05:56:27 PM
(Oh, just FTR, it seems like the stories people disliked the intros on are Pahwahke and this one? Is that more or less right, or were there other instances where you felt the plots were given away before the story started? [I know there were scattered complaints about Osteomancer's and Astarte, but that seemed to be on the order of "too much information I wasn't interested in as it was presented" rather than spoilage or condescension.])

For me the two worst were Pahwahke and Stoneborn - not the part where you quoted the author's "stuff to think about", but rather the last sentence of the intro which sounded like a 1-sentence summary of what the story is about, in at least one of its interpretations. But note that Fear of Dragons also ended the intro with "and this is what the story is about" (explicitly in that case). The current story, which contained a summary but not interpretation, would probably not have bothered me as much if it wasn't that I was already primed to notice this by the earlier stories.

Personally I'm less bothered by infodumps if they are only background to the story, Run of the Fiery Horse, or tangential to it, like Osteomancer's Son and Hotel Astarte.

One thing I feel I should point out is that while I may sound really like I'm being really critical about this, it's because this is the sole fly in an otherwise exceptional ointment for me. In 12 weeks, Podcastle has already become my favorite Escape Artists podcast, quite a task given how much I love the other two as well. So I think that you and Ann and everyone else involved is doing a wonderful job, and I'm not griping because I'm unsatisfied, far from it. I wouldn't be complaining if I didn't think my complaints are valid, but I don't want the fact of my complaining to overshadow how great I think this podcast is.

Oh, and happy wedding :)



DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #15 on: June 18, 2008, 06:01:59 PM
Ack, just wanted to say, this is probably the last quiet moment I'm going to have before Saturday... who knew planning a wedding was so much work?? So I'm not ignoring y'all, just running off to scramble around and greet guests and make food and steam dresses and all. ;-)

Whew! There's one of the bridesmaids at the door now...

Geez, I'm surprised you're still hanging out here.  See you later.  And have fun!


stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #16 on: June 18, 2008, 08:16:42 PM
Chiming in here to say, I'm lukewarm on the story itself but must comment on the intro.

In over one hundred and fifty weeks of Escape Pod introductions, Steve Eley has never found it necessary to tell us anything about the story other than who wrote it and where it may have previously appeared.  The "here's what this story is about" is unnecessary and annoying.  Please have less in the future.

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


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #17 on: June 18, 2008, 08:30:42 PM
Chiming in here to say, I'm lukewarm on the story itself but must comment on the intro.

In over one hundred and fifty weeks of Escape Pod introductions, Steve Eley has never found it necessary to tell us anything about the story other than who wrote it and where it may have previously appeared.  The "here's what this story is about" is unnecessary and annoying.  Please have less in the future.

When Alasdair does an outro, he may refer to something in the story and how it relates to something he's thinking about or something in his life.  If these stories are going to have intros like this, perhaps it would be optimal to make them outros?  Just a thought.

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

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


stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #18 on: June 18, 2008, 08:38:09 PM
Chiming in here to say, I'm lukewarm on the story itself but must comment on the intro.

In over one hundred and fifty weeks of Escape Pod introductions, Steve Eley has never found it necessary to tell us anything about the story other than who wrote it and where it may have previously appeared.  The "here's what this story is about" is unnecessary and annoying.  Please have less in the future.

When Alasdair does an outro, he may refer to something in the story and how it relates to something he's thinking about or something in his life.

Steve Eley often does the same, but these comments invariably come after the story, not before it.  And he's never divulged the premise of the story, neither before the reading nor after it.

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


Nobilis

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 156
    • Nobilis Erotica Podcast
Reply #19 on: June 18, 2008, 08:45:05 PM
I was ready to love this story, as the author is truly a master, but this one did nothing for me.    It never captured my imagination.  To be honest, I didn't feel like it was even trying.

I agree with the other posters; you REALLY REALLY need to save personal comments about the story for the end. 

I DON'T CARE.

In fact, if you try to "sell" the story before you tell it to me, you're more likely to get an "Oh, really?" rebellious streak flare-up and I'll probably react poorly to the story just to spite you.

Once I've heard the story, and made my own mind up about it, then yes, I am interested.  Until then, please keep your mouth shut.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #20 on: June 18, 2008, 08:54:24 PM
I agree with the other posters; you REALLY REALLY need to save personal comments about the story for the end. 

I DON'T CARE.

There wasn't even anything "personal" about the intro.  It didn't even have that to redeem it or make it meaningful.  Just "This is a story about a wizard who uses dance movements to work his magic, and he's not really good or evil, he just is."

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


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #21 on: June 18, 2008, 08:59:31 PM
There wasn't even anything "personal" about the intro.  It didn't even have that to redeem it or make it meaningful.  Just "This is a story about a wizard who uses dance movements to work his magic, and he's not really good or evil, he just is."


