Author Topic: EP226: Pirate Solutions  (Read 20223 times)


  • Hipparch
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Reply #50 on: December 09, 2009, 04:26:27 PM
This is getting off topic a little bit, but there's an interesting fact about the Somali pirates:  Insurance companies pay out something in the range of $50-100 million/year in ransoms, but receive $300-$400 million/year for insurance coverage from ships going through pirate infested waters. 

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  • Lochage
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Reply #51 on: December 15, 2009, 10:55:56 PM
I didn't like this story as much as I wanted to, but it should be pointed out the the writing in this piece was great.  Great narrative, and the sexuality was really handled well.  Katie obviously has big talent, but it was the actions of the characters that didn't jibe. 
I just couldn't get my head around a bunch of pirates living in peace and harmony.  Shouldn't there at least be a few stabbings?  Jack's initial reaction to the Chinese group showing up seemed so authentic, and led me to think they'd be at each other's throats for spoil.  Like pirates.  But they hugged and played Team Fortress instead.
See, I'm not offended by glam pirates, or glam hackers.  They just come off the way dancing gangsters in a Michael Jackson video, or like Angelina Jolie in Hackers, which is to say they don't ring true.
So, a well crafted story, but the characters didn't follow where their inspirations seemed to lead.


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Reply #52 on: December 17, 2009, 07:53:47 PM
I wonder what Steve found so realistic about the story's depiction of a poly relationship.


  • Hipparch
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Reply #53 on: December 17, 2009, 09:15:51 PM
In defense of the stylized pirates...

That's just what they are. Stylized pirates. Not actual pirates - for all that the personality overlays were based on real pirates - but the dream of piracy, the fantasy of pirates. This story was pure style from beginning to end, a weird transposition of magic and reality, mysterious bone rum turning collectivist computer nerds into equally collectivist pirates, struggling to steal an island for unknown purposes. The beauty of this story isn't in what's so, it's in what could be so.

Or, you could always just assume that the nanotech in the bone rum alters their pheromones to produce a strong cooperation instinct, even if it's at odds with the personality alterations, because whoever made the bone rum knows they'll need an army...

But I think that's infinitely lamer than the sheer, uncharted possibility the story presents.

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  • Lochage
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Reply #54 on: December 17, 2009, 11:01:05 PM
If you keyworded this story then pretty much every word should be a tick and a big 'yay!' for me, but it just didn't interest me at any point. It's a shame but I remain in the 'ungrabbed' constituency.


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Reply #55 on: December 26, 2009, 04:03:24 AM
I tend to listen to these shows in my car, or out walking, so I don't usually comment.  This one ... I want to read [hear?] again.   I just liked it.  This time though, I want to pay better attention to it.


  • Matross
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Reply #56 on: December 31, 2009, 10:16:36 AM
Giant thumbs-up to the production on this one -- definitely a case where multiple voices really enhance the story, and those first three were fabulous.  (Steve actually felt like the weak link to me, I think because his tone was so different from the others.  Which possibly fits with the character he narrated, but it still jarred me.)  The accent-switching on Calico Jack was an especially nice touch.

Ultimately I don't think the story worked for me, probably due to the thing people have been arguing about here: the tension, or possible disjunct, between the sfnal angle and the fantastical one.  I, as a fantasy reader first and an SF reader second, was much more interested in the bone rum and the memories than the hacker-collective thing, and I had a tough time really understanding or caring about what the hackers were trying to accomplish.  As others have pointed out, some of what they did seems kind of dickish, and with my emotional engagement pretty thoroughly spoken for by the bone rum/historical end of things, I wasn't left with much to spend on their modern-day piracy.

Still, when all's said and done, I did enjoy listening to it.  Quite possibly an example of how much of a difference a good reader (or several of them) can make.


  • Sir Postsalot
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Reply #57 on: January 14, 2010, 07:57:02 PM
I loved the production on this one, having a set of narrators each narrating a different character, a section to each works really nicely!  Bravo!

And the premise of this was amazing, with the bone rum consciousness, but that was really the most interesting thing in the story and that was revealed very near the beginning.  There's no real conflict throughout, and having 4 protagonists just makes it harder to relate to any one of them.  There seemed to be an unlimited supply of rum, the group kept getting bigger and bigger and guzzling more and more rum and I was waiting for them to run out and then go through pirate withdrawal but that never happened.

But more than anything, the "hacker" aspect just bugged me.  We're told occasionally that these people spend huge tracts of time writing code, but it never really gets to the point of telling me what code they're writing and why.  To me that's like having a character who's labeled as a "writer" but then not saying what they write.  A writer could write novels, or newspaper articles, or technical manuals, or fortune cookies, and there's a fundamental difference to the mindset and goals of each.  It's the same thing with writing code--the act of writing code only conveys a fraction of what it could mean if we were told what they were doing. 

And I think it's weird when malicious hackers are glorified in fiction.  I add the word "malicious" because the word hacker doesn't mean the same thing in some circles as it does in mainstream culture.  In some engineering circles, "to hack" is just the act of writing code, especially if you're finding clever unforeseen ways to make things work, so a "hacker" is not inherently malicious.  In any case, I think it's strange when malicious hackers are portrayed as heroes.  Would they be heroes if they wiped out your bank account while they were fiddling around or stole your identity and rang up thousands in credit card bills?  Even if they only attack corporations, those corporations have real people who are customers and who will hurt much more by the destruction of the company's network than the faceless corporations themselves will.

And I know it's been said before, but I was surprised this was picked up by the science fiction podcast.  Maybe I should try sending some of my fantasy stories here!  :)


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Reply #58 on: January 21, 2010, 02:52:18 AM
First off, let me say that I am more than a fan of pirates - I think that, in general,  their actions are at least as justified as those of the ruling and commercial powers.
I am reminded by this story that the pirates of today have a lot in common with the pirates of yesterday.  There's a lot of truth in this story - and it doesn't take a rum soaked bone to get together and work to usurp the power of forces of control... I play a lot of pirate songs in an acoustic music group called THAT Damned Band, and I try to challenge myself to include references to the real hardships of "A pirate's life" as well as the glamorous, rum swilling, sexy side.  I feel that this story could have done that - more.


  • Lochage
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Reply #59 on: February 01, 2010, 05:27:10 PM
Listening to this story brought a wide smile to my face. By the end, I was gleefully running up and down the hallway going "Arrrr!" and "Me Matey!".  I know that this is glorified pirates, but I liked the connection between the pirates of old and the programming collective. The whole story had this sunshiny can-do optimism, and you can't help but join in because, well, it's so much fun. Thanks for the story!

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