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Author Topic: EP072: Joe Steele  (Read 2761 times)
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« on: October 17, 2009, 04:45:25 PM »

EP072: Joe Steele

By Harry Turtledove.
(Inspired by the song “God & the FBI” by Janis Ian, published by Windham Hill. Song included with Janis Ian’s permission.)
Read by Stephen Eley.

Two men left. Franklin D. Roosevelt. D for Delano, mind. Governor of New York. Cousin to Teddy Roosevelt. Already ran for Vice President once. Didn’t win. Cigarette holder. Jaunty angle. Wheelchair. Paralysis. Anguish. Courage. As near an aristocrat as America grows. Franklin D. Roosevelt. D for Delano.

And Joe Steele.

Joe Steele. Congressman from California. Not San Francisco. Not Nob Hill. Good Lord, no. Fresno. Farm country. That great valley, squeezed by mountains east and west. Not a big fellow, Joe Steele. Stands real straight, so you don’t notice too much. Mustache, a good-sized one. Thick head of hair just starting to go gray. Eyelids like shutters. When they go down and then come up again, you can’t see what was behind them.


Rated R. Contains profanity and strong political themes. Not happy politics, like we have today. 1930s politics.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!

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Scattercat
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2009, 05:35:37 AM »

This one had a pretty high win quotient.  Not 100% win, but definitely far more win than fail.  My biggest complaint would be that I think fascist Communism would end up looking different in America and this story's version ended up a little too close to Russia's version.

Ending was almost pure win, though.  That dude is a scary mofo.
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yicheng
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2009, 09:27:21 AM »

This remains one of my all-time favorite stories, probably because I'm a sucker for history.  Steve's reading completely brings it to life, too.  Moar Turtledove Plz?
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2010, 11:10:37 AM »

I'm rarely a fan of political stories, simply because I just get sick of being inundated with political conversations at work and during election years.  In this case, I didn't make it far enough into the story to be bothered by the political message because I could stand the writing style.

D for Delano.  Short declarative sentence fragments.  D for Delano.  Head hurting.  D for Delano.

Sentence fragments can be used well in prose to give a more conversational tone, but there were too many for my brain to handle here.  I'll root for any story structure that enhances it's material, but I couldn't pay attention to anything BUT the structure.  I started giving a little cheer whenever I heard a complete sentence.

And the phrase "D for Delano" got more and more annoying each time I heard it.  Was that an attempt at humor?  If so, it totally missed me.  Usually I give each story a little longer before I decide to turn it off, but after a dozen repititions or so of  "D for Delano" I stopped.
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2010, 11:48:20 AM »

D for Delano.  Short declarative sentence fragments.  D for Delano.  Head hurting.  D for Delano.

I believe the Delano's were a name associated with vast wealth and privilege.  Maybe a similar name for our time might be 'T for Trump' or 'H for Hilton'... or maybe 'M for Medici' if you were in Europe.
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2010, 11:51:22 AM »

D for Delano.  Short declarative sentence fragments.  D for Delano.  Head hurting.  D for Delano.

I believe the Delano's were a name associated with vast wealth and privilege.  Maybe a similar name for our time might be 'T for Trump' or 'H for Hilton'... or maybe 'M for Medici' if you were in Europe.

Perhaps, but the repitition was still too much.  The name "Roosevelt" was also a name associated with vast wealth and privilege, and being a surname, meant much more than a middle name in any case.
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2010, 11:53:55 AM »

I don't think "conversational" was the goal here, exactly.  More stream of consciousness.
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2010, 09:30:21 AM »

D for Delano.  Short declarative sentence fragments.  D for Delano.  Head hurting.  D for Delano.

I believe the Delano's were a name associated with vast wealth and privilege.  Maybe a similar name for our time might be 'T for Trump' or 'H for Hilton'... or maybe 'M for Medici' if you were in Europe.

Perhaps, but the repitition was still too much.  The name "Roosevelt" was also a name associated with vast wealth and privilege, and being a surname, meant much more than a middle name in any case.

I think the point is that he came from not 1 but 2 families of wealth of privilege.  This is contrasted with Joe Steele's working class background as an Georgian raisin grower's kid.
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2010, 01:26:21 PM »

I don't think "conversational" was the goal here, exactly.  More stream of consciousness.

Whatever you want to label it, it drove me nuts.
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2010, 01:27:34 PM »

I think the point is that he came from not 1 but 2 families of wealth of privilege.  This is contrasted with Joe Steele's working class background as an Georgian raisin grower's kid.

And that makes it worthwhile, once or twice.  But there were repititions ad nauseum within the 8 minutes I listened to. 
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2010, 06:33:20 PM »

I liked the effect; it was more like a prose poem than anything else.  Not something I'd want to be the new standard of storytelling, but I liked the rhythm and repetition, like refrains in a song.  It helped to emphasize certain details (both those that were and those that pointedly were not repeated.)
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2010, 10:57:32 PM »

I'm rarely a fan of political stories, simply because I just get sick of being inundated with political conversations at work and during election years. 

I only wish the political conversations were confined to election years.  But these days it seems that the election cycle is three years and eleven months, so the campaigning never stops.
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2010, 09:18:51 PM »

Wow.  A powerful, and uncomfortably plausible story.
I'd be the last person to say all our presidents in the USA were wonderful, but so far we've been spared bloody monsters like Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.  While it's easy to get complacent and think of those sort as being only possible elsewhere, there's really no rule that prevents it.

...

I'm not sure i would have liked it as much reading it myself.  The "rhythm and repetition" appeal more easily to the ear than when reading, at least to me.
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2011, 06:23:47 PM »

Wow, this was horrible and painful to listen to.  I couldn't tell when the song quote ended and the story began, but after a minute I realized that we were probably into the story.  But stories need at least some complex sentences and to be organized into paragraphs.  Plot-wise I was intrigued, but the only well-written part was the quote from Joe Steele's speech which used actual sentences.  I know this was some kind of experiment, but as far as I am concerned it was a huge fail.
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2011, 11:36:13 AM »

Wow, this was horrible and painful to listen to.  I couldn't tell when the song quote ended and the story began, but after a minute I realized that we were probably into the story.  But stories need at least some complex sentences and to be organized into paragraphs.  Plot-wise I was intrigued, but the only well-written part was the quote from Joe Steele's speech which used actual sentences.  I know this was some kind of experiment, but as far as I am concerned it was a huge fail.

You might want to avoid "Usurpers" as well.  All short declarative sentences, with the protagonist referring to himself in 3rd person.
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