Escape Artists

Escape Pod => Episode Comments => Topic started by: Russell Nash on September 03, 2009, 10:20:14 AM

Title: EP682/EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest (Flashback Friday)
Post by: Russell Nash on September 03, 2009, 10:20:14 AM
Escape Pod 682: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast (http://escapepod.org/2019/05/30/escape-pod-682-sinner-baker-fabulist-priest-flashback-friday/)

Escape Pod 214: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast (http://escapepod.org/2009/09/03/ep214/)

Nebula Award Winner for Novelette
Hugo Award Nominee


Author : Eugie Foster
Narrator : Lawrence Santoro
Host : Alex Hofelich and Matthew Foster
Audio Producer : Summer Brooks

Each morning is a decision. Should I put on the brown mask or the blue? Should I be a tradesman or an assassin today?

Whatever the queen demands, of course, I am. But so often she ignores me, and I am left to figure out for myself who to be.

Dozens upon dozens of faces to choose from.

1. Marigold is for murder.


Rated R for sex, masks, and violence.


(http://escapepod.org/wp-images/podcast-mini4.gif)
Listen to this week’s Escape Pod! (http://traffic.libsyn.com/escapepod/EscapePod_682_SinnerBaker_FlashbackFriday.mp3)

(http://escapepod.org/wp-images/podcast-mini4.gif)
Listen to the original episode! (http://media.rawvoice.com/escapepod/media.libsyn.com/media/escapepod/EP214_SinnerBaker.mp3)
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: LarrySantoro on September 03, 2009, 03:26:11 PM
Apparently, I've been an idiot.  I must have given Jeremy the wrong website.  The one linked on the page for the story takes you to a site I haven't touched for about two years, there's some enjoyable stuff there but it's not current.  Foolish Larry.  Stop by here.... http://blufftoninthedriftless.blogspot.com/ (http://blufftoninthedriftless.blogspot.com/)

And I hope you enjoy Ms. Foster's story as much as I did recording it...

Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: JeremiahTolbert on September 03, 2009, 03:50:04 PM
Larry, sorry about that.  I'm updating the link now.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: KenK on September 03, 2009, 05:52:38 PM
I thought I knew where this story was going... about four different times.  :D  The surprise ending really was a surprise too. Gives new meaning to the term "psychological thriller", eh? I enjoyed listening  very much.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: LarrySantoro on September 03, 2009, 05:54:01 PM
Jeremy, thanks.  I must have had a brain freeze or something.  Hope all is well...missed you at last week's Sofanaut gathering.

Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Brave Space Monkey on September 03, 2009, 07:29:34 PM
I was draw into the story, but almost unwillingly. Pulled along by a promise of an unknown alien world. I never felt the story had a firm grip on my attention, it set a slow wondering pace, like following a old dog, or slow child (not mentally slow, just not a fast walker, slow). As the story unfolded I could easily predict the outcome.  Wow! that ending came out of nowhere! I didn't see that coming. I love that. The slow pace and lose grip of the story made the ending even more dramatic, more shocking and more worth the effort to follow where this story leads. 

I give it two monkey thumbs up.

(spoiler)
There are no monkeys in this story!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: Cayora on September 03, 2009, 09:15:15 PM
I joined the forums just to comment on this story.  I've enjoyed other work by Eugie Foster before, but this was definitely my favourite.  The baroque feel to the world, the different identities and descriptions of the masks, and the format were all wonderful.  Also, the reading was just divine.  I listened to this story twice in one day, I loved it so much.  It satisfied a need for a story I've been feeling for a long time.  Thank you for that.
Title: Ouch
Post by: foo on September 03, 2009, 09:52:00 PM
Since last summer when a new friend turned me on to EP, I usually love it and look forward to it.  I am grateful for all of the excellent work by EA, the authors, and the readers.  Y'all have truly given us some awesome stuff, and you rock.

However, as someone who had a violent parent, I found EP213 difficult, and finally shut off EP214 somewhere in the saffron mask.  Stronger, more serious warnings about violence, especially in up-close, point-blank circumstances would be appreciated.


Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: JeremiahTolbert on September 03, 2009, 10:46:13 PM
This story probably should have had an audio warning in the opening. I forget that not everyone sees the ratings I post on the Escape Pod site.  I'll try to have warnings recorded by the hosts when dealing with extreme subjects in the future. Thanks for the feedback, foo.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: Boggled Coriander on September 04, 2009, 08:50:31 AM
Excellent story, and one of my favorite from Eugie Foster.  That's high praise. 

I hope this comment doesn't mark me as an idiot who missed or misunderstood something significant, but I admire how it's made pretty clear these characters aren't human (or if they were once human, they'd been so hugely tampered with by the royal mad scientists that they might as well not have been) even though there's no dramatic and explicit reveal of their alien-ness.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: LarrySantoro on September 04, 2009, 09:44:17 AM
Boggled,

I had a similar reaction when I first got the story from Jeremy.  Some kind of buggy, nasty, insecty-things, I thought.  I do believe, however, that they are human and that the world in which they exist is one somewhere aside our own, a place not so much in the future, but somewhere in the heart of the possible...
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Godot on September 04, 2009, 09:58:55 AM
This is definitely one of my favorite tories to ever "air" on escape pod.

Larry, your reading was wonderful and very passionate.

one of the Best. Stories. Ever.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: LarrySantoro on September 04, 2009, 11:23:36 AM
Thanks, Godot.  It is a good story, and for an aloud-reader, SINNER, BAKER, ET AL is lots of fun to play with and i'm not even going to make any jokes about the two guys waiting for you over by that tree.  So there!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: LarrySantoro on September 04, 2009, 12:26:26 PM
I'm a new guy here but I don't think so, allie.  They seem to be under the same umbrella but pseudopod seems to have its own presence.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Praxis on September 04, 2009, 01:59:56 PM
I've just gotten past part '4' and think this should really have had a 'this episode contains graphic scenes of violence' maybe.

Could the intro on the feed be edited?
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: Russell Nash on September 04, 2009, 02:18:21 PM
I'm a new guy here but I don't think so, allie.  They seem to be under the same umbrella but pseudopod seems to have its own presence.

Umm, Larry?  Are you talking to those voices in your head again? 

This is probably an example of when you want to use the quote button.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: LarrySantoro on September 04, 2009, 03:14:46 PM
Russell...no, no.  I was speaking to my imaginary playmate, allie.  Not only is allie imaginary, allie isn't even imaginary on THIS board.  Allie is a resident of another place, another time.

Actually, allie WAS there but then, alas, allie wasn't.  Self-emmolation I suspect...the which is immolations of self in the e-world, sometimes called "delete?"

