Author Topic: EP202: Will You Be an Astronaut  (Read 26584 times)

yicheng

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Reply #25 on: June 16, 2009, 10:42:33 PM
One thing makes me suspect unreliable narrator more than anything: manual targeting for space weapons. Totally ludicrous. (Or just the writer has been brainwashed by stupid TV scifi.  :))

How do fighter pilots or patriot missiles banks acquire targets lock-ons?  Hmmm?  Same deal with these space weapons.  Automated space weapons can only pick up potential targets, but not tell what they are (space debris, asteroid, comet, friendly craft, satellite, or hostile asp) or if they should be fired on.  You'd need human intervention to call the final shot.



Listener

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Reply #26 on: June 17, 2009, 02:13:09 PM
The style of a children's book was totally nailed here, and I liked the little nods to when exactly this might be taking place -- I put it between 2050 and 2100. However, it was really LONG, for a children's book. My daughter loves "Curious George Goes Fishing" -- it's the longest book she owns that isn't a peek-a-boo one-line-per-page book (there's a LOT of words in it) -- and I get so tired of reading it because it's sooooooo loooooong. (Yet I read huge books to myself all the time. Go figure.) I would more see this as a series... "Will You Be an Astronaut #1: Antonio Goes to Space", "#2: Where do Astronauts Come From?", "#3: What do Astronauts Know?" et al.

Interesting. I kind of took it as part of a text book for school. If they were teaching from this in elementary, like 4th or 5th grade, the length of this would be just right :)

Really? Awful simple textbook. Of course, it HAS been more than two decades since I was in elementary school.

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DKT

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Reply #27 on: June 17, 2009, 03:36:53 PM
Heh. I meant it would've been a section from a text book.

Ah, substitute teaching. How I miss it :)


eekhout

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Reply #28 on: June 17, 2009, 07:54:03 PM
Ironically or fittingly, "Will You Be an Astronaut?" has been excerpted in Scope, a language arts magazine published by Scholastic and distributed to schools. Fiction sometimes mushes up against reality in strange ways.

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Greg van Eekhout
http://www.writingandsnacks.com



thomasowenm

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Reply #29 on: June 19, 2009, 11:32:27 PM
I thought Christiana Ellis did a good job narrating this children's indocrination book.  But with that being said, I have never liked books that talk down to kids, even when I was learning to read, and that is what this felt like.

I do realize that hippies and eco terrorists are the scourge of humanity, which is what I took away from the story.  But even though the story echoes my beliefs, I do not like feeling bludgened with it.  I have criticized other stories which beat me over, and over with hippy tripe.  So this story beat me up with anti-hippy rhetoric, whether pro or con my head still hurts from the heavy hand used to beat me. 

When these worms start planting gardens and wearing peasent shirts, they suddenly become enemies of humanity?  The story never associated these Asp influenced humans with violent behavior which I find puzzling.  Wouldn't a propaganda book at least tell horror stories about the damage done by these worms, instead of saying they "say strange things"? 

My rambling is done so in keeping with  the lower education theme it's time for grading.
Reading    B
Concept   C
Execution  D

Overall Grade a solid C
 



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Reply #30 on: June 20, 2009, 01:25:13 PM
When these worms start planting gardens and wearing peasent shirts, they suddenly become enemies of humanity?  The story never associated these Asp influenced humans with violent behavior which I find puzzling.  Wouldn't a propaganda book at least tell horror stories about the damage done by these worms, instead of saying they "say strange things"? 

If the asps really were out to destroy humantiy, I think the point of the worms was not to act as direct agents, but to lower humanity's guard. The asps don't need help killing humans, they need help eliminating technology.



BethPeters

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Reply #31 on: June 23, 2009, 12:47:28 AM
Man, it was hard to swallow the narration here.  Don't get me wrong, it was perfect for the story, but it was just hard to bear.  I did get used to it after awhile though, once the Asps came in and the story got rockin.
I really enjoyed this story.  I was wondering if it was going to take an Ender's Game route and was happy when it didn't.



wakela

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Reply #32 on: June 23, 2009, 01:53:06 AM
And isn't that thought more disturbing than the thought of government brainwashing? The thought that the government brainwashing is actually correct?
I think you hit the nail on the head here.  My interest level would have dropped to zero if the Asps or the government had ended up being pure evil.  I dreaded the reveal that the humans had caused the gray areas through environmental neglect and was relieved when it didn't happen. 

The brainwashing of children to rat on their neighbors and parents was chilling, but made even more so by the fact that it actually sounded like a good idea.  Why don't more writers try to make things truly morally ambiguous? 

I did find the reading tedious, but I thought it completely appropriate for the story.  Ellis did a great job, but maybe this isn't the best story for audio.



deflective

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Reply #33 on: June 23, 2009, 03:00:08 AM
also notable: the similarity between asp & tasp (a device from the known space series that disables people by remotely stimulating the pleasure centers).  like in mars attacks, if an alien race keeps assuring you that they're friends while they're killing you then you got to stop listening at some point.



stePH

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Reply #34 on: June 23, 2009, 03:45:41 AM
also notable: the similarity between asp & tasp (a device from the known space series that disables people by remotely stimulating the pleasure centers). 

The word "asp" puts me in mind of snakes.

