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Author Topic: EP088: Blood of Virgins  (Read 26309 times)
SFEley
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« on: January 11, 2007, 01:37:33 PM »

EP088: Blood of Virgins

By David Barr Kirtley.
Read by Stephen Eley.

Other dragons cavorted on the airy currents. Those dragons were cherry red or lime green or creamy brown. Their riders steered them up the beach, or inland toward the mall, or back to campus.

A slender girl on a pink dragon passed us going the opposite way, her blond hair billowing. Matt waved to her. He said over his shoulder, “I met that girl last night. Hold on, I want to say hi.” He yanked the reins and we banked sharply. My stomach lurched. We swept around in an arc and came up alongside the girl. Her dragon had the guileless beady eyes and scrunched up cheeks of a lap dog. Matt said, “Hi. Dora, right?”

“Deirdre,” she corrected. “And you’re … Matt?” He grinned, and she said, “I like your dragon.”


Rated R. Contains sexual themes, third-world exploitation, and awkward freshmen.



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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madjo
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2007, 05:11:19 AM »

Wow, just wow... Now I'm also scared of dragons. Smiley

Though I am wondering... why didn't the dragon attack him, when he was at home (the one that his parents got him)?
If dragons guzzle virgin blood by the gallon, I think they would not have bothered whether their prey was running or staring back at them. They are stronger after all. Smiley
Other than that, a nice story.
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2007, 08:46:24 AM »

Just a comment on the outro.

If all we're left with is men saving men and women saving women, I can guarantee you there will be complaints about pushing a "gay agenda" or some other conservative catch phrase.

Just give us good stories. When it's a good story, I don't care if it's the family hamster saving the day. Actually if someone could write a good story with the family hamster saving the day, I would love to hear it.
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Ryuujin
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2007, 10:30:54 AM »

I want to live in a world like that. <.<
I <3 dragons~

But I liked the story for more than just the dragons in it. Very refreshing to have a fantasy novel in Escape Pod, and one as well-written as this one really makes it a lot better.
And yes, we do fear mythical beasts - and to me, at least, women will forever be mythical and mysterious.

I have to agree with Russell though, a family hamster saving the day would be great.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2007, 10:38:14 AM by Ryuujin » Logged
SFEley
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2007, 11:02:21 AM »

I have to agree with Russell though, a family hamster saving the day would be great.

http://www.hamtaro.com/

(Hey, it's not my fault.  You asked.)  >8->
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Ryuujin
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2007, 11:05:57 AM »

Actually, I know of Hamtaro (and hate it with a passion), I just didn't want to mention it.
Anyways, I had that coming..

Actually I usually like most anime and manga, but Hamtaro.. *grumble*..
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2007, 11:11:33 AM »

I have to agree with Russell though, a family hamster saving the day would be great.

http://www.hamtaro.com/

(Hey, it's not my fault.  You asked.)  >8->

I said good story.
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sirana
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2007, 03:22:35 PM »

really liked the story. It sometimes is the simple themes that make for the best stories when they are retold against a different background.
The beginning was perhaps a bit to heavy on the analogy, but since I have sold my car(which was guzzling up far too many gallons of virgin blood anyways) a year ago, I don't mind ;-)
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gifo
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2007, 08:22:32 AM »

Good one! Bloodthirsty dragons and college insecurities. It was some trick getting those two together so smoothly.
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wakela
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2007, 11:08:04 PM »

First off, token vote for more science fiction, less fantasy.

I didn't buy that society would not only tolerate, but celebrate creatures that prey on humans.  Yes, lots of people die in car accidents, but people are not rational when it comes to assessing risk.  There is something visceral about being devoured, and we do not have a good history with creatures than devour us.  Sharks, tigers, bears, smallpox...  If these dragons were around, hunters would be popping them off with sidewinder missiles. 

I thought the reference to the poor little Malaysian (it was Malaysian, wasn't it?) girl getting drained to feed dragons was extraneous and crossed over into political propaganda.

The media tends not to cover up dangerous consumer goods and animal attacks;  they tend to sensationalize them.   The dragons, like sharks, tigers, and bears (not smallpox) would probably instill more fear than was warranted. 
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wakela
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2007, 11:21:11 PM »

uninformed 2 cents:

I don't think it's a question of which gender rescues which.  I just watched several episodes of 24 (can't stop with just one) and everyone was rescuing everyone.  Same thing with Battlestar Galactica.  The Terminator movies, Alien and Aliens have very strong women, and are popular with guys.  I think the trick is that with these shows and movies the victims are not usually incompetent.  If you have several idiots in a story and they all need protecting by smarter, stronger people, and all the idiots are one gender, then you have a problem.  But I think the problem is filling your story with idiots, not with what gender they are.  But I didn't hear the story in question, so I could be being an idiot, myself.
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Jonathan C. Gillespie
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2007, 06:56:33 PM »

The funny thing about idiocy is, you're not if you admit you might be  Smiley

In regards to this tale, I think I saw the parallel the author was trying to make, between this and the oil industry, which has major problems.  I have mixed feelings about the end result.  On one hand, the depiction of college apathy (I was a Student Events planner once, I can relate) hits right home, as does the self-discovery involved in our hero's "college experience".  Furthermore, the author wisely depicts the problem as a situation of shared blame, without utterly blaming the dragons themselves.  And his descriptive language is top-shelf stuff: real clean, real lean, real mean.

