Author Topic: EP187: Summer in Paris, Light from the Sky  (Read 57227 times)

Ersatz Coffee

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Reply #100 on: February 24, 2009, 11:05:20 AM
A bit "meh!" for me, this one. I've you're going to radically mess with history I feel you ought to have a little more of interest to say. Yeah, we knew Hitler (like so many despots) had an abusive father, might have been different if he hadn't. But no mention of the other things that forged Hitler's character - his experiences in the trenches of WWI, the poverty, chaos and attempted coups of the twenties, etc. Remember, he was already a pan-German nationalist and rabid antisemite by as early as 1919. Besides, he hardly invented this aspect of German culture/politics - it was a strand that had been brewing for centuries, in a long line going back to Martin Luther and being developed by such 19th century figures as Bernhard Forster.



MiraCheskis

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Reply #101 on: February 28, 2009, 04:09:07 PM
Nature vs Nurture is a false dichotomy; it's BOTH.  See the wiki article regarding it for more details.

I'm still mulling over this one.  I think it's a good story for the point it makes through example, not because it's exceptionally well written or plotted.  I was pretty upset by the rape scene when Adolf ran away, and had to take a break for a while.  I was afraid I wouldn't be able to finish it , but then my partner nudged me to....and I did.  My reaction was much more to the soldier's words and attitudes than to the rape itself.

I've always been a believer that Hitler was more a product of his times and situation than inherently evil.  I blame WWII on the Treaty of Versailles.  It's nice to see a story spun on that very point. 

Nice choice of story.  I enjoyed - definitely worth getting through the hard bit. :)



Loz

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Reply #102 on: March 05, 2009, 08:31:36 PM
I'm not sure I agree, I admit I don't know a lot of the detail, but I think Versaille got Germany as a country into the position it needed to be in to go to war, but it still needed the special brands of unhinged and scheming of the Nazis at the top to kick it off.

I enjoyed the story and the reading. The only bit I found a bit off was when Adolf has momentary visions of how he turned out in our reality, it seemed a little unnecessary. It reminded me of an old Mike Moorcock story I can barely remember in which all the characters were named after some of the worst tyrants in history, from what I can recall that was just juvenalia with the names used for shock value, I think this story had deeper worth.



DarkKnightJRK

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Reply #103 on: March 26, 2009, 06:43:07 PM
Overall, it was a very interesting piece. The girl is a bit of a 1D character, but overall, it creates a hell of a lot of questions to talk about, as this six-page thread shows, and I can't really fault a story that does so. Well, unless it's, like, really really terrible (coughRevolution Timecough) whereas this one rounds out somewhere between "average" and "meh."



SnowsDream

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Reply #104 on: March 29, 2009, 06:35:25 AM
 :D

I'm new here, but I'm gonna say this is my favorite Escape Pod episode to date. I thought the story was amazing with great concepts on what moves us and changes our path. And a great play on the big person vs right moment theory on history. Most of all I just loved the story, the emotions, the type of characters. How they were older men really put it in a different frame of mind for me. I was very amazed. I hope to see more like this. I think it's a perfect example of great short fiction and the potential short fiction has to be amazing.


Jason



yicheng

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Reply #105 on: January 13, 2010, 10:54:31 PM
I liked this story, but then I'm a sucker for alt-history.  Hitler is a particularly interesting character because historically, he seemed like a normal joe until his stint in WWI and afterwards when he got radicalized by the National Socialists.  Other interesting tidbits like Brazil being a state of the USA were pretty neat.

Great person = stop at Poland, at risk of being shouted down I think he could have got away with going into Poland providing he didn't go any further. Equally on the basis of the winner writing history, if he hadn't gone after Russia he would probably have been recorded by history as being great.

Even if Hitler had gone into Russia, many of the initial people he had conquered were actually thankful to be free from Stalin's rule.  His war of annihilation drove many of the potentially friendly (or at least indifferent) Russians and East-Europeans right into Stalin's armies.  I think if he actually treated the Slavic people with any sort decency, he would have had a very good chance of taking out Stalin, or at the very least had friendly territory to fall back to when they got pushed back from Moscow.



Unblinking

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Reply #106 on: April 22, 2010, 05:16:50 PM
Stop me if you've heard this:  Hitler, Hemingway, and Chaplin walk into a bar...
Oh, it's not a joke?

That was the point that really threw me out of the story, when these three famous people from our history just happen to meet at a bar and become the best of friends.  I just couldn't look past it as anything but a plot device.  Hitler as protagonist is an interesting idea, but that just really bugged me.  I still listened to the rest though because I wanted to find out where it was leading.

And the reason for filling the cast with celebrities seems to me in this story to just be to avoid the trouble of actually fleshing out their characters.  Everyone knows Hemingway, so you don't have to bother explaining any further.  Hitler had to be Hitler for the story to convey the story it was trying to convey, but the other celebrities just didn't need to be there.

On that note, it didn't work for me to have history diverge so far back in the past when the story is supposed to be about an alt version of someone who lived long after the split.  Sure, if you want to tell a story about this alternate time period, that's fine, but I just find it implausible that all these celebrities are still existent with the same names.  Much more plausible is that this is not even genetically the same Adolf Hitler from our history, but just another guy with the same name.  After all, presumably there were many other Hitlers in his family tree, and I don't think Adolf was all that uncommon of a name.  But if you go with that interpretation, then the story loses all meaning, so that way of thinking isn't much fun either.

