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Author Topic: EP287: A Taste of Time  (Read 14821 times)
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #40 on: April 22, 2011, 08:48:58 AM »

I really enjoyed the story. It took a while (and was just about ready to puke when she got Robert after winning the lottery), but the story really redeemed itself by the end, painting a great portrait of someone who is never satisfied with what they have. The story starts with thoughts of suicide, and ends with a symbolic suicide. Jane just can't seem to be happy, no matter what she does.

A rags to riches to rags story.
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El Barto
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« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2011, 11:06:54 AM »

You're assuming that the editor thought this was a fantasy piece and ran it as such. Genre is in the eyes of the beholder sometimes, and I doubt our esteemed leader would try to sneak in something she didn't think was appropriate. It's a bit callous of you to think she would. Are you always so blindly
judgmental? Because without her, this is all empty and insulting supposition.

Mind you, I'm back on my diet and have given up my daily cigar, so my view is presently a bit skewed.


That's a good point, and I would be interested to know what Mur's thought process was here. My guess is she read the story, liked it, and glossed over the magic wine part of it because it didn't jump out at her as a problem.   In which case the point of my feedback was to let her know that some of us think that the presence of a bottle of magic wine makes the story a questionable fit for a science fiction podcast.

Alternatively, if she noticed that a magic bottle of wine was the crux of the story and knew it would like rub many of her listeners the wrong way, my feedback was to ask her to please consider throwing a heads-up/disclaimer at the intro to the story so that those of us who dislike stories where the central technology is magic can skip the story instead of listening to it and being disappointed, as I was.







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Father Beast
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« Reply #42 on: April 22, 2011, 08:17:28 PM »

My only complaint about this story is that it should have run on PodCastle. Science fiction should at least try to have a logical explanation for the fantastical elements. Magic time-traveling wine = fantasy.

I can think of no story that has run on Escape Pod that is not fantasy

Huh 
Are you using a very broad definition of fantasy that includes all science fiction within it?


admittedly, the only definition of fantasy I can work with (a story with some fantastic element) is also the only definition of science fiction I can work with. Therefore, they are the same thing.

To declare that the delineation is made solely by personal arbitration (what I'm pointing at) is to say that the people who tell Connie Willis that her time travel novels are not science fiction are correct. I don't buy that.

There is a softer definition that can be used, although it is full of holes: that magic is used by a person's internal power, and technology uses an outside element. i.e. if a person channels energy through their body to create a dimensional warp, that's magic. if a person presses a button to create a dimensional warp, that's science. By that definition, the woman was using an outside agent to accomplish her time travel, instead of effecting the jumps through inner power, therefore it is science.

A pseudoscientific explanation can be made for any fantastic element. and likewise, a mystical explanation can be made for any fantastic element. In this story, no explanation is even attempted, so to declare that it is mystical is unsupported. For all we know, the time travel was accomplished through nanotech within the wine. or the wine being in a partial hyper-dimensional state. or it being an experiment performed by aliens, or any number of other things.

Anyway, to declare that there should be a warning that some people might not like the content of the story is absurd. I thought it was awesome.
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NoraReed
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« Reply #43 on: April 23, 2011, 12:27:52 AM »

Who cares about genre? The real question here is: would you have used it? How far back would you go?

I sort of think I'd go back to high school and fix everything I did wrong from there on out.
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hardware
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« Reply #44 on: April 25, 2011, 04:31:40 AM »

Hmm. I didn't really like this one at all. I think the main reason was that there was no compelling character in the story, we get no meat on the bones of even the main protagonist, only hints of events and happiness and failures, but nothing is allowed to be important. And given that what happened, happened between the lines, I would have needed a psychologically believable character. Also, there was a disturbing lack of originality (winning the lottery was all that was needed for a life of happiness, really ?) and a discomforting antimorality (as long as she only did things for herself, everything went fine, but as soon as she wanted to help anyone, she was punished to a life of loneliness and boredom).

By the way, was this a time travel or parallel universes story? I would say the latter, since even the first time she time traveled, things were a bit different than in her original life (the colleague who had never talked to her coming over for a chat).

And, yeah, I despised 'The Butterfly Effect'.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2011, 11:23:23 AM »

By the way, was this a time travel or parallel universes story? I would say the latter, since even the first time she time traveled, things were a bit different than in her original life (the colleague who had never talked to her coming over for a chat).

It seemed like time travel, not parallel universes to me (though you can argue that when she branched the timeline she was traveling into other universes on the tangent of her choices).  Her co-worker stopped to chat, but she first said something because she saw her sneaking a bottle and was impressed by the her sneaky wine-swilling, enough to spark a conversation where conversation had never happened.
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JTony
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« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2011, 09:59:31 AM »

I'm sorry, but I really hated this one. Actually, I liked about the first half, but then it just fell off a cliff.

1. Jim Crocce did this story way better in way less time. His protagonist was also braver and more interesting.
2. How stupid do you have to be not to know that if you set up a bomb scare at the World Trade Center, they'll evacuate the building. Not hard to set up a bomb scare. Even an anonymous phone call would get them to pull folks from the building. The point is there is almost always a way if you stop for a moment to think, and when you're beating your head against the wall, try something else! This protagonist was weak minded and weak willed.
3. The end, my god woman, grow a pair and use your super powers to make things better. Wallowing in "Boo Effing Hoo, I'm 11 and my peers don't like me" when you've already ruled the world once just doesn't cut it.

