Episode 43: Time In A Rice Bowl by Rick Kennett

Ernie Pine’s niece, Christine, has become tangled up in an hundred-year-old Chinese spell. Now, Ernie is caught in a mad dash to save her from an evil force that is trying to steal that ancient magic. But is Christine even alive anymore?

Also, Rish and Big talk about ghosts, and their past experiences with them. They also do a lot of whining. outtake

Special thanks to Cameron Horsburgh, Deb Sampson, Belinda Raisin, and Ildiko Susany for lending their voices to this episode, and to Liz Mierzejewski for the fantastic artwork.

Right click to download the episode HERE.


Related Links:
Rick Kennett’s “The Seas Of Castle Hill Road”
Ildiko Susany’s Website
Belinda Raisin’s Website
Cameron Horsburgh’s Blog


19 Responses to “Episode 43: Time In A Rice Bowl by Rick Kennett”

  1. I attempted the movie quote trivia game, but only *thought* I knew three out of twenty. I was too embarrassed to submit it to you guys.

  2. I made that comment before finishing the podcast (d’oh!)

  3. I recognized about half the movie quotes. Problem is I listen to the show in the car and am very forgetful.

    I know it’s kind of dick to say this, but I wish Cameron had a better microphone/sound card (whichever is applicable) because he’s clearly got this story reading thing down but the technology is holding him back from sounding as good as he could.

    As for the story: I felt it starting to drag near the end; it felt WAY too long, but I can’t think of anything except the witch/mage part that didn’t need to be in the story. Sometimes stories are just long. Good all around except for that.

    They say Ernie Pine is a “reluctant” ghost hunter. I’d like to know more about THAT. And what he does when he’s not reluctantly hunting ghosts.

    Did the ending (leading the dead guys) smack just slightly of “Interesting Times” by Terry Pratchett to anyone else? :)

    • Never heard of “Interesting Times” till I read Josh’s comment. So I looked it up. Originally published in November 1994. “Time in a Rice Bowl” was originally published in 1991. Perhaps Mr Pratchett was copying me? More likely a coincidence.

  4. I was also going to say that people probably forgot the movie quotes because you didn’t pimp them much. The attention span of anyone online is micro-seconds. When I have a contest, I expect to remind people at least 3 times, including once right before the deadline. Otherwise, I don’t get much response.

    If I were you, I’d post the quotes, too. Then people don’t have to dig back through the audio to find them. People are lazy. Make it easy.

    And _Flight of the Navigator_? Really?! *goes back to listen* I watched that movie obsessively as a child. That and _The Cat from Outerspace_. If you’d said, “Compliance,” I would have gotten that instantly.

  5. No, Abbie, not really.

  6. Oh, good. I thought I must be getting senile.

  7. Are we feeling somewhat sorry for yourselves gentlemen? Yes by the sound of it. Do not despair gents, rest assured there are more listeners than just yourselves, the author (potentially their immediate family) and the other fellow. I for one greatly enjoy and appreciate your efforts (especially the level of production). Unfortunately I am not in a position to donate as I am currently not working. I do however have a postal order arriving very soon and will only be too glad to share it with you in any currency of your choice.

    Oh and it was a very fine story from Mr Kennet this week. Are there many examples of Australian horror fiction?

  8. I liked the story, liked the reading.

    Not a complaint at all, just an observation about how my brain works: Whenever I hear people with an accent I end up focusing on copying their accent out loud rather than listening to the story. I do this with Pseudopod and Starship Sofa, too. I’ve had to back track more than once.

    I think I need some sort of medicine.

  9. I don’t think that’s an unusual tendency, Liz Mudpiehatskie. I often do it too, focusing on getting the accent right, then realizing I’ve no idea what I’ve just read. Perhaps it comes from reading stories “for a living” or an acting background.

    I remember one particular acting teacher telling me once that I was hiding behind my accent in a performance. I thought that a strange criticism at the time, but in retrospect, I’m sure she had a point.

  10. Josh R.: don’t go feeling all phallic—you’re quite right. My current hardware—especially the mic—sucks.

    I got rid of most of the problems I had when I read ‘The Seas of Castle Hill Road,’ but that’s as good as it gets without new hardware. That may be workable in the nearish future.

    Apart from that, I really enjoyed reading this story. It occurred to me while I was listening that Christine’s voice needed a child reading it. The person who did it did a great job, but I happen to have a spare eleven year old Australian girl who is well spoken and has a flair for the dramatic. Maybe next time!

  11. Marcus Stefan Brodeur Says:

    I’ve just marathoned a few Dunesteef eps (because, alas, I’ve fallen way behind, thanks to prepping for a PGCE course that just started this week), so forgive the belated comments bumping going on here.

    I liked the story — and well done on the readings, everyone, particularly Cameron — but I did have a few minor gripes with it. The first was that the world-building’s a bit murky. Is this a kind of urban fantasy universe where pretty much everyone acknowledges that magic really exists, as seems suggested by the fact that Ernie’s a ‘ghost hunter’ and he seems to have a witch on his speed dial (I was going to say ‘in his Rolodex’, but I feared that might date me. Whew, glad I dodged that bullet!)? Or is it more like ‘the real world’, as seems evinced by Rhoda’s seeming disbelief in various magical effects… not to mention Ernie’s first reaction to her phone call not being one of ‘aha! I’m on the case!’.

    Another point is that the appearance of the dragon form of the old Chinese wizard (tied as it was to the bit of ‘hell paper’ that had blown up more or less into Ernie’s hands earlier in the story) seemed awfully convenient, bordering on deus ex machina. In essence, the resolution to the ‘final showdown’ Rhoda and Ernie had with Ragface (if I am recalling these names correctly) was taken out of their hands and the wizard had to save their bacon.

