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Author Topic: Pseudopod 121: Blood, Snow, and Sparrows  (Read 12670 times)

Bdoomed

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on: December 20, 2008, 02:35:03 AM
Pseudopod 121: Blood, Snow, and Sparrows

By Joshua Alan Doetsch

Read by Ben Phillips

Desdemona used to trace the stars with her finger, connecting the dots, naming her own constellations.

I call upon her name.

Desdemona.

I call her name when I want to remember.

Desdemona — who gave me thirty-one birthdays when I had none. Desdemona — who laughed and made snow angels on rooftops because the snow there was cleanest, the closest to Heaven. Desdemona — who made an angel of snow and blood in the dirty street on the day I lost her.

I remember this, now, as Zeek struggles in my arms, anger and fear evacuating his body in crimson spurts, and my smile dislocates my jaw. Zeek with the shroud-eye, one eye glaucoma clouded, said it was his evil eye, said he could hex a body with a stare, cast a pestilence. But, see, I knew better. I knew it was Zeek’s dirty needles that killed the kids. And the night collapses with primate shrieks as Zeek tries to lift his bloody gun and . . .

Freeze.

Too far.



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?


umamei

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Reply #1 on: December 20, 2008, 10:55:55 AM
This probably was one of the best stories I've listened to in a long time.  Very engaging story.  I loved the imagery, this story really tapped into the creepy imagery with the bloody snow angels and sparrows and such.  And the reading was fantastic too.  I really liked the tone and the pacing, both in a literary sense, and in an audio sense.



Bdoomed

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Reply #2 on: December 21, 2008, 06:20:59 AM
i feel the same.  the story grabbed me when i thought it wouldn't, and the imagery was beautiful and grotesque, bravo!

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


Raving_Lunatic

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Reply #3 on: December 21, 2008, 10:45:33 AM
Excellent story. That's two great stories in the space of a week- making up for EP's abscence in a big way.



Old Man Parker

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Reply #4 on: December 22, 2008, 12:28:04 AM
Joshua Alan Doetsch is not good. Joshua Alan Doetsch is darkly transcendent. It was amazing. It was like Ray Bradbury got high and started listening to Nine Inch Nails and decided to write about “the Crow”.

I hope to God that Joshua is writing a big fat novel that I can go buy and read.

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Zathras

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Reply #5 on: December 22, 2008, 03:25:09 PM
I'm not saying this wasn't a good story.  It just didn't do anything for me.  Guess it's just not my drug of choice.



Poppydragon

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Reply #6 on: December 23, 2008, 06:58:02 AM
Have to agree with the majority. I loved the imagery in this, a similar feel to the original Crow story, but with a little something extra. A darker more uncomfortable listen than most, but all the more worthwhile as a result.

Man - despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.


Listener

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Reply #7 on: December 23, 2008, 11:18:00 AM
I really liked the story -- the imagery, the pacing, the characters -- although I felt Desdemona was somewhat of an overused character trope, and the reference to the drugs Gabriel made was far too repetitive.

This was the kind of story Ben Phillips excels at reading. We've just heard him so often that I feel the impact of his talent is lost.

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DKT

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Reply #8 on: December 23, 2008, 04:28:14 PM
It was like Ray Bradbury got high and started listening to Nine Inch Nails and decided to write about “the Crow”.

Yeah, I definitely thought about the Crow, too. Not that that's a bad thing. I thought this story did exactly what it was supposed to and had some wonderfully grotesque imagery going for it. Smile like a slit throat was a nice one. And his little speech to the D.A.R.E. kid at the end worked so well, especially with Ben delivering it.

Guess it's just not my drug of choice.

*Groan*   ::)  ;D


Raving_Lunatic

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Reply #9 on: January 05, 2009, 12:31:32 PM
Ben Phillips read this really well.



eytanz

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Reply #10 on: January 09, 2009, 01:00:32 PM
Add me to the list of fans of this story. It was exceptionally well written (and Ben's narration was among his most masterful), and did a marvelous job in creating a believable and rich emotional arc, and making me both pity and respect a narrator I would normally despise.



Poppydragon

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Reply #11 on: January 13, 2009, 07:18:40 PM
Just finished reading, Poppy Brite's "The Crow - The Lazarus Heart" and thought I'd mention again how much I liked this cast and how much it feels like a Crow story.

Man - despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.


goatkeeper

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Reply #12 on: January 18, 2009, 12:35:04 AM
While I agree that the imagery was great in this story, I felt that is suffered from being too florid.  It would have been a tighter, more compact and effective story in my opinion if a lot of the unnecessary modifiers and descriptions were cut.  There were some great moments in this, like the Zeke killing/kid scaring, when there was less fluff and more compression in the writing.  One of Ben's best reads though.