And here we have it.  Another case where the use of the quote option would have been the thing to do...
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Gia on September 04, 2009, 06:28:50 PM
I found this one to be very enjoyable, but I have a question (which expands into many others). If each mask is a different personality and has different relationships, how do they coordinate them? If, let's say, I have a purple mask that is the wife of some other mask, what do I do if I wear it one day but my husband's oversoul isn't being worn? What if my green and silver mask goes out to have lunch with friends only to find that most of them aren't being worn that day? How do the oversouls establish relationships if each citizen has so many masks that it is unlikely that any two will be worn in combination more than a few times a year? Does each oversoul have a general personality and then just makes up something new every day? ""My mask's oversoul has decided that it hates your mask's oversoul and I'm going to kill you today"? "My mask has decided that I work at this shop today, but only for today"?
I think that I might be thinking about this too hard.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: ajames on September 05, 2009, 06:27:29 AM
Great story and brilliant reading. Fascinating, engrossing, disturbing, though-provoking, imaginative - this is what keeps me coming back to EP week after week. A huge THANK YOU to everyone involved.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: yaksox on September 05, 2009, 11:15:10 AM
Beautifully read!  Interesting story too -- all the colours in the mask descriptions made it very visual for me.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Amish Ninja on September 05, 2009, 02:57:27 PM
Outstanding story. I'm probably going to listen to it a second time just to catch everything I might have missed (I tend to listen while working). Larry: you have a good speaking voice and read it well. Just wanted to give you props.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: mairlistening on September 05, 2009, 05:47:02 PM
Fabulous reading of an absolutely chilling story. I was blown away!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: DaveNJ on September 05, 2009, 11:42:35 PM
Terrific story. Just when you think you have a handle on this story it just throws on another mask. Really good pacing, too, as it manages to build its world without doing the whole "here's a few minutes of exposition before the real story starts" thing. It manages to convey its info organically, which really just drew me in.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: ajames on September 06, 2009, 06:19:55 AM
I found this one to be very enjoyable, but I have a question (which expands into many others). If each mask is a different personality and has different relationships, how do they coordinate them? [Snip]
I think that I might be thinking about this too hard.

Gia, you are only thinking about it too hard if you aren't having fun.  :)

One of the things I liked about this story was that the author didn't explain everything, yet still left me with the impression that such questions as these could be answered. I think she did a masterful job in determining what the reader needed to know and what could be left to his/her imagination.

For this specific question, perhaps each mask provides its wearer with a specific type of experience, even if the wearer does not encounter anyone else wearing a "related" mask, but the masks are programmed to interact with other masks, too, providing a different experience if any of these masks are being worn. So in the first scenario, if no one wears the "wife" mask, the "husband" might still have some adventure of his own, or encounter someone wearing the "mistress" mask, or the "drinking buddy" mask, etc. Just one possibility.   

One thing I found myself wondering about was what the citizens did, and more to the point, what they thought after the unmasking hour and before they selected their new mask the next day. Wouldn't this consistency provide them with some sense of identity, even if it was as little as a gender and over-all appearance?
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Boggled Coriander on September 06, 2009, 08:09:51 AM
One thing I found myself wondering about was what the citizens did, and more to the point, what they thought after the unmasking hour and before they selected their new mask the next day. Wouldn't this consistency provide them with some sense of identity, even if it was as little as a gender and over-all appearance?

I had exactly the same thought.  It was left somewhat vague exactly how much - or how little - continuing identity one of these people had.  I got the distinct impression that the choice of mask (somehow) determined the wearer's sex for the day, although the protagonist stayed male throughout the story.  It added to my impression that these people aren't human, or any sort of human we would recognize.

Assuming these guys are at least humanoid, was I the only one to picture them as being nude (or almost so) apart from their masks?  I got the feeling it was implied in some scenes, such as when the "servant girl" smeared her own body with honey, and no mention was made of her tearing off or shoving aside her clothes first.  Was there any mention of clothing?
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Listener on September 06, 2009, 03:10:26 PM
Great reading.

Because I've had very wide exposure to SF, I saw this as something of an amalgamation of Dollhouse, Masks (John Vornholt Star Trek novel), Hopscotch (Kevin J. Anderson), and various other stories in that vein. For all that, I enjoyed hearing the story. The switch from male (husband in part 1) to female (friend in part 2) was a little jarring and it took me a minute to figure it out. The MC was very well-developed as an individual despite the oversouls that created whatever personality he was currently experiencing.

If I had any major problem with the story, it was the very end. Was it really necessary for him to smash in the courtesan's face? Is he going on a rampage to kill everyone who wears masks now? Is he acting this way because of the recent masks he wore? Would he have been different if he'd worn different masks leading up to that? I wasn't expecting that, and I don't know that it really created as satisfying an ending as I would've liked after such a strong story.

Overall enjoyable.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: scatterbrain on September 06, 2009, 04:09:23 PM
This story seemed very *French*, if you know what I mean; a surreal world that gets more and more twisted as we go along. I guess some of the air I heared about this story was thoroughly justified.

Larry was a perfect reader for story; I hope we hear more from him! ;D
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Praxis on September 07, 2009, 04:19:46 PM
.....and it was very well read. 
Almost acted, actually, and really helped to draw me in to the story.

Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: wakela on September 07, 2009, 06:44:31 PM
I guess I'm the only one who didn't care for the reading.  I thought it was a little over the top, and was distracting from the story in parts. 

I would love to hear more stories set in this world.  Like other commenters, I have questions about how they worked out certain societal things, but instead of seeming implausible, it just makes me want to know more.

***Spoliers below****

However, I thought the message of individuality was tired. Many present day human societies don't put a high value on individuality, but you never see this in SF.  Not very speculative, in my opinion.  Not that I disagree with the message.  It just would have been interesting of the protagonist had struggled a bit more or tempted the girl to rejoin society.  It seems she sacrificed a great deal, but instead of acknowledging the hardship, just goes along with a smug smile on her face.

Having said that, the twist ending that she woke up this individual and he turned out to be a psychopath was fantastic. 

Pet peeve:
-a guy begins to realize something big and his being guided by someone who knows the secret
-guy asks a question
-helper says, "Don't you get it?"
-helper explains something the guy couldn't possibly have guessed
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Skought on September 08, 2009, 08:56:42 AM
Fine Story, EXCELLENT reading. I will be wondering on the gender issues for a bit. Made me think of…

FEZZIK
Why do you wear a mask? Were you burned by acid, or something like that?
MAN IN BLACK
Oh no. It's just that they're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.

Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: MasterThief on September 08, 2009, 08:04:36 PM
Superb story, superb characters, superb world-building, superb ending, superb reading.  I smell a Hugo nomination for this one, it is that good.  Led to some very disturbing thinking on whether we make the masks we wear to society... or whether they are made for us.

My only quibble is that the end quote should have been from Nathaniel Hawthorne:  "No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true."

Lawrence, you rock!  Please do more EP readings!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: deflective on September 09, 2009, 12:49:46 PM
i got something of a hive culture off this one, especially with the queen & sensitivity to pheromones.

the Hawthorne quote doesn't really seem appropriate here, the masks change your face both to yourself & others.  it isn't like they were trying to pass themselves off as somebody different and losing their identity in the role.

the Oscar Wilde quote resonated with me: “man is least himself when he talks in his own person. give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: LarrySantoro on September 09, 2009, 01:30:31 PM
Please do more EP readings!

