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Author Topic: EP682/EP214: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest (Flashback Friday)  (Read 34754 times)

faeriedreamz

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I really enjoyed this story for both story and reading (go Larry!). I appreciated the dramatic pauses, the changes in pitch; the breathiness of some revelations within the story. This was so wonderful because it was more than reading the story to us (which is perfectly acceptable) it was acting the story out as well; and that created a new level of appreciation. I think that the performance complimented the nature of the story perfectly.

As far as the story goes... I had a few thoughts...

One thing I wanted to touch on was the Queen's story. Pinya acts as if putting the Diamond mask on will uncover all of the lies... all the treachery. I expected that the queen was an evil monster, sort of like the bad guy in V for Vendetta - and I was surprised to learn that she was... stupid.

Ok, stupid is probably not a fair assessment, and I recognize that the crime of removing identity is a pretty hefty one; but the Queen herself just wants her "children" to leave her alone: and so creates an incredibly elaborate setting that allows them to interact with each other in a format that she could control and protect them. It's interesting that the Queen built this society to eliminate the concept of death to her citizens, yet we are confronted with several violent and fake deaths throughout the story. So while they do not really die, they are not spared the violence or pain that masks exude.

I also appreciated the baroque styling of the story; someone else on the forum mentioned that, and it is exactly what was in my head too; although I loved the switch over after the diamond mask: suddenly scientists (who I presume are the mask makers) intrude on the scene and disrupt my concept of the life of this story.

Some others discussed that there may be a problem with the ending: i.e., the psycho killer aspect of our unnamed pro(?)tagonist. But there was a moment in the 2nd chapter, after he/she was a maiden where he longed to become one of the violent masks so that he could punch the masked man who referred to a previous mask's activities in the stomach. (Later we learn this is Pinya.) His focus on this over-reaction is being appalled at his longing to switch masks, when the real indication of his "personality" is the desire to cause bodily harm. I think that as readers we are so unsure of the world we are listening to, that we overlook that and assume it is the defenses of an offended person in a world we are unfamiliar with; when in reality it is a clue to his underlying character.



lawless

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Joined the forums just to comment on this story.  Amazingly good.  It built so well I was waiting for the flat ending but zing!  Didn't see that coming and it was just so right.

As far Larry's "reading" - it perfectly matched the tone.

Looking forward to the morning commute to listen again :)



heyes

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After the first mask it was pretty much clear where this story was going.  It was an enjoyable story, however, and what really sold it was the reader. Clearly. It seems like this would work better in a visual medium (theater, film, adult cartoon, graphic novel, etc.).  In the end I feel like I either want a lot more than it gives me, or a lot less.  Would be a fine flash or a fine novel.

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Darwinist

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I really didn't like anything about this one.......almost turned it off a couple of times but gutted it out.  Meh.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan


lowky

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I really didn't like anything about this one.......almost turned it off a couple of times but gutted it out.  Meh.

Beginning to think it was just me.  Was actually considering relistening given all the praise it's been getting here.  Just didn't hold my attention.  Almost everything drew my attention away from the story.  Ooh look a rock.


Russell Nash

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I really didn't like anything about this one.......almost turned it off a couple of times but gutted it out.  Meh.

Beginning to think it was just me.  Was actually considering relistening given all the praise it's been getting here.  Just didn't hold my attention.  Almost everything drew my attention away from the story.  Ooh look a rock.


That happens, guys.  I still don't see why everyone liked Friction.



wakela

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It's been a while since I listened, so feel free to correct me.  But are the people in the mask society that much worse off?  They get to chose a different persona every day.  Whoever they want.  As for me, I have a persona with my wife, another with my kid, another at work, and a couple with various friends, and they're all pretty much the same guy.  I don't get to decide to be a spy one day and a prostitute the next.  I'm not saying their lives are unequivocally better than mine, just that they are not living in an oppressive nightmare.  It seems akin to living in World of Warcraft, but with hundreds of accounts to choose from.

But maybe I'm forgetting something. 



stePH

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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? If, let's say, I have a purple mask that is the wife of some other mask, what do I do if I wear it one day but my husband's oversoul isn't being worn? What if my green and silver mask goes out to have lunch with friends only to find that most of them aren't being worn that day? How do the oversouls establish relationships if each citizen has so many masks that it is unlikely that any two will be worn in combination more than a few times a year? Does each oversoul have a general personality and then just makes up something new every day? ""My mask's oversoul has decided that it hates your mask's oversoul and I'm going to kill you today"? "My mask has decided that I work at this shop today, but only for today"?
I think that I might be thinking about this too hard.

This is one reason the story didn't really work for me.  And I thought I was listening to a Podcastle story for about 3/4 of it.

The reading was fine except for some conversations between the narrator and PiƱa; it was difficult to tell who was speaking which lines.

