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Author Topic: EP559: Vegetablemen in Peanut Town  (Read 1127 times)
eytanz
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« on: January 21, 2017, 08:10:44 AM »

EP559: Vegetablemen in Peanut Town

AUTHOR: August Marion
NARRATOR: Trendane Sparks
HOST: Norm Sherman

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Otto scanned the grassy countryside for any sign of marauding vegetables. The steeple he and Darby were in wasn’t quite thirty feet tall, but it was taller than any other building in Peanut Town, so it offered an unobstructed view of the surrounding farmland. There were acres and acres of genetically engineered, perambulatory peanut plants shuffling around in scattered groups, probing the rich soil for nutrients with their roots. Everything looked perfectly safe. Peaceful even.

“Hey, genius.” Darby said acidly. “North is that a way.”

“Oh.” Otto said, as he turned around. He refocused the binoculars he was using, and then he saw them: vegetablemen. The same strain that had so annihilated Manhattan that even the rats had given up on the place. There were about three dozen of them scattered over the gently rolling hills. They lumbered toward the town slow and heavy on their long, stout, green stalks. They were still far off, but he could tell from the coloring of the peels around their thoraxes that they were the same cultivar that the king had sown on Manhattan.

Otto lowered the binoculars. He swallowed hard.

“Well?” Darby asked. “Is them the ones from Manhattan?”

“Those are they, yes.” Otto confirmed, as he tugged at his collar. He hated hot weather. It didn’t fit his wardrobe.

“We’re going to have to fight them.” Darby grinned madly.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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VSHarriman
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2017, 11:58:17 AM »

This may be the best story of the last year or two. Excellent world building, great plotting and characters, amazing narration. Really. I hope this story gets the attention it deserves and wins awards.
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Scuba Man
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2017, 12:14:31 PM »

This may be the best story of the last year or two. Excellent world building, great plotting and characters, amazing narration. Really. I hope this story gets the attention it deserves and wins awards.


Hee hee! I agree. The portrayal of the protagonist was annoying at first (too nasal!), but I got past it.  The chef was a genius... beef burgers made out of real peanuts?!  Hell yeah!  Cheesy
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"What can do that to a man?  Lightning... napalm? No, some people just explode [sic]. Natural causes".  Source: Repo Man.
raetsel
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2017, 02:32:30 PM »

Totally agree with the previous posters. This was a great story; really funny. The narration was excellent added to the story. The voice for Otto in particular was just perfect.

For me for something to be good comic, absurdist writing it has to be internally consistent and the characters must not be aware they are being funny or arch. This had those qualities in spades. It felt like there were real back stories to the characters.

Bravo! Just the fillip for these times.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2017, 10:43:33 AM »

This was pretty fun.  The Otto voice did get on my nerves at the start with the nasal tones, but I got used to it after a while.  The menacing but only moderately intelligent hulks of vegetablemen made pretty good villains, though I wouldn't've minded having a little better idea what the plan actually is as the story started, I thought it was good.

Can I have some peanut cheeseburgers?  How do they make the cheese melt?  How do they make the burgers juicy?

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Thunderscreech
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2017, 10:48:48 AM »

Can I have some peanut cheeseburgers?  How do they make the cheese melt?  How do they make the burgers juicy?
In the 1980s, Saturday Night Live did a skit for the "First National Change Bank".  It was like a bank, but the only service they offered was making exact change of any denomination you would bring in.  In the end, the CEO says that people often ask how they make their money and he responds with one word: "Volume".

How do you make melty cheese and juicy burger patties out of nothing but peanuts?   One word: "Presentation."
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VranaCat
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2017, 11:07:27 PM »

This was a very fun story, although like several others have mentioned I initially had trouble getting past the protagonist, who I quite wanted to slap.  I did feel it was rather out of place on Escape Pod though.  Obviously in the modern vernacular many Science Fiction stories have little if anything to do with science, but to me this was basically a comedic dark fantasy story in a modern setting. I might be forgetting something, but I don't remember any even slight attempt to explain the story away as being the result of a situation in the real world, and I feel that without even an attempt to ground the piece in reality a story set on earth in what is essentially the modern day where vegetables have gained sentience just does not count as science fiction. 

Also, the chef is obviously a wizard specializing in transmutation spells.  I mean, peanuts to burgers? what else could she be?   Tongue
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Trendane
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 12:36:32 AM »


I completely concur with the too-nasal voice!  In fact, I apparently found it so grating that I lost it by the end. If you listen to Otto's "Those are they" in the beginning and "It's going to be one hot meal" at the end, you can hear the difference. I didn't notice it until after it was published. So that's my boo-boo!

But it means that you folks didn't really 'get used to it' as it went along, it simply got less severe due to my mistake.  Let's call it serendipity for the sake of our sanity!

