Escape Artists
September 01, 2014, 04:00:22 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3  All
  Print  
Author Topic: EP128: Union Dues - Send in the Clowns  (Read 11109 times)
Russell Nash
Guest
« on: October 19, 2007, 02:21:45 AM »

EP128: Union Dues - Send in the Clowns

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Dani Cutler (of Truth Seekrs and The Audio Addicts).

Tina tugs on Kindred’s bullet-tattered red cape. “What kinda tricks do you do?”

Kindred shakes her head as if bewildered by the question. “Tricks?” She glances back at Megaton, who now juggles three Jersey barriers about a hundred meters out in the devastation.

“Let it go Kindred. We’ve been through a lot.”

“Well that’s good. So now you’re free to put on a carnival. Get everyone together and onto the jet now. And I mean now!” Her voice is so loud it draws everyone’s attention away from the show.

Megaton drops the Jersey barriers and the ground shakes.

Kindred lowers herself to one knee beside the little girl. “My trick is special,” she says, “I can make the whole circus disappear. Abracadabra—”


Ratied PG. Contains superhero violence and organizational politics.



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
Logged
sirana
Lochage
*****
Posts: 409



« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2007, 02:48:04 AM »

haven't even listened to it but Jay, another Union Dues!!!
Logged
Drakona
Extern
*
Posts: 5



WWW
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2007, 03:56:05 AM »

Oh! Union Dues! I was riding a packed train when I saw that the current escape pod story was a new Union Dues story. I let out a squeel that made my fellow travellers turn and look at me, puzzled. And I smiled all the while I was listening to the story, and the other travellers kept looking at me funny Cheesy Union Dues stories are always so dead pan dark and yet engaging. They make me feel that "yes, this IS what it would be like!". Love it!

Thank you Jeffrey for writing them, and Steve for running them! I'm looking forward to more.
Logged
bolddeceiver
Matross
****
Posts: 226


Plunging like stones from a slingshot on mars...


« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2007, 03:59:00 AM »

Man, Jeffery, keep this up.  Wow.  I hope these get all compiled together in print some day.

One tiny problem with the delivery.  The reader didn't try to force voices, reading all characters in pretty close to her own voice.  I don't mind that; I prefer it to a female reader doing a false male voice, or vise versa.  But I didn't think this went well at all the use of the "radio transmission" voice effects.  It's harder to imagine a line coming in a different voice when you have that "REALISM" cue....

Still, a big A+, after two weeks that I frankly found a bit disappointing.
Logged
Thaurismunths
High Priest of TCoRN
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1415


Praise N-sh, for it is right and good!


« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2007, 12:00:35 PM »

Wah HOo!!
I haven't listened yet (still downloading), but I'm really looking forward to it.

Also, I'd like to just get this out of the way: This this story isn't enough "SF" to belong here. The author has no idea what he's talking about. I take personal offense at everything in the story, and you should all apologize!

Thanks Steve! Thanks JR!
(Ok, I'm going to go listen to it now.) Smiley
Logged

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?
jrderego
Hipparch
******
Posts: 656


Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)


WWW
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2007, 12:08:27 PM »

Wah HOo!!
I haven't listened yet (still downloading), but I'm really looking forward to it.

Also, I'd like to just get this out of the way: This this story isn't enough "SF" to belong here. The author has no idea what he's talking about. I take personal offense at everything in the story, and you should all apologize!

Thanks Steve! Thanks JR!
(Ok, I'm going to go listen to it now.) Smiley

Yeah, you guys ought to run this bum author out on a rail! Tar and feather him!!!

Smiley

Hope you all dig the story! It's sci-fi, it has robots (well the remains of them anyway)! That reminds me, when I submitted it I said I'd post the original 8 opening pages of robot fighting action in here... I have to go search my HD now to make good on that promise.

Also-

I'd like to e-mail Dani Cutler and thank her for the great read, but I couldn't find her address on any of the linked pages where she's hosting. Can someone PM it to me?