Stephen's reading just gets better and better.

Now here's the part where I cringe, because I've submitted to Escape Pod before, and intend to in the future.  But Stephen, you're a very level-headed guy, so I think you won't mind some honesty:

This tale radiates a little too much anti-establishment dogma.  The author needs a pulpit, not a word processor.  Once again, another story winds up on Escape Pod that sees enlightened but hopelessly out-gunned anti-capitalists at war with Evil Industry.  I'm starting to worry about Escape Pod; if a political bent is beginning to emerge.  I'm no conservative, but I'd like Escape Pod to continue to be something your average moderate, and hopefully conservatives, can listen to.  The last thing I want to do is encourage censorship, but between this and "Smooth Talking", I'm officially casting my vote for less preaching.  If the stories are going to continue to be political, then we need more from the other side of issues' viewpoints.

And I'm seconding Wakela's position.  More sci-fi, less fantasy (granted, they're ambiguous terms these days, but I think this one is squarely fantasy).  If I get another tree-hugging eco-sermon in the next few weeks, I swear I am going to saw down an Elm.   Grin
« Last Edit: January 15, 2007, 07:07:36 PM by JCGillespie » Logged

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SFEley
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2007, 11:06:32 PM »

I'm no conservative, but I'd like Escape Pod to continue to be something your average moderate, and hopefully conservatives, can listen to.  The last thing I want to do is encourage censorship, but between this and "Smooth Talking", I'm officially casting my vote for less preaching.  If the stories are going to continue to be political, then we need more from the other side of issues' viewpoints.

That's fair.  And I can see where you're coming from.  But I have to tell you that some of this is out of my hands.  There just aren't as many well-written conservative stories being submitted to us.  Turtledove's "Joe Steele" was the last unambiguously right-leaning one that we received.  I don't know if SF writers just aren't writing conservative stories these days, or if the ones who are haven't heard of Escape Pod, but I'm not seeing 'em.

Thus, if I were to make political balance a priority, my only choice would be to reject well-written stories with liberal slants that are otherwise perfect for us.  I'm not big on that idea.  So all I can do is stick to a "We buy fun stories that'll work well in audio" position, and try to be politically blind.  I believe most of the stories on EP are apolitical, or at least you'd have to stretch to find a political agenda in them.

Meanwhile, if there are stories you feel would be a good political counterpoint to the ones you've heard so far, please tell the authors to send them to us!  Seriously.  I don't have a prejudice here.  If I think I can make a good podcast out of a story, I'll buy it.

(Hey...  I think I've just written most of an upcoming Escape Pod intro.  Thanks, JC!)  >8->

 
Quote
And I'm seconding Wakela's position.  More sci-fi, less fantasy (granted, they're ambiguous terms these days, but I think this one is squarely fantasy).  If I get another tree-hugging eco-sermon in the next few weeks, I swear I am going to saw down an Elm.   Grin

Heh.  Just as long as you plant two more to replace it.  >8->

As for more SF, less fantasy...  I believe there will be an announcement on that.  The time frame of the announcement is "Soonish."  I cannot say yet how soon.  (Or how -ish.)
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2007, 11:13:27 PM »

wakela, i dont think this story was tryin to make sense, it wasnt supposed to be realistic in humanity's acceptance of man eating beasts of burden.  It is meant to be a satire on contemporary transportation.  Cars are one of the most dangerous things to be in. In fact, its SAFER to fly than to drive.  This story is merely playing upon our use of a machine that kills many people each day and guzzle down our earth's resources as fast as they do.  Im interpreting one message here as "we're slowly killing ourselves, be it with our own blood or the earth's"

personally i love fantasy, and i also love sci fi.  I think that a story should be selected by its quality rather than its genre.  Maybe, to please more, steve should maybe just look at the sci fi before movin onto the fantasy (literally not figuratively)

JCGillespie, if you havent noticed so far, the best books to date in history have mostly been books that "preach".  Im talkin 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Prince, The Republic, The Good Earth, you get my point.  Good stories have something to say, something to make us think.  While it is nice every so often to read a story purely for its entertainment, most stories are great because of the message they portray.  And, if you look elsewhere on this forum, you will find a thread written by a conservative who claims that he enjoys Escape Pod, no matter what the message of the story is.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2007, 11:15:12 PM by Bdoomed » Logged

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Jonathan C. Gillespie
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2007, 08:55:36 AM »

I understand that.  Heck, my personal all-time favorite science fiction book is "Starship Troopers", which as we all know is as politically-charged as it gets.  Thing is, I wouldn't want to hear Vonnegut or Heinlein every week.  I realize some might not have issue with that.

