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2.61  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Ratspeak is the the shrill and sly language of the rats of New York City's subway. When a curious boy is granted his wish to speak and understand the secret language of the rats, he brings a curse upon his home. "Ratspeak" is a standalone story by the acclaimed author of Vassa in the Night (Tor Teen, September 2016).

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold
ebook, 32 pages
Published August 24th 2016 by Tor Books
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Average rating 2.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  62 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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“It’s worse than that,” Zach insists. “It’s worse than that. He’s focused on something. It’s just something no one else can hear.”

Oh, you hear it, Zach. You don’t choose to pay attention, that’s all. And once you’re asleep I’ll get up very softly and slip back to the tunnels, where I can listen to ratsong, shrill and sly. To ratspeak, its tones poised on the very brink of revelation.

review to come.

read it for yourself here:
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Young Ivan is obsessed with the idea that the rats living in New York City speak a meaningful, profound language, and that if he could only understand it he would find personal happiness and acceptance with the rats. One day he saves a young rat in the subway station from being stomped on by some other boys, getting beaten by the boys for his trouble. Afterwards the rat’s grateful mother, speaking English, offers Van a boon for saving her child:
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, free, short-story
An imaginative and vivid story but didn't give me a satisfied feeling.
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it
A young boy's fascination with rats and their language takes an unexpected turn.

I loved how wonderfully imaginative and weird Ratspeak is, but at the same time I wanted to see Sarah Porter's characters a bit more fleshed out, especially the self-absorbed but determined Ivan. Despite the abundant imagination displayed in the story, the ending failed to leave a deep enough impact on me.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, but I don't think Sarah Porter went as far as she could with it.

Read it at:
As mama to a pair of rats, I loved this story. It was weird, surreal, musical, and ratty ^.^ This is the first story I've read by Sarah Porter but I have a hardcover copy of Vassa in the Night on my shelves that I'm very excited to read now.

Ravio (AkA Ravi Ravioli) and Link (AkA Linky Link)
(The cage/Critter Nation looks a bit sterile because I was in the middle of cleaning it, so the floors are missing their fleecy carpets and the cover for the ceiling is half missing.)

“They’re hardly just
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
"hey guys," I say in English. "you know you have to let me out by evening don't you? I'm the guest of honor at the rats' spring ball tonight!"

weird little short story about a boy who is preoccupied with trying to understand the language of rats in the subway. he is convinced they are speaking about him and wants to know what they are saying.

when the opportunity arises, he quickly devises a plan on how to get the rats to like him, so that they will want to teach him how to speak their language.
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-freebie
Good example of how mania and a fixation on something unhealthy can destroy one's self, family and life. Gross and depressing. Two stars, because I didn't believe the kid could be that dumb.
Maggie Gordon
Aug 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
I like weird stories, but they are hard to pull off. Despite the strangeness, there still needs to be some narrative structure, or at least a structure that is interesting in and of itself. Ratspeak features an oddly fairy tale like tone with a frustrating protagonist and an ending that baffles. I can handle stories where nothing makes sense, but something has to be enjoyable. Alas, the prose in this one was stiff and the worldbuilding unsatisfying.
Weird, weird story of a boy who wants to know the language of rats.

And of course, it is always the ending that makes the story, and I was not quite pleased with it, thus the three stars, but the rest of the story is way weird, and well done.

Try it for yourself. A very quick, quirky read.

This is available on Tor, right now.
Bobbi Jo
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
This was not my cup of tea. The concept was fine but the execution? What even happened, here?
Mildly interesting premise that just . . . stops, abruptly, with no warning, resolution, or even interesting lingering questions. The characterization was interesting, but I resent being given half a story.
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was drawn in by the premise of the story, but I was left feeling empty and disappointed. The story felt disjointed and the characters felt incomplete. By the end, I felt completely unsure what the author was going for.
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books
Ivan can hear the subway rats singing. But he can’t understand their language. He is special enough that they deign to speak to him in their rat version of English but he wants more; he wants to speak Rat.
*whispers* I feel like this story doesn’t have an ending.
And while I get that we are supposed to know what will happen, mostly because everything the rats said would happen did happen, it doesn’t feel right to me.
“It’s a tonal language,” the rat says. “It’s very difficult. We sing to mean.
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
A very bizarre yet entertaining short story, with a really disappointing ending. The main character, young Ivan, realizes that the rats living in New York City can speak, and he is obsessed about learning their language. One day he saves a young rat in the subway station from being stomped on by some other boys, getting beaten by the boys for his trouble. As a reward, the rat mother offers riches and fortunes, but Ivan decide to learn the rat language instead. The choice comes at a price though.
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Hm. This was... interesting. I liked the concept, and I could kind of see where Porter it was going in terms of themes, but it never really... got there. It did have the kind of imagery I've come to love from Porter, but it also felt rather hollow. Can't say I enjoyed this one much.
Aug 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Liked this one quite a bit but disappointed in the ending.
May 09, 2017 added it
Shelves: short-stories
Creepy. Love the description of ratspeak. Lacks tension due to the absence of an actual plot driven by the MC. Also, the MC seems absolutely despicable, which isn't generally something I'm a fan of.
Aug 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Van (Ivan) wants to be able to understand ratspeak and he has a plan. The rats, on their side, also have plans for him...
Insteresting Tor short.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
S. Barker
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Un cuento rarísimo, extraño e inquietante... Está escrito maravillosamente. Me ha gustado mucho.
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks-online, sff, thing
I have to say this one really got me. It was one of those screaming at the screen moments. Definitely will be looking up Sarah Porter in the future.
Sep 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
short & sweet
rated it liked it
Aug 24, 2016
Joshua Dancer
rated it did not like it
Aug 10, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Oct 23, 2016
Caleb E Durrant
rated it liked it
Sep 14, 2016
rated it it was ok
Aug 25, 2019
rated it it was ok
Jan 27, 2017
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I'm no longer checking goodreads. If you'd like to contact me, please write to wateryden (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!

I write stories that seem to me to be quite true enough for all practical purposes. Among them are VASSA IN THE NIGHT, THE LOST VOICES TRILOGY, and the forthcoming WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW and TENTACLE AND WING. Realism makes little sense to me and I experience more truth in the
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