Logged

"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html
VBurn
Peltast
***
Posts: 91


I am just an egg


« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2007, 01:22:22 PM »

Its like a ray of sunshine on a cloud day, excpet with a dark shine to it... Undecided  Not sure what that means but the Union Dues are great stories, singulary or collectively.  Steve, you guys should do a Union Due collective speacial at that pod disc thing you always talk about.
Logged
lowky
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2381


from http://lovecraftismissing.com/?page_id=3142


« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2007, 04:37:25 PM »

I wonder what my neighbors must have thought, as I am sure they heard me squee!! when I saw the new ep episode was another Union Dues.  I seriously enjoy this story line and hope to see more of it in the future, and all of it collected into novel form someday.  Great job on the story as usual. 
Logged

BrandtPileggi
Matross
****
Posts: 192



WWW
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2007, 01:23:09 AM »

So good I pooped on myself. And that had nothing to do with massive quantity of Milk of Magnesia that I ingested and forgot about.
Logged
Russell Nash
Guest
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2007, 03:03:52 AM »

I was really looking forward to seeing the posts when I started this thread, but I find it absolutely amazing how many people post just to say they're glad there's a new Union Dues.  They haven't even listened to it yet. 

It will be a little while before I listen to it.  My kids got me sick and I want to be able to devote my full attention to it, so I'll wait until I'm healthy.  I'm really looking forward to it.
Logged
Czhorat
Peltast
***
Posts: 135


« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2007, 06:38:25 AM »

This feels a bit awkward with all the positive response, but this didn't quite work for me. Part of the problem might be that I downloaded a couple of the old Union Dues stories ("Baby and the Bathwater" and "Cleanup in Aisle Five") listened back to back to bring myself up to speed, so it might be getting a touch repetetive for me.

One small issue I have with the stories is that they feel overly talky to me. If I were to imagine this as a comic book, it would contain panel after panel of characters talking to eachother or just thinking to themselves. It's not that dialoge itself is bad, but much of the chatter - especially between Chrome and Kindred - felt unnatural to me. It seemed to only be there to make the points that the writer didn't trust himself to have made through characters' actions. Perhaps if Kindred had told an actual illustrative story about a time when she was dragged off to be kids entertainment we could have had her narrative within the main narrative. That might have made the story a bit more structurally interesting.

For me, the best part of the story was the bit with the unintended consequences of the post-hypnotic suggestion taking over at inopportune times and sending Union heroes into robot-monotone mode. It was nicely introduced in Chrome's conversation with Megaton and made for a satisfying even if a little too convenient conclusion.

I know that these Union Dues stories are entertaining bits of fluff, but they're starting to feel a bit heavy handed to me. The Union feels more "just plain bad" as things go on, has become unpopular, doesn't have the support of at least local government, and is negatively portrayed in the press. I can suspend my disbelief as to the existence of the super-strong, super-agile, telepaths, and super-strategists, but can't figure out why such a highly visible and highly unpopular organization retains a stranglehold in its area of concentration. If the series continues I think we need to see some cracks in the Union edifice for it to remain believable.
Logged

The Word of Nash is the word of Nash and it is Nash's word.
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4578



« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2007, 07:20:17 AM »

The previous Union Dues story came out shortly after I started following Escape Pod, so I just skipped it, figuring I'd go back and listen to the older ones in sequence. Then I forgot about it, and never did.

Since I have just moved from New York City to a much quieter part of the world (York, England), I find I have more free time in the evenings. So I'm pretty thankful I never listened to the previous Union Dues stories as now I have a neat little project to carry me through the next few days...
Logged
lowky
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2381


from http://lovecraftismissing.com/?page_id=3142


« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2007, 11:39:14 AM »


I know that these Union Dues stories are entertaining bits of fluff, but they're starting to feel a bit heavy handed to me. The Union feels more "just plain bad" as things go on, has become unpopular, doesn't have the support of at least local government, and is negatively portrayed in the press. I can suspend my disbelief as to the existence of the super-strong, super-agile, telepaths, and super-strategists, but can't figure out why such a highly visible and highly unpopular organization retains a stranglehold in its area of concentration. If the series continues I think we need to see some cracks in the Union edifice for it to remain believable.