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Zathras

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Reply #35 on: June 24, 2009, 05:06:59 AM


Am I the only one that thought of this?



Russell Nash

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Reply #36 on: June 24, 2009, 07:49:37 AM

Am I the only one that thought of this?

Nope.  I also had this:



Praxis

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Reply #37 on: June 25, 2009, 09:23:10 PM
I loved the way this story was told.

It was just the right amount of over-saccharin blandness that you would expect from a sort of children's info-mercial or school lesson about 'aliens up there in space'.

The story itself (earth is being attacked, the Asps appear to have a different philosophy (or more likely would still be attacking and wiping out earth whatever we were doing), there are brave astronauts/soldiers defending us....) wasn't so amazing, imo.

But the atmosphere, i.e. being in the midst of what sounds like a pretty brutal invasion and but being shown it through this overly-positive narration - excellent.



Zathras

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Reply #38 on: June 25, 2009, 11:06:08 PM

Am I the only one that thought of this?

Nope.  I also had this:


Ah, but Missile Command had the purple lines!



Russell Nash

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Reply #39 on: June 26, 2009, 06:18:32 AM

Am I the only one that thought of this?

Nope.  I also had this:


Ah, but Missile Command had the purple lines!

Which is why I thought of Missile Command along with Space Invaders.



Yargling

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Reply #40 on: June 26, 2009, 08:09:30 AM
One thing makes me suspect unreliable narrator more than anything: manual targeting for space weapons. Totally ludicrous. (Or just the writer has been brainwashed by stupid TV scifi.  :))

Possibly the aliens use devices or natural abilities to block or jam radar. Visual scanning would be the only way, and as far as I'm aware, the methods for computer-based visual scanning have only just really come into place.



Gamercow

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Reply #41 on: October 12, 2009, 07:22:32 PM
Another story that fell in the middle for me.  I thought that the format was interesting at first, but eventually seemed forced.  It was somehow clever and predictable at the same time.  I may have to go back and listen to this one again.  5/10

The cow says "Mooooooooo"


Jago Constantine

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Reply #42 on: November 26, 2009, 12:49:29 PM
Just a note that my weekly science fiction discussion group in Second Life listened to this story the other week and enjoyed it - we plan to make listening to episodes of Escape Pod a regular part of our meeting schedule  :)



Bdoomed

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Reply #43 on: December 01, 2009, 06:01:08 PM
Just a note that my weekly science fiction discussion group in Second Life listened to this story the other week and enjoyed it - we plan to make listening to episodes of Escape Pod a regular part of our meeting schedule  :)
That is beyond awesome

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Merkuri

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Reply #44 on: December 02, 2009, 01:30:25 PM
I would pay to get a copy of this story actually illustrated like a children's book with full-page colorful pictures of each scene.  I imagine such a book would have to have some sort of warning on the cover similar to the warning given at the beginning of the podcast.  When I listened to the story I imagined the narrator sitting in a room of children, reading the story and holding up the pictures for everyone to see.



CryptoMe

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Reply #45 on: December 04, 2009, 01:09:00 AM
When I listened to the story I imagined the narrator sitting in a room of children, reading the story and holding up the pictures for everyone to see.

Yes, I got this impression also. It's like story time at kindergarten. The author's choice of words and style reflect this very clearly.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2009, 01:11:02 AM by CryptoMe »



ahutson

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Reply #46 on: January 01, 2010, 11:27:10 AM
One of the most memorable Escape Pod stories, and one of my favorite readings.  If I knew how, I would add ambient music and sound effects.  I keep searching for other readings by Christiana Ellis without much luck.  Have heard more of Greg Van Eekhout's pieces on Drabblecast, I think.  His website, writingandsnacks.com, he mentions that he writes for both children and adults.



stePH

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Reply #47 on: January 03, 2010, 07:49:45 PM
One of the most memorable Escape Pod stories, and one of my favorite readings.  If I knew how, I would add ambient music and sound effects. 

Wouldn't that violate the "no derivatives" terms of the CC license?

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Unblinking

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Reply #48 on: April 26, 2010, 05:59:51 PM
At first, the narration really grated on me.  The narrator did a good job, and it fit the story very well, but it's just not what I like to listen to.  But as the story went on it got better.  For me the story had three major stages:

1.  A kid's books about astronauts.  A little dull for me, just telling kids about astronauts. Astronauts are cool but was a tidge bit too educational.
2.  A kid's book about astronauts fighting beasties and death on a massive school is a fact of life to the extent that it's even explained in kid's books.  This particularly hit home when the story started pointing out that the children's families could die and things like that.
3.  A kid's book that's probably government brainwashing.  By the end of the story I seriously doubted that the asps were real at all.  I'm figuring that the superpowers messed up and blasted each other with nukes, leaving other countries to rise to power.  These other countries make up the asps to give them something to unite against, and to give them an excuse to kill hippies.  This particularly hit home when it was telling the kids to watch out for those people who are acting "weird", and to report them to three other adults.  That sounded an awful lot like a Red Scare.

It's hard to pull off a multi-stage tone change like that and overall I really liked it.  I'm also glad for the warning at the beginning that warned that it was not a kid's story--that kept me listening long enough to get to the good parts.