Which, by the way, is sort of an odd thing to say given that the story states several times, quite explicitly, that while most wizards are neither good nor evil, the dancing guy was evil.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #22 on: June 18, 2008, 09:41:11 PM
There wasn't even anything "personal" about the intro.  It didn't even have that to redeem it or make it meaningful.  Just "This is a story about a wizard who uses dance movements to work his magic, and he's not really good or evil, he just is."


Which, by the way, is sort of an odd thing to say given that the story states several times, quite explicitly, that while most wizards are neither good nor evil, the dancing guy was evil.

Yeah, I picked up on that, too.  It's another thing that annoyed me ... every time the narrator mentioned the "evil" wizard I flashed back to those words in the intro.

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


deflective

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1171
Reply #23 on: June 18, 2008, 09:56:04 PM
a high fantasy piece! keep 'em coming. =)
don't get me wrong, i like that 'hoity toity artsy fantasy,' and i get that we're touring through the genre flavours, but it's been a long time since we've had a simple wizard trying to make it in a crazy world. or a crazy wizard in a simple world.

i've always wondered about uber-powerful magic with specific requirements (in this case, open space and free movement). what's protecting him from a sucker punch or a well placed net?

finally a request, could we split off the intro discussion into its own thread? the conversation needs to happen but it's overwhelming barren dance's discussion.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 10:58:48 PM by deflective »



Ocicat

  • Castle Watchcat
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3722
  • Anything for a Weird Life
Reply #24 on: June 18, 2008, 10:49:32 PM
The story was pretty lukewarm for me.  Not enough description of the dragon-like? critters to really make them come alive for me.  The main plotline with the wizard was fine, and I was enjoying the characters and the wife's dilemma.  I was also enjoying wondering who the narrator was.  Then the resolution hinges on a previously unmentioned superpower the critters had.  That was pretty cheap. 

As for the intro - ya, it annoyed me.  As soon as she said "this story features a wizard who..." I started chanting "I'm not listening, LA, LA, LA, LA".  I don't read the backs of book covers, and I certainly don't want summaries in a podcast I'm already committed to listening to.



Cerebrilith

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 62
Reply #25 on: June 18, 2008, 11:26:12 PM
i've always wondered about uber-powerful magic with specific requirements (in this case, open space and free movement). what's protecting him from a sucker punch or a well placed net?

This seems a problem with the story to me.  The evil wizard spends and awful lot of time on horseback for a guy who has to shuffle his feet to do his thing.  Seems like if this guy spent so much time wandering about and terrorizing the countryside some farmboy with a bow would have taken him out pretty early on.

Overall I like high fantasy but the magic chipmunks and evil dancing man-child were sort of lame.

As to the introductions, I prefer to know as little about the story itself before listening as possible.  I like to hear about the author, where else the story has appeared, the title of the story, and that's about it.  An anecdote connecting the story to an element in the author's own life in the outro can be very good, but no spoilers in the intro please.



Ragtime

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 45
    • Comic Book Thoughts
Reply #26 on: June 19, 2008, 04:38:46 AM
Two points (or questions, really):

1.  I have no criticism at all of the reader.  He did a fine job.  But while the story was "high fantasy," the words didn't present themselves to me as being spoken by a person using that particular "I am an American from the Knights of the Round Table!" accent.  The sentence structure seemed to often lend itself to a more folksy accent -- say Southern or Minnesotan (from the North).  Sure, its an old guy telling a story, but it wasn't an old guy Thespian from Summer Stock.  Did anyone else feel like the accent didn't match the writing style?

2.  And speaking of the "old guy" narrator, was it an old guy?  I mean, is it explicit anyone inside the text that the speaker is male?  Thinking back, I couldn't recall anything in particular, and the fact that "he" switches places with the woman made me wonder.  As I thought about it afterwards, I couldn't help but wonder if the narrator -- who is always speaking as a close friend -- had not replaced the woman in other ways that just form after the switch.  And that would make more sense if the narrator were female, also.  Then again, I could be off the reservation completely with that one.

3.  Finally, I completely agree with the comments about the intro saying that the wizard wasn't evil.  As I listened, it totally jumped out as an inconsistency, but I forgot that it was in the intro, and thought that the story itself was inconsistent.  Giving away plot points is bad, but completely contradicting the story might be even worse.




eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #27 on: June 19, 2008, 03:22:01 PM
2.  And speaking of the "old guy" narrator, was it an old guy?  I mean, is it explicit anyone inside the text that the speaker is male? 

