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Classics 04 (EP 129) – Annabelle’s Alphabet

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:49 am
by Kevin Anderson
Update (Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014): Drabbleclassics 4 – Annabelle's Alphabet
Feature: Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt
Drabble: Tell-Tale Signs by Ralph Gamelli
Genres: Drama  Fantasy  Drabbleclassics
Original Episode: 129

Image

Thursday, September 10th, 2009
Annabelle’s mother closed her eyes. “Get it sharp,” she said. “Very sharp, so it doesn’t hurt much. I’ll boil some water.”

Episode Art: Bess Gutenstein
Music by: Gringo Motel, Devin Anderson, Marco Esu, Sara Ayers, Palestrina, Chopin, The Brothers Femme, and Norm Sherman
Originally published in: Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, October 2001.

Twabble: “ Cthulhu was buried in his wool suit, seaweed and supplications in his breast pockets. Mourners left behind their sons. ” by F5iver

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:39 pm
by ROU Killing Time
OK, I get most of the story, and it was very stylistic, moody, & creepy.

What I don't understand is how she got her wings back though? Did the chaois in my house at the time I was listening cause me to miss an important details.

Or is the reader to assume the faeries waved a magic wand at the end. that part was a little bit of a let down since the rest of the story was such a nice set of little hints and clues about how she lost her wings.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:05 pm
by strawman
Is anyone else having a partial download problem?
I am cut off in the middle of story feedback.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:16 pm
by Phenopath
That was awesome, I loved it. This story has moved into my personal top 3 drabblecast stories.

It was fantastical, ethereal, cruel, stylish and wry. The premise was original, and for the first half of the story I enjoyed figuring out what was going on. Once you worked it out it was fairly clear what was going to happen, but this was not a problem because it was done with such panache. I even felt sorry for the parents.

The alphabet artifact worked really well (to my surprise), in part because the author managed to avoid the words 'xylophone', 'yacht' and 'zebra'.

The production was top-notch. My only minor, not-really, not-a-quibble was Norm gave us only 1.5 seconds at the end of the story before laying us with some zingers :)

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:25 pm
by Mr. Tweedy
I really enjoyed this one for its lyrical, dreamlike quality. I liked how it used the alphabet to present the story in a topical manner, more or less ignoring chronology, which is how dreams generally go. Excellent choice of music and sound effects to build a mood of mystery and suspense. The story ends up coming off as one big lump of imagery rather than a linear stream, which is cool, if only for its novelty.

I was a bit disappointed by the lack of a twist. It was fairly obvious what was going to happen from the first few letters and once you understood that Annabelle was adopted, everything else was more or less expected. The story did a great job building mood, but I would have like some more plot as well. (Some people are just never satisfied.)

Excellent choice of artwork too: Fit the mood and subject perfectly.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:01 am
by strawman
strawman wrote:Is anyone else having a partial download problem?
I am cut off in the middle of story feedback.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:05 am
by Nervous Tick
Mr. Tweedy wrote: I was a bit disappointed by the lack of a twist. It was fairly obvious what was going to happen from the first few letters and once you understood that Annabelle was adopted, everything else was more or less expected. The story did a great job building mood, but I would have like some more plot as well. (Some people are just never satisfied.)
I completely agree with you in regards to this one Mr. Tweedy, I too found the plot of the main story lacking. I would say that the Drabble was certainly my favourite of the two this week, and that I'm not ashamed to admit I have a little moustache envy going on. Perhaps I should go prowl the roads looking for a drifter of my own. Although I feel my own moustache would raise even more questions than that of our poor friend, as I am female. Alas, a girl can dream...


Ps. this episode downloaded smoothly for me.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:16 am
by normsherman
strawman wrote:
strawman wrote:Is anyone else having a partial download problem?
I am cut off in the middle of story feedback.
Both feeds dumped the whole thing for me--

*scratches head*

*...of lifeles conjoined sibling hanging from thigh*

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:20 am
by strawman
I play it from the site MP4, and the last 10% is missing. Cuts off in mid-word.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:02 am
by ROU Killing Time
I too listened to the whole thing on the web-site feed. No problems to report.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:29 am
by internalogic
Another excellent job.

Great job by Tim Pratt. Great narration by Norm. And once again, the music selection and production created the perfect mood.

