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Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:12 pm
by strawman
Feature: At the End of the Hall by Nick Mamatas
Drabble: Mommy Issues by Rish Outfield

Image

Friday, July 22, 2011
My earliest fear, the one I remember anyways, was of great pulp magazine robots with hot water heater bodies and vacuum tube eyes. My brother forbade me to touch his precious magazines, so I wouldn’t. I’d stare and stare at the covers through; hourglassed damsels in diaphanous gowns draped over thick slab altars, and the robots, always the robots with their cylindrical torsos and pincer claws for hands....

In Search of the Brain-Eating Nandi Bear Part III
The Dunesteef Podcast
Nick Mamatas
Delianne Forget
The Drabblecast Reclamation Project (DRIP)
Music by Sigur Ros, Norm Sherman, Gringo Motel
Art by Michael Hoskins

Re: Drabblecast 211- At the End of the Hall

Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:51 pm
by strawman
I trust Bo can fix my unprofessional New Topic post (mainly fix the lo-res jpg, which deserves better.) I didn't want to wait on discussing this since well, let's face it: it's been two weeks, I was hungry for a story, and this one was like breaking a fast with a massive gourmet meal.

Two thirds of the way through, I'm thinking, God, this story is beautifully written, a GREAT story, and Forget's narration is INSANELY good, but I must have been momentarily stunned by the Choadsworth afterglow, because it's taken me so long to realize this isn't a Drabblecast story at all. It's a serious character study about dying. Could it be that Norm has undergone cytokinesis? Well, at least the explanation would be weird... so much can happen in two weeks.

But what a perfect set-up for the rescue by the mad robot! This is where Delianne's voice really paid off, and boy does she ever sell it. I so want her to come on and hear what she thought of the story. I went to her website and listened to her staid, sample VO there. She needs to change that mess, and replace it with a 5 second bite: "It's a robot! Read a book!" Seriously.

So yes, folks. I laughed. I cried. And through my tears and laughter I thought, "This is the way I want to go, too!"

I wonder. It would be a twist on one of my favorite movies, The Game. Instead of Soylent Green, with nice music and soothing images, the dying consumer is whisked away by Iron Man, or toted up the Empire State building by King Kong.

Do not go gentle into that good night, / Old age should burn and rave at close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

When a DC episode can evoke Dylan Thomas, it is a remarkably good episode.
Congratulations, all.

Re: Drabblecast 211- At the End of the Hall

Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:54 am
by Poppydragon
Entirely possible that this is my favourite podcast story every...not limiting myself to Drabblecast in that statement either. That said it is definitely my favourite narration ever...simply magnificent! Everything about the pacing, the characterisation and the magnifcently insane ending (that I prefer to avoid thinking of as morphine induced hallucination) was perfet. Maybe not quite standard Drabblecast fodder but my gosh it was worthwhile.

Re: Drabblecast 211- At the End of the Hall

Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:48 am
by themorg
Poppydragon wrote: That said it is definitely my favourite narration ever...simply magnificent! Everything about the pacing, the characterisation and the magnifcently insane ending (that I prefer to avoid thinking of as morphine induced hallucination) was perfet.
I agree that she did a fantastic job reading and catching nuances within the character that were probably (who other than the author can know for sure) implied. As for the story it was kind of a miss for me. I even listened to it again just to make sure i was not just overthinking the subject matter (death and hallucinations etc). Nursing homes do not do it for me...other than Bubba Ho-Tep. There is something about it that seems to real in the way that many people look for escape at the end of life. Good story but not for me.

Spoiler:
Spoiler:

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:18 am
by Aesculapius
Awesome story and narration. I even got a little choked up at the end- not what I was expecting with a story involving giant killer robots.

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:38 pm
by Unblinking
Well, that was different, for sure!

Loved the narration, spot on, for a bitter and angry old woman fighting against powerlessness. Very strong characters too, though it made me sad when she kept on saying how much she hated to be around her son and granddaughter. That's not a flaw of the story, she was being honest, brutally honest, about her feelings, but man that was rough for me to listen to. Probably because I've had a few relatives die in the hospital, and it hurts to think about whether that's what the experience was really like for them. Yet I don't know what I would have done differently to help them.

The robot rescue at the end was good, though again I had a bit of trouble coping with her character's honesty when she set its deathray loose in the hospital. The whole ending had a very Big Fish kind of feel to it (read the book if you get the chance).

