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Author Topic: EP629: An Advanced Reader’s Picture Book of Comparative Cognition  (Read 1310 times)
eytanz
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« on: June 02, 2018, 08:58:17 AM »

629: An Advanced Reader’s Picture Book of Comparative Cognition

AUTHOR : Ken Liu
NARRATOR : Adam Pracht
HOST: Mur Lafferty

---

My darling, my child, my connoisseur of sesquipedalian words and convoluted ideas and meandering sentences and baroque images, while the sun is asleep and the moon somnambulant, while the stars bathe us in their glow from eons ago and light-years away, while you are comfortably nestled in your blankets and I am hunched over in my chair by your bed, while we are warm and safe and still for the moment in this bubble of incandescent light cast by the pearl held up by the mermaid lamp, you and I, on this planet spinning and hurtling through the frigid darkness of space at dozens of miles per second, let’s read.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 11:51:29 PM by divs » Logged
cwthree
Palmer
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Posts: 48


« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2018, 09:31:10 AM »

It's "NOO-klee-yur" / "NOO-klee-yur", not "NOO-kyoo-lar" / "NOO-kyoo-lus".

The reader mispronounced these words throughout, marring an otherwise enjoyable story.
Logged
TheFriendlyNSA
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Posts: 4


« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2018, 10:51:04 AM »

All I could think as the story unraveled was, "this sounds familiar." The theme, the voice, everything! Was the incredible Ken Liu ripping someone off?
Ha.
No.
Turns out he was just exploring the same idea he did in "The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species." I first heard it on Lightspeed's podcast (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-bookmaking-habits-of-select-species/) in 2012, and it's still one of my favorites.

I love the framing of alien comparative ethnographies in both iterations!
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froucleouss
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Posts: 1



« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2018, 03:12:44 PM »

It's "NOO-klee-yur" / "NOO-klee-yur", not "NOO-kyoo-lar" / "NOO-kyoo-lus".

The reader mispronounced these words throughout, marring an otherwise enjoyable story.

Ugh, I am sort of accustomed to hearing nuclear mispronounced, but had to stop listening when nucleus was. It was disappointing to hear this in one of the top SCIENCE-fiction podcasts.
Logged
acpracht
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 214


« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2018, 10:58:40 PM »

It's "NOO-klee-yur" / "NOO-klee-yur", not "NOO-kyoo-lar" / "NOO-kyoo-lus".

The reader mispronounced these words throughout, marring an otherwise enjoyable story.

Ugh, I am sort of accustomed to hearing nuclear mispronounced, but had to stop listening when nucleus was. It was disappointing to hear this in one of the top SCIENCE-fiction podcasts.

Oh, my beautiful nerds...

Adam Pracht here, Escape Pod audio producer and narrator on this one. Given that this has come up now three times (twice here, once to my Escape Artists email), I feel I should take just a few moments to address this.

Let me jump right to the point and say this from the get-go:

Yep, you're right about the most correct pronunciation of "nuclear" and "nucleus." Apologies for the error and for any distraction it may have caused from a perfectly wonderful story.

If that's all you care about, you can probably just stop here.

If, however, you are willing to read a little bit of behind-the-scenes information on how the error ended up in this episode - you might end up with a bit more sympathetic viewpoint on it (or, at least, have a better understanding of what happened).


First, let me explain that when I'm narrating a story, one of my first steps is usually to go through the manuscript and highlight any "problem" words in terms of pronunciation, followed by a short guide for myself on how to pronounce it. "Nuclear" and "nucleus" are - for whatever reason - words that I frequently will flub if I'm not thinking about them consciously and carefully.

Normally, these are ones I would highlight for myself and insert the phonetic pronunciation.

This time, however, in a sea of hard-to-pronounce words (among them: sesquipedalian, somnambulant, Eidetic, stearate, phenethylamine, theobromine, Enceladus, molybdenum, technetium, quiescence, asymptotic, gu huo niao, Hagoromo   ... not to mention 11 lines in Middle English from Paradise Lost), I'm afraid I missed spotting these two.

Secondly, let me assure that the incomparable S.B. Divya - your fantastic co-editor - did her job perfectly - catching the error and bringing it to my attention.

At that point, however, my voice unfortunately sounded like this:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/troom0sw3tzkve8/recording310594164.mp3?dl=0

This is just a link to an mp3 of the actual audio message I sent to Divya that day.

As I say in the message, if I had tried to re-record it to fix the error, those sections would have sounded /glaringly/ wrong because of how messed up and frog-like my voice was.

It's just now starting to get back to normal, so I'm considering doing a re-record of those sections and uploading a fix (as I am currently unemployed, however, my first priority is getting full-time employment again, which I'm sure you all can understand).

In the meantime, if I were going to make a retcon argument, it might be that the entire story is, ostensibly, first person narration and my mispronunciations of "nuclear" and "nucleus" are "a pronunciation variant that occurs in educated speech but that is considered by some to be questionable" (Merriam-Webster).

