Escape Artists
July 30, 2014, 04:02:18 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2  All
  Print  
Author Topic: EP211: Carthago Delenda Est  (Read 7765 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2938


Part-Time Psychopomp.


« on: August 13, 2009, 04:58:35 PM »

EP211: Carthago Delenda Est

by Genevieve Valentine
Read by Kate Baker

Story originally appeared in Federations.

Wren Hex-Yemenni woke early. They had to teach her everything from scratch, and there wasn’t time for her to learn anything new before she hit fifty and had to be expired.

“Watch it,” the other techs told me when I was starting out. “You don’t want a Hex on your hands.”

By then we were monitoring Wren Hepta-Yemenni. She fell into bed with Dorado ambassador 214, though I don’t know what he did to deserve it and she didn’t even seem sad when he expired. When they torched him she went over with the rest of the delegates, and they bowed or closed their eyes or pressed their tentacles to the floors of their glass cases, and afterwards they toasted him with champagne or liquid nitrogen.

Before we expired Hepta, later that year, she smiled at me. “Make sure Octa’s not ugly, okay? Just in case—for 215.”

Wren Octa-Yemenni hates him, so it’s not like it matters.

Rated PG for political machinations and waiting…

Logged

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.
Listener
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3150


I place things in locations which later elude me.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2009, 01:02:26 PM »

A great concept, but an extremely boring story, at least to me. I haven't read "Waiting for Godot" but my ex loved it, and she told me enough about it for me to think that this is at least somewhat similar -- everyone gets together and waits for something to happen... but Carthage won't come today. Perhaps tomorrow. I wish the story had been more interesting, or at least that more had happened in it.

The reading was very deadpan and didn't really help matters. Technically sound.
Logged

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42
Praxis
Guest
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2009, 01:10:07 PM »

I've just finished listening to this one - I know because my mp3 player stopped - and I realised I wasn't following the story or what was happening at all.

I think this needs a re-listen as it sounded interesting at the start.  Like Listener said, the delivery of the story didn't help me get into the story.
Logged
Boggled Coriander
Lochage
*****
Posts: 545



WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2009, 08:09:19 PM »

I think I would have preferred this story in written form, since then I could have gone back to re-read bits near the beginning that didn't fully register the first time. 

As I was listening, I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd zoned out or hadn't quite understood some crucial bit of background information. I don't think this is the fault of the author or the reader.  I'll probably give the whole thing another listen.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2009, 09:32:39 PM by Boggled Coriander » Logged

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest
gelee
Lochage
*****
Posts: 520


It's a missile, boy.


« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2009, 03:35:44 PM »

I had a really hard time following this story for the first few minutes.  Stories like this usually work better if you start with something comprehensible, then move into the weird stuff, or show us what the characters are talking about, so we can see the weird for ourselves.  Throwing us into the deep end with no set up may seem dramatic and cool, but I nearly shut this one off.  When I finally got a handle on things, I thought the premise was fascinating.  I listened to the set up with rapt attention.  Then the story was over.
Um.  No.  This story seemed to have a lot going for it, but it was over before it really got started.
Logged
kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 1924


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2009, 08:00:15 PM »

Liked this one, though agreed it takes a few minutes to figure out what's going on. In fact, I felt a sense of loss at the end -- finished too suddenly, wanted to know more about what happened.

Well read.
Logged

BrianDeacon
Extern
*
Posts: 6


« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2009, 12:08:57 PM »

So y'all can be as lazy as I'd have liked to have been:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carthago_delenda_est

Not what I would have guessed for the meaning of Delenda.
Logged
thomasowenm
Lochage
*****
Posts: 364


Servant of The Orator Maleficent


« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2009, 02:50:15 PM »

I was lost on this one.  For what purpose would any planet or nation send thousands of volunteers into space without the slightest knowledge of the contents of a mysterious message from the other side of the universe?  The only inkling these "volunteers" had is that it is really really nice?Huh  I just cannot buy it.  I did find though, that if I cast that aside it was interesting in concept. 

