Category Archives: listening

Re: Happy Accident

One of the writers I like but haven’t read nearly enough of is an Israeli writer named Etgar Karet. There was a very good reading of one of his stories at end of the latest episode of This American Life, called “Happy Accident“.

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Re: Eugene

I do love me some talking dog stories. They’re such fun! And you don’t even have to take them for walksies. Just listen to a reading of “Eugene,” by Jacob Sager Weinstein.

Eugene is a dogman serving as a police officer. There’s such an immense amount of charm in his narration. The story itself is a day in the life thing, going on patrol, catching bad guys, saving people. Even Eugene has to overcome his doubt that he is a good person, and he does it with reassuring enthusiasm.

It’s a good story, yes it is.

Re: Chinatown

“Chinatown,” by Greg Van Eekhout is the sort of amusing flight of fancy you might have while enjoying your favorite bowl of soup noodles in Chinatown — if the broth has been simmering for 800 years. And evil Belgians might send their attack monkeys at any moment. And there’s way more than five Chinese brothers. What’s an innocent foodie to do?

Extracted from “Tales From the City of Seams,” originally in Polyphony 4. Read on Podcastle. Tasted on my iPod Touch.

Re: A Programmatic Approach to Perfect Happiness

You have to wonder what’s the point of making android robots, if not to, um date them. In “Eros, Philia, Agape” a robot suffers emotional abuse from a woman he’s designed to love, but he questions that. In Tim Pratt’s “A Programmatic Approach to Perfect Happiness,” a robot suffers sexualized abuse, but he’s programmed himself to enjoy that, so he doesn’t question that. It’s an interesting question, whether or not you ask it, and I liked both stories. Also the reading of teh latter one of Escape Pod gave me a nice, evil laugh at the end.

Since this story is about banging robots, there’s a lot of justifiable f-bombs.

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Re: The Dybbuk in the Bottle

Folklore is a natural font for fantasy stories, but some stories fit in better than others. “On The Banks of the River of Heaven” felt like an extra element gracefully inserted into Japanese folktales. “The Dybbuk in the Bottle,” by Russell William Asplund feels like a genie in a bottle story dressed up with Jewish folk elements. Despite a couple of hiccups,  I ended up liking it enough to want to talk about it.

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Of Librarians and Bats

Yesterday, I declared that I refused to read a story. Today I am declaring — with regret — that I’m not going to read This Book is Overdue, either. Marilyn Johnson makes the contemporary role of libraries sound fascinating when she’s on the radio. I even heard her a couple times, but I just couldn’t get into the book. I guess it’s a case of not sounding quite the same on the page.

My favorite interview of her was on the Bat Segundo show. If you’ve never heard of him, you ought to sample at least one of his peculiar brand of interesting questions within an eccentric framework.

For the record, I currently have ten books checked out, four requests I’m waiting for, and a mere ten cents fine for a book that got one day overdue.

Re: Hello, said the Stick

It’s unfortunate that my first encounter with Michael Swanwick’s stories was “A Small Room in Koboldtown,” which underwhelmed me. I thought “From Babel’s Fallen Glory We Fled” was pretty good, but still unsatisfying. These two left me unprepared for how much I would love “Hello, said the Stick.”  I first encountered it a  reading on the Drabblecast.  He had me at “gallowglass.”

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Re: The Red Bride

From the opening line of “The Red Bride,” by Samantha Henderson, there is a lot you imagine that turns out to be different in truth.

You are to imagine, Twigling, the Red Bride to be a human, such as yourself, although she is in truth a creature of the Var.

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Re: Will You Be An Astronaut?

In New Skies, there are a fair number of classics which are heavily anthologized elsewhere, such as “Out of All Them Bright Stars” and “They’re Made Out of Meat“. Most of the stories seem to be directed at young people who haven’t read science fiction before. I think if that were the case for me, I would have liked better the one about the woman who walked around the Moon, or the one about the guy fighting his way down and up an immense, city-like tower. But what led me to look for this collection was a wonderfully creepy reading on Escape Pod of  “Will You Be An Astronaut?,” by Greg Van Eekhout. This story takes the whole idea of a science fiction for young people in a whole, weird direction.

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Re: Sleepy Joe

One nice thing about my iTouch is that I can carry it outside and play in the garden while catching up on listening to fun stories like “Sleepy Joe,” by Marc Laidlaw. This amusing story got a fabulous reading on Escape Pod.

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