Author Topic: Pseudopod 137: The Reign of the Wintergod  (Read 16225 times)

Bdoomed

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on: April 10, 2009, 03:23:38 PM
Pseudopod 137: The Reign of the Wintergod

By Eugie Foster

Read by Leann Mabry

The doctors come and ask me questions, but they always ask the wrong questions, so I’m stuck. I can give them the wrong answers or no answer at all. I try to explain, try to teach them what the right question is, but they never listen.

“How are you, today, Carolyn?” they ask. And, “Did you have the nightmares again last night?” And occasionally, “Ready for your medication?” The last question I don’t mind as much. The round blue pills give delicious sleep — sleep without dreams. They just make it harder to sleep without them. But the purple pills, the ones with the jagged edges, they make me numb, detached, and that frightens me.



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« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 12:14:56 AM by Bdoomed »

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


Zathras

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Reply #1 on: April 12, 2009, 12:01:24 AM
NEEDS AN EXPLICIT LANGUAGE WARNING

I shut it off.  Got as far as the sexual references and stopped.



thomasowenm

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Reply #2 on: April 12, 2009, 03:55:13 AM
I agree with Zathras, I was listening in my car with my family and had to shut it off.  My kids who are young men and have far from virgin ears could not stand it.  I did end up finishing it later and found it very similar to the elf porn piece on PC  with only a small change.  Here in summary --Boy meets girl,  girl barbeques children, boy rapes girl, girl likes it.

Is PP  going to be going into the erotic fiction realm?  If so why would PP pick an erotic storiy that showcases rape?  I would think the editors would be above the glamorization of violence against women. 

 
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 12:23:55 PM by thomasowenm »



Ben Phillips

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Reply #3 on: April 14, 2009, 04:54:03 AM
I'm not sure how the warning at the top of pseudopod.org could be any clearer, although I realize it's broad instead of specific to episodes, and it's probably easy to forget it's there after a while.  Podcatcher/RSS software should show Explicit tags (at least iTunes does) -- and we do set them per episode, albeit somewhat conservatively:  when in doubt, we label it explicit.  Perhaps that's the trouble -- "explicit" describes a broad spectrum on which there is no consensus, so something like "Wintergod" falls into a category with anything remotely profane or adult in tone, which would describe nearly all of our programming if you ask me (and I am quite often the guy setting those tags).

Maybe the real problem is that we don't have enough truly offensive content, thus lulling people into a sense that we're somehow avoiding it.



Listener

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Reply #4 on: April 15, 2009, 12:28:17 PM
I was not expecting the language at first, but I got over it.

Great story, great reading, very chilling (no pun intended). I think it fell a little flat in the end in that it was mostly in her head -- psychosomatic, maybe, but still. I feel like the supernatural (that is, Wintergod and minions taking over the world) aspect not being in the ending weakened the story as a whole.

I REALLY don't think I want to know how the author came up with this. Suffice it to say she did, and we enjoyed it inasmuch as one can enjoy something so horrific.

It does, however, give me the opportunity to post this image:


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Rail16

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Reply #5 on: April 15, 2009, 01:02:18 PM
the language didn't bother me in the fact that i'm an adult, and also ex-navy, and i've heard lots worse.  and i agree with BenPhillips the purpose of the stories presented in Pseudopod are meant to disturb you.  if language disturbs you then this story did its job.

but for me the story read like someones darkly erotic rape fantasy rather than a horror story.  i was mainly bored with it and only stuck with it because it wasn't long and i wanted to see where it ended up.



Zathras

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Reply #6 on: April 15, 2009, 01:11:29 PM
I didn't have a problem with the language.  I just felt it needed a warning.

I turned it off for the same reason I don't read Anne Rice, I don't care for erotica. 



MacArthurBug

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Reply #7 on: April 15, 2009, 04:19:53 PM
Leann Mabry has an exellent reading voice, and it was truly disturbing, for me to hear that sweet sexy tone dryly detailing such horrible imagry. This one disturbed me deeply. Indeed, if that was the point it worked. I was intreagued, disgusted, and cringing at multiple moments during this reading. I don't honestly know if I liked it- since it spun me for such a loop. But- well written, well read.

