Author Topic: PC403, Artemis Rising: Send In the Ninjas  (Read 4078 times)


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on: February 16, 2016, 09:44:30 PM
PodCastle 403, ARTEMIS RISING: Send in the Ninjas

by Michelle Ann King

read by Christiana Ellis

Hosted by Christie Yant

A PodCastle Original! Welcome back to Artemis Rising II!

The streets are more full of snow than people tonight, lending everything an enjoyably deserted, apocalyptic air. Isabel smiles as she walks home, humming happily to herself. Getting stood up never fails to put her in a good mood.

She always goes on the dates her mother sets up, but she much prefers it when the other person doesn’t show. That way, Isabel still gets credit for trying, while also getting to skip straight to the part where she doesn’t have to go on a second date.

Rated PG-13.

Michelle Ann King writes science fiction, fantasy and horror from her kitchen table in Essex, England. Her work has appeared in various venues and anthologies, including Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, and Unidentified Funny Objects 2. She loves zombies, Las Vegas, and good Scotch whisky, not necessarily in that order. Her short stories are being collected in the Transient Tales series, and she is currently at work on a paranormal crime novel.

Christiana Ellis is the writer and podcaster responsible for Nina Kimberly the Merciless and Space Casey, as well as a variety of other podcasts. Her latest project is Phyllis Esposito: Interdimensional Private-Eye, a scifi serial with a new installment every day at

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 07:48:34 PM by Talia »


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Reply #1 on: February 19, 2016, 05:32:58 AM
I thought this was pretty well written, but I was always in this position where I felt like I was going to spin off in some disjointed direction.  I didn't, which is why I'm saying it was pretty well written.  However, it didn't really grab me the way other stories have.  That is, however, my problem, not really the writers.

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Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 08:12:19 PM
I really liked the story — laugh out loud funny in places. The multiverse/social-media mashup was lovely.

The only personal downside was that this was one of those rare instances where the narration took me out of the story a few times. Probably because the setting was so obviously the UK, so the American accent and (to my ears) occasionally odd pronunciation stood out (e.g. that's not how we say Bognor Regis over here ;-)


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Reply #3 on: February 28, 2016, 01:14:27 AM
I am a sucker for stories about time travel or parallel universes, so it's not really surprising that I enjoyed this one. But there's something particularly appealing in the idea of having your dopplegangers not only interact, but interact en mass on the order of a social media event.

The methodology behind the feed was left vague enough that I couldn't quite decide if it was magic or science. Barbara's opinion about demon pacts is hardly to be taken seriously, after all, and Maddie's more mystical descriptions come across as her own brand of humor, while her technical descriptions of what she's done parse more like scientific terminology. I like to believe it's some form of magic that is explorable and discoverable in the same way that science is, but maybe that interpretation is more my own personal preference for well structured magic systems in fantasy fiction.

And finally, I wanted to applaud when 281 confronted Barbara on Isabelle's behalf, telling her "I'm not miserable, and I'm not defective. I'm just different and I'm OK with that..." and concluded with "...I'd rather be happy than normal."  This entire speech just brought such a smile to my face. Bravo.


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Reply #4 on: February 28, 2016, 12:42:14 PM
Arg, the plight of an introvert with an overbearing parent.  I like this story.  It's one of the stories i have listened to repeatedly, partially because i'm usually doing something and miss parts, and partially because i like it that much.  I've had friends with absurdly religious parents like Barbara--one whose mother thought their D&D books would attract demons to the house, and one whose parents and church convinced them that masturbation is an addiction.  Oy.  Oi!  I am reminded of what i told my guidance counselors in junior high and thought for years after--that i didn't want to be happy.  Because everyone i saw who identified as "happy"  was a mindless twit or was otherwise something i couldn't relate to.  I wasn't a druggie, drop out, criminal, or a teen parent--i was something way worse:  i had "low self-esteem".  And anxiety.  But my anxiety wasn't nearly as bad as Isabel's, although i had a moment of it when i was at an ice cream stand with friends and my current partner, and they said, "This doesn't have to be an existential crisis."  But what if i pick a flavor and don't like it?!  My brain was a bit more troubled back then and i have since realized that most substances available at ice cream stands are of dubious quality anyway, and often full of corn syrup.  Having a social media feed of doppels could help alleviate the feeling of being alone in the multiverse.   


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Reply #5 on: March 03, 2016, 08:18:14 PM
I really liked this one as well! I'm so introverted that the few times I asked to do something social during high school, my parents were like "Yes! Please leave the house!". So, I can relate. ::) I also loved 281's speech to her mom, and the fact that she wasn't at all perturbed to be the outlier in her group of dopplegangers.

The crowd-sourcing aspect was hilarious to me. Actually, it's a brilliant move for someone who has greater-than-average trouble making decisions. It has all the benefit of crowd-sourcing, with the giant added bonus of the crowd being very nearly YOU, so you don't have to worry about whether the crowd has radically different tastes.


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Reply #6 on: March 18, 2016, 02:54:04 PM
OMG I loved this one so so much.

The concept of the multiverse social network and using it to crowdsource decisions was really really interesting. I loved watching the relationship between the sisters and the differences between them and how they had such a close relationship despite their differences and no doubt strengthened by frustration with their mother's overbearing nature and then the progression of a doppel being able to come over and try to help even though it didn't exactly work (but her speech was amazing).  and how it all worked out all right in the end anyway.

The only thing I didn't like was the title.  I love the title.  It's a great title.  But it's not a great title FOR THIS STORY.  If you give me a title of "Send in the Ninjas" I want the story to literally involving sending in ninjas.  The actual story was much more original than that, but I wish it had had a title that dealt more closely with the character or speculative element of it instead of just one joke that I personally thought was the weakest moment in the story.