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Author Topic: EP286: The ’76 Goldwater Dime  (Read 22676 times)

stePH

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Reply #50 on: April 14, 2011, 01:53:26 PM
we don't even have JFK money,

No?


Obviously NoNotRogov is from one of those alternate worlds  :P

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NoNotRogov

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Reply #51 on: April 14, 2011, 08:01:58 PM
Obviously NoNotRogov is from one of those alternate worlds  :P

Don't be ridiculous.

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Reply #52 on: April 18, 2011, 11:37:58 PM
I liked this story quite a bit.  It has been a long time since I heard (or read) a story where the narrator and/or main character actually had no clue what was happening.   

In the course of listening to the story the author managed to get me to think about half a dozen science fiction (and bleeding-edge science concepts) without really writing about any of them.   That was impressive.

I especially like that it is entirely possible that this guy is on the wrong end of a new TV Reality show where some producers mess with a guy for many years.  I would not be surprised if someone was doing that right now.   



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Reply #53 on: April 19, 2011, 01:33:22 PM
I especially like that it is entirely possible that this guy is on the wrong end of a new TV Reality show where some producers mess with a guy for many years.  I would not be surprised if someone was doing that right now.   

Ooh, that's a good alternate explanation.  In THAT case, this unnamed stranger is actually a cast member who is feigning interest with a hidden camera on his lapel.  And the audience is the television-viewing public.  I like it.



stePH

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Reply #54 on: April 19, 2011, 01:34:59 PM
I especially like that it is entirely possible that this guy is on the wrong end of a new TV Reality show where some producers mess with a guy for many years.  I would not be surprised if someone was doing that right now.   

The Truman Show already went there.  :P

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J.T. Evans

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Reply #55 on: April 19, 2011, 02:18:30 PM
I listened to this on the way into work this morning, and found myself dumping the small amount of change I have on to my desk as soon as I walked in. Much to my dismay, I only found the faces of "the usual dead white guys" in my pocket.

While there wasn't much of a true story involved in this telling, the concept of inter-dimensional coinage finding its way into the hands of a "specialized collector" is still quite fascinating.

PS: I wonder how much the narrator could get for his 12 coins on Pawn Stars?



hardware

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Reply #56 on: April 20, 2011, 03:16:11 PM
I liked this a lot. As William Gibson said, plot is overrated anyway. Short stories should be about capturing something specific, in this case the mind of a collector and borderline personality. For me, the story could have done very well without the part explaining about alternate worlds etc, and also the ending dragged out a bit, but the part where we are slowly inhabiting his mind - pure gold.



stePH

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Reply #57 on: April 21, 2011, 02:12:32 PM
As William Gibson said, plot is overrated anyway.

Gibson can eat my ass with a spoon.  :P

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Balu

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Reply #58 on: April 26, 2011, 09:46:04 PM
Another little gem of a story. Every now and then EP hits a real streak of good form, and this is one of those times  :)

I think this one works so well because the protagonist seems so real that the fantastic element, when it is finally introduced, seems real to.

I'm also glad that the writer didn't feel the need to drag the thing around the sort of plot a 'proper' story is supposed to have. The power of the piece came from its simplicity. That's what leaves it echoing in the reader's imagination.




acpracht

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Reply #59 on: April 27, 2011, 08:16:06 PM
Awesome analysis! I enjoyed this as much as or more than the actual story.

-Adam

I thought it was a well minted character vignette.



Dohoho!

Anywho, alternate history is a hobby of mine - so let's examine that aspect of the story, shall we?'

A quick refresher on the parallel coins mentioned in the story:

Quote
Goldwater '76 dime
Joe Kennedy Sr. '72 half dollar
John Brown '27 penny
Eugene Victor Debs '44 quarter
Huey Long '58 nickel
William Randolph Hearst '69 silver dollar
Robert E. Lee 1888 three cent piece
Lindbergh '65 dime
Roy Cohn '92 quarter
P.T. Barnum '35 penny
Herbert Hoover '86 nickel
Benedict Arnold '98 quarter

Now what kind of alternate timelines (aTL's) could these each be from? None of these should be too hard because as the story implies, none really need a strong Point of Divergence (PoD) from Our Time Line (OTL). These are all public figures who could have been president (except for John Brown which seems more of a case of someone considered a hero by an ATL society being venerated on a coin).

Goldwater was a Senator, Papa Joe was a diplomat, Debs was the leader of the Socialist Party, Long was a governor, Cohn was a Justice Dep. attorney, Hoover actually was president.

Hearst was a newspaperman who exerted significant influence over policy via public opinion, Lindbergh was the darling of the America First political movement, Barnum was one of America's most beloved public speakers, Arnold and Lee were generals. All of which are plausible jumping points for presidential runs.

Even in a world closely resembling ours in most major points up to the election, many of these men could have become president in the normal course of events. The one's that would have required major PODs quite earlier would primarily be Lee (to prevent the Civil War or prevent Virginia from siding with the Confederacy or weaken his loyalty to Virginia somehow), Kennedy (to either keep the U.S. out of WWII or prevent him from staking his career on appeasement), Arnold (to prevent him from being sidelined in the Continental Army in favor of the less competent gloryhogging general Gates, which caused the dissatisfaction that led him eventually to treason), and most of all Debs. While these other men primarily need things differently in their own lives, not changing their personalities or world events but more along the lines of different decisions or plausible happenstances, Debs requires a significantly different America if we concede the point of him being elected as a socialist and not being an alternate Debs who never got arrested for the Pullman Strike and never read Marx.

