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Author Topic: EP163: Revolution Time  (Read 19496 times)
Russell Nash
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« on: June 22, 2008, 05:55:32 AM »

EP163: Revolution Time

By Lavie Tidhar.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in Flurb #2, ed. Rudy Rucker.
Special closing music: “Think For Yourself” by George Hrab.

“I don’t see why you necessarily think it leads to the Chrono area,” Monty said, playing devil’s advocate. It was a month earlier, at the usual place: The Trotsky, a damp, dark watering hole in a run-down part of town which, rumour had it, was once visited by the man himself, in his own dark, yet colourful, past.

“Where else would it lead, man?” Morgan sparked up a joint and stared at him across the table. The smoke framed her face like the shape of a heart. “I wouldn’t be here –” she waved her finger at him, “and you wouldn’t be here, if it wasn’t something both of our respective organisations thought was worth pursuing.”

I smiled, admiring her strength and her energy. Monty scowled. “Take that puppy-dog-in-love look off your face. It’s embarrassing. And you,” he said, addressing Morgan, “should know better than to get your hopes up. After all, as the saying goes, they only ever bring back Shakespeare.”


Rated R. Contains some profanity, some violence, and communist propaganda. May be illegal in Louisiana.


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Russell Nash
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2008, 05:56:13 AM »

Sorry for the post being late folks.  Real life sometimes intervenes.
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sirana
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2008, 08:17:24 AM »

meh, not my kind of story.
I don't have anything against left-leaning (or right leaning for that matter) political sci-fi, but timetravel doesn't grip me until it is done in a novel way and this one wasn't. Cardboard cutout characters, painful dialogue (the little dialogue that was there anyhow), much too much telling instead of showing and all that before a political backround that is barely more than a sketch.
Didn't like it at all.
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Chivalrybean
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2008, 08:43:23 AM »

I really didn't get the story at all. Maybe because I had a headache, I dunno.

After hearing Steve's announcement about submissions, I started on a story that I plan to submit that has no political agenda, but does have an android.
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stePH
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Hipparch
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2008, 08:58:26 AM »

Boring.  Twentyfive minutes that I'll never get back.

I do love that George Hrab song though; it was nice to hear it again (I believe it last played at the end of "The Sundial Brigade"). 
I'd be fine with letting Hrab do my thinking for me.  Grin
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eytanz
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2008, 09:06:16 AM »

So, lets see if I understood this: the revolutionaries brought back Marx, but, unbeknownst to them, before they got Marx, the 28th century revolution had already taken him and brought him back. So Marx knew all about the revolution and its failure because he was told during the later revolution, and was basically just enjoying the ride, knowing that nothing he does could put him at risk (as he dies at an older age in the past).

Is that about right?

Anyway, the thing is - this isn't really a political story, as it contained no politics. It contains a lot of political groups, and claims to be long to political movements, but not one word on what these groups politics actually is, or what they opposed. Sure, we can attach significance to the groups because of the names they picked and what we know of Marx and US politics and such, but the story itself didn't actually say it. I'm not sure whether this was supposed to be part of the satire, about the emptiness of many political causes these days; or not.

The end result was that my usual aversion to political stories didn't kick in, so I could enjoy it as the unoriginal, yet amusing, time travel story that it was. Not sure whether that was the desired reaction.
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Boggled Coriander
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2008, 09:14:32 AM »

So, lets see if I understood this: the revolutionaries brought back Marx, but, unbeknownst to them, before they got Marx, the 28th century revolution had already taken him and brought him back. So Marx knew all about the revolution and its failure because he was told during the later revolution, and was basically just enjoying the ride, knowing that nothing he does could put him at risk (as he dies at an older age in the past).
You know, I think you have it right.  That makes sense actually, from what I remember of the story.

I must admit I didn't figure any of it out while listening, and I was left thinking, "Huh?  Wha?  Whuh?"
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Schreiber
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2008, 09:58:37 AM »

If someone told me they had a story about fringe socialist anarchists liberating a time machine, resurrecting Karl Marx, and leading a revolution, I probably would tear it from their hands to read it.  But "Revolution Time" just didn't work for me. 

I came away with the same conclusion about the plot as Eytanz did, that this particular revolution was "history" to Marx, that he was playing the part he knew he had to play based on what he learned in the 28th century.  Which is a neat idea.  But there's an old writer's axiom...no surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.  I think the same can be said for central characters.  Marx just  didn't pull his weight.  As a character he was a blank slate who didn't really feel one way or the other about where he was and what he was doing.  And as a device, he was a little nonsensical.  The man may well have been a skillful speaker, but that's hardly what he was famous for.  Are we really meant to buy into the idea that there was a (nearly) successful communist revolution waiting in the wings that only required a special guest appearance by a nineteenth century philosopher before it could take root in the hearts and minds of middle America?
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Nobilis
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2008, 10:06:35 AM »

The only part of this story that was in any way interesting was the clumsy romance subplot.  Unfortunately, it got short shrift and I was left unsatisfied. 
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Schreiber
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2008, 10:31:49 AM »

Unfortunately, it got short shrift and I was left unsatisfied. 

