General Discussion

QUACKCAST 100 - needs your contribution! Subject: Your fave stories.
ozoneocean at 9:36AM, Oct. 6, 2012
(online)
posts: 24,789
joined: 1-2-2006
For Quackcast 100 we'd love you to tell us about your favourite stores and how they've affected you.
- What was the story about?
- How did it afect you?
 
Could be a comic, a novel, a movie, a video game… basically anything that's a story that someone created.
 
Please no later than the 19th!!!!
 
Post your stuff here or send recordings to ozoneocean at yahoo dot com.
 
usedbooks at 3:49PM, Oct. 6, 2012
(online)
posts: 2,600
joined: 2-24-2007
Interesting topic…
 It got me to thinking about my favorite movies and books. That's when I realized my favorite ones really don't have great stories. :P I like them more for production aspects (acting, music, jokes, action sequences).
 
So, I had to sadly disregard all my favorite whodunnits, musicals, and 80's adventure films and really consider “stories.” I came up with the one that actually did have an impact on me as a story.  I read it in relation to my job at a Civil War battlefield and would absolutely never read anything like this of my own choosing, but it was incredibly captivating. I read it so intensely that my eyeballs dried out.
 
It's called “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.”  It is supposedly a true autobiography with names changed. There's some controversy about it, but true or not, it's a hell of a story. (It was also a good piece of 19th century abolitionist propaganda by the author, an abolitionist.) It follows the life of a “favorite” mixed-race girl enslaved in the mid 19th century in America.  Her family are generally well-off, and her grandmother is a free woman living in the town. But the girl's master is lecherous and is obsessed with her. The story follows her attempts to acquire freedom for herself and children. It sounds like a terrible movie they'd put on Hallmark and I wouldn't watch for a million dollars (okay, maybe a million, but definitely no less than twenty), but there you have it. I liked the story. I liked it a lot. It made me tense and happy and it made me cry. It also had a fantastic ending. Almost good enough for me to excuse the fact that I spent two days reading several hundred pages of hisorical non-fiction.  My favorite part about the whole thing was the character of her master, the antagonist. He was such a fantastic manipulative bastard. All I could think the whole time was, “I wish fiction writers could come up with such magnificent villains.” (I wish I could. I almost took notes on the guy to help with my antagonist-creation.)
Gunwallace at 6:47PM, Oct. 7, 2012
(offline)
posts: 236
joined: 10-13-2010
The Marcovaldo stories by Italo Calvino.  I had to read one as part of a first-year world literature university course I was doing to finish with enough credits for my Physics degree.  I was spending all my time in the labs playing with liquid nitrogen and so forth, so I wasn't really spending much time on my assignments for this other course … but the Marcovaldo story I read made me read the whole book, even though I didn't need to, and then re-read them, and then seek out other works by Calvino. 
I wish I could write anything a tenth as interesting and thought-provoking as those stories.  They are both historical and hysterical. Social commentary of the highest order.
A close second for me are the Jeeves stories by P.G. Wodehouse, which I read at a time when I was unemployed and living in someone's garage because I couldn't afford a flat.  The garage had boxes and boxes of books my landlady's late husband had collected. I found the Wodehouse box  and devoured them with as much gusto as Bertie Wooster would eat a meal cooked by Aunt Dahlia's chef Antaole.
David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch, www.virtuallycomics.com
ozoneocean at 8:43PM, Oct. 7, 2012
(online)
posts: 24,789
joined: 1-2-2006
Full disclosure -
Banes and I have just done a Quackcast on stories, but that was what encouraged us to open it up to everyone because it's such an interesting idea!
 
That said… PG Wodehouse! You have a fellow fan in me Gunwallce! LOVE those stories!
 -I learned that I wouldn't enjoy living in that time though, dressing takes waaaay too much effort.
  
But that's beside the point. Stories:
  
I thought about this a lot and one of the books I cut from my Quackcast was Magician by Raymond E Fiest.
It's fantasy and a pretty popular fantasy novel at that. But popular I think because it's good.
 
It's set roughly in a world that he and some friends had created for role playing… but unlike most of the very junky stuff by many role-play inspired writers, the story here isn't subservient to the world or ready-made characters, instead Fiest used the world as a canvas for his story to unfold in… stupid mixed metaphor >.<
 Anyway, what I love about it is how skilfully he sets up the progression of his characters from children to extremely powerful men who's destinies are tied with those of their worlds… and the way he weaved together multiple storylines across different times and places as part of a single, greater story.
 
