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Author Topic: EP223: The Uncanny Valley  (Read 28968 times)
Swamp
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« Reply #40 on: November 12, 2009, 09:13:03 PM »

No worries.  Most of your post was just fine.  That first line just caught my attention relative to the previous comments.  It was more  of a caution than a rebuke.  I may have been over-sensative to the point.
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cercle
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« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2009, 06:59:47 AM »

Norm was right : I didn't see it coming.  In fact I didn't see ANYTHING coming.  Boring.  Boring.  UNBELIEVABLY boring.  I listened through the whole thing, but every two sentences or so my mind drifted off.  Couldn't make heads nor tails.  Didn't care, either.  A story needs to grab the reader's (or listener's) attention, not leave the reader (listener) to force his attention to story time and again. I got the impression the writer wanted to show off her intelect by throwing about all these metaphores and the like.  Style.  It's not only overrated, it is in fact irrelevant.  Tell your story as crisp and concise as possible.  Style will take care of itself.  The reading itself wasn't exactly great, either. To close : I thought the recent Nancy Kress story hit rock bottom as far as EP stories went, but I bow my head in defeat : this one was (a lot) worse.  Still absolutely loved last week's story, though ! That was fun, and having fun was what the Eley wants us to have, right ?
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Swamp
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« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2009, 07:29:16 AM »

I got the impression the writer wanted to show off her intelect by...

Note: Nick Mamatas is a man.
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #43 on: November 13, 2009, 11:33:21 AM »

...the Eley...
hahaha
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Doctor Thump
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« Reply #44 on: November 13, 2009, 11:51:09 AM »

Much like everyone else, I couldn't follow the story.  But maybe more of an issue with me was the quality of the audio.  Certainly not up to normal EP fare; actually given that I work with sound quite a bit, the audio was so distracting, it was hard to put all of the focus on the story (which required maybe more focus than I had anyway).  Cheers!
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Kate_Baker
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« Reply #45 on: November 13, 2009, 02:27:26 PM »

Much like everyone else, I couldn't follow the story.  But maybe more of an issue with me was the quality of the audio.  Certainly not up to normal EP fare; actually given that I work with sound quite a bit, the audio was so distracting, it was hard to put all of the focus on the story (which required maybe more focus than I had anyway).  Cheers!

I'm rather confused about this statement. To each his own about my narration skills, but really, I try my best to put out a professional sounding product. What were you upset with exactly?
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Kate Baker
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justinmartyr
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« Reply #46 on: November 13, 2009, 03:39:18 PM »

There is a period of time, at the start of any tale, after which the reader should at least think they understand what is being described.  A story can then go on to puzzle, surprise or challenge the reader because he or she is following along.  This was like riding a high speed train past billboards too fast to read or make out the images.  There is an intuition that meaning is flying past you, but there is nothing to grab on to so you stop looking out the window.

Keeping with travel metaphors, this story has no on ramp, so it doesn't matter where it goes. The reader can't merge.




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Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
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« Reply #47 on: November 13, 2009, 06:35:32 PM »

Much like everyone else, I couldn't follow the story.  But maybe more of an issue with me was the quality of the audio.  Certainly not up to normal EP fare; actually given that I work with sound quite a bit, the audio was so distracting, it was hard to put all of the focus on the story (which required maybe more focus than I had anyway).  Cheers!
i have no idea what you are talking about, the narration was awesome.
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ajames
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« Reply #48 on: November 13, 2009, 09:50:26 PM »

This story managed to piqué my interest in the beginning, but after scene after scene where everything made less and less sense, I just stopped caring or listening. Ultimately, I found the character of Esme far too self-absorbed to give a damn about her or the rest of the story. I've read a couple of posts that say that everything comes together in the last 10 minutes, but I still have no desire to finish listening, especially if the id is really part of the explanation.

Sorry if this sounds harsh - I get the feeling that the author was taking some chances with this story, and I respect that. It just didn't work for me.

Editors - just because you have someone named Alistair working for you, doesn't mean every piece has to be Masterpiece Theater ;-)
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Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
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« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2009, 04:38:53 AM »

so...
lemme get this straight...
well first, I think I liked it, however I think I'd like it better if I could read it...

SPOILER ALERT! (maybe?)
anyway...
She's a therapist...
and she was talking to an old client turned cyborg via the convergence... who was also her lover at one point...
then at one point she asks him a question that perplexes him so much he kinda turns off... and is then devoured by... whoever is murdering everyone?
he is later resurrected via a backup into another body.
she realizes that she has also been turned into a cyborg but had her memory erased...
she is kept on old Alcatraz...
she somehow escapes...
she realizes that the murders are being committed by... the old machines that are jealous that they've been outdated???
and then she soothes them with her 1337 therapist skillz...

is that right?

convoluted story, great narration, interesting plotline if I got it right, and.... yeah... I dunno what to think of this one.
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deflective
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« Reply #50 on: November 14, 2009, 05:54:32 AM »

not towards the end.  we've already talked about what happened.
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Kanasta
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« Reply #51 on: November 14, 2009, 07:27:22 AM »

This story was interesting, but kind of a big melting pot of different ideas and genres that didn't necessarily go together. Steampunk and nanotech seem like two ends of a scale to me so those elements were a bit jarring.

