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Author Topic: PC120: Some Zombie Contingency Plans  (Read 9673 times)
Lionman
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« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2010, 04:46:31 PM »

In the history of PodCastle, I think there's only been ..maybe one story I couldn't finish, though there have been several that I didn't really like all that much.  Sometimes for the way it was narrated, sometimes for the content of the story.

This one ...had great narration.  (Fine job, Norm!)  But, ..despite Norm's work, the story just made me go 'Gah!'

The job of any fictional work is to entertain, to evoke emotion.  This work caused the emotion of 'ugh' to well up in me, I fear.  Well, that or confusion, it's hard to really say.

I'm listening, trying to put all the pieces together, shifting thought processes as they're narrated, and we're winding down to the end and ...the story turned left as Soap woke Leo, but I missed that curve and smashed headlong into the wall.  The end felt wholly unrelated to the story, I guess.

Just my $0.02. :-(
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Void Munashii
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« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2010, 10:46:52 PM »

I was really enjoying this story, Norm's narrations, the random tangents it would go on at times, the characters themselves, despite the complete lack of the walking dead ever really showing up in anything other than a symbolic sense. The story did completely lose me (and my wife) in the last five minutes when he kidnaps the kid. I'm sure it means something, but I'm just not quite with it enough to get it, I guess.

Soap strikes me as a generally bad person. Not evil exactly, not even unpleasant to be around, but bad and wrong all the same. I think ElectricPaladin's idea that Soap himself is the zombie makes the most sense. He's not intentionally malevolent, but, like a flesh-eating animated corpse, he cannot help but be what he is. He cannot help being trouble.

Loved the song at the end, but I swear I've heard it on a different podcast before. My mind keeps suggesting that it was either "The Takeover" or "Escape Pod", but I don't remember.
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"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
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DKT
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« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2010, 10:21:28 AM »

EDITORS' NOTE: For some reason yet to be determined, you may need to download the story directly from our site. We're experiencing some kind of issue with iTunes and other programs, resulting in an incomplete download (only Norm's song). The entire download should be 62 minutes in length. We apologize and are trying to remedy it. Thanks for your patience!

In short, I don't know what the issue is. The story's there, but it's not downloading properly using other programs/feeds. I'll keep you all updated when I learn more...

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd we should be good now. Thanks, Ben!

Once you update your podcasts, it'll download again. It'll download again for everyone, even if you got the whole thing the first time. Sorry for the weirdness. I blame the weird painting I can't get rid of.
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raetsel
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« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2010, 02:55:50 PM »

I'm so glad to see other people have the same reactions to this story as I did and I'm not the only one who didn't really get the ending but still hugely enjoyed the ride. Or at least I haven't got the ending  yet despite two listens to the last five minutes.

I think Soap/Will/Wolverine is a metaphorical zombie perhaps, as someone who is dead inside somehow.

Has he taken Leo because in his mind Karlie (sp?) didn't have a zombie contingency plan that included protecting little brother so he decides to do it?

One of the reasons I enjoyed the story despite not understanding it was because of how well the scenes, the characters and the view inside Soap's thought processes were described. Also as it all seemed so tight and consistent you get to the end thinking well there must be a proper meaning in there, it must be me.  Wink

The narration was superb, one of the best I've heard across Pod Castle and Escape Pod ( I don't do Pseudopod as I scare too easily, in fact this story will prolly keep me awake a bit.).

The song at the end was an unexpected bonus and I really enjoyed it.

There is a version on You Tube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvUzxhJK9cc that is set to an animé called Death Note.
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Talia
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« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2010, 05:44:46 PM »

I enjoyed thisstory very much, although I also found it confusing. It occurs to me that soap is a bit of a sociopath - thus no compunctions about kidnapping, etc. It also occurred to me, just now, what the purpose of that kidnapping might be. It's been pointed out that he takes on whatever identity people give him, because his sense of self is so muddled. I think perhaps that's why he sneaks into parties? to acquire some sort of identity?