I would say "that's what she said," but what's the point....
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Ocicat
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2008, 03:53:08 PM »

Another "meh" here.  I didn't hate it, but time travel stories are a hard sell for me.  It's almost impossible to create a world with time travel that's internally consistent and stands up to logical examination - actually I think it's only ever been done once, in David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself.  All other time travel stories had better say something about human nature, and just use the time travel as a parable or something - that's all it's good for. 

This story didn't have much more to it than the "clever" time travel twist, so it fell pretty flat. 
« Last Edit: June 23, 2008, 02:29:21 PM by Russell Nash » Logged
Windup
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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2008, 06:13:48 PM »

From my point of view, EP finally threw a true clunker.  This story just didn't work for me in any way. 

The fundamental premise just wasn't plausible -- Karl Marx ignites a future revolution?  Hundreds of years after his ideas have been throughly debated, explored, tried out, etc?  Intellectually, he'd be pitted against people who had seen his playbook for generations.  And we're supposed to buy the idea that his 19th-century rhetorical skills will suddenly set the world on fire?  In a culture of which he has virtually no knowledge?  There's just no way to make all that work, in my mind.

Not to mention the idea that a government would try to put down an internal rebellion by using atomic weapons?  As Heinlein said right after WWII -- it would be like trying to keep order in a nursurey with a pistol.  Possibly the most extreme imaginable case of "destroying the village in order to save it."  And not one likely to fly...

As others mentioned, the characters were decidedly un-compelling -- cardboard cutouts, mostly.  We don't hear much about their motivations, and there are so many of them relative to story length, that we don't get to see much of them in action, and what action we do see reveals little.  Aside from the fact that they are "radical" we know nothing about the details of the ideology that motivates their actions.

The plot lacks much detail, and most of the action reads like a schematic.  Aside from the atomic bombs at the end, we know nothing about how the revolution takes hold, the course of the conflict, how the government resists, the techniques used by the revolutionaries, etc. 

So no, I don't "get it."  But I don't think it's ideological bias (I'm a bit of a lefty, anyway) but because it just wasn't a very good story. 

I liked the song at the end, though. And I missed the feedback section.

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CGFxColONeill
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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2008, 06:31:20 PM »

Boring.  Twentyfive minutes that I'll never get back.
Another "meh" here.  I didn't hate it, but time travel stories are a hard sell for me.  It's almost impossible to create a world with time travel that's internally consistent and stands up to logical examination
I take it Timeline did not work well for you from what you said?
I agree with both of you 25 waisted min and meh respectively lol
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2008, 06:41:58 PM »

I take it Timeline did not work well for you from what you said?
I agree with both of you 25 waisted min and meh respectively lol

I haven't read Timeline, but I guess you're addressing that part of your reply to Ocicat.

Thankfully I didn't really "waste" 25 minutes, as if I were sitting listening to the story and doing nothing else.  The first half was heard as I lay in bed Friday night getting ready to sleep, and the rest was listened to while grilling dinner Saturday.  But the time could still have been better-spent listening to something else, like my Battlefield Earth audiobook to name one example.
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ajames
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« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2008, 06:44:34 PM »

I only intend to play this card once, and I think now is time.

Worst. Escapepod. Ever.
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Ocicat
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« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2008, 07:15:31 PM »


I take it Timeline did not work well for you from what you said?


I haven't read anything called Timeline.  You mean the Michael Crichton novel?  Do you think it's a really good, consistent model of time travel... or are you being sarcastic?  Never having read it, I can't tell.  But given Crichton's record, I don't hold out much hope.
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CGFxColONeill
Matross
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« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2008, 08:44:42 PM »


I take it Timeline did not work well for you from what you said?


I haven't read anything called Timeline.  You mean the Michael Crichton novel?  Do you think it's a really good, consistent model of time travel... or are you being sarcastic?  Never having read it, I can't tell.  But given Crichton's record, I don't hold out much hope.

yes that is what I meant, not really sure about consistency, they use a method similar to Turtledove's idea...
better than most of Crichton's stuff IMO
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Overconfidence - Before you attempt to beat the odds, be sure you could survive the odds beating you.

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DarkKnightJRK
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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2008, 08:56:26 PM »

I have to agree with ajames' sentiment. Putting aside the implausibility of a revolution taking hold simply because they bring back Karl bloody Marx, who's ideas haven't really worked out during the course of history, there...wasn't much of a story.

Here, let me sum it up:

Communist Guy finds time machine. Communist Guy brings his gang of revolutionaries and bring back Karl Marx. A revolution happens. Government throws the baby with the bathwater by atomizing Washington, before Marx somehow knows what's going to happen in the 28th century. Communist Guy and Communist Girl live happily ever after.

Read that, and you save 25 minutes of your life.
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deflective
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« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2008, 09:08:14 PM »

But the time could still have been better-spent listening to something else, like my Battlefield Earth audiobook to name one example.

oh, burn!
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JoeFitz
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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2008, 10:16:47 PM »

Is that about right?

It was for me. Didn't even like this as EP: Lite (less filling but half as enjoyable). It's weird that it followed an EP: Lite story that was twice as long.

Oh well, as the man says, next week, different words in a different order.
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