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Author Topic: EP243: I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno  (Read 9128 times)
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2010, 11:49:23 AM »

Ah the age old never-ready-for-relationship-simultaneously conundrum, which I've seen in many a place (i.e. Friends).  Unfortunately, the other places I've seen it in made me care more about the characters.  This one had the time dilation but the story would've been the same without it.  I agree with others that her complete lack of interest in her husband of twenty-five years and her kids just distanced me all the more.  I felt bad for the guy, just like Mr. Cellophane in Chicago.

What really bugged me, though, was the overextended physics metaphors, which sometimes weren't even used that well--in particular, the magnetism metaphor that they were still attracted to each other no matter the distance.  Magnetic attraction decreases exponentially with distance, so if you're going to use that as a metaphor, it doesn't work well with the intent of "absence makes the heart grow fonder".  When the Pluto metaphor kept going on and on and then changed to electrons, and especially with the "I can know where he is or how fast he's going but not both" I really wanted to skip to the next track.  But... now that I'm caught up on Escape Pod, I'm more reluctant to skip past an episode--I'd have to wait a whole nother week to get another one!
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2010, 02:14:47 PM »

I think it's a mistake to read the characters as making bad decisions so much as never being at the right place for each other.  They never had much of a stable relationship; they were orbiting, decaying, or ionizing throughout the whole story.  It's not that they kept throwing away what they had for no reason, but that they didn't have anything to build on.  He goes off for adventure during their downtime, when she's looking to settle down and thus not interested in being with him.  When he comes back, he's matured a bit, but she's now ready to be adventuresome after a lifetime of stability (not to mention more than a little hurt by his original departure) and on and on.  It ends when everything ends and the Singularity hits.

Maybe I just have high expectations, but I consider that:
1) Staying in an unstable relationship, when you want to settle down, is a bad decision.
2) Staying in a relationship, where you have nothing to build on, is a bad decision.
3) Going off on a decades-long adventure without considering your significant other, at all, is a bad decision.
4) Turning up on your ex's doorstep after having done 3), because you realize you've matured a bit, is a bad decision.
5) Taking back an ex, who has done 4) to you, is a bad decision.
   Smiley
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Gamercow
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2010, 03:27:58 PM »


Maybe I just have high expectations, but I consider that:
1) Staying in an unstable relationship, when you want to settle down, is a bad decision.
2) Staying in a relationship, where you have nothing to build on, is a bad decision.
3) Going off on a decades-long adventure without considering your significant other, at all, is a bad decision.
4) Turning up on your ex's doorstep after having done 3), because you realize you've matured a bit, is a bad decision.
5) Taking back an ex, who has done 4) to you, is a bad decision.
   Smiley

The thing of it is, lots of bad decisions don't seem like bad decisions at the time.  The point of the story was that they kept missing each other.  They were in orbit, locked to each other, but never touching.  (There's another metaphor for the physics metaphor bouillabaisse that this story was by the way) Surely you've made poor decisions that, at the time, seemed like the right decision, and only in retrospect, you realize how foolish you were.  That's what I saw happening in this story.  People always just missing each other, not quite connecting for some reason or another.  Yet, even though they don't connect, they still love each other, and that love endures.  But in Reno, eternal Reno, things would finally be right.  Maybe.
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2010, 04:28:37 PM »

*shrug*

In the cold light of reason, sure, they look like bad decisions.  I can't guarantee I wouldn't make the same stupid choices in the right situation.  Emotions are messy.  I stayed in a relationship for over a year once - a relationship I *knew* was a bad idea going into it - out of a combination of guilt, shame, lust, and despair.  (The despair being, "Well, I'll never have another girl who's interested in me, so I might as well.")

Also, and I can't emphasize this enough, I think it's a mistake to think of them as a "couple" throughout most of the story.  They really AREN'T each others significant other, not at that point; they're attracted, they're wooing each other, they're having sex, but they aren't really engaging, and that's been their problem.  Haven't you ever seen or been in one of those relationships that consist of a date and a few days of, ahem, interaction and then a fight and months or years of abstinence (from each other, at least)?
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2010, 06:23:39 PM »

This is a strange, dark and unique view for me. I've been in both healthy and unhealthy relationships. I was wise enough to exit the unhealthy with as little scarring as possible. Two people who keep coming back to each other despite hurting each other seems MORE alien then interplanetary travel to me.
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« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2010, 06:40:42 PM »

Ok.  First,  I liked the story.  Also good to see more sci fi out there doing things, especially with many podcasts and mags going dark. 

