Author Topic: PC021: Hallah Iron-Thighs and the Change of Life  (Read 24031 times)

Heradel

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on: August 19, 2008, 01:42:18 PM
PC021: Hallah Iron-Thighs and the Change of Life

By K. D. Wentworth
Read by M. K. Hobson
First appeared in Chicks in Chainmail (Baen)

“I wouldn’t do that, if I were you,” I called after him. “This pass is dangerous. You never know when you’re going to run into a bunch of low-down, dirty, skulking ban–”

“And just who are you calling `dirty’ there, ducks?” a familiar male voice called down from the rocks above. “Actually, I’m thinking the two of you could do with a bit of spit and polish your own selves.”

“Lomo, you skunk!” Corpsemaker’s hooves clattered as I pulled her up.

“That’s Lomo, King of the Bandits, to you,” he said haughtily.

I leaped out of the saddle, my sword Esmeralda in hand. “I thought I split your thieving head open the last time you waylaid us!”

“That,” he said loftily from his unseen perch, “was merely a clever ruse on my part.”

“Rats and eels, I hate it when they won’t stay dead!”


Rated PG. Contains scantily clad barbarians of the female persuasion.

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


Listener

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Reply #1 on: August 19, 2008, 02:42:13 PM
Hobson has an excellent ear for acting the different voices, but I didn't care for her narration at all.

The story isn't of a type that really interests me, but it's got that "heroes getting older" angle that I've heard in other recent stories -- interestingly in Hobson's last Escape Pod story, "God Juice".  I don't mind the angle, but it gets old if I hear it too much.

I didn't really care for the story as a whole; it seemed to have a tacked-on denouement (Greta and Hallah talking about magic susceptibility) and the "twist" was fairly meh.

I don't have a bad feeling about the story, per se; I just didn't like it.

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Hatton

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Reply #2 on: August 19, 2008, 03:54:51 PM
I read this one in Chicks in Chainmail originally, though it took me some time to remember it.  Hearing a story is much different than reading it!

My favorite part was when Hallah was calling for the confession and said, "You call those sins?  My grandmother has done worse things than that!"


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Void Munashii

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Reply #3 on: August 19, 2008, 05:16:49 PM
  Even though this is not generally the sort of tale I enjoy, I did like this one. I thought the humour was well done without turning the story into a complete parody, the story was paced well, and the "hymns" made me chuckle.

  I did feel a little let down at the end; I was hoping for something better than a missing tax stamp in the hymnals, and the bit about being more susceptible to magic felt, as Listener said, a but tacked-on.

  Over all this story was completely middle-of-the-road for PC, but even middle of the road here is pretty darned good.

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cuddlebug

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Reply #4 on: August 19, 2008, 06:04:15 PM
.... so, who has used shrinking potion on my jeans, ha? I should have known, never deprive a man of his priest, there is no knowing what he'll do.

Really enjoyable story, I haven't laughed this hard since, ... well, the last really enjoyable story, I guess. And I suppose the reading was what made this story so much more fun, really great job, perfect pacing, pausing at the exact spot when I needed a second to calm down and stop laughing, and not overdone on the voice acting, it was just right for this one.

Thanks for raising my spirits today, after a long and boring day at work that is not an easy thing to do, considering I am currently deprived of my own priest, ... ahem, friend who usually listens to my ranting, tells me about his sins and thereby keeps me entertained.

So, thanks Podcastle, you made my day.



Benjamin

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Reply #5 on: August 19, 2008, 06:20:23 PM
While the story did towards the end provoke my lips to form a slight smile - once - I can't say that I found it very amusing.
It seemed too preoccupied with convincing the reader/listener that it was funny to ever just relax and be genuinely funny. It reminded me a bit of Terry Pratchett’s kind of humor and I’ve always found him to be trying to hard to be funny, too.



Lionman

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Reply #6 on: August 20, 2008, 04:33:12 AM
I rather liked this story.  It had me smiling all the way through.  Very sort of tongue-in-cheek, humorous fantasy short that was well-written with descriptions that fit both the fantasy setting while grasping for what felt like more modern words.

