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Author Topic: EP221: Little Ambushes  (Read 18466 times)

Prank Call of Cthulhu

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Reply #25 on: October 29, 2009, 02:04:28 PM
I think wakela makes an excellent point. WARNING: Potential stereotyping follows....

It's been my observation that when telling stories, men tend to be more outcome/goal/action oriented, while women tend to be more process/journey/feelings oriented. Note my use of the word "tend." I admittedly paint with a broad brush, and no doubt you can find plenty of exceptions to my "rule."

For example, when Mrs. PCoC tells me a story about what happened during her workday, it might go like this:

"So Monica brought me a bunch of paperwork for me to sign off on, and she hadn't filled it out properly, so there's no way I could approve it, or I'd be the one catching hell over it. I can't believe it, I've told her about this before and she just doesn't listen. I told her she needed to do it the right way, and she just shrugged and said it was no big deal. Can you believe that? It really blew me away? How can she not care about this? Then she said I needed to get over it and not be so bossy. I was really insulted! I couldn't believe she'd say something like that. Can you imagine?"

Eventually I had to cut in and get her to tell me how the story ended. To me, the outcome is important. Did she sign the papers? Did Monica learn an important lesson? Yeah, I get it you're upset. But what happened? If I were telling the same story, it would go: "Monica brought me improperly filled out paperwork and said mean things to me." Bam. One sentence. No need to go on and on about who felt what and to what degree. It's needless hand-wringing.

An old girlfriend of mine would always be bringing problems to me--personality conflicts with coworkers and such. And I'd listen and then suggest a solution to her. She didn't like that. The point of the exercise was to share feelings, not to look for solutions. I don't understand this. I'm a guy. I solve problems. It's what I do. The idea that hashing and rehashing what you feel about this situation and that situation is somehow an ends in itself is just goofy. I don't get it.

And this attitude is all too prominent in literature written by women. This story and the recent "Kindness of Strangers" demonstrate this. Lots of whinging about feelings, but those feelings never do get resolved (just aired out), and no real action. In "Kindness of Strangers," there was probably a far more interesting story to be told from the standpoint of the men planning to escape, rather that female narrator. They were actually doing something. She just sat around and watched and whined about her unhappy love affair.



jalan

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Reply #26 on: November 02, 2009, 04:59:52 AM
I agree the sound quality of the story was not great.  Doesn't help to be opened by Norm though. 
The story was wonderful I thought, and I really don't buy all this women-author junk being pelted at it.  Just sounds like commentary from people who don't read much to me.  It was a very effective story, the protag was changed through the process of her issuing change to others.  Subtle and moving story.



kibitzer

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Reply #27 on: November 03, 2009, 03:40:25 AM
Nice.

Simple. Poignant.

Nice.

Norm still rocks.


yicheng

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Reply #28 on: November 04, 2009, 02:11:29 PM
I found the story a bit over indulgent on the main character.  The idea of alien species being interested in human art is definitely creative and makes a lot of sense, but it felt frustratingly incomplete due to little is revealed about the aliens or what kind of human reactions there were to then.  You would think that even a person on the street would be able to give a little more detail on what kind of tech the aliens have, what kind of food they eat, or what kind government agency is overseeing the interspecies student exchange program.  There were several glaring loopholes as well, that were just too big for me to get over.  What kind of species capable of intergalactic travel and exploration doesn't bother to check out their destination civilization's radio and television transmittions (i.e. they'd definitely know what a human laugh sounded like)? 

Also, Norm = awesome.



Dave

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Reply #29 on: November 05, 2009, 02:02:24 AM
Once I got over the "Rachel's recording in the bathroom" audio quality, the story wasn't bad.

Or at least, this half of it.

We're getting the other half next week, right?

Right?

