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Author Topic: EP245: The Moment  (Read 20107 times)

Swamp

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on: June 17, 2010, 06:04:28 AM
EP245: The Moment

By Lawrence M. Schoen.
Read by Graeme Dunlop

Originally published in: Footprints

Guest Host: Norm Sherman of Drabblecast

One of the first generation of Krenn had lived long enough to reach the site, though none had expected to. The very first Krenn had conceived of this journey in the distant past, dedicating his life and his posterity to the pilgrimage with an ever recycling population of clones. Like their clone-father, each was an optimized collection of smart matter no bigger than a speck. Hundreds of generations of Krenn had lived and died during the voyage, their remains enshrined into niches in the very walls of the vessel that now lay shattered at its destination.

The survivors flooded out upon the steppes of the heel, rejoicing despite the crushing weight that gravity forced upon them. They settled in, constructing mansions of haze and shadow, and waited for enlightenment to come. The mission and purpose of the first Krenn remained with each of them. This place had been the site of the greatest triumph of the greatest archaeocaster in all of history. Before the beginning of the quest, Krenn—the original Krenn—had felt drawn to it. He had cultivated the tales, sifted myth from coincidence, mastered the lost language of the interview-eschewing, spatial curmudgeons of the ancient dark times, and recreated the route through dimensional puzzles to this theoretical location. The odds of success had been so absurd not a single entelechy of Krenn’s crèche dared invest time or expense in the project. And yet, here they were, nearly three hundred unique individuals sharing the template of Krenn.


Rated PG. for Space Exploration and Looking into the Abyss.


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eytanz

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Reply #1 on: June 17, 2010, 04:48:52 PM
I loved this story for 90% of it, but I hated the ending. A series of cool futures, with cool aliens and events that build off each other in brilliant ways - and it all ends up with a (literal) lesson that "humans did something that was in no way unique, but when they did it it was *special*". Ugh. Just ugh.

On the plus side, nothing stops me from admiring the beginning of the story and pretending that the ending never happened. So I'm going to do that, in blissfull self-delusion. But if this story wins the Hugo, as opposed to the imaginary one in my head that ended 5 minutes earlier, I'm going to be mighty annoyed.

Kibitzer's reading was great, btw.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 04:54:51 PM by eytanz »



bumdhar

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Reply #2 on: June 17, 2010, 05:02:52 PM
Half way through this story I thought, “this is how religions are formed.” Thus I wasn’t surprised when the story ended with protogods. I found the descriptions of alien life and thought interesting. It made me reflect how our language can only vaguely describe other modes (alien) of consciousness and experience. It reminded me of, in a way, of mystics who attempt to describe other states of consciousness.

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KenK

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Reply #3 on: June 17, 2010, 10:36:21 PM
The author tried for a higher level of profundity than his/her talent was capable of delivering. It was kinda predictable how this would end,  too,(or maybe I just guessed right  ;D )

As with last week I am again surprised that this is a Hugo nominee. It seems like they could find better stuff. My standards are distorted by the fact that I knew in advance that it was potential Hugo. If I hadn't known that fact then my reaction would probably be more generous.



CryptoMe

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Reply #4 on: June 18, 2010, 02:11:09 AM
I'm in general agreement with what has already been said.

There was a lot of really cool imagery in this story; microbes colonizing the famous Apollo 11 footprint (I'm assuming that was the one), cannibalistic sentient broccoli, a choral review of a scientific journal paper, etc. 

But,  unfortunately, the end didn't live up to all that.

Also, it was a bit too dense for audio. But, that is forgivable, since it was chosen because it's a Hugo nominee.



Kaa

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Reply #5 on: June 18, 2010, 05:24:23 AM
Well, I don't care what everyone else said. I enjoyed the WHOLE story, not just the first part.

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

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Ocicat

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Reply #6 on: June 18, 2010, 08:00:39 AM
Lots of great bits, but the ultimately failed to come together well.  Was still an entertaining listen though.

Grant Morrison would love this story.



KenK

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Reply #7 on: June 18, 2010, 12:15:21 PM
@ Ocicat
Who is Grant Morrison? Why would he/she love it?  ???



DKT

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Reply #8 on: June 18, 2010, 12:21:52 PM
Grant Morrison.

One of the coolest writers of weird comic books out there. And some mainstream ones, too.


KenK

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Reply #9 on: June 18, 2010, 01:28:14 PM
Thanks.  ;)



Unblinking

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Reply #10 on: June 18, 2010, 01:51:33 PM
I thought kibitzer's reading was very good, I like his voice.  I liked it on that Podcastle story too, but hadn't known it was him yet.  :)  The one negative thing that I noticed is that I could hear mouth noises from time to time like swallowing--not sure if there's a filter or something for that, but something to keep in mind.

Anyway, the meandering story was neat.  I spaced out a couple times, but that didn't really seem to matter because each section was almost entirely encapsulate.  The imaginings of the separate sentient alien races and their different forms of communications were very cool and interesting worldbuilding.

But the ending was just terrible.  The story, I can understand as a Hugo nominee, but the ENTIRE story is structured to build up to the ending which was like a whoopee cushion when you're expecting TNT.  Terribly weak--I was really interested in why this footprint was so special, and was hoping there was a good and rational and compelling and interesting reason for it.



KenK

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Reply #11 on: June 18, 2010, 02:47:19 PM
But the ending was just terrible.  The story, I can understand as a Hugo nominee, but the ENTIRE story is structured to build up to the ending which was like a whoopee cushion when you're expecting TNT.  Terribly weak--I was really interested in why this footprint was so special, and was hoping there was a good and rational and compelling and interesting reason for it.

It seems more of an issue with the Hugo selection committee than with EP, but yeah I agree with that.