Please, MasterThief, Larry!  Lawrence is a sainted seaway or whatever.

I'd love to do more here.  Hope to in the future but am kind of, well...in the midst.  So, while I hate pimping another site on this one -- and I did the vice-versa thing on the other one -- I'd like to point you, all of you, to www.starshipsofa.com  (http://www.starshipsofa.com) on which I'm pretty much a regular, doing my own work and stories by others.  Hope you'll stop by.

Larry
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: kibitzer on September 10, 2009, 04:19:58 AM
I still haven't finished this one -- I'm up to the diamond mask -- but I guess I'm some kind of idiot here. Or maybe it's because I'm an Aussie or something. But I'm afraid the reading on this one is really, really irritating me. I'm sorry Larry, because I know you're in this thread. But for mine, it's way too... staged.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Doom xombie on September 10, 2009, 09:09:42 AM
Absolutely loved the Reading! Made me feel like the character was there next to me!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: bamugo on September 10, 2009, 09:57:50 AM
I’m not sure whether it was the story itself or the reading of it that provoked me to dredge up my account on these forums.

Both were utterly wonderful. The story was engaging all the way through – the protagonist(?) was so very compelling and endearing. Because the main conflict was implied rather than stated, I found myself happily going along for the ride rather than trying to predict an outcome. And what an outcome! Although horrifying – I never lost my sense of goodwill towards the protagonist.

Larry’s reading is fantastic. I feel like I’ve heard him before. I think his style was perfect for this story.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Rauf on September 10, 2009, 12:51:47 PM
On a scale of 1 to 10

Reading of story 10
Story itself 11
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: oddpod on September 11, 2009, 05:43:47 AM
ace stuf , i love the things that arnt thair, the questons that dont get anserd.
 it is buttifly vage and captivating.
fine work all round
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: JDHarper on September 11, 2009, 07:41:56 AM
I haven't finished the story yet, but I do have one request for future episodes: remember how y'all used to put a warning in front of stories with strong themes of sex or violence? Can you start doing that again? I have no objection to such stories, but I don't want to play them to my little brother.

I know there's a rating on the website, but there needs to be some kind of warning in audio too. This is a *podcast* after all.

Thanks!

Edit: Just finished the story. Excellent, excellent story, and great narration too.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Talia on September 11, 2009, 11:17:29 PM
I join the rousing chorus of voices of praise. Love Eugie Foster stories and this is a humdinger. Elegant prose and an intriguing world.

I'm pretty sure they were once human - its a story of technology taken way to far, and what humanity could end up as, with all the meddling science is wont to do. :)

I'm also with the "great narration!" crowd. It was more of a dramatic recital than a simple reading, and I suspect it added something to the story that may not have come across in print.

Kudos all around.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: lowky on September 12, 2009, 08:47:40 AM
I join the rousing chorus of voices of praise. Love Eugie Foster stories and this is a humdinger. Elegant prose and an intriguing world.

I'm pretty sure they were once human - its a story of technology taken way to far, and what humanity could end up as, with all the meddling science is wont to do. :)

I'm also with the "great narration!" crowd. It was more of a dramatic recital than a simple reading, and I suspect it added something to the story that may not have come across in print.

Kudos all around.

I viewed it less as a story of technology run amok, than the Politically Correct Police had taken over and implanted their views so that we were no longer allowed to be our selves but we must be everybody, so we can never offend anybody.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: izzardfan on September 12, 2009, 02:50:18 PM
I, too, felt the reading added a level of enjoyment not possible with just the text.  Larry, you did an amazing job!  I love the way you giggled, especially.   ;D

As for the story, I got so caught up in it, and enjoyed it very much.

If I had any major problem with the story, it was the very end. Was it really necessary for him to smash in the courtesan's face? Is he going on a rampage to kill everyone who wears masks now? Is he acting this way because of the recent masks he wore? Would he have been different if he'd worn different masks leading up to that? I wasn't expecting that, and I don't know that it really created as satisfying an ending as I would've liked after such a strong story.

My feeling was he smashed in the courtesan's face because she knew him and the girl whose mask he was wearing at the end, and she was questioning what happened.  It was to shut her up.  I didn't feel like he would have gone on to kill anyone else, but maybe that's just my wishful thinking.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Anarkey on September 12, 2009, 07:49:42 PM
Well it took three years (since PP's Oranges, Lemons and Thou Beside Me) but Eugie Foster has totally blown me away again.  This story was GREAT.  Completely engrossing and gave me that shivery feeling I long for at the end and yay!  The reading was fabulous.  I can sympathize with those who thought it was over the top because for an EP reading it was a little more acted than usual, but I can only sympathize so far, because this story needed that kind of reading.  The reading was amazing and it all went together so well and the ending kicked ass and took no names and I have been telling people OMG you have to listen to this story, it's sooooo good since I heard it.

I heart Escape Pod.   Again. 
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: H. Bergeron on September 12, 2009, 10:35:35 PM
So, over this summer I did a whole bunch of work for my parents and grandmother.  I painted a porch, I refinished cabinets... What I'm trying to say is, I spent a whole lot of time listening to podcasts.  And since I was all caught up on EA's podcasts, I used my time to listen to StarShipSofa, and during that time I have come to really enjoy Larry Santoro's readings.  He's the bomb.  And when I realized he was reading this story, I was frankly ecstatic.

Yes, he did perhaps insert more drama into his reading than some other readers, but I think that it's sufficiently motivated by the story to add to the presentation rather than distract from it.  I am always willing to listen to a story Larry narrates.  Seriously.

Regarding the story itself: I quite enjoyed it.  I was confused for a little bit by the gender switch between the first two masks, but that, I think, helped in a way to illustrate the sort of non-human physical being of the narrator and his fellow 'courtesans.'  As a theory, though, that occurs to me - if we're working within human physical norms with the added extrapolation of a queen who is the primary female breeder, or even in fact the ONLY female breeder, we could be looking at a culture composed entirely of biologically male citizens whose 'gender' (or whatever the term is for what you identify as) is determined by the masks but for whom 'gender' means (in the sexual realm), if I may be crude, who's pitching.

...This is why I don't usually write on forums when it's late and I'm tired.

But in all seriousness - it was a good story, and caught me off-guard repeatedly.  The ending was a surprise and actually, to me, it makes sense that he may end up this sort of maniac, especially if his de-programming had not been properly or thoroughly completed before the woman was caught by the Gendarmes.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Swamp on September 12, 2009, 11:40:32 PM
I totally got into this story!  Luckily, I picked up on the daily identity change thing pretty quick and looked forward to what each day would bring.  I loved getting surprized at the end.  Yes, the violence was strong, but I wasn't bothered by it in this story.

