Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Beyond the Shrinking World, now at Podcastle

Last week, Podcastle posted a recording of my short story Beyond the Shrinking World (which originally appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies almost a year ago) read by the fantastic Dominick Rabrun. It's totally free to download or listen to, and you should check it out. This is, without a doubt, one of the coolest things that I have ever got to experience in publishing. Dominick does a great job reading the story, and hearing someone else's interpretation of every sentence I wrote and every character's voice in the thing... can anything possibly be cooler than that?

The answer's no, but the fun doesn't stop there, because the story begins with an editorial/introduction from Dave Thompson. The broader topic is grimdark, and, while I don't think I would ultimately place my work in that category, it's interesting to view it in that light. Ultimately, Dave agrees that I probably don't fit there, but he says that my work is extremely dark and almost Lovecraftian at times -- both of those, needless to say, are characterizations that had me grinning ear to ear to hear. Oh, and the bit about how he really liked the story and will be first in line to read anything else I write in the world didn't hurt.

There's also an Escape Artists forum where people can discuss the story, and you should clearly head over there and write paragraph after paragraph of drooling praise (or, uh, whatever you'd like to write). As to what people have said already, it's fascinating to read. The reaction's mixed, and while I won't lie that I (like every writer out there, I'd imagine) would be quite happy with everyone loving my work, I expected that. I know I have turned into a bit of an oddball when it comes to taste, and I think I might be a bit too self-consciously pretentious and nihilistic for universal appeal (I say this, I must stress, as a condemnation of my own, admitted personal obsessions rather than as a bitter stab at readers at large). Hearing that my prose, world-building, and general darkness worked is great, and the more negative comments about packing too much in to too little space had a far point that I hope I can address a bit in future works in the world and in general -- though those readers really should have seen the first draft, which had just as much content in far less space and was a total mess.

The only comment that made me really kick myself is about the German being flawed, because that one is totally My Bad. Looking back, thinking that an introductory class worth of experience was enough to pull another language off in print was ridiculous, and I'll certainly be returning to those sections before/if the piece ever has a third outing.

Anyway, enough rambling on my part. If you decide to give the piece a read or a listen, I hope that you enjoy it.

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