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Author Topic: EP682/EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest (Flashback Friday)  (Read 35663 times)

Listener

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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

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scatterbrain

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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



Praxis

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




wakela

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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



Skought

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

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




MasterThief

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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...


deflective

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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.”



LarrySantoro

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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, well...in 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 www.starshipsofa.com on which I'm pretty much a regular, doing my own work and stories by others.  Hope you'll stop by.

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

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kibitzer

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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

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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!





bamugo

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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.



Rauf

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On a scale of 1 to 10

Reading of story 10
Story itself 11



oddpod

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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


JDHarper

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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.

Thanks!

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



Talia

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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.



lowky

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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.

I viewed it less as a story of technology run amok, than the Politically Correct Police had taken over and implanted their views so that we were no longer allowed to be our selves but we must be everybody, so we can never offend anybody.


izzardfan

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I, too, felt the reading added a level of enjoyment not possible with just the text.  Larry, you did an amazing job!  I love the way you giggled, especially.   ;D

As for the story, I got so caught up in it, and enjoyed it very much.

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.

My feeling was he smashed in the courtesan's face because she knew him and the girl whose mask he was wearing at the end, and she was questioning what happened.  It was to shut her up.  I didn't feel like he would have gone on to kill anyone else, but maybe that's just my wishful thinking.



Anarkey

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Well it took three years (since PP's Oranges, Lemons and Thou Beside Me) but Eugie Foster has totally blown me away again.  This story was GREAT.  Completely engrossing and gave me that shivery feeling I long for at the end and yay!  The reading was fabulous.  I can sympathize with those who thought it was over the top because for an EP reading it was a little more acted than usual, but I can only sympathize so far, because this story needed that kind of reading.  The reading was amazing and it all went together so well and the ending kicked ass and took no names and I have been telling people OMG you have to listen to this story, it's sooooo good since I heard it.

I heart Escape Pod.   Again. 

Winner Nash's 1000th member betting pool + Thaurismunths' Free Rice Contest!


H. Bergeron

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So, over this summer I did a whole bunch of work for my parents and grandmother.  I painted a porch, I refinished cabinets... What I'm trying to say is, I spent a whole lot of time listening to podcasts.  And since I was all caught up on EA's podcasts, I used my time to listen to StarShipSofa, and during that time I have come to really enjoy Larry Santoro's readings.  He's the bomb.  And when I realized he was reading this story, I was frankly ecstatic.

Yes, he did perhaps insert more drama into his reading than some other readers, but I think that it's sufficiently motivated by the story to add to the presentation rather than distract from it.  I am always willing to listen to a story Larry narrates.  Seriously.

Regarding the story itself: I quite enjoyed it.  I was confused for a little bit by the gender switch between the first two masks, but that, I think, helped in a way to illustrate the sort of non-human physical being of the narrator and his fellow 'courtesans.'  As a theory, though, that occurs to me - if we're working within human physical norms with the added extrapolation of a queen who is the primary female breeder, or even in fact the ONLY female breeder, we could be looking at a culture composed entirely of biologically male citizens whose 'gender' (or whatever the term is for what you identify as) is determined by the masks but for whom 'gender' means (in the sexual realm), if I may be crude, who's pitching.

...This is why I don't usually write on forums when it's late and I'm tired.

But in all seriousness - it was a good story, and caught me off-guard repeatedly.  The ending was a surprise and actually, to me, it makes sense that he may end up this sort of maniac, especially if his de-programming had not been properly or thoroughly completed before the woman was caught by the Gendarmes.

Formerly Ignoranus - now too big for my britches, literally and figuratively.


Swamp

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I totally got into this story!  Luckily, I picked up on the daily identity change thing pretty quick and looked forward to what each day would bring.  I loved getting surprized at the end.  Yes, the violence was strong, but I wasn't bothered by it in this story.

Like Anarkey said (but not in these words):  Eugie Foster does it again.  And I listened to this just before was before I heard Daughter of Botu on Podcastle (yes, I'm behind).  I am just super impressed with Eugie right now.  So much so I wrote aboute her on my blog.

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast


gfplux

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This is the second story on the bounce I did not like.



NoraReed

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From The Sickness Unto Death by Soren Kierkegaard:

Quote
By seeing the multitude of people around it, by being busied with all sorts of worldly affairs, by being wise to the ways of the world, such a person forgets himself, in a divine sense forgets his own name, ares not believe in himself, finds being himself too risky, finds it much easier and safer to be like the others, to become a copy, a number, along with the crowd.

This is a world where *everyone* has literally forgotten his own name, not only in a divine sense, by separating their true self/potential self from the identity they use to face the world.



natashafairweather

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I was so disgusted by the sexual violence in the first scene that I nearly turned the story off. Luckily, I was enjoying the narration so much that I stuck with it and it turned into a really great story.

That first scene though, ugh. You know, I can handle violence, murder, sexual violence, if the description of it is important to the story - if it is necessary for plot or character. That scene though was just gross titillation. The author had not yet earned their violence, and that scene just left me feeling gross. Not gross in a "gross scene, cool storytelling!" more like in a "the author just disrespected me by forcing this disgusting scene on me without justifying it" way.

After that, though, it was a great story. And the narration, of course, was incredible.



eytanz

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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.

My feeling was he smashed in the courtesan's face because she knew him and the girl whose mask he was wearing at the end, and she was questioning what happened.  It was to shut her up.  I didn't feel like he would have gone on to kill anyone else, but maybe that's just my wishful thinking.

I think that's inconsistent with the ending of the story - he says he now knows how to murder so his "victims will not wake", and then goes on the say he is chaos, a flaw in the society. My impression was that he plans to go on killing. Plus, it doesn't really make sense to say that she knew him and the girl - remember, this society has no notion of identity, and has a major taboo against thinking about the people beyond the mask. The narrator was special in that he had some notion of identity even before being freed. The lover was questioning why her servant girl disappeared, not anything more. He could have made any excuse and she would have been angry, but still playing within the rules of the game, and he would have been safe. The murder - and the viciousness of it (remember, he makes an explicit point about he doesn't stop hitting her once she's dead) - is not motivated by pragmatic reasons.

I felt this story was wonderful, and I have more to say about it, and how the ending was not just appropriate but absolutely necessary; and also some questions I have, especially about the role of the queen. But I don't have time to write it up right now; hopefully, I'll find time to do so over the next few days.



MacArthurBug

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I got so wrapped up in the story I actually forgot to come over here and do my usual "yay!"

The imagry- the world building, the READING! fantastic on all fronts. I liked the way it unfolded, like an origami piece or one of those neat little hidden compartment boxes. Each facet turned on it's face by the unexpected ending. Wonderful! I am just giddy with glee over this one!

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.