All that said, I very much enjoyed doing this one.
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olivaw
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 08:34:59 AM »

I felt there must be some joke I wasn't getting.
I mean, it's a nice bit of absurdia that would make a great vignette in a larger piece, but instead it's presented as story in its own right. It felt like there needed to be something else to it.
In my head I can see the thing being played out by the Monty Python team.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2017, 10:46:10 AM »

I did feel it was rather out of place on Escape Pod though.  Obviously in the modern vernacular many Science Fiction stories have little if anything to do with science, but to me this was basically a comedic dark fantasy story in a modern setting. I might be forgetting something, but I don't remember any even slight attempt to explain the story away as being the result of a situation in the real world, and I feel that without even an attempt to ground the piece in reality a story set on earth in what is essentially the modern day where vegetables have gained sentience just does not count as science fiction. 

They talked about extreme genetic modifications, such as growing peanuts that provide ALL of a person's nutrients--genetically engineering plants that fulfill all our nutrient needs is a major scientific avenue, especially as climate change and pollutants and land exploitation and etc may limit our ability to grow all the things we have historically been able to grow.  My take on the vegetablemen is that they were a failed attempt at genetically engineering plants earlier.  Like, maybe an attempt to make plants that can protect themselves from clear-cutters or parasites or other immediate dangers to plant life, but they made them too well and now they've become a dangerous invasive species that is directly threatening the survival of humanity both through consumption of human food sources as well as consumption of humans.
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acpracht
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2017, 04:04:32 PM »

I did feel it was rather out of place on Escape Pod though.  Obviously in the modern vernacular many Science Fiction stories have little if anything to do with science, but to me this was basically a comedic dark fantasy story in a modern setting. I might be forgetting something, but I don't remember any even slight attempt to explain the story away as being the result of a situation in the real world, and I feel that without even an attempt to ground the piece in reality a story set on earth in what is essentially the modern day where vegetables have gained sentience just does not count as science fiction. 

They talked about extreme genetic modifications, such as growing peanuts that provide ALL of a person's nutrients--genetically engineering plants that fulfill all our nutrient needs is a major scientific avenue, especially as climate change and pollutants and land exploitation and etc may limit our ability to grow all the things we have historically been able to grow.  My take on the vegetablemen is that they were a failed attempt at genetically engineering plants earlier.  Like, maybe an attempt to make plants that can protect themselves from clear-cutters or parasites or other immediate dangers to plant life, but they made them too well and now they've become a dangerous invasive species that is directly threatening the survival of humanity both through consumption of human food sources as well as consumption of humans.


Interesting take and "head canon." Smiley

For my part, with a fun/funny piece (and, well, stories in general) I don't always feel the need to have it all spelled out. Sometimes it's just a good time to "roll with it."

Smiley

-Adam
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Zelda
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2017, 01:56:51 AM »

I thought this was a fun story which was extremely well served by excellent narration. I thought Otto's voice was just right.
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Jethro's belt
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2017, 09:13:04 PM »

I like whimsical dark (whimdark?)and the narration absolutely made this story, just made it.
I am a still unsure whether the car part references were just jokes or hints of even more unexplained strangeness, but the weirdness had good consistency and was very low in tannins. I don't need to know how everything works as long as I am entertained, just as in life. 

 
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Frank Evans
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2017, 09:50:56 AM »

No complaints about this one. Like most everyone else I thought it was fun and that the narration was fantastic. FWIW, I didn't find the MC too nasally at the start, thought all the voices were really well done. I wouldn't mind reading The Vegetablemen Take Manhattan some day.
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skeletondragon
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2017, 06:19:38 PM »

Are we sure the Food Network doesn't already have a show where contestants need to create brilliant meals with only one ingredient to attract carnivorous vegetables? Given that cooking is just science for hungry people, I'm surprised more Escape Pod stories don't involve it.
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lisavilisa
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« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2017, 06:39:03 PM »

So NPR just did a story about how they've made vegetarian burger that bleeds.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/02/11/514544431/saving-the-planet-one-burger-at-a-time-this-juicy-patty-is-meat-free
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Ichneumon
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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2017, 05:03:54 PM »

The bacon grease pomade was my favorite part! Everything worked out just as planned, even though that's what I expected least to happen. It felt like the twist was there was no twist.
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h4tt3n
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« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2017, 01:22:03 PM »


Cheers everybody, first time poster here!

Realizing that I'm a bit past fashionably late for the party, I still would like to give the chef a heartfelt compliment for the excellent course. I just loved the batshit insane, absurd humour served in this story. Being a long-time listener, this kind of story is exactly what I would like to hear more often. The scene where Griselda explains how she *hiccup* mixed a perfect Bordeaux from brown sugar, nail polish remover, and anti-freeze among other things had me laughing out loud. Also, I fount the narration just right for the story, and you could tell that a lot more work was put into it than the average narration - this was closer to a radio play. I would like to encourage the author to write more in this style!

Cheers, Mike
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