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  • Get your 500 word fantasy stories ready! We'll be open for submissions through the month of March, and starting the voting sometime in early April. Full details on Podcastle's website

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Get your 500 word fantasy stories ready! We'll be open for submissions through the month of March, and starting the voting sometime in early April. Full details on Podcastle's website

Author Topic: EP210: The Hastillan Weed  (Read 16868 times)

stePH

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Reply #25 on: August 31, 2009, 03:51:09 AM
Tsk. You people and your bamboo. Simple: import a panda.

You think I hadn't considered that?  It's not as easy as it sounds.  There are rules and laws an' shit.  One does not simply import an animal on the endangered rolls to keep as a pet.

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kibitzer

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Reply #26 on: August 31, 2009, 04:30:09 AM
Tsk. You people and your bamboo. Simple: import a panda.

You think I hadn't considered that?  It's not as easy as it sounds.  There are rules and laws an' shit.  One does not simply import an animal on the endangered rolls to keep as a pet.

Well, it's not a pet, is it? It's clearly a gardening aid.


Russell Nash

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Reply #27 on: August 31, 2009, 08:49:03 AM
Tsk. You people and your bamboo. Simple: import a panda.

You think I hadn't considered that?  It's not as easy as it sounds.  There are rules and laws an' shit.  One does not simply import an animal on the endangered rolls to keep as a pet.

Well, it's not a pet, is it? It's clearly a gardening aid.

I tried talking to the zoo to see if I could rent theirs.  They wouldn't talk to me.



Rishoutfield

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Reply #28 on: September 04, 2009, 05:13:17 AM
I enjoyed this tale way more than I expected to.  And a nice surprise is always better than a nasty one.

Oh, and speaking of nasties, it was great that this story ended on a hopeful note.  Too often, I've found that Science Fiction is used to remind us of what a fallen and cancerous species we humans are, or that human nature is bound to destroy us (or everything beautiful in the universe), so it's refreshing when we have a tale that's not only decent, but leaves you feeling a little bit warm inside.

Or perhaps that's the alien embryo maturing in my chest cavity.  I really ought to get that checked.

Rish



kibitzer

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Reply #29 on: September 04, 2009, 08:32:50 AM
Or perhaps that's the alien embryo maturing in my chest cavity.  I really ought to get that checked.

Ooh! Pics?

(welcome btw)


Jagash

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Reply #30 on: September 16, 2009, 11:09:22 PM
I will attempt to communicate my thoughts on the piece in as reasonable a tone as possible.

That was jaw-droppingly astounding.    I admit that the primary reason for that is the science is rock solid.  I am an ecologist and I deal with invasives in my professional life and the tone, subtext and just plain biology is excellent.  Even beyond that, the characterization for the two main characters was excellent even if some of the extras were a touch less developed. 

Really makes me wonder though, why didn't out stalwart hero simply start out a trend of turning the berries into juice?   Juice without seeds means happy aliens who can still get high without spreading the plants.   Introduce Berry Juice jello shooters if you really want to be a trend setter.   Heck, turn that "sample habitat" into a bit of a grow-op where the scientists could study the stuff by day.     

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Reply #31 on: September 17, 2009, 05:06:10 AM
Really makes me wonder though, why didn't out stalwart hero simply start out a trend of turning the berries into juice?   Juice without seeds means happy aliens who can still get high without spreading the plants.   Introduce Berry Juice jello shooters if you really want to be a trend setter.   Heck, turn that "sample habitat" into a bit of a grow-op where the scientists could study the stuff by day.     

Start growing the stuff in a greenhouse.  Process it and sell it to the aliens and use the money to fund eradication of the wild plant. 