This story is a glimpse into a moment. For example, it would really lend itself to being captured by a painting. The key moment here is the image that begins the entire story. At the picnic, with the parents somewhat lost in their self-enforced repression-filled mundaneness and their otherworldly child looking into the distance hearing something.

The whole story is giving us the background to let us appreciate that frozen moment. Point by point, letter by letter, the tragedy of Annabelle's childhood is spelled out to us. Just as with most paintings, the point is not a plot twist. Although if there is one, it occurs probably 30 to 60% of the way through as we begin to realize just what has happened to the little girl.

Rather it's about all of the delicate and dark feelings that are caught in that single moment. It's a contemplation of that one moment, and then finally a glimpse of what begins to happen afterwards.

As to her wings, the narration suggests the mythology of this world. For a fairy who has been stolen from her realm, the 10th birthday represents a kind of coming-of-age or crucial moment of power. For some reason, at that time there is an opening, a strengthening of energy, and an opportunity to return to home and to wholeness. On a selfish, personal level, I was glad it didn't end tragically for Annabelle.

p.s. I think that was Bach in the first section. Old J.S. never sounded so tense and foreboding to me before. I think I will be replaying this story a bunch of times. Thanks!

Sept 15 edit: listened again. Don't know what I was talking about. That was not Bach at all. I'm not sure who it was, but it sounded like Chopin. Anyway.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:26 am
by ROU Killing Time
internalogic.

Thanks for adding your perspective on the story, particularly your take on the ending, which is the part that I didn't initially process well. Your take on it, (while not right or wrong) has opened up areas of contemplation that make the story much more satisfying to me.

Hey Norm, you got some smart listeners out there in Interweb land.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:38 pm
by F5iver
I raise monarch butterflies every summer, so I identified in a very strange way with the parents. I thought Annabelle might migrate to the Oyamel forests of Mexico for a moment. That would have been so bio-geeky cool for me. And not all caterpillars are fuzzy. Monarch cats are all slick and jazzy with their white jackets blazed with yellow and black stripes, ready to party.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:25 pm
by Phenopath
F5iver wrote:I raise monarch butterflies every summer, so I identified in a very strange way with the parents.
Do you eat their wings?

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:42 pm
by F5iver
Eat their wings? Certainly not! the cardiotoxins are sequestered in the wings and exoskeleton. I eat the juicy insides, like any self-respecting parasitic wasp.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:42 pm
by Goldenrat
I agree with Phenopath, this one was great and is now in my crowded group of drabblecast favs. Just cool all the way around.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:03 am
by Wonko
Wow. Just... wow.

That was an awesome story. There's not much more to say about it. (Well, there is, but it's all related to how awesome the story is, so it doesn't really add to the statement.)

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:09 pm
by internalogic
ROU Killing Time wrote:
internalogic.

Thanks for adding your perspective on the story, particularly your take on the ending, which is the part that I didn't initially process well. Your take on it, (while not right or wrong) has opened up areas of contemplation that make the story much more satisfying to me.
Thanks right back at you, ROU Killing Time. I appreciate your generous comment. And you're so right about 'while not right or wrong'. It's such a relief to be able to enjoy talking about something without having to worry about being right or wrong!

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:52 am
by alhilton
That was one of my favorite Drabblecasts ever. It might have to replace The Worm Within. Strangely, both contain worms. Hmmm.

I interpreted the story as being about parents who try to cast their children in their own images and the ability of children to find themselves, their wings, even in the face of parental hostility and disapproval. Or perhaps it was about incest. Or...maybe it really was about circumcision. Who knows.

To me, the magic of the story would have been diminished by a blow-by-blow description of wing restoration. I did not think it lacked for not having that, although it certainly compelled the listener to consider the symbolic elements over the story at the end.

Re: Drabblecast 129- Annabelle's Alphabet by Tim Pratt

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:45 am
by G. E. Lee
alhilton wrote:That was one of my favorite Drabblecasts ever. It might have to replace The Worm Within.
OK, Tim Pratt is pretty damn awsome, but that might be going a touch far.
I'm pretty much with Mr. Tweedy here, except that I think that the quality of the writing more than makes up for the linearity. I guess if the writing in engrossing powerful enough, a certain amount of predictability is easily overlooked.
Also, great drabble. Facial hair-oriented fiction is always a hit with me.