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Author Topic: EP158: Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?  (Read 15284 times)
Russell Nash
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« on: May 16, 2008, 07:14:01 AM »

EP158: Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?

2008 Hugo Nominee!

By Ken MacLeod.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in The New Space Opera, ed. Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan.

When you’re as old as I am, you’ll find your memory’s not what it was. It’s not that you lose memories. That hasn’t happened to me or anyone else since the Paleocosmic Era, the Old Space Age, when people lived in caves on the Moon. My trouble is that I’ve gained memories, and I don’t know which of them are real. I was very casual about memory storage back then, I seem to recall. This could happen to you too, if you’re not careful. So be warned. Do as I say, not as I did.

Some of the tales about me contradict each other, or couldn’t possibly have happened, because that’s how I told them in the first place. Others I blame on the writers and tellers. They make things up. I’ve never done that. If I’ve told stories that couldn’t be true, it’s because that’s how I remember them.

Here’s one.


Rated R. Contains profanity, nudity, and in flagrante delicto.


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Referenced Sites:
2008 Hugo Awards
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Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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wintermute
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What Would Batman Do?


« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2008, 07:33:16 AM »

Not listened to the story yet, but I think the answer to the question posed by the title is "Benjamin Sisko".

Do I win a prize?
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2008, 07:58:40 AM »

Do I win a prize?

No, go sit down.
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Darwinist
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2008, 08:28:14 AM »

I liked this one.   The idea of a rogue derelict settlement taking over was cool and the settings were neatly described.  The ending felt a bit rushed to me, though.  Probably my third favorite of the Hugos, ahead of last week's mystery.   
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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
qwints
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A fine idea, but who bells cat?


« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2008, 09:01:21 AM »

I really wanted him to be kicked into a well at the end.

Well written story, but the political system sounded like it was straight out of Heinlein. I liked the main character and the idea of a former minor government functionary taking over the universe was pretty fun. The arrival in the system was a bit slapstick for my taste. I guess I'm trying to say good, but not great.
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Void Munashii
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2008, 10:02:48 AM »

  This was my favourite of the Hugo nominees. It reminded me a lot of the Stainless Steel Rat stories, as starting a war in that fashions sounds very much like something Jim DiGriz would do, save for all the loss of life.
  The only criticism I really have is that I did get a bit lost as to exactly what was going on at the end, but I guess that listening to it again while I am not driving will fix that.
  I really liked how the use of AI's taking over, and all of a world's water freezing over (ice-nine?) were used as background events as opposed to being the main focus of the story. I am definitely interested in reading more of MacLeod's work now.
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2008, 10:50:07 AM »

This story was ummm ok!

The idea of a rouge world coming back and taking over was pretty interesting.  It reminded me a bit of the foundation series.  I personally think that with time dilation of near light travel that this is the kind of thing that could happen if you spread out too much.  Humans being the war like people that we are, I can see it happening to us.

I have to agree with the fact that the landing seemed kind of slapstick.  There is nothing wrong with that kind of writing but I found it a bit distracting. 

The worst part of the story for me, and well the author went as far as to point it out for everyone, was that there was so much more story to tell.  I don't think that it belonged in the confines of this piece, the idea that what you don't write is as important as what you don't, but I think it would be great if there were  more written in this universe.  It seemed fascinating to me.  On that note I am a sucker for grand scale views of the future.    See Clarke, Herbert, Roddenberry, Asimov and you will find some of my favorite authors.
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ScottC
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2008, 01:17:40 PM »

Listening to this, I felt that I was missing a lot of the back story.  With some stories, that's OK.  It can be fun working out how society and history are in a story.  This one, not so much. 

For instance, the main character's revulsion when they say 'Earth'.  Without more information, it has no impact.  Sometimes, you need context. 
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2008, 02:04:53 PM »


For instance, the main character's revulsion when they say 'Earth'.  Without more information, it has no impact.  Sometimes, you need context. 

Good point.  I kept wondering about that, too.  They said Earth was flash frozen but I don't recall if they explained why or why it was an avoided word.
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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
ZenMage
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2008, 02:19:32 PM »

Of the Hugo nominee stories, this one was the best.  Not a great story but good.  I am eagerly looking forward to the "normal" story stream coming back.  If these are the Hugo nominee's I think they need to start widening the search.
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qwints
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A fine idea, but who bells cat?


« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2008, 03:41:21 PM »


For instance, the main character's revulsion when they say 'Earth'.  Without more information, it has no impact.  Sometimes, you need context. 

Good point.  I kept wondering about that, too.  They said Earth was flash frozen but I don't recall if they explained why or why it was an avoided word.

Maybe the story is set in the Millennium after tomorrow...
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Chivalrybean
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2008, 04:05:53 PM »

Good points: The humor, the story was interesting, and I laughed when Steve narrated the bit as if talking what drinking coffee from a dispenser.

Bad point: The ending was rushed... it could have done with a slower pace at the ending so I had time to process it.

Overall: It started out being more favorive than the Hugo story about the robotic jewler on the beach (I forget the title), but after the end, I ended up not liking it as much, so the robot one is still my favorite.

Format comment: I liked it better when Steve talked more at the beginning and then more at the end. It might not be related, but I think he talks more that way, and he is someone interesting to listen too.
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2008, 05:25:33 PM »

I think I'm going to have to listen to this one again.  I liked it, but for some reason, I wasn't able to focus too well. 

But I wanted to pipe up about the format comment.  I'm good either way you go, really, but I have never had a problem with the intros here.  In fact, I'd go as far to say as there something that immediately hooked me into the podcast initially.  I appreciate hearing what Steve has to say.  It's different than some of the Podcastle intros that have frustrated me a bit because Steve isn't telling me what the story is about, or important things to note about the setting/author before the story begins.  (If it sounds like I'm being harsh, that's not what I intend.  I love Podcastle already, and I think what Rachel is doing over there is great.  I just don't think the intros have hit their stride yet.)  When Steve does an intro on Escape Pod, I feel like I'm listening to a friend tell me about something interesting and, oh, by the way, there's this really cool story that kind of ties into it.  Or, in the case of geek dad intros, sometimes doesn't tie into it  Wink

That said, I think the way Alasdair does the Pseudopod outros is perfect for Pseudopod, and perfect for Alasdair. 
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Chivalrybean
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2008, 05:32:03 PM »

I think I'm going to have to listen to this one again.  I liked it, but for some reason, I wasn't able to focus too well.  

I had that problem too, but I had chalked it up to listening while working my tedious job, but then, if something is interesting enough, I stay focused. The other day while listening to The Rookie by Scott Sigler, a whole 30 minutes went by and I hadn't eaven realised I had gone through a whole tray of parts! So, maybe this story did lose my interest here and there because if the way the story was told (not spoken, the story itself).
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Nobilis
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2008, 05:32:26 PM »

I felt that this story was less about people than it was about politics.  As such, it mostly bored me.
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Void Munashii
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2008, 07:22:22 PM »

I think I'm going to have to listen to this one again.  I liked it, but for some reason, I wasn't able to focus too well. 

  Oh good, so it's not just me. I thought it was just a combination of the fact that I was driving, and that I am a dimwit that made me get lost.
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2008, 09:44:40 PM »

It's funny -- usually I listen to Escape Pod when I'm driving and I seem to be able to focus better on the stories that way (than when I'm working at my desk).  But this one, for some reason, I need another listen.

I liked what I got, and it definitely made me want to read more of the author.  But I need to try and listen again, give it all a little more focus.
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Jacob from Texas
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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2008, 02:44:28 PM »

Yeah, a Poly-friendly story…hmmm drinking from nipple(s)…yeah more Jonathan Coulton…

Over all this story left my board-Neapolitan complex, feeling well hungry (hmmm nipples)

Thanks Steve, and please keep the Geek-Dad altro, if not intro.
Jacob from Texas
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JoeFitz
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« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2008, 05:56:21 PM »

This reminded me immediately of Heinlein and then Foundation. That was unfortunate, because I really wanted to like this story and it just doesn't hold a candle to the classics.

While I enjoyed the description of the cryogenic travel, I thought the 'nipple incident' was just odd.

The dialog with the ship's AI was particularly disappointing.

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CoachPaul
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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2008, 08:54:47 PM »

I liked this story, it almost sounds like at the end that there either already is, or will be more stories about the main character, and I would surely read/listen to them.  I agree with the earlier posters, the main character did have that "Slippery Jim" feel to him.

CP
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