Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: EP249: Little M@tch Girl  (Read 41682 times)

Swamp

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2229
    • Journey Into... podcast
on: July 16, 2010, 07:10:54 PM
EP249: Little M@tch Girl

By Heather Shaw

Read by Mur Lafferty

Originally published in: Tumbarumba

It wasn’t that Em disapproved of drug use, you just had to be savvy about which drugs you took. Back before she had to get a day job, she was a M@tch girl, much to the delight of the guys on the club scene. M@tch wasn’t a wimpy drug, but it didn’t turn you into a murderous street zombie either. It was also expensive — a designer “where it’s @!” drug — that the Tweakers couldn’t afford anyway.

Rated R.  for one sexual scene and drug use.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #1 on: July 16, 2010, 10:02:09 PM
At the end of the story, I mostly felt really bad for Em's dad (and mom). Em, though she made a pretty irresponsible decision in taking a drug she didn't understand and not listening to the dealer's warnings, had at least seemed to end up at a happier place in the end than she was in a long time. Her dad, though, lost everything he cared about, and was left with a zombified wife, no job or money, and a daughter who wandered the street in a perpetual bad trip.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #2 on: July 16, 2010, 11:19:29 PM
I totally saw the ending coming once the dealer warned "I don't sell Flame to jackers."  I knew she'd end up just like the "tweekers".

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


heyes

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
    • The Returning
Reply #3 on: July 17, 2010, 01:54:12 PM
I just finished this.  I'm going to say right off the bat I liked this story for all the wrong reasons, or at least none of the "I have a really cool comment" reasons.  I just got back from my vacation.  It's pretty cool that I get vacations, but this one was really bad.  I was grilled individually by my wife's aunt and uncle about my wife's job situation.  Then again by both at the same time.  I know they love us, and I love them very much.  But I went on vacation to get away from work, not to talk about it or get worried about money.

So, why all the personal info?  For me this story was a kind of wish fulfillment. Yeah, I had some sense that mixing "expanders" and "contractors" would have an effect on the character, and yeah there's probably some deep social commentary.  But for me, I reveled in her experience of the flame.  I let myself get a little lost in her wandering, because that's the kind of wish I need fulfilled right now.  I'm also the parent of a kid who, in ten years, will having me pulling out my hair with worry about drugs and boys.  That part of my mind was told to go to its room or half an hour or so.

So in short:

Thanks, I needed that.

"Feed me Seymour!"
     -Audry II
"You were not put on the Earth to get it, Mr. Burton"
     - Lo Pan


alllie

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 174
    • alllieblog
Reply #4 on: July 17, 2010, 02:32:34 PM
Beautiful imagery. So pretty I felt like it was an ad for taking drugs. If there was M@tch and Flame I would have gone right out and bought some.

I did feel dissatisfied at the end, like there was no closure, no ending, just a beginning and a little middle. Maybe I just didn't make the logical leap that Em was permanently damaged now, that life was over for her, or that she walked into the water.

It was a beautiful story with no purpose. Were drugs being used to keep the working classes under control? Instead of only drugs why not show just one person, even a minor character, who was working for revolution, trying to change things, instead of just a bunch of tweakers or aging people who have been forced to give up and have nothing left of their lives, not even  hope.

Certainly Shaw seems talented enough to give us that, just a smidgen of hope. Is she saying being lost in drugs is the most we can hope for these days?
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 02:34:29 PM by alllie »



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #5 on: July 17, 2010, 02:49:39 PM

It was a beautiful story with no purpose. Were drugs being used to keep the working classes under control?

I don't think the story is about a dystopian society - it's a story about a society much like our own, except that technology has advanced to the point where drugs can be engineered to make workforce more effective. As Mur said in the outro, think about people these days, whose work lives depend on caffine, or prozac, or ritalin. What if instead of just general benefits we had drugs that provided specific job-related benefits? Would employers not start handing them out? Couple that with rampant recreational drug use among young, affluent, teenagers and college-age kids, and you basically have this story. I don't think there is a deliberate plan to use drugs to oppress anyone, just our own current society taken one step further in a futuristic setting.



KenK

  • Guest
Reply #6 on: July 17, 2010, 04:37:11 PM
@allie
Quote
Were drugs being used to keep the working classes under control?
Yes. Just like neo-Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse predicted with his theory of repressive de-sublimation. The more people are alienated from their environment the worse their "escape attempts" will be.   
@eytanz
Quote
I don't think the story is about a dystopian society...
No, what then? Bad as things are now (and they are bad and getting worse all the time) modern society is not near as bad as the one portrayed in the story. But it's getting there. The degree of impoverishment, isolation and self-destruction described in the story looks to me like a technocratically administered social Darwinist form of political economy and to my thinking is the very definition of a dystopia. Not all dystopias have be the result of ecological disaster, nuclear war, space invaders or meteor strikes. We can (and have) done it to ourselves.

I liked this story a lot and see it as a form of parable or cautionary tale trying to serve as a metaphorical mine canary for the rest of society. It is a service that the art form known as sci-fi does especially well in my opinion.

The title was dead give-away in my view. Just like Hans-Christian Anderson's more famous Little Match Girl story, they are both hallucinations of a dying girl. One from outright physical privation another from
economic and psychological privation. And either way they're both dead.



contra

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 100
Reply #7 on: July 17, 2010, 09:06:51 PM
I liked this story.

I had one issue though with the ending.


This girl, no matter what her drugged state of mind is, has just had every hope, and every fear about her mother confirmed.
All her fears that her mother noticed things could now be true.  Her
All her hopes about her still being there, are true.

While this did impact her, I just feel it would have had a much greater impact on them no matter their mental state.

---
Mike---Glasgow.  Scotland.-->


blueeyeddevil

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 104
Reply #8 on: July 18, 2010, 01:05:25 AM
I came out of this story somewhat nonplussed. There was a stylistic choice at the beginning that immediately took me out of the story flow, plus questions about how effectively the source material was used, and believability issues about this story's society.

