Author Topic: EP241: Thargus and Brian  (Read 16164 times)

Scattercat

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Reply #25 on: May 29, 2010, 11:47:22 PM
I wish I had your faith.  Unless I see some sort of clear indication that that's the intended message, I'm hesitant to judge a story based on what I wish would happen next.  I mean, Twilight would have been awesome if after the end of the first novel it turned out that it was all just a scam to see if they could attract a willing harem of food-slaves, but I have no reason to believe that that was SMeyers' intended meaning or implication.

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kibitzer

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Reply #26 on: May 30, 2010, 12:40:45 PM
For myself, aliens with tentacles is a terribly over-used image. I can't imagine them now without thinking of those aliens that appear in The Simpsons Halloween eps. Little bit naff.

But, welcome Mur, I am very, very happy to see (hear?) you back.  I thought you were great on Pseudopod and I'm certain you'll be great with EscapePod. You gonna be narrating any stories? Whether or no, welcome.


CryptoMe

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Reply #27 on: May 31, 2010, 06:12:46 PM
I wish I had your faith.  Unless I see some sort of clear indication that that's the intended message, I'm hesitant to judge a story based on what I wish would happen next. 

To me, the gruesome off-handed torture/killing of the bystander at the end *was* a clear indication that the alien race's intentions were not peaceful and benign. After all, if your intention was to make friends with the human race, would you start off the relationship by purposefully killing a random member of said race? I don't think so. That's why I think that act was a foreshadowing of things to come. And the offhanded way in which it was done was an indicator of how horrible things were likely to get. This is no wish-fulfillment of what I would like to see happen next (if I wrote the story, it would not end that way - I don't particularly like horror :D), but my honest reaction to the big boulder of a clue left for us by the author.



eytanz

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Reply #28 on: May 31, 2010, 06:47:09 PM
Whoa, maybe I really missed something here, but what are you guys talking about? Wasn't the worm thing said to be a memory-wipe that removes memories of the alien? I thought it supposed to be a mildly unpleasant thing, not horror or violence.



Scattercat

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Reply #29 on: May 31, 2010, 07:40:40 PM
Memory-eating worms are pretty awful, if you ask me.  Especially left unsupervised. 

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eytanz

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Reply #30 on: May 31, 2010, 08:21:00 PM
Memory-eating worms are pretty awful, if you ask me.  Especially left unsupervised. 

True, but given the overall lighthearted tone of the story, I was inclined to just read it as a tailored memory worm; i.e. one that would do no harm beyond removing memory of the alien itself.

Of course, I'm not saying there cannot be more serious interpretations of the event, but I think that everything the story set up previously is arguing against them. This is the kind of universe where a young alien can bumble his way into friendship with a human and be rewarded for it. Everything in this story practically screams harmlessness, and lack of bad consequences.



Scattercat

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Reply #31 on: May 31, 2010, 08:49:52 PM
Which is why I read it not as horror-violence, but just as a "penalty" for the dullness of being mundane.  As I said, if I thought it were leading to a horror story premise, I'd be a lot happier with the story in general.

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kibitzer

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Reply #32 on: May 31, 2010, 10:48:33 PM
Memory-eating worms are pretty awful, if you ask me.  Especially left unsupervised. 

True, but given the overall lighthearted tone of the story, I was inclined to just read it as a tailored memory worm; i.e. one that would do no harm beyond removing memory of the alien itself.

It was just a stand-in for the standard memory-wipe gun/machine/pill/whatever.


ldobehardcore

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Reply #33 on: June 01, 2010, 05:36:50 AM
Memory-eating worms are pretty awful, if you ask me.  Especially left unsupervised. 

True, but given the overall lighthearted tone of the story, I was inclined to just read it as a tailored memory worm; i.e. one that would do no harm beyond removing memory of the alien itself.

It was just a stand-in for the standard memory-wipe gun/machine/pill/whatever.

I don't understand why this worm is assumed to be destructive!
What instantly blazed in my mind is that the worm has got to be an information worm.  Instead of eating brain, it'll augment it with the promised FTL travel data.  The guy would be picked up by the seekrit gummint scientists in shades, and probed until he builds an FTL drive or something.

Maybe I'm just naive, but it seems like the other commenters are maybe a little xenophobic.



Gamercow

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Reply #34 on: June 01, 2010, 02:01:56 PM
I'm not sure scattercat and I listened to the same story.  I heard a light, fun, funny story that wasn't supposed to be ominous or preachy.  Brian was a counter-cultural loser, and remained so.  He wasn't a special snowflake at all, he just happened to like space related stuff, including aliens and sci-fi stories, so he wasn't bothered by being abducted.  He had confidence in his world-view, and in having that confidence, gave Thargus confidence to be different, and both were rewarded for that in the end.  I really enjoyed it.

I also really enjoyed Mur hosting, I was very relieved to hear she had a good, noise-free setup for her audio, and didn't sound like she was talking in a tin can, or an echo chamber.  I'm pretty hard on audio problems, but Mur's is as good as Steve's, it seems.  Glad to see EP is in such great hands. 

The cow says "Mooooooooo"


CryptoMe

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Reply #35 on: June 01, 2010, 07:17:05 PM
Whoa, maybe I really missed something here, but what are you guys talking about? Wasn't the worm thing said to be a memory-wipe that removes memories of the alien? I thought it supposed to be a mildly unpleasant thing, not horror or violence.

Okay, I went back and listened very carefully to the last scene again....

We are never actually told what the worm is, at all. No hints, nothing.
   - harmful worm was *my* assumption
   - memory wipe was eytanz's
   - who knows what other people came up with.

