Author Topic: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers  (Read 21944 times)

monkeystuff

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 44
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2009, 02:40:46 PM »

Even if you you don't think it is, even if you have to lie. You're the face. You're the one the audience has to listen to at the beginning and end of the show.



a lil harsh man.  he presented the story fine, the forums are to discuss the stories.  And he gave his honest opinion, not during the podcast when every one was trying to hear a story, but when we were all trying to discuss the story on the forums.  doesn't he have the right to discuss the story honestly too?  how can we take some one seriously when they think "omg dun let those lil nuggets of truth spill out we need to lie and pacify the masses"

back on course with this thread, this story was a bit like "the day the world stood still" minus Keanu Reeves.  but think about it, if you were a race of aliens and the decision had already been made to wipe out large chunks of humans for their own good, would you just go ahead and do it, or would you give them warning?  i think giving the humans a warning might be kinda pointless... hard to say though, what do you guys think?
justice may only be obtained where there is a lack of injustice

jrderego

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 687
  • Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)
    • J. R. DeRego - Writer
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2009, 03:16:42 PM »

Even if you you don't think it is, even if you have to lie. You're the face. You're the one the audience has to listen to at the beginning and end of the show.



a lil harsh man.  he presented the story fine, the forums are to discuss the stories.  And he gave his honest opinion, not during the podcast when every one was trying to hear a story, but when we were all trying to discuss the story on the forums.  doesn't he have the right to discuss the story honestly too?  how can we take some one seriously when they think "omg dun let those lil nuggets of truth spill out we need to lie and pacify the masses"


Not harsh, true. His opinion, due to his position as host, is the opinion of Escape Artists Inc, and not Norm Sherman.

Quote
doesn't he have the right to discuss the story honestly too?

Not as host of the show he doesn't.

It's not a question of how can we take some one seriously when they think "omg dun let those lil nuggets of truth spill out we need to lie and pacify the masses".

It's basic marketing. You don't talk smack about your product. If you don't like a particular story, suck it up and shut up, or quit and complain that the story wasn't for you. Otherwise it's like the maitre d' saying "Welcome to Chez Whatever. Tonight's special is Tuscan Chicken... but it's not very good." Even after the fact you can't say that.
"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html

jrderego

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 687
  • Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)
    • J. R. DeRego - Writer
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2009, 03:17:55 PM »

Yes, I realize you are not the editor, but as the face of Escape Pod, you have to appear to wear that hat because for the 4 and a half years Steve was publisher, editor, and face of the podcast. And the audience isn't going immediately realize that Jeremy T is buying the stories and you are just presenting them. So your opinion has even more weight than it normally would because you are the one bringing the audience to the opening line of the story.


That's a good point and well taken Jeff.  I've been a forum member and poster for years, long before co-hosting anything.  I have always enjoyed trying to give feedback on what I thought worked well or didn't in stories, but I'll leave that to others.

You'll grow into the job Norm, I have no worries about that.
"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html

jrderego

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 687
  • Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)
    • J. R. DeRego - Writer
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2009, 03:29:22 PM »
just listened last night, and i gotta say i really liked this story.  It had a few holes, and was kind of predictable, but it kept me interested and entertained, and presented a few cool ideas.  I agree with deflective... why couldn't the incredibly intelligent aliens research a little anthropology?

and on the topic of Norm, I personally enjoyed his intro, it made me grin.  sure he's not Steve, but its not like we've completely lost Steve, and Norm was entertaining.

Also, you want to make sure the authors know they are being presented in the best possible way too. If I was Ms. Kress and I listened to you intro and outro and read this post there is damn little chance I'd consider letting one of my works he handled by someone who doesn't know how to present it at best, and writes about his dislike of it in the forum of the very magazine in which it appears at worst.
I completely disagree with you here.
a) everyone is entitled to their opinions
b) before he was co-host, he was part of these forums, discussing each episode as he pleased.  I don't see why he can't do that anymore.  Just because he has taken on more responsibilities does not mean he must be exempt from participating in forum discussion.
c) introducing a story is different from commenting on it in the forums.

One at a time now...

a) "Everyone is entitled to their opinion" No. Everyone is entitled to an informed opinion. Everything else is just a duck fart in a windstorm. As host of the show, the host's job is to reflect the opinion of Escape Artists Incorporated. Even in his "off time" in the forums.
b) "before he was co-host, he was part of these forums, discussing each episode as he pleased..." And now he's host. That comes with responsibilities not present as a forum poster. Responsibilities to maintain and support the brand identity.
c) "introducing a story is different from commenting on it in the forums." Not when there's a link on the story that says "discuss it in our forums" that links to the host saying he didn't like it.

