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Author Topic: EP253: Eugene  (Read 31238 times)

Unblinking

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Reply #25 on: August 16, 2010, 01:57:04 PM
This one was lots of fun if a bit fluffy.

I'm definitely a dog person (got three pups of my own) so a story with an accurately portrayed dog personality is a huge bonus.  There aren't very many:  this one, How I Mounted Goldie, and just one of the dogs in the movie UP.  I especially liked at the beginning when he was trying not to ask his partner about the hospital again.  And again. And again.  He was able to remember that he wasn't supposed to ask, but dammit his enthusiasm got the better of him.  And how he asks why they didn't go to the station every day.  Reminded me of driving my dogs to the park, and Aria the papillon always starts freaking out when we arrive, whining worriedly and squirming like crazy so much that it takes 5 times as long to get her leashed and out of the car.  We have NEVER driven any of them to the park and then NOT taken them for a walk, but they get soooo worried that THIS time we're going to do it.

But the things that I really would've liked:
1.  Some description of what the dogman looks like.  As it is, despite the doglike personality I only realized he was a dogman within the first few minutes because of Mur's intro.
2.  A cohesive plot.  I think it would've been better to take one case and stick to it throughout the whole thing, instead of having several apparently unrelated cases--it made the whole thing seem a little too directionless for my taste.  If the cases had been related to each other, that would've been better.  Otherwise they could've been separate short stories (and I wouldn't be sad if they both had sold here).



Listener

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Reply #26 on: August 16, 2010, 03:16:57 PM
I enjoyed this story for what it was: what if a dog-man was on the police force?

Dog-man stories tend to end up on the side of "dog is in law enforcement" fairly often, don't they? Eugene, the dog from "Goldie", Angua and Gaspode...

I too needed to know sooner what Eugene looked like -- it took too long for us to get to the point that he was a dog-man (I gathered "bipedal canine"). And I too wanted a third beat to the story -- murderer, kidnapper, and... happy dog? No, we needed a third crime. And we also needed to see Eugene fail at something bigger than controlling his curiosity. The ending was a bit talky too, as if the author felt compelled to say to the reader "don't worry, the wife really is fine", especially after all that foreshadowing -- I thought Francisco had done something to Apurna, and wouldn't THAT have been a great beat to end on, Eugene fighting his love for his partner with his compulsion to do the right thing.

Still, I liked it. Too bad we couldn't get Steve to read it (he really set the bar with "Goldie"), but this reader did a good job.

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eytanz

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Reply #27 on: August 16, 2010, 03:29:40 PM
So, I really really love dogs. And I really loved this story for the dog in it. It made me very happy and also sad that I don't have a dog at the moment, nor will I in the near future (since keeping a dog in my current tiny apartment would be cruel). Others have already commented on how great the portrayal of the dog personality was in this (and the similarity to another story ;) )

However, Eugene was too perfect. He was partially dog, partially man, and partially superman. Dogs have a keen sense of smell, but to be able to sense a child's fear (and identify it as such) inside a single flat in an apartment building, while in a moving vehicle in the middle of a city? I would find that difficult to believe if the child was the only human around, not one of hundreds or thousands in the immediate vicinity. But Eugene could not only sense her but pinpoint her specific location.

I also found it interesting that Eugene could sense a residual sense of a couple with a young kid and very much in love in a hotel room where a violent crime occured, and a scared child through walls, but that he was not able to recognize the fact that his partner's wife was pregnant (as opposed to randomly sick).

So yeah - great portrayal of the dog man, but I wish his abilities (not his personality) were toned down and made more consistent.



Unblinking

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Reply #28 on: August 16, 2010, 04:52:10 PM
eytanz--good points about the inconsistent abilities.  I had noticed how strange it was for him to smell the kid in the way he did from the car, hadn't thought that he should be able to sniff out the pregnancy.



