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Author Topic: EP281: The Notebook of my Favourite Skin-Trees  (Read 28319 times)

CryptoMe

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Reply #75 on: March 25, 2011, 06:48:20 PM
I generally don't comment on stories I don't like, usually because I can't be bothered and most of the problems have already been pointed out by others.

But for this story, I just have to stand up and say how dumb I thought this story was. I mean, trees!...on people! Really? And for advertising? I just couldn't get past that.
Then there was the really badly written sex scenes. They weren't even self-consistent. Here you have a flowery description of lovey-dovey intertwining, and out or nowhere, there's a dildo thrown in. Even in the context of a sex scene, especially for that particular sex scene, it was just jarring and sounded tacked on.



hardware

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Reply #76 on: March 28, 2011, 11:28:12 PM
OK, so I will have to balance this a bit. This was not a story, it was a poem, focusing on sensuality and imagery. And as such, it totally worked for me. The sex scenes sometimes made me go 'really, you're gonna go there?' but that balancing on the edge of softcore really worked in the storys poems favor in the end. The idea to link this to advertizing is, as have been mentioned too many times already, a bit too absurd, but also kind of touchingly optimistic. The world felt really sketched out though and didn't make much sense. Also, the whole virus thing felt very detached and unimportant in comparison to discovering that green, lush, sensual subculture. But that just goes to show, poems should not really have plot.



Zuishness

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Reply #77 on: April 03, 2011, 03:36:45 PM
I didn't feel any sympathy for the skin-trees. And I didn't feel much for the principal character either.

The ever changing sexual partners were hard to keep track of, and as such, I found it hard not to keep thinking of the ads for Marks and Spencer's food hall whilst listening to the narration.

Ultimately, I was left with the same feeling I get when I'm hearing a story, or watching a movie, that has a geeky guy scoring a super foxy girlfriend. Basically that the author is indulging in wish fulfillment rather than exploring a storyline.



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #78 on: May 05, 2011, 04:23:57 PM
From Off The Mark, a favourite cartoon of mine for almost two decades:




"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


LaShawn

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Reply #79 on: May 09, 2011, 04:02:54 PM
Okay...time for me to chime my two cents in. But first, some facts.

This story was published in Daybreak Magazine following my story "She's All Light" went up, so I got to read it when it first came out. At the beginning of this year, Jetse Devries posted the reader traffic for all the stories posted in 2010. Notebook of my Favourite Skins-Trees got a whopping 7331 hits, which is huge compared to my story which came in 2nd place with only 1962 hits. So people definitely read it more.

As for me, I found it to be a lush, beautifully written story, especially during the sex parts, which made this Christian girl realize that she has to stop calling herself conservative because it just ain't true anymore.  Maybe it's because I also find fruit sexy, and maybe it's also part nostalgia of me remember when my husband took me to the Philippines and I got to eat lychee, rambutan and durian for the first time (and as for the durian smell, I can see the protagonist being turned on to it as a fetish. I mean, some people like stinky feet so ::shrug::). But as for the whole advertisement thing, yeah, have to agree with everyone else, I couldn't see it as viable. I mean, it works until everyone starts wanting a tree growing out of themselves, and then it gets too mundane. It becomes a passe fad.

But the lesbian sex. Didn't faze me one bit. Congratulations Escape Pod. You have lowered my inhibitions bit by bit without even noticing. I'm sure my husband will thank you lots.  ;D

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Kalisperas

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Reply #80 on: May 20, 2011, 11:17:06 PM
OK, so I will have to balance this a bit. This was not a story, it was a poem, focusing on sensuality and imagery. And as such, it totally worked for me. The sex scenes sometimes made me go 'really, you're gonna go there?' but that balancing on the edge of softcore really worked in the storys poems favor in the end. The idea to link this to advertizing is, as have been mentioned too many times already, a bit too absurd, but also kind of touchingly optimistic. The world felt really sketched out though and didn't make much sense. Also, the whole virus thing felt very detached and unimportant in comparison to discovering that green, lush, sensual subculture. But that just goes to show, poems should not really have plot.

