Drabblecast 176 - Cinderlands

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strawman
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Drabblecast 176 - Cinderlands

Post by strawman » Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:05 pm

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Parting the Veil by Nathan Lee

Dexter crouched beneath the toxic fruit trees in his grassless back yard, turning over black earth with the spade he'd taken from the old man, and every shovelful revealed worse things:
clumps of cinders and the dust of ashes; rusting nails, practically dripping tetanus; wickedly-curved shards of brown glass; bullets of various sizes, crusted with dirt; and a foot or so down, fragments of black-stone statuary...

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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by tbaker2500 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:02 am

This is a side of Tim Pratt that I like. He did a very good job with this story!
Doing some googling, cinderland seems to be a loose term which defines land on a volcano, or otherwise burnt earth.

The only thing I would change in this story, is to not have him be tackled at the end. Keep the foreboding, let him know that he will never get away without him falling.
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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by Mikes » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:29 am

tbaker2500 wrote:This is a side of Tim Pratt that I like.....

The only thing I would change in this story, is to not have him be tackled at the end. Keep the foreboding, let him know that he will never get away without him falling.
I agree. I love the short stories where the protagonist is metaphorically trapped or alone. They're always the ones that give me chills, and Tim has done a few of these and are up there with the best.

I also agree with the second point, and this was done to perfection with the Drabble. There's nothing the writer can scare us with that we can't do better with our own minds if the right set up is given.

And incidentally, I now eye every lunch box in my work fridge with suspicion.

I'm trying to decide how Lovecraftian (Firefox doesn't recognise 'Lovecraftian' as a word, disgraceful) the story was though, and I'm thinking 'not quite'. but then again it's hard to write a Lovecraft inspired piece without it sounding derivative. I think My main issue with this aspect is there's far too much dialogue in it, and what there is is believable :wink:
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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by Scattercat » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:21 am

Ninja-man.

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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by eggyolk » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:17 pm

I liked this story, especially given that it's an HPL themed month. Unfortunately Tim Pratt took all the main points I was gonna say about that. Sunofabitch must pay!

Seriously though, it was a lot of fun, and I actually really liked the twabble! What worked for me the best in this story was the fact that it didn't sound like HPL wrote it, but it clearly belonged in the mythos. I kept thinking at the end that it didn't matter how modern or sane you are, one look into the planes of Leng and you're shell is cracked.

In other words:
More!
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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by softypapa » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:54 pm

Norm did a splendid job introducing this special series of stories in both the current and last episode of the Drabblecast. I was ready and eager to hear Cinderlands, though a bit concerned as The Outsider seemed a tough act to follow. "Cinderlands" is a fantastic story title, the type that would catch eyeballs at any bookstore. The story opened especially strong and I was drawn deep by the tactile imagery and mystery of the polluted soil. I would have been quite happy to spend the remainder of the tale right there in that dismal backyard, poking through the earth and letting the larger story emerge like some hidden horror of Pompei. I'll confess that the rats were a bit of a buzzkill as I wanted the something fearful to remain hidden in the past, a terrible, dead and (almost) forgotten tragedy. The story is nevertheless outstanding and lifts gently the veil of the world Lovecraft knew.

The drabble was as potent as the genre can handle, as it bundled an inspired idea into a bite-size package which will likely be often recalled at break time by any who read or hear it.

Norm Sherman's reading and production of this entire episode was far more significant than any mere intro, segue and sayonara. I suspect that when the dust settles in this wild west period of podcasting Mr. Sherman's legacy will rival the awe of leviathan.

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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by Talia » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:27 pm

I think I'm gonna have nightmares forever bout rats with backeyes. Thanks Drabblecast/Tim. :p

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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by Etaan » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:48 pm

This may sound odd, but that was far and away the best reading of section headers I have ever heard. Super creepy ambient music was spot on as well.

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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by tbaker2500 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:24 pm

Etaan wrote:This may sound odd, but that was far and away the best reading of section headers I have ever heard. Super creepy ambient music was spot on as well.
I'm not always the biggest fan of how Pratt divides up stories, but they one really worked well. I agree with you Etaan.
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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by LaFleur » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:21 am

I have mixed feelings about this story. On one hand, Tim Pratt (in partnership with Norm's excellent audio editing) did a great job to ratchet up the horror. While this story was going down, it was good. Normally I'm not a huge fan of horror, and maybe more seasoned horror readers ended up sweating much less than I did. I found this pretty damn scary.

