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Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:32 pm
by Kevin Anderson
Invisibility for Beginners
by Michael Swanwick

Bubbles Surge From Froth
by Frank Key

Outside the Box
by John Haggerty

Image
Art by Chelsea Ragan
Music by Fumbata Ash and Rowan The Noisemakerz

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:52 pm
by strawman
Invisibility for Beginners inspires me to imagine what Tweedy's movie at DragonCon next year starring the DC forum community would be like, if we made the cast invisible. I mean, the Con attendees wouldn't react at all to zombies or vampires, or flaming love monkeys. But they'd be totally freaked out by invisible people.

Frank Key either works on a formula, or maybe his mother dropped acid in his formula back in the day. Either way, he is just a little predictable in his unpredictability. I can see OCD as a symptom of viral contamination. Some people count tiles or blocks, Frank's characters count cows. See what I mean? Not a really threatening consequence of infection, if you ask me. The opposite of Mother Goose rhymes, in which what should be a terrifying image of blinded mice getting tails chopped off with carving knives is softened by presenting it through a maternal narrator as a little melodic ditty. (Hard to believe Child Welfare hasn't broken in on Mother Goose yet.)

My favorite is Haggerty's Outside the Box. From concept to execution (literally), the all-important Gore/Syllable ratio breaks all previous records in this story, and no one can sell it like Norm. But, oddly, with a bright and chuckley atmosphere, as if you were reading the menu at Ruth's Chris, and the entree descriptions gave a fastidiously detailed blow by blow by blow account of how the farm animals were slaughtered, and the lengths that were taken to snuff out their final breaths. Zombie-rights activists and vegans will do their usual knee-jerk freak dance on this, but come on, people. Bottom line: we're stranger than they are.

Chelsea Ragan, thanks for the awesome art to a fellow Georgian (can a girl be a fellow-something?) I can see you used dreamrock for your model. Small world. Who's the guy standing in front of him?

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:00 am
by moonowl
Meh. Awesome reading and artwork, the stories didn't have pop.

Invisibility for Beginners- funny, but it felt a joke gone on too long. Not a good thing for a short short story

Bubbles Surge From Froth- I had to listen to it 3 times to even follow it, my mind kept wandering off. I agree with Strawman. Trippy.

Outside the Box- Nothing wrong with this story, I just had a feeling it had been done before. Zombies again? I'm getting kinda sick of those shambling peeps showing up. If we had an undead Rachel Ray it would be a total zombie media takeover. ( 20 Minute Meals with braaaains?)

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:27 am
by eric_marsh
I have mixed feelings about these. First of all I'm a big fan of Pseudopod and Alister. Having said that, Invisibility for Beginners was a huge disappointment. The sound level of the music wasn't right especially at first. The story was simply lame. It should have never been podcast, at least not by talent this good and not on the Drabblecast where the material is normally heads above most other podcasts.

Bubbles didn't make much sense to me. I just didn't get a story that starts out with biological security being treated very seriously and then somehow when the bug gets out nobody seems to care. Was everybody contaminated simultaneously even through their bio protection gear?

Outside the box did a pretty good job of making up for the other two stories. It was just wacky enough yet gruesome enough to be entertaining and yes, there are executive types that would make a play for the undead market.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:24 pm
by Phenopath
In my humble opinion Frank Key deserves a knighthood (or at least the opportunity to refuse a knighthood). 'Bubbles Surge From Froth' floated my boat. The joy of Frank's stories is in ridiculous details (the ineptitude of the crew, the insouciant saboteur), which are picked out in a carefree frivolous language.

The only thing predictable about Frank Key is that he consistently makes surrealism look easy.

I also loved Chelsea Ragan's cover-art, bullseye.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:37 am
by juliasd
First of all, I think all three of these stories fell perfectly into the category of “Absurdity”, so that was well put.

I loved "Invisibility for Beginners". It was one big, long joke, but so are most tv shows, and they last way longer. I thought it was just the right length of time to get your imagination going. Picturing an "invisible" naked man trying to play pranks and mess with cashier's drawers made me giggle. I think the shock of the cashier alone would let him get away with it.

"Bubbles Surge From Froth" was trippy, but a) I like that the artwork reflected this story the most, because it's the most absurd out of all of them, b) the language was gorgeous and c) it was kind of beautiful how everyone stopped caring and started accepting that bubbles were just going to come out of their mouths and it was just a way of life. It's also kind of scary when you think of how society is like that - if it's not easy to change it takes a lot of effort to get people to stop counting cows and start trying to cure the bubbles flowing from their mouths.

"Outside the Box" takes zombies to the next level. Who else but an insane, capitalistic marketing expert would try to rein in zombies as a market. Not only is the story fun (and absolutely macabre - the wife incident in there had my skin crawling), but it has an interesting parallel to our capitalistic society. I mean, once you feed zombies all the humans (thus creating more zombies), what's going to happen to you? Therein lies the absurdity of it all.

All in all, I think it was a great Trifecta.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:18 am
by StalinSays
Trifecta X

Meh,

Meh,

Awesome

Meatloaf demands a better percentage if he's gonna detail this episode in song

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:45 am
by Beth Peters
I'm more inclined to say

Meh,

Great

Awesome.


Alasdair really sold the first piece and it was a fun opener. I think that's all it was intended to be.

