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Author Topic: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake  (Read 39713 times)

Talia

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Reply #50 on: June 02, 2010, 09:21:16 PM
Its interesting to me that opinions were so sharply divided on this one. I guess its the style, works for some and really, really doesn't work for others.

I really loved this and feel all protective of it :p



eytanz

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Reply #51 on: June 02, 2010, 10:34:19 PM
Its interesting to me that opinions were so sharply divided on this one. I guess its the style, works for some and really, really doesn't work for others.

I don't think it's the style - I think it's the content. The people who liked it seem to be either those who think of the events it describes as plausible, or who think plausibility doesn't matter for what the story is trying to do. Those who don't are the ones who find the events too hard to believe.



RicV

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Reply #52 on: June 02, 2010, 10:53:08 PM
I actually think this was very well done for what it was.  Trying to tackle gluttony, but more aptly lust and how it destroys a person is no easy task.  Even Mur commented that there was a thread of love in the story and that is the problem with tackling something as consuming (pardon the pun) as lust.  I thought it was a neat correlation to how interwoven lust and gluttony are and how it destroyed Linda's heart and eventually her soul.  I do like the sub text as well how commercialism taken too far can result in a Rape of the target the same as lust.  There is no doubt in my mind that this piece could have been written in any genre replacing the trappings with say a vacuum cleaner salesman in Salem mass in the 1600s or a Brush salesman in the 1920s and still have gotten the point across.

Now I will say I was displeased with it as an escape pod story.  We tend to not hear too much surface pulpy stuff on EP and this didn't fit for me, but could easily be a piece that could make it in a literary circle if it weren't tied to a sci-fi genre.  Don’t get me wrong I think a lot of sci-fi is overlooked by the ivory towers of education, but that is just the way it goes for genre fiction specifically speculative fiction.  Go to a library or bookstore and wander the literary stacks and there is little speculative fiction even some accepted examples still are not placed there.  Asimov is still firmly set in sci-fi, but Vonnegut is not.  It is a crazy snobbish literary world which makes what is acceptable and what isn't.


Ric

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Equalizer

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Reply #53 on: June 03, 2010, 05:12:27 AM
Mur, you are doing great and I would like to say I've always liked your stuff I heard here. Keep up the good reputation. Don't change anything, okay. Although, I'm new to the forums, I'm no noob to the escape pod scene at all. I'm too used to Steve's feeling being hidden somewhere in the intro's and outro's no matter who the narrator is that week. So, to sum up: Ever'thing's still nice and shiny cap'n! or if you cringe at the thought of pirates(like me), thank you to all of you for your hard work. Keep it up.

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Gamercow

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Reply #54 on: June 03, 2010, 03:03:35 PM
Well, I went ahead and finished it, if for no other reason that I've never abandoned an EA story yet, and I've suffered through worse than this.  But it only got worse; the narrative full of lines that could have been dropped seamlessly into a porn story.  Like snack cakes themselves, this story was made of suck.

On an unrelated note, I feel sorry for Gamercow, whose name has been mispronounced twice in the feedback sections now (DKT said "Game-crow" in a recent Podcastle, and now wossname says "Gamer-crow").

LOL, yeah, its actually 3, DKT did it twice, and Bill did it once.  I don't mind much, I'm grateful to be mentioned at all, I was just surprised that two people saw it as "Crow", and had a "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS" Picard moment. 

As for the story itself, I loved it, once I told my engineer/IT brain to shut up about the technology, the ROI on talking/smart snackcakes, moving shelves, movable stacks, etc.  I totally believe the direct marketing based on past purchases, as that happens already, but the energy and machinery requirements for shelf movement, product movement, etc, would be excessive.  Additionally, if everything was moving around, it would be harder to find items.  Most grocery stores today are laid out very specifically, and any change to that would be scrutinized intensely for effectiveness.  Lastly, the speaking products would a)freak people out, and/or b)get so annoying, people would rebel against them.  You'd have the food equivalent of the Wall Street trading pit. 

All that said, once I ignored the tech, I really liked the story.  Yes, the descriptives could have been ripped out of a porno, but that's the whole idea!  That's what was so funny for me.  I admit, it may have gone on a little long, but overall, thoroughly  enjoyable.  It was definitely a downer when Linda killed herself at the end, and it drove home the point about advertising, but it also did a great job giving a bitter darkness to the sweet chocolatey humor earlier in the story. 

Oh, and I'm totally enjoying Mur as host/editor.  Her voice is smooth Carolina goodness, and her intro/outros are in step with the excellent ones that Steve did so many times.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 08:32:09 PM by Gamercow »

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Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #55 on: June 03, 2010, 09:46:01 PM
Having finally gotten almost caught up on my podcast listening, I quite enjoyed this story.  Unlike stePH, I found the "lines that could have been dropped seamlessly into a porn story" hilarious.

