Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

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StalinSays
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Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by StalinSays » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:36 pm

Feature: In the Octopus's Garden James S. Dorr
Drabble: Dead or Alive? Benjamin Parker

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Saturday, February 26, 2011
I woke to this new darkness, swirling about me. A phrase sticking in my mind -- "Lazarus Syndrome." What happened to people when they had died, but, for some reason, some lack of death's completion -- some unfinished business -- had rejoined the living.

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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by Unblinking » Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:16 pm

My only complaint about this story is that the speculative element is remarkably similar to one of my own unpublished stories. I hate it when that happens! That being said, it's just the core spec element that's the same (a man dying in the ocean and his consciousness spreading through the food chain). The cause of death, the time period, the character motivations, some details of his abilities as his consciousness spreads, are all very different.

Anyway, despite my disconcerting sense of deja vu, I thought this story was great. I loved the way that he spread from creature to creature and was able to control all of them at once, his consciousness spreading like a nanoswarm. The resolution was great with him trying to infect all the water systems, laying a trap for her. And if he's infecting water, soon he's going to go viral after that, a consciousness plague infecting all of animalkind--transmitted by sneezes and handshakes, spreading across oceans even to remote islands untouched by humanity. All in the name of revenge against one particular person. Wow, that's dark and creepy, and quite a thing to imagine. Way more scary than mere zombie apocalypse!

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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by tbaker2500 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:22 pm

If you imagine a plot of enjoyment on the y-axis and time on the x-axis, the graph would be almost linear from origin to "highly enjoyable" by 22:20.

With regards to Unblinking's comment, I thought the premise of this story was that he was, essentially, a ghost kept on earth because a traumatic event kept him here. Once he killed her, I expected the resolution to free his spirit and dissipate. I hope.
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by swamp » Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:59 am

Very good story. A great progression and discovery of the dead man's past life. I have been reading a compelation of Marvel's Man-Thing comic book, and I saw quite a few parralles between the characters (not that I suspect Mr. Dor of anything, his character was obviously unique.) I just put the two together and enjoyed the similarities and differences.

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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by Goldenrat » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:33 pm

Loved this story. Neat concept, having your conscious move along in the creatures that devoured you. What a bummer for those people buried in the earth, I would rather be devoured by eagles.
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by ROU Killing Time » Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:19 am

Goldenrat wrote:What a bummer for those people buried in the earth...
Not if they were dirt worshipers.
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by Talia » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:41 am

Creepy as all get-out and totally engaging. Though the Beatles song running through my head made for quite an odd juxtaposition...

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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by tbaker2500 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:25 am

Talia wrote:Creepy as all get-out and totally engaging. Though the Beatles song running through my head made for quite an odd juxtaposition...
Yea.. seconded.
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by Unblinking » Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:08 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:With regards to Unblinking's comment, I thought the premise of this story was that he was, essentially, a ghost kept on earth because a traumatic event kept him here. Once he killed her, I expected the resolution to free his spirit and dissipate. I hope.
You're definitely right that he stuck around because of the traumatic event and his need to do something about it. But I don't remember anything that stated that he would dissipate once he'd had his revenge. I thought it might be like pushing a heavy box across carpet--it takes more energy to START it moving than it does to MAINTAIN the motion once moving. It takes something extraordinary to cause the Lazarus Syndrome (or whatever it was called), but that doesn't necessarily imply that removing the cause will stop the effect.

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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:28 pm

Awesome. The drabble was awesome too. Awesomeness.

I enjoy the conceit in the drabble that the undead are merely regarded as being dead. In typical human fashion, the people disregard he evidence of their eyes in favor of the marks in their little books. In its way, this is most realistic zombie story I've heard.

The story was great for its mood, and there is no one better than Norm to pull off a mood piece. The idea of a physical ghost is really interesting. The mind chills in the brain, but that doesn't mean it couldn't migrate somewhere else, if it found a suitable medium. The physical transitions of the man's essence were totally creepy and really well done, and the idea of his eventual revenge was very disturbing, mostly because the victims would never know what was happening to them or why.

I think he will stay a ghost once he has his revenge. He just won't want revenge anymore, and he'll find something else to do. Maybe he'll sleep. I think the idea of his persistence works, because it could be used to explain all sorts of weird phenomena in nature. Maybe it's common for minds to migrate thusly? Maybe lots of critters run around bearing human essences, and maybe that's why they sometimes do seemingly inexplicable things?
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by strawman » Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:53 pm

Yep. Explains why dogs lick themselves.
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by Travelin Corpse Feet » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:09 pm

The ocean is just a big damn bowl of self-eating soup. I think I understand now why Lovecraft hated it. Then again, screw him. As a native New Englander, I declare the ocean to be awesome. What sort of terrain do you people have? Plains? I'll bet you have plains. Screw the plains. Them and the horses that rode in in them.[/rant]

I'm not quite in the same boat (heh) as Unblinking, but I did recently write a story where crustaceans were controlling people's minds. The biggest problem in that, however, was a really awkward job interview.

