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Author Topic: PC011: Fourteen Experiments In Postal Delivery  (Read 19999 times)
Rain
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« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2008, 09:56:10 AM »

I liked this story a lot, at first i wondered how it was a Fantasy story, but it soon became apparant, very funny and cute. The reading was especially good. Only problem i had was the ending because it made Jessica seem like she was the one who was to blame for the problems she and Christopher had, but that is a minor detail.

I also have never seen a Bosch painting before
« Last Edit: June 11, 2008, 01:52:03 PM by Rain » Logged
stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2008, 09:57:38 AM »

I remembered it this morning without having to go back to the story.  It was when Jess was having lunch with her girlfriend, who was telling her that she should forgive Christopher and take him back.  I loved her reasoning as to why not; something along the lines of "If I forgive you, what does it cost you?  Nothing!  While I have to tear out a little piece of my heart and give it to you!"

Just remembered the text is linked to at the top of the thread.  I have to quote the bit in full because it's just so awesome:

Quote
... Then we ate a shiitake risotto with pancetta at the East River Café, and Ruth told me to forgive you.

Suppose I did. What would you have to do in return, Christopher?

Nothing. That's the deal killer, Christopher. All you have to do is make promises, to do better the next time. Promises are nothing, they disappear into the air as soon as they are uttered. Maybe you'll sleep with my sister again, next week, whenever I make you angry about something, or even just when you've had too much to drink. And in return, Ruth says I should forgive you. I have to open my heart and rip out a piece, and hand it to you. No. I won't. It's too much to ask, Christopher, it's not a fair trade.

Forgiveness is difficult in a post-Christian world.

Tonight I'll work up that list.
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eytanz
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« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2008, 10:01:52 AM »

Only problem i had was the ending because it made Jessica seem like she was the one who was to blame for the problems she and Christopher had, but that is a minor detail.

You know, that brings up a related niggle I had - the sister's "I won't apologize because you won't forgive" claim was a bit strange. I always thought that apologies are a precursor to forgiveness, not a replacement for them. I could see that sister say "I won't apologize because it won't be enough" - which would be entirely consistent with Jessica's character - but "I won't apologize because you need to forgive me regardless" seems like a rather odd position, and I find it entirely understandable why someone would choose not to forgive when faced with it.
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Ragtime
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« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2008, 10:05:03 AM »

The reader was great.

The story was very good, too, but about 2 or 3 Experiments in Postal Delivery too long.  The story peaked with Saturday and Spain, and drifted downward from there.

Also, what the heck was Heather's motivation?  She wants to get Chris and Jessica back together, but I have no idea why.  We know that he has cheated on her at least twice.  But the moral is "nobody's perfect so get over it"?

There's a huuuuge gap between "You're too much of  perfectionist" and "You should forgive the controlling, obsessive freak who has cheated on you twice (that you are aware of) and is still in possession of your stolen ski." 

Ok, maybe Heather herself thinks the gap is smaller that I do, but there should have been enough of an acknowledgment of the gap to hold off on ritual disemboweling until she dumps the guy who is "a little too messy" or "forgot my birthday once."
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SamChupp
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2008, 10:53:01 AM »



In the end, the only thing I really care to remember from it is the Scotsman on a horse. That was the best part. It was completely different.

That was no Scotsman! That was the Pardoner from Canterbury Tales! (Um, wasn't it?)
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2008, 10:54:22 AM »

The story was very good, too, but about 2 or 3 Experiments in Postal Delivery too long.  The story peaked with Saturday and Spain, and drifted downward from there.

Without the things that follow, the story is a series of vignettes that goes nowhere.


Also, what the heck was Heather's motivation?  She wants to get Chris and Jessica back together, but I have no idea why.  We know that he has cheated on her at least twice.  But the moral is "nobody's perfect so get over it"?

There's a huuuuge gap between "You're too much of  perfectionist" and "You should forgive the controlling, obsessive freak who has cheated on you twice (that you are aware of) and is still in possession of your stolen ski."  

