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Author Topic: PC011: Fourteen Experiments In Postal Delivery  (Read 31558 times)

stePH

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Reply #25 on: June 11, 2008, 03:54:22 PM
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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Reply #26 on: June 11, 2008, 03:59:22 PM
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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Reply #27 on: June 11, 2008, 04:00:19 PM
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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Reply #28 on: June 11, 2008, 04:13:32 PM
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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Reply #29 on: June 11, 2008, 04:43:05 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.

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, 04:52:29 PM


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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Reply #31 on: June 11, 2008, 04:56:08 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.



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Reply #32 on: June 11, 2008, 05:20:14 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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Reply #33 on: June 11, 2008, 05:29:20 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? 


stePH

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Reply #34 on: June 11, 2008, 05:30:00 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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Reply #35 on: June 11, 2008, 05:53:15 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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Reply #36 on: June 11, 2008, 06:04:33 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.


stePH

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Reply #37 on: June 11, 2008, 06:09:42 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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Reply #38 on: June 11, 2008, 06:10:12 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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Reply #39 on: June 11, 2008, 07:32:11 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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stePH

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Reply #40 on: June 11, 2008, 08:18:18 PM
  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.

There, now my initial impression of the story has been completely turned on its head, and it's a lot deeper than it first appeared.  I love this story!  :)

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stePH

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Reply #41 on: June 12, 2008, 03:21:17 AM
Okay, I've just gone through the text at Strange Horizons, and here's the list of things that Christopher sent Jessica over the course of the story.  Apparently I did miscount -- I must have included Jessica's letters that didn't mention receiving any shipments -- because the list comes to exactly fourteen discrete shipments.

In order, Christpher sent:

1: "tear"-stained letter.
2: dozen roses & magnum of Mo√ęt.
3: one ski.
4: invitation to gallery showing.
5: Kuro 19 sculpture.
6: blow-up doll.
7: Harold Angel's Bar.
8: Motrin.
9: Saturday.
10: his penis & testicles.
11: Spain.
12: Olde English horseman.
13: Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights.
14: himself.

So there we have it.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2008, 01:33:47 PM by stePH »

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Reply #42 on: June 12, 2008, 11:24:14 AM

12: Olde English horseman.

She started talking in a Scottish accent if I recall... or maybe I'm reading into the story something that isn't there...

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stePH

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Reply #43 on: June 12, 2008, 01:32:40 PM

12: Olde English horseman.

She started talking in a Scottish accent if I recall... or maybe I'm reading into the story something that isn't there...

I was going by the text that I saw; somebody else here mentioned he/she/it thought the horseman was the Pardoner from The Canterbury Tales, and the text resembled Chaucer's original in my copy.  I've never heard Old English spoken before, so it may well sound Scottish.

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Reply #44 on: June 12, 2008, 02:07:52 PM

12: Olde English horseman.

She started talking in a Scottish accent if I recall... or maybe I'm reading into the story something that isn't there...

I was going by the text that I saw; somebody else here mentioned he/she/it thought the horseman was the Pardoner from The Canterbury Tales, and the text resembled Chaucer's original in my copy.  I've never heard Old English spoken before, so it may well sound Scottish.

"Pardoner" makes complete sense for the story.  The accent used by the reader, however, was very clearly Scottish, and appropriate for reading Robert Burns, rather than Chaucer.  I think it's just a case of a really dynamic reader making a choice that ended up confusing the listeners, who assumed the horseman was Scottish based on the reader's accent, rather than the text.



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Reply #45 on: June 12, 2008, 02:33:27 PM

12: Olde English horseman.

She started talking in a Scottish accent if I recall... or maybe I'm reading into the story something that isn't there...

I was going by the text that I saw; somebody else here mentioned he/she/it thought the horseman was the Pardoner from The Canterbury Tales, and the text resembled Chaucer's original in my copy.  I've never heard Old English spoken before, so it may well sound Scottish.

"Pardoner" makes complete sense for the story.  The accent used by the reader, however, was very clearly Scottish, and appropriate for reading Robert Burns, rather than Chaucer.  I think it's just a case of a really dynamic reader making a choice that ended up confusing the listeners, who assumed the horseman was Scottish based on the reader's accent, rather than the text.

Having spent some time recently listening to stuff in old English, Scottish is much more comprehensible for modern ears. If it had been read in old English I think a good half of this thread would have been "did anyone understand the section with the knight" "I think he said something about a helicopter dog" "No, I thought it was about a viking god" and so on.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2008, 02:35:06 PM by Heradel »

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stePH

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Reply #46 on: June 12, 2008, 02:43:19 PM
"Pardoner" makes complete sense for the story.  The accent used by the reader, however, was very clearly Scottish, and appropriate for reading Robert Burns, rather than Chaucer.  I think it's just a case of a really dynamic reader making a choice that ended up confusing the listeners, who assumed the horseman was Scottish based on the reader's accent, rather than the text.

The reader took liberties elsewhere in the text, I noticed.  In the letter that Jessica wrote while drunk after coming back from the bar, the text is rife with typos.  I don't know how I would have read it differently though.

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Reply #47 on: June 12, 2008, 05:35:24 PM
Blech!  I really hated this one.  Initially, it reminded me of Sex in the City (double blech) and it just went downhill for me as I realized that they would end up together again even though the guy had sex with her sister and maybe others while they were dating or whatever.  The letters drove me nuts (I hate you, I hate you, but let me tell you all about his thing.....).   And towards the end when the sister says that he was having sex with her to get to our heroine and that our heroine drove him away with her lofty standards.  Geez.  Oh well, that's why they call it fantasy.   

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Reply #48 on: June 12, 2008, 05:50:07 PM
And towards the end when the sister says that he was having sex with her to get to our heroine and that our heroine drove him away with her lofty standards.  Geez.  Oh well, that's why they call it fantasy.   

Speaking of which, Heather says why he was having sex with her, but never quite gets to explaining why SHE was having sex with HIM.  It's sort of written like it was the guy's unitary decision that made it  happen.

I mean, I don't care how much MY sister and her boyfriend aren't getting along . . .



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Reply #49 on: June 13, 2008, 01:06:25 AM
I think if the characters were likable, and the crudeness was way down, I would have liked this story a lot.

Copying EP on the tagline was amusing, but you really should have copied something useful, like the rating warnings Steve gives.


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