But this is all preface. What about the kind of world these men would each leave after a presidency that would think highly enough of them to put their faces on currency?

Goldwater would be frankly as controversial as if we had Reagan or LBJ money today - we don't even have JFK money, and he was practically canonized after his assassination. Modern presidents are too close to modern politics and thus controversial due to partisanship. But if FDR could be put on the dime just one year after his death, putting a mid-60's president on the coin in the 70's isn't totally implausible.

Joe Sr., Huey Long, and Lindbergh could all be alternative Depression/WWII presidents - associated with that challenging time in American history and commemorated for it.

If America changed enough to elect Debs president, he would be transformative enough or a symbol of an existing transformation enough to merit in the eyes of the public a coin.

The rest I'll leave for now for possible thought or discussion, as I seem to be rambling.



acpracht

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Reply #60 on: April 27, 2011, 08:22:37 PM
I can hear it now:

"Well, there's not really much of a market for these... And I actually have to find somewhere to sell them. And, you know, that's time I have to put in. Tell you what, I've feeling generous today sooo... $50."
"$50?! Geez um... I was hoping for more like 10 grand...Huh..."
"All right, all right. I'll give you $65 - that's something like 50 times the face value."
"But it's Goldwater on a dime!"
(silence)
*Sigh* "Oh, all right. $65." Mumbled: "*$#@ health insurance *&%$ going through the $#@& roof."

Later, to the camera:
"Holy $*&! I can't believe he sold these. I'm going to retire to Cancun."

I listened to this on the way into work this morning, and found myself dumping the small amount of change I have on to my desk as soon as I walked in. Much to my dismay, I only found the faces of "the usual dead white guys" in my pocket.

While there wasn't much of a true story involved in this telling, the concept of inter-dimensional coinage finding its way into the hands of a "specialized collector" is still quite fascinating.

PS: I wonder how much the narrator could get for his 12 coins on Pawn Stars?



mrguido45

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Reply #61 on: May 23, 2011, 08:26:34 PM
I flat-out *loved* this story, which hasn't happened for me on Escape Pod for a while. People complained that there wasn't a story, but I think that's a strenght here. Too many good concepts are ruined by trying to shoe-horn them into a narrative. This is a good example where the idea itself is worth exploring and trying to build a story around it might weight it down. Another example of this was "Problems in end-stage demon conflict..."
I like collecting things, and I love the idea of the narrator recognizing the uniqueness right off and finding them. I also liked the open-ended mystery of their origin, and I think a forced explanation might have hampered that mystery somewhat. It's a lot more exciting to have multiple possible implied causes than to lose the shadows to the spotlight of exposition.



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Reply #62 on: May 24, 2011, 06:41:23 AM
I liked the story and Norm's reading.
This story doesn't have a whole lot of actual story to it, but is a memorable portrait of a particular type of person.  The character of the narrator of the story becomes clear as the story unfolds, as he describes how he became interested in coin collecting as an occupation, and how it became the centre of his life.  His particular obsession - coins from other realities.
And that must be why.

I mean, hey, the title itself was a major spoiler (if not the whole story in a nutshell), but listening to this story was like watching Penn and Teller do the Cup and Balls trick. You know pretty much what to expect, but it's still entertaining to see.

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kibitzer

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Reply #63 on: May 24, 2011, 08:09:13 AM
I mean, hey, the title itself was a major spoiler (if not the whole story in a nutshell)

Only if you're a North American. Otherwise, I recognise the word "dime".


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Reply #64 on: May 24, 2011, 03:16:25 PM
I mean, hey, the title itself was a major spoiler (if not the whole story in a nutshell)

Only if you're a North American. Otherwise, I recognise the word "dime".

And many younger North Americans wouldn't know it either.  I was not born yet during the time when Goldwater was a major name.  I did recognize the name, but I think I only did because I remembered the name from Stephen King's "Hearts in Atlantis" where someone had an "Au H2O" bumper sticker on their car (which are the chemical symbols for Goldwater).



Devoted135

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Reply #65 on: May 24, 2011, 03:24:08 PM
I mean, hey, the title itself was a major spoiler (if not the whole story in a nutshell)

Only if you're a North American. Otherwise, I recognise the word "dime".

And many younger North Americans wouldn't know it either.  I was not born yet during the time when Goldwater was a major name.  I did recognize the name, but I think I only did because I remembered the name from Stephen King's "Hearts in Atlantis" where someone had an "Au H2O" bumper sticker on their car (which are the chemical symbols for Goldwater).


I second this. I was born in the 80's, so the name Goldwater meant absolutely nothing to me.



jwbjerk

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Reply #66 on: July 05, 2011, 05:52:15 PM
And Norm gives it just a perfect on-the-edge-of-demented reading...
Agree.  The narration was a great fit.

In spite of nothing happening, and the premise being spoiled by the title, I enjoyed it a lot.  The twisted-ness but believable-ness of the protagonist's perspective held my attention, i wasn't just waiting for something to happen.

But I don't think it closed very well.  The idea of "alternate reality coins" was my first thought from the title, so that was no surprise, and there was really no additional twist to the end.  I felt slightly insulted that author felt the need to explain it so clearly to me, in the absence of any other twist it might have been more fun if the protagonist had no concept of "alternate realities" and was barely interesting in the origin of the coins.