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Author Topic: EP227: His Master’s Voice  (Read 6513 times)
Swamp
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« on: December 03, 2009, 09:34:26 PM »

EP227: His Master’s Voice

by Hannu Rajaniemi.
Read by Peter Piazza; courtesy of Starship Sofa.
Guest introduction by Paul Graham Raven of Futurismic.

First appeared in Interzone, October 2008.

Before the concert, we steal the Master’s head. The Necropolis is a dark forest of concrete mushrooms in the blue Antarctic night. We huddle inside the utility fog level attached to the steep southern wall of the ice valley. The cat washes itself with a pink tongue. It reeks of infinite confidence.

“Get ready,” I tell it. “We don’t have all night.”

It gives me a moderately offended look, and dons its armor.


Rated R.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 05:04:18 PM by Swamp » Logged

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cdugger
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2009, 10:11:58 AM »

Yet one more time when I must comment with...

Um...what?

You would think that a story with clones, talking dogs, and flying cats (The Ely surely loves that!) would be good.

Not so much.

Hard to follow. Waaaay to abstract for audio. Not the worst by a long shot, but not the best by that same long shot.

The reading kinda made up for the story, but not enough to call it enjoyable.

While it's good to hear Steve's voice again (been on a PodCastle week here at work), it sucked to not hear "It's story time." I'm used to that with EP (just like "I promise, it's true" on PseudoPod).
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2009, 10:13:27 AM »

I thought maybe it was just that I was listening in bed and getting sleepy that I didn't get this story.  But cdugger's reaction seems to confirm mine.
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Boggled Coriander
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2009, 09:53:18 PM »

I think I liked this story, but I'm only about 70% sure of what was actually happening in it.  This might be another one of those stories that worked better in written form.
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deflective
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2009, 10:47:09 PM »

great story, you can see why it's been picked so many times.  it did a solid job of maintaining the catness & dogness of the characters even as they advanced beyond familiar animals.  i want to hear a dog composed symphony now even if my consciousness needs to be put into a fingernail to do it.

there was a lot of plot packed into forty minutes.  i was impressed by how much happened and particularly enjoyed the animals' rise to fame from a daikaiju existence in nanoville.  so much world building in such a small passage.

i did wish that the story was laid out chronologically but that's because this was audio.

i've greatly enjoyed the new style of story that ep's been running, i also understand that it could become frustrating to people who've been used to ep's usual format.  if ep does return the normal format i hope you'll still include something like we've been hearing every month or two.  particularly stories that play with tech without making it an antagonistic force.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2009, 11:07:17 PM by deflective » Logged
yaksox
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2009, 03:27:10 AM »

This story definitely had merit, and I liked some of the ideas in it, but I too had a bit of trouble following the plot.

I got used to it eventually but the sound of the recording was a bit jarring. I guess it was good to get a 'freebie' in that it was recycled from another podcast, but perhaps it could've been re-recorded in a little higher fidelity.
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KenK
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2009, 11:11:07 AM »

This one was the Atlas Shrugged of EP pod casts. I had to lock myself in the basement and listen to it through ear buds. Three times! The author is clearly knowledgeable about matters both technical, cultural, and legal, but a story like this might play better at a venue like slashdot (if they published fiction), or some other similarly geek oriented webzine. I must reveal myself now as a lazy bum who prefers not to work so hard to grasp the essence of a story even if it's good. At least not a on a regular basis anyhow.  Cheesy
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Talia
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2009, 09:51:46 PM »

I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I loved it! Woo hoo, go dog & cat teamwork. Rescue Pets. Smiley Very interesting world created here. I'm envisioning an entire galaxy full of mind photocopies of people. All sorts of moral delimmas brought up there.
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Listener
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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2009, 09:04:58 AM »

Like the previous story, this story packed in a lot of concepts that have worked in other SF/F -- talking/technology-savvy animals, sovereign states (the oil rig), DRM, cloning/robot bodies... but I agree that too much was happening. The whole thing where the master was rebuilt in the music was a little too much like the end of LOTR:ROTK, where "it's over, they win... wait, now it's over... wait, NOW it's over". I was pleased that they got their revenge on the Wrong Master, however. I just... beyond that, I don't really remember the ending.