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.


birdless

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Reply #8 on: April 15, 2009, 10:00:21 PM
I would have appreciated a verbal warning in the intro. The one given was way to vague to convey that actual content. I understand that you have a "standing" warning, but i still think some heads-up on this one in particular would have been listener-friendly. Regardless, though, being able to count the number of times i've visited pseudopod.org on my right hand, i couldn't tell you what the warning actually says; seeing the "explicit" warning on iTunes, contextually makes me think it's more explicit violence/language rather than sexual.

I was NOT a fan of this story. Had i been warned of a graphic rape description to begin with, i probably wouldn't have listened to it at all. And, personally, i just don't want to hear what a person who kills their own children has to say, fiction or not. There are people who are paid to do that, and i'm not one of them.



DKT

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Reply #9 on: April 15, 2009, 10:49:16 PM
Maybe the real problem is that we don't have enough truly offensive content, thus lulling people into a sense that we're somehow avoiding it.

Clearly you need to have non-explicit warnings and labels!

Warning: This episode contains cuteness in the form of baby space vampires! It is suitable for ALL audiences.


MacArthurBug

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Reply #10 on: April 17, 2009, 06:20:59 PM
Maybe the real problem is that we don't have enough truly offensive content, thus lulling people into a sense that we're somehow avoiding it.

Clearly you need to have non-explicit warnings and labels!

Warning: This episode contains cuteness in the form of baby space vampires! It is suitable for ALL audiences.


... that'd be so awesome.  And, quite honestly well appriciated.  What if I didn't feel up to superhypercute baby space vampires?

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.


Raving_Lunatic

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Reply #11 on: April 17, 2009, 09:15:30 PM
Urk. I normally have a lot of tolerance for anything, but I turned this off after my speakers boomed several choice phrases into my house.



eytanz

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Reply #12 on: April 19, 2009, 03:15:57 PM
Mixed feelings about this story, on several levels. On one level, it was very effective - disturbing, chilling and well-told and narrated. On another level, it put me in the mind of someone I really didn't want to spend any mind time with. This was not a narrator that was even remotely appealing. On a third level, it achieved a lot - the first ten minutes were *very* effective and making me understand this woman's madness, and how (and why) she could kill her children yet love them. But I found the ambiguity of the second half of the story - was there really a wintergod? Was she just becoming more unhinged and hallucinating, or was anything she described real? If it's the latter, then the supernatural horror somewhat dilutes (and justifies!) her actions in the first half. And if it's the former (as I think is far more likely), then it also dilutes the first half - the story of someone sort-of-rational killing her children is far more horrifying than the story of someone totally off the deep end having bad hallucinations and feeling violated by her medication.

So, yeah, a good story, and one that I'm glad PP choose to play - but not entirely succesful in my eyes.



birdless

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Reply #13 on: April 20, 2009, 05:08:39 AM
I was just re-reading my earlier post and, while i stand by my first paragraph, i wanted to amend my second one a little: Given the fact that this story was supposed to be disturbing, then it accomplished its intention to a masterful degree, and for that i can appreciate it. I just don't generally like hearing/watching disturbing stories. My criticism for this story is based solely on my own personal aesthetics.



Zathras

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Reply #14 on: April 20, 2009, 12:15:33 PM
I think not having a verbal warning was the way to go.  It shocked me to hear the rape description, and a warning would have lessened the effect. 

Get ready for it:  I was wrong.

Birdless, thank you for your most recent post, it made me reevaluate my own posts.  I still won't finish this story, but as you said, it is a matter of personal aesthetics. 



Poppydragon

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Reply #15 on: April 21, 2009, 04:32:00 PM
Whether this needed a verbal warning or not is open for debate imo. Yes it is shocking, yes it is graphic, but (again in my opinion) it is superb. As a psychiatric nurse, I think this is one of the best efforts I've ever come across at writing an acute psychotic episode. If we accept the definition of psychoses as illness' where the delusions / hallucinations have no basis in reality, then the Wintergod only exists within the tortured mind of the patient. The rape and violation are real to the patient, but could easily be the burning sensation of the medication, forcibly injected to supress the florid symptoms. The husk sat in the cold inner space at the end, the flattened patient whose symptoms (outwardly) have been suppressed, whose lethargy is not one of thought but of motor function.

This is a dark, dark piece and I think a tremendously brave piece, both for the author to have written and for PP to have put out.

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birdless

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Reply #16 on: April 22, 2009, 01:43:24 AM
I think not having a verbal warning was the way to go.  It shocked me to hear the rape description, and a warning would have lessened the effect. 

