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Author Topic: EP156: Distant Replay  (Read 15860 times)
Russell Nash
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« on: May 02, 2008, 03:36:47 AM »

EP156: Distant Replay

2008 Hugo Nominee!

By Mike Resnick.
Read by Steve Anderson (of SGA Creative and Great Tales Live).
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2007.

“Let me show you,” I said, pulling out my wallet. I took my Deirdre’s photo out and handed it to her.

“It’s uncanny,” she said, studying the picture. “We even sort of wear our hair the same way. When was this taken?”

“Forty-seven years ago.”

“Is she dead?”

I nodded.


Rated PG. Contains mature themes and wistfulness.


Referenced Sites:
2008 Hugo Awards
“First of May” by Jonathan Coulton (Not work-safe)



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: May 02, 2008, 04:35:22 AM by Russell Nash » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2008, 07:20:49 AM »

There's something about Mr. Resnick's stories when he writes dialogue.

I found myself hearing different faces, as it were; the choice of words -not just the reader's voices- constructed different images in my mind for each character.  And, yes, I'm sure I've been to that Italian restaurant, before.  I just can't remember where.

As with "Down Memory Lane" there was a melancholy to this story.  It was one of those fantasy tales that didn't need explanation as to the "how" and "why" of it, only that it was happening.  I don't know what I'd do if I met an echo of my life but I'd probably have less to talk about than Walter.

"Do you know 'Electra Woman & Dyna Girl'?"

I'd probably just get a blank stare since the pop culture of anyone that much significantly younger than myself would be radically different.  Smiley  Walter's just lucky that he and his wife both loved things that are timeless.

In the end it was an enchanting story and really put death in its place as something neither comforting nor scary:  just part of a process and -appropriately- another opportunity to make an impact on the world.  After this, I almost look forward to the years ahead with the same curiosity as I did when I was a teenager.

Mr. Resnick certainly has earned his place on my bookshelf.

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2008, 08:00:13 AM »

I remember reading this in Asimov's so I was pumped when I saw it on my I-Tunes list.  Love the story and I thought the reading was really well done.  A great listen.  Looking forward to the next Hugo nominee!     
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2008, 09:54:53 AM »

  I am constantly impressed with Mr. Resnick's range. A lot of writers seem to tell stories in the same style over and over, but Resnick's stories are of such a wide variety. It's hard to think that the same person wrote this story, "Barnaby in Exile", "The Big Guy", "The Boy Who Yelled "Dragon"",and "Frankie the Spook". I wish I had that kind of flexibility in my writing style.

  Much like with "The Big Guy" the ending was predictable, but it didn't matter. It was a good story, and a pleasant listen, and I'll take quality over originality any day... at least until I come up with an original idea myself.
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2008, 10:53:15 AM »

Well, it has finally happened Mr. Eley, you put up a a story that made me cry.  At work.  During the course of the story I couldn't shake the feeling that I was talking to my grandfather. This story is now tied to Friction as my favorite.  Can't wait until next week.
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2008, 10:56:07 AM »

I really enjoyed this story.  Everytime I second-guessed what one of the characters were doing, or how they would react to each other, they second-guessed it too.  Steve Anderson's reading was also a big plus.  He sounded so tired and raw in this piece.  Occasionally, I thought there were places where the world weariness was too thick, where it should have been tempered with something else, but overall the reading made this story for me.

If I had a criticism of the story itself, it'd be this: never doubting who you should spend the life with, or if you made the right choices?  That's really pushing the boundaries of magical realism for me.  I've heard people say it before, and I assume that it does happen, but I don't buy that it's the only road to happiness in a relationship, or that it should be considered the standard.  I'm not advocating that you should sell yourself short as Deidre almost did -- I'm just saying a lifetime relationship is probably going to have some rough times thrown as well as all the good stuff. 

That said, a very good story.  The Hugos are going to be interesting this year Smiley 
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2008, 01:01:40 PM »

I think I've finally put my finger on what doesn't work for me about most Resnick stories.  He sucks at Science Fiction.  I never buy into whatever futuristic hook he puts into his stories.  If he has a robot in his stories, it's not realistic as a robot, and the implications of robots in society are always laughable. 