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:52 pm
by strawman
One thing I've got to say this story highlighted the problem of what people say to people who are sick or dying, how everything sounds like an empty platitude. And that makes me think how much empty platitudes make up such a high percentage of relationships, and how difficult it is to be honest and meaningful. That is one of the reasons I like admitting strange listenners into life's situations... to derail the shorthand and code words that translate to "I'm sorry, but I don't have anything original or compelling to offer here, but I'm too uncomfortable with you to say nothing."

It also highlighted how crotchety and impatient with BS illness and depression make people. This is why I changed my sig to "Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle." Anyway, I think grandma loves her son and granddaughter. But her suffering strips her of the ability to tolerate. Love covers a multitude of sins; suffering exposes a multitude of faults.

Even if the robot rescue is a result of drugs and dementia, though, there's a great big red ribbon wrapped around the gift that is her life, in that the forbidden thing that was the sum of her childhood fears became her hero. So it's not just a strange plot twist for me. It is meaningful and human and a wonderful miracle.

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:49 am
by Talia
Wow, truly spectacular. Mr. Mamatas' stories don't usually gel with me for whatever reason, but this absolutely blew me away. You could really feel her triumph there at the end. At the end of her life coming full circle with having her childhood dream realized..

Really dug the Sigur Ros music too, a perfect match.

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:46 pm
by Richmazzer
Absolutely wonderful. This was the trio combination that Drabblecast so often pulls off when producing its art: Strong story, brilliant reading, perfect music.

Regarding the production... narration, I just can't say enough good things about it. The timing and characterization were so dead on. Like strawman, I would love to listen to Delianne talk about her reaction upon reading the story and her process. The music supported the emotional content of the story phenomenally well.

The story... had me crying by the end. That was a twist I absolutely did not see coming. So bittersweet. Best podcast story production this year for sure, anywhere.

And Connor was dead-on this episode as well. I was so emotionally moved by the story I had until now forgotten just how hard I laughed during the intro. I love the parody and references to Lost with the flashbacks, wondering if and how it will tie in. Also, the banter between Choadsworth and his crypto-rival is side splitting...
Iver-stroms as units of distance. James Lipton and bi-polar bears. Capri-corn sun and 'A cave full of fatties.' Norm is clearly off his meds and I'm absolutely loving it.

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:02 am
by Kibitzer
Regarding Connor -- I was listening to this on the train this morning. I had a very hard time stifling my laughter so's my fellow passengers didn't think I was deranged.

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:08 am
by themorg
Kibitzer wrote:Regarding Connor -- I was listening to this on the train this morning. I had a very hard time stifling my laughter so's my fellow passengers didn't think I was deranged.
I, personally, love it when i burst out listening to the drabblecast and am on public transit. my favourite one was the duck cloaca and dead duck rape from last year. I almost got asked to get off the bus.

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:18 am
by tbaker2500
strawman wrote:One thing I've got to say this story highlighted the problem of what people say to people who are sick or dying, how everything sounds like an empty platitude. And that makes me think how much empty platitudes make up such a high percentage of relationships, and how difficult it is to be honest and meaningful. That is one of the reasons I like admitting strange listenners into life's situations... to derail the shorthand and code words that translate to "I'm sorry, but I don't have anything original or compelling to offer here, but I'm too uncomfortable with you to say nothing."
This is very much what the Drabblecast is about.



I was very uncomfortable with this story, and even had to fast-forward some of it, simply because the situation was too pathetic. It was designed to pull on every single heartstring. And I don't like it when stories do that. My life has these problems, I don't gain by listening to a fictional account. But worst of all, there are many people with non-fictional lives which are too close to this account for comfort. And that's hard to swallow. So there is a lesson in this story, live life and make it count. But unlike this story, don't take the anger route. Find peace. Find love. Hug your family. If you don't have family, hug your friends. If you don't have friends, hug your pet. But not too hard, you might kill it.

The narration was simply fantastic.

And Good old Connor- Frigging hilarious. Too good Norm, too good.

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:09 pm
by Travelin Corpse Feet
strawman wrote:One thing I've got to say this story highlighted the problem of what people say to people who are sick or dying, how everything sounds like an empty platitude. And that makes me think how much empty platitudes make up such a high percentage of relationships, and how difficult it is to be honest and meaningful.
I once wrote a (not very good) story based largely around my profound discomfort with a phrase that gets tossed around far too loosely: "It was nice meeting you!" You hear it all too often when you finally meet some friend of a friend at a party, or your cousin's new girlfriend or somesuch. Even if you only so much as said "pass the cheese dip" at them, odds are they're going to say that to you and expect to hear it back.