Ok, maybe Heather herself thinks the gap is smaller that I do, but there should have been enough of an acknowledgment of the gap to hold off on ritual disemboweling until she dumps the guy who is "a little too messy" or "forgot my birthday once."

I agree with you here.  From what we're given by Jessica, Christopher is a self-absorbed shit and no woman in her right mind would take him back.  But somehow this story worked for me in spite of it all, and is by far my favorite Podcastle to date.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2008, 10:59:22 AM »

Quote
My first thought when I heard "It's story time" was "No!  Don't just copy Escape Pod!"

It was a joke, like when I said "I have a story for you, and it's made up" in parody of Psuedopod. ;-)

Honestly, I strongly doubt I'll ever have a tag line. I don't like them much. But I figure I'll keep affectionately mocking things until I run out of things to affectionately mock.
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SamChupp
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« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2008, 11:00:19 AM »

Also, what the heck was Heather's motivation?  She wants to get Chris and Jessica back together, but I have no idea why.  We know that he has cheated on her at least twice.  But the moral is "nobody's perfect so get over it"?

I have to agree with you here. I think that Chris is not exactly a laudable human being. He sounds like an immature man who can't keep commitments and kind of thinks with his penis.  (Which makes me wonder if he was able to think after he sent it to her? Hrmmm.)

OK, I am all for True Love winning out in the end. Maybe Chris changed and is no longer a lying philanderer - maybe spending time without his penis was a good thing for him (I think, though, it was still attached, so he was still probably testosterone poisoned).

But I think the whole premise of this story - that a person can be bribed, effectively, to forgive someone for being unfaithful....is completely wrong.

Having said that, I really enjoyed the execution of the story and it did make me laugh. I don't have to agree politically / socially with every story I come across to like it.
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DKT
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« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2008, 11:13:32 AM »

Very funny story, and Heather Lindsley gave it a fantastic read.  I'd say that's one of the best readings you've had here, but then I'd be discounting Steve Eley reading the Ant King, Maia Whitaker reading Wisteria, and Ben Phillips reading the Osteomancer's Son.  Podcastle's done a great job pairing up readers with stories so far. 
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Listener
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« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2008, 11:43:05 AM »

I agree with you here.  From what we're given by Jessica, Christopher is a self-absorbed shit and no woman in her right mind would take him back.  But somehow this story worked for me in spite of it all, and is by far my favorite Podcastle to date.

Jessica was kind of a brat in some ways, though, wasn't she?  Yeah, Chris barfed on her sister (with whom he was cheating on her) but as the story went on she started to grate on me a bit.
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Ragtime
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« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2008, 11:52:29 AM »



Without the things that follow, the story is a series of vignettes that goes nowhere.

I certainly don't think the story should end after Spain!  Just that it peaked there, and then we moved into "The rest of the story will now break away into didacticism while we get to the 'point.'"  The last part violated the "show, don't tell" rule, even if the "telling" was going on while gorily disemboweling in a Bosch painting.

And then, a return to form for the final "mailing."  I just felt to me like a page from an entirely different story got mixed in there.
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Ragtime
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« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2008, 11:56:08 AM »


But I think the whole premise of this story - that a person can be bribed, effectively, to forgive someone for being unfaithful....is completely wrong.

Having said that, I really enjoyed the execution of the story and it did make me laugh. I don't have to agree politically / socially with every story I come across to like it.

I agree with that, but I'm still left with trying to figure out exactly why they got back together.

If I were writing the story, maybe I would have ended it with a package being delivered, it being very clear (to the reader and Jessica) that it is "him" inside, and leaving it open as to what exactly, she will do with him.

As it is, the happy ending is "and now we will have sex," and I'm not exactly sure why.
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eytanz
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« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2008, 12:20:14 PM »


But I think the whole premise of this story - that a person can be bribed, effectively, to forgive someone for being unfaithful....is completely wrong.

Having said that, I really enjoyed the execution of the story and it did make me laugh. I don't have to agree politically / socially with every story I come across to like it.