This time, there was no attempt at Science Fiction, and thus I really had no problems with the story. 
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2008, 01:19:48 PM »

Wow, the Hugo stories this year are amazing. This is hands down my choice for best non-sf escape pod ever Wink. Maybe it's because, ever since my grandmother's death, my grandfather has had a really hard time, but I was crying at the end when the narrator figured out his purpose. This is one of my top 5 escape pods and maybe even my top 10 short stories ever.
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2008, 01:42:14 PM »

This story is Resnik at his best, and his best is damn good indeed. It hit all the right notes, and, while not entirely unpredictable, it was not about surprising anyone, it was just about a touching tale well told.
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2008, 11:01:28 PM »

I loved this one.  If iTunes let me star-rate more current episodes the way I can rate the ones I've downloaded outside of the feed, I'd give this one a five (I rarely give fives; I think the only one I've given a five to previously is Mur Lafferty's "I Look Forward to Remembering You".)
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2008, 02:50:09 AM »

I thought you might like to know the genesis of this. I always play music when I'm writing. I was working on a different story when suddenly Frank Sinatra's version of "When or Where" came on. You've probably heard the lyrics, at least if you've voted in a few elections: "I feel that we have met and danced like this before/The dress you are wearing you were wearing then/But I can't remember where or when..."
It was heartbreakingly beautiful and nostalgic -- it always is, but it seemed like I was hearing it for
the first time -- and I said to myself, "Hell, there's a better story hidden in there than the one I'm working on" -- and before I'd knocked off for the night, I'd written "Distant Replay".

-- Mike Resnick
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2008, 03:33:25 AM »

Wow, that floored me.  Great story, beautifully told, beautifully read.

It had some sad, inside-out personal significance to me.  I lost my fiancee (who loved Austen and hated the Brontes, among other eerie similarities) to sudden disease when she was 22 and I 21.  I think I feel both sides of the story; on the one hand, I know Deirdre's (and young Wally's) youthful aniety of the clock ticking on a life that doesn't turn out quite how you'd expected, and at the same time I do feel Wally's pain of having lost someone so very deeply loved and so much the center of one's world.

Sorry, that had nothing to do with the story, I just had to get it out.  But anyways, wonderful story, with the perfect balance of melancholy and hope (at least half of the tears at the end were tears of joy for the younger iterations' possible future together).
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2008, 09:31:00 AM »

I sent a twitter, I sent an email, I sent a voicemail, and now I'm sending a forum post because I can't say it enough:

This story is a masterwork.

Every time I came to a realization, every time I had an epiphany, WALTER HAD IT TOO... at that very moment.  The pacing was spot-on.  I laughed, I cried, I fell down... it changed my life.

Seriously.

The combination of masterful words and masterful reading was, in my humble opinion, the best EP ever.
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2008, 03:28:32 PM »

The high praise on the boards makes me wonder if I shouldn't listen to this one once more. I liked it well enough when I listened to it, but it didn't make me laugh, or cry, or fall down, or change my life. To me it was  a fairly cool idea told very well by the author and the reader, but it didn't really strike a chord.

Maybe if I listen to it with my wife instead of at the gym it will strike me differently.

Looking forward to more Hugo's!
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2008, 05:28:01 PM »

I thought you might like to know the genesis of this. I always play music when I'm writing. I was working on a different story when suddenly Frank Sinatra's version of "When or Where" came on. You've probably heard the lyrics, at least if you've voted in a few elections: "I feel that we have met and danced like this before/The dress you are wearing you were wearing then/But I can't remember where or when..."
It was heartbreakingly beautiful and nostalgic -- it always is, but it seemed like I was hearing it for
the first time -- and I said to myself, "Hell, there's a better story hidden in there than the one I'm working on" -- and before I'd knocked off for the night, I'd written "Distant Replay".

-- Mike Resnick

I love that song (here's a free listen to the Sinatra version, and one to our favorite, by Harry Connick, Jr.)

It makes it even better that it inspired such a beautiful story.