Yes - at least, I'm almost certain that very early on the narrator refers to himself as an old man.



ajames

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 358
Reply #28 on: June 20, 2008, 10:22:18 AM

One thing I feel I should point out is that while I may sound really like I'm being really critical about this, it's because this is the sole fly in an otherwise exceptional ointment for me. In 12 weeks, Podcastle has already become my favorite Escape Artists podcast, quite a task given how much I love the other two as well. So I think that you and Ann and everyone else involved is doing a wonderful job, and I'm not griping because I'm unsatisfied, far from it. I wouldn't be complaining if I didn't think my complaints are valid, but I don't want the fact of my complaining to overshadow how great I think this podcast is.

Oh, and happy wedding :)

Well said, eytanz, and I agree completely. When I started to hear a summary of the plot before the story even began I cringed and felt that I was being talked to as if I were three years old. "Now honey, you'll like this story because it has magic, and don't worry, the wizard isn't really evil..." I hate to harp on this as the rest of the intro was fine, but that's a little like saying "But Mrs. Lincoln, you haven't said a word about whether or not you liked the play..."

However, as eytanz said, I absolutely love Podcastle and I applaud the job done by all involved - hip, hip, hurray! And congrats and happy wedding, Rachel!



CammoBlammo

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 199
Reply #29 on: June 20, 2008, 11:48:33 AM
I don't mind a bit of an intro to the story if there are concepts we might need to understand. For example, if 'Hotel Astarte' was more in line with the Ishtar and friends stories (e.g. a retelling or a continuation of a standard myth) it might be appropriate. However, it's never okay to give one's interpretation of a story beforehand, because that's up to the listener to do. Guides can be given (this is an important part of the narrator's job) but you simply can't go giving explicit clues unless they're really necessary.

Another time I wish the editor kept their opinions to themselves was the recent EP story 'Elites.' Steve started off by telling us about the effect the story had on him. I figured a story that good needed to wait until I could give it proper attention. When I finally did, though, I was quite disappointed. In the outro Steve explained why the story had that effect on him. Those reasons didn't apply to me. If I hadn't have heard the beat up first, I would have enjoyed the story far more.



birdless

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
  • Five is right out.
Reply #30 on: June 23, 2008, 06:53:35 PM
1.  I have no criticism at all of the reader.  He did a fine job.  But while the story was "high fantasy," the words didn't present themselves to me as being spoken by a person using that particular "I am an American from the Knights of the Round Table!" accent.  The sentence structure seemed to often lend itself to a more folksy accent -- say Southern or Minnesotan (from the North).  Sure, its an old guy telling a story, but it wasn't an old guy Thespian from Summer Stock.  Did anyone else feel like the accent didn't match the writing style?
The story was okay. It wasn't the best, but it was far, far, far from the worst I've heard in the EA family of podcasts. Put it this way: I liked it a lot better than "Revolution Time" (still listening to "No Tomorrows"). Actually, my biggest complaint was Steve's reading. I KNOW! I can't believe i just said that either! :o But i really felt like it should have had a more modern, conversational tone, like the tone Steve uses in his intros. But i kinda agree with Ragtime: it was sorta stuck in between "high fantasy" and "conversational" without being convincingly either one.



yicheng

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 221
Reply #31 on: June 23, 2008, 07:13:40 PM
The story was a bit plodding and slow for me.  The dancing wizard and "shookrees" (yes, pokemons!) very gimmicky to me, and did not do enough to save a very predictable plot line.  We know almost next to nothing about Carcharos, other than he's a pretty bad guy.  At once sociopathically uncaring about anyone but himself and apparently powerful beyond mortal-imagination, he comes across as a cardboard cut-out of yet another evil villain.  The author might as well have called him Mister Boogieman or Voldemort for all it mattered.  The ending seemed foregone well ahead of the story's actual conclusion, and the half-hearted attempt at a semi-happy ending seemed a saccharin and cartoon-like.

I'm not sure what it is, but I listen to podcasts mostly at work or when I'm playing games at home, and there are certain stories that just lose me somehow until I suddenly find myself hanging at the end of a plot-twist and having to rewind.  To roughly paraphrase someone else, this story was guilty of too much "telling me" and not enough "showing me".  All those interjections of "now hold on while I drink my tea", or "no one's sure of this but I was there" just got in the way for me.  It's already patently obvious that we're listening to someone spinning a tale.  Why redundantly state this?  Perhaps this may have worked in the written form, where the reader is able to actively imagine the characters or alter the pace of his/her reading, and such interludes serve as a release in the tension.  It may have also worked in a first-person "theatrical" spoken form, where the audience can see the storyteller's body-language, face, and read all the nuances.  For me, it doesn't work as a podcast for some reason, and ends up feeling a bit like watching a TV show about someone else watching a show (and not in the good Mystery Science Theater 2000 way either).



Dwango

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 166
Reply #32 on: June 30, 2008, 07:50:16 PM
I like the flow of the story, as the dancing wizard kept determining how he could steal the wife.  I found myself surprised at times with the actions of the characters, the evil wizard attempting to woo the girl and the transformations.  The shookree's were an interesting breed of creature and should have more time in thier explanation.