I still don't see why everyone liked Friction.

Not everyone.

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Anarkey

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It seems akin to living in World of Warcraft, but with hundreds of accounts to choose from.

But maybe I'm forgetting something. 

Yeah.  You're forgetting that, while it could be just like playing a MMORPG with hundreds of accounts to choose from, you can NEVER turn the game off or take a day off or walk away.  You MUST play, every single day, for always and forever, or suffer consequences from the gendarmes.  Your whole life is a game and there's no you there, only the personas.  And some people might be ok with that.  And were, according to the story.  Certainly from the point of view of the queen, this was a utopian society.  For others, the absence of true self is pretty much a nightmare...or can become a nightmare over time, as it did for the main character.   

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Doom xombie

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It's been a while since I listened, so feel free to correct me.  But are the people in the mask society that much worse off?  They get to chose a different persona every day.  Whoever they want.  As for me, I have a persona with my wife, another with my kid, another at work, and a couple with various friends, and they're all pretty much the same guy.  I don't get to decide to be a spy one day and a prostitute the next.  I'm not saying their lives are unequivocally better than mine, just that they are not living in an oppressive nightmare.  It seems akin to living in World of Warcraft, but with hundreds of accounts to choose from.

But maybe I'm forgetting something. 

but generally you get to pick your masks, you could act the way you do with your wife, at work, but from his conversation with the queen they must wear certain masks at certian times. That and they have no sense of identity without their masks + they can't go from green mask to red mask during the day. There, your wife is actually your brother in a different mask, and that don't happen here... generally spakin

Look its a signature! And a dragon!





wakela

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It seems akin to living in World of Warcraft, but with hundreds of accounts to choose from.

But maybe I'm forgetting something. 

Yeah.  You're forgetting that, while it could be just like playing a MMORPG with hundreds of accounts to choose from, you can NEVER turn the game off or take a day off or walk away.  You MUST play, every single day, for always and forever, or suffer consequences from the gendarmes.  Your whole life is a game and there's no you there, only the personas.  And some people might be ok with that.  And were, according to the story.  Certainly from the point of view of the queen, this was a utopian society.  For others, the absence of true self is pretty much a nightmare...or can become a nightmare over time, as it did for the main character.   

But I can't turn my life off and walk away either.  I can change my job and my wife and what country I live in if I want to, but I can't become an astronaut or courtesan.  And for some people this is a nightmare, and if they act accoding to thier true selves, they get to suffer the consequences of the gendarmes. The mask people had freedoms that I don't.  I have freedoms they they don't. 



izzardfan

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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  <snip>

After reading your explanation, I think you're right.  I didn't catch all of it, apparently.  I know I was in the car when I finished it, so I missed something (or two), it seems.  Too bad, too, as I thought of him as more sane and less psycho.  Oh, well.



wakela

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It's been a while since I listened, so feel free to correct me.  But are the people in the mask society that much worse off?  They get to chose a different persona every day.  Whoever they want.  As for me, I have a persona with my wife, another with my kid, another at work, and a couple with various friends, and they're all pretty much the same guy.  I don't get to decide to be a spy one day and a prostitute the next.  I'm not saying their lives are unequivocally better than mine, just that they are not living in an oppressive nightmare.  It seems akin to living in World of Warcraft, but with hundreds of accounts to choose from.

But maybe I'm forgetting something. 



but generally you get to pick your masks, you could act the way you do with your wife, at work, but from his conversation with the queen they must wear certain masks at certian times. That and they have no sense of identity without their masks + they can't go from green mask to red mask during the day. There, your wife is actually your brother in a different mask, and that don't happen here... generally spakin

You're right that they don't have a sense of identity without their masks, but we don't have the freedom to act out or fantasies.  I wonder if someone in their world is writing an SF story about a distopian nightmare where people go to the same jobs and come home to the same family day after day.  



eytanz

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You're right that they don't have a sense of identity without their masks, but we don't have the freedom to act out or fantasies.  I wonder if someone in their world is writing an SF story about a distopian nightmare where people go to the same jobs and come home to the same family day after day.  

But they're not acting out their fantasies. They have *over*souls - the masks overwrite their personalities. The people are reduced to little but vessels for other people's lives.



wakela

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You're right that they don't have a sense of identity without their masks, but we don't have the freedom to act out or fantasies.  I wonder if someone in their world is writing an SF story about a distopian nightmare where people go to the same jobs and come home to the same family day after day.  

But they're not acting out their fantasies. They have *over*souls - the masks overwrite their personalities. The people are reduced to little but vessels for other people's lives.