I don't think it's great literature, and I read it originally when I was 16 so I'm probably thinking it's better that it was… but I don't think so.
I've met the author too and he was a pretty great guy. Much nicer than Terry Pratchett.
 
last edited on Oct. 7, 2012 9:07PM
Gunwallace at 11:35PM, Oct. 7, 2012
(offline)
posts: 236
joined: 10-13-2010
Well, I've met Terry Pratchett , and he was wonderful, charming, patient, and glorious.  At a small SF con in Auckland, NZ back in the 1990s … sat next to him as he saw the TV adaptation of Truckers for the first time (he was not that impressed) and tried to buy him a Banana Daiquiri, but he'd already had too many that day.  Terry was nicer than (his friend) Neil Gaiman, and about as nice as Joe Haldeman, Forrest Ackerman, Peter Jackson, and D.C. Fontana. (Have I dropped enough names yet?)
David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch, www.virtuallycomics.com
ozoneocean at 11:53PM, Oct. 7, 2012
(online)
posts: 24,789
joined: 1-2-2006
That means that on the nicenes scale, Fiest is tops! ^_^
 
Tantz Aerine at 1:48PM, Oct. 8, 2012
(online)
posts: 1,616
joined: 10-11-2006
Oh, this one could easily expand into a foot-long essay! (this is NOT a threat, I won't let it get so wild) I am going to try and keep it to the essentials, and I will start with non-Greek stories that were very inspirational to me on a number of levels: 

Okay number 1 is the epitome of grand scale girly books: Desiree by Anne Marie Selinko.
It is a historical fiction (surprise surprise) romance (gasp!) about this girl named Desiree Clary who writes into her diary, and we follow her story through her entries in said diary. She lives during the time of the French Revolution and she starts off her journey in Marseilles, becomes Napoleon Bonaparte's first flame and ends up being Sweden's queen. This is actually based on an actual historical individual who, however, as I understand it wasn't nearly as interesting in personality as the fictional heroine in the book. The book itself is amazingly well written, in the first person point of view and it was the reason I am so enamoured with this POV writing in my own novels. 

Number 2 would be The Gods of Foxcroft by David Levy. Just about the best science fiction story I have EVER read, and arguably the only science fiction novel I loved. It is also written in the first person POV, this time following the (rather horrific/creepy) adventure of a man who agrees to be cryogenically preserved until his disease can be cured by technology and ends up waking so far into the future in a society where even death is totally reversible, and control by big-brother means is absolute, not only on a social but downright to a genetic and molecular level. Excellent stuff! This one is a study in not only human society but also human emotions and a very compelling read- and the imagery is simply stunning. The pacing in my stories and the carefully presented mosaic of elements to create a mystery and its resolution in a way that is realistic and without plot holes was inspired by this amazing story- exactly because I was absorbed and excited despite the genre being one I generally have no affinity with.

Number 3 would be Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz (I had to google his name the spelling is impossible). Another historical novel, which by the way has been awarded the nobel prize in literature. It's about a young roman soldier and how he converts to Christianity in the WORST time possible since it's under Nero's rule. Just amazing truth-to-history, a great study in the contrast between the societies of the Romans and the first Christians WITHOUT demonizing either, very memorable characters and of course it has the roman aristocrat Petronius who is my favourite ever anti-hero (he never converts to Christianity btw, and still is one of the good guys). Attention to detail, careful consideration of historical eras so that your characters aren't modern people in an ancient world, but rather modern (or timeless really) personalities within a culture-specific spectrum of ideas and philosophies was something I first ever felt I had to provide in my own stories from reading this guy.

