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Author Topic: EP217: The Kindness of Strangers  (Read 21358 times)
Doom xombie
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« Reply #40 on: September 28, 2009, 11:38:41 AM »

Separate thread for The Norm Controversy?
Oh and norm I have an idea. Make a sep. account for you opinions BUT don't tell anyone that its your account. Sure someone might look at ip addresses or whatever but thats their nosy problem.


Disliked the characters too much to enjoy the story
« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 11:45:28 AM by Doom xombie » Logged

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Swamp
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« Reply #41 on: September 28, 2009, 11:47:30 AM »

Separate thread for The Norm Controversy?

Already made it, here.  Some people didn't take the hint.
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alllie
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« Reply #42 on: September 28, 2009, 12:58:16 PM »

Are people nicer in small groups? Anyone who thinks that never lived in a small town. Are they more cooperative in small groups? Well, they tend to know their neighbors and follow the rituals of their culture. In the city those that don't conform can lose themselves in the crowds of people but in small groups those that don't conform will be ostracized or attacked.
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El Barto
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« Reply #43 on: September 28, 2009, 12:59:15 PM »

Nancy's stories are hit or miss for me.  I liked the Erdmann Nexus and Act One but felt the opposite about Unintended Behavior, Endgame, and Safeguard.  

This one was right in the middle for me because I loved the concept but didn't like the execution.  In particular I was perplexed that no one was questioning what happened to the cities.  My first thought was that the aliens were transporting cities off the Earth one at a time, and that everyone was fine.   Shooting a weapon at an alien that just made a city disappear seems reckless to say the least.

And having cell phones work in the aftermath was beyond ridiculous.  If you take out a dozen buildings across the U.S. the whole network will go down.

One thing this story did do well was get me thinking about how we are collectively doing so far as a species, and whether we are ready for space travel or meeting another species.  My answer to both questions is "hell no."  I give us a D+ overall as a species and I worry that things are going to get worse for many people before we (hopefully) get our shit together and start exploring out there.



« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 01:15:38 PM by El Barto » Logged
KenK
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« Reply #44 on: September 28, 2009, 01:28:09 PM »

Are people nicer in small groups? Anyone who thinks that never lived in a small town. Are they more cooperative in small groups? Well, they tend to know their neighbors and follow the rituals of their culture. In the city those that don't conform can lose themselves in the crowds of people but in small groups those that don't conform will be ostracized or attacked.


I've lived in some smaller American cities Seattle (500k) and Ann Arbor (130k) and I've found that  people are people (good, bad and indifferent) where ever they happen to be. And because they do happen to "know each others business" more than in large cities they're less likely to see opponents as the dreaded "other". The aggregate of people in Kress' story resemble a refugee camp more than an intentional community.
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Gia
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« Reply #45 on: September 28, 2009, 07:56:14 PM »

Norm smells like Ham? All my dreams have come true!

I had two thoughts when the alien explained how they killed billions of people to save us from global warming without bothering to tell us. The first was "Kill it, Jenny. Kill it! . . . and Eric. Kill the alien and Eric." Seriously, the story would have been just fine, if not better, without Eric. My second thought was "How come advanced races never do anything useful?" They have vast amounts of knowledge and yet they can't help us grow more food and build space colonies. God forbid they take a few years out of their busy, planet-destroying schedules. It's not just this story. It's every story with advanced aliens. They either want to overtly destroy us or they're so darn superior that they need to save us in a way that is totally contrary to what everybody wants. As human beings have gotten more advanced, in many places there has been a push to respect other cultures, but aliens seem to be incapable of doing this. In Star Trek the prime directive existed so that Kirk could ignore it. In the rest of fiction, there is no prime directive and aliens just meddle as they please.
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monkeystuff
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« Reply #46 on: September 28, 2009, 11:27:19 PM »

Shooting a weapon at an alien that just made a city disappear seems reckless to say the least

I just had to quote you, I don't think I could have said it better myself.


Also, just a thought about the aliens... What if they were VERY old, or time passed differently for them, and they just don't see humans as all that significant, maybe that could be behind some of the reasoning of thinking that its a good idea to wipe out so many people.  I'm not justifying their actions, just using my imagination to try to figure out why such an intelligent race (assuming they are intelligent) would commit mass genocide.  Maybe the i'm just looking too deep into the plot flaws of this story...  /shrug
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alllie
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« Reply #47 on: September 29, 2009, 07:02:57 AM »

Seems to me if the aliens were that advanced they could just have sterilized 90% of everyone without killing them.
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Doom xombie
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« Reply #48 on: September 29, 2009, 09:04:45 AM »

Seems to me if the aliens were that advanced they could just have sterilized 90% of everyone without killing them.

How would that help?
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #49 on: September 29, 2009, 09:10:49 AM »

Seems to me if the aliens were that advanced they could just have sterilized 90% of everyone without killing them.

How would that help?
Fewer people born means fewer consuming resources.  Then as the older ones die off, we get the much-needed reduction in population.

I'm not sure if that's the reason the "Combine" suppressed human reproduction in the backstory to Half-Life 2- ... but I can't figure out what the frak is going on in that game anyway.  I just pushed through it until I got to the end.
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Ben Phillips
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« Reply #50 on: September 29, 2009, 03:08:55 PM »

She created some really good characterizations about unpleasant people that didn't really leave me feeling like humanity has a future in this world. 

