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Author Topic: PC086: Tio Gilberto and the Twenty-Seven Ghosts  (Read 22317 times)

SirJolt

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Reply #20 on: January 17, 2010, 03:34:47 PM
I understand this might be my stretching a point a little, alI listened to this as I fell asleep, but I interpreted the uncle as a carer/nurse for men who had already contracted HIV. The reason they're "invisible" to the protagonist was because, by his own admission, he was there for laughs and hook-ups...

Maybe I'm seeing more metaphor here than there is...?

(excuse my dodgy typing, reading/listening from my phone)



stePH

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Reply #21 on: January 17, 2010, 04:03:35 PM
I understand this might be my stretching a point a little, alI listened to this as I fell asleep, but I interpreted the uncle as a carer/nurse for men who had already contracted HIV. The reason they're "invisible" to the protagonist was because, by his own admission, he was there for laughs and hook-ups...

Maybe I'm seeing more metaphor here than there is...?

If you interpret that way, then it isn't a fantasy story and doesn't belong on PodCastle.

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Heradel

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Reply #22 on: January 17, 2010, 04:54:08 PM
I understand this might be my stretching a point a little, alI listened to this as I fell asleep, but I interpreted the uncle as a carer/nurse for men who had already contracted HIV. The reason they're "invisible" to the protagonist was because, by his own admission, he was there for laughs and hook-ups...

Maybe I'm seeing more metaphor here than there is...?

If you interpret that way, then it isn't a fantasy story and doesn't belong on PodCastle.

Can we please stop with the "if there are not clearly dragons and wizards then it does not belong on PodCastle" line of reasoning? There will be fantasy stories that could swing both ways, and they belong on PodCastle.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


SirJolt

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Reply #23 on: January 17, 2010, 05:13:26 PM
I understand this might be my stretching a point a little, alI listened to this as I fell asleep, but I interpreted the uncle as a carer/nurse for men who had already contracted HIV. The reason they're "invisible" to the protagonist was because, by his own admission, he was there for laughs and hook-ups...

Maybe I'm seeing more metaphor here than there is...?

If you interpret that way, then it isn't a fantasy story and doesn't belong on PodCastle.

Thanks for the insight Steph, always nice to have it outlined nice and clearly why an opinion is wrong :(



Bdoomed

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Reply #24 on: January 17, 2010, 05:44:49 PM
I understand this might be my stretching a point a little, alI listened to this as I fell asleep, but I interpreted the uncle as a carer/nurse for men who had already contracted HIV. The reason they're "invisible" to the protagonist was because, by his own admission, he was there for laughs and hook-ups...

Maybe I'm seeing more metaphor here than there is...?

If you interpret that way, then it isn't a fantasy story and doesn't belong on PodCastle.

Thanks for the insight Steph, always nice to have it outlined nice and clearly why an opinion is wrong :(

okay let's stop this before it turns into a needless argument, kay?

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


stePH

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Reply #25 on: January 17, 2010, 06:31:29 PM
Can we please stop with the "if there are not clearly dragons and wizards then it does not belong on PodCastle" line of reasoning? There will be fantasy stories that could swing both ways, and they belong on PodCastle.

Then enlighten me; I'm listening: without ghosts, how would this qualify as a fantasy story?

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-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


eytanz

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Reply #26 on: January 17, 2010, 06:32:58 PM
Can we please stop with the "if there are not clearly dragons and wizards then it does not belong on PodCastle" line of reasoning? There will be fantasy stories that could swing both ways, and they belong on PodCastle.

Then enlighten me; I'm listening: without ghosts, how would this qualify as a fantasy story?

The point is - a story that is ambiguous, and some readers may interpret as fantasy and others may interpret as non-fantasy, falls within the mission plan of Podcastle.



the_true_morg

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Reply #27 on: January 18, 2010, 12:07:11 AM
I didn't see that the ghosts were integral to the story, so the fantasy element seemed tacked-on.  This same story could have been told without them.

I know everyone has already talked smack about this. i am not talking smack but i kind of agree that the ghosts seem a little after thought. how else is the uncle going to come in and see young men getting it on. yea it is his nephew but his only company are ghosts. other than the "culturally insensitive" thing i could have done without the ghosts.

that said it was a really different direction for podcastle and i like hearing different things.
 

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Heradel

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Reply #28 on: January 18, 2010, 03:03:06 AM
Can we please stop with the "if there are not clearly dragons and wizards then it does not belong on PodCastle" line of reasoning? There will be fantasy stories that could swing both ways, and they belong on PodCastle.

Then enlighten me; I'm listening: without ghosts, how would this qualify as a fantasy story?