In other words... still not really correct, but absolutely what one might hear in everyday speech.

(And, dare I mention, my error will probably eventually become an accepted variant. After all, it's a common process in language evolution called "metathesis" where sounds swap around in spoken language. It's why we say "bird" and not "brid", "wasp" and not "waps" and "horse" instead of "hros.")

(Peers intently to see whether anyone is buying it... No...?)

Until I can get it fixed, again, please accept my apology, and I hope to get a new, fixed version up soon.

Thanks,

-Adam
Logged
acpracht
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 214


« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2018, 11:03:12 PM »

All I could think as the story unraveled was, "this sounds familiar." The theme, the voice, everything! Was the incredible Ken Liu ripping someone off?
Ha.
No.
Turns out he was just exploring the same idea he did in "The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species." I first heard it on Lightspeed's podcast (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-bookmaking-habits-of-select-species/) in 2012, and it's still one of my favorites.

I love the framing of alien comparative ethnographies in both iterations!

Ken has also taken a familiar format with "Invisible Planets" - also published on Lightspeed (and, Ken has confirmed to me, was inspired by the fantastic "Invisible Cities" by Italo Calvino - which you absolutely should check out).
Logged
acpracht
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 214


« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2018, 11:09:30 PM »

It's "NOO-klee-yur" / "NOO-klee-yur", not "NOO-kyoo-lar" / "NOO-kyoo-lus".

The reader mispronounced these words throughout, marring an otherwise enjoyable story.


Also, ahem, "NOO-klee-yur" / "NOO-klee-us"

 Wink

-Adam
Logged
TheFriendlyNSA
Extern
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Posts: 4


« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2018, 07:02:12 AM »

Ken has also taken a familiar format with "Invisible Planets" - also published on Lightspeed (and, Ken has confirmed to me, was inspired by the fantastic "Invisible Cities" by Italo Calvino - which you absolutely should check out).

I will, thanks!
Logged
acpracht
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 214


« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2018, 08:19:26 PM »

It's "NOO-klee-yur" / "NOO-klee-yur", not "NOO-kyoo-lar" / "NOO-kyoo-lus".

The reader mispronounced these words throughout, marring an otherwise enjoyable story.

Ugh, I am sort of accustomed to hearing nuclear mispronounced, but had to stop listening when nucleus was. It was disappointing to hear this in one of the top SCIENCE-fiction podcasts.

Oh, my beautiful nerds...

Adam Pracht here, Escape Pod audio producer and narrator on this one. Given that this has come up now three times (twice here, once to my Escape Artists email), I feel I should take just a few moments to address this.

Let me jump right to the point and say this from the get-go:

Yep, you're right about the most correct pronunciation of "nuclear" and "nucleus." Apologies for the error and for any distraction it may have caused from a perfectly wonderful story.

If that's all you care about, you can probably just stop here.

If, however, you are willing to read a little bit of behind-the-scenes information on how the error ended up in this episode - you might end up with a bit more sympathetic viewpoint on it (or, at least, have a better understanding of what happened).


First, let me explain that when I'm narrating a story, one of my first steps is usually to go through the manuscript and highlight any "problem" words in terms of pronunciation, followed by a short guide for myself on how to pronounce it. "Nuclear" and "nucleus" are - for whatever reason - words that I frequently will flub if I'm not thinking about them consciously and carefully.

Normally, these are ones I would highlight for myself and insert the phonetic pronunciation.

This time, however, in a sea of hard-to-pronounce words (among them: sesquipedalian, somnambulant, Eidetic, stearate, phenethylamine, theobromine, Enceladus, molybdenum, technetium, quiescence, asymptotic, gu huo niao, Hagoromo   ... not to mention 11 lines in Middle English from Paradise Lost), I'm afraid I missed spotting these two.

Secondly, let me assure that the incomparable S.B. Divya - your fantastic co-editor - did her job perfectly - catching the error and bringing it to my attention.

At that point, however, my voice unfortunately sounded like this:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/troom0sw3tzkve8/recording310594164.mp3?dl=0

This is just a link to an mp3 of the actual audio message I sent to Divya that day.

As I say in the message, if I had tried to re-record it to fix the error, those sections would have sounded /glaringly/ wrong because of how messed up and frog-like my voice was.

It's just now starting to get back to normal, so I'm considering doing a re-record of those sections and uploading a fix (as I am currently unemployed, however, my first priority is getting full-time employment again, which I'm sure you all can understand).

In the meantime, if I were going to make a retcon argument, it might be that the entire story is, ostensibly, first person narration and my mispronunciations of "nuclear" and "nucleus" are "a pronunciation variant that occurs in educated speech but that is considered by some to be questionable" (Merriam-Webster).

In other words... still not really correct, but absolutely what one might hear in everyday speech.