Bloody hell, we barely spoke! I mean, I don't know the first thing about you and you spent all your time in the living room hanging out with Art's nephew and I was in the kitchen most of the time tending the bratwurst and having a beer with Mike. It wasn't nice meeting you: at best it was just indifferent. I mean, I'm probably not even going to remember your name in a few days.

Long story short, we've built deception into our interactions and when I think about it I find it galling.

Anyway, I liked the story though I thought it was a little long in getting to the payoff. The narration was absolutely perfect. I'd put it on par with Podcastle 154.

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:19 am
by tbaker2500
Travelin Corpse Feet wrote:"It was nice meeting you!" You hear it all too often when you finally meet some friend of a friend at a party, or your cousin's new girlfriend or somesuch. Even if you only so much as said "pass the cheese dip" at them, odds are they're going to say that to you and expect to hear it back.

Bloody hell, we barely spoke! I mean, I don't know the first thing about you and you spent all your time in the living room hanging out with Art's nephew and I was in the kitchen most of the time tending the bratwurst and having a beer with Mike. It wasn't nice meeting you: at best it was just indifferent. I mean, I'm probably not even going to remember your name in a few days.
Well, it's say it depends significantly on your own personal slant. Myself, even if I didn't get to know them at the party, it was a pleasure meeting them with the prospect of getting to know them better. Now, after I know them better I may not think it is a pleasure to know them :D.

So it may not be two people exchanging meaningless platitudes. It may be one person who honestly enjoyed meeting you (meeting does equal knowing) and another who was indifferent. Old, bitter, and indifferent. :lol: :lol:

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:20 pm
by Unblinking
When I say "nice to meet you" it tends to be along the lines of what tbaker said, it's not so much that the brief contact was so immensely enjoyable, but that this is the potential opening for getting to know them better. Also, if it's a friend of a friend that I hear about all the time, it may be more along the lines of "It's nice to put a face to the name" because hearing about other people is much more interesting if I can picture them myself.

But, yeah, there are lots of insincerities built into expected conversation. I try to avoid them when I can. When someone asks me how I'm doing, I try to give them a brief but honest answer. If I'm having a truly shitty day I try not to say "Fine" even though that's the reflex. And I try not to ask how someone is doing unless I actually have the time and inclination to hear about how they are actually doing (though of course most people just say "fine" or "good".

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:48 pm
by tbaker2500
Unblinking wrote:But, yeah, there are lots of insincerities built into expected conversation. I try to avoid them when I can. When someone asks me how I'm doing, I try to give them a brief but honest answer. If I'm having a truly shitty day I try not to say "Fine" even though that's the reflex. And I try not to ask how someone is doing unless I actually have the time and inclination to hear about how they are actually doing (though of course most people just say "fine" or "good".
Ditto. I find that "Hello!" works just fine in place of "Hello! How are you?"

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:32 pm
by FAIL:SAFE
For the first 3/4 of this story I was flummoxed as to why it was on the Drabble cast, it seemed like a slightly dark garison keeler story, pleasant enough ramblings that didn't go anywhere.

Then, out of nowhere a giant robot shooting death rays out of it's eyes!

I did wonder if it was all a hallucination brought on by the morphine and oxygen deprivation in the last moments of her life. Then I thought- GIANT FREAKING WALL SMASHING ROBOT, and didn't care any more.

I can't remember if there is a Drabble award for best narration but if there is, it's a safe bet delianna forget will win it.

Great stuff.

F:S

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:45 pm
by TheShubLub
I didn't like this one, It may just be the story or the fact that I didn't like the voice actor, but it felt like the main character was an bitter old lady. My dad thought the same. I think this spoiled it for me, because when the robot came I didn't care. :?

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:49 am
by tbaker2500
TheShubLub wrote:I didn't like this one, It may just be the story or the fact that I didn't like the voice actor, but it felt like the main character was an bitter old lady. My dad thought the same. I think this spoiled it for me, because when the robot came I didn't care. :?
Yup. Bitter old lady kind of sums it up.

Welcome to the forums, TheShubLub!

Re: Drabblecast 211 - At the End of the Hall

Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:01 pm
by Rish Outfield
Wow, excellent narration. I'm not sure how difficult it was to get her to read the story, but it was certainly worth it. As something of a podcaster myself, there have been times when I've been unable to get the right person to read a part or a story, and I'll often do it myself . . . but I wonder if the end result would have been worth the sweat and frustrations of getting the RIGHT person to do it.

Now I ask myself how different this story would've FELT with Norm reading it.

Regardless, excellent production all around, on this one, folks. When you wrest the Best Fiction Podcast Parsec Award away from the judges again this year, it will be very deserved.