Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Podcast Episode 9: Sredni Vashtar

Sredni Vashtar, by Saki

This is a brief story by British author Saki. Saki was a brilliant satirist, and this piece is particularly fun; it reminds me of Roald Dahl, mixed with some of the Screwtape Letters' sense of British life and attitudes. It's also, ah, pretty weird. Be prepared for a bizarre personal religion and some slightly strange narration.

Hah! Again I'm faking it in my introduction: talking as if I'd read a bunch of Saki. Seriously, I've read two stories: this one and the other one I read for episode 11.

I'm really hit or miss with regard to music on these podcasts. I always wanted to have some music, but I wasn't always able to produce the right moods with my limited musical abilities and materials. I feel the wall-to-wall soundtrack is a poor choice for any podcast, but it doesn't help that here it seems utterly disconnected from the tone of the story.

I think the line "He did not pretend to have the remotest knowledge as to what an Anabaptist was, but he privately hoped that it was dashing and not very respectable" is my favorite moment in the story. This kind of thing is something I remember well from childhood: latching on to a word whose real-world meaning is less important than what it personally might mean or do for me. Also, doing or thinking something to irk someone who has no idea what you're doing or thinking and thus can't actually be irked by it.

Small detail, but the "chanting" at 8:40 or so would have been a lot more effective if I'd actually tried to chant it. I wonder if I even read this all the way through before recording. I was and am a lazy young man.

I don't know if it's just the podcast medium or simply that I delivered it poorly, but the ending has no impact at all. (If you missed it like me: the kid's ferret attacks his cousin, whom he dislikes, and he's indifferent about it, so he eats some toast.)

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