I think it retains a stranglehold and has some negative views for the same reason other big unions in RL do.  Unions after awhile become big business themselves, and it becomes more about what money the leadership can make, than about helping the members.  Alot of people I have talked with here in the US view UAW as part of the problem with jobs going over seas.  They don't look at the fact they are/have priced their members out of a job, they just steadfastly refuse to make concessions.  Teamsters has long been viewed as corrupt and full of ties to organized crime whether it's still true or not, and I think it goes back to the days of Jimmy Hoffa and the like running teamsters.  The Union in Union Dues seems more like they are out to protect the royalties they get from marketing the supers than actually helping people.  This story especially makes it seem that way.  There is big money to be made with Comic Books, action figures, Saturday morning Cartoons.  I still feel like we are early in the story for cracks to appear, were are kinda in the prologue before changes can start.

 I am still enjoying the Union Dues stories and look forward to seeing more of them.

Logged

Swamp
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2217



WWW
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2007, 12:13:54 PM »

This feels a bit awkward with all the positive response, but this didn't quite work for me.

I'm sure Jeffery appreciates hearing from a critical perspective as well as getting the praise, or possibly more.

One small issue I have with the stories is that they feel overly talky to me. If I were to imagine this as a comic book, it would contain panel after panel of characters talking to eachother or just thinking to themselves.

I find this to be a strength of the series.  This is not a comic book that relies on visual stimulus to drive the story.  (Don't get me wrong--I love comics.)  This is prose, and in the case of EP, audio prose.  This lends itself to more inner reflection and more exploratory character interaction.  If I'm not wrong, I think this is one of the author's point in writing the Union Dues stories.  We all know the common super hero action and schtik.  This is something different.
Logged

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast
Jim
HP Lovecraft's 275,892nd biggest fan.
Matross
****
Posts: 190


WWW
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2007, 12:32:23 PM »

I really like these stories a lot because the heroes, who are living lives of exceptional isolation brought on by their powers, can be seen clearly chafing at the social restraints they're under, the younger ones as well as the older ones.

The distrust of the public and the government toward the supers leads to the Union members having a buddy-cop "us-versus-them" attitude toward "the normals," and all these stories together point to things starting to really come apart at the seams.

I look forward to the stories building up to the point where the Union itself utterly fails in its diplomatic mission, and every Union pyramid comes under attack by normals. Certainly that could happen if the events of "Off White Lies" were to be leaked to the public.
Logged

My imaginary omnipotent friend is more real that your imaginary omnipotent friend.
Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
Moderator
*****
Posts: 3873


Mmm. Tiger.


WWW
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2007, 05:29:07 PM »

Uuuuuuuunion Duuuuuuuues!
Smiley i loved it! I squeeled when i saw it downloading.
The only thing that really bothered me was the incredible stupidity of Chrome not being able to explain herself.  Comeon, the Union doesn't believe in a fair trial?  As corrupt and inefficient as it might be, the Union cannot be that evil.
Logged

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
Musings and Ramblings
Czhorat
Peltast
***
Posts: 135


« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2007, 05:45:24 AM »

Uuuuuuuunion Duuuuuuuues!
Smiley i loved it! I squeeled when i saw it downloading.
The only thing that really bothered me was the incredible stupidity of Chrome not being able to explain herself.  Comeon, the Union doesn't believe in a fair trial?  As corrupt and inefficient as it might be, the Union cannot be that evil.