Swamp

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Reply #32 on: September 28, 2009, 08:33:58 PM
I enjoyed this story.  I did not get a preachy feel from it.  Drugs were discussed, but the protagonist never wagged his finger at the aliean for wanting to use the drugs with her friends.  He sympathized with her and even considered letting her have them if it was not such a risk to the environment.  I am usually the first to groan when I see environmentalism in a story just because it always seems to be so heavy handed or assumed (Like Ep. 217 Kindness of Strangers).  But not so for this story.  The protagonist was a conservationist by vocation. He cared about the environment, and had opinions, but was not a crazy activist.  This was his POV.  And if I'm not mistaken, the reporter indicated that global warming had not occurred as anticipated.  Can you even get away with that in science fiction today?

Anyway, the best part of this story for me was the details of it:  the safety lesson and wavier forms (I chuckled during that because it was spot on, I have been to many site safety training meetings), working with volunteers, the details about the plants.  I also liked how the alien threat came from the weed and not the aliens themselves.  It's kind of nice when the alien/human interaction is more matter-of-fact than epic (though that's fun too).

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monkeystuff

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Reply #33 on: September 29, 2009, 04:37:16 AM
When I saw "weed" in the title, I thought "Aha - a drug story." Then it was a sweet gardening story. Then the drugs came.

Sums it up good,

I enjoyed this one, I thought the main character was morally balanced. 

Though any usefulness of the alien plant was overlooked which kinda didn't add up to me.

justice may only be obtained where there is a lack of injustice


Planish

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Reply #34 on: September 30, 2009, 12:39:45 AM
I rather liked this story. Four out of five asterisks.
Funny thing, I only recently read of kudzu now appearing in Ontario.

Really makes me wonder though, why didn't out stalwart hero simply start out a trend of turning the berries into juice?   Juice without seeds means happy aliens who can still get high without spreading the plants.   Introduce Berry Juice jello shooters if you really want to be a trend setter.   Heck, turn that "sample habitat" into a bit of a grow-op where the scientists could study the stuff by day.     
It sounds like the aliens want to keep it a dark secret. Turning it into a commodity might be a diplomatic faux-pas. If not that, then if it becomes widely known there's also the risk of clandestine berry grow-ops sprouting up (so to speak) all over the place, and their operators might not be so rigorous in controlling the spread.

Worse than that, just imagine the spam emails: "Subject: Disc0unt Hast1ll@n B3rri3$ direct fr0m UK gr33nh0u$e$".

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ChiliFan

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Reply #35 on: October 17, 2009, 04:52:51 AM
Earlier this year I didn't have much Internet access, so a backlog of stories built up. I only recently got as far as this story, then heard it was by Ian Creasey. As I promised a few months ago, I didn't listen to the story. I won't listen to or read any stories by Ian Creasey because he claims to live in Yorkshire, a county which was abolished in 1974. I'll continue with my boycott until Ian Creaey admits there's no such county as Yorkshire and tells people where he *really* lives.

This is because I've noticed that failure by some people to accept current counties and unitary authorities usually goes hand in hand with various other outdated attitudes, including being sexist, anti metric measurements, and anti EU membership.

I'd also like to point out that in more recent years the county boundaries have changed yet again and some counties have been dismembered or abolished by the new unitary authorities, which not many people can remember all of and some of them are tiny. If Ian Creasey named a county he lived in before the latest changes, such as South Yorkshire, or West Yorkshire, which have both been abolished, then that would be enough for me to end my boycott.

BTW some of you may have heard that in the near future, Newcastle Brown Ale will be brewed in Yorkshire and wondered if this involves the beer being sent through a time vortex. Nothing like this will be happening. It'll actually be brewed in North Yorkshire, which still exists!






Talia

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Reply #36 on: October 17, 2009, 05:05:12 AM
Earlier this year I didn't have much Internet access, so a backlog of stories built up. I only recently got as far as this story, then heard it was by Ian Creasey. As I promised a few months ago, I didn't listen to the story. I won't listen to or read any stories by Ian Creasey because he claims to live in Yorkshire, a county which was abolished in 1974. I'll continue with my boycott until Ian Creaey admits there's no such county as Yorkshire and tells people where he *really* lives.