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Reply #7 on: August 20, 2008, 01:07:50 PM
Didn't like this one.  But I haven't really cared for the "sword & sorcery" genre since quitting D&D over twenty years ago, and having been in an anthology called "Chicks in Chainmail" suggests gimmicky-ness.

It wasn't bad ... it just wasn't particularly good either.

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Rain

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Reply #8 on: August 20, 2008, 01:55:42 PM
i thought it was an ok story, it had some funny moments but not many



wintermute

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Reply #9 on: August 20, 2008, 02:15:59 PM
I got the impression it was trying to do the same thing as Goblin Lullaby, except that it fell rather more flat.

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Ocicat

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Reply #10 on: August 20, 2008, 08:56:50 PM
It was entertaining enough.  *shrug*  Nothing about this story really grabbed me, but on the other hand nothing really annoyed me, either.  It worked as an ironic adventure story, playing with all those "Conan" story tropes.  And it least it stayed away from the D&D-isms.  The characters didn't wear a "character class" on their sleeve.  So I listened and had a fun time of it while driving to work. 



yicheng

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Reply #11 on: August 21, 2008, 03:38:01 PM
Toss another log into the *meh* pile.  Not bad, but I just found the entire thing too ridiculously comical and overstretched.  Hobson really did a great job reading what was otherwise over-reaching dialog that just tried way too hard to be funny.  "Rats and Eels"??  Really?  Everything was just so contrived and formulaic, it was like if someone wrote a sit-com for the D&D demographic.  The main villain was about as dangerous as 12 year old (armed with a Pillow of +1 to Snark), and the fight scene reminds me of those episode of the A-Team.  You know, where nobody can hit the broad-side of a barn and everyone gets conveniently "knocked-out" at the right moment.  At the end you can almost picture the stop-frame credits with the queued canned laughter.



eytanz

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Reply #12 on: August 21, 2008, 06:49:11 PM
Story - eh. Entertaining, not memorable in the least. It's been 30 minutes since I've heard it and already I find it difficult to recall what it contained.

Outro - I was pretty amused by RachelAnn. The blog people loved the story. The forum people, were, well, somewhat lukewarm about it. I think I would have reserved the phrase "the reactions couldn't be more different!" to cases where, you know, it's not the difference between an A+ and a B-. They can get a little more differenter than that :)

Edit: name reference corrected
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 09:02:21 PM by eytanz »



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #13 on: August 21, 2008, 08:56:38 PM
Ann does the outros. ;)



Ragtime

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Reply #14 on: August 22, 2008, 01:40:02 PM
I have to agree with those who thought that the humor seemed forced, rather than natural.  The text was practically a palimpsest where certain lines were scrawled above a hastily-erased "Insert Joke Here."



MacArthurBug

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Reply #15 on: August 22, 2008, 01:41:06 PM
And.. the cheese stands alone.  I LOVED this story.  It had camp, it had funny, it had women both in and OUT of chainmail.

But, I like silly. I read all the Chicks books (yes there's more then one) and loved them.  I enjoy high camp. This was well read, and well written.  NO, most certainly not a deep piece. but a lot of fun.  

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Sandikal

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Reply #16 on: August 23, 2008, 05:59:39 AM
I listened to this on my walk this evening.  I must have looked like a crazy lady because I kept laughing out loud.  I just couldn't help it.  I really could relate to Hallah Iron-Thighs and her shrinking chain mail.



Chivalrybean

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Reply #17 on: August 24, 2008, 12:24:33 AM
Funny and fun stuff. The changing of the hymns was a part I found quite amusing.

This story wants my to think up a high fantasy story to write up...

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stePH

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Reply #18 on: August 24, 2008, 02:29:19 AM
I listened to this on my walk this evening.  I must have looked like a crazy lady because I kept laughing out loud.  I just couldn't help it.  I really could relate to Hallah Iron-Thighs and her shrinking chain mail.

I'm sure I've been looked on as a madman while riding the bus and listening to Wodehouse stories.  I haven't laughed out loud yet, but several times I've had to make the effort not to.