The consistency of the characters was well-done.

I agree that the sound quality was sharp-sounding, but it was good enough that I didn't notice it after a while.

Overall a pretty good story. I liked it about as much as the last one, though I have less to complain about with this than the previous.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2009, 03:55:04 PM »

I must confess that even though I was pretty lost, especially towards the end, I loved this story's emotional content. For all that it was also a story about transhuman hypertech and a future that went completely over my head, it was also a story of a man, and his dog, and his cat, and of the love that drove a dog above beyond all reason to bring his family back together, and that's something I can't ignore. For that, alone, this story gets high marks from me.
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yicheng
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2009, 06:04:05 PM »

I found the concept interesting, although (like the other readers) I got a bit lost with the plot at the end.   This is what I can figure out

Master: I'm a super l33t hacker guy in the future.  Technology is so advanced that you can copy and download yourself like an MP3 into awesome robot bodies.  It's so awesome, except there's a DRM law that says you can only have one copy at a time.  But that's lame, so Imma gonna copy myself anyway.
Not-the-Master: Wut up!
Dog: Oh hai, I'm a dog.  Master's been enhancing me.
Cat: I'm a cat.  Ditto.
Not-the-Master: I'm illegal?  WTF, totally turning u in.
RIAA: Muhuhahahaha, pwnt!!!
Master: Dude, take care of my pets.  *zap!*
Not-the-Master: whatever...

*later*

Dog: Dude, I somehow got all this crazy hacker tech.
Cat: Ditto.
Dog: Let's break into the super hacker-jail!
Cat: Word.

*they do*

Dog: Dude, we got the master's head, but for some reason we're going to turn his brain waves into MP3 music and remix him so we can legally break the DRM or something...
Cat: Okay.
Not-the-Master: Aha!  I totally work for the RIAA now, and I just pwnt the whole planet just so ur plan doesn't work.
Cat: I'm totally going to cut off ur head now...
Not-the-Master: What?  AHHHH!!!

*something happens and they jump into the magic Internet black hole*

*the end!*
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2009, 06:49:35 PM »

I found the concept interesting, although (like the other readers) I got a bit lost with the plot at the end.   This is what I can figure out

Master: I'm a super l33t hacker guy in the future.  Technology is so advanced that you can copy and download yourself like an MP3 into awesome robot bodies.  It's so awesome, except there's a DRM law that says you can only have one copy at a time.  But that's lame, so Imma gonna copy myself anyway.
Not-the-Master: Wut up!
Dog: Oh hai, I'm a dog.  Master's been enhancing me.
Cat: I'm a cat.  Ditto.
Not-the-Master: I'm illegal?  WTF, totally turning u in.
RIAA: Muhuhahahaha, pwnt!!!
Master: Dude, take care of my pets.  *zap!*
Not-the-Master: whatever...

*later*

Dog: Dude, I somehow got all this crazy hacker tech.
Cat: Ditto.
Dog: Let's break into the super hacker-jail!
Cat: Word.

*they do*

Dog: Dude, we got the master's head, but for some reason we're going to turn his brain waves into MP3 music and remix him so we can legally break the DRM or something...
Cat: Okay.
Not-the-Master: Aha!  I totally work for the RIAA now, and I just pwnt the whole planet just so ur plan doesn't work.
Cat: I'm totally going to cut off ur head now...
Not-the-Master: What?  AHHHH!!!

*something happens and they jump into the magic Internet black hole*

*the end!*


FTW!  Grin
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cdugger
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2009, 08:45:23 PM »

I found the concept interesting, although (like the other readers) I got a bit lost with the plot at the end.   This is what I can figure out

Master: I'm a super l33t hacker guy in the future.  Technology is so advanced that you can copy and download yourself like an MP3 into awesome robot bodies.  It's so awesome, except there's a DRM law that says you can only have one copy at a time.  But that's lame, so Imma gonna copy myself anyway.
Not-the-Master: Wut up!
Dog: Oh hai, I'm a dog.  Master's been enhancing me.
Cat: I'm a cat.  Ditto.
Not-the-Master: I'm illegal?  WTF, totally turning u in.
RIAA: Muhuhahahaha, pwnt!!!
Master: Dude, take care of my pets.  *zap!*
Not-the-Master: whatever...