Ragtime was 100% correct about the female character being just a plot device to motivate Hitler and that bugged me.  Especially when he HAPPENS to walk past a rape occurring and that rape HAPPENS to be the only woman he's talked to in recent history.  the occasional stretch of implausibility is okay, but there was an implausability around every corner, it seemed, and it just struck me as lazy for the story to rely on them so heavily.

One little nitpick:  I'm pretty sure that there was an inconsistency in the legend written on the photo.  When I listened to it, I'm pretty sure the caption had one word different when his son read it then when he wrote it at the end of the story.  I could be wrong, I don't really feel like listening again to verify, but if the inconsistency is there, it's a little strange, since it's also the title of the story.




tinroof

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Reply #107 on: April 22, 2010, 08:23:58 PM
Unblinking - Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I thought the split was simply that Hitler's father had been kind to him the last few years of his life. Hence the glimpse of the other reality, where he specifically mentions his father being a cruel man in that world.



Ocicat

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Reply #108 on: April 22, 2010, 08:29:40 PM
I didn't remember where history diverged here either, but rather than re-listen to the story I skimmed through the comments here:

I think the idea was that with a France that was so strong England couldn't hold on to any of it's colonies and helped the Americans even more than they really did.  France probably also messed with Spain and portugal and that gives you South America. 

in that situation we would expect a large independent quebec.

I see an EU situation happening here.  Quebec is sitting there looking at everyone around them trading without paying any tariffs and says, "can I come in?" 


The American Revolution being in the 1860s,

Had to find the story in print online and check, but the time of the American Revolution was never stated.  It mentioned Lincoln avoiding a Civil War, which we remember as being 1861-1865.

Quote
Adolf remembered stories about the American Revolution. He'd studied it in school, though his textbooks said little. No one really believed that the young nation of upstarts would live beyond its cradle. But Lincoln averted civil war over slavery and assisted the Canadians in gaining their own independence. Naturally, the grateful northerners joined the Union. And shortly after, the Spanish-American conflict left the United States with an entire continent under its sway.

I don't think that this necessarily means that the American Revolution occurred in the 1860's.  Note the part, "No one really believed that the young nation of upstarts would live beyond its cradle."  Ninety-odd years is not a long time for a nation to exist if you reckon from the 1770's to the 1860's.  I see this as a European's rather truncated version of American history, really no different than an American's concept of European history.



Unblinking

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Reply #109 on: April 23, 2010, 01:28:23 PM
Unblinking - Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I thought the split was simply that Hitler's father had been kind to him the last few years of his life. Hence the glimpse of the other reality, where he specifically mentions his father being a cruel man in that world.

Napoleon IV was ruling France in the present of this story, so I'm assuming the French Empire continued uninterrupted since Napoleon I's reign in the alternate timeline.  If the first split had been Hitler's father, that would have made much more sense to me.  Splitting the timeline that far back works for me if you're crafting new people in this new timeline, but not if you're reusing people.



tinroof

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Reply #110 on: April 23, 2010, 02:36:45 PM
Aw, man. I managed not to notice that the first time around - I enjoyed the story mainly on the basis that it just took a little tweak early on to make Hitler a better person. Kind of weakens the message if you have to make a whole different western history to do it.



Boggled Coriander

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Reply #111 on: April 23, 2010, 04:12:10 PM
Unblinking - Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I thought the split was simply that Hitler's father had been kind to him the last few years of his life. Hence the glimpse of the other reality, where he specifically mentions his father being a cruel man in that world.

Napoleon IV was ruling France in the present of this story, so I'm assuming the French Empire continued uninterrupted since Napoleon I's reign in the alternate timeline.  If the first split had been Hitler's father, that would have made much more sense to me.  Splitting the timeline that far back works for me if you're crafting new people in this new timeline, but not if you're reusing people.


Been a while since I listened to this story, so I don't recall if any recent French Empire historical details were given.  But even our own history gives us a sizable discontinuity between Napoleon I's overthrow (1815) and Napoleon III taking power (1852).  Maybe in the story's timeline Napoleon IV took over relatively recently, after another extended period of no Napoleon on the throne?

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


Unblinking

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Reply #112 on: April 23, 2010, 04:31:21 PM
Unblinking - Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I thought the split was simply that Hitler's father had been kind to him the last few years of his life. Hence the glimpse of the other reality, where he specifically mentions his father being a cruel man in that world.

Napoleon IV was ruling France in the present of this story, so I'm assuming the French Empire continued uninterrupted since Napoleon I's reign in the alternate timeline.  If the first split had been Hitler's father, that would have made much more sense to me.  Splitting the timeline that far back works for me if you're crafting new people in this new timeline, but not if you're reusing people.


Been a while since I listened to this story, so I don't recall if any recent French Empire historical details were given.  But even our own history gives us a sizable discontinuity between Napoleon I's overthrow (1815) and Napoleon III taking power (1852).  Maybe in the story's timeline Napoleon IV took over relatively recently, after another extended period of no Napoleon on the throne?

That might make sense.  I got the impression that Napoleon's line continued uninterrupted but I don't recall if it explicitly said that or if I just assumed.  In any case, in this timeline the American Civil War was also avoided, which led to the US taking over the rest of the continent, so the changes date back to at least the 1860s.