This is because I've noticed that failure by some people to accept current counties and unitary authorities usually goes hand in hand with various other outdated attitudes, including being sexist, anti metric measurements, and anti EU membership.

I'd also like to point out that in more recent years the county boundaries have changed yet again and some counties have been dismembered or abolished by the new unitary authorities, which not many people can remember all of and some of them are tiny. If Ian Creasey named a county he lived in before the latest changes, such as South Yorkshire, or West Yorkshire, which have both been abolished, then that would be enough for me to end my boycott.

BTW some of you may have heard that in the near future, Newcastle Brown Ale will be brewed in Yorkshire and wondered if this involves the beer being sent through a time vortex. Nothing like this will be happening. It'll actually be brewed in North Yorkshire, which still exists!


Worst reason to not listen to a story evar.

Seriously.. if you are SO focused on this one issue you cant even listen to the story and feel the need to vent on a months-old thread, something's deeply wrong, my friend.



Bdoomed

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Reply #37 on: October 17, 2009, 07:28:18 AM
Earlier this year I didn't have much Internet access, so a backlog of stories built up. I only recently got as far as this story, then heard it was by Ian Creasey. As I promised a few months ago, I didn't listen to the story. I won't listen to or read any stories by Ian Creasey because he claims to live in Yorkshire, a county which was abolished in 1974. I'll continue with my boycott until Ian Creaey admits there's no such county as Yorkshire and tells people where he *really* lives.

This is because I've noticed that failure by some people to accept current counties and unitary authorities usually goes hand in hand with various other outdated attitudes, including being sexist, anti metric measurements, and anti EU membership.

I'd also like to point out that in more recent years the county boundaries have changed yet again and some counties have been dismembered or abolished by the new unitary authorities, which not many people can remember all of and some of them are tiny. If Ian Creasey named a county he lived in before the latest changes, such as South Yorkshire, or West Yorkshire, which have both been abolished, then that would be enough for me to end my boycott.

BTW some of you may have heard that in the near future, Newcastle Brown Ale will be brewed in Yorkshire and wondered if this involves the beer being sent through a time vortex. Nothing like this will be happening. It'll actually be brewed in North Yorkshire, which still exists!

i seem to remember you venting on this a while ago in another thread, most likely another Ian Creasey thread.
we get it, Yorkshire is non-existant, whatever.  Does it REALLY matter?  Do those who claim to be from Yorkshire persecute all non-Yorkshireans?

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


stePH

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Reply #38 on: October 17, 2009, 03:17:43 PM
Remember, Chilifan also thinks the world is coming to an end because Doctor Who and Torchwood had reduced runs this year.  I've learned to disregard everything s/he says as deranged blather.

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ChiliFan

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Reply #39 on: October 17, 2009, 04:11:52 PM
Remember, Chilifan also thinks the world is coming to an end because Doctor Who and Torchwood had reduced runs this year.  I've learned to disregard everything s/he says as deranged blather.

I didn't say the World was coming to an end, just that these events were very serious. Not only that, but it may have been caused by the fact that there is such a series as The Sarah Jane Adventures, so funding may have been diverted from Doctor Who and Torchwood to help make season 3 of that series.




stePH

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Reply #40 on: October 17, 2009, 08:38:12 PM
Remember, Chilifan also thinks the world is coming to an end because Doctor Who and Torchwood had reduced runs this year.  I've learned to disregard everything s/he says as deranged blather.

I didn't say the World was coming to an end, just that these events were very serious. Not only that, but it may have been caused by the fact that there is such a series as The Sarah Jane Adventures, so funding may have been diverted from Doctor Who and Torchwood to help make season 3 of that series.

"The world is ending" was a bit of hyperbole on my part, but you did state that there was a conspiracy within the BBC to kill off Doctor Who and Torchwood.  Deranged blather.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
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cdugger

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Reply #41 on: November 04, 2009, 04:05:24 AM
First time to speak up, so I picked one I:
a) remember (since I am listening to 7 or 8 of these a day), and
b) actually have something to say about.