In the reading, there were a couple of word mispronunciations that pulled me out of the story momentarily (to the point where I had to rewind to listen to the bits my mental voice had 'talked' over), particularly saying "exalted" instead of "exulted".  (I'm be curious to know if that was an author or a narrator issue.)  But on the whole, even though it was a bit AM-radio-DJ-ish, I liked Cmar's reading.

One point about the tech in this story:  I didn't really have a problem believing that we might have the capability to do much of the stuff described here in 70 or 80 years (though I take Gamercow's point about the RIO of actually deploying it as described).

However, did it not occur to anyone else, after a snack cake had adjusted the hue and glow of its frosting, changed the colour of its packaging, and a store had moved shelves and products around, how utterly incongruous it was that Lynda was washing her dishes by hand??  That was the implausible part that made me shout, "Oh, come on!" at my MP3 player.

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


Talia

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Reply #56 on: June 03, 2010, 10:04:11 PM
Nah not really; perhaps because I still wash most of my dishes by hand, and dishwashers have been around how long? :P



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #57 on: June 03, 2010, 10:12:18 PM
Nah not really; perhaps because I still wash most of my dishes by hand, and dishwashers have been around how long? :P

You might not, when your dishes can package up leftovers, absorb the remains, dispose of waste materials and finally store themselves by seamlessly forming part of the dining table (which, in turn, shape-shifts itself into an attractive mural or grandfather clock...).

The next day, your dishes are back with new designs and colours and even contours.

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


Unblinking

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Reply #58 on: June 04, 2010, 12:06:26 AM
I'm still in the middle of listening to this, but I can say without a doubt that that is the sexiest snack voice I have ever heard.    I can only assume that Mr. Cmar has experience with seductive pastry voicework.

Seriously though, he's got a good voice.  I hope he's going to narrate more stories.  :)



Father Beast

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Reply #59 on: June 04, 2010, 01:11:34 AM
Ok, a snack cake that thinks...

Which has a protein based thinking device built into it....

Who else is thinking.. EDIBLE BRAINS!



Talia

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Reply #60 on: June 04, 2010, 02:41:08 AM
Ok, a snack cake that thinks...

Which has a protein based thinking device built into it....

Who else is thinking.. EDIBLE BRAINS!

All brains are edible, or so the slavering zombie hoardes would have me believe



Talia

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Reply #61 on: June 04, 2010, 02:41:52 AM
Nah not really; perhaps because I still wash most of my dishes by hand, and dishwashers have been around how long? :P

You might not, when your dishes can package up leftovers, absorb the remains, dispose of waste materials and finally store themselves by seamlessly forming part of the dining table (which, in turn, shape-shifts itself into an attractive mural or grandfather clock...).

The next day, your dishes are back with new designs and colours and even contours.

good point. I want those.

Someone get on inventing them, stat.



clichekiller

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Reply #62 on: June 04, 2010, 05:46:10 PM
This story just struck me as something that would come out of a high-school creative writing class.  Very juvenile, not even the little bit entertaining. 



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #63 on: June 04, 2010, 07:06:13 PM
... I still wash most of my dishes by hand, and dishwashers have been around how long? :P

You might not, when your dishes can package up leftovers, absorb the remains, dispose of waste materials and finally store themselves by seamlessly forming part of the dining table (which, in turn, shape-shifts itself into an attractive mural or grandfather clock...).

The next day, your dishes are back with new designs and colours and even contours.

good point. I want those.

Someone get on inventing them, stat.

I just did.  Now someone has to build them.  ;)

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


Sandikal

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Reply #64 on: June 04, 2010, 11:59:57 PM
Oh my gosh!  I was embarrassingly turned on by the lascivious snack cake.



kristin

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Reply #65 on: June 05, 2010, 09:57:21 PM
I love this story! It's not too often a story can make you hungry and horny at the same time. I liked that it was silly. I thought it was fun. And hover carts are cool. Plus many times have I had a cart that had a wheel that was stuck in the wrong position, making it hard to turn or even go straight.



Father Beast

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Reply #66 on: June 07, 2010, 11:56:10 AM
Ok, a snack cake that thinks...

Which has a protein based thinking device built into it....

Who else is thinking.. EDIBLE BRAINS!

All brains are edible, or so the slavering zombie hoardes would have me believe

Of course, that's the point! If I stock up on these snack cakes, I can throw them at zombies, which will eat them instead of me.



Jinmoonlight

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Reply #67 on: June 07, 2010, 11:51:25 PM
I adored this story, I adored the reading.  No, I don't think that this future is a likely one, but it doesn't have to be our possible future for it to work.  I can suspend a whole lot of disbelief for a good story, and I quite appreciate rediculocity.  Good show.