CryptoMe

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Reply #29 on: August 16, 2010, 08:51:42 PM
It made me very happy and also sad that I don't have a dog at the moment, nor will I in the near future (since keeping a dog in my current tiny apartment would be cruel).  ;) )

FYI, I have been told that rescued racing greyhounds do very well in a small apartment, so long as they have somewhere to really run (far and fast) for about an hour a day. I had friends that had three in a small 1 bedroom, and they were very happy (the dogs, I mean.... and the friends too, I guess ;))



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Reply #30 on: August 16, 2010, 10:25:43 PM
If my Austrailian Cattle Dog named Molly had human level consciousness she'd be just like Eugene. My Border Collie/Pitt Bull mix, not so much. I got them from neighbors who lost their homes and had to move.



kibitzer

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Reply #31 on: August 16, 2010, 11:03:32 PM
If my Austrailian Cattle Dog named Molly had human level consciousness she'd be just like Eugene. My Border Collie/Pitt Bull mix, not so much. I got them from neighbors who lost their homes and had to move.

Beautiful dog! Aussie working dogs are awesomely smart canines. Loving and loyal, too.


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Reply #32 on: August 17, 2010, 01:27:44 AM
What a nice story!  And Mur can treat me like a dog anytime!  Some have commented they would have liked more description of the physical Eugene earlier in the story, but I enjoyed the way the author slowly painted the mental image.  It wasn't until the end that I could really visualize Eugene.  I think fangs and fur from the outset would have detracted from his character development, but I guess a little dog slober could have tempered that.  



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Reply #33 on: August 17, 2010, 07:16:45 PM
Dog-man stories tend to end up on the side of "dog is in law enforcement" fairly often, don't they? Eugene, the dog from "Goldie", Angua and Gaspode...

I too needed to know sooner what Eugene looked like -- it took too long for us to get to the point that he was a dog-man (I gathered "bipedal canine"). And I too wanted a third beat to the story -- murderer, kidnapper, and... happy dog? No, we needed a third crime. And we also needed to see Eugene fail at something bigger than controlling his curiosity. The ending was a bit talky too, as if the author felt compelled to say to the reader "don't worry, the wife really is fine", especially after all that foreshadowing -- I thought Francisco had done something to Apurna, and wouldn't THAT have been a great beat to end on, Eugene fighting his love for his partner with his compulsion to do the right thing.

1.  Some description of what the dogman looks like.  As it is, despite the doglike personality I only realized he was a dogman within the first few minutes because of Mur's intro.
2.  A cohesive plot.  I think it would've been better to take one case and stick to it throughout the whole thing, instead of having several apparently unrelated cases--it made the whole thing seem a little too directionless for my taste.  If the cases had been related to each other, that would've been better.  Otherwise they could've been separate short stories (and I wouldn't be sad if they both had sold here).


Seconded (Thirded?) The first couple of balls of Fluff were a nice setup. The foreshadowing of the Partner's wife having a problem was a nice set up. This whole story was a really good setup for a plot that never showed up. A lot more could have been done with this, and I was rather sad that the second half of this story never existed.



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #34 on: August 17, 2010, 11:00:34 PM
Like just about everyone else, I quite enjoyed this story.  It was an almost uninterrupted delight.

Tim Crist was, in my opinion, an excellent reader.  In 2 listenings, I heard nothing that I wished that he'd done differently - no emphasis in a distracting place, no mispronunciations - which for me is extremely rare.  I hope Mur gets him to read again.

There were a couple of minor things about the story that I felt could have been improved.  Like Unblinking, I kind of wished that the crimes had been related - even if there'd only been two of them - to make a more coherent arc.  The multiple unrelated crimes would have worked better in a longer format (or even, like Unblinking suggested, in different stories).

And I too wondered why, if Eugene's SuperNose could smell weeks-old love and the like, it couldn't detect the pregnancy.  I was a little disappointed, to be honest, when that turned out to be what was up with Apurna.

I wasn't all that exercised about what Eugene looked like, though.  I could tell he was different-looking enough from a normal human that he was recognizable on sight, and that was enough for me. (Also, I thought the references to 'fur' interestingly ambiguous: is it actual fur or was Eugene using a doggy word for body hair?)