It just feels like it's been a little thick lately, that's all.

It helps when there's a guy as mellow as you running things, Stephen Smiley  I appreciate you taking the time to address my concerns.  I'm aware of the realities of modern fiction -- it's a predominantly liberal environment, which is something that has made this moderate Libertarian worry if he'll rub people the wrong way.  I've been pleasantly surprised to find most folks very fair and open-minded, even if we hardly ever agree.
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Simon
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2007, 12:21:42 PM »

I was thinking about JG's comments here - I always respect his views - and realised that I hadn't noticed this ecological bent. 

I actually think you've been on a pretty high winning streak lately - I loved the Silverberg, Authorwerx and the Corey Doctorow short (and thought Ulla was a pretty entertaining distraction), but I realise i've been stopping a lot of stories after 5 minutes lately...  After ten minutes I gave up on Straight Talking, after 7 minutes I gave up on Blood Of Virgins, and I will get around to read the Mur story at some point I promise.

I'm not sure what this means...  I was utterly, utterly unimpressed by BoV, but maybe it got better in the second half.  I was also totally unimpressed by Straight Talking (And Green Thumb was badly written enough that I have doubts it got any better).  My instinct is to stick my arm up with JG and say more SF as I usually do, but after reading your poll recently I realised there is a hell of a lot of people who live for fantasy on here... And however much I have a kneejerk reaction against it that isn't going to change the numbers.  I'm another libertarian, and would prefer a little less preach... But the fact is, I'm likely just to stop listening if you do preach - and if next week's material is good enough I really don't care.

So..  As far as it goes...  Escape Pod is currently on magnificent form.  Don't change a thing.
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Ben
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2007, 12:38:19 PM »

I enjoyed this story. One thing that confused me was how Chris' parents get to work; shouldn't there have been two other dragons at Chris' house already? Maybe everyone telecommutes in this reality? I really like that it held the idea that dragons are and had always been the only option for travel. Also, what a great way to get girls "Please baby, the dragons will get me if we don't do it!" I know immature toilet humor, but I could resist... Cheesy
As for the political overtones I didn't pick up on them too much. I just like to sit down and listen to the stories for fun, unless it really tries to shove a metaphor down my throat, i.e. EP069: “Her”. Also, in this case I would probably agree with most of the metaphors mentioned; cars probably are more dangerous than dragons, and big oil is an evil entity draining the planet of its "virgin blood". One thing that sticks in my head from a political/ecological standpoint  is the similarity of the account of the small Malaysian girl having her blood drained and the very real problem of bears in Asia having bile inhumanely drained from their gall bladders for use in traditional Chinese medicine. I wonder if this was intentional or not?
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FNH
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2007, 03:10:32 PM »

JCGillespie, if you havent noticed so far, the best books to date in history have mostly been books that "preach".  Im talkin 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Prince, The Republic, The Good Earth, you get my point. 

When I read the above, I nearly fainted.  I group these books with other well known but in my opinion bad books.  For instance "War and Peace", "Cider with Rosie" and "Kes".  I found these books and those you mentioned as dull and uninspiring.

Please dont mistake me, I'm not having a go at "Bdoomed", my opinion is not worth any more than his/hers, I just want to state my view point and ask a question.

Bdoomed, why do you rate the books you mentioned as best books? What aspects of them gave you that opinion?

Oh, and I loved this episode.  I thought of it as Sci Fi because it hinted that the Dragons had been made.  That rates it as Sci Fi because the dragons took the feel a long way from the modern world.  More Please.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2007, 03:12:33 PM by FNH » Logged

Bdoomed
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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2007, 04:11:18 PM »

well, aside from The Good Earth (which i didnt particularily like) those books are considered classics.  Personally i liked em very much, they just interest me (especially 1984) but they are considered classics, which is why i used them as examples, not because they were personal favorites.
Please dont mistake me, I'm not having a go at "Bdoomed", my opinion is not worth any more than his/hers, I just want to state my view point and ask a question.
his Tongue

im just sayin that it is a trend in the history of literature that the classics, or what have become classics, are traditionally ones that preach, ones that have something to say. Now of course there is Harry Potter and the like, but im generalizing here.
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I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
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Maximus-Primus
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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2007, 06:59:08 PM »

I just finished BoV today which catches me up on all the EPs.

It seams to me, after reading all the posts, that I'm either way older than most of the posting crowd or some have forgotten after school specials.

I did catch the metaphors of cars and oil as well as selling my kidney because I'm poor and live in a back water country.

But the real problem was... It wasn't fun. It was long slow and... not fun, just like EP55 down memory lane, It wasn't fun.

We didn't really learn any thing about the dragons or the world in which they inhabit. Just the ongoing moral agony, not fun.

I have enjoyed most of the EPs and look forward to next weeks (I now have to wait for them).
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