First, the stylistic issue: I didn't much care for the temporal buttonhook the story took. I've seen this little device of 'present, brief delve into the past, back to present to tie everything together' used many times, and I've done it myself while writing, but I can't think of too many instances where it brought anything to the text. I think this construction comes out of coming up with a compelling opening scene, having a general sense of where you want the story to go, and then realizing, as the opening scene ends, that you don't have enough background to write the rest of the story. So you write a flashback that gives you what you need, then come back to the present. But this is something that can be fixed in editing; I think this story would have worked much more effectively if it had proceeded in normal chronology.

As for source material, which then ties in with the societal issues:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



KenK

  • Guest
Reply #9 on: July 18, 2010, 12:13:56 PM
@blueeyeddevil
Quote
BTW, KenK, I don't think you need to go all the way up the hermeneutic chain to 'One Dimensional Nan' this really seems to be more of a 'Brave New World' sort of question. By choosing to mimic the Victorian fable in such close detail I think it takes some of the bite out of any discussion of this being a riff on modern society.

1. Aldous Huxley wrote BNW as a satire. If you wanna read what he really thought about the modern industrial society of the 1950's (i.e., it was well on the way to becoming a nightmare) read his novel Island.
2. I don't need to but that's the basis for my critique.
3. I disagree. The point IMO was that while our material circumstances and technology have changed over the years our political economy has remained largely unchanged since the begining of the industrial age. Shaw could have written this same story set in Europe, America or any other capitalist industrial society in any time frame from 1800 onward and the only changes she would need to make is the drug of choice then most widely used. Industrial civilization affects us that way. A fundamental paradox of civilization is that it is a tool we have created to protect ourselves from unhappiness, and yet it is our largest source of unhappiness. People become crazy because they cannot tolerate the frustrations which society imposes in the service of its cultural ideals.  (cf. Freud Civilization And It's Discontents).



alllie

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 174
    • alllieblog
Reply #10 on: July 18, 2010, 06:35:06 PM
Here is a link to Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Match Girl. http://www.online-literature.com/hans_christian_andersen/981/

I can see the similarity and both stories are basically about helplessness, poverty, dreaming and death. In Anderson's story the little girl goes to heaven but in M@tch Girl there isn't even that hope.

Anderson lived from 1805 to 1875. There were social movements during that time that held the hope of better lives for the poor. Many of them later fulfilled some of those promises. The Little Match Girl was written in 1848.

He had a very sad life, kinda like Van Gogh but he had more success during his life, though it didn't do him much good. He never found love and was generally disliked by most people who met him. Dickens' Uriah Heep may have been based on him. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Christian_Anderson
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 01:07:56 AM by alllie »



Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #11 on: July 18, 2010, 11:42:26 PM
I read this and enjoyed it when it Tumbarumba come out.

In case anyone was not aware and has not checked it out, Tumbarumba is a unique anthology because its a, well, a Firefox plugin/Storyhunt. :) You set it up in your browser and it embeds links to each story in various websites you browse. You just have to find them!

Its super awesome (if you have the patience and/or enjoy such things).

Enjoyed hearing the story read aloud. A tragedy - and yeah, what happens to the Dad now? Does this universe just have a staggeringly huge homeless population or what, if no one employs anyone over 40 it seems like there would a lot of homeless people eventually, and not just the addicts.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #12 on: July 19, 2010, 01:38:28 PM
I wish there would be a moratorium on stories with this title (there was a Pseudopod story with the title, for instance).  I'm not a fan of the original, it's a terribly depressing story, and every time I see another story with the title (minus the @ sign, of course), I groan and settle in for unrelenting depression.

This one I actually liked despite the title.  The M@tch drug in particular was a very interesting idea--I've never sampled drugs beyond the legal variety, but I would be sorely tempted by this one.  I've often wondered what the female side of sex would feel like, and I find the idea fascinating.  I didn't see the end coming, probably because I was into the story and trying to forget about the over-used title.  She made a bad decision at the end, and the problem with bad decisions about drugs is one stupid little decision can so easily cost you everything (Ah, A Scanner Darkly, I should re-read that some time).  I do feel the most badly for her father, as he is pretty much 100% screwed now.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #13 on: July 19, 2010, 02:16:02 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention that it bugs me when people say "my parents couldn't pay for me to go to college so I couldn't go to college."  Maybe it makes sense in this story, and student loans are simply a thing of the past, but in most cases it doesn't make much sense in our world.  My parents gave me nothing for college, despite making enough that I couldn't get many of the low-rate federal loans, but I went through college anyway.



Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #14 on: July 19, 2010, 02:18:22 PM
I would say its a necesity in this world, as it sounds like the only jobs available to those who havent gone through college were the "jacked" jobs, which they were trying to avoid because they sound pretty horrible.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #15 on: July 19, 2010, 02:56:51 PM
I would say its a necesity in this world, as it sounds like the only jobs available to those who havent gone through college were the "jacked" jobs, which they were trying to avoid because they sound pretty horrible.

What's a necessity?  (sorry, I'm just not sure what you meant)



Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #16 on: July 19, 2010, 03:00:01 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention that it bugs me when people say "my parents couldn't pay for me to go to college so I couldn't go to college."  Maybe it makes sense in this story, and student loans are simply a thing of the past, but in most cases it doesn't make much sense in our world.  My parents gave me nothing for college, despite making enough that I couldn't get many of the low-rate federal loans, but I went through college anyway.

I would say its a necesity in this world, as it sounds like the only jobs available to those who havent gone through college were the "jacked" jobs, which they were trying to avoid because they sound pretty horrible.

I would say... if companies like to hire Jackers at 15, and it doesn't look like your parents will be able to afford to send you to college, do you want to take a chance on missing out on a Jacker job (which apparently pays enough to support a family of three) by going for a scholarship you might not get?

Plus, at that point Em's family needed the money more than Em needed to go to college, and I guess she felt obligated to support them since they'd supported her.

As for the rest of the story, I too was dissatisfied with the ending. I liked the beginning, though, until we kept falling into the past with nothing really happening in the present. And the foreshadowing, as mentioned, was far too obvious... although I think something cool could've been done with a better ending, like Em becomes much better at her job and takes it over or something, or figures out WHY teenagers are the best jackers, or... well, ANYTHING.

The word "grok" threw me so far out of the story that I couldn't get back in no matter how hard I tried. SISL was published decades ago and "grok" isn't part of our language pantheon now; how did it get in there in the future? Makes no sense.