A few people have been confused about how the narrator escapes from Alcatraz. My understanding was that she was never really there. When she looks over at San Francisco, she notices how the flames and the skyline are a simulacrum of a particular Rorschach card and so realises that the world she's in is a creation of her mind, like a therapeutic version of the Matrix, and this snaps her out of it.
The machines with leather dildoes etc are expressions of the Posties' subconscious. Their conscous minds still all in their own little worlds, but their subconsciouses could not be fully incorporated into the Singularity, so are roaming the earth and controlling the nanotech with very weird results. This does explain a bit why the machines are quite crude, but I still find all the brass and clockwork rather out of place.

Generally, I think this could have done with being trimmed and tightened, but also, as has been previously mentioned, it's maybe not a great type of story for audio. Talking of which, I was surprised to read the comment about bad audio. I'm pretty fussy about sound quality, and have turned off some stories before due to ear pain from bad sound quality, but this one was fine to me.
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Gamercow
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« Reply #52 on: November 14, 2009, 02:24:52 PM »

higgledy.  piggledy.  Two very well placed words to describe this story.  It did not translate well to audio, and I listened to it twice to make sure.  Some SF stories intentionally confuse the reader at the beginning and then clear things up as they get into it.  This story really didn't seem to do that for me.  I also wasn't a fan of the narration, it seemed like the reader had a snarky, sarcastic tone the whole time, and I had troubles identifying who was talking, or even if the person WAS talking or simply self-talking. 

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cdugger
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« Reply #53 on: November 14, 2009, 07:51:05 PM »

I'm rather confused about this statement. To each his own about my narration skills, but really, I try my best to put out a professional sounding product. What were you upset with exactly?

For me, it was 80/20 production quality/narration style. And, part of the production problems are because of the low quality mp3 file, which probably doesn't have anything to do with you. Any mp3 below 192 kbps is going to have a lot a frequency issues.

There was a lot of hiss surrounding your voice, but that may have been a file conversion issue.

The 20% on the voice centered on the minor differentiation between narration and dialogue. There was just not enough difference between the voices. Also, your voice didn't come across as crisp. Too breathy. Now, this may have been your intent. I did not listen to the whole thing, so I may have missed a reason for it later in the story.

I like your voice for readings. It is pleasant and doesn't grate on my nerves. You speak clearly and I can understand you. There are some that are just unintelligible, but you do not fall in that category. It just didn't work for this particular story. It is, however, a nice change from The Ely. He's good, but he's a he. I listen at work, all day. It's nice to hear the ladies every now and then.
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Myca
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« Reply #54 on: November 14, 2009, 09:35:18 PM »

I simply cannot possibly express how wonderful it was to come here and see that I wasn't crazy, and I wasn't the only one who found this story ... hm ... unenjoyably difficult? Far too obfuscatory? This is the very first Escape Pod I've ever fast forwarded through, and I just finished up listening my way through the entire archives a month or two back.

I don't think it was necessarily a bad story, mind you. I like Nick Mamatas' stuff, and enjoyed 'To Do List' in PC a while back. Additionally, I do enjoy some of the deliberately obfuscatory transhuman stuff with a bushel of new vocab words in each sentence, I'm just not sure how well they work as audio.

I mean, let's take the very second sentence of the story.
Quote
And there was something unknown out there, nibbling away at the edge of the economy, and screwing with the Cottrell-Cockshot tatonnements sufficiently that there’d be problems.

Cottrell-Cockshot tatonnements? Really, guys? That didn't raise any red flags? On the page, I can pause at this, Google it, and figure out what the hell is being said. In audio? Usually I'm listening on my daily bike ride. A lot of people listen on their commutes. Not really google-friendly environments. What's more, unless you hit pause and take the time, the story continues.

I thought the reading was great, though as others have said, not necessarily friendly to multiple potentially confusing POV shifts.

I think some stories may just be best left on the page. It's not a reflection on the quality of the story, mind you, I think some great stories work better in audio, and some work worse.

---Myca
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yaksox
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« Reply #55 on: November 15, 2009, 06:27:44 AM »

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who couldn't follow the story.

While listening, on the bus, I was thinking 'I'm a simple man, and I like simple stories'. It's possible that this story might do better if I had it on paper in front of me and I could scan back through paragraphs to get the jist of it.  Maybe this is something to think about for the team.

At least the reading was well paced.
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eytanz
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« Reply #56 on: November 15, 2009, 03:27:35 PM »

Ok, I've stopped listening to this story about 3/4 in since I have no idea what's going on.

This isn't a criticsm of the story. I honestly have no idea if it's a good story or not, since I couldn't follow it at all. The reading - with its flat tone and voice crossing multiple viewpoints with no clear breaks between them - didn't help.

This isn't a criticsm of the reader. I believe she did the best she could with difficult material. For plenty of other stories, her reading style would have been great. Perhaps a reader who varies their voice more would have been better suited to this story, but that's not this reader's fault.

It just - well, it just didn't work. I don't know if this particular story could work as an audio podcast, but in this case, it clearly didn't.

On the positive side, I think Norm is really finding his voice here on EP. I thought his intro approached Alasdair-level of brilliance (while still very clearly being a Norm intro).
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RoccoFan
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« Reply #57 on: November 16, 2009, 04:30:35 PM »

I got to the last 17 mins and just couldn't justify taking the time to finish.  Can't win them all.
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #58 on: November 17, 2009, 12:33:58 AM »

I also didn't I like this story. I listened right up to the end, and was paying attention the whole time. But I still couldn't find the plot. It seemed to be buried under too much needless detail, presented in endless clauses. By the end, I was actually finding this style infuriating. So it definitely didn't work for me.

Narration and audio quality were fine, though.
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Nobilis
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« Reply #59 on: November 19, 2009, 07:05:43 PM »

Some stories don't work in audio.

This is one of them.
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