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Author Topic: PC415: Responsibility Descending  (Read 4731 times)

Talia

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on: May 10, 2016, 01:57:37 PM
PodCastle 415: Responsibility Descending

by G. Scott Huggins

read by Wilson Fowlie


A PodCastle original!

The Century Ship burned.

From her mainmast cell, Responsibility heard the screams, and the roar of the flames.

Flames engulfing square miles of sailcloth and rope. She scrabbled at the trapdoor, but it was bolted shut.

Outside, her mother burned the ship, searching for her.

Responsibility peered out the tiny windows, but smoke filled her eyes. She tried to cry out, to shout to the dragon that she was here, was burning. But what good would it do to shout that name? Her mother knew it not. Her mother had called her…

Responsibility hid under her wings from the flames, vainly trying to remember the name that would save her.


Rated PG.

G. Scott Huggins teaches history at The Independent School of Wichita, Kansas. His most recent publication is the standalone short story “When the Fleet Comes,” available on Amazon from Digital Science Fiction.

Wilson Fowlie has been reading stories out loud since the age of 4, and credits any talent he has in this area to his parents, who are both excellent at reading aloud. He has been narrating stories for more people than his own family since late 2008 and has narrated for PodCastle, Escape Pod and Pseudopod, as well as StarShipSofa, Protecting Project Pulp, Crime City Central, Tales To Terrify, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine and the Journey Into… podcast. In real life he’s a web developer and also the director of a community show chorus called The Maple Leaf Singers.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!  



TrishEM

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Reply #1 on: May 19, 2016, 07:46:59 AM
Yaaay! It's always gratifying when a sequel lives up to a first story.

The nightmare opening felt just right for Responsibility (whose real name I don't know how to spell) -- what could be worse than being trapped on the century ship again and getting burned by her mother trying to find her, in a horrible inversion of an orphan's parental rescue fantasy? And as a bonus, it deftly reminded listeners of the first story while also setting the scene for new listeners.

I was interested by her evolving relationship with her father -- he's trying to tell her to stand up for herself, but coming from her abused background, she naturally just sees this as pure criticism. (I also liked the consort/Throne's intercessions, here and later.) When Responsibility does take a stand to help someone weaker, he can't help being proud of her, despite the danger this poses to her and to his realm.

I liked the line about how she'd felt the weight of being a responsibility before, but now she realizes that having responsibility has its own weight.

Often when a youthful character acts rashly, it just annoys me, but Respy's recklessness worked for me. After escaping the ship, she's finally in a place where she feels comparatively safe, so she can try out her wings both literally and figuratively. Having been imprisoned, it's also natural for her to instantly sympathize with her former antagonist/watcher when she realizes she's a prisoner, too.

I was interested to find out a little more about the Consortium. In Abandoned Responsibility, I'd wondered if it were based on technology, rather than Respy's assumption that it just used a different kind of magic. Here, it seemed like more of a steampunk vibe, with the debt-slave's harness.

Finally, I liked the duel, and I agree that the ambassador cheated first. I'm sure the Consortium can use this as an excuse for war if it wants to, but on the other hand, if it doesn't, maybe the next ambassador will be a little more cautious.



FeloniusMonk

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Reply #2 on: May 19, 2016, 11:04:38 AM
I loved this story, but not quite as much as "Abandoned Responsibility".
The world still fascinates and engages me, the writing is still fantastic. I especially love the combine slave(war suit?) entrapment sub plot and the Throne and Crown form, especially "the Throne supports the Crown and the Crown ennobles the Throne".
The characterisation was also great to me, it felt like characters aligned with comfortable tropes without playing to them or being two dimensional.

I think my preference for Abandoned goes with the change of setting, the century ship was a setting I've never even imagined before whereas this story was closer to familiar fantasy settings, while still being unique. Sort of the difference between the stunning prologue and the second chapter that starts to establish the real story beats. On that topic this still left me wanting more and really genuinely felt like the opening sections of a novel. The length was right for the format but I would love to spend more time examining the city, Responsibility's (I can't spell her name either) lessons early struggles and her and the court life we barely glimpsed.



Unblinking

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Reply #3 on: May 19, 2016, 02:49:45 PM
I liked this one and it's a good continuation of the last one.  I continue to like Responsibility as a protagonist and I'd happily read more stories about her.

I didn't like this one as much as the last one, probably just because I do like the sense of wonder of being exposed to new things, and Responsibility's dual nature and the century ships and the spike and etc were all new and bizarre things that got me excited about the world while telling a story that takes place in it.  Like FeloniousMonk this felt like more of a standard fantasy setting... which is fine, I don't hate standard fantasy settings, but as a result it lacked to some degree the sense of wonder that had made the first one really stand out for me. 

Quote
In Abandoned Responsibility, I'd wondered if it were based on technology, rather than Respy's assumption that it just used a different kind of magic. Here, it seemed like more of a steampunk vibe, with the debt-slave's harness.

I had thought of it more as futuristic power armor than steampunky myself.  Reminded me a bit of the situation in Pallbearers by Martin L. Shoemaker where a warrior in a power suit is paralyzed in the line of duty but because his power suit is still functional he is still able to be active as long as he's wearing it.




Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #4 on: May 19, 2016, 03:24:36 PM
For anyone who wishes to include Responsibility's name, here is a sample to copy and paste it from: Azriyqam

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


aliceingoreland

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Reply #5 on: May 19, 2016, 10:40:03 PM
I too liked  the line about how she'd felt the weight of being a responsibility before, but now she realizes that having responsibility has its own weight. It gave the story a lot of depth

One of the other posters said there was magic in the story.I don't recall that. But I have not heard the other story yet.

I also did not get enough details to say the Consortium had steampunk tec. It could, but I didn't see enough of the the Consortium to agree with statement.

I'm sure this say a lot about my twisted issues, but I could not help but wonder... how do you get a half dragon. DNA would say no. I know, it's just a story, and I should really just relax.



FeloniusMonk

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Reply #6 on: May 20, 2016, 01:56:30 AM
The author previously confirmed that this world is an Alderson disc, which to me means the world is either permeated by magic or by technology sufficiently advanced that... you know.
I have absolutely nothing to base this on but my gut says that both the Consortium's suit tech and the existence of half dragons (maybe the century ships as well) are the results of incredibly advanced technology, half lost and forgotten, reduced to ritual 'magic'.
If someone with the correct relics stands in a certain spot and makes certain motions maybe they can invoke the old machines, to blend human and dragon, to fuse a metallic skeleton to human flesh or to create a physics defying wooden ship. If something/one can create an Alderson disc and keep it from collapsing all of these things seem trivial.  For that matter what is a dragon in this context? Is it actually a living creature or some other relic of lost technologies?
See, told you I found this world fascinating.



danooli

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Reply #7 on: May 20, 2016, 12:44:07 PM
That was cool. I really liked the idea of the tech suit. I hope that Thrella (?) is ok in the aftermath of the ambassador getting her stupid skull crushed. I can see Thrella (?) & Azriyqam becoming friends and I like that. They both need friends to help them in their new lives.

You can also count me among the people who really liked the theme of being and having Responsibility. That was very clever.

G. Scott Huggins did a good job of making me dislike the ambassador, btw. I was actually talking back to the story, like when she lied about setting Thrella (?) to spy on Azriyqam. I yelled out "liar!" And, seeing as I was wearing headphones and on a walk while listening, I may have looked a bit crazy. But that's ok.




Devoted135

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Reply #8 on: May 24, 2016, 02:07:09 AM
What a fantastic sequel to "Abandoned Responsibility!" I liked how she had to grapple with the difficulties of transitioning from being a captive on a century ship (with no knowledge of her heritage, by the way) to being a princess in a complicated court. So many new lessons to absorb! 

I really liked how she came to the defense of the enslaved girl, having so recently been given her own freedom. Then she applied her father's newly bestowed advice about speaking the truth and standing up for what is right. Of course, this got her in a further bind, but with her honor and father's approval intact.


The nightmare opening felt just right for Responsibility (whose real name I don't know how to spell) -- what could be worse than being trapped on the century ship again and getting burned by her mother trying to find her, in a horrible inversion of an orphan's parental rescue fantasy? And as a bonus, it deftly reminded listeners of the first story while also setting the scene for new listeners.

Yes! This was such a clever way to reintroduce the characters and their backstory!



bounceswoosh

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Reply #9 on: May 26, 2016, 02:23:13 PM
One of the other posters said there was magic in the story.I don't recall that. But I have not heard the other story yet.

Don't I remember dragons appearing in human form - the consort, maybe? Smells like magic.



Azriyqam

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Reply #10 on: May 29, 2016, 10:12:41 PM
how do you get a half dragon. DNA would say no. I know, it's just a story, and I should really just relax.

If you're wondering how she was conceived
And other science facts
(sha-la-la!)
Then repeat to yourself: "It's just a show"
"I should really just relax..."

Why am I not surprised I'm drawing MST3K fans?

Seriously, you guys are awesome, and you made my week with these comments. Especially thanks to Wilson for another great performance.



OneSock

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Reply #11 on: June 02, 2016, 12:04:03 PM
One simple word......        MORE !

This is an amazing world and the stories from it are SUPERB !

I'm so tired of all these clowns and elephants!  Please, let's run off to an office !


KalStorm

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Reply #12 on: June 02, 2016, 05:17:09 PM
There were so many things that I loved about this story. Lots of them have already been mentioned. For me though, one of the best world building moments for me was when Azriyqam met Eliazar (Elizar? sp?) and his lecture about her need for different minerals and diet then humans. That the author decided to make us aware of that really made the story that much more engaging.

The only thing that bothered me was the consorts apparent ability to change into a human form. Maybe I missed something somewhere? It seems like an unneeded ability. They live in a city built with dragons in mind (evidence, the pedestals built for dragons at the theater) so why would dragons need to change their form? That makes it seem like being a half dragon is just a huge disadvantage, what with never being able to have real hands.

I also would have like to see more of the brother (I can't remember his name, but I liked his character a lot.)



Avnai

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Reply #13 on: June 14, 2021, 01:58:25 PM
Hi, everyone!

Hi, this is Scott Huggins, author of "Abandoned Responsibility."

(Yeah, I know, this isn't the same profile I was using before: it was associated with an old email and I forgot the password. oops.)

I'm pleased to announce that I have spent the last few years working on Responsibility's first novel, and last month it came out from New Mythologies Press (Chris Kennedy Publishing) entitled RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CROWN. It's only $4.99 on Kindle or FREE with KU. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095CLDVMD