The point is - a story that is ambiguous, and some readers may interpret as fantasy and others may interpret as non-fantasy, falls within the mission plan of Podcastle.

Eytanz makes the point for me. Fantasy is what the editors point to and call fantasy.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Bdoomed

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Reply #29 on: January 18, 2010, 09:28:30 AM
It doesn't matter if the story could have been written without ghosts, the fact remains that it had them.  This story was a magical realism piece.  It blends the ghosts in with the real world in a way that makes them accepted as a normal occurance only in the house.  Gilbertos house becomes a portal into another world, an escape in more than one way (both from new York and also from kasper's roommate.)  Outside of the house lies the real world and all too real dilemmas.  The world is harsh to him.  (kicked out of kasper's place). However comfort is once again found when the ghosts accompany him to the clinic.  The two worlds blend even as they clash.  The ghosts represent not only comfort but also a sense of dread: this can happen to you.

That's how I see it anyway.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Unblinking

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Reply #30 on: January 18, 2010, 04:17:11 PM
I mostly liked this one.  It had a lot of good emotion in there and I could connect with the characters relatively well.  The ending of it's strongest point--it would've had much less impact if he had found out his results one way or the other.  If it had ended with him hearing a HIV- result he could celebrate and hopefully learn a lesson.  If it had ended with him hearing a HIV+ result then he could begin to come to terms with his mistake and begin to think about what the future might hold for him.  By ending it at the waiting room, the potential energy of both futures is looming over his head like the Sword of Damocles, maddening with its inconclusion!  I think we've all experienced lesser versions of this tension when we know our future branches on the contents of the response to an application letter, medical test results, or some other Scrhodinger's box of potentiality.

What I didn't like about it was that there were several major elements that seemed like they were leading to some grand point, and then didn't.  I don't know if this was intentional or not, or perhaps I just totally missed a connection.  An example of this is his performance of a comedy act in front of an invisible audience.  That was a really compelling idea, and I can imagine how goddamned hard it would be to do that.  Live performances feed on the energy of the watchers and if the reaction of the watchers is invisible, it would be hard to maintain the energy.  I haven't participated in any sort of live performance since college drama club, but I acted in a few plays then and the audience response is a tangible element.  There was one faculty member who always came to at least one performance of each play, and when something tickled her funny bone she would laugh uproariously, louder than any other person in the audience.  And those nights were ALWAYS the best night of any show.  Nobody forgot their lines, every punchline was delivered to perfection.  If you know that someone is enjoying it that thoroughly, there's no NEED to be nervous.  When I'm not nervous, my performance is more natural, which makes the reaction better, and the feedback system makes everything significantly better.  Now, performing in front of a silent audience would be terrible, even if you know they're responding.  It seemed like that was going to be a driving point, but that line of reasoning never seemed to continue, which is too bad--it was such an interesting moment of tension that I wanted to see where that line of reasoning would go from there. 
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 03:01:18 PM by Unblinking »



stePH

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Reply #31 on: January 18, 2010, 06:12:49 PM
I mostly liked this one.  It had a lot of good emotion in there and I could connect with the characters relatively well.  The ending of it's strongest point--it would've had much less impact if he had found out his results one way or the other.  If it had ended with him hearing a HIV+ result he could celebrate and hopefully learn a lesson.  If it had ended with him hearing a HIV- result then he could begin to come to terms with his mistake and begin to think about what the future might hold for him. 

Just to clarify: HIV+ is the "bad" result and HIV- is the "good" result. ;)

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Elisa

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Reply #32 on: January 18, 2010, 08:07:59 PM
I enjoyed this one, largely because:

- I am a queer lady
- I am of hispanic heritage
- I'm into speculative fiction

and most of all . . .

- Everyone in my family saw ghosts growing up! Including me.  And the explanations from my mother's side of the family (the hispanic side) were very casual, as in, "Oh, that's just Uncle so-and-so coming to check up on me, he and I were very close as a child."

It's fascinating how the stereotypes about one's people often turn out to be true!  Even better if they're made into compelling fiction.





munin81

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Reply #33 on: January 19, 2010, 02:21:58 AM
As I sat there doing my own laundry listening to this story, I couldn't help but think two things.
1. How I wished my adorable laundry attendant was also gay.
2. How I wished my laundromat had a bar.

Between this story and the The Threnody of Johnny Toruko, I am feeling VERY VERY happy!  I am a very big geek.  It seems like in the geek/scifi community there is a deep void of homosexual content/people (or maybe I'm looking in the wrong places).  It warms my heart to hear fiction stories that I can relate to.  Stories that not only involve gay characters (Yes, they DO exist!), but feature them!