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)


Gamercow

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Reply #30 on: November 11, 2009, 01:10:55 AM
I personally liked this, and I tend to dislike stories with tacked on points, or an author that has a point to make and shoehorns a story around their point.  Many people have been indicating that this is one such of those stories. 
I did not find that in this case.  The divorce was not tacked on.  The divorce was indeed one of the "little ambushes" that the alien mentioned.  It seemed tacked on, because thats what it was to the MC.  She was either consciously, or more likely, subconsciously, trying to forget about her husband and her divorce. 
This is tied into the paintings.  Just as she was trying to get the alien to see things the way she did, he was, in his way, trying to get her to see things the way she did, or at least see things differently.  By the end of the story, she's realized that she needs to get on with her life, and start a new one. 
« Last Edit: December 02, 2009, 09:56:34 PM by Gamercow »

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Planish

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Reply #31 on: November 25, 2009, 02:07:19 AM
The divorce was not tacked on.  The divorce was indeed one of the "little ambushes" that the alien mentioned.
I don't think the divorce itself was one of the "little ambushes" as such. Those were the little things that she would come across in the house that unexpectedly reminded her of the divorce.
My understanding of the whole story was that she came to realize that the alien, in spite of being a fish out of water, had a very subtle grasp on what she was going through in her personal life. The divorce served as a thing which she would assume was a totally foreign concept to the alien, so, yes, it was not merely "tacked on".

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Gamercow

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Reply #32 on: December 02, 2009, 09:57:11 PM
I don't think the divorce itself was one of the "little ambushes" as such. Those were the little things that she would come across in the house that unexpectedly reminded her of the divorce.

Thats what I meant, I suppose.   :)

The cow says "Mooooooooo"


knigget

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Reply #33 on: December 04, 2009, 02:06:01 PM
I thought the point -- that men and women are more alien to each other than space aliens are to either -- was made with spare simplicity while avoiding most kinds of self-pity.  Well read, poorly recorded. 

http://www.apoGrypha.blogspot.com

What would have been written. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)


CryptoMe

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Reply #34 on: January 06, 2010, 07:45:12 AM
I thought the point -- that men and women are more alien to each other than space aliens are to either -- was made with spare simplicity while avoiding most kinds of self-pity.  Well read, poorly recorded. 

Wow! I never got the impression that the MC and her husband were "aliens" to each other, just having marital problems. And I certainly wouldn't have extrapolated their problems to the entire human race.

Interesting.....



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Reply #35 on: January 14, 2010, 07:19:44 PM
What kind of species capable of intergalactic travel and exploration doesn't bother to check out their destination civilization's radio and television transmittions (i.e. they'd definitely know what a human laugh sounded like)? 

That's not necessarily a hole.  I'm always a bit skeptical when aliens monitoring radio/TV communications is used as a plot element.  Sure, aliens would be able to detect the signals, but would they be able to interpret them as audio and video?  Not necessarily.  When you're sending out a radio broadcast you're not literally sending out the sound, you are transforming the sound waves into some sort of radio pattern, but that pattern is useless without a radio that knows how to interpret it!  Take video, for instance, which we typically split into Red, Green, and Blue signals, which are layered after each other and have a particular expected frame rate.  Unless the alien species has developed the exact same video formats (which would be about as likely as aliens developing English independently of Earth) they're not going to know how to turn it into video.  I expect they'd realize it was a signal and not noise, but interpreting the signal while unaware of our language, numbering system, or our technology ain't likely.



Unblinking

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Reply #36 on: January 14, 2010, 07:21:53 PM
This was okay.  It certainly had a cool premise with the alien/human art exchange program.  It makes me want to take some art classes so I'm ready for the alien invasion.  :)  And the phrase that coined the title was a particularly nice turn of phrase.  The alien was used in interesting ways for her to learn more about herself.  It was well-written, no doubt about that, and I didn't have any objections about the audio quality.  But in the end I was hoping a little more something would happen--I prefer events to navel-gazing, but that's just me.



ancawonka

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Reply #37 on: January 15, 2010, 02:30:35 AM
I enjoyed this story.  Listened to it in the car, so i didn't really notice the bad audio quality.  I wish Norm had saved some of his discussion for the after-story.

I like reading and listening to stories that explore how people are feeling in certain situations.  It's a great way to learn about ... feelings ... and how they drive peoples' behaviors and thoughts.    This was a story about how people feel like aliens in their own home, and how, through seeing and quiet contemplation one can develop an understanding of another person.  In all of the scenes where action took place in this story (Spider arrives, Sarah laughs, husband comes in for a divorce) people had reactions based on their assumptions, rather than a collective sharing of truth. 

One of my friends is currently going through one of these "Standard Literary Divorces" - but it's so only from her perspective.  Her ex made up his mind a long time ago, and, while he remains a sympathetic figure in my eyes, they are utterly unable to connect on a level that makes communication possible, because of their assumptions about each other.

Unlike "The Kindness of Strangers", this story, for me, had an actual resolution.  The MC went through a transformation, subtle as it was.