Point taken, but they still acquire a richer set of experiences than I do.  I'm not saying Maskworld is a paradise, and I'm not saying I would submit to its rules if I had a choice, it just doesn't seem dramatically worse than our world enough that escape is a no-brainer.  The main character didn't seem to do any soul-searching, and the woman --though she did give him a choice -- seemed to think it was inevitable that he would choose individuality if he could just experience it. 



eytanz

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You're right that they don't have a sense of identity without their masks, but we don't have the freedom to act out or fantasies.  I wonder if someone in their world is writing an SF story about a distopian nightmare where people go to the same jobs and come home to the same family day after day.  

But they're not acting out their fantasies. They have *over*souls - the masks overwrite their personalities. The people are reduced to little but vessels for other people's lives.

Point taken, but they still acquire a richer set of experiences than I do.  I'm not saying Maskworld is a paradise, and I'm not saying I would submit to its rules if I had a choice, it just doesn't seem dramatically worse than our world enough that escape is a no-brainer.  The main character didn't seem to do any soul-searching, and the woman --though she did give him a choice -- seemed to think it was inevitable that he would choose individuality if he could just experience it. 

Ah - I agree with that, actually.



DKT

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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. 

Oranges, Lemons and Thou Beside Me blew my mind. As did this one. It just kicked my ass all over the place. Amazing amazing amazing. I'm so envious that Eugie Foster can tell engrossing pscyological SF thrillers like this and Oranges, Lemons and Thou Beside Me, *and* tell grade A fairy tales like Daughter of Botu.

I'd also nominate Larry for best reading of the year award, if we had such an award. I can understand why some people thought it was over the top, but I really felt like Larry was actually telling this story, or at least interpreting it, not just reading it. And it completely worked for me.

Much appreciation to everyone involved in this one!


ireneybean

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I have been listening to Escape Pod for a long time and have listened to every single episode.  I've listened to PodCastle since it started.  This is hands down my favorite EscapeArtist story yet.  And the best reading I've heard as well.  Blew me away!  I created this account JUST to say how much I loved it :)



monkeystuff

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this is one of the best short stories i've ever herd.   very well  done... i've got a lot to say and no time to say it.   for now 2 thumbs up  ;D

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


Goddess Jane

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Rather overwrought and predictable.



yicheng

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I loved the story for it's uniqueness and creativity.  Very well paced.  Great ending.

One minor nagging quibble on believability:  Despite what our video game culture would have you believe, you can't smash in someone's face with your fist, even assuming you were wearing a gauntlet of some sort.  The human skull is pretty solid, and you'll generally break or bruise your hand or wrist before doing much damage to the actual bone structure (knocking someone out is a different matter).  The little bones in your hands and wrists just aren't designed to generate an absorb that much blunt force.  The Jin d'arms (sp?) would have had better luck with a truncheon or just by smashing Pina's head against the floor repeatedly.



Russell Nash

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Despite what our video game culture would have you believe, you can't smash in someone's face with your fist, even assuming you were wearing a gauntlet of some sort. 

This would have bothered me if I had heard it that way.  I thought he used something to smash the face in.



Doom xombie

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Despite what our video game culture would have you believe, you can't smash in someone's face with your fist, even assuming you were wearing a gauntlet of some sort. 

This would have bothered me if I had heard it that way.  I thought he used something to smash the face in.

I believe he is referring to the gendarmes. And the main character mentions how he doesn't have the gendarmes strength(while he is murdering the woman with the meat working tool) which leads me to believe that the gendarmes are enhanced.

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Dave

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I'm gonna have to go ahead and say this might be the best EP ever, by which I mean "the best I can remember off the top of my head". Great story, brilliantly performed. I want to game in this setting. I want find all the notes for the various masks I've designed over the last 20 years and finally get around to actually making them. I want to host a Masquerade party where everyone MUST bring a mask, one they crafted with their own hands... and have an antechamber where guests deposit the mask they brought, and choose from one of the ones someone else brought, leaving theirs for the next guest to select from.

Sadly, I'm ridiculously lazy, so I probably won't do any of those things.

But I want to.

*edit after reading comments*

The Gendarmes (which I believe is the French word for policemen) are explained as being elite members of the soldier caste, and the story suggests that the castes may be biologically divergent, hence their increased strength.

I second the suggestion that Larry should get some kind of reward for his performance. Only a couple of other EA episodes have been "performed" rather than merely read, and I think this was among, if not the best of that small lot. If I were to read along, I would bet that he added a lot of the dramatic flourishes, the subtle pauses, inflections, hesitations... really brought the protagonist's internal conflict to life.

I will be posting the link on Facebook so all my friends can listen to this one, too.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 11:28:33 PM by Dave »

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)


thomasowenm

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I am one of the few who do not like dramatized readings, so I did not much care for the reading.  That being said, I did like the story.  It took me about a while to figure out what was going on, but once I got it.  I enjoyed it. 

The ending came out of left field, however it worked with the character that developed.  I could see where he would have become a psycotic killer, especially after having been killed twice that week.