So y'all can be as lazy as I'd have liked to have been:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carthago_delenda_est

Not what I would have guessed for the meaning of Delenda.
Knowing this now, does change the view I get of the story, Maybe they were all just a load of useless bloody loonies and were set out like the Golgafrinchans in Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams. Grin
Logged
Ocicat
Castle Watchcat
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2165


Anything for a Weird Life


« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2009, 04:15:25 PM »

This was a real slog.  I often enjoy being thrown in the deep end, without knowing the basics of the universe or what is going on.  But with this one I just never felt anything to connect to, or any reason to care... at all.

So there's this message.  From some alien species, but different species seem to be pretty common.  The only thing that makes Carthage so special is some message they sent that's rumored to be cool.  So tons of races send out generation ships filled with clones, but still have babies, and everyone waits around for hundreds of years?  What's the holdup?  What are they hoping to accomplish?  Eh, you know what?  Never mind.

The reading was indeed very deadpan, but I'm not sure what else they could have done with this story.  In text, it might have all worked okay, but audio was just the wrong format for this one.
Logged
koosie
Extern
*
Posts: 5



WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2009, 04:34:26 PM »

I'll admit I'd got to about half-way through when I realised I didn't have a clue what was going on and it was time to start again and concentrate on it a bit harder. The exercise was worth it I thought as it was an intriguing glimpse into some future politics, religion and diplomacy with some nice little touches about how the different races respond. Perhaps slightly frustrating that the narrator wasn't party herself to what was really going on but sometimes less is more and there are hints at the way the situation will develop after the end of this story. I will listen to it again and possibly see it more clearly.  It made me think of Good news from the vatican by Robert Silverberg for some reason, possibly because of the AI, of whom we did not hear enough, one feels.
Logged
Praxis
Guest
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2009, 04:44:56 PM »

I agree with thomasowenm:  if you take as read that there is some message that is simply so utterly inarguably unstoppably amazing that no person (or government, or species) could do anything but  stop fighting.......it is a very interesting story, and the setting - deep space and in contact with many other species - is pretty damn near perfect for this sort of 'waiting room' scenario that the characters are put through.

But.  It takes a biiiiig step to assume the premiss.  How would this knowledge about the essence of the message ever be able to be forceful enough without the actual content leeking out?

That in itself would be worth a short story to explain.

Actually, I think that is it (the reason why I didn't engage that well with this story): because the setting up of this situation is glossed over, it doesn't seem real that 'something' could be broadcast and every species (so far encountered) reacted in the same almost manic way.   Soooo, I didn't believe in the power of this message and it wasn't clear throughout the story whether it was real or whether it was all a fake designed to bring about change.
And neither option is resolved.

And, given the lack of explanation of the original carthage ship event, etc. etc. it wasn't really possible to imagine what either option would be like.

Meh.
Logged
gregbillock
Extern
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2009, 01:28:37 AM »

I think this story would have benefitted from some additional thought and detail put into whatever complex negotiations occupy a bunch of aliens sitting around for hundreds of years in big spaceships. What are they negotiating? Why? Has this meet-up become a kind of nexus of diplomacy? Apparently there are some threats to that status quo. What are they? As it is, I think the story asks too much of us.
Logged
Doom xombie
Palmer
**
Posts: 48

Hi


WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2009, 11:48:14 AM »

I generally listen to stories about 30 mins-hour before i sleep but I didn't last that long with this story. About 10-15 minutes in I found myself staring at my wall wondering whether it was off white or white. Not a very good sign for this story so I re listened later hoping it would be better. I managed to pay attention and wasn't all that thrilled. First, why did 10,000(?) people go some place because a message was beautiful? They didn't hear it or even have it described to them as anything but "beautiful." It makes me think of them as a cult more than anything. They wait for a messiah that forbids war and encourages free flow of knowlege... I've probably missed a bunch of details but that, for me, was gist of it.
Logged

Look its a signature! And a dragon!