I actually liked this story. Didn't think I would when it started off, but it came around quickly for me. If you'll pardon the term, it seemed like real life. The best fiction is usually the most believable. Yes, I know there are times when it's too much, but believable is always better for me. It's a realism vs. reality thing. I don't want reality in my fiction, just realism. Green, bug-eyed monsters are fine, as long as I can believe in them.

The problem with this story is simply one of execution. The reading was, to put it politely, bad. Any good you might get from the character's interplay was lost in the reader's voice. You could never tell who was speaking, or even if someone was speaking, if the narration didn't tell you.

Now, I don't expect full-on high-end audio novel quality reading here, but a little more effort would be appreciated. There are tons of examples of very good reading on Escape Pod, so why not on this story?

I read, therefore I am...happy.


Scattercat

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Reply #42 on: November 14, 2009, 01:32:34 PM
I enjoyed the premise of the story, but having read or heard several of Ian Creasey's stories now, I can safely say that my frustration with this story, upon which I shall expound in a moment, is just one of the elements of his style and something I will have to live with in his writing (which is generally enjoyable otherwise and usually features at least one interesting idea or striking image.)

To whit: STOP DIRECTLY TELLING US WHAT THE CHARACTERS ARE FEELING!  Please, for the love of mercy!  These characters end up far too self-aware and instantly defuse tension by recognizing their own false assumptions and misperceptions.  (Except for Keith, oddly, who was the most realistic-feeling character in the story.)  And then they ANNOUNCE these to each other.  "I was feeling X because of Y."  "And I was feeling A because of B."  "Feeling X because of Y can be a problem.  In the future, I will strive to avoid feeling X."  "Yes, I will likewise strive."

I compare it to the dialogue in, say, "The Small Door," which is indirect and roundabout and full of unspoken implications - just like real language used by real people - and it just makes me grit my teeth in frustration.  I would have positively loved this story if only the characters didn't insist on expounding their thoughts and feelings at such great length.  (And if the characters don't do it themselves, then the narration starts in with a list of emotion words.)  As it was, I enjoyed the story but periodically shouted at my iPod to "Stop telling me that!  I can see that from what they just did!  You don't have to tell me, Ian!"  This engendered some concerned glances from my cats but was otherwise harmless, so no real need for Ian to stop writing this way.  My cats have long ago decided to disregard most of my actions anyway.  (Unless I have a food bowl in my hand.)

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DMBlackthorn

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Reply #43 on: January 21, 2010, 02:58:12 AM
The ideas presented in this story are way relevant to us all.  I especially liked the earnest realism presented by the naturalist.  His character seemed real and like that of a rustic paladin.  I also liked that how the aliens were drug fiends.  This touch also made the alien's otherwise unfathomable character suddenly very understandable.  I mean... uh, no, I've never eaten poisonous drug berries... really....



Unblinking

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Reply #44 on: April 21, 2010, 04:40:16 PM
I overall liked the story.  I liked that the humans and aliens were neither gleefully happy at their relationship with humans, nor militant, but shovel-tripping aside we all coexisted with some culture clash on the side.  I like how the aliens are not motivated by any evil world-conquering machinations, but are just looking to get high once in a while.  I wonder what the berries would do to humans?  I'm sure somebody's tried it by now.

I don't usually gripe about the reading, but I did have some trouble with it.  MarBelle has a nice voice, but I think he could just use more practice differentiating characters.  I had serious trouble differentiating who said what, and sometimes one person's speech and another's did not even have a pause in between, nor a change in tone, and the narration sounded the same as it all.  On a written page I would've been fine because of paragraph breaks and quotation marks separating them out, but in audio I really need some kind of clue.  When the translator was described as monotone, it would be nice if it sounded noticeably different than the spoken words and the narration, that would've been an easy way to differentiate the two main speaking characters.  I hope he comes back for more narration, but he could use a little more practice, is all.