The voice for the reading was very good, although there were some narrative hiccups.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #17 on: July 19, 2010, 03:07:46 PM
I would say its a necesity in this world, as it sounds like the only jobs available to those who havent gone through college were the "jacked" jobs, which they were trying to avoid because they sound pretty horrible.

What's a necessity?  (sorry, I'm just not sure what you meant)

Never mind. I'm not sure what I meant, either. I blame, um, that guy over there. *points and runs away*



Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #18 on: July 19, 2010, 03:09:29 PM
The word "grok" threw me so far out of the story that I couldn't get back in no matter how hard I tried. SISL was published decades ago and "grok" isn't part of our language pantheon now; how did it get in there in the future? Makes no sense.

I hear people use "grok" all the time... maybe its not a dictionary word, but its becoming more commonly used, regardless.



ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #19 on: July 19, 2010, 03:33:26 PM
I've been trying to decide what I thought about Little M@tch Girl since I listened to it at the gym about an hour ago, and I think I've finally decided: I loved it. It wasn't my favorite Escape Pod story, and definitely not my favorite Escape Artists story, but it was very good and I enjoyed it a great deal. LMG was solid science fiction - a vision of a future gone awry, and depressing as hell. Some of the "plot holes" other posters are mentioning - the fact that the loss of the POV character's father's job was enough to scuttle her college hopes, the character's relatively blase reaction to the fact that her mother was still in there, somewhere, trapped forever - all make sense in the setting the story created and contribute to the bleak view of where we are headed.

To address those two points in particular:

Firstly, it's science fiction. In a world of rising college costs, it isn't hard to imagine a future where college is even more a luxury for the elite than it already is. If college costs more in the future and the character's interests aren't sufficiently "sexy" to attract the attention of a grant or a loan agency willing to take a risk on her, then she might find herself out of luck. The story did a good job of establishing that this is a future that's different from the now, and this is a difference consistent with the other differences the story established.

Secondly, I think the end of the story - the "Heaven" of Fl@me - was meant to have transformed the character's perspective to the point that her mother's plight wasn't as gut-wrenching as it would have been otherwise. It was sad, certainly, but not upsetting. Nothing's upsetting when you become aware of your part in the whole.

And that's the last point I want to make: I believe that the effects of Fl@me were meant to mirror the heaven of the original Little Match Girl. It's a pretty bleak trade - heaven for drugged out pseudo-bliss - but better than nothing, I suppose.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #20 on: July 19, 2010, 04:26:12 PM
The word "grok" threw me so far out of the story that I couldn't get back in no matter how hard I tried. SISL was published decades ago and "grok" isn't part of our language pantheon now; how did it get in there in the future? Makes no sense.

I hear people use "grok" all the time... maybe its not a dictionary word, but its becoming more commonly used, regardless.

Me too.  I don't believe I've ever used it, but only because I'm not sure I'd grok the right place to use it (was that correct?).  But I hear people say it online all the time, at least on SF forums.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #21 on: July 19, 2010, 04:29:30 PM
I would say... if companies like to hire Jackers at 15, and it doesn't look like your parents will be able to afford to send you to college, do you want to take a chance on missing out on a Jacker job (which apparently pays enough to support a family of three) by going for a scholarship you might not get?

Like I said before, I don't think it's really a problem with the story.  Specifically this is because:
1.  It's not mentioned whether student loan programs are still available.  With the economic problems it's possible they're not (though it would've been nice if they'd specified).
2.  Even if she could get student loans, there's still the question of how her dad will have money to live--unless she could get enough extra to supplement.
3.  People complain about not being able to go to college even though their parents aren't giving them a handout nowadays, when student loans are generally available--so there's no reason that this wouldn't continue in the future, even though it annoys me personally.



Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #22 on: July 19, 2010, 05:08:23 PM
I would say... if companies like to hire Jackers at 15, and it doesn't look like your parents will be able to afford to send you to college, do you want to take a chance on missing out on a Jacker job (which apparently pays enough to support a family of three) by going for a scholarship you might not get?

Like I said before, I don't think it's really a problem with the story.  Specifically this is because:
1.  It's not mentioned whether student loan programs are still available.  With the economic problems it's possible they're not (though it would've been nice if they'd specified).
2.  Even if she could get student loans, there's still the question of how her dad will have money to live--unless she could get enough extra to supplement.
3.  People complain about not being able to go to college even though their parents aren't giving them a handout nowadays, when student loans are generally available--so there's no reason that this wouldn't continue in the future, even though it annoys me personally.


I wasn't disagreeing with your position* (that it's not a problem with the story)... just further exploring the author's use of that aspect of the story.

* At least, I don't think I was... or didn't intend to...

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


Yargling

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
Reply #23 on: July 19, 2010, 09:52:57 PM
I have to say, I didn't really take to this story - probably a personal taste as I don't like the idea's of losing control, especially the whole "Sex on Drugs" scene. Add to that, the ending was just sad to me; she lost her self to a sort of hazy void, and her folks where trapped; her mum in a mental cage, her dad in poverty and dispair.

Not the worse, but definitely not a favourite.



alllie

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 174
    • alllieblog
Reply #24 on: July 19, 2010, 09:56:44 PM
I have to say, I didn't really take to this story - probably a personal taste as I don't like the idea's of losing control, especially the whole "Sex on Drugs" scene. Add to that, the ending was just sad to me; she lost her self to a sort of hazy void, and her folks where trapped; her mum in a mental cage, her dad in poverty and dispair.

Not the worse, but definitely not a favourite.

Maybe it's a warning of what will happen if we don't change things. If we don't wake up.



Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #25 on: July 20, 2010, 01:54:02 AM
The word "grok" threw me so far out of the story that I couldn't get back in no matter how hard I tried. SISL was published decades ago and "grok" isn't part of our language pantheon now; how did it get in there in the future? Makes no sense.

I hear people use "grok" all the time... maybe its not a dictionary word, but its becoming more commonly used, regardless.

Me too.  I don't believe I've ever used it, but only because I'm not sure I'd grok the right place to use it (was that correct?).  But I hear people say it online all the time, at least on SF forums.