My wife, however, wants the novel that takes place in this world.  (I wouldn't mind it, myself.)

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l33tminion

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Reply #35 on: August 18, 2010, 04:58:13 AM
Good story.

At the end, I was a little disappointed that it didn't fit together, the beginning and end didn't seem connected by the middle (that is, it didn't seem to me that Francisco's decision to tell Eugene what's going on has anything to do with the day's events specifically).  But as a day-in-the-life fragment, it works just fine, so the lack of an overall plot arc really isn't a problem.



mbrennan

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Reply #36 on: August 18, 2010, 09:57:43 PM
Now let's have a cat-as-cop story: "I got to the crime scene. There was blood everywhere so I decided to take a nap. Someone tried to wake me, but I ignored them."

No, no.  Dogs are cops, because they're team players; cats are private investigators.  They keep odd hours, do most of their work by alternately skulking in shadows and clawing somebody's face off, and won't get involved unless you make it worth their time.

(And I say that as a confirmed cat person.  I love 'em, but I also understand how they operate.)

Anyway, this was a very pleasant story.  Not deep, and I agree that the components of its plot could have been more strongly tied together, but pleasant; as someone else said, it's nice to sometimes get a cheerful story with a cheerful ending, rather than the doom-and-gloom that so often prevails in short fiction.  Plus one of the protagonists of my next book is partly doglike in nature, so it's useful for my cat-person self to get insights into the canine brain . . . .



stePH

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Reply #37 on: August 19, 2010, 12:35:10 AM
No, no.  Dogs are cops, because they're team players; cats are private investigators.  They keep odd hours, do most of their work by alternately skulking in shadows and clawing somebody's face off, and won't get involved unless you make it worth their time.

c.f. The Nine Lives of Catseye Gomez by Simon Hawke (a spinoff from the "Wizard" series of novels, specifically The Wizard of Santa Fe).

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wakela

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Reply #38 on: August 19, 2010, 02:21:13 AM
This story is too fluffy for my tastes.  There was no complexity to the characters or their relationship, and there was no challenge or struggle in the story.  It was more like a character sketch than a story.  I would have preferred it if some negative aspect of combining a dog and a man had surfaced.   Apurna's trip to the hospital felt like a cheat to me.  It seemed like it was introduced to give some energy to their relationship, but when the reason is revealed it made me wonder why it was kept secret in the first place and why the partner suddenly decided to tell the Eugene. 



CryptoMe

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Reply #39 on: August 19, 2010, 05:06:19 PM
It was more like a character sketch than a story. 

I completely agree that this was mostly a character sketch. But the character was so interesting and the sketch so intriguing , that I really enjoyed it.



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Reply #40 on: August 20, 2010, 02:28:53 PM
Add me to the list of people who liked this story when it was read by Steve Eley. 

Those bones had a lot more meat on them.  There was more conflict to chew on, more character to get the scent of, and even a more interesting setting to explore.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go "hug" somebody.



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Reply #41 on: August 20, 2010, 10:47:28 PM

"He knows he can't lie to me, but he'll usually try it when i pry"
= )

++Superb Story
++Superb Narration
+Good Audio Quality

This one bumps up to the number 2 spot of my fav EP episodes of all-time (the first being tideline by Elizabeth Bear, narrated by Steve Eley). Just great stuff that made me feel warm and fuzzy all over. Also, Mur convinced me: i am now officially a dog person.

= )




knigget

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Reply #42 on: August 21, 2010, 11:41:19 AM
Wow.  A lot of people registered and posted only one comment -- here.  Tells you something about the story.

This is how I see Eugene:


http://www.apoGrypha.blogspot.com

What would have been written. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)


JoeFitz

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Reply #43 on: August 21, 2010, 11:59:39 AM
I have some mixed feelings about this story. They hinge on my enjoyment of the cute & fluffy story and missing much of the hard science that would add some depth to the story.

As several others noted, the lack of a physical description caught my attention. I pictured the appearance was sort of like the Patricia Piccinini sculpture http://tinyurl.com/bymv7.

