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Author Topic: EP281: The Notebook of my Favourite Skin-Trees  (Read 10891 times)
Bdoomed
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« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2011, 03:10:00 PM »

Dead wood?  Tongue

I'm going to banyan you for that.

Seriously we need to institute some sort of rule making puns a pun-ishable offense.
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« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2011, 03:51:11 PM »

I thought the narrator did a wonderful job, especially with the sex parts.

I saw some of the issues with the story that others did -- using this cool technology for advertising, the relative need/lack of need for the explicit sex, dendrophilia -- but for me the only thing that was a dealbreaker was that, unless I completely missed it, we never found out exactly who created the skin-tree plague. They can just make another one, can't they?

Also, the happy ending didn't seem to fit the story. I really expected something a little more downer, and would probably have been more satisfied with one.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2011, 04:00:36 PM »

Dead wood?  Tongue

I'm going to banyan you for that.

Seriously we need to institute some sort of rule making puns a pun-ishable offense.

No fair! You shouldn't cypress good jokes.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #43 on: March 03, 2011, 04:23:17 PM »

Dead wood?  Tongue

I'm going to banyan you for that.

Seriously we need to institute some sort of rule making puns a pun-ishable offense.

No fair! You shouldn't cypress good jokes.

Leaf it alone. You're already out on a limb.
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #44 on: March 03, 2011, 04:27:01 PM »

You birch, you're lucky my bark is worse than my bite.
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« Reply #45 on: March 03, 2011, 04:34:54 PM »

You birch, you're lucky my bark is worse than my bite.

I think you're getting to the root of the problem.
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #46 on: March 03, 2011, 05:28:41 PM »

You birch, you're lucky my bark is worse than my bite.

I think you're getting to the root of the problem.

Not alder way there yet.
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Ocicat
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« Reply #47 on: March 03, 2011, 05:46:51 PM »

My problem with the story (well, in addition to many of the others listed already) was that the protagonist had a durian tree grafted to her, but still managed to find lots of sex partners.  How could they stand the smell?!?   Shocked
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eytanz
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« Reply #48 on: March 03, 2011, 06:10:57 PM »

There were two big things that bothered me about the story. The first, that has been already mentioned by several people, is bad social psychology. I can believe a trend of body modifications that involves trees being grafted to human bodies. But I can't believe that the driving force behind it is a universal rejection of advertisements. Not only for reasons like the fact that never in the history of mankind did one form of advertising replace another, but rather they just add up incrementally. And no democratic government would outlaw an existing business model - putting thousands of advertising agents, printers, graphic designers, etc. out of work - because a vocal minority thinks they have a better solution. But there's a far simpler reason - people like advertising. Not all the people, and not all the time, but advertising is designed to appeal to people, and in aggragate, it is succeeds.

The second reason is - bad botany. Occicat mentioned the smell of Durian trees, a detail that the story conveniently forgets. But the story starts with bananas - bananas don't grow on trees. They grow on tree-sized herbs. There are some crucial distinctions - one of them is that each banana "tree" only flowers once and only produces one set of fruit. After that, it will start producing shoots that will grow into other banana "trees", and the main stem eventually dies. If it's smaller, it will go through it's life cycle quicker.

For a story about people and plants, it is a rather big problem that neither people nor plants acted in a way that seemed vaguely realistic to me. That left the third main theme in the story, sex. Which, unlike people and plants, the story seemed to understand quite well. But I personally have a pretty negative reaction to body modification - I find it extremely unsexy. And one theme in SF/horror I find really terrifying human-plant hybrids (the 1970s Invasion of the Body Snatchers scarred me for life when I was very young). So I found the sex scenes disturbing rather than erotic or appealing.

Overall, then, not a story I enjoyed, at all.



« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 06:15:27 PM by eytanz » Logged
Gamercow
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« Reply #49 on: March 03, 2011, 08:08:52 PM »

I...but...WHY?  Why use trees as advertising?  Because people stare at you?  That would work until, like any other ad, it became so prevalent that it became useless like everything else.  How could the rewards in any way offset the costs of performing these surgeries?  It just makes no logical sense to me.   In addition to this, the story was sloppy, the narration a bit hammy in spots, and the first to third jump was jarring and confusing.  I stuck through to the end, but with no real tension and an obvious ending, I'm not happy I did. 
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Scattercat
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« Reply #50 on: March 03, 2011, 08:27:13 PM »

I feel like the idea of a body-mod subculture based around miniature trees came first, and then someone - maybe a beta-reader, maybe the author - asked, "But why would everyone want these?"  The answer being "advertising" turned an interesting idea into a "Wait, what?" moment for me.  Like others, I was bemused by the idea of people protesting in favor of their weird advertising method.  I'm trying to imagine a protest in favor of higher quality cloth for Nike shirts or something, and it's just not gelling in my head.

I think it would have been a stronger story if the skin-trees had just been a thing, like extreme piercing or tattoos are now, that a particular subculture embraced completely without a clear reason why.  I would have believed an eco-youth subculture getting really into skin-trees and eventually migrating over to the other body-mod subcultures out there; I didn't need some kind of money-based reason for them to exist.
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Talia
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« Reply #51 on: March 03, 2011, 09:26:16 PM »

My problem with the story (well, in addition to many of the others listed already) was that the protagonist had a durian tree grafted to her, but still managed to find lots of sex partners.  How could they stand the smell?!?   Shocked

I'd thought about that myself, then reasoned they genetically modified it to remove the odor, or change it to be appealing.
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Scattercat
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« Reply #52 on: March 03, 2011, 09:28:53 PM »

My problem with the story (well, in addition to many of the others listed already) was that the protagonist had a durian tree grafted to her, but still managed to find lots of sex partners.  How could they stand the smell?!?   Shocked

I'd thought about that myself, then reasoned they genetically modified it to remove the odor, or change it to be appealing.

