Friday, March 11, 2011

"Another End of The Empire" by Tim Pratt

Source: Podcastle (mp3)
Length: 35 minutes
Reader: Cheyenne Wright

The story: An evil emperor receives a prophesy that a child from a remote village will be his downfall. This situation, with minor alterations, could be the opening to any number of fantasy epics, including Harry Potter or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Unlike Voldemort, however, the tyrant Mogrash has apparently read the Evil Overlord List and is able to apply his genre savvy to try to avoid making the prophesy come true by doing exactly the opposite of what all of his predecessors had done.

Tim Pratt pulls off this story by not only having a funny premise, but by also paying attention to the details. Little things like the skulls of pixies decorating the hair of the evil emperor give the story a realistic depth that makes the world seem more fully formed. The characters are parodies of stock fantasy tropes, and the plot runs along in a predictable direction, but this is a fun, enjoyable story that made me smile.

Rating: 7/10

The reader: Wright has smooth, deep baritone that enhances the telling of the story. His voices, especially the gravelly badguy voice for Mogrash, add a layer of humor to the words on the page. There's something about the incongruity of a deep scary voice whining like a child that makes me laugh. Podcastle is in the Escape Pod family of podcasts and shares their high production values.

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