I agree with that, but I'm still left with trying to figure out exactly why they got back together.

If I were writing the story, maybe I would have ended it with a package being delivered, it being very clear (to the reader and Jessica) that it is "him" inside, and leaving it open as to what exactly, she will do with him.

As it is, the happy ending is "and now we will have sex," and I'm not exactly sure why.

They ended back up together because she clearly never considered them actually broken up. Not a single message she sent him sounded like "our relationship was over". From the get-go, she was quite clearly telling him "try harder", not "stop trying". They got back together at the point where she realized he's tried as hard as he can, and she needs to either accept it or break it off for real.
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DKT
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« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2008, 12:29:20 PM »

The last part violated the "show, don't tell" rule, even if the "telling" was going on while gorily disemboweling in a Bosch painting.

I'm all about hanging around to see what other rules John Schoffstall will violate next. 

I know it's called a rule, but really it seems like more of a guide that writers bend all the time.  Especially in the SF/F/Horror genres.


But I think the whole premise of this story - that a person can be bribed, effectively, to forgive someone for being unfaithful....is completely wrong.

Having said that, I really enjoyed the execution of the story and it did make me laugh. I don't have to agree politically / socially with every story I come across to like it.

I agree with that, but I'm still left with trying to figure out exactly why they got back together.

If I were writing the story, maybe I would have ended it with a package being delivered, it being very clear (to the reader and Jessica) that it is "him" inside, and leaving it open as to what exactly, she will do with him.

As it is, the happy ending is "and now we will have sex," and I'm not exactly sure why.

Presumably, because she'd finally been able to forgive him.  And, of course, she was still in love with him.  Honestly, I'm not sure why either one of these people loved the other, they were both kind of idiots -- the kind of idiots that make you groan when your best friend introduces you to his/her new girlfriend/boyfriend.  But I guess they were lovable idiots, at least the way Schoffstall wrote them (and Lindsley played them). 

I do find the meditations on forgiveness interesting, though.  Is it something that is bought back?  Is it something you earn?  Or is it something that's just given? 
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2008, 12:30:00 PM »

They ended back up together because she clearly never considered them actually broken up. Not a single message she sent him sounded like "our relationship was over". From the get-go, she was quite clearly telling him "try harder", not "stop trying".

From the story:

Quote
I realize that these are traditional gestures of male romantic affection, and express a desire for forgiveness. They are not nearly enough. You are trying to melt the glacier of my anger with the Bic lighter of your contrition. You are attempting to scale Everest while wearing sling-backs. Give it up, Christopher. Your cause is hopeless.
(emphasis mine)
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eytanz
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« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2008, 12:53:15 PM »

From the story:

Quote
I realize that these are traditional gestures of male romantic affection, and express a desire for forgiveness. They are not nearly enough. You are trying to melt the glacier of my anger with the Bic lighter of your contrition. You are attempting to scale Everest while wearing sling-backs. Give it up, Christopher. Your cause is hopeless.
(emphasis mine)

Here is way to say "stop sending me stuff":

"Stop sending me stuff"

Here is a way to say "keep sending me stuff":

"I'm writing to tell you that I have received what you sent me. I am detailing what it is (even though you clearly know, since you sent it), and am making sure you are well aware I paid close attention to it. I am detailing my reactions to it, which are generally positive. It is, however, not enough. Something will be enough, but not this. But I'm not going to tell you what. You might as well give up, you're going to fail".

It's always important to realize that "no" means "no". But "don't try because you aren't good enough" is as likely to be a challenge as it is to be a rejection.
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DKT
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« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2008, 01:04:33 PM »

If she really wanted to break up, simply telling him to f*ck off and stop sending her crap would have been more effective.