I liked this story but felt a little cheated that it ended where it did. It felt like it was going to be a revenge tale, and I likes me some revenge, but of course, this was actually vehicle to explore that creepy, oceanic nano-consciousness. That was actually cool too and this might've been my favorite drabblecast episode in a while had it not been for "Love in the Pneumatic Tube Era".

The drabble was great. Sounded like a synopsis to a novel I might like.
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by Etaan » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:54 pm

Unblinking wrote:
tbaker2500 wrote:With regards to Unblinking's comment, I thought the premise of this story was that he was, essentially, a ghost kept on earth because a traumatic event kept him here. Once he killed her, I expected the resolution to free his spirit and dissipate. I hope.
You're definitely right that he stuck around because of the traumatic event and his need to do something about it. But I don't remember anything that stated that he would dissipate once he'd had his revenge. I thought it might be like pushing a heavy box across carpet--it takes more energy to START it moving than it does to MAINTAIN the motion once moving. It takes something extraordinary to cause the Lazarus Syndrome (or whatever it was called), but that doesn't necessarily imply that removing the cause will stop the effect.
The Lazarus Effect was simply the fact that he had pulled a Patrick Swayze but was stuck at the bottom of the ocean without his Whoopi Goldberg. The disbursement along the food chain (and this isn't something I noticed until the second listen) was achieved through the narrator's extraordinary force of will alone. The infestation might not end with Magda's destruction/assimilation, but I can't imagine that he'd be able to sustain his drive for long after he gets his revenge.

I enjoyed that story, but this is the first time in a very long time where I found myself thinking that this ought to have been one of the weeks where Norm passed the reading baton to someone else. The crescendo was great, but the earlier part of the story didn't really seem like the words of a dispassionate mostly dead corpse. Norm brings so much to the table but, God love him, the ability to take the intensity below a 4 or 5 is not one of them.
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by tbaker2500 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:44 am

Etaan wrote:I enjoyed that story, but this is the first time in a very long time where I found myself thinking that this ought to have been one of the weeks where Norm passed the reading baton to someone else. The crescendo was great, but the earlier part of the story didn't really seem like the words of a dispassionate mostly dead corpse. Norm brings so much to the table but, God love him, the ability to take the intensity below a 4 or 5 is not one of them.
AACCKKK!! Ugh. Couldn't disagree with you more, bud. I am very, very glad to have Norm reading this one and any other he cares to...
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by Etaan » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:45 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:AACCKKK!! Ugh. Couldn't disagree with you more, bud. I am very, very glad to have Norm reading this one and any other he cares to...
Come on now. I am repeatedly on record as being a major Uncle Norm fanboy, but any story he cares to? Even excluding tales told in a female voice, there are certain stories that are better suited for his narration style and some that don't fit it at all.

This is partway down towards the latter part of that scale. The story itself seemed to imply a gradual build from about 2 to 8 on the intense-o-meter, and Norm took it from 4 to 10. Great delivery and production, which are so consistently top notch that it's hardly worth mentioning, but I think the tone was a hair off throughout.
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by tbaker2500 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:59 pm

I agree some stories are suited better to other voices. But the reason for my reaction is because there have been a few stories in the last 6 months which I felt would have been better with Norms reading. I don't want the poor, deluded fellow to start thinking we don't want his readings.
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:19 pm

I think Norm does a great female voice. :D
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by blueeyeddevil » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:58 am

Mr. Tweedy wrote:I think Norm does a great female voice. :D
I am male, and I'm comfortably hetero. If Norm's voice had a body all its own, I would hit on it (I hope Norm finds this as creepy as my GF does).

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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by ROU Killing Time » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:36 am

I just want to steal Norm's voice for my own diabolical purposes.

He's far to nice and ethical to parlay at into, oh let's say, a string of one-night stands with women that make Charlie Sheen's goddesses look like five dollar hookers...

(oh wait, they already kinda DO look like that, don't they?)
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Re: Drabblecast 199 - In the Octopus's Garden

Post by Richmazzer » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:14 am

Loved this story. Creepy, especially the image I got in my head of the rotting corpse looking up from underwater at the unknowing girl in the bikini. I thought Norm's read was really good too. If the narrator had sounded dispassionate at first we wouldn't have bought the fact that he was just realizing he had died(sortof) and then come back (sortof) Would be pretty jaunting and disorienting.
Artwork was very cool too.

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