PodCastle Flash 23: Bury the Dead

By Ann Leckie
Read by Tina Connolly

It’s the first Thanksgiving since Grandpa died.

Rated PG. Contains turkey, cranberry, and a side of zombies.

This week’s PodCastle flash is coming before the PodCastle feature. This week’s feature was unfortunately delayed, and will be coming later this week. In the meantime, please enjoy this savory spoonful celebrating American Thanksgiving.

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9 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Hyperion said,

    November 27, 2008 @ 8:31 am

    Bury The Dead felt less like a story than it did a teleplay of an actual Thanksgiving at the Leckie house. It wasn’t uninteresting, exactly, but more I felt like you had to already know who everyone was for the sub-currents to make total sense.

    Or maybe I’m just miffed that Grandpa was a victim of beingism, and not allowed to have to turkey for the ridiculously flimsy reason of being dead.

    On the other hand, sitting at the dreaded “Kids’ Table” doesn’t seem so bad when the alternative is having to sit in the car with dead grandpa.

    And, given my firm belief that this story represents documentary more than fiction, I feel like I understand Ann Leckie better. And that’s always a good thing.

  2. 2

    Ann Leckie said,

    November 27, 2008 @ 11:14 am

    Bury The Dead felt less like a story than it did a teleplay of an actual Thanksgiving at the Leckie house

    I’m glad this family, and this Thanksgiving, seemed so authentic.

    Actually, I was nearly an adult before I realized that other families ever had dysfunctional Thanksgivings. Not that my family didn’t have its drama, but it didn’t ever play out that way. And our Turkey day here, now that I have my own house and my own family, is quite stress-free and involves things like planning animations about the sun exploding. In a month, we’ll break out the Christmas Squid, and the kids will find a small gift from Cthulhu in a different tentacle each day until the 25th. In short, our family is very, very different from the one depicted here.

    It’s true that fiction comes from a writer’s psyche, but it can be dicey figuring out where things are distinctly autobiographical.

  3. 3

    scatterbrain said,

    November 27, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

    More zombies! Yay!

    Right between the eyes with a Heckler and Koch; that’s how you do it…

  4. 4

    Martin R said,

    November 28, 2008 @ 5:00 pm

    I liked this one a LOT! A bite-size stage play. Magical realism. Good narration too!

  5. 5

    The Great Geek Manual » Geek Media Round-Up: November 28, 2008 said,

    November 29, 2008 @ 6:34 am

    […] Fiction: Listen to “Bury the Dead” by Ann Leckie at […]

  6. 6

    PK said,

    December 3, 2008 @ 9:49 pm

    So what’s the difference between a miniature and a flash?

  7. 7

    PurpleBecca said,

    December 14, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

    I just want to say that I have not been able to stop thinking about this story ever since I first listened to it. Its amazing how such a short piece managed to communicate so much about each character.

  8. 8

    dunmurderin said,

    December 22, 2008 @ 9:07 am

    I realize this is a bit belated, but I just listened to this story tonight and I found that it hit a nerve (in a good way!) with me.

    I thought for the first part of the story that the woman might have been Grandpa’s wife and that this was not only her first Thanksgiving without her husband but also her first taste of independence and being able to do things without worrying about her husband’s disapproval. Finding out that she was his daughter/daughter-in-law changed how I saw the character only a little bit.

    I felt for the woman (and I’m ticked that I can’t remember her name at the moment — stupid tiredness) and her desire to do things differently in part because she *can* do things differently now that Grandpa is dead because it’s a view of death and loss that doesn’t get much play in fiction — but that is more common than I think a lot of people realize. I also felt for the son who wanted things to stay the same and for his own shot at carving the turkey because, well, that’s a truly understandable and human reaction to loss.

    Grandpa being a real and physical presence — rather than a collection of memories as he would have been in our world — just helped emphasize and underscore the impact that the dead can have in our lives. My own experiences with loss (my father when I was a child, my fiance just nine years ago) have taught me that the ones we love may depart this world but they can remain as a treasured and maddening presence in our lives.

    Also, from a writerly perspective, I liked how the author was able to switch viewpoints and give such good characterization of so many characters in such a short time. Especially the kids — their bonding at the end was a wonderful light touch.

  9. 9

    carrie said,

    January 19, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

    I liked this a lot, especially the tension between the mother and her oldest son. The characters felt very real– a triumph what with the zombie and all.

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