Perhaps he's tired of that and wants a longer, more sustained identity. How does he do that? well, by grabbing this kid. By bringing him with him, he can continue to be what this kid wants him to be, and not just the ragged, unfocused Soap.
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danooli
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« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2010, 07:01:58 PM »

wow.  That ending really threw me for a loop.  I was really enjoying this story and was feeling kind of bad for Soap.  I feel naive and somewhat violated now! I can only imagine how Carly feels!

Reading what most everyone else has written makes me feel a bit better too. 

The end result is this is a story I will be thinking about for a LONG time.  Every time I meet an appealing yet not-quite-right stranger, actually.   Shocked
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alllie
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« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2010, 10:22:40 PM »

An interesting story. But I don't think the mentions of Zombies or Wolverine was enough to make it fantasy.
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #27 on: September 03, 2010, 12:44:06 AM »

An interesting story. But I don't think the mentions of Zombies or Wolverine was enough to make it fantasy.

The only fantasy element I was reasonably certain of was the Magical Painting That Can't Be Left Behind.  But even that could have been a fabrication of Art's fevered imagination.
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Anarquistador
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« Reply #28 on: September 03, 2010, 10:11:24 AM »

Bleagh.

I hate zombies. It always seems to me that zombie stories are magnets for pretentious authors, who have an ALL IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO GET ACROSS. Although this one was a little different, in that...I couldn't figure out what the message was supposed to be. Something about not letting art thieves seduce you, maybe?

I share the same criticism as many posters here: I had trouble finding any fantastic element to the story. It just seemed more stream-of-consciousness than magical. Although that's pretty consistent with other alleged zombie stories I've read: zombie stories are never ABOUT zombies. They're about people's reactions TO the zombies. Must be why I find them boring...

Good reading, though.
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Swamp
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« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2010, 10:24:55 AM »

I share the same criticism as many posters here: I had trouble finding any fantastic element to the story.

Remember, it was "borderlands" month. 

To be honest, I was confused by the ending too, especially taking Leo, but I guess for me the ramblings of a deranged mind and trying to figure out what was truth or not won me over.   Also, the nostalga of house parties in houses of people you didn't know where you could actually be having a really deep discussion with somebody and some obnoxious blitzed guy can come in and never leave.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 10:49:45 AM by Swamp » Logged

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« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2010, 12:35:47 PM »

I've become hesistant to join the story discussions because I don't want to take away from them, and I enjoy reading all of your responses (LOVING the conversation about who are the zombies in this).

But regarding the fantastic element: It's not zombies and it's not Wolverine (although it is kind of cool Wolvie appeared in both the initial and final stories of our Borderlands month, but I digress). The speculative/fantastical element is the painting, which is a work of art. And which, just like Art, everyone seems to have a very distinct (and different) perception of what it actually is. That the actual painting couldn't be left behind, no matter how hard Art tried, is what makes the story speculative (IMO).

Some stories we run, the speculative element will be more subtle than others, although our theme this month was fantasy stories that pushed the envelope of what people consider fantasy - whether it be thematic elements, character studies, stories that could be classified in several different genres (not only "Bespoke," but especially "A Spot of Bother," which really could have gone on any of the EA podcasts IMO), etc.

For other stories the speculative element will be much more in your face. Next week's story, frex, has demons and warlocks. Which is not to say we won't throw you a curve ball in the future, but this month in particular was a special one.

We've always loved the diversity of each of the EA podcasts, and hope to continue that tradition. Thanks for all the discussions, and for hanging in there with us.
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2010, 12:41:57 PM »

The speculative/fantastical element is the painting, which is a work of art. And which, just like Art, everyone seems to have a very distinct (and different) perception of what it actually is. That the actual painting couldn't be left behind, no matter how hard Art tried, is what makes the story speculative (IMO).

I win. Cheesy
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"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
DKT
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« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2010, 12:44:17 PM »

The speculative/fantastical element is the painting, which is a work of art. And which, just like Art, everyone seems to have a very distinct (and different) perception of what it actually is. That the actual painting couldn't be left behind, no matter how hard Art tried, is what makes the story speculative (IMO).