And number 4 would be two books by the Greek author Alki Zei and I group them together because they got the same subject matter- one is called By the Train Tracks and the other The Wildcat Under Glass. If you ever come across them I fully recommend them. They are supposedly adolescent literature but I assure you they entertain adults much better, as adults read more into the lines. Both are about young girls, one in pre-revolutionary Russia, just as the final Czar Nikolai Romanov came into his throne growing up to become supporters of the revolution (while still being pre-pubescent, really) and one in Greece during the time of the 1936 dictatorship and of course pre-war Greece. And now that I realise it, it does have a very democratic young chemist called Nikos as one of the basic characters in it… hm… well Alki Zei's Nikos was not at all snarky, like my Nikos, heh heh. But he was very combative and very compelling as a character, embodying pretty much Greek youth in modernity and across time. They are both political dramas so no need for me to explain the inspiration and affect they had on me, right? XD

Anyway I'll stop now. I will post later about movies and/or series, if you aren't already up to your ears in posts by other interesting Duckers here. ;)  
 
last edited on Oct. 8, 2012 2:04PM
PIT_FACE at 4:08PM, Oct. 8, 2012
(online)
posts: 2,574
joined: 4-21-2007
im going to sit this one out, there are some of you who already know what i'll say,haha!
Tantz Aerine at 4:49PM, Oct. 8, 2012
(online)
posts: 1,616
joined: 10-11-2006
PIT_FACE wrote:
im going to sit this one out, there are some of you who already know what i'll say,haha!
Oh come on, who doesn't want to hear about the Illiad and Judge Dredd? XD
 
kawaiidaigakusei at 8:40PM, Oct. 8, 2012
(online)
posts: 149
joined: 3-23-2007
It is not difficult for a story to reach the top of a very short list that is close to my heart when it involves rabbits. I grew up watching Watership Down, which is the 1978 animated feature based on Richard Adam's book of the same title. It involved many adult themes including a faction of rebellious rabbits, a clairvoyant seer, and later the protagonists encounter a warren run by a totalitarian regime of vicious rabbits. The rest of the story is intertwined with Lapine culture and the rabbits even have their own unique language.

Needless to say, this story taught me about life and death and how to trust my instincts even when it is against the tide. The last scene of the film never fails to stir up my emotions because it reminds me of my own pet rabbit, Bunny, in her final hours.

Watching this film as an adult has reaffirmed that Art Garfunkel pulled off a pretty awesome song without Paul Simon and how completely enamoured I am with John Hurt's voice.

last edited on Oct. 8, 2012 11:32PM
ozoneocean at 4:20AM, Oct. 9, 2012
(online)
posts: 24,789
joined: 1-2-2006
Excellent! Interesting, eclectic stuff from all! Than you guys for what you've shared so far and I hope we have more ^_^
 
You can hear the bodgey job Banes and I did of adressing the very same subject here… well, Banes did a good job at least:
http://www.drunkduck.com/quackcast/episode-98-storytime-with-dr-banes/
 
skoolmunkee at 10:21AM, Oct. 9, 2012
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Hm. People have so many stories that they like though! I don't think this is any kind of definitive list or most-formative, but let's just say they're the ones that leapt immediately to mind.
 
- The X-Files: On the whole this series was my favorite thing about TV when I was younger! I think this one was pretty formative for me actually. The whole idea that there's this uncomfortable, bizarre, sometimes inexplicable clash between the real world and the paranormal/supernatural/etc. I loved that not everything could be explained, I loved that sometimes the monsters did seem real, I loved that sometimes a bit of logic and investigation paid off. That there's multiple ways to view the world and what's in it, that it's not a binary thing, that sometimes you need logic and sometimes you need faith. And that monster stories could be for grownups too! And Scully was a pretty important character to me. She was fully half that show and I admired that most of the time the show's creators didn't ruin her by trying to make her a ‘strong female character.’
 
- World War Z: The whole thing about zombies is not greatly interesting to me, but I reread this book every year or so because it's the only one that shows what a zombie (or just about any) kind of worldwise epidemic, and its aftermath, might look like. It applies logical process to a fantasy situation and shows the wider-scale human effect of that kind of thing. And it does it in a great way which is plausible and well-written. I guess I admire this one for its storytelling, and how it uses dozens of little stories to tell the whole thing. Some of those mini-stories were really good. It taught me a lot about “condensing” ideas and exploring a large situation through smaller, more relatable views.
 
- The Princess Bride (movie): It's a funny fantasy story full of the usual fantasy stuff, but instead of being boring and old it's great! I always think of it as a fantasy parody but it's not, not at all- it's definitely a save-the-princess fantasy adventure. Just because it's funny and a little silly doesn't mean it's a parody of that type of story. It takes itself pretty seriously as a heroic story. All the characters are likeable, and, I dunno. It makes me feel good to watch it, I never get tired of it. It's a story that loves what it is and does it well, and I suppose from a ‘influence’ point of view it showed me that a story can still be serious about itself without having to be serious all-over. I even put off reading the book for a long, long time because I didn't want it to ruin the movie for me! (The movie is superior actually, even though the adaptation is very close.)
 