*later*

Dog: Dude, I somehow got all this crazy hacker tech.
Cat: Ditto.
Dog: Let's break into the super hacker-jail!
Cat: Word.

*they do*

Dog: Dude, we got the master's head, but for some reason we're going to turn his brain waves into MP3 music and remix him so we can legally break the DRM or something...
Cat: Okay.
Not-the-Master: Aha!  I totally work for the RIAA now, and I just pwnt the whole planet just so ur plan doesn't work.
Cat: I'm totally going to cut off ur head now...
Not-the-Master: What?  AHHHH!!!

*something happens and they jump into the magic Internet black hole*

*the end!*


Now THAT one need to be in audio! That was great!
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Scattercat
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2009, 09:38:52 PM »

I didn't have the trouble following the events (but then, I didn't have trouble following Uncanny Valley, either, which apparently threw everyone else for a total loop.)  Heck, I thought they spent a little too much time explaining stuff I'd already figured out.  I am disappointed at the repeated use of Uplifted dogs and never Uplifted cats as the protagonists.  Everyone loves the lovable, cheerful, loyal pets and not the disdainful half-wild sociopaths, I guess.

I'd rather have heard the story of the cat's career as a nanotech gladiator, personally.

((BTW, just for reference, the magic Internet black hole is uploading to the transhuman colonies in the Darkness Between the Stars.  Remember, the ones who were behind the "small animal" who helped with the Uplifting process?))

Overall, enjoyable, but it gets dinged points for being a little too busy shoving sci-fi tropes into every nook and cranny to pay enough attention to the plot.  And I'm also taking ten points from Gryffindor for making me listen to the loyal'n'friendly dog instead of the cat (who probably mostly wanted to use the "retrieve the Master" project to prove its chops and get uploaded to the transhumanists rather than actually wanting the Master back.)
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2009, 10:30:06 PM »

i'm a fan of the lovable, cheerful sociopath myself.
why yes! i will have a donut, thank you Dexter.
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Alasdair5000
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2009, 03:15:04 AM »

i'm a fan of the lovable, cheerful sociopath myself.
why yes! i will have a donut, thank you Dexter.

He's such a nice guy:)
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KenK
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« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2009, 12:19:29 PM »

What's this "cats are sociopaths" business? They're just as loving and loyal, albeit in their own strange way, as dogs are. Because they're not moral actors in the same way that humans are I don't think they're even capable of being sociopathic as we apply the term to humans. If the species were enhanced in the manor the author describes then that would be different. And not an especially good idea either, given what an lethal apex predator felines are, eh?  Wink
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LHnTX
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2009, 05:42:57 PM »

 I liked the story - what I could understand of it.  The audio was really bad this time.  I listen from my iPod in my car. Normally all is fine, but this time the audio had a slight tin-canny sound to it, plus every time that the reader made an "s" sound, it was like some type of audio bomb going off in my ears and was almost painfull.  Ouch. At least I could understand the basics of what was going on, though,   and didn't have to constantly rewind to try and figure out the words like I have to do sometimes when the reader has a heavy accent.  On those,  I tend to find myself repeating the heavily accented word to myself and trying to figure out how in the heck the speaker could ever learn to spell when the vowels are spoken so oddly.  Wink
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Ocicat
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2009, 07:37:00 PM »

The audio was really bad this time.  I listen from my iPod in my car. Normally all is fine, but this time the audio had a slight tin-canny sound to it, plus every time that the reader made an "s" sound, it was like some type of audio bomb going off in my ears and was almost painfull. 

I also listen in the car from my ipod, and had the exact same experience.  The 's' sounds were three times as loud as anything else.  I had to turn it off, and try again on my laptop at home.

There the sound was okay, actually.  I noticed the 's' sounds, but not anything like on the ipod and car speakers. 

The story itself was diverting, but I was lost a lot of the time myself. 
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Darwinist
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2009, 08:58:08 PM »


I had a hard time figuring out what was going on some of the time but I think I got most of the story.  Pet stories get me every time and overall I liked it.  I will probably listen to it again and I would love to read it if it is available in print somewhere. 
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For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan
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