Author Topic: PC026: Black Ribbon  (Read 18616 times)


  • Palmer
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Reply #25 on: September 27, 2008, 04:46:53 PM
A decent story with an interesting premise.

I don't feel like any of the characters were very fleshed out, even the protagonist. In the end, I didn't see in her character the desire to kill everyone. She had motive enough, but the characterization just wasn't there enough for me to feel like it made sense for her to be doing it.


  • Palmer
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Reply #26 on: September 27, 2008, 05:19:40 PM
*Goes back, reads thread* (I never read the threads before responding; they tend to color my reaction.)

Everyone assumes the nursemaid killed herself, but when I listened to the story that wasn't at all clear to me. Remember, "it takes more than that (referring to Keriss petting the dog) to poison a man." I just assumed the dose from a single, brief kiss was enough to make ill but not to kill.

Taking as given that the nursemaid committed suicide, the killing spree makes a little more sense for the character. Also, the fact that she felt the death of the dog more than that of the man seems like an attempt at establishing a sociopathic personality.

People also pointed out the retardation of the assassination plot. I had assumed while listening that Keriss in Black had been created for the same reason people make swords: not to kill any specific person, but for use in a time of need. They found someone they wanted dead, so they used her. They could have used any number of other methods in this case, but Keriss was the weapon they had and when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I agree that it would be idiotic to plot the murder for so long in this way, but I didn't get from the story that that was the case.

I also didn't get that the assassination would be the end of Keriss' life. Maybe the ruse about warning of a plot to kill him was supposed to allow them to get away with it, and live to kill another day. Maybe killing this one man would destabilize the ruling class enough to restore power to the natives?

Hilary Moon Murphy

  • Palmer
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Reply #27 on: September 29, 2008, 05:43:50 PM
Finally got the chance to listen to this one. 

Before I comment, let me hand Rachel a tarp.  (She needs something to keep all the rotten fruit off... Honestly, have you seen what rotten fruit can do to your wardrobe?  It can be really hard to wash it out at times.)

I will play dissenter and say that I enjoyed this story.  As a writer of a story with another poisonous female (Li Chi in Run of the Fiery Horse) I realize that I am biased here.  There is something about the theme of the poisonous girl that really appeals to me, especially when the author takes time to explore the character's feelings about being a literal poison to those you love.  My reading of this story was pretty similar to Rachel's.  Black Kerris is one messed up girl -- created as a weapon, deprived of touch, and always having to see a twin who gets the best of everything.  Red Kerris was special, coveted, and had a claim of royal heritage.  She had laughter, dancing, and companionship.  Black Kerris only got the mere shadow of her sister's often resentful company.  I totally bought that she would want revenge, but even more want one last night of touching and human contact.

However, even I thought that the whole "Let's break your hymen by killing a guy" thing was just awful.  *Splotch!*  (Sorry Rachel.  I had to throw at least one rotten peach.  But hey, I supplied the tarp.  Remember that.)

And I won't throw a fruit over this, but I wish that the assassination attempt of the Ambassador/Governor/High Muckety-Muck had been done with more finesse.  I wanted more subtlety and better planning for the assassination attempt.

Still, over all I liked this one.

(Speaking for the Dissent)


  • Hipparch
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Reply #28 on: September 30, 2008, 01:09:00 PM
I enjoyed the story, once I got into it -- the beginning was kind of tough to follow as audio.

I agree with much of the dissent in terms of plot devices and the nurse killing herself. The "cheerful sociopath" ending was interesting, but I think it was done so the story would fit into its last line -- "I want to dance with everyone tonight."

This almost seems like a slice out of a larger piece -- how will the ambassador's death change things? Just how badly were these people trodden upon?

The thought of being completely insulated the way Black Ribbon was is kind of scary, and the fact that the touch of a stray dog's fur could evoke that kind of reaction was very powerful.

So... not necessarily a great story, but it had good points. I still liked it.

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  • Peltast
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Reply #29 on: September 30, 2008, 07:19:14 PM
I can't say that I loved it - it was interesting, kept my attention and didn't suck... the pure evil of the girl at the end was just a bit over the top.

She went from assassin to mass murderer way too fast for me.

Normal is just a setting on the washing machine.


  • Lochage
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Reply #30 on: October 26, 2008, 10:23:31 PM
She went from assassin to mass murderer way too fast for me.

On the other hand, I never expected anything different.  She was the biggest Chekhov's gun I've seen in fiction for a long time and the logic of the story could only have been that she would shoot herself at anyone and everyone in the third act.  Alternatively, looking at the psychological angle, killing is the one and only thing that she's good at -- indeed, pretty much the only thing she can do.  Most people find that they learn to enjoy the things that come naturally to them.

I didn't have any problem with the poisonous girl as the assassination weapon either.  It was one of those things that only takes a few seconds' effort to come up with an explanatory backstory, so there's no pressing need to burden the story with it.  Some candidates: there's a long tradition of female poison assassins; it is believed to bring an especially nasty curse on the associates of the victim; it is the only method the perpetrators know of that they think won't be traced back to them; it is symbolic, the means by which the victim and/or everyone else will know that they have had their revenge.  Whatever -- it doesn't really matter, like the details of who the ambassador is, why they want to kill him, etc.  This story isn't about the murder, it's about the weapon.

I enjoyed the story just for the anticipation of how Black Ribbon would detonate.  Perhaps expecting a bit too much, I found the actual ending slightly pedestrian.


  • Hipparch
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Reply #31 on: October 29, 2008, 07:01:59 AM
a halloween tale.
dry, but i promise you it's true.


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  • Hipparch
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Reply #32 on: October 29, 2008, 06:07:35 PM
a halloween tale.
dry, but i promise you it's true.

I remember that!  In fact just yesterday or the day before I was trying to remember the name of the woman in that case so I could look it up again.  Thanks for saving me the legwork.

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  • Matross
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Reply #33 on: October 29, 2008, 06:57:51 PM
Dwango, by "time period" you mean scene breaks?

Yes, I think scene breaks should always be punctuated, in audio, by some kind of device.

Yes, scene breaks would be a good term.  I found that story 30, Grand Guignol did the pauses just perfectly.  It made a somewhat complex story much more listenable.


  • Sir Postsalot
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Reply #34 on: January 06, 2010, 06:17:38 PM
It was an interesting idea, but the whole assassination plot was just too ridiculously silly to take even remotely seriously.  If, like ryos said, the intent of creating her as a weapon was to have a general purpose weapon, then that makes way more sense then to spend 17 years cultivating a one-shot gun.  But I didn't get that impression at all during the story. 

The core ideas are interesting, especially the human weapon which turns on its masters, and the woman with a poisonous touch.  But because the whole plot was so silly it's hard to really get into even these themes, and both of these themes have been covered by X-Men (Wolverine and Rogue respectively).  That alone isn't a criticism--X-Men have been around a long time and done a lot of stuff, so saying that alone is just like the argument "Simpsons did it!" doesn't carry much weight.  But if it'd been something I'd never seen before it might've wowed me enough to overcome the ridiculousness.

Also, I didn't understand why her nurse kissed her, and her flipout at the end seemed too much of a character change with no reason behind.  But those I can probably write off by simply saying "I didn't fully understand the character" or perhaps "To understand the insane you must be insane".