Escape Artists


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Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

Author Topic: EP207: Wonder Maul Doll  (Read 12839 times)


  • Matross
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  • Posts: 258
Reply #25 on: August 23, 2009, 12:45:47 PM
Dark, gritty and dystopic. Surprised myself and enjoyed it quite a bit.

I did not have problems with most of the items identified above. I took "organics" to be a MacGuffin and I guessed immediately that the girls found in the whole were going to die and were not going to be "organics" but I did not guess that the soldiers would cover it up.

This story struck me as an intentionally pointless military exercise from which nothing was gained or learned. The soldiers are really not differentiated, and they are not really affected by the events, and certainly do not learn from them. It made reasonable sense in that context that the soldier's experience was never subject to analysis by the "brains" so nothing ever came of their missions. Of course, if it had been done correctly by an effective force, it would have failed its political objective.

As for the villager's rock killing the soldier, I surmised that the solders were wearing "slicks" which were merely impermeable plastic-like material. After all, the weaponry of the soldiers consists of a spray that melts skin, it makes sense to me that their protection guards against that rather than say, projectiles.


  • Peltast
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  • Posts: 81
Reply #26 on: August 29, 2009, 12:56:35 PM
I understood this to be the  complete opposite to eytanz's reading. To me, this was set in a world where genetic modification was the standard. "Organics" were rebels who had chosen to remain natural, unmodified- and I guess this was considered unacceptable. When they were cut open, the sludge inside was just your normal mess of entrails, whereas if you cut open a non-organic, presumably it would all be a lot neater in there as organs would have been replaced with tech, etc.


  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
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  • Cool story, bro!
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Reply #27 on: August 29, 2009, 02:41:25 PM
I just noticed that the title can be reducted to the initials "WMD".  Coincidence?

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


  • Palmer
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  • Posts: 25
    • Genesis of Legend Publishing
Reply #28 on: August 29, 2009, 04:36:54 PM
I loved the mood of the piece and the world building, though the characterization seemed lacking to my eyes.

Sleep is for the weak due to sleep deprivation.


  • Extern
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  • Posts: 2
Reply #29 on: October 02, 2009, 02:43:22 AM
I'd assumed that "organics" was a military nickname for "organic weapons" - meaning that they thought that the girls had been bioengineered as either a sort of human explosive or a biological weapons delivery system.  This would be in keeping with both the Vietnam and Iraqi war themes - suicide bombing taken another step, with even the girls unaware of whether they may be that weapon.
I feel the need to take issue with the idea that the narrator didn't change over the course of the story.  She did change, just not in the way we hope.  Even though her beliefs and attitudes are reprehensible to begin with, she actually became worse - we can tell from the reactions of her surviving squadmates that she hasn't quite gone this far before. She stepped over the line, and let her experiences wash over and confirm the monster she becomes - a monster that her government's policies are providing fertile ground in which to grow.
Oh, and WMD - good catch, I'd missed that one.  ;D  Very nice.


  • Hipparch
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Reply #30 on: October 12, 2009, 07:07:26 PM
Overall, this was a disappointment.  I didn't make a connection with any of the characters on either side, and while the grittiness of the situation and setting made it through, I just didn't care what happened to anyone by the end of the story.  This may have contributed to my confusion with the various characters.  And like others have said, it seemed forced to me.  4/10

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  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
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Reply #31 on: May 03, 2010, 04:46:50 PM
I listened to the whole thing, but I couldn't stand this story.

1.  The title sounds so cool and then leads nowhere interesting.  It's not as bad as Evil Robot Monkey, because in that case, it gave a clear promise that was never fulfilled.  In this case it gave a cool-sounding but ultimately unreadable promise and the actual payout didn't turn out to be that cool after all.  It was all just based on the arbitrary naming of the disposable kids, which had no real effect on plot or character, just a throwaway paragraph about their naming becomes the title.

And I hadn't considered the WMD connection until stePH pointed it out.  Now I dislike the story even more. 

2.  The term "organics" was unexplained, and that really hindered my understanding of the point of the story.  Clearly the soldiers were organic, due to various clues, but at the beginning I assumed they were constructs of some kind.  They can tell the kids are organic (supposedly) on sight, but I just assumed that's because they had flesh, instead of being metallic.  Other interpretations upwards in the comments thread make more sense, but this was a major stopping point.  Then at the end, it reveals they weren't organics after all, and since "organic" had STILL never been explained, I just had to take their word for it.  Okay, I've been told they're organic, now I've been told they're not organic--was I supposed to be shocked by the turn of events in apparently arbitrary labeling?

3.  The protagonists were so unrelatable, I felt like I needed to scrub out my brain with a pumice stone to get their clinging residue off of my psyche.  I like to have someone to root for.