    On the other hand, I was trying to listen to these podcasts whilst cycling back and forth between Hebburn and Sunderland (an hour each way), with lorries and frustrated rush-hour drivers blitzing past my shoulder at 40-50 mph… so it’s possible that some of the finer points of exposition may well have been washed out by traffic noise. If this is the case and my above points have been addressed, I beg the writer to accept my humble apologies.

    Speaking of… does anyone out there know a handy utility app (for Mac OS X or Windows) which can run a batch conversion on a directory full of MP3s to increase the volume across the board? The only free time I have to listen to podcasts is when I’m commuting to university on my mountain bike, and yet most podcasts, even when cranked up to max volume, aren’t entirely distinct over the road noise of passing cars. I could manually open every single podcast MP3 in an editor and fiddle with the dynamics, but this seems needlessly inefficient. So, anyone have any ideas on a good solution to this?



  12. Can’t help you with the app, Marcus, but I did want to talk a bit about the story with you.

    First of all, the main character, Ernie Pine, is a recurring character that Rick has written about several times. If you swing all the way back to the Fall Issue of 2008, we did another story featuring the same character. Perhaps, because of that, there isn’t enough time taken to build the world for those who are unfamiliar with the other stories. I can’t really say, because, since I spent quite a great deal of time with the previous story, I’m not one of those people that are unfamiliar with the world. But I can say that Ernie is well versed in the occult, but no one else is. He’s had previous experience with these kinds of things in the past, but others in the world have not. And some lines from his sister might give that away, like when she calls and says, “You’re the only person I can turn to who knows about these sorts of things.” And also, when he asks her about whether she’d called the police, and she gives him a withering look and says that this is nothing the police can deal with. There is also a few times that Ernie remarks about how impressed he is with how Rhoda just takes this stuff at face value, because she is so determined to do whatever it takes to get her daughter back.

    As for the other question about the Deus Ex Machina, I personally didn’t see it that way. Ernie and Rhoda had to go to the graveyard to raise Feng Meng Lung from the dead. The piece of hell money was just how he decided to manifest when he first was raised. Ernie knew that Ragface was more than he could handle, so he needed to bring a big gun along to the fight, and Mr. Lung was the gun he brought. He may not have known how he would manifest, but he knew that he was the ace up his sleeve. And in the end, Ragface still would have won had Ernie not had the presence of mind to distract Ragface from his attack on the dragon, giving the dragon the upper-hand again.

    Anyway, that’s how I saw the story. As you can probably tell, I liked it. I guess that’s why I picked it up for the show.

  13. Marcus Stefan Brodeur Says:

    Hi, Big!

    Thanks for the clarification. I will definitely go have a look (erm, listen) for these earlier Ernie Pine stories and that will no doubt help me get a better feel for the universe he inhabits. (As you know, I still have the massive back catalogue of Dunesteef podcast instalments yet to get through, so I haven’t encountered them yet.)

    I confess I missed those points of dialogue you mentioned, which indeed paint a clearer picture. So Rick’s world operates along similar lines to, say, a Dresden Files, WoD, or Buffyverse scenario… the vast majority of the public being unaware that magic really exists, but with a few people ‘clued in’ and able to deal with it.

    Also, I’ve just re-listened to the latter section of the story (now that I’m not on a bike and can hear it properly) and you’re absolutely right… whereas on the first listen-through I was left with the impression that Ernie and Rhoda were merely reacting in that final confrontation, it’s clear that Ernie was actually taking key steps along the way which contributed to their eventual victory. Mea culpa. ;-)

  14. No worries, Marcus, I did spend a large amount of time in editing, and then sound effect editing, with the story, so by the time I’m done, I can quote stories we do like I can quote some of my favorite films. I don’t have the problem of missing something because a lorry drove past my head, roaring at full volume like a snorting, smoking dragon.

    Thanks for listening. And if you want to check out the other Ernie Pine story, there’s a link to it in the show notes that will take you back in time to a day when the Dunesteef was still looking for it’s place in the world…no not last week, I mean last November. I may suggest that you don’t listen to that one on your bike on the road though, because the audio had all sorts of issues on that one, if I remember right, and it was before I had been informed about all sorts of tricks to help fix things like that.

  15. I really enjoyed hearing another Ernie Pine story. I thought this was a good follow-on to ‘The Seas of Castle Hill Road’. I see that the link to Rick Kennett’s website on the Dunesteef page for ‘The Seas of Castle Hill Road’ is no longer active. There doesn’t seem to be any online or print source for other Ernie Pine stories, so I look forward to another appearing in Dunesteef.

    I enjoyed all of the narration for this story and thought it was very well done. I don’t know if the narrators were in the same location while they recorded or if one of the narrators had the recording of the other narrators, but I thought that all of the narration fit together seemlessly and was very natural sounding. Nice voice talent and skillful editing.

  16. I enjoyed this story too. It brought in some unusual elements that aren’t normally seen in horror fiction. Quite entertaining. I listened to this at work and it must have kept me from at least 30 minutes of productivity. Is that wrong?

  17. EarleyDaysYet Says:

    I started listening to this podcast about a week ago and – largely due to being unemployed, bored & skipping about 75% of the first season due to the bass & scratchiness – this is where I’m up to. Phew, it’s been a long haul, but have very much enjoyed it all. Thanks again guys for not doing this yourselves in your awful Bruce accents! :-)

    Cameron, a quick question: am I right in thinking you’re a Kiwi who’s been over here (Aus) for a while? Some of your vowel sounds are still Kiwi, but the rest isn’t, so that was my guess.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    I really enjoyed this story although I believe Rhoda would have been a bit more emotional.

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