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Author Topic: EP172: Union Dues - Tabula Rasa  (Read 10026 times)
WillMoo
Palmer
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Posts: 36



« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2008, 08:37:40 AM »

I really liked this one. It was fun, didn't take itself too serious and had an ending that, though had a few flaws, I could live with. This was my first dose of the Union series so I will listen to a few more based on this one.
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Corydon
Peltast
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Posts: 113


« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2008, 10:46:04 AM »

I always get excited when a new Union Dues story is posted.  They're my favorite set of stories on Escape Pod, and the ones that got me reading the forums.  As always, I enjoyed this one; each story fleshes out the universe a little more, and brings the Union into sharper relief.  And the cross-over with Team Shikaragaki was great; it helps explain why El Supremo (or whatever the wrestler's name was, I forget) turned out to be such a mensch.

Still, I confess I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I'd have hoped.  My frustration with the story was with what it did (or didn't do) with the issue of identity.  That's been a leitmotif of the series: how does wearing a costume (whether a superhero's outfit, a stripper's getup, or a gorilla suit) define your identity?  This started to probe a little deeper: whereas earlier stories have played the Union's mind control techniques imprinting against an individual's core identity, Captain Colossal's amnesia suggests that, once the Union is through with you, you have no identity other than that of your superhero persona.  The problem was with the mechanism of an amnesia story, and specifically amnesia as a chance for reinvention... that's sort of a cliche at this point, isn't it?  So I was a little disappointed by how it turned out.

That said, even a so-so Union Dues story still makes for a great listen!  And I'm eagerly awaiting the next one.
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wintermute
Hipparch
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Posts: 1291


What Would Batman Do?


« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2008, 11:43:11 AM »

This is probably in my top-three UD stories so far. I agree with Ocicat about the mechanics of the amnesia; forgetting about the Union and everything associated with it would be like forgetting the existence of Microsoft, or something. Hrm, I suppose that could be part of (or an odd side effect from) their implanting techniques? Seems implausible, but maybe.

And, yes, the Union could no doubt read Sarah's mind and find out exactly how she helped him, but how would that help them find the captain? She had no idea where he was going to go, and he didn't end up in the places she suggested, so the best they can manage is to punish her. With RFID chips, I suppose they could put readers down by various roads (no doubt the super strategists can narrow down the list) and see if any supers go by, but it doesn't seem like a very efficient method of locating people.

And I was excited to see the first tantalising hints of the world outside of America. I'm very interested to find out how supers are dealt with on a global scale. More cross-border shenanigans, please!
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Science means that not all dreams can come true
Darwinist
Hipparch
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Posts: 701



« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2008, 08:56:46 PM »

I liked this one and thought the tie-in with the recent Clonepod UD story was a nice touch.   I guess my one nitpick with this one would be how a gigantic person could just slide in to normal society without anyone making a connection with the Union.  Great story, though.
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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
CGFxColONeill
Matross
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Posts: 241



« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2008, 09:14:40 AM »

I dont have much to say about this one... basically it was better than some but still not very high on my EP list 
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cryptocrat
Extern
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Posts: 6



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« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2008, 10:29:58 AM »


A technical note on RFID "chipping." 

At the current state of the art [...]

1) this is only sort of true in "our" universe.  i.e. it is true for most commodity "RFID" products, but does not generalize to all possible similar technology.
2) even in our universe, vicinity RFID chips could be effective identifiers with concealed readers scattered around high traffic areas.
3) the UD universe has technology that we don't.
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
Hipparch
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Posts: 2938


Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2008, 11:03:03 AM »


A technical note on RFID "chipping." 

At the current state of the art [...]

1) this is only sort of true in "our" universe.  i.e. it is true for most commodity "RFID" products, but does not generalize to all possible similar technology.
2) even in our universe, vicinity RFID chips could be effective identifiers with concealed readers scattered around high traffic areas.
3) the UD universe has technology that we don't.

An example would be the Attendee MetaData project at the Last HOPE (not actually the last HOPE), though that was with powered RFID and in a contained area.
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Chivalrybean
Peltast
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Posts: 158



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« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2008, 11:30:24 AM »

I had already heard the Clonepod Episode, and I think that, for me, made the ending that much more enjoyable.