My assumption that the worm was harmful came from this:
  - when the worm was tossed at the coworker, it "landed on his lapel and *shot* upwards"
  - then, "the coworker *shook* as the worm" continued
  - the "turn-around" of the alien society's attitude seems very sudden and unexplained to me
  - Thargus is a relatively simple being, e.g. not that bright and easily manipulated, as we saw Brian do several times in the spaceship.
Use of words like "shot" and "shook" made me think things weren't as hunky-dory as they seemed on the surface. I don't think societal change can really happen that quickly. So, putting all of this together, I get the very distinct feeling that Thargus is being used by his elders for something not very nice at all....

BTW, I'd love to hear how others got to their conclusions.

 



eytanz

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Reply #36 on: June 01, 2010, 07:29:22 PM
Whoa, maybe I really missed something here, but what are you guys talking about? Wasn't the worm thing said to be a memory-wipe that removes memories of the alien? I thought it supposed to be a mildly unpleasant thing, not horror or violence.

BTW, I'd love to hear how others got to their conclusions.

 

Well, the only previous mention of a worm in this story was the memory wipe worm that Thargus decides not to use on Brian. It seemed like the most sensible assumption to me that this is the same type of worm.



Scattercat

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Reply #37 on: June 01, 2010, 07:35:58 PM
I'm not sure scattercat and I listened to the same story.  I heard a light, fun, funny story that wasn't supposed to be ominous or preachy.  Brian was a counter-cultural loser, and remained so.  He wasn't a special snowflake at all, he just happened to like space related stuff, including aliens and sci-fi stories, so he wasn't bothered by being abducted.  He had confidence in his world-view, and in having that confidence, gave Thargus confidence to be different, and both were rewarded for that in the end.  I really enjoyed it.

I don't know if I wrote and you read the same comment.  I don't think the story WAS ominous OR preachy.  In fact, what I objected to was exactly what you said: Brian is a counter-cultural loser, but it's his very loser-ness that makes him special enough to convert the alien hordes.  His detached hipster irony saves the day.  That annoys me because Lord knows I used to have just that same daydream, wherein my natural brilliance of personality succeeded in places where all those dull normal people would just shriek and gibber.  I don't like seeing that sort of thing in a story because it feels self-indulgent to me rather than ringing true.  It's similar to the reaction to a Mary Sue, though not quite the same.

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ldobehardcore

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Reply #38 on: June 01, 2010, 08:45:29 PM
BTW, I'd love to hear how others got to their conclusions.

I got the idea that the blue worm was a data worm from the story's mention of mind tentacles, and that they have data encoded onto a brain for Thargus to use.

I do understand that the alien society would--more likely than not--probably take advantage of Thargus's feeble and pliable mind, to carry out dominance over homo sapiens.

The main reason I'm not suspicious of the elder aliens is because the whole story was so light-hearted.

Also, remembering that the aliens are not human, they may actually keep up their end of an agreement.  Thargus did mention not being comfortable telling an outright lie.  This may just be his personality, or, it could be that his species in general doesn't like lying.

I'm not really an optimist who always thinks people have the best intentions at heart.  But I do believe it's fair to give most the benefit of doubt.

Which razor is it that says: "do not attribute to malice, that which could more easily be explained through ignorance"?



Unblinking

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Reply #39 on: June 02, 2010, 01:39:39 PM
Hooray for EP's return and the arrival of The Mur!

I thought this story was fun, especially the fact that Brian did not succumb to fear in the first moments of Thargus's presence simply because he was so stoned.  I got some laughs out of the story, though I see where scattercat is coming from with the comments about his counterculturalism making him speshul, that didn't really bother me.

And now I've got two more EP episodes queued up now that I'm back from vacation.  Yay!



yicheng

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Reply #40 on: June 02, 2010, 04:11:28 PM
I agree with Scattercat, although I did enjoy listening to the story, but looking back at it, it was pretty vacuous.  The fundamental flaw for me seems to be the assumption that social-losers are just in the wrong situations, as it were, and that given slightly different situations (i.e. alien kidnapping) they'd brighten up and turn into pretty cool dudes.  In my reality that doesn't seem to be likely, and sounds a lot like wishful thinking.  If you can't even get along with your own species, what makes you think you'll get along with an alien?  Either Brian or Thargus weren't losers (non-conformists maybe), or the story is BS. 

Also, I find ironic hipsters in general to be annoying and in bad need of a punch to the face.  (My apologies to any ironic hipsters)



mbrennan

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Reply #41 on: June 23, 2010, 08:21:34 PM
Cute story, but the resolution was way too pat for my taste.  Oh, look, it just so happens that the aliens were waiting for somebody to rebel and show them another way!  Yay, Thargus is saved!  Had the elders somehow spun his interaction with Brian as an instance of exactly what he was sent to do -- "see, Thargus, you really wanted him to tell you to be a rebel and not to conform, and that's what he did, so you've accomplished your mission after all" -- I think I would have been more interested.  As it stood, I felt like he got the easy way out, and said easy way wasn't funny enough in its own right to make up for the simplicity.



Balu

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Reply #42 on: June 24, 2010, 01:04:13 AM
Great story, great outro, great to hear Mur again, great to hear Bill in the outro, and a great way to start off my morning. All around good times. Thanks ;D

(Did anyone else imagine a younger Jeff Bridges as Brian?)

Yes, totally!

And why not?

Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

« Last Edit: June 24, 2010, 12:25:03 PM by Balu »



LaShawn

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Reply #43 on: July 08, 2010, 07:30:42 PM
Oh, I simply thought it was cute story. I had a fun time with it, especially since I kept picturing Thargus as the alien from My Fairy Godparents (I almost wished Thargus even picked up the California stoner accent after accepting Brad's "gift").

And should I also mention how absolutely thrilled I am to hear Mur's voice. Happiness!  ;D

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