Escape Artists



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Author Topic: EP682/EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest (Flashback Friday)  (Read 32299 times)

Amish Ninja

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Outstanding story. I'm probably going to listen to it a second time just to catch everything I might have missed (I tend to listen while working). Larry: you have a good speaking voice and read it well. Just wanted to give you props.


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Fabulous reading of an absolutely chilling story. I was blown away!


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Terrific story. Just when you think you have a handle on this story it just throws on another mask. Really good pacing, too, as it manages to build its world without doing the whole "here's a few minutes of exposition before the real story starts" thing. It manages to convey its info organically, which really just drew me in.


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I found this one to be very enjoyable, but I have a question (which expands into many others). If each mask is a different personality and has different relationships, how do they coordinate them? [Snip]
I think that I might be thinking about this too hard.

Gia, you are only thinking about it too hard if you aren't having fun.  :)

One of the things I liked about this story was that the author didn't explain everything, yet still left me with the impression that such questions as these could be answered. I think she did a masterful job in determining what the reader needed to know and what could be left to his/her imagination.

For this specific question, perhaps each mask provides its wearer with a specific type of experience, even if the wearer does not encounter anyone else wearing a "related" mask, but the masks are programmed to interact with other masks, too, providing a different experience if any of these masks are being worn. So in the first scenario, if no one wears the "wife" mask, the "husband" might still have some adventure of his own, or encounter someone wearing the "mistress" mask, or the "drinking buddy" mask, etc. Just one possibility.   

One thing I found myself wondering about was what the citizens did, and more to the point, what they thought after the unmasking hour and before they selected their new mask the next day. Wouldn't this consistency provide them with some sense of identity, even if it was as little as a gender and over-all appearance?

Boggled Coriander

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One thing I found myself wondering about was what the citizens did, and more to the point, what they thought after the unmasking hour and before they selected their new mask the next day. Wouldn't this consistency provide them with some sense of identity, even if it was as little as a gender and over-all appearance?

I had exactly the same thought.  It was left somewhat vague exactly how much - or how little - continuing identity one of these people had.  I got the distinct impression that the choice of mask (somehow) determined the wearer's sex for the day, although the protagonist stayed male throughout the story.  It added to my impression that these people aren't human, or any sort of human we would recognize.

Assuming these guys are at least humanoid, was I the only one to picture them as being nude (or almost so) apart from their masks?  I got the feeling it was implied in some scenes, such as when the "servant girl" smeared her own body with honey, and no mention was made of her tearing off or shoving aside her clothes first.  Was there any mention of clothing?

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


  • Hipparch
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Great reading.

Because I've had very wide exposure to SF, I saw this as something of an amalgamation of Dollhouse, Masks (John Vornholt Star Trek novel), Hopscotch (Kevin J. Anderson), and various other stories in that vein. For all that, I enjoyed hearing the story. The switch from male (husband in part 1) to female (friend in part 2) was a little jarring and it took me a minute to figure it out. The MC was very well-developed as an individual despite the oversouls that created whatever personality he was currently experiencing.

If I had any major problem with the story, it was the very end. Was it really necessary for him to smash in the courtesan's face? Is he going on a rampage to kill everyone who wears masks now? Is he acting this way because of the recent masks he wore? Would he have been different if he'd worn different masks leading up to that? I wasn't expecting that, and I don't know that it really created as satisfying an ending as I would've liked after such a strong story.

Overall enjoyable.

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

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


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This story seemed very *French*, if you know what I mean; a surreal world that gets more and more twisted as we go along. I guess some of the air I heared about this story was thoroughly justified.

Larry was a perfect reader for story; I hope we hear more from him! ;D


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.....and it was very well read. 
Almost acted, actually, and really helped to draw me in to the story.


  • Hipparch
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I guess I'm the only one who didn't care for the reading.  I thought it was a little over the top, and was distracting from the story in parts. 

I would love to hear more stories set in this world.  Like other commenters, I have questions about how they worked out certain societal things, but instead of seeming implausible, it just makes me want to know more.