I'm an author. I sell stuff to this market. If I sell a Union Dues story here and in the forum the host says "you know, that Union Dues story was lame. Not my cup of tea. I'd rather have introd something else... But what are you going to do?" There is damn little chance I'll ever submit again.

It's not that my ego is so fragile that I can't take criticism, but I count on the publishing credits here to help me land stories in other places. If an editor at Asimov's comes here and sees the host talking shit about my story, he or she might be less inclined to buy whatever I submitted to them because of that comment. It's the same as if the editor as Asimov's published a story of mine, then next month published an editorial saying he didn't like the stories he published in the last issue.

The host is the stand-in for the editor, he is the face of the podcast (or half of it) and if we expect Escape Pod to offer the best science fiction on Earth in Podcast form the host can't say that this week's story isn't the best science fiction in the forum.
"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html

monkeystuff

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 44
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2009, 03:42:06 PM »
zzzzz.... go to the norm thread
justice may only be obtained where there is a lack of injustice

WBB46

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2009, 05:10:16 PM »
A successful dystopian story line with a self-centered Jenny as main protagonist -- but her transformation was well crafted. The most abidingly irritating problem with the narrator was her mispronunciation of world city place names -- I know this is rarely a problem for US residents, but for the rest of the world it's a real turn-off.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 05:12:34 PM by WBB46 »

Kate_Baker

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • Clarkesworld Magazine
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2009, 05:59:42 PM »
*smiles*

It's very interesting to come here after I've narrated (my second time now) and see what the "regulars" have to say. A sincere thanks to the people who were able to digest the reading and story as a whole and come out with an educated opinion.

I also completely understand about the complaints with the city names. The only thing I can offer is that I tried my best. I actually looked up pronunciation on some of them, but alas, this "American" probably did murder some of the inflections. It was also very hard to find audio pronunciations as well. Google searches and dictionary searches only yield so much. So my apologies to those who I may have offended.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 06:07:22 PM by Kate_Baker »
Kate Baker
Podcast Director
Clarkesworld Magazine Podcasts

Portrait in Flesh

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1121
  • NO KILL I
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2009, 06:02:20 PM »
I'm depressed enough in my own life; reading about Jenny's self-pitying was almost more than I could take right now.  It's like the end of the world paled to the end of her affair. 

"Boys from the city.  Not yet caught by the whirlwind of Progress.  Feed soda pop to the thirsty pigs." --The Beast of Yucca Flats

MacArthurBug

  • Giddy
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 648
  • I can resist anything except temptation
    • undercaffinated
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2009, 07:12:46 PM »
There were parts of this story that were fantastic. I liked the ideas behind it. I even enjoyed Jennys selfishness. After all WE're all guilty of being selfish at least once. It's as if we stumbled into Jennys life at a REALLY selfish moment. My quibbles with the tale come in at it's dragging on in spots- the narrator didn't really play up the drama of a few points- though it was well enough read. This story would have been slightly better with a more dramatic voice perhaps.

Norm, man  I dig you, you seem like a realy cool guy. Here's hoping you ease in a little. I've gotta agree with the masses (and I LIKE listening to your odd banter). You came off more as creepy uncle then weird ham smelling teacher.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 08:47:00 PM by MacArthurBug »
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.

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5044
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2009, 07:35:32 PM »
i totally forgot to say how much i loved the reading! :P
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

ajames

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 358
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #30 on: September 27, 2009, 07:32:23 AM »
Reading: very good

Story: I did enjoy the psychological elements - Jenny wasn't that sympathetic of a character but I was still engaged by her P.O.V. and the story. Nancy Kress has tackled some intriguing topics and either she and I disagree very strongly on some of them, or she is willing to present the views of her characters and how they impact the world around them without framing the story so that her own point of view is clearly the superior one. I would like to think it is the latter.

The alien plot-line, as others have noted, was very weak. Even assuming that the aliens got to our part of the world a bit too late to intervene with less drastic measures, and assuming that engaging with us prior to intervention would have caused more harm than good (world-wide panic?) or some such, disintegration of entire cities seems an incredibly inept way for such an advanced race to handle the situation. And the "experiment" at the end was very lame. Let's kill millions, perhaps billions of sentient beings, and THEN do some experiments about how they work together in groups.

Co-host: looking forward to hearing more from Norm.

