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Author Topic: EP234: The Secret Protocols of the Elders of Zion  (Read 22562 times)

Swamp

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on: January 18, 2010, 07:22:05 PM
EP234: The Secret Protocols of the Elders of Zion

By Lavie Tidhar.
Read by Stephen Eley.

First appeared in The West Pier Gazette & Other Stories, 2008.

It was afternoon, after school has ended for the day. Sash has been working in the hydroponics gardens, helping the adults with the delicate work of picking the buds. It was flowering time, and the ganja plants were at the end of their cycle.

It was then, with her hands sticky with resin and her skin tingling pleasantly from the work and the heat, with Mama Kingston’s deep, melodious voice saying ‘a good harvest, child, a good harvest’ with a throaty chuckle, when Sash felt about herself the presence of Jah in everything she did and was profoundly happy: it was then that Sash discovered, for the first time, the existence of the Secret.


Rated R. Contains some violence and a plot heavily focused on drug use. If you’re good with that, there’s not much else likely to be problematic for younger audiences.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!

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stePH

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Reply #1 on: January 18, 2010, 09:19:37 PM
 :D Should have saved this one for the week of 4/20.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Swamp

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Reply #2 on: January 18, 2010, 10:09:55 PM
You know, I've never been stoned before, but, after listening to that story, I sure am hungry all of a sudden.

Seriously, I thought it was a very imaginative story, especially the idea of packets of information being transfered over a chemical network to the brain. 
« Last Edit: January 18, 2010, 10:19:07 PM by Swamp »

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raetsel

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Reply #3 on: January 19, 2010, 01:38:09 PM
In the UK this hasn't yet shown up on the iTunes store  ???

Imagine my disappointment as I began my 30 mile drive to work during which I look forward to hearing the latest story and there on my iPhone was nothing, as it were.

Anyone else have this issue with iTunes?

Luckily I had some PodCastle episodes to catch up on so my journey was not totally ruined.  :D

Look forward to getting this story one way or another even if I have to download it myself. Dagnamit.



DaveNJ

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Reply #4 on: January 19, 2010, 02:34:34 PM
Really fascinating story, and definitely an interesting title.



SFEley

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Reply #5 on: January 19, 2010, 07:19:54 PM
In the UK this hasn't yet shown up on the iTunes store  ??

FWIW: if you subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and let it automatically grab new episodes for you, this shouldn't be a problem. The Store listings are often delayed, true, but once you're subscribed you heck directly against the RSS feed. If it IS a problem for anyone, please let me know!

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


raetsel

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Reply #6 on: January 19, 2010, 07:28:56 PM
In the UK this hasn't yet shown up on the iTunes store  ??

FWIW: if you subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and let it automatically grab new episodes for you, this shouldn't be a problem. The Store listings are often delayed, true, but once you're subscribed you heck directly against the RSS feed. If it IS a problem for anyone, please let me know!

Hi!

Thanks for the prompt response I wasn't really expecting one. Thanks for taking the trouble.

I do subscribe to the podcast feed via iTunes on my Mac and this then syncs to my iPhone but neither was showing the episode this morning

However it has just downloaded when I rechecked  the subscriptions.

A pleasure delayed in a pleasure intensified as they say.



Darwinist

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Reply #7 on: January 19, 2010, 08:49:38 PM
I really struggled with this story at first but it grew on me and I'm glad I stuck with it.   The Jamaica, ganj, ya-mon scene does nothing for me but the concepts were really cool and the story grew more interesting as it progressed.  Great reading by Steve as usual.  Good stuff. 

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


KenK

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Reply #8 on: January 19, 2010, 11:39:59 PM
Didn't get this one at all.  ???



wakela

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Reply #9 on: January 20, 2010, 02:20:30 AM
Interesting combination of Rastas and nanotech.  That you have a story about mind-controlling religious fundamentalists who sell drugs to buy engines that will propel them to God who they think is an actual alien, and they're the good guys is pretty neat.  Also, I applaud Steve's decision to not try the accent if he didn't think he could pull it off.

The blatant and simplistic anti-American, anti-corporation stance it takes makes me angry, though.  Not because it's invalid but because it's cliche, and the truth is more subtle and interesting.  When the central message of your story is the same as that of the number one Hollywood movie in the world you are not challenging anyone's preconceptions.



stePH

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Reply #10 on: January 20, 2010, 02:50:31 AM


I dunno... maybe if I was still smoking up on a regular basis, this story might have grabbed me.  As it was, just OK.