Get ready for it:  I was wrong.

Birdless, thank you for your most recent post, it made me reevaluate my own posts.  I still won't finish this story, but as you said, it is a matter of personal aesthetics. 
:)
Well, i still don't like the story (though, to be fair, i didn't listen to all of it either, nor am i likely to), and i still think there should have been some kind of warning—maybe even a rating system like EP—but i can appreciate the intent and success of the author.



600south

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Reply #17 on: April 24, 2009, 11:08:51 AM

well... that story thrust its icy member into my ear and blew its literary load deep into my auditory canal. or something like that.

I didn't have a problem with the language. This is Pseudopod after all; if you don't like being disturbed you might want to unsubscribe.
I just didn't like the story much. It sounded more like drunken poetry slam than horror. The reading was done very well though.



cuddlebug

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Reply #18 on: April 24, 2009, 11:46:16 AM
Whether this needed a verbal warning or not is open for debate imo. Yes it is shocking, yes it is graphic, but (again in my opinion) it is superb. As a psychiatric nurse, I think this is one of the best efforts I've ever come across at writing an acute psychotic episode. If we accept the definition of psychoses as illness' where the delusions / hallucinations have no basis in reality, then the Wintergod only exists within the tortured mind of the patient. The rape and violation are real to the patient, but could easily be the burning sensation of the medication, forcibly injected to supress the florid symptoms. The husk sat in the cold inner space at the end, the flattened patient whose symptoms (outwardly) have been suppressed, whose lethargy is not one of thought but of motor function.

This is a dark, dark piece and I think a tremendously brave piece, both for the author to have written and for PP to have put out.

Absolutely agree with you on this one. Amazing story and pretty much as 'horrible' as it gets. Thanks for sharing your insight into tortured minds, Poppydragon. To my mind, there is nothing more horrible than the darkness of other people's thoughts and the reality of their lives, whether true or imaginary. Psychological horror usually has the most effect on me, and I applaud the PP crew on their choice. No matter how uncomfortable this story made me, it wasn't unexpected, in the sense that it scared the hell out of me. Exactly what we want from a PP story, isn't it?



goatkeeper

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Reply #19 on: April 29, 2009, 02:24:44 AM
Aww man, didn't care for this one at all.  Love love love Eugie's stuff normally but this read to me like something scribbled out in an angsty teenage goth-chicks diary, where darkness is always as black as night and pain always cuts like a knife.  Was more offended by the language/story being overwrought and contrived than it being graphic (it's PP, no holds barred baby, although good point by Ben about the rarity of offensive material enhancing the impact of the occasional megagraphic story like this).



Loz

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Reply #20 on: April 29, 2009, 10:13:41 AM
While I didn't mind the continual and unsubtle cold/heat metaphors the sex in the second half just ended up being inadvertently silly, anything that has barbed penises is DOING FUCKED-UP SEX WRONG.



wakela

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Reply #21 on: May 25, 2009, 07:01:21 AM
Aww man, didn't care for this one at all.  Love love love Eugie's stuff normally but this read to me like something scribbled out in an angsty teenage goth-chicks diary, where darkness is always as black as night and pain always cuts like a knife.  Was more offended by the language/story being overwrought and contrived than it being graphic (it's PP, no holds barred baby, although good point by Ben about the rarity of offensive material enhancing the impact of the occasional megagraphic story like this).

yes.

For what it's worth, my reading is that she was raped by the head doctor. 



Russell Nash

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Reply #22 on: July 28, 2009, 11:00:21 AM
My two bits on the warning:

Since PP normally isn't this graphic, a rereading of the PP page warning might be in order before a story like this.  "Hey folks, remember PP is a…"  No need to get into specifics, just remind folks what the podcast is.



kibitzer

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Reply #23 on: August 04, 2009, 08:00:53 AM

It does, however, give me the opportunity to post this image:


Having just seen this, and being the twisted bastard that I am, I have to say this image afforded me much amusement! Verily.


stePH

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Reply #24 on: August 11, 2009, 02:12:00 PM
Got to this one a couple of days ago.  I didn't see it as erotica ... there's nothing erotic about it to me.  I saw it as a look into the mind of a severely fucked-up individual.  I think I also agree with wakela that the head doctor raped her.

... and, I don't get the complaints about content ... this is fucking Pseudopod, people!  ::)

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