The story had it's issues.  I also think they threw in too many science terms for the sake of throwing it in.  But I can overlook it.  I see what they were trying to do.
It's an interesting relationship, and it's good to see that carried out over the ages, to see where it could go.
As others pointed out,  Voices of a Distant Star goes in a similar direction; but a fundimentally different one.

Spoilers for below.


The relationship in VoaD prett much destroys both of them.  Her because of how she acts, and how it leaves her atthe end; just wanting.

And him how he wants to move on, but can't; as he knows for a fact that the girl he loves is still out there, as she was when they were in love.  He can't move on, because she can't.


end of spoilers

While this story is about them not needing the idea of each other, but just ending up together, over and over.  Each time taking them to a different place they don't understand, that becomes home for them.  Everytime they meet the change each other in ways they don't understand. 

Or at least she changes.  He doesn't get that much development as a character in that respect.  He did maybe 3 things to move along, and one of them was make an emergancy plan.
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2010, 09:59:48 PM »

Yet, even though they don't connect, they still love each other, and that love endures. 

This is what confounds me. Our society's obsession of seeing hurtful, painful relationships in some romantic light as "love". When you love someone, you don't neglect them or purposefully do things to hurt them. You support them and talk to them, about every little thing (and certainly something as big as taking a decades-long light speed trip). When you love someone, you let them go and move on if that is the best thing for them. You definitely don't come back and impose yourself on them, because it's what *you* want. I do not see what these characters had as love - I see it as selfish, self-centered, and very unhealthy.

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« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2010, 10:18:58 PM »

Yet, even though they don't connect, they still love each other, and that love endures. 

This is what confounds me. Our society's obsession of seeing hurtful, painful relationships in some romantic light as "love". When you love someone, you don't neglect them or purposefully do things to hurt them. You support them and talk to them, about every little thing (and certainly something as big as taking a decades-long light speed trip). When you love someone, you let them go and move on if that is the best thing for them. You definitely don't come back and impose yourself on them, because it's what *you* want. I do not see what these characters had as love - I see it as selfish, self-centered, and very unhealthy.



Which is why it's important to have Reno; Reno (the Singularity) is standing in for them both achieving the maturity to engage with each other on an emotional level with an intensity that matches their physical attraction and mental obsession.  The story is very familiar; we all go through it.  It just took these two an unusually long time to achieve that emotional maturity.
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« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2010, 03:49:56 AM »

I thought this story was a good popcorn piece; just trust that the characters are reasonable, the end will be good and don't think about the details. The romantics can dream that the two lovers will inevitably meet up in Reno/singularity and live happily ever after.

Unfortunately (as many above have pointed out) if you dig a bit deeper it starts to unravel. The physics wasn't well used at times and it can be hard to stay focused when the metaphor is false. The relationship was borderline abusive at times. The 25 years of happy marriage and kids is just blinked away, makes the main character sound like a wierd obsessive compulsive (I might run away at relativstic velocities too if someone like that was after me).

Overall it was fine to listen to the first time (while distracted) and a decent piece of light writing, but doesn't hold up to relistening or scrutiny.
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« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2010, 11:55:47 AM »

The unconventional relationship was more interesting to me than the relativistic romance trope, though it's not actually one that I see a whole lot so I enjoyed being able to note it's existence rather than feeling like "not this again!". Something being a trope doesn't automatically make it a cliche, if that makes any sense at all.

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CryptoMe
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« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2010, 08:45:31 PM »

Which is why it's important to have Reno; Reno (the Singularity) is standing in for them both achieving the maturity to engage with each other on an emotional level with an intensity that matches their physical attraction and mental obsession.  The story is very familiar; we all go through it.  It just took these two an unusually long time to achieve that emotional maturity.

Yeah, I don't see that. For one, I think that in these people's case, emotional maturity means finding their happiness away from each other. So the singularity is yet another time and place where they will continue to hurt each other.