Like Anarkey said (but not in these words):  Eugie Foster does it again.  And I listened to this just before was before I heard Daughter of Botu (http://podcastle.org/2009/07/29/podcastle-63-daughter-of-botu/) on Podcastle (yes, I'm behind).  I am just super impressed with Eugie right now.  So much so I wrote aboute her on my blog (http://marshaldillon.livejournal.com/40565.html).
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: gfplux on September 13, 2009, 02:24:13 AM
This is the second story on the bounce I did not like.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: NoraReed on September 13, 2009, 07:15:13 AM
From The Sickness Unto Death by Soren Kierkegaard:

Quote
By seeing the multitude of people around it, by being busied with all sorts of worldly affairs, by being wise to the ways of the world, such a person forgets himself, in a divine sense forgets his own name, ares not believe in himself, finds being himself too risky, finds it much easier and safer to be like the others, to become a copy, a number, along with the crowd.

This is a world where *everyone* has literally forgotten his own name, not only in a divine sense, by separating their true self/potential self from the identity they use to face the world.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: natashafairweather on September 13, 2009, 10:58:56 AM
I was so disgusted by the sexual violence in the first scene that I nearly turned the story off. Luckily, I was enjoying the narration so much that I stuck with it and it turned into a really great story.

That first scene though, ugh. You know, I can handle violence, murder, sexual violence, if the description of it is important to the story - if it is necessary for plot or character. That scene though was just gross titillation. The author had not yet earned their violence, and that scene just left me feeling gross. Not gross in a "gross scene, cool storytelling!" more like in a "the author just disrespected me by forcing this disgusting scene on me without justifying it" way.

After that, though, it was a great story. And the narration, of course, was incredible.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: eytanz on September 14, 2009, 04:12:46 AM

If I had any major problem with the story, it was the very end. Was it really necessary for him to smash in the courtesan's face? Is he going on a rampage to kill everyone who wears masks now? Is he acting this way because of the recent masks he wore? Would he have been different if he'd worn different masks leading up to that? I wasn't expecting that, and I don't know that it really created as satisfying an ending as I would've liked after such a strong story.

My feeling was he smashed in the courtesan's face because she knew him and the girl whose mask he was wearing at the end, and she was questioning what happened.  It was to shut her up.  I didn't feel like he would have gone on to kill anyone else, but maybe that's just my wishful thinking.

I think that's inconsistent with the ending of the story - he says he now knows how to murder so his "victims will not wake", and then goes on the say he is chaos, a flaw in the society. My impression was that he plans to go on killing. Plus, it doesn't really make sense to say that she knew him and the girl - remember, this society has no notion of identity, and has a major taboo against thinking about the people beyond the mask. The narrator was special in that he had some notion of identity even before being freed. The lover was questioning why her servant girl disappeared, not anything more. He could have made any excuse and she would have been angry, but still playing within the rules of the game, and he would have been safe. The murder - and the viciousness of it (remember, he makes an explicit point about he doesn't stop hitting her once she's dead) - is not motivated by pragmatic reasons.

I felt this story was wonderful, and I have more to say about it, and how the ending was not just appropriate but absolutely necessary; and also some questions I have, especially about the role of the queen. But I don't have time to write it up right now; hopefully, I'll find time to do so over the next few days.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: MacArthurBug on September 14, 2009, 06:39:12 AM
I got so wrapped up in the story I actually forgot to come over here and do my usual "yay!"

The imagry- the world building, the READING! fantastic on all fronts. I liked the way it unfolded, like an origami piece or one of those neat little hidden compartment boxes. Each facet turned on it's face by the unexpected ending. Wonderful! I am just giddy with glee over this one!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: faeriedreamz on September 14, 2009, 10:05:38 AM
I really enjoyed this story for both story and reading (go Larry!). I appreciated the dramatic pauses, the changes in pitch; the breathiness of some revelations within the story. This was so wonderful because it was more than reading the story to us (which is perfectly acceptable) it was acting the story out as well; and that created a new level of appreciation. I think that the performance complimented the nature of the story perfectly.

As far as the story goes... I had a few thoughts...

One thing I wanted to touch on was the Queen's story. Pinya acts as if putting the Diamond mask on will uncover all of the lies... all the treachery. I expected that the queen was an evil monster, sort of like the bad guy in V for Vendetta - and I was surprised to learn that she was... stupid.

Ok, stupid is probably not a fair assessment, and I recognize that the crime of removing identity is a pretty hefty one; but the Queen herself just wants her "children" to leave her alone: and so creates an incredibly elaborate setting that allows them to interact with each other in a format that she could control and protect them. It's interesting that the Queen built this society to eliminate the concept of death to her citizens, yet we are confronted with several violent and fake deaths throughout the story. So while they do not really die, they are not spared the violence or pain that masks exude.

I also appreciated the baroque styling of the story; someone else on the forum mentioned that, and it is exactly what was in my head too; although I loved the switch over after the diamond mask: suddenly scientists (who I presume are the mask makers) intrude on the scene and disrupt my concept of the life of this story.

Some others discussed that there may be a problem with the ending: i.e., the psycho killer aspect of our unnamed pro(?)tagonist. But there was a moment in the 2nd chapter, after he/she was a maiden where he longed to become one of the violent masks so that he could punch the masked man who referred to a previous mask's activities in the stomach. (Later we learn this is Pinya.) His focus on this over-reaction is being appalled at his longing to switch masks, when the real indication of his "personality" is the desire to cause bodily harm. I think that as readers we are so unsure of the world we are listening to, that we overlook that and assume it is the defenses of an offended person in a world we are unfamiliar with; when in reality it is a clue to his underlying character.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: lawless on September 14, 2009, 04:00:35 PM
Joined the forums just to comment on this story.  Amazingly good.  It built so well I was waiting for the flat ending but zing!  Didn't see that coming and it was just so right.

As far Larry's "reading" - it perfectly matched the tone.

Looking forward to the morning commute to listen again :)
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: heyes on September 14, 2009, 06:06:05 PM
After the first mask it was pretty much clear where this story was going.  It was an enjoyable story, however, and what really sold it was the reader. Clearly. It seems like this would work better in a visual medium (theater, film, adult cartoon, graphic novel, etc.).  In the end I feel like I either want a lot more than it gives me, or a lot less.  Would be a fine flash or a fine novel.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Darwinist on September 14, 2009, 10:34:44 PM
I really didn't like anything about this one.......almost turned it off a couple of times but gutted it out.  Meh.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: lowky on September 14, 2009, 11:01:50 PM
I really didn't like anything about this one.......almost turned it off a couple of times but gutted it out.  Meh.

Beginning to think it was just me.  Was actually considering relistening given all the praise it's been getting here.  Just didn't hold my attention.  Almost everything drew my attention away from the story.  Ooh look a rock.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: Russell Nash on September 15, 2009, 01:01:41 AM
I really didn't like anything about this one.......almost turned it off a couple of times but gutted it out.  Meh.

Beginning to think it was just me.  Was actually considering relistening given all the praise it's been getting here.  Just didn't hold my attention.  Almost everything drew my attention away from the story.  Ooh look a rock.