(And, dare I mention, my error will probably eventually become an accepted variant. After all, it's a common process in language evolution called "metathesis" where sounds swap around in spoken language. It's why we say "bird" and not "brid", "wasp" and not "waps" and "horse" instead of "hros.")

(Peers intently to see whether anyone is buying it... No...?)

Until I can get it fixed, again, please accept my apology, and I hope to get a new, fixed version up soon.

Thanks,

-Adam

Quick update: The version up now for download has this pronunciation issue fixed.

-Adam
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CryptoMe
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1016



« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2018, 01:21:33 PM »

Sorry, this one did not work for me. Between the story's tempo and the very soothing narration, my mind seemed to be pulling elsewhere and I could not get into this one. I mean, I liked the concept of the story well enough, but I didn't think the way it was told hung together, at least not for me. Too disjointed and with too much flowery language for my tastes.

Next week, different words in a different order.
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lucedenki
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Posts: 1


« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2018, 02:16:49 PM »

 Smiley
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acpracht
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 214


« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2018, 07:42:39 PM »

Sorry, this one did not work for me. Between the story's tempo and the very soothing narration, my mind seemed to be pulling elsewhere and I could not get into this one. I mean, I liked the concept of the story well enough, but I didn't think the way it was told hung together, at least not for me. Too disjointed and with too much flowery language for my tastes.

Next week, different words in a different order.

Hm. Well, it is framed as a bedtime story. A soothing tone seemed called for. Sorry it didn't work for you. :/
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Katzentatzen
Matross
****
Posts: 191



« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2018, 05:11:31 PM »

Adam Pracht and Ken Lui is a match made in heaven! I associate both with a dreamlike affect, perfect for this bedtime story. The different "minds" and "societies" (or without quotes, since who am I to decide?) were incredibly fascinating, I love that none of them were the conventional human-type aliens or consciousnesses that most people think of. The Tick-Tocks especially were my favorite. I have 0 doubts there is life like them somewhere.
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"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."
--LILIAN JACKSON BRAUN
acpracht
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 214


« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2018, 03:05:16 PM »

Adam Pracht and Ken Lui is a match made in heaven! I associate both with a dreamlike affect, perfect for this bedtime story. The different "minds" and "societies" (or without quotes, since who am I to decide?) were incredibly fascinating, I love that none of them were the conventional human-type aliens or consciousnesses that most people think of. The Tick-Tocks especially were my favorite. I have 0 doubts there is life like them somewhere.

*Sigh of relief*

Hooray! Someone who liked it! Lol.

THANK you. Smiley

-Adam
Logged
Katzentatzen
Matross
****
Posts: 191



« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2018, 03:21:14 PM »

Adam Pracht and Ken Lui is a match made in heaven! I associate both with a dreamlike affect, perfect for this bedtime story. The different "minds" and "societies" (or without quotes, since who am I to decide?) were incredibly fascinating, I love that none of them were the conventional human-type aliens or consciousnesses that most people think of. The Tick-Tocks especially were my favorite. I have 0 doubts there is life like them somewhere.

*Sigh of relief*

Hooray! Someone who liked it! Lol.

THANK you. Smiley

-Adam

I'm surprised I'm the only one who seemed to! I thought it was wonderful and one of my favorites this year. The other fans must be just putting the finishing touches on their homages and fanart, and then you'll hear from them.
Logged

"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."
--LILIAN JACKSON BRAUN
TrishEM
Matross
****
Posts: 173



« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2018, 10:07:10 PM »

Oh, I loved this story too! I just didn't think I had anything particularly insightful or witty to say about it, plus I've been very busy. I did like seeing the different ways that the different beings expressed their love, all told in this dreamy bedtime-story style.

Adam Pracht and Ken Lui is a match made in heaven! I associate both with a dreamlike affect, perfect for this bedtime story. The different "minds" and "societies" (or without quotes, since who am I to decide?) were incredibly fascinating, I love that none of them were the conventional human-type aliens or consciousnesses that most people think of. The Tick-Tocks especially were my favorite. I have 0 doubts there is life like them somewhere.

*Sigh of relief*

Hooray! Someone who liked it! Lol.

THANK you. Smiley

-Adam

I'm surprised I'm the only one who seemed to! I thought it was wonderful and one of my favorites this year. The other fans must be just putting the finishing touches on their homages and fanart, and then you'll hear from them.
Logged
Ichneumon
Matross
****
Posts: 188


« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2018, 01:20:38 PM »

The snippets of "comparative cognition" were my favorite parts.
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jaxdracon
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Posts: 5



« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2018, 06:52:02 PM »

Adam Pracht and Ken Liu is a match made in heaven!

I'll second this. Ken's stories dominate my "best of EP" list (this one got a "Hit Me Right Here" tag), and Adam's bedtime story vibe magnified the punch. WTG sir, and good luck with the job thing.
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Fenrix
Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
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Posts: 3723


I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.


« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2018, 02:55:10 PM »

Loved the framing device of the story. Liu delivers excellent prose.
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All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”
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