I wondered if his father was an actual dog (story says he didn't talk and was old) and his mother a human (who spoke to him.) That seemed kind of an odd way to make hybrids. Of course, that might have been a fanciful explanation that was told to him. Yet that seems it would be at odds with his super-smell.

I was curious about the many of what I consider "dog traits" that were missing. No Chewing? No scratching? No tongue cleaning? No humping? Speaking of which, no discussion of whether Eugene was male or female, fixed or sterile? I wonder if Eugene was actually a canine hybrid or something else entirely.

I was also looking for some more explanation of the possession/person dynamic. Dogs are owned, and police dogs have a complex ownership with the Department and the Dog Master having sometimes competing interests. Here there was no Master/Dog relationship but Partner/Partner, even though it was clear that Francisco was dominant. "Pack politics" as the story mentions were complex, but why couldn't Eugene figure them out? Any 3 month old pup can do that.

I guess I did like the story and found it thought provoking - mostly mostly the thoughts were outside of the story.

Also have to note that Mur has great inflection and I enjoyed the intro/extro.



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Reply #44 on: August 21, 2010, 07:01:18 PM
Typically I don't get to the forums as I spend my listening time in my car.  I signed in today because I had to add my voice to the chorus of people who approved of the story "Bridecicle".

But while i am here I have to comment on Eugene and for the same reason.  I felt something from both stories, though wildly different stories indeed.

This may not have been the deepest or most clever story on EP.  It was however, for me, a completely engaging one.  Sometimes I like the emotional payoff.

I don't know literary analysis.   Some themes are so serious.  Some payoffs so sad ... and in the name of what?  Realism?

To paraphrase Billy Preston - "Let the good guy win every once in a while."

I just liked it.  I liked it.



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Reply #45 on: August 23, 2010, 01:37:40 PM
I was curious about the many of what I consider "dog traits" that were missing. No Chewing? No scratching? No tongue cleaning? No humping? Speaking of which, no discussion of whether Eugene was male or female, fixed or sterile? I wonder if Eugene was actually a canine hybrid or something else entirely.

Interesting point, but I think it makes sense for a police dog to not have those traits.  I doubt that a K9 unit that went around humping criminals' legs and peeing on their doorframes as they walk into the house would have much future as a cop.  Even a regular working dog has them trained out of him, and he's more capable of understanding human social norms as evidenced by his restraint from licking people's faces.



Unblinking

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Reply #46 on: August 23, 2010, 01:38:47 PM
I was curious about the many of what I consider "dog traits" that were missing. No Chewing? No scratching? No tongue cleaning? No humping? Speaking of which, no discussion of whether Eugene was male or female, fixed or sterile? I wonder if Eugene was actually a canine hybrid or something else entirely.

Interesting point, but I think it makes sense for a police dog to not have those traits.  I doubt that a K9 unit that went around humping criminals' legs and peeing on their doorframes as they walk into the house would have much future as a cop.  Even a regular working dog has those behaviors trained out of him, and Eugene's more capable of understanding human social norms as evidenced by his restraint from licking people's faces.



gateaux

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Reply #47 on: August 23, 2010, 02:28:15 PM
Wow.  A lot of people registered and posted only one comment -- here.  Tells you something about the story.

This is how I see Eugene:



AAAAAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA I'M PEEING



gateaux

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Reply #48 on: August 23, 2010, 02:31:03 PM
Dog stories make me really happy. I just imagined Eugene has a regular human man, who acted really strangely. Not as some creepy furry.
I really liked it, great reading!



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Reply #49 on: August 23, 2010, 04:52:33 PM
Like many of you, this story reminded me immediately of 'Mounting Goldie'.  While I loved that story as well, I thought 'Eugene' had much more heart. I have two boston terrier's and like many pet owners I often imagine what they are thinking or saying as I spend time with them.  It was very easy for me to imagine Eugene as one of my own dogs in the way he talked, thought and the struggles he has dealing with his own instincts vs the approval of his master/partner/friend.

Definately one of my favorite stories of late and one I've already recommended to non-regular Escape Pod listeners.