Friday, February 01, 2008

Escape Pod: Flaming Marshmallow and Other Deaths

EP143: Flaming Marshmallow and Other Deaths by Camille Alexa.

This was a really fun story with a great reader. What a thrill to hear a story by an author who posts over at the SF Reader forums!

Flaming Marshmallow and Other Deaths is the first person story of a girl turning sixteen. In her near future high school, cliques are formed around the Cause of Death that a person can learn, with their parents approval, at age sixteen. A very interesting take on the rite of passage. The language and style of the piece was perfect, as evidenced by the number of people of different age groups posting their praise on the EP forums. Seems high school never really changes much as an experience. =P

The really interesting part, to me, is after school when the narrator's dad shows up to take her out for her birthday. His reluctance about visiting the CoD kiosk was really well done and gave the story a ton of heart, which is something I really like in a story.

Personally, this story has great relevance as part of my WiP deals with a bunch of adolescent warrior/atheletes in the Neverwoods. Every step outside their home territory is a brush with death and a glorious end is revered in their society. So in a way, this story provided an example of a believable culture of death. It sounds morbid, but to the kids in Camille's cliques and to my young Gilthani, it is glorious and a way to find distinction and acceptance in a harsh world. Plus the teenie-bopper tone is just perfect in this story, which reinforces the attitudes I've given my characters. A lot to learn from in this story.
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