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
SLK8ne at 12:33PM, Oct. 10, 2012
(online)
posts: 29
joined: 3-5-2011
Oh geez, where to start? I guess I'm a bit eclectic.
I guess my earliest influence was R.E. Howard's tales of Solomon Kane. (I like brooding, grim heros) Solomon wanders the world righting wrongs. And why he does this is left a bit of a mystery, even to him.
HP Lovecraft. (one of my favorites is still At The Mountains Of Madness) One of the things I learned from Lovecraft is the art of truly alien aliens. His beastiary is truly unearthly.
More recent works would include Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. (about the Spartans at Thermopyle as told by a Spartan slave and “squire” to one of the Spartan Warriors. Puts flesh and blood on the Spartan culture) It's a totally alien way of thinking to how we live in the west today. An entire culture devoted to war…and what it looks like. And how humanity is expressed within that culture.
Also, the Shadow stories from the Shadow Magazine by Maxwell Grant (aka Walter B. Gibson) I've got all but two of them. (found them online)

And most recent of all Diary of the Displaced by Glynn James. (man wakes up in a strange dark place full of zombies and…other…creatures) I just love the way its written. Very effective storytelling, and I first encountered it on feedbooks.com and Mr. James released it as serial with each chapter being released induvidually. Not only did I ejoy it, but, it taught me a lot about building suspense in a serial format while preserving the integrity of the entire story.
In comics, a lot of the older Stan Lee/ Jack Kirby stories of the Fantastic Four. (back when the Thing was still brooding and upset over being turned into a lump of orange rocks) The idea of the hero not really wanting to be a hero, and resenting the hell out of it really appeals to me. He doesn't want to be there, he isn't wanting to be a hero. He just wants to be left alone. But, he steps up when he has to, but, all he really wants is his life back.

And on The Duck, Curse of the Black Terror. Building suspense and mystery in the storyline while giving hints as to where the Terror came from. Really like how he built the story up and included Tim in the storyline.

last edited on Oct. 22, 2012 8:34PM
SLK8ne at 1:56PM, Oct. 10, 2012
(online)
posts: 29
joined: 3-5-2011
My user name is pronounced S-L-Kane (an homage to Solomon Kane)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSDZNHYLDOY (from the movie)
bravo1102 at 4:51PM, Oct. 11, 2012
(online)
posts: 3,224
joined: 1-21-2008
I'm not very sophisticated.  I like simple adventure stories.  I started out with Edgar Rice Burroughs back in the day and can still re-read his Pelucindar, Mars or Venus series with relish. 
ozoneocean at 8:59PM, Oct. 11, 2012
(online)
posts: 24,789
joined: 1-2-2006
Excelent! Keep them coming! ^_^
@Bravo - what about the historical stuff you read? Even though it's billed as “non-fiction” it's still often adapted into entertaining and well crafted stories. Surely one or a number has resonated with you in some way? :)
 
SLK8ne's post about Howard's stories makes me recall how much I loved most of his writing.
Reading his original Conan stories you really see why they became so popular.
People think it's just because of the big muscley barbarian and sexy slave-girl aspect, but it's not that at all, if it was then there'd be a lot more popular authors in that specific genre. People also have this snarky idea that his Conan genre stories are secretly homoerotic, which is the exact opposite of the truth.
 - In all Howard's writing, that I've read, the only stories with homoerotic undertones were a very early Kull the Conqueror story and one of his Solomon Kane stories- the Kull story a lot more-so, in the Solomon Kane story it was a lot more subtle- and only that single Solomon story.
 
Anyway, the draw of those Conan stories is Howard's writing style. They're mostly all very short, very well constructed and extremely tight. Conan overcomes superhuman and often supernatural adversity through normal human strength and sheer animal cunning. He's a very pragmatic, mostly phlegmatic character, lustful, clever and determined…
There are so many stories with him it, it's hard to think up one exemplar. :(
 
OK, from memory there's one called “the hidden City”
This is the perfect Conan story - it's short, tight, gets right into the action, there's a lusty slave-girl, a wicked sorceress, lots of enemies for the hacking, an evil chaos god from the other side, and one big mystery to be revealed. Throughout Conan is clever and determined. He beats adversity through sheer will and comes out the other end to fight another day.
 