Also, I am not sure that we do all go through it. Some lucky people (yes I have met a few) have never had a bad relationship, ever. Most people I know have bad relationships that are brief, learned from, and not returned to if the opportunity presents itself.
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El Barto
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« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2010, 07:29:34 PM »

I was thrilled to hear about the new zine but I didn't like the story at all.  The way it was written made me be the guy in the relationship and I wasn't interested in her at all.  So they had hot makeup sex after fighting?  Who cares?  Not me.  And the sci-fi felt tacked on to me - this could just have been a guy going to sea in the 1600's.  Oh well, can't love em all and I'm glad the story did resonate with some of my fells fans.
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Kaa
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« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2010, 09:26:08 AM »

This was one of those stories that, to me at least, was more enjoyable in print than in audio presentation. The frequent breaks with the asides...didn't translate well.

I went to the site and read it and got much more out of it than in the listening.

But at least it DID interest me enough to not only listen to it, but read it. So it must have been good. Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2010, 09:35:50 AM »

I liked this one a lot. I thought the use of Physics as both metaphor and reality worked really well for talking about love. I'm also often annoyed by the delayed f*** trope in a lot of stories, but time dilation is an actual good reason for people to not be able to be together. I also liked it that it was a romance between two people who, as I read it, weren't ever going to be good for each other, really, which takes away some of the Nora Ephron issues from it.
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KenK
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« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2010, 11:54:09 AM »

@ Katie
Quote
...which takes away some of the Nora Ephron issues from it.

Can you clarify? Which issues did you mean? Romantic comedies, failed marriages, man hating, or talented writers? She is associated with all three. Three Oscar nominations too.
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Dem
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« Reply #35 on: June 20, 2010, 07:34:38 AM »

I thought this was one of the best I have heard on EP. Subtle, intricate and driven by the core of humanity - needful of loving relationships - that one hopes is never lost, no matter our technological capabilities. Beautifully read by Mur too as her voice carries a soulful timbre that underpinned and lit the mood. I am less concerned that the time dilation tale has been 'done' before, what matters to me is how it's done and this version had depth and texture due to being driven by the characters and not the SF wizardry.
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« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2010, 03:55:18 PM »

In order for me to really enjoy this story, I would have needed more in the way of characterization for both the narrator and the character she was addressing.  This is a case where I feel the style -- though well-executed in its own right -- undermined the tale; the first-person perspective, second-person address meant there was little way to fill in either one as a character (since they already know each other, it would have felt weird and artificial), and the decision to cover the entire arc of their relationship meant the narration never dwelt on any event long enough for me to care about it.  I could, however, imagine the same events being recast in the context of a single, well-detailed encounter between the two, with all their past informing the moment they come face-to-face, and in that hypothetical version, a lot of my objections to their behavior might have melted away.

Which is very much a "not my cup of tea, but obviously someone else's" response.  I think the story was well-written, but I was not its target audience at all.
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« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2010, 11:14:47 PM »

This just fit.  I was sitting in a parking lot, waiting to meet an old friend whom I hadn't seen in years as I listened to this.  Felt kinda perfect.
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« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2010, 10:19:56 AM »

I loved this one.  In fact, it may be among my favorite romantic Escape Pod stories... right up there with Tim Pratt's "Impossible Dreams" (and no, I'm not biased) but for different reasons.

The folks who complained about the protag's apparent dismissal of her first husband might be forgetting two things:

1) This story is about the protag and her lifelong love, not about the twenty five years (a tiny, tiny fraction of her life) she spent with Gunther.

2) This story is told from the POV of a transcended, post-human being who has a much larger perspective.

There were choices in the writing -- compressions -- that may have made the protag's actions seem cavalier.  It all worked for me, though.  Relationships are complicated, especially life-long relationships.  Motivations shift and twist and send you back and forth and toward and away from each other over the stretch of years and decades.  I'm lucky that my life is made interesting by the presence of more than one woman I will cherish forever, even though our intimate phases may wax and wane and we'll probably never be together forever.  Until the Singularity, that is.

This story warmed my heart.
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Matthew Wayne Selznick
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« Reply #39 on: July 03, 2010, 11:08:19 PM »

First: I rather liked it. That it did not have a 100% original premise didn't bother me.

Second: I'm surprised that nobody had mentioned Joe Haldeman's The Forever War.
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