Unblinking

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Reply #12 on: June 18, 2010, 02:52:16 PM
It seems more of an issue with the Hugo selection committee than with EP, but yeah I agree with that.

Aren't the Hugos voted on by attendants of WorldCon or something?  So it's not so much a committee, as just the nebulous ever-changing group of convention attendants?  Or does the committee select the five finalists and then the attendants vote between those?



Unblinking

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Reply #13 on: June 18, 2010, 02:53:17 PM
And yeah, I wasn't knocking EP for running it.  I like to see the Hugo nominees here, and it's not their fault if every nominee doesn't knock my socks off.



KenK

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Reply #14 on: June 18, 2010, 05:08:22 PM
I see what you mean. I looked up their nomination process and found that it seems to be a popularity contest more than anything else.  ::) And the winner selection, ditto. I guess am disappointed that it wasn't more refined, more literary and objective, not just who gets the most PR, buzz, and whatever.  :-X
Hugo Award nomination process



lmorchard

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Reply #15 on: June 18, 2010, 08:29:07 PM
I would like to nominate Norm Sherman's intro to this episode for some kind of award, though. As usual, his intros are great, but pulling in The Wizard  and Super Mario Bros 3 (wait the F#$%, he can fly now? how'd he turn into a raccoon?!) really put this one over the top for me.


stePH

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Reply #16 on: June 18, 2010, 11:19:43 PM
Norm: "The Hugo nominees never disappoint."

I can't agree.  Leaving past years aside, this set is 0 for 2 so far.  I just didn't connect with this one at all, and I'd further submit last week's, which was so forgettable that all I can remember about it is that I was astonished at it being a Hugo nominee.

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Boggled Coriander

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Reply #17 on: June 18, 2010, 11:43:17 PM
I had a hard time following this one.  I liked individual bits, but my brain wouldn't arrange everything into a cohesive whole.

I think I would have enjoyed it more in written format.  Oftentimes, what I have a hard time following in audio I can understand pretty easily on the page.  (That's not kibitzer's fault.  He did a great job.  That's how my mind processes audio vs. text.)

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kibitzer

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Reply #18 on: June 19, 2010, 12:41:39 AM
This one IS a bit of a tough listen because it's so conceptually dense -- it may be easier to read. I think it gets better if you re-read it (or re-listen or whatever).

Thanks for the kind comments on my reading. I'm trying to improve my recording rig so I'll watch out for stray noises and such.


Talia

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Reply #19 on: June 19, 2010, 12:48:30 AM
Definitely not a great fit for audio, but I thought the story was utterly fantastic, the epic scope of it, the imagination of all these different generations of wildly different life forms! Really brilliant! I definitely see why it earned a Hugo nom nom nom. The ending left me slightly confused, but I think I just need to think on it for a while. I was dazzled enough by the rest of the story to think very highly of it, regardless.




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Reply #20 on: June 19, 2010, 01:25:04 AM
This one IS a bit of a tough listen because it's so conceptually dense -- it may be easier to read. I think it gets better if you re-read it (or re-listen or whatever).

Thanks for the kind comments on my reading. I'm trying to improve my recording rig so I'll watch out for stray noises and such.

You killed that read man, bravo!  And I agree with you.  I recommend folks read the text while listening again along with kibitzer reading.  The story is kinda like one of those Magic Eye puzzles, and I personally liked it a lot better on the second read, when things popped out more.
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deflective

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Reply #21 on: June 19, 2010, 01:56:25 AM
first, i'd like to request a link to the online text whenever it's available.  it's always handy to have when talking about the story but even more so during the hugos when the stories aren't always suited for audio (for instance, just knowing the the word 'mark' was capitalized during the first encounter would have helped clarified things at that point).  this one was interesting but, as others noted, the constant introduction of new species & scenarios made it a challenge to follow in audio.

my take on the ending is that earth was actually the progenitor of these alien species.  our situation is different than theirs since we developed in an isolated area during the early stages of the galaxy so we didn't have have the (radio) chatter of previous species to draw us out.  the story lead us to believe that humanity had died out since that seemed to be the significance of the moment, species came here in their last moments just as they became extinct.

instead it turns out that it was more of a homing instinct, returning to 'valley' of the original planet.  sort of a reassurance that even though you (and your species) might slip away that you still leave your mark on the things to come.


edit: thanks for pecoging my request Norm =P
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 01:58:10 AM by deflective »



Danyaf

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Reply #22 on: June 20, 2010, 12:43:47 AM
The good Professor mounted his linguistic hobbyhorse, and asked for his audience's indulgence as he galloped it around the ring.  Whilst initially I was entertained by the references to Groucho and Gummo etc... which were clever - the solopsistic pirourettes of language the author attempted left me hungry for something more.  However, when I looked into my bag of popcorn - I found it filled with broccoli!  The disappointment was intense.
The reading left me with indegestion and exceeded my indulgence.  Sorry

Daniel



stePH

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Reply #23 on: June 20, 2010, 01:31:54 AM
The good Professor mounted his linguistic hobbyhorse, and asked for his audience's indulgence as he galloped it around the ring.  Whilst initially I was entertained by the references to Groucho and Gummo etc... which were clever - the solopsistic pirourettes of language the author attempted left me hungry for something more.  However, when I looked into my bag of popcorn - I found it filled with broccoli!  The disappointment was intense.
The reading left me with indegestion and exceeded my indulgence.  Sorry

This post was better by far than the story itself.

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yaksox

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Reply #24 on: June 20, 2010, 07:05:50 AM
I, too, got a bit lost due to the complexity of the story.

Good reading though, kibitzer. Good to hear new stepping up to the plate and getting involved. You must've had a busy week - sounded like you did pseudopod too.   Do I detect a trace of devonshire accent in there?