Author Topic: PC059: On the Banks of the River of Heaven  (Read 8627 times)


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on: July 02, 2009, 12:02:19 AM
PC059: On the Banks of the River of Heaven

by Richard Parks.
Read by Barry Deutsch.

On the seventh day of the seventh month as it had for the previous two years, it rained.  And it rained.  The cranes still came at Kaiboshi’s bidding to stand by the shore and form the base of the bridge.  Next came the geese and the ducks and other waterfowl, who fared well enough creating the platform and first few degrees of arc for the bridge.  After that, however, came the hawks and crows and sparrows and smaller birds, and the rain beat down on them incessantly, and their wings became sodden and would no longer support them and a bridge, too.  The cranes held on gamely as the river swelled into flood, but their skinny legs began to tremble.  Kaiboshi reluctantly concluded that the enterprise was doomed, and he dismissed the birds with thanks rather than risk seeing them fall in the river after the inevitable collapse.

Three years now the rains had come on the appointed day.  For three years the Bridge of Birds that was his only way to cross the Celestial River had been unable to form.  Kaiboshi began to wonder if he was cursed, but more he wondered if Asago-hime had started to forget him.  He sat down on the banks of the river and let the rising waters chill his feet as he indulged in a bout of melancholy, since he knew of nothing else he could do.

“Three years is a long time to be apart from the one you love,” he said aloud.  “Even for an immortal.”

Rated PG. Contains anthropomorphization, fish, and stars.

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Reply #1 on: July 02, 2009, 04:54:19 PM
  A pleasant and well written story, but it completely failed to engage up until Otter meets up with the river god. I think this particular style of story telling just doesn't work for me in a written/spoken format. I would probably really enjoy something like this done as an animated movie or possibly even a graphic novel presentation.


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Reply #2 on: July 03, 2009, 01:22:45 PM
These are the kind of stories I love. Like folk-tales, stories of gods and tricksters.

I wish I spoke Japanese, though. I'm sure the names of the characters had some significance.

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Reply #3 on: July 03, 2009, 07:15:11 PM
I got a little tired of the narration after a while; it sounded like he was trying to maintain the same level of storytime-at-the-library throughout the whole thing, and this story was WAY too long for that. I think overall the story was too long. I enjoyed the mythology and the relatively simple plot for what it was, but I think it could've been trimmed a fair bit and still been as effective.

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Reply #4 on: July 06, 2009, 12:51:47 AM
Good- I generally like folk style stories. Well put together- but there seemed to be something missing. Then again? I'm re-painting some rooms, and it may be the paint fumes...

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Reply #5 on: July 07, 2009, 07:10:04 AM
I really enjoyed this one. The folk-tale writing style was fun, and I enjoyed the encounter with a mythology I'm less familiar with. But probably the main thing for me was how entirely likable Otter was, and how sympathetic Kaiboshi and Asago-hime were. I often complain (esp. in Pseudopod stories) on how I lost interest because of unsympathetic characters, and here it was the reverse - I liked Otter so much that I was never bothered by the slightly slow pacing, I just wanted to hang out with him more.

And the ending was delightful.


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Reply #6 on: July 10, 2009, 08:44:51 PM
I like fairy tales, and this felt like one to me.  I especially liked that an otter was the main character because I adore otters.

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Reply #7 on: July 12, 2009, 02:54:47 AM
I really enjoyed this story, although some emotion in the reading felt a bit forced.  In Otter's interactions with the River God, I was reminded of the scene from Finding Nemo when Dory shouts, "Duck!" as a pelican swoops in.  You don't really know if Otter knows what he's talking about.  Great story, I really like Richard Parks now!

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Reply #8 on: July 20, 2009, 03:24:30 AM
I could watch the otters at the zoo all day.

And I've mentioned before that I'm partial to these Japanese fantasy stories, so I liked this one.  I CAN HAS MOAR PLZ?

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Reply #9 on: July 30, 2009, 02:19:03 AM
I really liked this story, I felt that Otter and the other characters were well developed.  I knew nothing of this mythology but I didn't need any back knowledge to enjoy this story, which is a success in my book.   One negative however which I had a hard time listening to was the he said, she saids.  I have always been told not to include them in narratives and know I understand why.   After the second or third "he said" I found myself concentrating on that and not the quotation. 

With only one negative, albeit a rather glaring one.  I would like to give this an A-, but I must give it a B-. :( 

This story is right up my alley, more like this please.


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Reply #10 on: August 01, 2009, 10:58:39 PM
This lost me. I couldn't get engaged with it and gave up


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Reply #11 on: August 02, 2009, 08:58:07 AM
it sounded like he was trying to maintain the same level of storytime-at-the-library throughout the whole thing

I'm about halfway through this and having a REAL difficult time with the reading for exactly this reason.  I played the first 5 minutes 3 times before I was able to understand it, not because it was a difficult concept, but because I would find myself so distracted I wouldn't pay attention, and then I'd hear something and wonder how the story got there.  I really enjoyed Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge, but this one's leaving me cold.  I'm determined to finish it, though.

That said, I loved the intro story about the clever otter.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2009, 09:02:09 AM by izzardfan »


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Reply #12 on: August 08, 2009, 06:52:55 PM
Late to the party (I pile up stories and then listen to them when I travel).

I've very much enjoyed both of Richard Parks' stories, but I'm sorry to say I could not *stand* the narration on this one.  Too slow, too many awkward pauses, too much like it was being read to a child.  I stuck it out because I'd enjoyed "Shijo Bridge" so much, and wanted to hear more from that author, but had this been someone I was unfamiliar with?  I would have stopped a few minutes in.


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Reply #13 on: August 09, 2009, 08:22:09 AM
I'm about halfway through this and having a REAL difficult time with the reading

Well, I finished it, and the ending was clever, but the reading totally detracted from it.  This is one where I'd much rather have read the text.


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Reply #14 on: August 29, 2009, 08:11:29 PM
Having more Richard Parks stories is always a good idea, and this one is no exception. I'd read it already but still loved it the second time. Great story!


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Reply #15 on: December 29, 2009, 07:37:38 PM
I liked the title, mostly because it reminded me The Far Side Banks of Jordan sung by Johnny Cash, though this really didn't end up having anything to do with that.

It's hard to make folktales engaging because of the implied dry tone and this was no exception.  And I had trouble being really sympathetic to constellations, especially since (to me) they are so arbitrarily assigned shapes that don't seem to have any origin (the Big Dipper being the exception).  And this was just so long it was hard to keep interest up.