Hussar

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Reply #68 on: June 09, 2010, 04:59:33 AM
I loved this story.  Ooey gooey loved it.

The cheesy voice, the plot, everything.  This is what a Letter to Penthouse would be, if it were written by food.  Fantastic.  The juxtapositions within the story were what made it for me.  It's funny AND horrifying all at the same time.  Instead of some young stud in a grocery story, it's a snack cake, and the object of the story isn't some hot blond, but some rather unattractive woman you'd never see in this type of story.

By the end of it I was totally blown away.  I kept slipping from one viewpoint to another, from the softcore porn story, to what was actually happening. 

In my head, I kept seeing a very low budget SF show, maybe something like a Twilight Zone episode, where you have these totally normal looking food items being framed by the camera with voice overs and the only thing actually moving would be Linda herself. 

This was a great story.



Kaa

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Reply #69 on: June 10, 2010, 03:49:04 PM
I enjoyed this one mostly on a purely superficial level. The reading was grade A perfect and for that reason alone it was enjoyable. The humor was top notch, and I enjoyed the double entendres and puns and general language play.

And on that level, I enjoyed it.

I did, however, find some of the other aspects of the story, on a deeper level, quite disturbing. The idea that a company would grant even limited sentience to their foodstuffs, that the store would cater on that level to a specific customer, that they would manipulate the shopper to the level shown in this story, even down to ignoring the fact that she clearly is trying to change her eating habits, but manipulating her emotions using her past habits anyway....

Beyond disturbing to me. It made me squirm a little. And I agree that the suicide at the end was gratuitous, but...I can see why the author chose the ending.

If nothing else, I'll certainly never look at another snack cake again. *shudder*

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Jago Constantine

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Reply #70 on: June 12, 2010, 10:14:02 PM
We just listened to this episode at Science Fiction Saturday in Second Life ... one thought - are stories where a woman commits suicide by handgun really considered PG-rated by the Escape Pod crew? You mentioned the innuendo in the rating note and for 95% of the story that's the only thing that might require parental guidance, so the suicide at the end really comes out of nowhere. I know it would be hard to rate the story without the risk of spoilers but how about giving people an informed choice?



davedoty

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Reply #71 on: June 13, 2010, 06:13:01 PM
People die all the time, both in fiction in general and on Escape Pod.  Unless it's extremely graphic (I'd have to relisten to be sure, but I don't remember it being very graphic), I don't think death needs a warning or higher rating.



Jason Creighton

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Reply #72 on: June 15, 2010, 02:24:07 AM
The ending really fell flat for me.

The main thing that bothered me is that she kills herself for cheating on her diet, even though she didn't actually cheat on her diet! She never actually ate the snack cake. If you can walk to the other room and get a gun, you can just as easily shove the evil talking snack cake down the garbage disposal just like she did with the crackers. (or whatever they were)

And this is nitpicking, but how did she even get a gun? In the world of the story, you would expect that buying a handgun would send up all sorts of red flags in some sentient computer system somewhere. Woman in her 40s, overweight, no living family, no friends (as indicated by, oh, I don't know, low friend count in the late 21st century version of Facebook) goes out and buys a friggin' gun? That would be noticed by some computer system, even if it was just someone who wanted to sell her a cemetery plot.



Talia

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Reply #73 on: June 15, 2010, 02:53:48 AM
The ending really fell flat for me.

The main thing that bothered me is that she kills herself for cheating on her diet, even though she didn't actually cheat on her diet! She never actually ate the snack cake. If you can walk to the other room and get a gun, you can just as easily shove the evil talking snack cake down the garbage disposal just like she did with the crackers. (or whatever they were)

And this is nitpicking, but how did she even get a gun? In the world of the story, you would expect that buying a handgun would send up all sorts of red flags in some sentient computer system somewhere. Woman in her 40s, overweight, no living family, no friends (as indicated by, oh, I don't know, low friend count in the late 21st century version of Facebook) goes out and buys a friggin' gun? That would be noticed by some computer system, even if it was just someone who wanted to sell her a cemetery plot.

But she knew she was GOING to cheat on her diet. There was no escaping it, rather the only way to escape it was to die. Consider this is a person who is almost certainly mentally ill to a certain degree. Cool logic does not prevail.

secondly, this is a world that's catered to marketing and selling, not necesarily to doing what's best for the consumer. And so what if such a woman wanted to go buy a gun? All those things aren't necesarily indicative of mental illness. The story explores how such computing is used to manipulate people into buying things. The story does not indicate if the computers are used in an orwellian fashion as you suggest, prying into and analyzing her life for purposes other than selling. I mean maybe it is. Who can say? The story merely demonstrates the marketing.



Gamercow

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Reply #74 on: June 16, 2010, 01:55:41 PM
And this is nitpicking, but how did she even get a gun?

The second amendment.

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