In her defense, I don't think Jess realized this was the way she was feeling.  But yeah, I agree with eytanz.  On some level, she didn't really want the relationship to be over.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2008, 01:09:42 PM »

In her defense, I don't think Jess realized this was the way she was feeling.  But yeah, I agree with eytanz.  On some level, she didn't really want the relationship to be over.
I agree too, now that I've read eytanz's paraphrasing of the letter that I quoted from the story.  Somehow that got lost on me the two times I listened to the story.  Mostly what stuck with me was the "I have to forgive you while you have to do nothing" bit.
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tazo
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« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2008, 01:10:12 PM »

Loved this one, particularly the reading.  Pod Castle seems to really excel at reader to story matching (I've listened to audiobooks that hat absolutely atrocious readers.  Try a first person southern belle as read by a very prim English gentlemen.)

What really attracted me to this one was the quirkiness of it.  Sending Spain, the reference to what is, let's be frank, one of the weirdest paintings to have ever been put down with paint.

It was a bit weird as I listened to this on a car trip with my mother, but she thought it was hilarious, so I suppose it all worked out.


I agree with you here.  From what we're given by Jessica, Christopher is a self-absorbed shit and no woman in her right mind would take him back.  But somehow this story worked for me in spite of it all, and is by far my favorite Podcastle to date.

Well, that actually brings up an interesting point.  The entire story is from Jessica's point of view and we never actually see Christopher.  I'm not saying that Jessica's an unreliable narrator, but she's certainly a biased narrator.   She seemed somewhat unaware of her own feelings towards Christopher (the wording the author used to convey something the narrator wasn't aware of was quite well done).

 I actually wondered exactly how much of the story had happened and how much was conjecture, although I will admit I found Heather's explanation at the end a bit strange.    
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Void Munashii
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« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2008, 02:32:11 PM »

I agree with you here.  From what we're given by Jessica, Christopher is a self-absorbed shit and no woman in her right mind would take him back.  But somehow this story worked for me in spite of it all, and is by far my favorite Podcastle to date.
Well, that actually brings up an interesting point.  The entire story is from Jessica's point of view and we never actually see Christopher.  I'm not saying that Jessica's an unreliable narrator, but she's certainly a biased narrator.   She seemed somewhat unaware of her own feelings towards Christopher (the wording the author used to convey something the narrator wasn't aware of was quite well done).
 I actually wondered exactly how much of the story had happened and how much was conjecture, although I will admit I found Heather's explanation at the end a bit strange.    

  I think that Jessica is a bit unreliable. Looking deeper at what she says, it sounds like, for a successful artist, Christopher may be a pretty down to Earth kind of guy. He plays video games, reads comics (and obviously tried to get her to at least understand why), and he gives the woman he loves everything short of the moon, which probably would have been next, just to get her to give him another chance. Yes, he cheated on her while drunk (the vomit being just the icing on the cake), and that is inexcusable, but it is explained by Heather... who may also be a little unreliable.

  Jessica on the other hand seems like she's very self-absorbed herself. She's told by everyone who knows them as a couple to give him another chance because they see something in Christopher that she isn't seeing, but she's too concerned with looking weak, with giving an inch and getting nothing in return (save for roses, booze, one of her skis, a sculpture, a fully staffed bar, male genitalia, Saturday, Spain, etc) to even consider it. The woman is so petty that she burned a "tear" spattered note just to prove that the drops were not tears. She (per Heather) drove Christopher into the arms of her own sister by being too cold and judgmental.

  At the start of the story Christopher seems like the stereotypical philandering jerk, but as the story progresses I think that we see that's he's not the total bastard he at first appears to be, while Jessica is not the totally innocent little victim in all this. At the start it looks like Jessica has been betrayed by a louse, but by the end we see that she is every bit as bad as Christopher may be, just in her own way.

  Now maybe I'm just defending Christopher because I'm a 30 year old who plays video games and reads comics myself, and maybe I'm a self-absorbed shit who is too self-absorbed too notice, but I think there is enough evidence in the story to show that Christopher is not the anti-christ, and that maybe both he and Jessica need to give a little to make their relationship work. Jessica took being right too far, and ended up being in the wrong as well.

  I found Heather to just be odd in general, but I think that may be partly because i kept picturing her as Twist from "Spaced".
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