The second story was just SO Frank Key (who I discovered through Drabblecast and have loved since.) Those unfortunates who didn't enjoy this story and it's wonderful telling by Norm are, well...unfortunate.

Yes, Outside the Box is the clear grand finale here. Les and Norm nail the dialogue to a brilliantly funny story here.

Also, good twitfic strawman. Maybe my favorite so far. I was wondering why Norm picked piano music to accompany it rather than string music as the obvious choice. Then I heard how well that piano music resolved into the "Keyboard Cat" music as the outro and it all made sense.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:19 pm
by Praxis
Norm, could a part of the Drabblecast bullions be put towards a decent (or even half-way decent) sound recording device for Al?
Seriously, it's like he is using one of those tin-can-and-string telephones to record.

I liked the invisibility story, though like others I wasn't surprised by the 'twist' about what was really happening.
I found it a bit confusing though, when I tried to work out if the writer/narrator is supposed to believe the techniques really work, or if they are in on the joke, too.

Enjoyed Frank Key, as ever.

The final story felt like it would do well as a short story (or possibly longer). A bit like 'How To Succeed in Evil', imo, in the inhuman-corporate-speak reaction to a zombie plague.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:53 pm
by tbaker2500
Good Trifecta, Norm!

First story was good. Simple, funny, honest. Nothing wrong with that.

Second story was excellent. Captain, oh my Captain! It's so weird to hear Norm read Frank Key. One of the things that balances out the trippyness of Hooting Yard, is Frank reads it in such a british, matter-of-fact monotone. When Norm produces it, it has energy, vitality, and depth. I'm not sure which is better, but both are fun.

Last story was good. That fact that zombies don't have money doesn't seem to phase the ultimate capitalist.

Good twitfic strawman. It's nice to see you publicly recognized for your daily contributions to the humor of this community.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:20 pm
by HPHovercraft
eric_marsh wrote:Bubbles didn't make much sense to me.
Thank God. I was terrified I was the only one.

However, I *loved* invisibility for beginners. I believe Swanwick was channeling the late lamented Douglas Adams. I kept wondering when the story was going to reveal itself as a sequel to the lesson on how to fly by falling and missing the ground on the way down.

And finally, I, for one, welcome our new Zombie marketing executive overlords.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:07 am
by tbaker2500
A Trifecta is like a box of mixed chocolates. Nobody likes the same ones.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:53 am
by StalinSays
tbaker2500 wrote:A Trifecta is like a box of mixed chocolates. Nobody likes the same ones.
Well said. Dibs on whichever story was caramel.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:06 am
by ROU Killing Time
Is there a white chocolate eclair? I also agree pretty much with the breakdown on the trifecta.

Story 1, a no-frills run through a fun and simple premise.

Story 2, weird, strange symbolism, <scratches head> me confused. me liked it though.

Story 3, zombies are always fun, zombie allegories have'nt been, oh shall we say, picked clean yet? I liked the bit about the encounter with zombie wife at home. That was a heart-warming family scene.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:48 am
by Phenopath
ROU Killing Time wrote: I liked the bit about the encounter with zombie wife at home. That was a heart-warming family scene.
Agreed, it was the unnecessary detail in that scene which made the story.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:17 am
by moonowl
Yeah, see, I like the creepy, not much into the blood and guts stuff myself. The almost-hysterical-trying to keep it together tone to the reading was really good though.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:05 am
by internalogic
I was mentioned as donor of the week!

It's a funny experience to feel self-conscious as you're walking through a supermarket with absolutely no one paying attention to you.

That was extremely cool, Norm (and everyone). Thanks alot.

And another great episode, although I have to admit Let us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs is still hogging the current episode box in my imagination. It's going to take a lot to dislodge it.

Nigel

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:05 pm
by tbaker2500
It brings a nervous grin to your face, doesn't it Nigel? Good job supporting the Drabblecast!

I think this donor of the week thing is really slick. It brings us all together a bit.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:47 pm
by dreamrock
I loved the first two and liked the last. Probably owing largely to my love of the absurd. Outside the Box would probably have been a "love" too if I hadn't anticipated more absurdity. It was way too real for me (marketing droids D: ) to put it in the category of absurd. It reminded me a lot of Mur Lafferty's Takeover (which is an awesome short serial everyone should listen to; I can link it later if there's enough interest). It was good, just not quite what I was expecting.

I guess in a sense Invisibility for Beginners wasn't as absurd either, but I didn't know what to expect so I didn't have the same anticipation. However that one works out, it was a hell of a lot of fun and an immersive piece that wasn't too pushy.

Bubbles Surge From Froth was my clear favorite out of the three. It had an incredible musical poetical quality to it that almost made it feel like the witches' chorus in MacBeth while at the same time being completely crazy and fun. There's hints of danger, but at the same time it doesn't seem like anything that bad happened to the characters. Maybe it was bad, but more likely it was just weird. There's no real conclusion. Temporary ADD or are cows really disappearing and their captain has the ability to control birds now? Who's to say.

It's almost like a Discordian comment on our culture's haste to categorize and condemn.

Re: Drabblecast 140- Trifecta X

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:20 am
by MacArthurBug
Norm, you're full of awesome. First Steve, now The great and mighty Al as readers. I thank you. Great trifecta- but I;ve always enjoyed them.