Author Topic: PC401, Artemis Rising: The Color of Regret  (Read 4495 times)


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on: February 01, 2016, 05:56:38 PM
PodCastle 401, ARTEMIS RISING: The Color of Regret

by Carrie Patel

read by Setsu Uzume

Hosted by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

A PodCastle Original! Welcome back to Artemis Rising II!

Sefid’s aura was the same luminescent gray as storm clouds. ‘‘You will not regret this.’’ Yet he said it in that tone that people used when it was certain you would.

Nasrin cleared her throat. ‘‘What is there to regret? I am grateful for the matches.’’ She shifted on the concrete bench and slid the matchbox into the pocket of her faded corduroy coat. As a city bus rolled around the corner, commuters across the street pressed closer to one another, blending the colors of their own varied auras.

Sefid’s smile was merely a bristling at the center of his thick, black beard. It didn’t distract from the quick glance at his wristwatch. ‘‘You know as well as anyone how few of us there are in this province. Iran needs more people like your father. We trust that a daughter of Azad Rajavi won’t fail us.’’

Rated PG.

Carrie Patel is an author and a full-time narrative designer for Obsidian Entertainment, a video game developer. She’s written for the computer RPG PILLARS OF ETERNITY and its expansion, THE WHITE MARCH. She has published two novels: THE BURIED LIFE and CITIES AND THRONES. Her short fiction has also appeared in BENEATH CEASELESS SKIES. She’s originally from Houston, Texas, but she now lives in California with her husband and their dog. Her first novel, a gaslight-and-shadows mystery called THE BURIED LIFE, came out with Angry Robot in March 2015 and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. The sequel, CITIES AND THRONES, came out in July 2015.

Setsu Uzume spent her formative years in and out of dojos. She also trained in a monastery in rural China, studying Daoism and swordplay. She is a member of Codex and SFWA. While she has dabbled in many arts, only writing and martial arts seem to have stuck. You can find her on the web at, and on Twitter @KatanaPen.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!


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Reply #1 on: February 05, 2016, 10:24:39 PM
When the ending occurred, I had to listen to it one more time.  This was such a rich story and each word was a dark chocolate morsel melting in my mouth.  The setting was surprising and engaging, where we go to a place I can hardly imagine and get a bit more interesting view of a society I only really observe from a distance or in the news.  Great timing of this story especially with the change in political climate.

I only wonder what the aura reading had to do with the plot, other than making Nasrin a useful tool.  It didn't really help her much and she missed the obvious which really did not need an aura check.  Of course, as a reader, I missed it too even though the twist was in plain sight, a great sleight of hand.  I'm listening to it one more time to enjoy another serving.

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Reply #2 on: February 08, 2016, 09:54:17 PM
It's beyond embarrassing to say so, but IDGI. The host says she was blown away by the ending. The only commenter on here was impressed by how well the twist ending was a surprise despite being obvious. Wonderful. And I didn't understand it.  :-[   I listened to it three times to try to figure it out. Am I the only one?

For the benefit of those who missed it, can someone please explain what happened at the end there? Too subtle for me.

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Reply #3 on: February 09, 2016, 04:07:16 PM
I'm afraid that I didn't get it either.  I have been known to be slow on the uptake, so I am looking forward to hearing from someone who did.

I was following along well enough with the story up until that point, but then it ended and I was just confused about what I had missed.


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Reply #4 on: February 09, 2016, 04:19:55 PM
This is the ending I got: By betraying the revolution, she frees her father and brings him home. Only to find that her sister has run off to join the revolution.

That said, what was the magical significance of the cigarettes? Symbolic rebellion via a forbidden or taboo act? What is the significance of them being the revolutionary's cigarettes?

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Reply #5 on: February 19, 2016, 05:38:23 AM
This didn't strike me as a very fantastical story; it felt more like a non-fiction recount of something in a modern or slightly order setting.  The elements of the story that were meant to make it fantastical didn't really stand out that much, and could have been replaced by sharp-minded deduction and other spycraft.  The technical part of it was well executed, and the idea of a daughter effectively sacrificing herself to bring her father home isn't a bad premise to write from.  The world didn't seem to present itself quite as gritty as I believe the author meant for it to be.

In the end, I'm going to have to go with a solid, 'meh,' on this one.

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Reply #6 on: February 21, 2016, 03:27:12 AM
Well, here I was all ready to blame myself for not paying enough attention (was moving boxes in my creepy, occasionally rat-infested, and unfinished attic). Guess a lot more people than me got lost along the way.
I liked the writing, but the narrative didn't capture me. The point of the story just kept sipping out of my head like water on a newly waxed car. Yes, that is my analogy. No, I think it's perfectly fine the way it is, I won't fix it.  :P

I guess if I had to point my finger at something, I felt there wasn't enough depth to the characters and their specific situation. I couldn't grasp the significance of the small details (like the cigarette) and that kept me from forming the necessary bond with the characters and their setting.

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Reply #7 on: February 24, 2016, 04:03:14 PM
My interpretation of the ending was that her sister could also see auras, which is why she was able to find the matchbox. The cigarette butt in the matchbox was the reference point for the aura - with it, someone can identify the rebellion's leader and his messages. The sister mistrusted Nasrin, especially when Nasrin lied to her about the aura early on. She went to join the resistance, and her father was pleased.

What I didn't get was how the father knew to look under the bed.

It may be that the whole thing was a ruse by the resistance at Nasrin's expense - they knew Nasrin was going to betray them, so they planted fake messages and set her sister to watch her.

I did feel this story was far too vague about the actual content of the messages. It seemed to place so much value upon them that they needed this whole aura-based encryption method to proceed, but the story wanted so much to focus on Nasrin's emotional state that it sort of ended up giving short shrift to the world she inhabits, and I don't think that worked for the story.


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Reply #8 on: February 24, 2016, 08:25:42 PM
I'll add another voice to the chorus of "I didn't get it"s. I have now heard it three times, and I'm as in the dark now as I was the first time. I appreciate the attempts to explain it in the thread, but...I just didn't get any of that from the story.

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Reply #9 on: February 26, 2016, 07:40:52 PM
I'm afraid that I listened to it too long ago to be of any help in parsing the details. I don't remember being confused, just surprised that the story ended right then. It didn't seem to have quite resolved yet. I feel like I could see where the author was trying to take us, but the lack of solid grounding in the details left me unable to fully connect.

That being said, how terrible would it be to have just sacrificed yourself (and, really, humiliated yourself) to save your father only to come home to find that your sister has run away out from your ability to protect her?