Not to mention the fact that they discipline Chrome for quietly comforting a child on her lap while Megaton is apparently given a pass for creating the spectacle in the first place.
Logged

The Word of Nash is the word of Nash and it is Nash's word.
Russell Nash
Guest
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2007, 08:06:24 AM »

Uuuuuuuunion Duuuuuuuues!
Smiley i loved it! I squeeled when i saw it downloading.
The only thing that really bothered me was the incredible stupidity of Chrome not being able to explain herself.  Comeon, the Union doesn't believe in a fair trial?  As corrupt and inefficient as it might be, the Union cannot be that evil.

Not to mention the fact that they discipline Chrome for quietly comforting a child on her lap while Megaton is apparently given a pass for creating the spectacle in the first place.

Megaton explains later that since his stuff sells well, he gets extra leeway.
Logged
Czhorat
Peltast
***
Posts: 135


« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2007, 09:42:31 AM »


I think it retains a stranglehold and has some negative views for the same reason other big unions in RL do.  Unions after awhile become big business themselves, and it becomes more about what money the leadership can make, than about helping the members.  Alot of people I have talked with here in the US view UAW as part of the problem with jobs going over seas.  They don't look at the fact they are/have priced their members out of a job, they just steadfastly refuse to make concessions.  Teamsters has long been viewed as corrupt and full of ties to organized crime whether it's still true or not, and I think it goes back to the days of Jimmy Hoffa and the like running teamsters.  The Union in Union Dues seems more like they are out to protect the royalties they get from marketing the supers than actually helping people. 

This to me feels like a characature of what a labor union is and does. The "Union" in the Union Dues stories doesn't seem to be a union at all in the sense of the UAW, AFL-CIO, or any other examples of the labor movement. It behaves more like a corporation, most likely a government-regulated monopoly such as the pre-1980s phone company or electrical utilities in many markets. Real unions keep in power through negotiation of contracts involving closed shops, cooperation with other unions (a union carpenter at a construction site not accepting lumber deliveries from non-union shipping services, for example), and - at least to some extent - the support of their members.

Problems with the American automobile industry - only some of which can be laid on the doorstep of organized labor - are an entirely different topic. One way of looking at a union environment is as one with two parallell tracks of leadership. On one side is management - various levels of supervisors, area or group operations managers, up through executives and a board of directors. Their goal and loyalty is to the corporation and its shareholders. On the other side is union leadership - shop stewards, business agents, up through the union's board of directors and executives. Their constituents are the workers rather than the corporation. In such a case not only would the union fight for higher wages, but also against arbitrary discipline like that received by Chrome here in this story. In short, she'd have someone to fight for her.

Can unions be short-sighted and greedy? Absolutely. There's a tendency to push wages past the point at which they're sustainable, artificial tightening of labour supplies in some construction trades, and a willingness to fight for the least deserving workers on principle. Then again, without unions workers - especially those without the high level of skills and education to be able to negotiate on their own - would even more quickly be losing access to health care and have a harder time earning a living wage. They'd be treated by corporations as a fungible resource to be discarded when it's inconvenient and replaced as cheaply as possible. It's not a perfect system and it is a largely adversarial system, but it's one that provides advocacy for both workers and shareholders. That's at least something.

Sorry for wandering off topic and hopping onto a bit of a soapbox here. It's just frustrating to organized labor portrayed as the source of the problem with industry today, especially when discussing a story that has very little to do with the actual labour movement.
Logged

The Word of Nash is the word of Nash and it is Nash's word.
Jim
HP Lovecraft's 275,892nd biggest fan.
Matross
****
Posts: 190


WWW
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2007, 07:06:19 AM »

I wonder how the Union operates outside of U.S. borders, if at all.

What is the Union response if a super is discovered in, say, South Africa?

Could a renegade super escape to, say, North Korea, offering his or her services to Kim Jong Il in exchange from protection from being sent to The Village?

Should there be a Union Dues wiki to start keeping track of all this craziness?
Logged

My imaginary omnipotent friend is more real that your imaginary omnipotent friend.
Pages: [1] 2 3  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!