But...

Despite my love of Tim Pratt's writing, this was not one of my favorites by him. It basically filled out the classic requirements for Horror, with such randomly appearing and unexplained specters as the Old Man, in a setting that wasn't particularly original. Dexter also didn't resonate with me. I didn't really get him as a character. Or maybe I missed something.

I think Mongoose did a much better job with the Lovecraftian theme (even though it wasn't in Lovecraft month), combining an original setting with an engaging story and more interesting characters than in here.

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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by Scattercat » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:41 am

One thing this story DID do was make me see the main character of "The Rats in the Walls" in full Juggalo make-up, with his name changed from "De La Poer" to something like "Down-Low the Pizzy-Yo."

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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by timpratt » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:48 am

I'm a big Lovecraft fan, of course, but it always seemed to me that his narrators tended to figure things out too well. Sure, maybe the truths they discovered drove them insane, but they generally got some handle on what they were dealing with. I wanted to write about a guy who never does figure out what the hell he's gotten himself into, even when it kills him.

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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by dreamrock » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:17 am

Woot. I enjoyed this one a great deal.

I felt the Lovecraft element was strong but well-balanced. The rats in the walls, the creepy local guy, the mysterious degenerate dirt, etc. all led to a really Lovecraftian feel, but it was all in the context of an accessible story. The buried statue bits were a brilliantly disturbing feature that I won't soon forget.

While I understand the complaints about fading out too late, I would have enjoyed further immersion in those final moments to let the horror and despondency sink in more indelibly. As eggyolk says, "More!"

I've never had a complaint with a character name before, but I had a hard time dealing with the name Dexter in the story. Reminded me too much of the main character in the Dexter series. More of a personal issue than anything, though. :lol:
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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by normsherman » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:56 am

dreamrock wrote: I've never had a complaint with a character name before, but I had a hard time dealing with the name Dexter in the story. Reminded me too much of the main character in the Dexter series. More of a personal issue than anything, though. :lol:
And you know what's really weird? The main character's name in this week's story by Dave Levine was 'Morgan.'
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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by dreamrock » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:10 am

normsherman wrote:And you know what's really weird? The main character's name in this week's story by Dave Levine was 'Morgan.'
Haha. Somehow I didn't notice the congruence while listening to it three times. :oops: Now I wonder what devious communications may have been going on behind the scenes. :o
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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by normsherman » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:32 am

None! That's the freaky part. All coinciding with the start of Season 5. hmm...
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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by AugustLeo » Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:37 pm

great story. great sense of dread and past and future misery. but for some reason i kept wondering if the rats were running towards a pile of moldy cheese in the backyard. was the guy next door some sort of weird rat wrangler? Was the thing chasing them some sort of rat herding sheep dog...from hell? inquiring minds want to know.

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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by flyawaybefree » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:12 am

I loved this one! I thought that the coolest bit wasn't so much the rats, which were terrifying in their own right, but the digging and finding these things from the past, things that you don't want to see and are best left buried because you don't want to think about why they're there. Another awesome point for Tim Pratt!
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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by eggyolk » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:00 am

Yeah, this one was chilling. It definitely reminded me of this one time when I rented a farmhouse that promptly fell over on one side basically. I had to dig out a foundation for the columns by hand with a freaking kitchen spoon. It was crazy. But the crazier thing was that we had like four foot high rhubarb with a crazy sugar level. Crazy because rhubarb has no damned sugar.

Well read as usual!
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Re: Drabblecast 176- Cinderlands by Tim Pratt

Post by Richmazzer » Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:03 am

Very creepy, well written, produced and read. The whole police brutality thing seemed a little tacked on and out of place to me, and the next door neighbor reminded me of Wilson off of Home Improvement, but other than that I really enjoyed it. Actually, now that I think about it, visualizing Tim Allen being chased and devoured by a massive ancient creature from another dimension is pretty awesome. I can just hear his inquisitive "uyghh?" grunt as he is smothered from existence.

Oh yah, and the drabble was outstanding this week.

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