Escape Artists

News:

  • The Semifinals of the Podcastle flash fiction contest are happening now! Head over to the Arcade and vote!

News

The Semifinals of the Podcastle flash fiction contest are happening now! Head over to the Arcade and vote!

Author Topic: Pseudopod 113: Furnace Room Lullaby  (Read 12433 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5358
  • Mmm. Tiger.
on: October 24, 2008, 06:54:43 PM
Pseudopod 113: Furnace Room Lullaby

By Leah Bobet

Read by The Word Whore

Sound design and score by Lee M. Bartow (featuring music by love is nothing. and Navicon Torture Technologies). Recorded and constructed at Leechnest Breeding Facilities Summer-Autumn 2008.

The house off Weathervane Street came old, but not haunted.

It came with bright red brick walls on the outside, cherry-paneled floors on the inside, plaster that weeps moisture in the summer that plinks into a hundred dented pots. It came with cats that drink the water, wander in and out of the house, vanish into the weedy yard at dusk. It came old and weeping, rafters twisted, foundation long settled and scented with earth.

Isabelle made it haunted, and so she still lives in the house.


This week’s episode sponsored by Audible.com, who has extended their generous offer of a free audiobook download of your choice from their selection of over 40,000 titles.


Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 619
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Reply #1 on: October 24, 2008, 07:09:03 PM
This may be my favorite Pseudopod ever.  This is partially because of the reading (more Word Whore!), and partially because of the ambient sound effects.  But it's mostly because I really liked the story, itself.

Very creepy.  Very...atmospheric.  The atmosphere sort of reminded me of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.  I think, anyway. It's been a long while since I read that. :)

Kudos to Leah Bobet, the Word Whore, and Pseudopod.  This is the first Pseudopod I've listened to twice.

The only criticism I have is that the ambient sound effects nearly drowned out the reading in the last few minutes.

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else


thomasowenm

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 364
  • Servant of The Orator Maleficent
Reply #2 on: October 24, 2008, 07:23:25 PM
This one I was really a nice piece.   The furnace sounds brought the story to life for me.  I do agree with Kaa that it did get a bit loud at the end but I think it was necessary to amp up the climax.   Reading alone wouldn't have placed enought emphasis at that point of the story, like an angry sounding furnace in the background. 

The only thing I didn't like was the title.  I can't place where a lullaby comes into the story.  Maybe it should have been based on her old flame.



DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #3 on: October 24, 2008, 08:14:40 PM
Absolutely loved this one. Great atmosphere, creepy little story, and an eloquent narration by the Word Whore. 

The only thing I didn't like was the title.  I can't place where a lullaby comes into the story.  Maybe it should have been based on her old flame.

Maybe the lullaby is a reference to the lyrics he used to highlight for her?

Also, once again Al makes me think I should rewatch something I never would've imagined rewatching before listening to this. Hey, Affleck! You the bomb in Phantoms, yo!


MacArthurBug

  • Giddy
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 648
  • I can resist anything except temptation
    • undercaffinated
Reply #4 on: October 25, 2008, 11:27:11 AM
Nicly put together- Generally liked the backround side effects. The only diversion was the slightly annoying high pitched warble about mid through. However overall- really liked the backround stuff. This absolutly heightned the drama of the story. Nicly done. Plus, creepy goodness. Anyone else notice the kitty cat meows in the backround of Als intro?
« Last Edit: October 25, 2008, 11:31:19 AM by MacArthurBug »

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


Zathras

  • Guest
Reply #5 on: October 25, 2008, 06:02:39 PM
I couldn't follow this one.  I literally could not understand most of it.  I've got hearing issues and listen in the truck.  I'll try again with less background noise and better speakers...



Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5358
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Reply #6 on: October 26, 2008, 08:15:01 PM
great story, funny that i was listening to it on my ipod in bed at 4 am, and that fact coupled with the furnace background really drove in the horror.

and of course awesomely perfect wonderful reading by the lovely Word Whore :)

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


MiraCheskis

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Reply #7 on: October 27, 2008, 12:52:43 AM
I found the background to be more irritating and frustrating than enjoyable.  Perhaps it was just my mood?  It definitely was too loud, and it interfered with my ability to understand and enjoy the reader.  Otherwise, good story.



DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #8 on: October 27, 2008, 05:37:55 PM
Meant to say earlier that I mostly liked the background music/noise/whatever.  There were a few places that it felt a little distracting, but mostly it added to the atmosphere of the piece for me.


Zathras

  • Guest
Reply #9 on: October 27, 2008, 06:23:37 PM
It was still too much for me.  I got the gist of the story, but missed out on a lot of details.  The failing is mine, but if PP starts running more of this style, I'll have to skip them.



Ellspacer

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Reply #10 on: October 27, 2008, 10:31:54 PM
The background or emphasis noises didn't work for me. I could see the merit to the idea, but it was way too loud, and distracted me. Story was good, although I half-expected the new boiler to have a younger man's voice.



Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #11 on: October 28, 2008, 12:43:42 PM
I could listen to the Word Whore read the DSM-IV and I'd still enjoy it.

The story was okay, but I don't think the character's motivation was explained -- WHY did she so fear him leaving? Was he so amazingly awesome? Was she hurt in the past? Did I miss something? -- enough to make us believe she would burn her husband in the furnace to keep him from getting away.