Overall, a decent story. Nothing unexpected for me, but it wasn't boring.
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The Space Turtle - News that didn't happen, stories to entertain.
yicheng
Matross
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Posts: 221


« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2008, 11:06:01 AM »

A technical note on RFID "chipping." 
...

Body implanted chips would, of course, be limited in range due to power issues.  That should have still give the Union the capability to track the characters inside and immediately around the Pyramid, and possibly track things like heart-rate and blood sugar level.  For an organization that has no qualms about kidnapping children and brainwashing their members, I wouldn't think a thing like implanting a chip on the base of the skull (or in the hip bone) would be beyond them. 

And remember that this is a world where Super-Geniuses walk around with strength-enhanced body armor.  I would think that the Union would have advanced technologies (nanotech, robotics, video facial recognition -- can see through disguises) at their disposal.
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Windup
Hipparch
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Posts: 1226



« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2008, 07:49:14 PM »


A technical note on RFID "chipping." 

At the current state of the art [...]

1) this is only sort of true in "our" universe.  i.e. it is true for most commodity "RFID" products, but does not generalize to all possible similar technology.
2) even in our universe, vicinity RFID chips could be effective identifiers with concealed readers scattered around high traffic areas.
3) the UD universe has technology that we don't.


All true, but the author has not indicated the UD universe is substantively different in this respect, so the default assumption is that it's substantially similar to ours.  I was writing in response to the question of "Why doesn't the Union plant tracking chips in the supers?" implied in several posts, and my proposed explanation is that this isn't and oversight on the part of the Union (or by extension, the author), but that an RFID implant wouldn't make a very effective wide-area locator. 

It wouldn't strain my credulity any if, in the next story, the Union unvieled such technology (assuming a satisfactory explanation for why it hadn't been used so far were offered), I'm just saying that it's technically sensible for the author not to invoke such technology.
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"My whole job is in the space between 'should be' and 'is.' It's a big space."
Dwango
Matross
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Posts: 165



« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2008, 03:53:47 PM »

I don't think the union needs RFID to find this guy.  If he keeps winning every fight he has at the carnival, that would become rather suspicious.  I expect he would have to lose once in a while not to be discovered.  Of course, that could lead to a sequel, running from the Union.  Maybe he could even run into the girl who is a plant for the Union, the one pretending to be a hooker.  Thats whats great about the Union Dues world, there are so many places an imagination can go into.  I'm beginning to want to see a novelization of the world, where there actually are characters that change and a continuing plot.  Its strange to feel you are at square one in each story, though it works really well in the short story format.
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Loz
Lochage
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Posts: 370


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« Reply #31 on: September 10, 2008, 05:02:54 AM »

I guess my one nitpick with this one would be how a gigantic person could just slide in to normal society without anyone making a connection with the Union.

Was he stuck at one size, or was he able to change size, if not, how tall was he?

I think I liked this story to some of the more recent 'Union Dues' tales precisely because it offers some hope that the Union isn't inescapable. I'd be interested to see a story that tries to put the Union in a good light, not some Pravda-propaganda piece but perhaps one in which perhaps some employee does what the can to manipulate things so the Heroes don't get shafted continually.
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Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
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Posts: 8657



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« Reply #32 on: June 29, 2010, 12:36:53 PM »

This was my least favorite of the Union Dues stories.  I really like a new story in a series to illuminate some previously unforeseen part of the universe, to expand my understanding of that world, to introduce new elements/characters that will leave me hungry for the next installment but this one didn't cover any new ground other than the fact that a super is sometimes replaced by just recruiting someone knew and putting them in the same costume.

The story itself, even regardless of whether it illuminated the Union Dues world, didn't do much for me.  I didn't find any of the characters particularly sympathetic.  It's hard to find something original in an amnesia story and this one didn't take it anywhere unexpected.

Since the Union Dues stories tend not to have much on-screen action, they really need to be carried by their characters and ideas, and this one wasn't strong enough in either respect.

That's not to say that it wasn't an okay story in its own right, but since Union Dues have been published here so many times, it raises the bar.
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