As mentioned in previous posts, the narrator gets a lot of presence in the story, for the obvious reason of his reveal.  But I think there is more there than the straight readings suggest. I doubt the narrator is what he claims and I have reason to believe that he may be the protagonist.  His terrible actions on an object of growing affection may have given him the worst thing a villian can have, a conscious.  This may have warped his senses and the claims of what "should be" explain his shift in viewpoint.  He is strangely kind to the protagonist toward the end of the story, considering his reveal.  If true, this shifts the story to a darker, sadder plane of regret.



FrankJ

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #33 on: July 01, 2008, 05:14:17 AM
This story moved me - nay compelled me - to actually register and write in to comment.

Yes, it was that bad.

I began as a listener to Psuedopod (from the 1st ep), liked it well enough to find out more about Escape Pod, and naturally jumped into Podcastle when it began.  Never before was I moved to write in, for good or bad reason. 

This story took me half the month to get through, because I just couldn't keep my interest up.  The names were difficult to follow and associate with characters.  There was too much description, and not enough dialogue, for this type of story.  The characters didn't seem to really be who they were supposed to be - in the sense that we were told they were certain things or behaved in certain ways, but never really seemed to act that way in the moment of the story (kind of like the guy in high school that was regarded as a badass, but no one could think of how he proved to be such a badass).  And Steve's reading just didn't do it for me this time.

But I finally perservered, getting through to the end. 

I knew I could - I'd read the 1st Thomas Covenant series.



Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #34 on: July 05, 2008, 04:22:04 PM
Because I'm lazy, I didn't seek out actual information on Mr. Beagle, and as a result, I had the impression - based on my exposure to the tropes of "The Last Unicorn" and the tone and style of "Come Lady Death" - that he was more of a Tolkein-era writer.  This was reinforced by the awe with which the editors have evinced when referring to Mr. Beagle.  He does come from the generation between my parents and grandparents, so he's not "young", but he is more modern and contemporary than I thought he was, and my expectations were tailored accordingly.

Because of this, his story-telling style hits my brain in a different way.  I started Barren's Dance expecting more of that drawing-room sensibility of Lady Death; I painted an internal picture of Gandalf as the narrator; I came at it with the presumptions of an English sensibility when I listened to his geographical descriptions.

Since I weighted my expectations with all of this baggage, the story felt lighter, more progressive, and less reliant on modern pop-culture to me.  For example, I didn't associate it with "Pokemon", because my mindset was back in the age before that garbage existed.  It felt very forward-thinking, since I was assuming it was written so long ago.

Of course, now I can understand that I was coming at it as if it were an old classic, and it makes me wonder: would some of you have been less put off if you had approached it in a different way?  We tend to brace ourselves when we know a story is "like" another story or genre; we expect a certain "something" when we are told that something is cyberpunk or steampunk, and something else when we are told that something is sci-fi versus fantasy.  This is part of the problem when people start bringing up the old "is it/isn't it" argument; expectations vary, and people feel cheated when those expectations aren't met.  (Or they feel overly enthusiastic, depending on what those expectations were!)

I could elaborate, but I've already babbled on too long, and I'm informed it is now lunchtime.  So....

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


JoeFitz

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
Reply #35 on: July 07, 2008, 01:45:18 AM
I liked this one for what it was worth. I was a little disappointed that the narrator did not turn out to be the wizard talking to his 'acquisition' of a little white-furred rodent on a leash.

Fine just the same, though I'd love for the intros to be much, much shorter.



netwiz

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Reply #36 on: July 13, 2008, 09:39:46 PM
I gave up halfway through. This could have been any old story about some guy who fancies another blokes wife, and is strong enough to try to force her away, but is resisted by husband and animals. This just happened to be about a wizard. Maybe something happened later that made the wizard bit relevant, but I'll never find out.



Planish

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 772
  • Fun will now commence.
    • northernelectric.ca
Reply #37 on: July 19, 2008, 03:33:10 AM
I was somewhat disappointed by the story. I felt cheated by the ending, given that there was very little hint of the Shookrees' abilities by way of setup.
At the beginning I thought they were some kind of horse-like creature (which grazed in herds on the Barrens), but I had to keep revising my mental image of them, making them smaller and smaller as it went on.

About evil/not evil wizards:
Quote from: Oscar Wilde
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
He was definitely tedious.

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


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #38 on: January 08, 2010, 04:13:23 PM
I didn't make it all the way through this one.  Way too much telling, without telling me anything that was particularly interesting.  It seemed to be relying on dancing as a medium for magic as its hook, which would be cool if I hadn't already seen it elsewhere.  One of my first exposures to fantasy was Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Death Gate Cycle, in which an entire race of people (the Sartans) performs magic by forming runes on the ground with their dancing.