<Edit:forgot my closing paren Sad >
« Last Edit: May 03, 2008, 11:15:01 PM by Tango Alpha Delta » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2008, 05:30:13 PM »

I  liked the story and I had a tear in my eye at the end.

It reminded me of an anime, 'Air' (awesome stuff.  only the second once ever to have me on the floor is tears at the ending), whish turns out to be about reincarnation and souls being destined to stay together and such.

I liked that he saw it as fate that he got together with her; though i'd have liked it to go into how the two of them met; ie was he introduced to her by an eccentric old man or woman.  But that could be going into it too far.

Its another way to make sure that you carry on forever, cause another version of yourself happiness.  Your soul or body gonig on forever with your perfect partner.
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« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2008, 10:41:30 PM »

I think I've finally put my finger on what doesn't work for me about most Resnick stories.  He sucks at Science Fiction.  I never buy into whatever futuristic hook he puts into his stories.  If he has a robot in his stories, it's not realistic as a robot, and the implications of robots in society are always laughable. 

This time, there was no attempt at Science Fiction, and thus I really had no problems with the story. 

Have you read Santiago? That is one on my all time favorite Resnick stories, and one of my all time favorite sci-fi books, even fiction in general books that I have read. I haven't read many others of his books, but that one is great.

I liked this story. It's good to know I'm not the only who who can get a bit teary eyed listening to my iPod, but I don't mind laughing out loud at things no one else can hear as I work, but getting seen crying for no apparent reason, that would be annoying {:0p Near the end, I guessed what was going to happen, but I felt the story lead up to this and there was foreshadowing and not just plain obviousness. I posted some stuff about guessing story ending on this thread on the Drabblecast forums, so I wont say it all again here.
I don't find the story believable, doesn't seem like it would ever happen. Normally, I tend to enjoy totally unbelievable situations less, but if in the world it is set in it makes sense, I enjoy it more. In this story, there is no real 'sense' to it, things just happen for no reason, but because of the way the story was told and how mush I liked the characters, I never got bugged by the story. Besides, anything can happen in fantasy.

I've never been a huge fantasy fan, but with the exposure I'm getting via audiobooks, podcast(les) I've been listening too and so forth, I'm finding I like it more than I thought I would. Sci-Fi so many times focuses on things and situations, fantasy so many times seems to focus on people. In Santiago, as I recall while writing this, I remember the people more that the situations or technology, where as in my other favorite sci-fi, I seem to recall the situations more.

I've been trying out other fiction podcasts and haven't had too much luck, lots of the stories were very dark, and a nice happy story was very welcome. Four thumbs up! (Yeah, four, because anything can happen in fantasy)
« Last Edit: May 07, 2008, 06:26:06 AM by Russell Nash » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2008, 01:47:41 AM »

If I ever meet Mike Resnick, I'm not sure whether I'll punch him in the face or shake his hand and thank him.  This was yet another in a long line of his stories that strongly resonated with me. I'm going to really have to start paying attention to what I've chosen to listen to while driving.
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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2008, 09:03:15 AM »

What a wonderful story, and it brought me to tears as well, which was very embarassing as I was walking through town while I was listening.

Amongst many other things it made me realize … and I know this is a bit of a jump, …

but it made me see that Time Travel will not be possible (for a wider public at least) during my lifetime, because if it was, my 70 year old self would most certainly have come back in time to kick my butt and make me realize a few things. Oh, and of course she would be able to point me in the right direction, as far as finding THE SOULMATE goes or at least tell me how to make a relationship last, assuming she had actually figured that out by then, … which makes me even sadder now, because maybe she never has and does not see the point in coming back, because she would actually not have anything to teach me. Oh no!  Cry
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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2008, 09:53:01 AM »

First of all, the reading rates eleven out of ten. Best narration I can remember on EP.

I did love it. As others have said, the pacing was perfect, and the plot was simple and yet resonant. There was one point that was slightly jarring for me, and I'm still not sure if it's a valid criticism or not; and that's the Walters' love of Humphrey Bogart. It implies that Old Walter was a fan of the modern blockbusters, and young Walter is a fan of the old classics. I can't decide id this is a point of similarity or difference between them.

Anyway, I loved it, and would not be unhappy if this wins the Hugo.
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