In a game of Hunter: The Vigil, my wife once attempted to use a couple of durian fruit to force an evacuation of a suburb so her team could assault a suspected group of vampire house-sitters.  Trufax.  Everyone else thought she was crazy because they had never encountered a rotting durian before.
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« Reply #53 on: March 04, 2011, 10:08:21 AM »

The second reason is - bad botany. Occicat mentioned the smell of Durian trees, a detail that the story conveniently forgets. But the story starts with bananas - bananas don't grow on trees. They grow on tree-sized herbs. There are some crucial distinctions - one of them is that each banana "tree" only flowers once and only produces one set of fruit. After that, it will start producing shoots that will grow into other banana "trees", and the main stem eventually dies. If it's smaller, it will go through it's life cycle quicker.

I've never been near a Durian tree, and I don't know anything about where bananas come from, but this seems less problematic than other aspects of the story.  These are clearly not the same trees that grow in the wild, since they're able to root in human flesh and show advertisements on themselves, as well as bearing miniature fruit.  The story mentioned that the pointy bits of the Durian were designed to be more rounded to reduce the chance of injury.  I don't see why the trees couldn't be altered in other ways, like removing Durian stinkiness and making bananas bear fruit in a different way.  They're not the Durian trees or banana herbs that today's botanists know.
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« Reply #54 on: March 04, 2011, 04:25:30 PM »

Full disclosure: I am biased in favor of the tiny trees. In case you missed my avatar and my username, you should also know that I have a giant tattoo of a tree on my back. I would personally never get a facial piercing or have a tattoo anywhere it couldn’t be easily covered up, but if it was possible to have a bonsai tree grafted onto my body, I’d probably do it. Therefore, take my comments as you will.

Some have said the story didn’t have enough conflict for them - “The trees would have died. So what?” - but it was enough for me. As someone who loves trees (though, admittedly, not as much as the main character loves them – I mean, good lord!), I really thought the disease was going to win and all the trees were going to die. That made me genuinely sad. I was pleased with the happy ending and the renewal / regrowth implied by the orchid.

However, I couldn’t get behind the advertising angle. It didn’t fit with the nature of this story at all. (See what I did there?) To me, love of nature involves voluntary simplicity and the minimalist mindset and is usually in direct opposition to all the things advertising represents. When Saruman said “The old world will burn in the fires of industry,” he was being a villain: we’re not meant to emulate him. Also, he was later stomped by a bunch of angry trees. Karma’s a b#$%h.

You all had me worried this story was going to be embarrassingly graphic (I saw the thread about lesbians before I had time to hear the story), so I was surprised at how tame it was. Other than the bit with the dildo, I didn’t hear anything that made me blush. As Talia said, the skin-trees were a fetish for the main character and (to me, anyway) that overshadowed the lesbian elements considerably. The character was so focused on the trees, it was almost as if there wasn’t another woman involved. The sex scenes emphasized that the trees were beautiful and sensual, literally body art, and their loss would be lamented.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #55 on: March 04, 2011, 04:28:47 PM »

You birch, you're lucky my bark is worse than my bite.

I think you're getting to the root of the problem.

Not alder way there yet.

Take it too far and you'll rowan in.
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« Reply #56 on: March 04, 2011, 04:30:46 PM »

You birch, you're lucky my bark is worse than my bite.

I think you're getting to the root of the problem.

Not alder way there yet.

Take it too far and you'll rowan in.
Nobody ashed yew, EP!
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Listener
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« Reply #57 on: March 04, 2011, 07:15:05 PM »

My problem with the story (well, in addition to many of the others listed already) was that the protagonist had a durian tree grafted to her, but still managed to find lots of sex partners.  How could they stand the smell?!?   Shocked

I'd thought about that myself, then reasoned they genetically modified it to remove the odor, or change it to be appealing.


I'm with you there... but much in the same way that some people use piercings and/or tattoos in ways that are more "yeah, you forgot to NOT do that" than "hey, that's a nice earring/tattoo", perhaps the MC chose a stinky tree just to be That Person.
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SF.Fangirl
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« Reply #58 on: March 05, 2011, 03:36:00 PM »

Boring.  This was clearly a mood piece, but I sure didn't find the mood interesting at all.  And like many other have said the skin-trees replacing advertising on signs and billboards is a ridiculious notion.  I could see some srange body art augmenting other advertising, but never replacing.

I did wonder though if that was really the world.  Kim Cuc was definately a zealot about the skin trees and anti-advertising and quite possibly crazy or drugged or mentally deficient.  I began to suspect that she's an unreliable narrator.  There was no confirmation of that by the end, but the what we saw of the world didn't feel like it made sense. 
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yicheng
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« Reply #59 on: March 07, 2011, 12:46:53 PM »

Gorgeous prose, good reading, but that was about it.  The skin tree mods were an interesting idea, but they don't really make sense for advertising, nor did their disease/cure.  I couldn't bring myself to care about the characters, and the lesbianism seemed to be all fluff.
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