Perfectly valid.

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.

Let's all avoid engaging in demeaning speculative biography about each other, please.
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Strawman
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« Reply #51 on: September 29, 2009, 04:14:38 PM »

but aliens seem to be incapable of doing this. In Star Trek the prime directive existed so that Kirk could ignore it. In the rest of fiction, there is no prime directive and aliens just meddle as they please.

Spoken like a typical earthling... soooo superior. That is why the universe hates you.
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Sgarre1
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"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #52 on: September 29, 2009, 04:42:02 PM »

Quote
My second thought was "How come advanced races never do anything useful?" They have vast amounts of knowledge and yet they can't help us grow more food and build space colonies. God forbid they take a few years out of their busy, planet-destroying schedules. It's not just this story. It's every story with advanced aliens. They either want to overtly destroy us or they're so darn superior that they need to save us in a way that is totally contrary to what everybody wants. As human beings have gotten more advanced, in many places there has been a push to respect other cultures, but aliens seem to be incapable of doing this. In Star Trek the prime directive existed so that Kirk could ignore it. In the rest of fiction, there is no prime directive and aliens just meddle as they please.

The Kanamits seem to be doing all right by us.  Cured world hunger, ended war.  Plus, those cushy trips to their wonderful home planet...

Dear Mr. Chambers

Re: Kanamit document decoding, please find enclosed most recently translated words/phrases:
'succulent',
'tenderizer',
'rotisserie',
'until fork emerges clean'
'baste'
'fall off the bone'

Hope you enjoy your trip.  I may see you off at the launch pad.  We're very close to cracking the whole thing!

Your secretary
Pam Roberts  x0x0x0x0
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 04:46:33 PM by Sgarre1 » Logged
Prank Call of Cthulhu
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« Reply #53 on: September 29, 2009, 04:50:34 PM »

I didn't care for this story. For me, it encapsulates what too often happens in science fiction written by women. (Yes I paint with a broad brush, but notice I say "often," not always.) The story seemed to be about 40 minutes of listening to an emotionally crippled character drone on and on about her feelings, and then at the end a couple of minutes were tacked on to wrap up the "plot," such as it was. I kept thinking as I listened to it that a more interesting story would have been told from the viewpoint of the men digging the tunnels and plotting an assault on the aliens. They were actually reacting to the situation and trying to solve the problem, while the narrator just existed to moon over her unhappy love affair to little purpose.

It was like taking one of Grace Paley's whinier stories and shoehorning it into a framework of aliens and forcefields just so it could get the sci-fi stamp.
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Listener
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« Reply #54 on: September 29, 2009, 06:33:20 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. 

Don't knock it. After a HUGE fight with my wife I wrote a novella about fighting with one's wife. Haven't published it yet but I really enjoyed writing it because, unlike the fight, it actually had a happy ending. Writing can be really theraputic.
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I place things in locations which later elude me.


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« Reply #55 on: September 29, 2009, 06:35:45 PM »

Are people nicer in small groups? Anyone who thinks that never lived in a small town. Are they more cooperative in small groups? Well, they tend to know their neighbors and follow the rituals of their culture. In the city those that don't conform can lose themselves in the crowds of people but in small groups those that don't conform will be ostracized or attacked.


I think they're either REALLY nice or REALLY insular, in small groups. In my neighborhood, I know about 40% of my neighbors on sight, but I only talk to 2% (there are 50 houses in the neighborhood). No one's made an effort to get to know my family, and honestly I haven't tried much to reach out either. It goes both ways, something that Jenny didn't figure out when Caitlyn (the grandmother; I forget her name) brought her into her circle.
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« Reply #56 on: September 29, 2009, 06:40:29 PM »

Most everything's been said already, so I'll say it briefly:

1. Story was too long and dragged in the middle with all the self-absorbed depression.

2. Jenny was a great lens to view the invasion through. Agree that it was great how self-absorbed she was while the world fell apart.

3. Reading was good for the character, though after a while it got a little tiring to listen to because of the character.

4. Captain Imanalien Exposition at the end dragged somewhat as well, though Jenny's righteous anger -- not something you expect out of a sci-fi fan -- made up for it a bit.

I didn't like the story, but it was a good story.

Agree that the outro was a TAD long, but *shrug* my iPhone has a 2x speed button, and if I feel bored I can always press it.
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #57 on: September 29, 2009, 09:26:55 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. 

Don't knock it. After a HUGE fight with my wife I wrote a novella about fighting with one's wife. Haven't published it yet but I really enjoyed writing it because, unlike the fight, it actually had a happy ending. Writing can be really theraputic.


OOOH I do this too. My most used threat is "Be good or I'll torture/kill you in my next story."
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wongman2001
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« Reply #58 on: September 30, 2009, 12:20:02 PM »

Love the plot, but WAY too long for its purpose.   I can skip over 75% of it without missing anything.
Short attention span or not, I was not prepare for a hour of derived "Childhood's End"
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l33tminion
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« Reply #59 on: September 30, 2009, 08:06:49 PM »

Sometimes the only way to cope with disaster is to angst about your more mundane relationship problems.

Good story.
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