That happens, guys.  I still don't see why everyone liked Friction.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: wakela on September 15, 2009, 01:40:18 AM
It's been a while since I listened, so feel free to correct me.  But are the people in the mask society that much worse off?  They get to chose a different persona every day.  Whoever they want.  As for me, I have a persona with my wife, another with my kid, another at work, and a couple with various friends, and they're all pretty much the same guy.  I don't get to decide to be a spy one day and a prostitute the next.  I'm not saying their lives are unequivocally better than mine, just that they are not living in an oppressive nightmare.  It seems akin to living in World of Warcraft, but with hundreds of accounts to choose from.

But maybe I'm forgetting something. 
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: stePH on September 15, 2009, 09:15:54 AM
I found this one to be very enjoyable, but I have a question (which expands into many others). If each mask is a different personality and has different relationships, how do they coordinate them? If, let's say, I have a purple mask that is the wife of some other mask, what do I do if I wear it one day but my husband's oversoul isn't being worn? What if my green and silver mask goes out to have lunch with friends only to find that most of them aren't being worn that day? How do the oversouls establish relationships if each citizen has so many masks that it is unlikely that any two will be worn in combination more than a few times a year? Does each oversoul have a general personality and then just makes up something new every day? ""My mask's oversoul has decided that it hates your mask's oversoul and I'm going to kill you today"? "My mask has decided that I work at this shop today, but only for today"?
I think that I might be thinking about this too hard.

This is one reason the story didn't really work for me.  And I thought I was listening to a Podcastle story for about 3/4 of it.

The reading was fine except for some conversations between the narrator and Piña; it was difficult to tell who was speaking which lines.

I still don't see why everyone liked Friction.

Not everyone.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Anarkey on September 15, 2009, 09:31:15 AM
It seems akin to living in World of Warcraft, but with hundreds of accounts to choose from.

But maybe I'm forgetting something. 

Yeah.  You're forgetting that, while it could be just like playing a MMORPG with hundreds of accounts to choose from, you can NEVER turn the game off or take a day off or walk away.  You MUST play, every single day, for always and forever, or suffer consequences from the gendarmes.  Your whole life is a game and there's no you there, only the personas.  And some people might be ok with that.  And were, according to the story.  Certainly from the point of view of the queen, this was a utopian society.  For others, the absence of true self is pretty much a nightmare...or can become a nightmare over time, as it did for the main character.   
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Doom xombie on September 15, 2009, 09:56:55 AM
It's been a while since I listened, so feel free to correct me.  But are the people in the mask society that much worse off?  They get to chose a different persona every day.  Whoever they want.  As for me, I have a persona with my wife, another with my kid, another at work, and a couple with various friends, and they're all pretty much the same guy.  I don't get to decide to be a spy one day and a prostitute the next.  I'm not saying their lives are unequivocally better than mine, just that they are not living in an oppressive nightmare.  It seems akin to living in World of Warcraft, but with hundreds of accounts to choose from.

But maybe I'm forgetting something. 

but generally you get to pick your masks, you could act the way you do with your wife, at work, but from his conversation with the queen they must wear certain masks at certian times. That and they have no sense of identity without their masks + they can't go from green mask to red mask during the day. There, your wife is actually your brother in a different mask, and that don't happen here... generally spakin
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: wakela on September 16, 2009, 01:43:47 AM
It seems akin to living in World of Warcraft, but with hundreds of accounts to choose from.

But maybe I'm forgetting something. 

Yeah.  You're forgetting that, while it could be just like playing a MMORPG with hundreds of accounts to choose from, you can NEVER turn the game off or take a day off or walk away.  You MUST play, every single day, for always and forever, or suffer consequences from the gendarmes.  Your whole life is a game and there's no you there, only the personas.  And some people might be ok with that.  And were, according to the story.  Certainly from the point of view of the queen, this was a utopian society.  For others, the absence of true self is pretty much a nightmare...or can become a nightmare over time, as it did for the main character.   

But I can't turn my life off and walk away either.  I can change my job and my wife and what country I live in if I want to, but I can't become an astronaut or courtesan.  And for some people this is a nightmare, and if they act accoding to thier true selves, they get to suffer the consequences of the gendarmes. The mask people had freedoms that I don't.  I have freedoms they they don't. 
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: izzardfan on September 16, 2009, 01:46:22 AM
My feeling was he smashed in the courtesan's face because she knew him and the girl whose mask he was wearing at the end, and she was questioning what happened.  It was to shut her up.  I didn't feel like he would have gone on to kill anyone else, but maybe that's just my wishful thinking.

I think that's inconsistent with the ending of the story  <snip>

After reading your explanation, I think you're right.  I didn't catch all of it, apparently.  I know I was in the car when I finished it, so I missed something (or two), it seems.  Too bad, too, as I thought of him as more sane and less psycho.  Oh, well.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: wakela on September 16, 2009, 01:49:09 AM
It's been a while since I listened, so feel free to correct me.  But are the people in the mask society that much worse off?  They get to chose a different persona every day.  Whoever they want.  As for me, I have a persona with my wife, another with my kid, another at work, and a couple with various friends, and they're all pretty much the same guy.  I don't get to decide to be a spy one day and a prostitute the next.  I'm not saying their lives are unequivocally better than mine, just that they are not living in an oppressive nightmare.  It seems akin to living in World of Warcraft, but with hundreds of accounts to choose from.

But maybe I'm forgetting something. 



but generally you get to pick your masks, you could act the way you do with your wife, at work, but from his conversation with the queen they must wear certain masks at certian times. That and they have no sense of identity without their masks + they can't go from green mask to red mask during the day. There, your wife is actually your brother in a different mask, and that don't happen here... generally spakin

You're right that they don't have a sense of identity without their masks, but we don't have the freedom to act out or fantasies.  I wonder if someone in their world is writing an SF story about a distopian nightmare where people go to the same jobs and come home to the same family day after day.  
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: eytanz on September 16, 2009, 02:16:45 AM
You're right that they don't have a sense of identity without their masks, but we don't have the freedom to act out or fantasies.  I wonder if someone in their world is writing an SF story about a distopian nightmare where people go to the same jobs and come home to the same family day after day.  

But they're not acting out their fantasies. They have *over*souls - the masks overwrite their personalities. The people are reduced to little but vessels for other people's lives.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: wakela on September 16, 2009, 02:27:48 AM
You're right that they don't have a sense of identity without their masks, but we don't have the freedom to act out or fantasies.  I wonder if someone in their world is writing an SF story about a distopian nightmare where people go to the same jobs and come home to the same family day after day.  

But they're not acting out their fantasies. They have *over*souls - the masks overwrite their personalities. The people are reduced to little but vessels for other people's lives.

Point taken, but they still acquire a richer set of experiences than I do.  I'm not saying Maskworld is a paradise, and I'm not saying I would submit to its rules if I had a choice, it just doesn't seem dramatically worse than our world enough that escape is a no-brainer.  The main character didn't seem to do any soul-searching, and the woman --though she did give him a choice -- seemed to think it was inevitable that he would choose individuality if he could just experience it. 
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: eytanz on September 16, 2009, 02:36:02 AM
You're right that they don't have a sense of identity without their masks, but we don't have the freedom to act out or fantasies.  I wonder if someone in their world is writing an SF story about a distopian nightmare where people go to the same jobs and come home to the same family day after day.  

