Author Topic: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses  (Read 10835 times)

Unblinking

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2010, 01:28:48 PM »
(snip)
What I mean by that, is the situation does not change from the start of the story to the end of the story.  Oracle is already on the ship, the devil's bargain has been made, the situation is already established. The audience doesn't know all the details of the situation yet, but once we do, it is clear that it is essentially unchanged from start to finish.  There is no story arc to speak of, no action, no plot really.  There is a really cool concept, but I personally can't abide stories that attempt to substitute revelation for narrative.
(snip) 

Something did change.  At the end of the story he is being transferred to active duty, and he makes the choice for his own squad to be the one to get slaughtered.  He's lived with his choice for years, now he is choosing to pay for it.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 01:31:17 PM by Unblinking »

Millenium_King

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2010, 11:24:13 PM »
I ****ing loved it.  Brilliant.

The monster was perfect, inhuman and not so human that we begin asking questions about it (like the thing in "It" or "Children of the Corn") it's a THING in the best sense of the word.

The writing was tight, well done.  My only criticism is that maybe the beginning was a little slow.

As far as telling over showing?  I stick my tongue out at those who say it's a flaw.  Sometimes it's better to just tell, rather than drag a story out for another 1000 words and utterly lose the pacing and tension.  Today's creative writing teachers are too focussed on modern-lit's obesession with metaphors and showing.  Blah.

This was an old-fashioned weird story that was just brilliant in concept and execution.

The reading was fantastic again, as usual, thanks Ian.  I enjoyed your work on "The Dark Level" as well.
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FrankOreto

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2010, 05:02:30 PM »
The Japanese body angle is a good point. Just wondering if this was ice box logic for most people, or something that occurred to them while listening to the story?    I didn't think of it until it was mentioned in the forum.

(Ice box logic: Alfred Hitchcock believed if you thought  of a logic flaw in his film while raiding the ice-box hours after seeing the movie it didn't really count.)


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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2010, 06:17:47 PM »
I'm fairly certain there are rules of engagement allowing for retrieval of your own dead that might balk if you tried to gather *everyone's* dead...
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deflective

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2010, 09:54:42 PM »
i thought of the corpse thing after finishing the story but that's pretty much intentional.  years ago, back in the early days of ea podcasts, a story's internal logic was very important to me and a lot of my posts would be pointing out logic errors and suggesting ways they could be fixed.  somewhere along the line i realized that some of these stories also had good characterization & turns of phrase and i couldn't enjoy that because plot holes were bugging me so much.

now i try to turn off critical thinking until after the story for fear of ruining it.  it still strikes me as lazy if an author doesn't take the time to make sure that their story is internally consistent (especially since so many holes can be patched with a single line of exposition).  i appreciate it when a story is crafted so that i can fully engage with it.


there have been complaints in the last couple of stories asking for more historical accuracy & specific place names.  this seems to be missing the point since the stories have broads themes that aren't tied to a particular place or time, but we could probably work with it in this story.  if the battles were taking place in burma then the main trouble with feeding the beast would be making sure that the were enough casualties on the coast where the ships could collect them.  then it makes more sense to leave your own units exposed to draw the enemy to the coast and fight there.

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2010, 07:17:08 PM »
I'm fairly certain there are rules of engagement allowing for retrieval of your own dead that might balk if you tried to gather *everyone's* dead...

And more importantly, if the British made a habit of collecting Japanese corpses, the Japaneses may start wondering *why* they're doing so. I agree it would have been better if this were brought up by the story - maybe not explicitly, but at least addressed on some level - but this fits in with the theme of oracle being more important to the war effort than any of the soldiers. Giving the enemy any reason to suspect something is up would be unacceptable to a level that allowing allied soldiers to die is not.

I thought this was an excellent story. I agree, in retrospect, with a lot of the criticisms - the story did shift gears quite abruptly mid-way - but that didn't bother me while I was listening. I felt this was an excellent examination of the horror of war and its effect on people. There may not have been man-eating volcano-inhabiting psychic blobs in the real world war 2 (as far as we know), but decisions of a similar nature have been made many times over in the real world. This story, by using a supernatural agent, really brought home the fact that war creates situations where there is no acceptable moral alternative.

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2010, 02:23:10 PM »
I thought this was an excellent story. I agree, in retrospect, with a lot of the criticisms - the story did shift gears quite abruptly mid-way - but that didn't bother me while I was listening. I felt this was an excellent examination of the horror of war and its effect on people. There may not have been man-eating volcano-inhabiting psychic blobs in the real world war 2 (as far as we know), but decisions of a similar nature have been made many times over in the real world. This story, by using a supernatural agent, really brought home the fact that war creates situations where there is no acceptable moral alternative.

I'm reminded of the story of Coventry, when Churchill allowed the city to be bombed in order to conceal that the Allies had broken the Nazi cipher.
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deflective

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2010, 11:55:21 PM »
what do you guys imagine happens to an invading army's dead if they've been defeated and massacred?

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2010, 01:39:51 AM »
what do you guys imagine happens to an invading army's dead if they've been defeated and massacred?

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deflective

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2010, 02:29:28 AM »
i like your world better than the one i see on the news.

HugoGrim

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2010, 02:01:23 PM »
I really liked this story

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2010, 01:03:30 AM »
what do you guys imagine happens to an invading army's dead if they've been defeated and massacred?

Hmm, good point.
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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #32 on: May 27, 2010, 02:26:41 PM »
what do you guys imagine happens to an invading army's dead if they've been defeated and massacred?

The victors get to fuck the bodies?
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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2010, 10:19:24 PM »
Got to say I really liked this story.  Great concept, and the begining made me think it was going in a totally different direction.

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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2010, 03:35:15 AM »
Firstly, Ian Stewart is fantastic.

This was an old-fashioned weird story that was just brilliant in concept and execution.

This sums up my reaction to it. It felt like one of those wonderful mid-century horror war comic books. I'd love to see a comic treatment of this similar to Tales of the Black Freighter.
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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2010, 07:19:05 PM »
Not sure how I missed this one the first time, or why it popped up in my feed recently, but I'm glad it did. Dark, brooding, and squicky. Good stuff!
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Re: Pseudopod 191: Acceptable Losses
« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2019, 05:06:57 PM »
Cool idea but the question "Why not kill two birds with one stone and feed Oracle Japanese corpses?" did occur to me just as it did to several of you folks.


 I think it would have worked better if they were using both British and Japanese bodies. Also it might have helped if instead of having to choose one of five battles to lose, the leadership had chosen to use tactics that would maximize casualties on both sides in order to feed the beast. Ground invasions of lesser targets instead of island hopping or relying on air power for instance.


Criticism aside, I love the idea of a bloated psychic monster with a ravenous appetite for human flesh living in the heart of a dead volcano. I would love to read a prequel story about the discovery of Oracle. I can't help but think it would involve some tribal sacrifice to the Volcano God.