I win. Cheesy

Yes. I will send you your prize painting in the mail...let me know when it gets there okay?
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soapturtle
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« Reply #33 on: September 03, 2010, 01:05:58 PM »

Possibly I am overly partial to stories involve soaps.....but I liked it.

The end did throw me for a loop, but didn't stop me from enjoying the story overall. 

I think the painting is Art/Soap, and that's the real reason he cannot leave it behind.
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« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2010, 03:07:42 PM »

 Cheesy
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danooli
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« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2010, 03:25:19 PM »

BTW...there are only three things in this world that I have irrational fears of. Butterflies are the first and of course, they were featured in Bespoke.  Zombies would be the second.

I am not going to mention the third for fear they will show up in next weeks story.

I have to admit, I'm a bit nervous...  Wink
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Listener
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« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2010, 04:58:38 PM »

This story had things I like in the written word but don't enjoy quite as much in audio -- especially tangents off to the middle of nowhere and lists of things that act as exposition but take away from the flow of the story. Also, Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who seems to show up exactly where she's needed and does exactly what she has to do to keep the story going. And zombies -- not a huge fan of those. And a ton of details that, while interesting, weren't really necessary -- for example, did we really need to know that Carly is on the debate team and the reason drunk white kid is in love with her is because she smoked his ass in a debate about marijuana?

I too was confused by the ending. To my mind, Soap thought the zombies had come for everyone and he wanted to save Leo, but not Carly because he didn't approve of her Zombie Contingency Plan. Leo, OTOH, was too young to have one, and I guess in Soap's mind he needed to be protected. I do think the kidnapping was way too easy, and Leo sleeping under the bed -- "he's a heavy sleeper" -- just did NOT work at all for me. Not even slightly. I mean, they could've walked past his room and Soap could've opened the door by accident... ANYTHING...

But the way the story was told overcame my problems with it. Here's this dude who just walks into parties, eats food, and talks to people. He has a magical painting that follows him around, a strange family, and a desire to know how people will react when the zombies come.

Enjoyed the reading as well.
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Loz
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« Reply #37 on: September 05, 2010, 10:25:56 AM »

I enjoyed this story though I couldn't exactly say why, I think an argument could be made that the regular life that Soap visits at the party is Zombiedom, the three lumps watching sports and films on the sofa, the drunk guy that just keeps following the girl, they are all fairly passive, but I wonder whether this is a bit like Neil Gaiman's 'Murder Mysteries', is there stuff that we are not told because our character forgets it and we can only work it out by the shape of it's absence? Where does Carly disappear to?
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KillerWhalen
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« Reply #38 on: September 05, 2010, 07:52:47 PM »

I moderately enjoyed this one. I could appreciate the humour but I could sense the story was going for something more dramatic and important that I just couldn't pick up on. I tried thinking through the meanings of the paintings, zombies, and soap while listening but eventually I just shut my brain off and cruised through the rest of the story.

I was really lost by the time the ending came around, but I managed to laugh it off as nonsense hiding an important theme that I was supposed to have picked up on earlier on in the story. All in all I'd say this was a 6/10 with some really inspired spots of humour.
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I just don't get it.
grokman
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« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2010, 01:43:54 PM »

This one was just too much past the border for me. I'm far from a LOTR-type of fantasy fan, but I need a LITTLE something to cling to in order to feel that I'm experiencing the fantastic. As much as I love zombies, I've never considered them fantasy on their own, and while the painting that couldn't be left behind APPEARED to be fantasy, Will/Soap/Art/Wolverine was just TOO unreliable of a narrator to even take him at that word - after all we had no proof other than his word that it couldn't be left behind. I was really hoping that this story would end up being really fabulous - it had such promise, but the left turn at the end only solidified in my head that W/S/A/M was a nut job and that nothing that he'd said to that point could be counted on. I felt the same way after LOST's finale.

That said, please add my name to the list of folks that thought that Norm Sherman's narration was absolutely SUPERB!
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