EP067: Life in Stone

By Tim Pratt.
Read by Stephen Eley.
All stories by Tim Pratt.
All stories read by Stephen Eley.

After ascending 72 flights of iron stairs, creeping past tentacled sentinels lurking in pools filled with black water, and silently dispatching wizened old warriors armed with glaives and morningstars that proved a close match for his pistols and poisoned glass knives, Mr. Zealand at last stumbled into the uppermost room of Archibald Grace’s invisible tower. All Zealand’s earlier murders were mere journeyman work compared to this final assassination, the murder of a man who’d lived for untold centuries, who’d come to America and enslaved Buffalo spirits, who’d built this tower of ice and iron on the far side of the Rockies as a sanctuary and stronghold for his own precious life.

Rated R. Contains strong violent imagery, some sexual content, and themes of immor(t)ality.

Referenced sites:
Invasion: The Complete Series on DVD
Obsidian River
Spaceship Radio
Decoder Ring Theatre – Main Site
Decoder Ring Theatre – Podcast Site
Sonic Society – Main Site
Sonic Society – Podcast Site
Amazing Pulp Adventures
Pseudopod – The Sound of Horror
Worldcon 2006: Anaheim, CA, August 23–27
Dragon*Con: Atlanta, GA, September 1–4

Comments (11)

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  1. Wes says:

    I enjoyed this story, it was strange, intresting, and very unique. Kind of like Harry Potter on crack. Lots, and lots of crack.

  2. ka'arl says:

    I preferred it when there were no ads. In a commercially-saturated world, it was nice to have a respite from being marketed to. (There are ads in my shower at work!) That said, I respect your need to pay the bills and won’t complain too much about their presence. After all, it’s not like I’ve contributed.

    One thing that really bugs me is that Steve is reading these ads. When he says “check out the hot new series Invasion!”, is that a personal recommendation? If it is, can it be trusted? What effect does this have upon other recommendations I hear on Escape Pod?

    Public radio sponsor spots are generally read by the anchors, but also tend not to contain any implicit endorsement. It’s a simple statement of who the sponsor is and what the sponsor does.

    This podcast is about more than just great fiction. It’s also about building a network among other thoughtful corners of our culture. Through Escape Pod, I have been overjoyed to learn about the Baen library, Jonathan Coulton, and even Air Out My Shorts. I’m not sure I would have found these on my own.

    I think it harms Steve’s credibility and the mission of this site to present the ads in this seamless fashion. Please consider either (1) writing the ads so that they contain no implied endorsement or (2) running canned audio with a stronger stylistic separation between content and commerce.

  3. Mahrve says:

    ka’arl, I agree with you. But;

    > Is that a personal recommendation?

    _Would_ it be ok if Steve actually thought so? I.e if his master plan is to only accept ads for products/services that he actually would be willing to buy, personally?

    Or ehm… am I just being na√Øve? 🙂

  4. Mitch says:

    Re: Ads
    I agree that Steve’s voice adds a level of endorsement, but to me it felt a little “Paul Harvey”. Lots of blur between content & ad. I’d prefer a promo style segment with a different voice.

    Side note: I like promos for other podcasts you like. I personally don’t count that as advertising, though technically it might be.

    All told, I’d rather have a donation plea than a paid ad. But with Steve’s quality control, I can’t see *really* complaining either way.

    Re: The Story.
    Pretty good. Didn’t buy a lot of the character interactions. Cold isn’t the right word- a little more like “Now *why* would they do that, again?” The concept of stashing away a soul was interesting though.

    Re: Violence
    Hey, what’s a good action story without violence? For this particular story, I didn’t buy the “hero”‘s reasons for violence, and the lady’s lack of reaction to said violence. Didn’t feel right.

  5. Kaylea says:

    Would be neat if subscribers could have an “ad-free” version, but I don’t know how feasible that is.

  6. capstone says:

    I’ve gotta say, after listening to almost all of the stories read in Escape Pod so far, this one story has stayed in my head the longest. Amazing imagery. (I still think of snapping teeth points off with a snips and cringe.) I’d like to read more of Tim Pratt’s stories.

  7. boondockscifi says:

    u know i thot this was as good a place as any to say this but Tim Pratt’s book, “The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl” would make an awsome anime wudn’t it???

  8. boondockscifi says:

    and yes more pratt plz

  9. scatterbrain says:

    Excellent, as Pratt always is.

  10. i’m wondering if this is the same zealand as the one that appears in poison sleep