But they're not acting out their fantasies. They have *over*souls - the masks overwrite their personalities. The people are reduced to little but vessels for other people's lives.

Point taken, but they still acquire a richer set of experiences than I do.  I'm not saying Maskworld is a paradise, and I'm not saying I would submit to its rules if I had a choice, it just doesn't seem dramatically worse than our world enough that escape is a no-brainer.  The main character didn't seem to do any soul-searching, and the woman --though she did give him a choice -- seemed to think it was inevitable that he would choose individuality if he could just experience it. 

Ah - I agree with that, actually.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: DKT on September 16, 2009, 05:36:32 PM
Well it took three years (since PP's Oranges, Lemons and Thou Beside Me) but Eugie Foster has totally blown me away again.  This story was GREAT.  Completely engrossing and gave me that shivery feeling I long for at the end and yay!  The reading was fabulous.  I can sympathize with those who thought it was over the top because for an EP reading it was a little more acted than usual, but I can only sympathize so far, because this story needed that kind of reading.  The reading was amazing and it all went together so well and the ending kicked ass and took no names and I have been telling people OMG you have to listen to this story, it's sooooo good since I heard it.

I heart Escape Pod.   Again. 

Oranges, Lemons and Thou Beside Me blew my mind. As did this one. It just kicked my ass all over the place. Amazing amazing amazing. I'm so envious that Eugie Foster can tell engrossing pscyological SF thrillers like this and Oranges, Lemons and Thou Beside Me, *and* tell grade A fairy tales like Daughter of Botu.

I'd also nominate Larry for best reading of the year award, if we had such an award. I can understand why some people thought it was over the top, but I really felt like Larry was actually telling this story, or at least interpreting it, not just reading it. And it completely worked for me.

Much appreciation to everyone involved in this one!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: ireneybean on September 22, 2009, 12:56:44 PM
I have been listening to Escape Pod for a long time and have listened to every single episode.  I've listened to PodCastle since it started.  This is hands down my favorite EscapeArtist story yet.  And the best reading I've heard as well.  Blew me away!  I created this account JUST to say how much I loved it :)
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: monkeystuff on September 22, 2009, 02:59:06 PM
this is one of the best short stories i've ever herd.   very well  done... i've got a lot to say and no time to say it.   for now 2 thumbs up  ;D
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Goddess Jane on September 23, 2009, 07:54:35 AM
Rather overwrought and predictable.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: yicheng on September 23, 2009, 11:03:11 AM
I loved the story for it's uniqueness and creativity.  Very well paced.  Great ending.

One minor nagging quibble on believability:  Despite what our video game culture would have you believe, you can't smash in someone's face with your fist, even assuming you were wearing a gauntlet of some sort.  The human skull is pretty solid, and you'll generally break or bruise your hand or wrist before doing much damage to the actual bone structure (knocking someone out is a different matter).  The little bones in your hands and wrists just aren't designed to generate an absorb that much blunt force.  The Jin d'arms (sp?) would have had better luck with a truncheon or just by smashing Pina's head against the floor repeatedly.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: Russell Nash on September 23, 2009, 12:53:32 PM
Despite what our video game culture would have you believe, you can't smash in someone's face with your fist, even assuming you were wearing a gauntlet of some sort. 

This would have bothered me if I had heard it that way.  I thought he used something to smash the face in.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: Doom xombie on September 23, 2009, 03:15:44 PM
Despite what our video game culture would have you believe, you can't smash in someone's face with your fist, even assuming you were wearing a gauntlet of some sort. 

This would have bothered me if I had heard it that way.  I thought he used something to smash the face in.

I believe he is referring to the gendarmes. And the main character mentions how he doesn't have the gendarmes strength(while he is murdering the woman with the meat working tool) which leads me to believe that the gendarmes are enhanced.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Dave on September 23, 2009, 05:55:22 PM
I'm gonna have to go ahead and say this might be the best EP ever, by which I mean "the best I can remember off the top of my head". Great story, brilliantly performed. I want to game in this setting. I want find all the notes for the various masks I've designed over the last 20 years and finally get around to actually making them. I want to host a Masquerade party where everyone MUST bring a mask, one they crafted with their own hands... and have an antechamber where guests deposit the mask they brought, and choose from one of the ones someone else brought, leaving theirs for the next guest to select from.

Sadly, I'm ridiculously lazy, so I probably won't do any of those things.

But I want to.

*edit after reading comments*

The Gendarmes (which I believe is the French word for policemen) are explained as being elite members of the soldier caste, and the story suggests that the castes may be biologically divergent, hence their increased strength.

I second the suggestion that Larry should get some kind of reward for his performance. Only a couple of other EA episodes have been "performed" rather than merely read, and I think this was among, if not the best of that small lot. If I were to read along, I would bet that he added a lot of the dramatic flourishes, the subtle pauses, inflections, hesitations... really brought the protagonist's internal conflict to life.

I will be posting the link on Facebook so all my friends can listen to this one, too.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: thomasowenm on September 23, 2009, 10:07:58 PM
I am one of the few who do not like dramatized readings, so I did not much care for the reading.  That being said, I did like the story.  It took me about a while to figure out what was going on, but once I got it.  I enjoyed it. 

The ending came out of left field, however it worked with the character that developed.  I could see where he would have become a psycotic killer, especially after having been killed twice that week.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: yicheng on September 24, 2009, 08:11:47 AM
Despite what our video game culture would have you believe, you can't smash in someone's face with your fist, even assuming you were wearing a gauntlet of some sort. 

This would have bothered me if I had heard it that way.  I thought he used something to smash the face in.

It bothered me enough to go back and relisten.  The Jin D'arm (?) guard smashed Pina's face with his fist, while the main char smashed the socialite's face with a meat tenderizer.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: tiupta on September 24, 2009, 08:46:13 AM
Joined the forums after 18 months of listening to Escape Pod just to comment on this story.. brilliant, seriously brilliant and Lawrence Santoro - best narrator.. hands down.

Congrats to all involved!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: JoeFitz on September 26, 2009, 03:06:38 PM
Jaw-droppingly amazing. And the reading was superb for this type of story.

I did have a problem with the idea that a mask could allow the person to experience torture and death (and presumably perform torture and murder) but then  go on the next day just a little "sore." But sufficiently advanced technology to skin and re-skin. I'm more than happy to gloss over this.

I got the impression that the characters were humanoid. The description of sex, the skinning.

Overall just a wonderful episode.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: ILikeMostCheeses on September 27, 2009, 01:37:39 PM
This was another terrific imaginative story. The narrator deserves a podcast Oscar. This was a clinic in how to bring a story to life and Mr Santoro is now in the elite, as true actor in my book.

I see there's pretty incisive discussion going on about the story. That's what makes me a little different, maybe; I enjoy music and literature for my own reasons. Some people say this was a horrible story, I thought it was a fantastic way to spend 55 minutes. I enjoyed it for what it was, and while it wasn't on the same level as, 1984 or The Grapes of Wrath, it was moving.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: doctorclark on September 29, 2009, 03:17:45 PM
Beautifully read!  Interesting story too -- all the colours in the mask descriptions made it very visual for me.