DarkKnightJRK

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Reply #13 on: July 17, 2009, 04:29:40 AM
Loved loved LOVED this story. The prose was practically poetry and the reading of it actually felt like the character's voice. I espicially loved the little "anti-drug message" he gives to the D.A.R.E. kid.

Excellent use of Miller for the end monologue too. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go on patrol.  8)



Unblinking

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Reply #14 on: November 02, 2009, 05:49:06 PM
This was alright.  In the end, I don't think anything is really going to change because of his actions.  And, seriously, how many more times can the story include the phrase "my alchemy"--that got really annoying. 



nevermore_66

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Reply #15 on: November 26, 2009, 11:22:34 PM
Hello all.

It’s way after the fact, but since the subject of authors chiming in on the forums came up on another thread, I thought I’d pop in and say hi as the author of this story.

First of all I just wanted to say thanks to Escape Artists for having me.  I’m a big fan of audio fiction and was already a fan of Pseudopod before ever getting a story accepted, which made it a bigger thrill.

I got an Al Intro/Outro :)

And thanks for the emotion-filled reading, Ben.

And thanks for the comments—praises and complaints all.  The world of internet forum posting is often a menagerie of odd and sometimes quite horrific behavior.  But you lot seem pretty lucid (just crazy enough in all the right places to like a bit of twisted fiction).

And I have to say, Old Man Parker, that’s about the niftiest comment I’ve ever gotten on a story.  Not just for the praise, but the specific references.  I’d be first in line for the drug-induced, NIN-inspired, Ray Bradbury Crow novel.

As to those of you who mentioned The Crow, that was an indirect influence.  One night I was watching the special features on the movie which included an interview with the writer of the original graphic novel, James O’Barr.  I recommend watching it—very interesting story.  That guy has been through some hellish periods in his life (that’s where I got the idea of not knowing ones birthday because your mother was too high to remember when she birthed you).  Hearing him speak, he just seems like a broken soul stitched back together.  Anyway, after a very rough childhood, O’Barr’s life took a bit of an upswing when he fell in love with a girl.  He gets engage.  Things seem good for the first time.  And she’s killed by a drunk driver.

The Crow was kind of his attempt at getting some catharsis—put things in a metaphor that offered a target for the anger (a protagonist getting revenge on a group of killers) instead of the more random act.  A chance for a bit of resolution.

But I was caught up in his actual story, where there is no real target to revenge on (drunk driver aside) and no resolution.  Anti-resolution.  And that was the seed for this story.  I love the Crow...but there have been a lot of revenge stories written between now and then (some good...some not)...so I thought I’d visit an urban hell with a character who wasn’t on a revenge trip.  The song, “Last Kiss” sparked the notion of a character who felt he had to still earn the right to go where his loved one went.

And there’s the initial impulse.

I do appreciate the comments about the repetition of alchemy.  I play a lot with the device of refrains.  Which can work...but can also get monotonous (often depending on who you talk to).  But over-defending that doesn’t help my writing any.  I’ll keep it in mind in future stories (or even future drafts of this one) and make sure it keeps me honest.

So...thanks again folks.  It was a lot of fun to be the one standing up at the fire and sharing a story.

"There is no exquisite beauty…without some strangeness in the proportion."
~Edgar Allan Poe, "Ligeia"


DKT

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Reply #16 on: December 04, 2009, 05:33:08 PM
Wow. Thanks for sharing all of this, Joshua. You've made me want to go back and listen to the story again.


Millenium_King

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Reply #17 on: June 25, 2010, 11:10:35 PM
Eh.  Another lukewarm reception from me.  I hadn't even considered the Crow until I read other people's comments here, but now, considering, it seems a pretty apt comparison.  But for the most part I found this story a little dull, angsty and unoriginal.  I never really got a feel for any of the characters, or what motivated them.  The language was not particularly brilliant and I thought the action scenes were slow, crowded by metaphor and lacking in tension.

Not surprisingly, I hated the Crow.

(Oh, Hell, forgot to mention this: GREAT reading by Ben.)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 11:14:15 PM by Millenium_King »

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nevermore_66

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Reply #18 on: January 29, 2012, 03:11:45 AM
Not to perform heinous thread necromancy, but way back when, a few folks expressed interest in my upcoming novel.

The road was a lot more twisted and long than I had anticipated, but Strangeness in the Proportion is finally available at:

http://www.drivethrufiction.com/product_info.php?products_id=96994

Thank you.

"There is no exquisite beauty…without some strangeness in the proportion."
~Edgar Allan Poe, "Ligeia"