I'm actually reading Stranger right now for the first time, but I've known about grok as a word, and have used it, since at least high school. It's in fairly common in CS circles and has been implemented as a terminal command in at least a couple OSs. It appears in my copy of the New Oxford American Dictionary (and the online version of Webster's). I would say that it's not a common word, but very few words actually are, and especially in technical circles people will have heard of it.

And yes Unblinking, that is a correct use of Grok.

grok |gräk|
verb ( grokked, grokking) [ trans. ] informal
understand (something) intuitively or by empathy : because of all the commercials, children grok things immediately.
• [ intrans. ] empathize or communicate sympathetically; establish a rapport.
ORIGIN mid 20th cent.: a word coined by Robert Heinlein (1907–88), American science fiction writer, in Stranger in a Strange Land.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Faraway Ray

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 340
  • "I loved it!" "So? You also loved World War II!"
Reply #26 on: July 20, 2010, 04:48:32 PM
Not bad. I was hoping for a little more with the mother. As in, maybe there could be a few trips where the main character attempts to do something about mom's condition. Actually, I was just hoping we might get a few trips. I guess you could argue that this didn't need to be dragged out, especially with the title, but it felt rushed to me.


A story of lust, violence and jelly.

Well, Here I Am. My little slice of the blaggin' world.


waiting4oct

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 9
    • You Must be Oughta Your Mind, Ump!
Reply #27 on: July 20, 2010, 08:20:43 PM
Minor minor minor production nitpick, but it made me laugh.
One day when I first moved to the UK I was about a block away from Quay Street.  Someone asked me, "excuse me, do you now where the Opera House on 'Key' Street is?"  I said, "sorry, don't know.  But the Opera House is a block up on 'Kway' Street."  The look that woman gave me was one of pure malice.   Turns out they pronounce Key and Quay the same here in the UK.  Back in America we all them wharfs.

Anyhow, when Emily flew out over the Kway towards the ocean I laughed.

[The US and the UK] are two nations divided by a common language. - GB Shaw


DaveNJ

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Reply #28 on: July 21, 2010, 02:23:33 AM
The more and more I think about this story the more and more it gets to me. Yeah, some of the subtle flaws have been explained, and quite well, but the overwhelming sense of despair that this work manages to create right around the middle is just incredible. It keeps rattling around right under the surface of my consciousness even days later. The whole "jack job" description is nightmarish, and so awful as to demonstrate the utter hopelessness of life without financial opportunity. The "feed" experience was horrific, too.

Basically the story convinced this 21 year old to start saving early for the education of his future progeny. The utter tragedy of this story was so resonant as to have a visceral effect on me, which is exceedingly rare with any fiction nowadays, so major props to Shaw for this one.



gateaux

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 124
    • sketch blog
Reply #29 on: July 22, 2010, 04:34:05 AM
It's always very unsettling when you come across someone who happens to share the same name as you and also happens to be an unsavory human being. Why, Emily, why?

However, I liked this story. I had fun imagining that horrible world that Em lived in. The "jacked in" job was utterly horrifying. Geez, aren't there any student loans in the future? Those saved my butt from a downward spiral of drugs and decoding! I always wonder what sex is like for men so that piqued my interest. Also the bar that is meant to look like the inside of a tree sounded wicked!! I totally imagined the characters from Ferngully going there to get lit or whatever you kids call it these days.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 04:02:08 AM by gateaux »



Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #30 on: July 22, 2010, 04:44:54 PM
It's always very unsettling when you come across someone who happens to share the same name as you and also happens to be an unsavory human being. Why, Emily, why?

That's why I'm glad my parents named me Strontium Xantippa.

Quote
Those saved my butt from a downward spiral of drugs and decoding!

Decoding?

Quote
I totally imagined the characters from Ferngully going there to get lit or whatever you kids call it these days.

Sometimes we still say "get lit". But I think the older you get the more you return to the traditional "get high", I think.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #31 on: July 22, 2010, 04:53:28 PM
It's always very unsettling when you come across someone who happens to share the same name as you and also happens to be an unsavory human being. Why, Emily, why?

That's why I'm glad my parents named me Strontium Xantippa.

Coincidentally enough, that's what my parents named all their children.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #32 on: July 24, 2010, 04:55:34 AM
I totally imagined the characters from Ferngully going there to get lit or whatever you kids call it these days.

Sometimes we still say "get lit". But I think the older you get the more you return to the traditional "get high", I think.

I go to the library to get lit.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Sternhammer

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Reply #33 on: July 25, 2010, 08:00:52 AM
Minor minor minor production nitpick, but it made me laugh.
One day when I first moved to the UK I was about a block away from Quay Street.  Someone asked me, "excuse me, do you now where the Opera House on 'Key' Street is?"  I said, "sorry, don't know.  But the Opera House is a block up on 'Kway' Street."  The look that woman gave me was one of pure malice.   Turns out they pronounce Key and Quay the same here in the UK.  Back in America we all them wharfs.

That knocked me out of the story when I heard it. I think the correct pronunciation of "Quay" is "key" even in America accordingly to Wiktionary. Pedant that I am it niggled at me and made me lose focus with the story.



davedoty

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
Reply #34 on: July 25, 2010, 04:02:28 PM
According to the very link you gave, the US has two pronunciations, one of which is "ˈkweɪ".

Merriam-Webster lists three:  ˈkē, ˈkā, ˈkwā

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quay



Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4880
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #35 on: July 26, 2010, 04:19:08 AM
Today's story: Don't do drugs.  The end.

I dunno.  I felt like I was watching "Reefer Madness" or something.  If you do drugs you'll end up a twitching insane street person and your father and mother will STARVE!  I feel like the themes of focusing inward or outward could have been much more profitably and interestingly explored if the story hadn't been so dead-set on its Tragic Ending that will serve as an Example to Others.

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book


davedoty

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
Reply #36 on: July 26, 2010, 04:42:48 AM
Today's story: Don't do drugs.  The end.

I dunno.  I felt like I was watching "Reefer Madness" or something.  If you do drugs you'll end up a twitching insane street person and your father and mother will STARVE!  I feel like the themes of focusing inward or outward could have been much more profitably and interestingly explored if the story hadn't been so dead-set on its Tragic Ending that will serve as an Example to Others.