This was one of the best pairings of reading and story that has appeared on EP (though Craphound is still my favorite on both counts).  Dramatic readings don't work for every story, and have been rare on EP probably because of this, but "Sinner..." was spectacular with Larry's reading.  Foster's language in this story is so lyrical and sensual it screams to be read aloud, and Santoro's reading really brought it to life.

Also, I think all of the requests for warnings before the story are a testament to the fantastic reading.  My heart was racing along with the protagonist's as the emotion of the reading matched the text (all the more horrifying as the protagonist was flayed alive).  The text alone would have seemed shocking--with such a great reading it was visceral and has stuck with me.

Thank you!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: LaShawn on October 06, 2009, 11:20:18 AM
To add to the discussion about the masks--it seems that while the mask wearers had the freedom to choose who they wanted to be, there was a limit. You can be this OR you can be that, but you can't be BOTH. And it's not something they really want. For instance, this world seems to frown upon wearing the same mask over and over again. But what if you really like it?

I think what I found the most chilling about the story was that the Queen herself gets caught up in the mask-wearing. I think she genuinely cared for her people and thought she was doing the right thing. Then she also lose herself in the maskerade...as it is. *Spoiler spoiler* Such a beautiful setup on how the protag is lead to believe Pina is the Queen.

And the reading! Larry, you nailed it so wonderfully. Thank you so much! This what makes podcasts fun to listen to! The reading, the description of the masks, absolutely beautiful. And the ending was wonderful too. Change is coming to their world, just not the way they expect.

I want to read this AND listen to it again.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Jagash on October 08, 2009, 09:22:55 PM
I appreciate the rich depths of the story, the things left unsaid concerning the species and the astounding choice if narrator.  Larry is excellent in these more visceral and adult stories.  At the same time, I believe that every story Larry narrates should come with a warning up front.   

*shudders thinking about Little Girl Down the Way*

Great job folks.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: robertmarkbram on October 19, 2009, 08:33:24 PM
I am the flaw in a carefully wrought plan.

This is in my top ten best stories. It blew me away on so many levels. I haven't read anyone else's posts on this yet because I don't want to dispel the illusion that I am the first to have any of these thoughts.. :)

Like EP212: Skinhorse Goes to Mars, this story perfectly created a bizarre reality that was fascinating, compelling and coherent. I was walking home and had to stop. I stood still for five minutes, letting people pass me by just so that I could properly absorb what I was hearing. It is amazing when an author pulls this off properly: I felt completely pulled into their newly created universe and my mind was spinning out new threads, trying to iterate over the similarities and differences.

The world had so many layers - a touch of 1984 and something truly magical in the way the society works with the masks, how completely it transforms them into something else. I kept being reminded of Enders Game (which I listened to last week). I thought these people could almost have been the Buggers.. insects that created a new society for peace.

Thank you Eugie Foster.

Huge props to Lawrence Santoro. Lawrence you really kicked ass with your reading - you filled in the protagonist perfectly with all the emotion his words demanded. I was hooked on this story before I even knew what was going on purely because of Lawrence's reading. From the first mask I already had the character set in my head, thoughtful, disturbed and lost but hopelessly engaged..

I watch the blade rise and fall as she stabs me again and again. Her mask. Her mask is so pretty
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: bmsims on October 29, 2009, 01:30:45 PM
I have been listening to Escape Pod and Pseudopod for more that two years and to Podcastle since its inception. However, until now, I have yet to register in the forum and comment on a story. However, I have to comment on this one. I just finished it and was absolutely blown away. I have come to love Eugie Foster and look forward to her stories. Further, I thought the voice acting on the story was perfect and contributed greatly to my enjoyment of the story.

A big thumbs up to everyone involved in this story.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: ancawonka on November 11, 2009, 12:59:19 PM
I finally listened to this story yesterday.  Kudos to Larry for the amazing reading - the emotions in his voice really made this story stand out for me.  Great job!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: simplewhimsy on December 02, 2009, 05:04:15 PM
I wanted to comment that these people sounded like bee-human-otherthing hybrids of some sort. 
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: LarrySantoro on December 16, 2009, 10:32:30 PM
Now that it's well in the past, I wanted to thank everyone for your kind words and comments -- everyone -- even those who were less than enthusiastic about my work.  Let me say, Eugie Foster's story provided incredible opportunities for a narrator to have a ball.

I had a ball.

Hope you'll stop by the StarShipSofa and have a listen to my LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION.

And best wishes for a grand Holiday Season.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: MasterThief on February 19, 2010, 04:56:01 PM
And true enough, this story has been nominated for Best Novelette at the 2009 Nebula Awards (http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2010/02/finalists-2009-nebula-awards/)!  Congrats to Eugie, and thanks for an awesome story!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: Heradel on February 19, 2010, 05:29:06 PM
And true enough, this story has been nominated for Best Novelette at the 2009 Nebula Awards (http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2010/02/finalists-2009-nebula-awards/)!  Congrats to Eugie, and thanks for an awesome story!
Congratulations to Foster as well, and I made a thread here (http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=3360) to discuss this year's nominees.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: LarrySantoro on February 20, 2010, 01:28:45 AM
Congratulations, Eugie!  All the best to you for a great story.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: MasterThief on April 05, 2010, 02:42:03 PM
And the hits keep on coming!  Eugie's story is also among the Hugo Award Finalists for Best Novelette! (http://www.thehugoawards.org/2010/04/2010-hugo-award-nominees-details/)

(Some Hugo nominators probably heard the story on EP and talked it up on a number of forums...  ;) )
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Unblinking on April 23, 2010, 11:28:18 AM
Wow, this story really had me going right from the beginning, well-deserving of it's nominations.  Did it win anything?.  And it's one of those stories that has me saying "Damn, why haven't I written any stories about masks?"  But now all the stories I can think of I immediately compare to this and simply can't compare.

Eugie is an amazingly talented individual when she steps away from retelling Asian fairy tales.  Those are well-written, but just seem more like she's not adding anything of herself to this.  But both this and Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me were just amazing.  I hope to see more of this sort of original work from her in the future.

I love the story.  It had me confused for a while, but intrigued at the same time so that's okay.  The ending, I'm not sure I loved, but it does make sense.  He's been robbed of personality and doesn't see these other people as really being people so there are no real consequences to his actions, in his formative hours he sees his only ally brutally murdered, and feels compelled to exact revenge even in such a randomly targeted way.