This is very much in line with my own thoughts about this one.  Unlike many others here, I didn't see the virus plot as being the focus of the piece.  I felt that it was more of an exploration of the main character and her thoughts and motivations, with the journal entries being the important part.  The disease/cure elements felt more like a background thread, existing only to provide a bridge between the journal entries.

I agree completely with what others have said about the whole advertising angle, it just didn't work at all.  It seemed, as someone suggested earlier, as though the author felt some need to rationalize why people would get these things grafted onto them aside from wanting body art.  The whole piece would have been better, in my opinion, without any talk of advertising.

Is it just me, or did "Pamela Quevillon, narrator" sound remarkably like "Dr. Pamela L. Gay, astronomer"?

Good work, Pamela!

I'll never be able to listen to Astronomy Cast the same way...




Fenrix

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Reply #82 on: February 07, 2012, 11:26:09 PM
I didn't really care for this story, but I do have to give it props for being full of dirty hippies without being strictly anti-corporate. Also, I need to take the folks to task who are calling this an anti-corporate story. Advertising is quite corporate, and it would take big corporate funding to genetically modify plants to advertise for products. So the underlying message is corporations are cool if they do stuff you like. And the opt-in advertising style is very libertarian. The story was very anti-establishment-print-advertising, but that's pretty narrow. So this was a neat concept, but I think it would have been significantly better as a flash piece.

There were two big things that bothered me about the story. The first, that has been already mentioned by several people, is bad social psychology. I can believe a trend of body modifications that involves trees being grafted to human bodies. But I can't believe that the driving force behind it is a universal rejection of advertisements. Not only for reasons like the fact that never in the history of mankind did one form of advertising replace another, but rather they just add up incrementally. And no democratic government would outlaw an existing business model - putting thousands of advertising agents, printers, graphic designers, etc. out of work - because a vocal minority thinks they have a better solution. But there's a far simpler reason - people like advertising. Not all the people, and not all the time, but advertising is designed to appeal to people, and in aggragate, it is succeeds.

Rather than a universal societal rejection of traditional advertising, I took it as more a case of a deluded True Believer who over-perceived the trees having a larger impact than they do. The line where she claimed that "everyone hates advertising" is where I dismissed her character, yet found her believable. I've interacted with far too many True Believers in fringe causes who believe that their passion for a thing translates to everyone's passion for the same thing. Probably because they cause uncomfortable silence and acquiescence in the people the preach to ("If I nod and smile maybe this crazy lady with a tree growing out of her shoulder and smelling of a combination of patchouli and rot - maybe she will leave")

The second reason is - bad botany. Occicat mentioned the smell of Durian trees, a detail that the story conveniently forgets. But the story starts with bananas - bananas don't grow on trees. They grow on tree-sized herbs. There are some crucial distinctions - one of them is that each banana "tree" only flowers once and only produces one set of fruit. After that, it will start producing shoots that will grow into other banana "trees", and the main stem eventually dies. If it's smaller, it will go through it's life cycle quicker.

I'm also not willing to handwave the durian's horribleness with relation to this story. She talked about modifications to other fruits, but not to the elephant in the room. If all mods were omitted then it would be an omission. Since mods were explicitly included, then it is an error in either execution or research.

For a story about people and plants, it is a rather big problem that neither people nor plants acted in a way that seemed vaguely realistic to me. That left the third main theme in the story, sex. Which, unlike people and plants, the story seemed to understand quite well. But I personally have a pretty negative reaction to body modification - I find it extremely unsexy. And one theme in SF/horror I find really terrifying human-plant hybrids (the 1970s Invasion of the Body Snatchers scarred me for life when I was very young). So I found the sex scenes disturbing rather than erotic or appealing.

I thought the story could have benefited from focusing more on the sensual and less on the prurient. The dildo just felt strapped onto the rest of the story.

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Listener

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Reply #83 on: February 08, 2012, 01:42:45 PM
I thought the story could have benefited from focusing more on the sensual and less on the prurient. The dildo just felt strapped onto the rest of the story.

I see what you did there.  ;)

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Kaa

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Reply #84 on: February 08, 2012, 02:28:43 PM
I thought the story could have benefited from focusing more on the sensual and less on the prurient. The dildo just felt strapped onto the rest of the story.

I see what you did there.  ;)

Yeah, it kind of stood out.

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