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Author Topic: EP281: The Notebook of my Favourite Skin-Trees  (Read 11191 times)
iamafish
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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2011, 03:15:14 AM »

This story really, really annoyed me. The prose was self-indulgent and samey, the characters were irritating, and the plot was weak.

I couldn't fathom why anyone would want to protest in favour of a new type of advertising. I mean there are plenty of perfectly reasonable and just causes to inspire you to take to the streets, but tree advertising is not one of them. Honestly, what would a protest even achieve? Unless this future exists in some socialist paradise were everything is controlled by the government, including advertising (which may have been hinted at by comments about legislation regarding advertising - legislation stating what, exactly?), there seems to be no point in protesting in favour of a new form of advertising. If it is actually better, then people will vote with their feet and adopt it.

That being said I was never convinced of its virtue. For one, I wasn't sure why anyone would want a tree on their shoulder. Those that would, aren't the type of people to be so enamoured with a product that they want to use the new body mod to advertise it. And only advertising one product? Surely that's a terrible use of advertising space? The fact that having a tree attached to you would be super inconvenient has already been mentioned, so I won't go over that again.

I was actually pretty confused, in part by the names, in part by the jumpy nature of the prose, and in part by the lack of decent characterisation, about who was who in this story. It was jarring that the story was told both in the third and first person, without any real explanation until towards the end. I had trouble sympathising with the protagonist because I wasn't actually sure who she was, apart from someone who really loves plants, i mean, really loves them, especially jasmine, seriously, we get the damn point about jasmine, stop telling us in painfully prosaic language about sex with the damn jasmine.

The plot lacked any real conflict, especially when the dieing plants didn't seem to be much of an issue beyond leaving you with annoying deadwood and no more fuck-buddies. If people's lives, not just their sex lives, had been at risk, or if the main character and her connection with her Durian had been someone with which we could sympathise, maybe i might have cared, but as it was, there was nothing to really care about. That a cure would be found was pretty predictable, and there never seemed to be any real threat if one wasn't. I'm not sure anything changed by the end of th story. The good guys won, the evil cooperations were defeated (I'd have gotten away with it, if it weren't for you meddling kids), and no-one seemed to learn anything, least of all the main characters, who were exactly as dull and defined by their sex with trees as before.

Possibly my least favourite Escape Artist product to date. Sad
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2011, 09:32:34 AM »

If this future ever happens I'm going to become a chiropractor to straighten all the back bent from the trees.  And then the trees can advertise for me.  Whoo!
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NoraReed
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No pomo.


« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2011, 02:25:35 PM »

If this future ever happens I'm going to become a chiropractor to straighten all the back bent from the trees.  And then the trees can advertise for me.  Whoo!

Unless the root systems actually go into your back to strengthen you so you can take having the weight on you all the time, which would be pretty cool.
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Talia
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2011, 03:03:14 PM »

I'm not sure, but I think they're genetically modified miniature trees. In which case, I want a pomegranate tree. Because yum.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2011, 04:11:19 PM »

I'm not sure, but I think they're genetically modified miniature trees. In which case, I want a pomegranate tree. Because yum.

You'd need tweezers to get at the seeds
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Devoted135
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« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2011, 04:22:40 PM »

at least one was specifically described as being only two inches tall, to obscure the bearer's missing eye. I don't remember how tall the shoulder ones were supposed to be.

mmm, pomegranate Smiley
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Talia
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« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2011, 04:25:29 PM »

I'm not sure, but I think they're genetically modified miniature trees. In which case, I want a pomegranate tree. Because yum.

You'd need tweezers to get at the seeds

I figure you'd just crush it to extract the juice. A whole tree's harvest might give you an ounce or two, but hey. Tongue

(Maybe a yuzu tree instead).

Quote
at least one was specifically described as being only two inches tall, to obscure the bearer's missing eye. I don't remember how tall the shoulder ones were supposed to be.

mmm, pomegranate

I'm pretty sure some of them were big enough to produce fruit of an edible (if small) size. The leaves have to be big enough for passersby to read the advertisements, after all.

I just like the thought of my own portable fruit tree. Tongue Though I wouldn't like it so much if it had ADIDAS or something written all over it
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 04:29:35 PM by Talia » Logged
Kanasta
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« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2011, 04:36:00 PM »

I couldn't fathom why anyone would want to protest in favour of a new type of advertising. I mean there are plenty of perfectly reasonable and just causes to inspire you to take to the streets, but tree advertising is not one of them.

My take on this was to imagine a huge Asian metropolis where every available space is taken up by neon and flashing billboards and ads on top of ads, with no room for nature. By putting the ads on trees, they would be able to bring nature back into the city and lessen the amount of intrusive advertising.
That said, I still wasn't convinced by the validity of the idea. If that were the case, everyone in the country would have to be a skin tree to replace the normal ads! Plus, a large part of the argument in the tree ads' favour was that they got a lot more attention. Well, yes, a banana tree growing out of a person is going to catch attention. But once they were everywhere, they would no longer seem so novel and their efficacy would wane...
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kibitzer
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« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2011, 08:49:14 PM »

I think I was so caught up in the narration I overlooked many weaknesses! The only weird thing that came through to me was, why the Hell use skin-trees for advertising??? And if you did would it really wipe out paper/neon/etc advertising? I can't see it.