DKT
Friendly Neighborhood
Editor
*****
Posts: 4327


PodCastle is my Co-Pilot


WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2009, 12:23:44 PM »

Huh. I'm really going to be a voice apart this time, I guess.

I absolutely loved this story. I thought it was well told (personally, I loved the way it just dropped me in there - it made me want to know what the hell was going on. Kate Baker's narration was subtle perfection. Great match-up between narrator and story this time, IMO.

I find myself very quickly becoming a fan of Genevieve Valentine's fiction. I saw her name pop up all over this past month with stories at Clarkesworld and Strange Horizons, in addition to all the blogging she does at Tor.com - it's been quite a month for her. But I think it's very well-earned. She puts a real sense of hummanity into these great SF concepts and makes them oh-so bittersweet. Listening to this made me want to grab the Federations anthology off the shelf, reread this one, and then go through all the rest of the stories in there.

The comparisons Listener made to Waiting for Godot are interesting. I agree with them, and yet, I think there's slightly more optimism to it here (although there's plenty of heartache, too). I mean, 400 years without war, 400 years of peace? That's pretty amazing, and it made me wonder even if Catharge never came, or was fabricated, it might still be worth it to believe.
Logged

Russell Nash
Guest
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2009, 02:05:46 AM »

What he said.

I really liked this one.  I wanted to figure it out.  I wanted to know more about this universe.  What was it like before?  Could the message be a fake to stop war?  Do they ever stop waiting?  Does someone et so pissed off he fires a shot?  If so, how do the other races respond?  I wanted more, more, more.  I want more stories in this universe.

I thought the reading fit.  There was no great excitement in the story and the reader didn't try to make you feel there was.
Logged
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4544



« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2009, 02:07:55 AM »

I was away for the past few days, and while I could check the forums on my cellphone I don't like posting from its small keyboard; which means, in this case, that between the last time I read the forums and now I had sort of formulated a post in my head about this story. Only now I discover that DKT had made it for me, so let me just briefly echo him -

Loved the story, not despite it's subtlety and confusing beginning, but because of these aspects. This was not a story about alien contact, it was a story of how hope can bring people together, and how different people (in this case, represented by different species) deal with hope and faith in different ways. I thought it was marvelously written and wonderfully read.

(edit: not only did DKT get to say what I wanted while I was away, Russell ended up agreeing with him while I was writing my post. I can't do anything first today Wink )
Logged
izzardfan
Guest
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2009, 02:13:58 AM »

What they said.   Wink

I admit, it was easier to understand what was going on at the beginning because I'd read the post that goes with the sound file first, which immediately clued me in with the Hex/Hepta/Octa terms.  I'd like to read the text of this eventually.  The reading was excellent, though.  I just wished the story hadn't had to end so soon.
Logged
Boggled Coriander
Lochage
*****
Posts: 545



WWW
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2009, 08:04:27 AM »

Okay, I have to give it a re-listen now.  My brain totally didn't process Hex, Hepta, and Octa as meaning six, seven, and eight.  (I feel dumb.)
Logged

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest
gelee
Lochage
*****
Posts: 520


It's a missile, boy.


« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2009, 08:14:35 AM »

I wanted more, more, more.

Precisely the problem.  Once I had the premise figured out, I was really hooked into the story.  And then it was over.
More, please.  I mean this as both a compliment and a criticism, I suppose.  I was really wondering what was going on with the embassies, what the message was all about.  The story had me completely hooked, then ended so abruptly that the story felt unfinished.  In retrospect, this might have been intentional, to demonstrate the incomplete and arbitrarily terminated life of the Octa clone.
Logged
Talia
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2505


I like pie


« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2009, 08:57:18 PM »

Anyone else read the one idiot "race".. i forget the name, but the one with the guy who kept saying stupid things, and it was implied they were stockpiling weapons - as meant to be humans, or a parallel? Smiley

I liked this though I too am not sure what was going on. There was something beautiful about it even in its complexity.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!