Author Topic: PC429 / 681: Wolfy Things  (Read 6154 times)


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on: August 17, 2016, 02:54:21 AM
PodCastle 429: Wolfy Things

by Erin Roberts

A PodCastle original!

Tonight, me and Lee gonna kill the wolf. Been digging a pit out in the woods all summer, filling it up with wolfsbane and sharp rocks big as our heads, covering it up with leaves so wolfy eyes can’t tell it’s there. Lee even snatched a whole chicken outta his Pa’s coop, snapped its neck and threw it on the pile like some kinda wolf Christmas come early. Wolf just has to go sniffing over by the edge and we give a good push and we’ll be Nicky and Lee, honest-to-God wolf-killers.

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Rated PG.

Erin Roberts writes in New York City under the watchful eye of her cat Crumbsnatcher. She is an MFA student at Stonecoast, a graduate of the 2015 Odyssey Writing Workshop, and a workshop leader for the New York Writers Coalition. When not writing, she can most often be found singing karaoke, lifting heavy objects, or trying to take over change the world. You can check out her latest exploits at @nirele or on

Your narrator this week was born in the swamps of South Georgia where he was orphaned as a child by a pack of wild dawgs. He was adopted by a family of gators who named him Maui Threv which in their language means “mechanical frog music.” He was taught the ways of swamp music and the Moog synthesizer by a razorback and a panther. His music has been featured in episodes of Pseudopod. He has expanded his sonic territory across all 100,000 watts of WREK in Atlanta where you can listen to The Mobius every Wednesday night. It is available to stream via the Internet as well.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: June 02, 2021, 12:00:55 AM by Ocicat »


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Reply #1 on: August 24, 2016, 09:34:30 PM

I liked this one. It unfolded like a Greek tragedy, with all the pieces in play from the very beginning and everyone too blind to see them. It was great!

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Reply #2 on: August 29, 2016, 06:20:31 AM
This was a wonderful story, so well told and so sad -- although the protagonist didn't realize it. It was so agonizing for the listener, his not realizing how bad a "friend" Lee was for him, and his seeing that his mother was sad and drawing exactly the wrong conclusions from it, and the wolf's elliptical conversations that he totally misinterpreted.

I'm really impressed by how the author presented the contrasts in how he saw everything versus allowing us to see beyond his limitations.

I don't exactly want a sequel, since the story really stands perfectly on its own, but I'd certainly love to see more stories set in this world, or more stories in general, from Erin Roberts.


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Reply #3 on: August 29, 2016, 05:53:50 PM
Tragedy is right. It could almost be horror - I definitely kept telling the protagonist, "Don't do it!", "Don't do it!" - but he didn't listen.

The whole thing was so sad that I'm not even sure I enjoyed it, to be honest. I wanted it to end on some sort of note of redemption.


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Reply #4 on: August 31, 2016, 06:33:29 PM
I just read your article on how you wrote 'Wolfy Things' after listening to the podcast of course--a fascinating read to be sure.
 In many ways, process is as or more fascinating than the finished product--so much is left on the cutting room floor. I found the use of the vernacular--Appalachian English--particularly impressive and wonderful to both hear and read. How people structure language and then use that structure to define their world is one of the fun parts of world-building and it's clear you had a blast with it.
 It helped set the scene and tone of the work--as well as allowing the word 'wolf' multiple interpretations as the story progressed. Pacing was bang on in this story. At first, I considered the idea that they could just be vanilla wolves--what child doesn't dream of killing some threatening animal--dragon or wolf or fill in the blank--to prove himself/herself a hero? Rural communities generally have more close-contact with apex predators than other environments, so maybe this is a right of passage, I thought to myself. By the midpoint, when it's clear the wolves are human shaped (talking, not being overtly hostile, generally amused by the protagonist rather than threatened), I considered that wolf might be a term for bandit or a social undesirable rather than a literal term--afterall, anyone who's been called a fox or a bull in a china shop knows names aren't necessarily literal. But it's that end piece, where the wolf admits to Nicky that the magic that made wolves wolves isn't as strong as it used to be, that allows everything to fall into place. All of the definitions of 'wolf' are true in a way--and then Nicky continues in his tragic, Oedipal (Well, half Oedipean--parricidal? patricidal?) course for a fantastic ending.


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Reply #5 on: September 01, 2016, 01:33:53 PM
Ooh, I love a good unreliable narrator story and this one had in spades.  In particular his interpretations of his mother's reaction that he describes as fear but which is clearly longing (patting one's hair as if there's bugs in it, rather than tidying one's hair to be sure you are presentable for a suitor).  I wonder if he'll ever realize that's his dad or if he'll just lock that away?


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Reply #6 on: October 15, 2016, 12:44:55 AM
Wow, this story would be right at home with the Greek tragedies! I thought the pacing was excellently done, as the reader understands so much more than the narrator ever does... And the "voice" was really wonderfully treated throughout. Gave me chills.


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Reply #7 on: June 02, 2021, 12:00:43 AM
This story has been re-broadcast as PodCastle 681: TALES FROM THE VAULTS —Wolfy Things