This story reminds me of my youth in so many ways.  It seems like those rash, carefree and idiotic 18-22 years were brilliantly captured in this story.  I recall a similar clinic visit myself, beads of sweat on my brow while waiting to hear my fate.  I almost felt those same feelings again as I was waiting with James in the clinic.  I was upset at first that we didn't get an answer, but the 'not knowing' actually drove the point home more.

I can sum this whole response up by saying, "Thank you.  I appreciate this a lot!"



benfrancisco

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Reply #34 on: January 19, 2010, 05:32:51 AM
I thought bdoomed's reading was great.  I especially appreciated his casual, friendly tone, which is a great match for the voice of the story and for James's character. And the brief burst into song for "one singular sensation" was perfect.  :)

I wrote this story at Clarion South, and was inspired by another story about a soldier haunted by the ghosts of his friends who died in the war.  His children and grandchildren--whose lives were untouched by the war--were completely removed from the reality of the ghosts that haunted him.  I've always had a lot of older gay friends, and it made me think of them and of their ghosts.  I thought about one friend in particular--he's not my "tio" by blood but he is in most of the ways that matter. One night, when his dog died, he was devastated, and it was clear that his sadness was about much more than the loss of his dog.  He had lost not just one friend or two friends, but an entire community to AIDS.  Meanwhile, I had close friends my own age who were having unsafe sex, to whom HIV seemed distant and theoretical.  My generation of gay men--the generation that came of age in the 90s and the 00s, in the era of sex education and protease inhibitors--had grown up with the constant spectre of HIV.  We'd learned since middle school that we had to set strict boundaries on our intimacy--and some of us resisted that notion.  I wanted to write a story about that generation gap, in a way that was subtle and a bit sideways and that embraced the validity of both experiences.  And that managed to have some fun along the way. :)

I don't want to get too engaged in the is-this-really-a-fantasy-story debate, but I will say that, from my perspective, the ghosts were essential from the outset.  It's hard for me to imagine the story without them.  I'm one of these people who believes that the author's reading is just another interpretation of the story, so I don't mean this to be any sort of last word on the subject.  Just wanted to share my two cents.

Many thanks to Podcastle for bringing this piece to a new audience and to all of you for your thoughtful comments. Please keep the comments coming and feel free to throw questions at me if it strikes your fancy.



danooli

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Reply #35 on: January 19, 2010, 11:56:40 AM
Please keep the comments coming and feel free to throw questions at me if it strikes your fancy.
thank you for the story!

I do have a question...why did Tio Gilberto have to hurt the cat?  :(  I liked his character a lot, up to that point



Unblinking

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Reply #36 on: January 19, 2010, 03:01:56 PM
I mostly liked this one.  It had a lot of good emotion in there and I could connect with the characters relatively well.  The ending of it's strongest point--it would've had much less impact if he had found out his results one way or the other.  If it had ended with him hearing a HIV+ result he could celebrate and hopefully learn a lesson.  If it had ended with him hearing a HIV- result then he could begin to come to terms with his mistake and begin to think about what the future might hold for him. 

Just to clarify: HIV+ is the "bad" result and HIV- is the "good" result. ;)

Oops!  I modified the original to be correct.  I had the right symbols in mind but the signal got lost before the fingers!



Unblinking

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Reply #37 on: January 19, 2010, 03:04:34 PM
Many thanks to Podcastle for bringing this piece to a new audience and to all of you for your thoughtful comments. Please keep the comments coming and feel free to throw questions at me if it strikes your fancy.

Thanks for stopping by!  I love to hear the story behind the story from the author.  :)



Unblinking

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Reply #38 on: January 19, 2010, 03:09:13 PM
Between this story and the The Threnody of Johnny Toruko, I am feeling VERY VERY happy!  I am a very big geek.  It seems like in the geek/scifi community there is a deep void of homosexual content/people (or maybe I'm looking in the wrong places).  It warms my heart to hear fiction stories that I can relate to.  Stories that not only involve gay characters (Yes, they DO exist!), but feature them!

Besides this one and Johnny Toruko, there have been at least a few other stories with homosexual characters on Escape Artist 'casts:
The Petrified Girl on Pseudopod
My Friend is a Lesbian Zombie on Escape Pod
Red Riding Hood's Child on Podcastle

I've heard from others that many people would like more stories with homosexual characters--maybe I should go write one!  :)



stePH

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Reply #39 on: January 19, 2010, 03:17:21 PM
I'm one of these people who believes that the author's reading is just another interpretation of the story, so I don't mean this to be any sort of last word on the subject.  Just wanted to share my two cents.

Yeah, you're just the guy who wrote the story... what do you know?  :P

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