That's not the read I got AT ALL.  After all, the college-bound and college students seem to do drugs without consequence.  The message of this story seems to be much more about classism, exploitation and privilege than it is about drugs being bad.  Both of the main recreational drugs described in this story sound absolutely awesome, and the only downside of them is a bad reaction to an ill-advised drug combination.



Boggled Coriander

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 545
    • Balancing Frogs
Reply #37 on: July 26, 2010, 05:40:45 AM
Only tangentially related, but I saw today's xkcd and had to link to it in reference to the "grok" discussion.

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


mbrennan

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 163
Reply #38 on: July 27, 2010, 09:59:48 PM
I liked the story, but on reflection, I think I would have liked it more with a different title.  Going in, I knew it would be a reworking of the HCA plot, which meant I was just waiting for the narrator to "burn out."  I often like retellings, but I think this is one that would have been strengthened by the pleasure of realizing, partway through, what it was that I was listening to.

On a technical note, the reading was unfortunately rough.  Lots of odd hesitations and stumbles over words, as if the reader wasn't quite familiar enough with the text before recording.  The actual narration was fine, but I wish its execution had been smoother.



Xenoix

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Reply #39 on: July 29, 2010, 07:21:28 PM
I liked the story. It reminded me of my club kid era of just pursuing pleasure.



Wilson Fowlie

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1472
    • The Maple Leaf Singers
Reply #40 on: July 30, 2010, 04:35:23 PM
Another non-sf use of the word 'grok'.

"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


Yargling

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
Reply #41 on: July 31, 2010, 12:28:34 AM
Ok, whilst I acknowledge the story was probably an anti-drug piece, I still don't like it... bleak ending stories always just make me feel down, and I can never really enjoy them more than once as I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop when I know its coming. But thats just me.



Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 618
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Reply #42 on: August 01, 2010, 06:30:54 PM
I really tried to give this story a chance. I started it...and my attention wandered. So I "rewound," started it again...and my attention wandered. All total, I think I must have played the first half of it at least four or five times...but I just could NOT get into the story. I finally just let it play while I drove and hoped some of it seeped in by osmosis.

It didn't. I remember it ending and me thinking, "Well. That was depressing."

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

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else


Paranatural

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 44
Reply #43 on: August 03, 2010, 01:47:12 PM
I couldn't get into this story, either. It seemed a bit TOO short for what it was trying to cover. It's as if someone told me 'In the future there's this girl and she did drugs to have sex with guys. Then her dad loses her job and she has to get a horrible job to keep them alive. Then she does more drugs and ends up addicted and tweaking. The end.' There just doesn't feel to be any story arc or actual character progression. Just depression and...well, that's it, actually.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #44 on: August 03, 2010, 01:53:32 PM
Also the bar that is meant to look like the inside of a tree sounded wicked!! I totally imagined the characters from Ferngully going there to get lit or whatever you kids call it these days.

When I went to Universal Islands of Adventure theme park, they had a restaurant meant to look like it was built in the hollow of an ancient tree.  :)

"Whatever you kids call it"   :D



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #45 on: August 03, 2010, 01:56:50 PM
According to the very link you gave, the US has two pronunciations, one of which is "ˈkweɪ".

Merriam-Webster lists three:  ˈkē, ˈkā, ˈkwā

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quay

I've always pronounced it kwā.  But I hadn't realized there were even other pronunciations.  The trouble with picking up most of my vocabulary from books is that my pronunciations often get screwed up.  I think I was in high school before I knew how to pronounce "oasis" correctly.  When I read it in a book and said the word in my head it sounded more like "oy-zis" instead of "oh-ay-sis".



Wilson Fowlie

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1472
    • The Maple Leaf Singers
Reply #46 on: August 03, 2010, 02:07:21 PM
The trouble with picking up most of my vocabulary from books is that my pronunciations often get screwed up.  I think I was in high school before I knew how to pronounce "oasis" correctly.  When I read it in a book and said the word in my head it sounded more like "oy-zis" instead of "oh-ay-sis".

I had exactly this problem with awry; I was pronouncing it "AH-ree" in my head for years before someone - my wife, I think - told me I was somewhat awry.

I think such mispronunciations are a reasonably (though not perfect) reliable indicator of a person who likes to read.

"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

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #47 on: August 03, 2010, 02:57:04 PM
The trouble with picking up most of my vocabulary from books is that my pronunciations often get screwed up.  I think I was in high school before I knew how to pronounce "oasis" correctly.  When I read it in a book and said the word in my head it sounded more like "oy-zis" instead of "oh-ay-sis".

I had exactly this problem with awry; I was pronouncing it "AH-ree" in my head for years before someone - my wife, I think - told me I was somewhat awry.

I think such mispronunciations are a reasonably (though not perfect) reliable indicator of a person who likes to read.

It can happen in reverse, too, thinking you know how to spell something because of how it sounds.  My wife had trouble with the word "ornery" because spoken it generally sounds more like "awnery".  :)  Foreign phrases, especially French ones, give me trouble too--I still have to double take anytime someone says or writes "c'est la vie".  When it's written I have to go over it twice to link it to the correct association in my head.  When I hear it, the same--I remember words primarily by visualizing how they are spelled, so if my spelling is wrong it's very disconcerting for me.



Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #48 on: August 03, 2010, 07:56:20 PM
The trouble with picking up most of my vocabulary from books is that my pronunciations often get screwed up.  I think I was in high school before I knew how to pronounce "oasis" correctly.  When I read it in a book and said the word in my head it sounded more like "oy-zis" instead of "oh-ay-sis".

I had exactly this problem with awry; I was pronouncing it "AH-ree" in my head for years before someone - my wife, I think - told me I was somewhat awry.

I think such mispronunciations are a reasonably (though not perfect) reliable indicator of a person who likes to read.

For me it was "misled", which I pronounced as "MY-zull'd", where Y = EYE. I thought it meant "vaguely disturbed".

Of course, I was like 8 at the time.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


FireTurtle

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 898
Reply #49 on: August 03, 2010, 11:17:41 PM
The trouble with picking up most of my vocabulary from books is that my pronunciations often get screwed up.  I think I was in high school before I knew how to pronounce "oasis" correctly.  When I read it in a book and said the word in my head it sounded more like "oy-zis" instead of "oh-ay-sis".