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gelee

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Reply #11 on: January 20, 2010, 07:18:53 AM
Very good story, and well read. If there's a weakness, I think accessability for people who haven't heard much about Rasta might be an issue. If I didn't work with a few folks of Jamaican upbringing (not Rasta) who were kind enough to fill me in once, I would probably have filled in the blanks and come up with a bunch of Caribbean Cheech and Chong types in a smoke filled asteroid.
But then, I guess that's the risk when you write about real cultures that are just a step or two outside the reader's frame of reference.
I really enjoyed this piece, though the Evil Americans were straight out of central casting.



internalogic

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Reply #12 on: January 20, 2010, 07:43:22 AM
I guess that's the risk when you write about real cultures that are just a step or two outside the reader's frame of reference.

Well said, Gelee!

Excellent, excellent story.  Imaginatively conceived and well-executed!!!

The world-building aspect was subtly masterful.  Keeping things subtle runs the risk of the author's efforts being overlooked, but on the plus side it is very, very, very much appreciated by those who enjoy subtlety.

Great reading too by Steve.



KenK

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Reply #13 on: January 20, 2010, 01:52:20 PM
Some experiments are more successful than others I guess. I didn't get most of the cultural references because I didn't know anything about the Rastafarian ethno-religious subculture of Jamaica other than what I gleaned from Bob Marley songs. But still it's good that EP keeps on trying these things. Like Steve said in his  EP229 intro sci-fi tends to follow white, middle-class, suburban, American sensibilities for the most part and that there is much more than that out there. Good reading too.



Unblinking

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Reply #14 on: January 20, 2010, 02:39:50 PM
I enjoyed seeing a non-typical point of view for an SF story, but I had trouble relating to the core concept of the path to enlightenment is paved with smoking copious amounts of weed.  Not that I really have anything against weed, I'm just skeptical that it is the path to nirvana, that's all.

The american corporations were too anonymous and stereotypical.  It would've helped if they'd been referred to more often by name instead of constant reminders that they are American.

I had trouble following toward the end as the protagonist raised in stages of awareness.  I'm not sure if it was just because the necessary focus shift of the POV when she rises up, but I didn't follow the last third or so.  Maybe I should relisten...

Still, it was an interesting idea, and I liked seeing a non-typical space culture.  It was a good choice for the 'cast, though not among my favorites.

Did anyone else think it was funny to have a character named Chong visiting this pot-filled asteroid?  Where's Cheech?  :)



Ellipsis

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Reply #15 on: January 20, 2010, 05:14:32 PM
I can't say this one will be in my top ten favorite episodes ever.  For some reason I kept thinking razor girls and jah rastafari space marines so I couldn't help feeling like I was following a frayed Gibson thread, my own problem I know.  Human network through botany just came off a little too pat altogether for me so, meh... I'm kind of terrified to think of myself tied into the minds of a generation of teenagers angst trapped in an asteroid, yikes!  I've smoked plenty of pot in my life, and honestly, hive mind or otherwise I'm not so sure I'd want to be hurtling through space on a ship where everybody is in a boon rage all the time.  Like others have already stated the cast seemed a little too cookie cutter to push this up the extra notch on my scale.  I am curious what will happen when the refugee commune makes it to jah's loving embrace...or is something more sinister trying to make stoned zombie space cadets from alpha centauri!?!?!?  Despite all the above I did enjoy the story.  If nothing else it wholeheartedly succeeded in making me take the next step after it was over and throw my imagination into the world.



KenK

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Reply #16 on: January 20, 2010, 05:31:21 PM
@ Ellipsis
Quote
For some reason I kept thinking razor girls and jah rastafari space marines so I couldn't help feeling like I was following a frayed Gibson thread, my own problem I know.

Mine too.  ;D I was waiting for Molly Millions to make an appearance.



MacArthurBug

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Reply #17 on: January 21, 2010, 02:21:43 AM
the ideas were really quite allright. The repeated (almost to the point of over repeating) refrences to marijuana didn't do it for me. Perhaps when I was in my idealist stage this would have hit me harder.  Nothing WRONG with the story, just not my bowl of ganja.

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stePH

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Reply #18 on: January 21, 2010, 02:49:17 AM
These were supposed to be Rastas, right?  I heard the word "doobie" and the word "joint", but not once did the narrative mention a "spliff".

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cdugger

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Reply #19 on: January 21, 2010, 03:08:25 AM
Ya know, I'm all for reading, or rather, hearing, cultures that are different than "mine". That's one of the things I like about all the Pods. They expose me to other sides of the coin, if you will. Some of them are good, some of them aren't.

I just couldn't get through this one. Turned off at about 15 minutes. I understand, in part, where it was going, and I appreciate the "technology" of spreading information in the smoke, but it just wasn't doing it for me.

The reading was the normal high quality I expect, and the writing was good. Just not my day for it, I guess.

I read, therefore I am...happy.