Actually when I think about it, the PoV seemed to be switching from 1st to 3rd person narration which confused me. I lost track of who the MC was. It'd be easier to follow in print, obviously.

But back to the narration which really brought out the naked sensuality of this story. Now, I mean this comment in a positive way: I was walking to and from the train station listening to this story and I almost felt embarrassed to be listening in public! Pamela Quevillon has such a smooth, expressive voice; just wonderful! I could hear her smiling, her enjoyment of the whole piece. I hope you get her to narrate some more.

I enjoyed this very much. Sure, there was some strangeness in the setup but in the end I liked it.

[Edit: added Pamela's name and another "weird thing"]
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 08:53:53 PM by kibitzer » Logged

BlueLu
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« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2011, 11:47:45 PM »

I'm not sure, but I think they're genetically modified miniature trees. In which case, I want a pomegranate tree. Because yum.

If you eat your own pomegranates, are you a cannibal?
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Lena
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« Reply #30 on: March 02, 2011, 05:30:37 AM »

If you eat your own pomegranates, are you a cannibal?

I think you would only be a cannibal if you hacked off a branch and ate that. Eating your own pomegranates is probably a bit more like chewing nail clippings or eating bogeys.. Not something to do in public, but not as taboo as cannibalism  Grin  Grin
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Reginod
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« Reply #31 on: March 02, 2011, 09:24:08 AM »

On first listen I really enjoyed this story – it had a lyrical flow to it, the main character’s enthusiasm for and love of the skin-trees was infectious, I cared about the protagonist, and the narration was fantastic.  But, unlike most EP stories, the longer I sat with it the less interesting it became.
I think ElectricPaladin nailed what I found dissatisfying about the story.
  • Firstly, I really hated the advertising angle. It seemed... well, I won't say unrealistic, because people do all sorts of dumb stuff. What it was, however, was distracting. "We're people, but plus trees!" is cool. It redefines humanity. "We've found a new way to advertise" is ultimately rather mundane. Humanity is essential to our being - challenging that makes for good science fiction. Advertising is so much more prosaic that the addition was distracting.

The more I thought about the history of the world being built here, the less it made sense to me. It really felt like a fantastic idea – I love the idea of skin-trees, an interesting conflict – a search for a cure of an evil corporate caused disease (I’m a sucker for evil corporate villains, even if only in the background), and a very weak backstory.

That being said, it wasn’t until after the story had stopped that I noticed the problems.  So, while I won’t save this story for future listens, I did enjoy listening to it.  I’d say it was 45 minutes well spent, but probably not 90.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #32 on: March 02, 2011, 11:18:11 AM »

Actually when I think about it, the PoV seemed to be switching from 1st to 3rd person narration which confused me. I lost track of who the MC was. It'd be easier to follow in print, obviously.

Yup, it switched between 1st and 3rd.  The journal entries describing her sexual encounters were in 1st, the main plot about the search for the cure were in 3rd.  I also had a bit of trouble remembering which character wrote the entries--but that was offset by the fact that the journal entries seemed to have nothing to do with anything else, so it didn't really matter who wrote them.
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Talia
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I like pie


« Reply #33 on: March 02, 2011, 11:33:21 AM »

I think the journal entries were a way of illustrating why the skin trees were so important to her. She clearly had a fetish, but that linked into her affection for her partners.
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Rail16
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« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2011, 02:37:38 AM »

Reading through these posts makes me wish I had stuck with the story somewhat, but after fast forwarding through annoying voice guy I got to the story and heard the narrator speak.

I got about two, maybe three minutes, in and had to just move on. It sounded like someone had given the story over to a bad phone sex operator and told her to ham it up. Her voice and inflections were so over the top that I felt embarrassed for her.
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gord42
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« Reply #35 on: March 03, 2011, 09:13:23 AM »

Is it just me, or did "Pamela Quevillon, narrator" sound remarkably like "Dr. Pamela L. Gay, astronomer"?

Good work, Pamela!
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2011, 09:31:18 AM »

I think the journal entries were a way of illustrating why the skin trees were so important to her. She clearly had a fetish, but that linked into her affection for her partners.

If that was the only point then there were too many entries.  The first journal entry made that point very clearly, so the others were just dead weight.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #37 on: March 03, 2011, 09:57:28 AM »

I think the journal entries were a way of illustrating why the skin trees were so important to her. She clearly had a fetish, but that linked into her affection for her partners.

If that was the only point then there were too many entries.  The first journal entry made that point very clearly, so the others were just dead weight.


Dead wood?  Tongue
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Talia
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I like pie


« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2011, 10:00:17 AM »

I think the journal entries were a way of illustrating why the skin trees were so important to her. She clearly had a fetish, but that linked into her affection for her partners.

If that was the only point then there were too many entries.  The first journal entry made that point very clearly, so the others were just dead weight.


I enjoyed them personally, particularly paired with the excellent reading.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2011, 10:11:16 AM »

I think the journal entries were a way of illustrating why the skin trees were so important to her. She clearly had a fetish, but that linked into her affection for her partners.

If that was the only point then there were too many entries.  The first journal entry made that point very clearly, so the others were just dead weight.


I enjoyed them personally, particularly paired with the excellent reading.

Me, too, actually. Much of the rest of the story was kind of messy, but the diary entries were clever and atmospheric.
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