I had exactly this problem with awry; I was pronouncing it "AH-ree" in my head for years before someone - my wife, I think - told me I was somewhat awry.

I think such mispronunciations are a reasonably (though not perfect) reliable indicator of a person who likes to read.

It can happen in reverse, too, thinking you know how to spell something because of how it sounds.  My wife had trouble with the word "ornery" because spoken it generally sounds more like "awnery".  :)  Foreign phrases, especially French ones, give me trouble too--I still have to double take anytime someone says or writes "c'est la vie".  When it's written I have to go over it twice to link it to the correct association in my head.  When I hear it, the same--I remember words primarily by visualizing how they are spelled, so if my spelling is wrong it's very disconcerting for me.


My particular reading to speaking misalignments in my early years were:
Sean = "Seen" Ah... that's the fault of "Where the Red Fern Grows" Totally ruined the book when my Mom pointed out that I had been pronouncing the main "character's" name wrong the whole time.

Prejudice = " PREE- Juh'dis" As in Jane Austen's classic Pride and PREE-Juh'dis. Good Times.

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #50 on: August 04, 2010, 02:55:06 AM
In my childhood, I was always sure "etiquette" is pronounced "eh-tick-wi-tee".

But my most embarassing mistaken pronunciation was the word "gratuitous", which until my late twenties I thought was pronounced "gratitious" (rhymes with fictitious). It's embarassing both because it lasted very long, because it is also based on a misspelling, and because I only discoverd I was wrong when I used it in a sentence and was greeted by several very blank stares.



CryptoMe

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1089
Reply #51 on: August 04, 2010, 05:55:54 AM
Mine was "maniacal"

I mean, who uses maniacal in a sentence? Okay, I did once in high school and pronounced it "may-knee-ac-al" (as in "maniac" + "al") instead of "man-eye-ac-al". A very kindly english teacher gently corrected me.



davedoty

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
Reply #52 on: August 04, 2010, 12:52:14 PM
I used to think that Rogue from the X-Men was named "Rouge."  Anyone who knows what her appearance was like when she first joined the team can realize what a misnomer that would have been.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #53 on: August 09, 2010, 02:54:22 AM
For me it was "misled", which I pronounced as "MY-zull'd", where Y = EYE....

Of course, I was like 8 at the time.

My college music theory teacher confessed to reading that word just the same way when he was first learning English (I believe his native language was German).

BTW I saw your avatar dog in a commercial on teevee tonight  ;D

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #54 on: August 09, 2010, 05:37:42 PM
For me it was "misled", which I pronounced as "MY-zull'd", where Y = EYE....

Of course, I was like 8 at the time.

My college music theory teacher confessed to reading that word just the same way when he was first learning English (I believe his native language was German).

BTW I saw your avatar dog in a commercial on teevee tonight  ;D

I pulled it as a screencap out of that commercial when it crossed my desk while I was working at The Weather Channel. I just couldn't resist.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


Kaa

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 618
  • Trusst in me, jusst in me.
    • WriteWright
Reply #55 on: August 09, 2010, 05:46:48 PM
I pulled it as a screencap out of that commercial when it crossed my desk while I was working at The Weather Channel. I just couldn't resist.

That image is one of the (probably) most unintentionally creepy things ever.

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

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else


ceruleangrave

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Reply #56 on: August 14, 2010, 11:17:05 PM
While I did enjoy this story, I wanted more from it. At the end I was left feeling like there were chunks of the story that had been left out. What's going to happen to Em's mother and father now? What about Em herself? What was the point of the entire short episode?



Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #57 on: August 16, 2010, 06:02:01 PM
I pulled it as a screencap out of that commercial when it crossed my desk while I was working at The Weather Channel. I just couldn't resist.

That image is one of the (probably) most unintentionally creepy things ever.

Be glad I'm not using the avatar I use on the Fantasy Football Guys forum. It's not creepy, but it will make most male members of the forums cringe.  ::)

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


CryptoMe

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1089
Reply #58 on: August 16, 2010, 08:29:09 PM
You know, I've been kinda spoiled by the Flash Fiction Contest.
I keep waiting for the authors to to drop in and tell us what they were really thinking...  :D



Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #59 on: August 16, 2010, 09:03:57 PM
Considering how picky forumites are about stories, I'm almost glad most authors stay away. Every time people post about how they don't like a story I think about the author and feel bad and hope they aren't reading what people are saying. :p



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #60 on: August 17, 2010, 01:33:06 PM
Considering how picky forumites are about stories, I'm almost glad most authors stay away. Every time people post about how they don't like a story I think about the author and feel bad and hope they aren't reading what people are saying. :p

Been there.  It is nice when at least SOME people liked it, but some specific criticism can be useful too.  :)



Anarkey

  • Meen Pie
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 703
  • ...depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Reply #61 on: August 17, 2010, 11:49:47 PM
Considering how picky forumites are about stories, I'm almost glad most authors stay away. Every time people post about how they don't like a story I think about the author and feel bad and hope they aren't reading what people are saying. :p

Been there.  It is nice when at least SOME people liked it, but some specific criticism can be useful too.  :)

Which is yet another reason (of the many) why we aren't so excited about the "meh" commentaries.  Hardly ever useful to the author.

Winner Nash's 1000th member betting pool + Thaurismunths' Free Rice Contest!


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #62 on: August 18, 2010, 12:12:50 AM

Which is yet another reason (of the many) why we aren't so excited about the "meh" commentaries.  Hardly ever useful to the author.

They've also been almost entirely non-existent for years. Not sure what's the point of bringing them up.

I do feel bad occasionally when authors come to the forums, especially if I've said something harsh about them. I try to always be honest and proportionate in my criticsm, but that doesn't equate to being nice to read. I have recently felt somewhat bad when Millienium_King has outed himself as the author of a story I was particularly harsh about (even though I guess he's not immune from occasional harshness himself).



Anarkey

  • Meen Pie
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 703
  • ...depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Reply #63 on: August 18, 2010, 11:33:55 AM

Which is yet another reason (of the many) why we aren't so excited about the "meh" commentaries.  Hardly ever useful to the author.