What would have been interesting was how she might have changed the world/her life the second and third and fourth time around. Seeing that would have been cool. What would your choices be on that last swig after that? That's the question I was hoping for. Instead she had force us to watch this pitiful excuse of a Kassandra cry into her Black Sabbath. Just a stupid waste.
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matweller
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« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2011, 11:29:31 AM »

1. Jim Crocce did this story way better in way less time. His protagonist was also braver and more interesting.

Yeah, but he totally got trumped by the muppets... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvnCKJCgCD8
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Devoted135
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« Reply #48 on: May 02, 2011, 03:33:31 PM »

Little late to the party, but hey, why not? Smiley

I thought it was really interesting how the MC evolved in terms of what she thought was worth living for. First for money and "the perfect life" but by the end she felt guilty for not using her gift for others. So she went back to live for others and tried to make the world a better place, but found herself ultimately estranged from all she had previously known. So she went back to try and fix it again, and of course through the fixing everything got worse and worse.

Leaving behind the horrifying possibilities of the last scene, this character arc was a really interesting way to portray the real life arcs of so many people. "We" work so hard to get rich and have a good life, but at some point realize that we still feel empty inside so we devote ourselves to serving others (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bono's charities.... not to say that the world isn't a much better place due to their work) to try and make up for it. Somehow this doesn't end up quite satisfying us the way we thought it would so we try again. It's kind of sad to think about, actually. So I suppose the question I'm left with at the end of the MC's story is what could she have done differently, what would have satisfied her?*


*If this paragraph doesn't describe you, then please don't think I mean for it to do so. Obviously, not everyone goes through this arc, or has the same reactions to each particular step of this arc. YMMV  Smiley
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LaShawn
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« Reply #49 on: May 12, 2011, 11:59:53 AM »

Finally got around to listening to this...and yes, that means I'm catching up to my own story, which is weird in its own sense.

It's very interesting to compare the protag from this story and mine. Both are women who are not satisfied with their circumstances. Both get caught up in the "what if" trap. It does feel like that this story is bleaker. It starts off with the MC contemplating suicide, and towards the end it feels like she does (unless she truly does wake up in her mother's womb. I don't think though that the bottle would appear with her. If it's empty, it's entirely conceivable that the magic was in the elixir and not the bottle itself.) What gets me is that *nothing* this protag does makes her happy, even when she does get the happy life she always wanted. She's *never* satisfied, but she can't let herself die a normal death because...what if she *could* get a happy life? As long as there is enough tabula Rasa, the *possibility* still exists. My protag towards the end went insane, but it least it was a happy sort of insane? This protag feels as if she's driven more by despair.

All in all, I found this more frightening than my tale.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #50 on: May 12, 2011, 10:34:55 PM »

Finally got around to listening to this...and yes, that means I'm catching up to my own story, which is weird in its own sense.

It's very interesting to compare the protag from this story and mine. Both are women who are not satisfied with their circumstances. Both get caught up in the "what if" trap. It does feel like that this story is bleaker. It starts off with the MC contemplating suicide, and towards the end it feels like she does (unless she truly does wake up in her mother's womb. I don't think though that the bottle would appear with her. If it's empty, it's entirely conceivable that the magic was in the elixir and not the bottle itself.) What gets me is that *nothing* this protag does makes her happy, even when she does get the happy life she always wanted. She's *never* satisfied, but she can't let herself die a normal death because...what if she *could* get a happy life? As long as there is enough tabula Rasa, the *possibility* still exists. My protag towards the end went insane, but it least it was a happy sort of insane? This protag feels as if she's driven more by despair.

All in all, I found this more frightening than my tale.


I dunno, I read it more that she could not bear not knowing what might have happened. You're probably more correct since I haven't listened to it for a while but that's the essence I took away from it. Sure, Sometimes she had a good go around at life -- but what if it could have been better?

' "Child," said Aslan, "did I not explain to you once before that no one is ever told what would have happened?" '
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Faraway Ray
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« Reply #51 on: May 13, 2011, 08:16:12 AM »

I liked it well enough.

This one is that could just as easily have been a flash piece, or have been a complete story centering on the first drink. I almost wish it had been. The amount of change possible in just a two year span would be sufficient for a (shorter) story, and might be easier to relate to with the lens closer to the slide, so to speak. It starts getting pretty esoteric after she's already lived an entire lifetime. Everything past the "got rich, got old" timeline feels like its more of an exploration of a concept than a necessary part of the tale.
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A story of lust, violence and jelly.

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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #52 on: May 19, 2011, 12:22:01 PM »

My protag towards the end went insane, but it least it was a happy sort of insane?

Great quote!
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jwbjerk
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« Reply #53 on: July 05, 2011, 01:09:21 PM »

Wow, if she thinks being physically 11 with the memories of 100+ years is bad, being unborn will be torment supreme.

It struck me as odd that a story that tries to explore the unexpected consequences of extreme manipulation of your life, would miss this obvious one.  Sure tons of people want to win the lottery, but most people that do quickly end up bankrupt, and many claim that it ruined their life.  This story sorta treated lottery-winning as the key to the "happy ending", or at least as close to a happy ending as this story would go if she had actually allowed it to be an ending.
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