Larry's reading was outstanding, probably the best reading I've heard on any of the 'casts.  He invested a lot of emotion into each section, which helped me relate to the personas and to help me differentiate between them.  His girlish giggle was done WAY too well.  No grown man should be able to do that.  A feat only topped by Eley's female orgasm voice!
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Unblinking on April 23, 2010, 12:20:30 PM
There were a couple things that I never understood though:

1.  What happens when they "die"?  How can one be stabbed many times or skinned alive and come out just fine the next day?  That was an obstacle to me understanding it, as I assumed the husband character in section 1 died until it was all tied together 2/3 of the way into the story.
2.  I understand that they change gender identities with their masks, but how do they change sexes?  They seem to have genitals, given the details of the opening scene in particular, and copulating seems to be referring to heterosexual intercourse, but do the masks actually swap the genitals?  Or are they all hermaphrodites? 
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Talia on April 23, 2010, 12:23:23 PM
when she steps away from retelling Asian fairy tales. 

I think StePH might disagree with you on that front. :p

(so do I actually, I really enjoy her Asian fairy tale stories. Though IMHO this story is easily the best story of hers run on any of the 'casts).

The Hugo Awards havent been given out yet, but I am totally rooting for this story there. She's got stiff competition though. :)

Quote
1.  What happens when they "die"?  How can one be stabbed many times or skinned alive and come out just fine the next day?  That was an obstacle to me understanding it, as I assumed the husband character in section 1 died until it was all tied together 2/3 of the way into the story.
2.  I understand that they change gender identities with their masks, but how do they change sexes?  They seem to have genitals, given the details of the opening scene in particular, and copulating seems to be referring to heterosexual intercourse, but do the masks actually swap the genitals?  Or are they all hermaphrodites?

I may be wrong as its been a while since I listened to this one, but i was kinda under the impression all the experiences were virtual - fully immersive virtual, but virtual nonetheles, like some sort of computer program loaded into the masks.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Unblinking on April 23, 2010, 01:24:16 PM
The Hugo Awards havent been given out yet, but I am totally rooting for this story there. She's got stiff competition though. :)

In the past few years the one that ends up winning has been a clear standout in my eyes, so I'm guessing that this one will do it.  :)

So when Escape Pod comes back from hiatus and does the Hugo nominee run, will this story be  on here again?  ;)
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: DKT on April 23, 2010, 03:21:07 PM
The Hugo Awards havent been given out yet, but I am totally rooting for this story there. She's got stiff competition though. :)

In the past few years the one that ends up winning has been a clear standout in my eyes, so I'm guessing that this one will do it.  :)

So when Escape Pod comes back from hiatus and does the Hugo nominee run, will this story be  on here again?  ;)

Probably not. This story was nominated for in the novelette category (along with Rachel Swirksy's "Eros, Philia, Agape"). EP usually runs just the short story nominees.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: stePH on April 24, 2010, 12:06:28 AM
when she steps away from retelling Asian fairy tales. 

I think StePH might disagree with you on that front. :p

(so do I actually, I really enjoy her Asian fairy tale stories. Though IMHO this story is easily the best story of hers run on any of the 'casts).

Well, this might be my least-favorite Foster story to date, but I've enjoyed her other "non-Asian" stories, like "My Friend is a Lesbian Zombie" and "The Life and Times of Penguin" for example.
(I need to listen again to "Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me" because for some reason it just didn't stick; I don't remember a thing about it.  Maybe I listened at bedtime and dozed through it.)
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Unblinking on April 26, 2010, 12:34:45 PM
I would LOVE to see this story as an anime show.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: CryptoMe on April 26, 2010, 04:02:21 PM

Quote
1.  What happens when they "die"?  How can one be stabbed many times or skinned alive and come out just fine the next day?  That was an obstacle to me understanding it, as I assumed the husband character in section 1 died until it was all tied together 2/3 of the way into the story.
2.  I understand that they change gender identities with their masks, but how do they change sexes?  They seem to have genitals, given the details of the opening scene in particular, and copulating seems to be referring to heterosexual intercourse, but do the masks actually swap the genitals?  Or are they all hermaphrodites?

I may be wrong as its been a while since I listened to this one, but i was kinda under the impression all the experiences were virtual - fully immersive virtual, but virtual nonetheles, like some sort of computer program loaded into the masks.

Wow! That was a subtlety that totally escaped me. Interesting thought. I will have to think about it some more....  Thanks Talia.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Unblinking on April 27, 2010, 08:43:41 AM
I may be wrong as its been a while since I listened to this one, but i was kinda under the impression all the experiences were virtual - fully immersive virtual, but virtual nonetheles, like some sort of computer program loaded into the masks.

I didn't get that impression.  For instance, if it's all simulated, ruining one's face shouldn't kill you any more than ruining one's body.  And I thought that the skinning of the prisoners was harvesting mask materials, which would be unnecessary if it were all virtual.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Unblinking on April 27, 2010, 08:44:07 AM
I've now listened to all the Escape Pod episodes.  Soon, a Best of Escape Pod list.  :)
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: Boggled Coriander on May 18, 2010, 10:47:09 PM
Not only has this story won the Nebula, but Eugie Foster totally gave a shout-out to EP and thanked Larry Santoro in her acceptance speech (http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/6955588).  (Starts shortly after 39:00.)
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beas
Post by: Talia on May 18, 2010, 11:34:25 PM
Not only has this story won the Nebula, but Eugie Foster totally gave a shout-out to EP and thanked Larry Santoro in her acceptance speech (http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/6955588).  (Starts shortly after 39:00.)

Oh and announced by Jack McDevitt. :D (at least I think so?)

I am almost sorry now I didn't stay to watch this Saturday night.

Still, WONDERFUL thing.

Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: DandHRoberts on May 28, 2010, 10:24:57 AM
I saw this artists work and it reminded me of this story.

http://picdit.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/kelie-bowman/
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: luka datas on December 16, 2012, 07:49:16 AM
unique in the best possible way. in such a world as that one how could someone do anything other that lose their mind.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Piet on January 04, 2014, 12:10:11 AM
This story is well written with some interesting themes, which justifies the Nebula award Eugie Foster received for it. Yet it seems too far-fetched, making it difficult for some who prefer science fiction over fantasy to remain engaged. The ideas of this story could perhaps be effectively incorporated into a hard sci-fi story, but as it stands, the story merely serves as another illustration of how fantasy is frequently disappointing to those whose primary interest is sci-fi.
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Unblinking on July 08, 2014, 05:20:29 PM
Named this story NUMBER ONE on my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time List:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/07/the-best-podcast-fiction-of-all-time-the-complete-list/
Title: Re: EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fablist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
Post by: Devoted135 on July 10, 2014, 07:46:10 PM
Named this story NUMBER ONE on my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time List:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/07/the-best-podcast-fiction-of-all-time-the-complete-list/


I'm pretty sure this was the very first Escape Pod episode that I listened to. It made a HUGE impression on me and obviously made me want to keep listening!
Title: Re: EP682/EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest (Flashback Friday)
Post by: Thunderscreech on June 17, 2019, 03:10:19 PM
The narration on this is stunningly good.
Title: Re: EP682/EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest (Flashback Friday)
Post by: acpracht on June 18, 2019, 11:56:57 PM
Seeing Larry's early replys to this when it first ran back in the day, well... Just made me profoundly sad.
Especially losing Chris Cornell this month...
Death is the most unfair thing in life.
-Adam