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News

Voting has started for the Podcastle Flash Fiction contest. Anyone who has made at least one post should be able to see the stories down in the Arcade.

New groups are posted every two days through the end of April.

Author Topic: PC323: The Ascent of Unreason  (Read 3244 times)

Talia

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on: August 07, 2014, 02:39:42 PM
PodCastle 323: The Ascent of Unreason

By Marie Brennan

Read by Wilson Fowlie (of the Maple Leaf Singers)

Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Read it here!

“I want to make a map of Driftwood.”

Watching Last cough up his wine at the words wasn’t the only reason for Tolyat’s declaration, but he had to admit it was part of the appeal.  The man was a guide, and had seen so much, experienced so much, gone so many places, that it was hard to crack his shell of burnt-out weariness.  One pretty much had to say something so outrageous it should never be uttered by a sane man.

Tolyat leaned back, and nearly fell out of his hammock.  They were in Kyey, where the local people had given over most of what remained of their world to the cultivation of some plant with an unpronounceable name, whose chief virtue was the production of tough fiber.  The Kyeyi ate a little of it, sold a lot, and used the rest to make practically everything around them.  Even the walls were mostly fiber, woven between the occasional piece of imported timber.

Despite coughing, Last balanced on his hammock like he’d been born Kyeyi.  He wiped his chin and set his wine horn on the table — more fiber, mixed with mud and baked hard.  Even the wine was a byproduct of that damned plant, from the liquid drained off during fiber extraction.  Tolyat thought it tasted like fermented rope, but Last, for some inexplicable reason, liked it.

Last said, “Only idiots bother trying to make maps of Driftwood.”


Rated PG. Contains Dying Worlds, Flying Monsters, and Other Fun Stuff

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 11:54:56 PM by Talia »



InfiniteMonkey

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Reply #1 on: August 12, 2014, 06:37:11 AM
This was a nice adventure and exploration story set in a suitably other-worldly environment. Makes one one wonder if all a world is destroyed in the Crush, or whether just a small part of any world shows up in Driftwood.

And thanks for confirming that Driftwood has appeared in Pod Castle before. The setting seemed familiar but not the actual story.



Devoted135

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Reply #2 on: August 20, 2014, 02:57:20 AM
I'm glad to have revisited Driftwood - Hobson is right, it's been way too long!

I liked both of the main characters and their unique take on living in such a crazy world. I feel like it would be so easy to despair or just subsist in a world where your home will be destroyed sooner than later. Yet Last clearly has a strong desire to live and the ingenuity to continue doing so. Meanwhile, Tolyat has managed to retain his sense of curiosity and wonder; his reasons for mapping Driftwood are not grand, but rather whimsical. Also, it's hilarious that magical repelling stones are fine and dandy, but a hot air balloon? Nonsense! Such fun! :)



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Reply #3 on: August 20, 2014, 02:51:37 PM
I had placed this story as #4 on my Best of BCS 2012+ where it was first published:
http://www.diabolicalplots.com/?p=3308

I enjoyed it.  I've found Driftwood to be a fascinating setting in the... 3 stories I've heard of it?  I think it's 3.  I like universes that allow a variety of worlds to be traversed in them and this is the ultimate in that kind of setting--all those worlds are literally being crushed together so that in the inner sections you can barely move without crossing from one to another.  I like how the worlds have different physical laws.  The idea of making a map is both appealing and completely pointless, considering the ever-changing layout.

So, good stuff.

Looks like Marie lists 5 Driftwood stories on her site so far, so there's some more that she could be contacted about if Podcastle staff felt like pursuing more right now:
http://www.swantower.com/stories/driftwood/



aliceofwands

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Reply #4 on: August 21, 2014, 05:22:43 AM
SO excited to hear the tantalizing news of my favorite female reader and one of my favorite male readers teaming up on a story!!
(Sorry Wilson — you are great, but no one can take Alasdair's place in my heart.)

As for this story, I found it rather disorienting and disjointed. It was difficult to get a mental picture of the characters and place. Perhaps it would have hung together better if I were familiar with the Driftwood setting, but coming in as a newbie, I spent about half the story just decoding what sort of world we were in. It was enjoyable, but it seemed like it was aching to be placed with whatever collection it was drawn from.



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Reply #5 on: August 21, 2014, 01:16:55 PM
As for this story, I found it rather disorienting and disjointed. It was difficult to get a mental picture of the characters and place. Perhaps it would have hung together better if I were familiar with the Driftwood setting, but coming in as a newbie, I spent about half the story just decoding what sort of world we were in. It was enjoyable, but it seemed like it was aching to be placed with whatever collection it was drawn from.

I imagine it would be a hard world to get from this story.  It is a rather disorienting and disjointed kind of setting by its very nature!

My first exposure was the previous story on Podcastle, which I thought gave a good understanding of it, if you're interested:
http://podcastle.org/2009/09/02/podcastle-068-a-heretic-by-degrees/



RDNinja

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Reply #6 on: August 21, 2014, 08:55:15 PM
I think it would have been easier to figure out what was going on if I had read the print version and saw that Driftwood was a proper noun. I thought at first he wanted to make a map of where to scavenge wood on the beach or something. Other than that, it was a fun story, and an interesting setting. Have there been any stories in this world besides the other on Podcastle?



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Reply #7 on: August 22, 2014, 01:57:01 PM
I think it would have been easier to figure out what was going on if I had read the print version and saw that Driftwood was a proper noun. I thought at first he wanted to make a map of where to scavenge wood on the beach or something. Other than that, it was a fun story, and an interesting setting. Have there been any stories in this world besides the other on Podcastle?

A couple posts upthread, I linked to this, supposedly 5 published stories in Driftwood total so far:
http://www.swantower.com/stories/driftwood/



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #8 on: September 02, 2014, 03:13:09 AM
SO excited to hear the tantalizing news of my favorite female reader and one of my favorite male readers teaming up on a story!!
(Sorry Wilson — you are great, but no one can take Alasdair's place in my heart.)

Hmm? Oh, I'm sorry; I didn't hear anything after, "You are great."  ;)

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