***Spoliers below****

However, I thought the message of individuality was tired. Many present day human societies don't put a high value on individuality, but you never see this in SF.  Not very speculative, in my opinion.  Not that I disagree with the message.  It just would have been interesting of the protagonist had struggled a bit more or tempted the girl to rejoin society.  It seems she sacrificed a great deal, but instead of acknowledging the hardship, just goes along with a smug smile on her face.

Having said that, the twist ending that she woke up this individual and he turned out to be a psychopath was fantastic. 

Pet peeve:
-a guy begins to realize something big and his being guided by someone who knows the secret
-guy asks a question
-helper says, "Don't you get it?"
-helper explains something the guy couldn't possibly have guessed


  • Palmer
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Fine Story, EXCELLENT reading. I will be wondering on the gender issues for a bit. Made me think of…

Why do you wear a mask? Were you burned by acid, or something like that?
Oh no. It's just that they're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.


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Superb story, superb characters, superb world-building, superb ending, superb reading.  I smell a Hugo nomination for this one, it is that good.  Led to some very disturbing thinking on whether we make the masks we wear to society... or whether they are made for us.

My only quibble is that the end quote should have been from Nathaniel Hawthorne:  "No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true."

Lawrence, you rock!  Please do more EP readings!

If I was a Master Thief, perhaps I'd rob them...


  • Hipparch
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i got something of a hive culture off this one, especially with the queen & sensitivity to pheromones.

the Hawthorne quote doesn't really seem appropriate here, the masks change your face both to yourself & others.  it isn't like they were trying to pass themselves off as somebody different and losing their identity in the role.

the Oscar Wilde quote resonated with me: “man is least himself when he talks in his own person. give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”


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Please do more EP readings!

Please, MasterThief, Larry!  Lawrence is a sainted seaway or whatever.

I'd love to do more here.  Hope to in the future but am kind of, the midst.  So, while I hate pimping another site on this one -- and I did the vice-versa thing on the other one -- I'd like to point you, all of you, to on which I'm pretty much a regular, doing my own work and stories by others.  Hope you'll stop by.

« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 06:34:18 PM by LarrySantoro »

Lawrence Santoro -- writer/director
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"…at once diabolical and redemptive, as all great works of dark tale-tellin


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  • Hipparch
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I still haven't finished this one -- I'm up to the diamond mask -- but I guess I'm some kind of idiot here. Or maybe it's because I'm an Aussie or something. But I'm afraid the reading on this one is really, really irritating me. I'm sorry Larry, because I know you're in this thread. But for mine, it's way too... staged.

Doom xombie

  • Palmer
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Absolutely loved the Reading! Made me feel like the character was there next to me!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Look its a signature! And a dragon!


  • Palmer
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I’m not sure whether it was the story itself or the reading of it that provoked me to dredge up my account on these forums.

Both were utterly wonderful. The story was engaging all the way through – the protagonist(?) was so very compelling and endearing. Because the main conflict was implied rather than stated, I found myself happily going along for the ride rather than trying to predict an outcome. And what an outcome! Although horrifying – I never lost my sense of goodwill towards the protagonist.

Larry’s reading is fantastic. I feel like I’ve heard him before. I think his style was perfect for this story.


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On a scale of 1 to 10

Reading of story 10
Story itself 11


  • Matross
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ace stuf , i love the things that arnt thair, the questons that dont get anserd.
 it is buttifly vage and captivating.
fine work all round

card carying dislexic and  gramatical revolushonery


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I haven't finished the story yet, but I do have one request for future episodes: remember how y'all used to put a warning in front of stories with strong themes of sex or violence? Can you start doing that again? I have no objection to such stories, but I don't want to play them to my little brother.

I know there's a rating on the website, but there needs to be some kind of warning in audio too. This is a *podcast* after all.


Edit: Just finished the story. Excellent, excellent story, and great narration too.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 01:37:29 PM by JDHarper »


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I join the rousing chorus of voices of praise. Love Eugie Foster stories and this is a humdinger. Elegant prose and an intriguing world.

I'm pretty sure they were once human - its a story of technology taken way to far, and what humanity could end up as, with all the meddling science is wont to do. :)

I'm also with the "great narration!" crowd. It was more of a dramatic recital than a simple reading, and I suspect it added something to the story that may not have come across in print.

Kudos all around.