Strawman

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2009, 07:57:45 AM »
http://gardenstreet.org/drabblecastarchive/Bbardles/files/Scifihigh.mp3

Norm's just trying to survive as a transfer student at Sci Fi High

caid

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2009, 10:47:24 AM »
All in all an enjoyable hour for me. I liked the story, better than 215 and 216, but less than 214, which I think was one of the better stories in a while on EP. Double tentacles up for Norm as co-host. I must say that while Steve Eley got me back into Sci-fi (my hat of to you Sir once again), the likes of Norm are keeping me here.

ILikeMostCheeses

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2009, 01:36:32 PM »
I thought it was a great story. I didn't compare it to anything; it's fantasy. The story had great pacing, a plausible back story (the affair) and a decent build up. I actually came here to say that this story, Boyfriend, and that long story about people having to wear masks a few episodes ago were brilliant!
And I think Norm is great, a very welcome addition to the Escape ARtists. Even Steve Ely himself said once that he greatly coveted Norm's Drabblecast show. Welcome, Norm, hope to hear you often!

ancawonka

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 47
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #34 on: September 27, 2009, 03:30:25 PM »
This story felt to me like Nancy Kress broke up with her boyfriend, and had to write a fantasy about aliens blowing up the world to feel better about it.  She created some really good characterizations about unpleasant people that didn't really leave me feeling like humanity has a future in this world. 




 

Praxis

  • Guest
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #35 on: September 27, 2009, 05:04:21 PM »
There was certainly a lot going on in this story.

Overall, though, was this about the (after) effects of a devastating alien attack and loss of lives and homes, or was it about why these things had happened.
So much of the story was focussed on characters trying to find a way to survive that I'd mostly say it was about that.  But then that ending with the pat message from the alien saying basically, 'We know best and this is necessary, you humans don't know how to live responsibly'

Really?  The 'best' option is not just to obliterate most of the human beings but also to completely remove/destroy pretty much all the cities, infrastructure, libraries, laboratories, precious and semi-precious metals, tools, calibration equipment, refined chemicals, books, hospitals for pete's sake, observatories, plumbing, water and waste refineries and processing plants, contact lenses, pacemakers,...........

But at least there are less people now.  Granted they have naff all to help them survive (apart from creepy hologram robots offering breakfast) but, hey ho, we will thank the aliens in the future apparently.

I honestly didn't buy it (the message) at all and think the story would have been more enjoyable and provoking if the reasons had been left for the reader/listener to imagine.
The only I bought less than the idea that this really could be an informed, evolved way for a species to act towards us was the possibility that the remnants of the human race would ever be able to forgive them, let alone accept that this was The Solution, let alone actually thank the alien mass murderers.

Maybe I missed something.

Oh, and the reading was very good, too.  Shame about the story but good reading.

kool420deathstar

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #36 on: September 27, 2009, 08:35:59 PM »
This new guy does really good intros, Steve Ealy is a really cool guy, from what I've heard of him but this new guy is awesome, sick, twisted, and makes me feel like I've come home again to escape pod.

Nancy Cress and others keep cranking them out! Its discouraging for me as a writer who has complested nothing but so very exciting to find another great story bu Cress and her contemporaries. keep it up guys we love you!

TripleAught

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #37 on: September 27, 2009, 10:38:39 PM »
I just finished listening to this story and my take is similar to what's already been said.

I thought that the characterization of Jenny was good, unabashed in the portrayal of her self-absorbency. Focused on her affair rather than the larger chaos happening around her.

I enjoyed the story right up until the ending. The motivations for the aliens seem muddled. At once claiming to be benevolent and at the same time indifferent. The aliens said they were doing this for the good of humankind and that the race would thank them in a few generations. But I didn't get the sense that they would care about gratitude in four generations.

Ace Cook

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #38 on: September 28, 2009, 03:58:00 AM »
I've been enjoying Escape Pod for a while now but the recent story with the daily changing of the masks has really got me hooked. 'Boyfriend' was a little muddled but a good premise and quite enjoyable but this episode really felt like Manhattan Transfer as rewritten by an emo 16 year old.

It started off great and I loved the reading (didn't mind the mispronunciation of the place names and I actually did think while listening that finding out that kind of thing would be pretty difficult) but it just seemed to have no direction, and I didn't feel that the behaviour of the people within the camp was as diverse as it probably would have been in real life.

As for other points brought up here : I commented on Norm elsewhere.  ;)

KenK

  • Guest
Re: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers
« Reply #39 on: September 28, 2009, 08:51:07 AM »
Sheesh. If the intros and outros bother people so much they can use the arrow buttons on the player to buzz past them. I do it all the time. (At EP and other sites too btw.) Seems like an easy work around to me. To me the main issue is the story and the presentation.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 11:42:31 AM by KenK »