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

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


DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #12 on: October 28, 2008, 08:21:17 PM
I could listen to the Word Whore read the DSM-IV and I'd still enjoy it.

The story was okay, but I don't think the character's motivation was explained -- WHY did she so fear him leaving? Was he so amazingly awesome? Was she hurt in the past? Did I miss something? -- enough to make us believe she would burn her husband in the furnace to keep him from getting away.

I don't think it was explicit about the reasoning behind those motivations...more of just a meditation on the fear of someone leaving you.  I can see how that would bother some people but I was okay with it.


Dwango

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
Reply #13 on: October 29, 2008, 08:57:38 PM
I didn't really get too creeped out by this one.  It felt like an explanation for the crazy old cat lady.  I did like the imagery of trees moving without wind.  That reminded me of a haunted house on Halloween.  I don't understand why the cats loved the dripping from the wall, unless there are lots of dead mice in the walls flavoring the water.

The ambient sound was a bit too much.  I don't want the 'special effects' to overshadow or artificially enhance the power of the words.  Interesting stories really don't need much radio styled help.



JoeFitz

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
Reply #14 on: November 02, 2008, 08:21:30 PM
Put me in the camp of "sound effects didn't work for me." I found them loud and distracting. At first, I considered the possibility that it was unintentional noise or a fault in my speakers. As for the story it was okay. I would have liked a tighter narrative than we got here. It struck me that there was really no haunting but rather the narrator was someone with an untreated mental illness who went into a catathymic state and killed her lover. That's a little too realistic for me - and not at all horrific, just sad.

On a lighter note, I couldn't get out of my mind that scene in Home Alone where that kid gets scared by the furnace.




eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #15 on: November 02, 2008, 08:41:06 PM
I really liked this story. I understood it as a bait-and-switch - it looks like it's a story about a woman threatened by ghosts, but really we discover that it's a story about a psychotic woman who murdered her husband/boyfriend for no reason, and now just needs to kill his ghost so she can move on.



Loz

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 370
    • Blah Flowers
Reply #16 on: November 04, 2008, 08:13:39 PM
I enjoyed this story, walking round London backstreets on a cold and slightly foggy morning, it gave events a slightly sinister air, walking along a street I see a gang of people looming ahead, I cross the road to avoid them and then realise they are a film crew on coffee break, I walk through a council estate past discarded armchairs and mounds I wouldn't want to investigate too closely. I'd like to see more experiments like this in the future but only sparingly, doing it too often would make it boring.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #17 on: November 04, 2008, 08:46:51 PM
I'd like to see more experiments like this in the future but only sparingly, doing it too often would make it boring.

Experiments like what? I'm not really sure what you mean here, this story didn't strike me as particularly different - could you please elaborate what you meant?



umamei

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 32
Reply #18 on: December 23, 2008, 01:24:42 PM
The reading was great.  I think this is my first experience listening to this reader and it was very enjoying to listen to.  I'm a bit ambivelant about the background noise--at first I thought there was something wrong with my headphones, and then, because I was doing dishes at the time, I turned around to check the fridge and make sure it was running properly.  Once I realized this had background music I was less annoyed, but the low constant hum in the first part was a bit distracting.  That complaint aside, the side effects were a nice change of pace and I enjoyed most of the rest of them.

The story though... it got a solid "meh" from me.  Not a bad story, but just not my cup of tea.  I didn't feel any sense of suspense, which is something I expect in any story I read (er... listen to?), but the concept was interesting and new.



robertmarkbram

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 75
    • The Blog for Rob
Reply #19 on: December 27, 2008, 03:04:19 AM
Such a creepy story. Nicely turns about the old idea of the spooky house - I was in turns feeling disturbed by the house, then the protagonist.. in turns cheering for the protagonist, then the house..

Not since I recently watched Amytiville Horror for the 10th time did I so much want the house to really really eat the people..

Rob
:)


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #20 on: October 29, 2009, 08:14:35 PM
The Word Whore, as always, put on a great show.  She's probably my favorite my favorite female Pseudopod narrator, though Mur is neck and neck with her.

The sound effects didn't work really well for me.  At the beginning they were too subtle, and I thought that the narrator just happened to have background noise until I realized it coincided with the story actions.  Then I didn't mind it, but then at the loud it was so overblown as to verge on the ridiculous.  At that point it was sort of like a laugh line on an old sitcom--telling me when I ought to be laughing, or when I ought to be tense.

The story itself was reasonably good, though I did have a little trouble following her reasoning "You're going to leave me, therefore I shall kill you."  I realize she was intended to be irrational, but I find it a little hard to immerse in her mind because of it.




Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3959
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #21 on: March 19, 2010, 04:11:21 AM
Word Whore is probably my favorite female reader for PseudoPod, and this time I also really liked the story. I really liked the sound effects. Including the time with the effect competing strongly with the words. I found it to be a good unique character in the story. Trying to hear the words through the noise created some additional tension for me. I liked the ambiguity of the story in that it could either be supernatural or it could be that she's bug eating crazy.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #22 on: June 29, 2010, 09:58:29 PM
This was a pretty solid story.  Well told, good language, great narration and the sound effects complimented it.  That being said, I felt like it lacked something.  That sort of last "oomph" or that high-octane "rocket fuel" that would make it stand out above the rest.  This is a good story, but not a great story.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.