This was later remade by Howard into “Red Nails” where he tried to be more clever and literary. It had some good ideas but failed in execution. The writing style is bellow par, it's stretched and bloated, flaccid… The best part was Valeria, the heroine of the story. Shame she was used in that particular story though. :(
 
bravo1102 at 1:55AM, Oct. 12, 2012
(online)
posts: 3,224
joined: 1-21-2008
ozoneocean wrote:
Excelent! Keep them coming! ^_^
@Bravo - what about the historical stuff you read? Even though it's billed as “non-fiction” it's still often adapted into entertaining and well crafted stories. Surely one or a number has resonated with you in some way? :)
 Character and personality resonate with me more than story.  So many have overcome adversity and persevered and there are many stories like that I've read and many resonate. I'm more into the heroes than the things that happen to them.  With all the tropes and cliches out there that are used and reused and invented and rarely re-invented the adventures assume a startling sameness.  Real-life stories do too, but then they actually happened like the little farm kid from Texas who was caring for his whole family and rejected by the Marines and Navy before the Army took him.  He was sick a lot of the time but a natural leader.  he went on to become the most decorated soldier in American history; Audie Murphy.
 

Then there was the often teased but supremely knowledgable man who gobbled upknowledge and decided to make life dance to his tune by using his intellect and ability to read others.  Except he wasn't as good at the latter as he thought and his own vanity and stubbornness brought him down.  It's any number of books and plays but also Napoleon.

How does Mr/Ms. Normal/Average find the strength and resolve to become Mr/Ms Hero?  And no super powers just sheer willpower and guts.  Like John Carter of Mars' battlecry “I STILL LIVE!”

Since he's not dead yet he hasn't been defeated.  And as the German general said of the Americans “They win because they don't know when they've been defeated.”
last edited on Oct. 12, 2012 1:58AM
SLK8ne at 7:39PM, Oct. 17, 2012
(online)
posts: 29
joined: 3-5-2011
bravo1102 wrote:
I'm not very sophisticated.  I like simple adventure stories.  I started out with Edgar Rice Burroughs back in the day and can still re-read his Pelucindar, Mars or Venus series with relish. 
Nothing wrong with that! ERB's books are still around for a reason. I got into R.E. Howard's Solomon Kane and still re-read the stories.
Tantz Aerine at 11:44AM, Oct. 18, 2012
(online)
posts: 1,616
joined: 10-11-2006
I have to add how pulp fiction has influenced me, along with traditional fairy tales- these stories are not often considered when we talk about stuff that influenced us but in my opinion they are as deep rooted in the common unconscious as anything!

So in my case, the original, gruesome stories of Snow White and Rapunzel made a deep impression on me (in the original tale, Snow White's hands are cut off by the evil queen, and later they regrow due to magic and Snow White's kindness, while Rapunzel's prince gets blinded by having his eyes gouged out by some briar bushes as he gets thrown off the tower by the evil witch) in terms of how far a villain is willing to go- I remember being just a little squirt, just barely into elementary, and thinking to myself as I read (I read from a very young age courtesy of my mom. XD), curled up between my dolls and assorted toys ‘my God, people are capable of poking out your eyes to get what they want’. It was like a punch in the gut! 

And then there's post war Greek pulp fiction! They were little volumes of stories that weren't comics but not real literature either, with limited illustration and newspaper-quality paper, and tiny tiny print cramming stories kids in Greece clamored to read with the same abandon Batman fans look forward to the next issue. These stories were always of assorted young heroic characters (kids from 10 to at the most 16 years old) doing extraordinary things set in WWII, in the Jungle (like in a Tarzan setting) or in the Wild West (which was, and still is, highly popular with Greek kids). They were Indiana Jones, and 007 and swashbuckling pirates all rolled up into one, with heroes that were super without being superheroes, if you know what I mean. And they were all imbued with extremely cheesy but loveable cliches like the chivalrous young leader and his pure and devoted girlfriend that blushes at a touch or a smile and altruism and friendship, all with that old timey charm of the 40s, 50s and 60s :)  
 

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved