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Author Topic: EP143: Flaming Marshmallow and Other Deaths  (Read 55104 times)

Windup

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Reply #20 on: February 03, 2008, 11:00:42 PM
Yeah, the death-prediction machine was completely implausible.  It's a measure of how well everything in the story worked that I didn't mind a bit -- and that sort of thing normally bothers me.

The character of the narrator was perfectly believable, and the voice acting was perfect for the part.  The sucker-punch at the beginning -- making you think it's going to be a driver's license, hinting that it's not, then suddenly popping out with the truth -- was just the first of several great set-ups and executions. 

To all involved: "Nice job..."

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CGFxColONeill

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Reply #21 on: February 04, 2008, 03:52:27 AM

I hear where you're coming from, but I think we've called a truce on the SF/NotSF debate. The official EscapePod definition is that Science Fiction is whatever Steve Eley says that it is. Otherwise we get into a semantics debate that's even less productive than discussing theology, science, politics, or criminal justice with Mr. Tweedy.



ok thanks for the heads up
as I am kinda new to this ( less than 2 weeks ) I had not gotten far enough to realize that the truce had been called or w/e the term is lol

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goatkeeper

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Reply #22 on: February 04, 2008, 05:38:35 AM


I have to admit, i had my doubts about the whole "Machine of Death" concept when i first heard of the contest a year or so ago and wondered if it would produce any good stories. But after hearing that, i'll definitely be checking it out.

eh??  whatchyoo talkin bout willus?



gelee

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Reply #23 on: February 04, 2008, 01:04:55 PM
Funny story!  Having some experience in raising teenaged girls, I think the author really nailed the characterization.  Well done.
The technology didn't bother me at all.  That "What If" element is at the heart of all 'weird' fiction, I think.  Let's not forget the old saw about sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic.  Who's to say it's more implausible than an FTL star drive?



Rain

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Reply #24 on: February 04, 2008, 02:17:24 PM
Not being American i am not really familiar with how cliques work in schools but i found the story pretty interesting and it was a nice unique idea.

My only complain was that the dialogue made me feel like an old man, do kids really talk like that?



Darwinist

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Reply #25 on: February 04, 2008, 02:27:08 PM

My only complain was that the dialogue made me feel like an old man, do kids really talk like that?

Yeah.  DKT asked the same question a while back.  Boys are more inclined to just say the F-word while girls tend to say "effin"  - at least thats what I hear.  But, every 10 minutes a new "cool" word comes along and that's all you hear for a while.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan


CGFxColONeill

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Reply #26 on: February 04, 2008, 03:49:03 PM

My only complain was that the dialogue made me feel like an old man, do kids really talk like that?

Yeah.  DKT asked the same question a while back.  Boys are more inclined to just say the F-word while girls tend to say "effin"  - at least thats what I hear.  But, every 10 minutes a new "cool" word comes along and that's all you hear for a while.
depends on the person
I used to work w/ a girl that if she went more than 20 min w/o saying the F-word something was wrong so ya I guess it depends on the person and area of the country

Overconfidence - Before you attempt to beat the odds, be sure you could survive the odds beating you.

I am not sure if Life is passing me by or running me over


Nooks

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Reply #27 on: February 04, 2008, 05:33:46 PM
Wow, what a great start to a really excellent-sounding story.  I can't wait to hear the rest of it.

Okay, so that's pretty snarky, but I feel let-down by this story and last week's (Artifice and Intelligence). They both seemed to be only the merest kernel of an idea without sufficient development to make them fully compelling.

That said, FMaOD has depths and characterization beyond AaI; the main character's sound is pretty plausible despite being a bit too overtly stereotyped Valley Girl.  The dad was a nice touch---I wonder if his cause of death is somehow linked to his daughter's.

All in all, I'd have been happier if FMoAD had been developed to the point of Greg Egan's "The Hundred-Light-Year Diary", but I'm not complaining much.  +1 for production values this week.



eytanz

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Reply #28 on: February 04, 2008, 06:12:56 PM
Not much for me to say about this one. For a while I was wondering if the story would take a serious turn with one of the kids actually dying and the protagonist deciding she doesn't want to know or something - and I was very glad it didn't. I did really like the turn it took, especially in the depiction of the father.

I was also a bit puzzled by her cause of death, but I guess it was supposed to sound futuristic and far away and not really important beyond that. Of course, there was a missed opportunity here, as if her COD was "Heat death of the universe", there could have been a cool crossover with "In the late December" in the making ;)
« Last Edit: February 04, 2008, 06:14:44 PM by eytanz »



Djerrid

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Reply #29 on: February 04, 2008, 06:17:28 PM
My first thought was She should put a couple of dollars in a savings account and then she'd be a trillionaire by the time she's "middle aged". My next thought was I wonder how that machine would effect the life insurance industry.
Ok, I'm gonna shoo some kids off my lawn now.



Darwinist

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Reply #30 on: February 04, 2008, 06:40:59 PM
My next thought was I wonder how that machine would effect the life insurance industry.
Ok, I'm gonna shoo some kids off my lawn now.

Interesting. I would think that since the machine doesn't give a time of death that it wouldn't make that much difference.   On the other hand, most of us aren't worrying about death and life insurance in our teens or even twenties.   I guess if a person found out they were a "suicide" they or their family would want to load up on life insurance ASAP since there is usually a suicide timing issues on most policies.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan


eytanz

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Reply #31 on: February 04, 2008, 08:48:07 PM
My next thought was I wonder how that machine would effect the life insurance industry.
Ok, I'm gonna shoo some kids off my lawn now.

Interesting. I would think that since the machine doesn't give a time of death that it wouldn't make that much difference.   On the other hand, most of us aren't worrying about death and life insurance in our teens or even twenties.   I guess if a person found out they were a "suicide" they or their family would want to load up on life insurance ASAP since there is usually a suicide timing issues on most policies.

There's that. But also think about car insurance - if someone knows they are going to die in a crash, is their premium going up?



Darwinist

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Reply #32 on: February 04, 2008, 08:55:46 PM

There's that. But also think about car insurance - if someone knows they are going to die in a crash, is their premium going up?

They could be riding along as a passenger which wouldn't affect their premium.   I can't remember if the machine specified they type of vehicle they were riding in.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan


gelee

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Reply #33 on: February 04, 2008, 10:31:24 PM

There's that. But also think about car insurance - if someone knows they are going to die in a crash, is their premium going up?

They could be riding along as a passenger which wouldn't affect their premium.   I can't remember if the machine specified they type of vehicle they were riding in.
Considering the way the actuarial tables work, if you, or anyone in your family, is a "crasher", I can assure that your premiums would go up.



Darwinist

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Reply #34 on: February 04, 2008, 10:49:49 PM

There's that. But also think about car insurance - if someone knows they are going to die in a crash, is their premium going up?

They could be riding along as a passenger which wouldn't affect their premium.   I can't remember if the machine specified they type of vehicle they were riding in.
Considering the way the actuarial tables work, if you, or anyone in your family, is a "crasher", I can assure that your premiums would go up.

My original comment about knowing the cause of death of people not making much of a difference in the insurance industry was way off.  The whole insurance industry would have to be revamped.  Each type of death would have to be assigned some type of average life expectancy and risk - like current smoker / non-smoker ratings.  It would be a mess.  The "old-ager" group would pay the lowest premiums and "suiciders" would probably be ineligible all together, with everyone else falling somewhere in between.       

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan


deflective

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Reply #35 on: February 05, 2008, 09:03:30 AM
Considering the way the actuarial tables work, if you, or anyone in your family, is a "crasher", I can assure that your premiums would go up.

you gotta wonder if forming cliques around cause of death is really the best way to go.
"what? the crashers? yeah, they just piled into Lisa's van on their way to the burners' indoor barbecue."

new airport regulation: at least one old ager on every flight.



robertmarkbram

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Reply #36 on: February 05, 2008, 09:58:39 AM
new airport regulation: at least one old ager on every flight.

New airport regulation: at least one young old ager on every flight, who has to ride tied to the nose cone...


ajames

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Reply #37 on: February 05, 2008, 11:06:41 AM
Loved this one, great pick Steve!



Russell Nash

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Reply #38 on: February 05, 2008, 01:26:34 PM


I have to admit, i had my doubts about the whole "Machine of Death" concept when i first heard of the contest a year or so ago and wondered if it would produce any good stories. But after hearing that, i'll definitely be checking it out.

eh??  whatchyoo talkin bout willus?

We have a winner for the "Obscure Reference Award" for this thread.



stePH

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Reply #39 on: February 05, 2008, 02:02:23 PM
My next thought was I wonder how that machine would effect the life insurance industry.
Ok, I'm gonna shoo some kids off my lawn now.

Interesting. I would think that since the machine doesn't give a time of death that it wouldn't make that much difference.   On the other hand, most of us aren't worrying about death and life insurance in our teens or even twenties.   I guess if a person found out they were a "suicide" they or their family would want to load up on life insurance ASAP since there is usually a suicide timing issues on most policies.

The insurance companies were quite upset in Heinlein's story "Lifeline" as well.

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