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Talia

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Reply #19 on: August 24, 2008, 05:21:05 AM
Lots of fun. And I LOVED the narration, personally. I thought it was just perfect.

Comment on the outro: in general, I've noticed the regular board posters tend to be much, much, much more critical than those who post on the blog. Its an interesting trend. Sometimes it feels (and this is just my perception here, don't hurt me!) like people treat it like a critiquing session, like they have to find something to criticize. Or maybe I'm just way less picky than other people, I donno. :) I like 99.9999% of the stories posted on EP & PC (not a huge horror fan), so when any given story is given "a rousing chorus of mehs" as it were, I'm usually left very confused and having to stifle the urge to give a "well I liked it. SO THERE" type response :p



DKT

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Reply #20 on: August 25, 2008, 06:42:19 PM
Count me in the much amused camp -- I listened to it on the road down to San Diego and really enjoyed it.  There was no one to hear me laugh, though, which made it all the better.  Hobson's reading was AMAZING, and I was also amused that her EP story "God Juice" seemed to have some of the same general themes/character issues as this one had.  Actually makes me want to listen to God Juice again.

Lots of fun. And I LOVED the narration, personally. I thought it was just perfect.

Comment on the outro: in general, I've noticed the regular board posters tend to be much, much, much more critical than those who post on the blog. Its an interesting trend. Sometimes it feels (and this is just my perception here, don't hurt me!) like people treat it like a critiquing session, like they have to find something to criticize. Or maybe I'm just way less picky than other people, I donno. :) I like 99.9999% of the stories posted on EP & PC (not a huge horror fan), so when any given story is given "a rousing chorus of mehs" as it were, I'm usually left very confused and having to stifle the urge to give a "well I liked it. SO THERE" type response :p

I've noticed that people here are a lot more critical, too (and I say this in the best sense of the word).   People take apart a story and think about it in ways I often did not, and that often adds to the experience of the story for me.

That said, occassionally I do see people who's critiques consist more along the lines of "This is how I would write the story."  (Note: Different from what didn't work in this story me).  Which is interesting, too, but not as thought-provoking (for me).


JoeFitz

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Reply #21 on: August 26, 2008, 01:02:06 AM
Meh. I'm *sure* I read this story as a comic in the back of a Dragon magazine in 1985.



stePH

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Reply #22 on: August 26, 2008, 01:19:45 PM
Meh. I'm *sure* I read this story as a comic in the back of a Dragon magazine in 1985.

Did Phil Foglio draw it?  :)

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Reply #23 on: August 27, 2008, 04:44:42 PM
My thoughts on this story. I thought it was executed well enough, but at the same time I found the pacing of the story a little too even. I do enjoy stories of barbarians and high fantasy, but this yarn seemingly took its cue from subplots done since time immemorial. (Even the barbarian aging crisis vehicle has been covered and time and again by Terry Pratchet's Cohen the Barbarian, for example.) And we never found out why they called her Hallah "Iron-Thighs" in the first place. The title, I suppose, should have included perhaps crushing one insolent oaf with her legs while happily relieving another brute of his internals. Yet there was a lack of gore and general violence for a tale described as high fantasy.

Overall, this tale for me was like spending 23.5 minutes listening to a sit-com on the adventures of an aging though experienced barbarian woman, her impetuous sidekick, and their squeamish employer who could have been voiced by Don Knotts.

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Reply #24 on: August 27, 2008, 11:20:07 PM
I found this a refreshing change from recent stories on PC. Don't get me wrong---they've been great, but they can require a bit of work from the listener to get into. This story didn't need a lot. It just was. If I got distracted for a second or two I didn't have to worry that I'd missed a subtle allusion to the prophecy uttered by the wizened old man at the beginning of the story. It was more The Bold and the Beautiful than War and Peace. Both have their place, and I'm glad the editors made room for this one.

I liked the take on the hymns. I know the more recent Christian versions quite well, and I had to wonder if the narrator knew the tunes at all. On the other hand, her less than perfect 'reading' of them suits what was going on in the story quite well.