They've also been almost entirely non-existent for years. Not sure what's the point of bringing them up.

So if I offer counter examples that created a furor within, say, the last three months, you're shielded by "almost"? 

It comes across to me as a periodic and recurring topic of debate in quarters, and this seemed a good moment to remind folks of a downside, while they were putting themselves in the author's shoes, which happens pretty irregularly around here.  That may not be enough of a point for you, but it served for me.  And, obviously, we disagree about whether the horse is beaten dead or whether he keeps running the race every six months.

Winner Nash's 1000th member betting pool + Thaurismunths' Free Rice Contest!


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #64 on: August 18, 2010, 02:18:16 PM

Which is yet another reason (of the many) why we aren't so excited about the "meh" commentaries.  Hardly ever useful to the author.

They've also been almost entirely non-existent for years. Not sure what's the point of bringing them up.

So if I offer counter examples that created a furor within, say, the last three months, you're shielded by "almost"? 

It comes across to me as a periodic and recurring topic of debate in quarters, and this seemed a good moment to remind folks of a downside, while they were putting themselves in the author's shoes, which happens pretty irregularly around here.  That may not be enough of a point for you, but it served for me.  And, obviously, we disagree about whether the horse is beaten dead or whether he keeps running the race every six months.

No, my apologies, it was the end of a long day and I was tired and grumpy. The sentence you quoted by me above was stupid.

(That said, I do think I have a difference of opinion with you and most of the rest of the EA editors on the balance between how important it is for posts to be useful for the authors as opposed to useful to the listening audience. But that's a different issue and not a justification for me to be rude).
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 02:23:20 PM by eytanz »



Anarkey

  • Meen Pie
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 703
  • ...depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Reply #65 on: August 18, 2010, 03:07:25 PM

No, my apologies, it was the end of a long day and I was tired and grumpy. The sentence you quoted by me above was stupid.

(That said, I do think I have a difference of opinion with you and most of the rest of the EA editors on the balance between how important it is for posts to be useful for the authors as opposed to useful to the listening audience. But that's a different issue and not a justification for me to be rude).

Apology accepted and appreciated.  Consider it forgotten.  We all do it.  I'm glad you clarified though, because I was starting to wonder if I'd inadvertently pissed you off about something.  And if I have, PM me. 

And yeah, sure, we are standing on different sides of the table and see the forum and its need for usefulness to various parties differently.  That's to be expected.  I remember what I thought when I was standing on your side, and it's changed.  What I thought then wasn't wrong, it was just what I thought when my role was just to listen and talk about stories.

Winner Nash's 1000th member betting pool + Thaurismunths' Free Rice Contest!


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #66 on: August 18, 2010, 04:25:36 PM
Which is yet another reason (of the many) why we aren't so excited about the "meh" commentaries.  Hardly ever useful to the author.

Good point.  For me, vague and negative criticism is not useful to anyone, but vague and positive criticism can be.

Specific and positive--"I love it because ___"  promotes interesting discussion, imparts useful information to author about how the story was taken, serves to boost the moraleof the author. 

Specific and negative--"I hate it because ___" promotes interesting discussion, imparts useful information to author about how the story was taken.

Vague and positive--"I love it!"  promotes no discussion, does not impart useful information BUT it can give a morale boost to author.  Note that if given the choice between "vague" and "specific" I would always choose "specific".  "I love this story because ____" is better than "I love this story."

Vague and negative--"meh" promotes no discussion, does not impart useful information, and gives a hit to the author morale with no benefit.

For me, one of the biggest obstacles in the writing biz is my own morale.  So far, my acceptance:rejection ratio is about 1:50 for paying markets.  That's a lot of bad news for every nugget of good news.  According to Duotrope, that's better than average ratio.  It's very easy to think about giving up and say "I'm going to do something else with my free time instead.  Nobody likes my work."  A positive response, even if it's not specific, is HUGE.  If a stranger reads your story and says "Wow, that was fantastic!" it makes a huge difference to know that you made that one person's day just a little bit more enjoyable, and for a few days at least it's a bit easier to stave off rejection depression.



mbrennan

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 163
Reply #67 on: August 18, 2010, 05:40:22 PM
Actually -- with my author hat on -- even a "meh" comment tells me something.  If I get a rave from a reader, I excited a strong emotional reaction; if I piss a reader off terribly, that's still a strong emotional reaction; if I get a chorus of "meh," then I clearly failed to excite much of a reaction at all.  I suppose a lack of comments in general translates to much the same thing (and in fact, when my own reaction to a story can't get beyond "meh," I often just don't comment), but I'm not personally offended by seeing that kind of thing.

On the other hand, I think it's quite possible that EA's anti-meh policy has fostered a more general culture of detailed commentary here, and that isn't a bad thing.



CryptoMe

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1089
Reply #68 on: August 19, 2010, 01:48:59 AM
Well that went in an interesting direction  :D

I must have my listener hat on, because I wasn't thinking about praising or offending the author. I was thinking about how nice it would be to have the author explain to the audience some things we may have missed or misunderstood.

As I said, I got kind of used to getting that in the Flash Fiction contest and now I'm catching myself looking for it in the regular episodes. I was just poking fun at myself for missing that aspect so badly ;D



mbrennan

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 163
Reply #69 on: August 19, 2010, 04:57:15 AM
On that topic, I'm always leery of replying to the audience unless I've explicitly been asked a question; I'll pop in to say thanks if somebody points out, say, an error I should have caught (as my narrator-hatted self did over on the PC forum, when someone corrected a flaw in my Finnish pronunciation), but I feel like butting in to explain my story to my audience is rarely going to go well.  If somebody misunderstood a detail, other commenters can probably point it out, and if *everybody* missed it . . . I failed pretty thoroughly at my job.



CryptoMe

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1089
Reply #70 on: August 19, 2010, 05:03:23 PM
Thanks mbrennan for that perspective. I hadn't considered it from that point of view.

For my part, I generally like hearing what the author was intending, especially when there appear to be multiple interpretations being thrown about on a forum like this. But, I can understand why an author would be reluctant to join in.



Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #71 on: August 19, 2010, 05:12:09 PM
On the other hand, I think it's quite possible that EA's anti-meh policy has fostered a more general culture of detailed commentary here, and that isn't a bad thing.

To foster better commentary was certainly part of our intent with the ban, though from my wanderings on this digital plane I've also come to believe that Meh can be a bit of a gateway drug to the meaner depths of snark and derision. The problem has always been posts that were just meh, not the posts that said meh up top but followed it up with a few lines or paragraphs of discussion.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #72 on: August 19, 2010, 05:25:27 PM
On that topic, I'm always leery of replying to the audience unless I've explicitly been asked a question; I'll pop in to say thanks if somebody points out, say, an error I should have caught (as my narrator-hatted self did over on the PC forum, when someone corrected a flaw in my Finnish pronunciation), but I feel like butting in to explain my story to my audience is rarely going to go well.  If somebody misunderstood a detail, other commenters can probably point it out, and if *everybody* missed it . . . I failed pretty thoroughly at my job.

I tend to agree (though I've violated that guideline probably).  If people are interested in hearing from me as an author at all, I try to stick to explanations that don't explain the content of the story, but rather explain how the story popped into my head in the first place--that's something that can't be gleaned from listening to the story itself and some people may find it interesting.



mbrennan

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 163
Reply #73 on: August 19, 2010, 05:30:52 PM
CryptoMe -- a lot of authors support the idea that the story belongs to the readers, in the interpretive sense.  Coming in on that count feels like saying, "No, you're reading it wrong," which is sometimes appreciated but more often seen as condescending, and furthermore tends to stop what may have been a lively discussion.  On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with e-mailing an author directly if you're interested hearing their own take.

Unblinking -- yes, that happened on my most recent BCS story; someone on the forums asked about the origins of Driftwood as a setting.  That sort of thing, I'm more than happy to answer.  (Though always with the awareness that it may make readers feel self-conscious, because now they *know* I'm reading the thread.)

Heradel -- well, sometimes "meh" really is all I have to say. :-)   I suppose that isn't strictly true, but all the meh-reactions generally boil down to the same thing: didn't hook me; characters weren't engaging; plot wasn't exciting; etc.  After a while I get tired of finding new ways to phrase "this failed to get any particular reaction, positive or negative, out of me."



Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #74 on: August 19, 2010, 05:59:30 PM
Heradel -- well, sometimes "meh" really is all I have to say. :-)   I suppose that isn't strictly true, but all the meh-reactions generally boil down to the same thing: didn't hook me; characters weren't engaging; plot wasn't exciting; etc.  After a while I get tired of finding new ways to phrase "this failed to get any particular reaction, positive or negative, out of me."

And I understand that, and have felt the same way myself. But when you get a story thread where there are more than a few meh comments it just seems to kill the thread, whereas when we require a little more people have tended to find something to argue about.

I think it's worked, but I recognize that it does place a bit of a burden on the unimpressed commentariat.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #75 on: August 19, 2010, 06:08:04 PM
When I feel that way about a story, I just don't comment. *shrugs*



mbrennan

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 163
Reply #76 on: August 19, 2010, 07:38:27 PM
When I feel that way about a story, I just don't comment. *shrugs*

As I said a few comments above, I tend to be the same, and I suspect we're not the only ones.  (So I suppose a low-activity comment thread may translate to a chorus of "meh," just silently.)



Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #77 on: August 19, 2010, 07:42:39 PM
Oh sorry, didn't mean to make the conversation all redundant. I'm very, very tired today.

I think the concept of a silent chorus of mehs is weirdly very poetic, though.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #78 on: August 20, 2010, 01:43:15 PM
I think the concept of a silent chorus of mehs is weirdly very poetic, though.

Like an unstrung zither.  :)



CryptoMe

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1089
Reply #79 on: August 23, 2010, 04:16:11 PM
But, as someone pointed out in the flash fiction contest, some of the best liked stories also get few comments. So, low comment rate is ambiguous. It can mean "so good, there's nothing else to say" or "meh". How is an author (or anyone else for that matter) supposed to know which one applies in any given case?   :D



CryptoMe

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1089
Reply #80 on: August 23, 2010, 07:08:29 PM
-- a lot of authors support the idea that the story belongs to the readers, in the interpretive sense.  

I used to think that once, too. But High School English beat it out of me. :D



Wilson Fowlie

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1472
    • The Maple Leaf Singers
Reply #81 on: August 24, 2010, 06:43:52 PM
-- a lot of authors support the idea that the story belongs to the readers, in the interpretive sense.  

I used to think that once, too. But High School English beat it out of me. :D

Funny, it reinforced it, for me.

"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


CryptoMe

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1089
Reply #82 on: August 25, 2010, 01:10:11 AM
-- a lot of authors support the idea that the story belongs to the readers, in the interpretive sense.  

I used to think that once, too. But High School English beat it out of me. :D

Funny, it reinforced it, for me.
Then I envy you, since you must have had better teachers.  :)



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8727
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #83 on: August 27, 2010, 01:21:11 PM
-- a lot of authors support the idea that the story belongs to the readers, in the interpretive sense.  

I used to think that once, too. But High School English beat it out of me. :D

Funny, it reinforced it, for me.
Then I envy you, since you must have had better teachers.  :)

It reinforced it for me because the tendency to allow only one interpretation really sucks the fun out of reading and even more so out of after-reading discussion.



CryptoMe

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1089
Reply #84 on: August 27, 2010, 01:42:23 PM
It reinforced it for me because the tendency to allow only one interpretation really sucks the fun out of reading and even more so out of after-reading discussion.

And there you have the reason why I quit taking English after high school. I still love reading and discussing books, I just choose not to do it in a formal, judged setting  ;)



yicheng

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 221
Reply #85 on: October 06, 2010, 08:54:33 PM
I enjoyed the story.  The social element of different "classes" of society using different drugs was interesting (and indeed reflective of modern society), but was not really explored.  For me this raises the interesting question of the Lotus Eaters from the Odyssey, i.e. if there was a drug that you could take that would make you 100% happy all the time with no down-sides, would you take it?  To me "Flame" sounded like the ultimate Nirvana drug, and I think I would probably take such a drug even knowing the consequences to my physical body.