Escape Artists
October 24, 2014, 08:23:26 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 3 4 [All]
  Print  
Author Topic: EP298: The Things  (Read 13996 times)
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4685



« on: June 24, 2011, 06:36:28 AM »

EP298: The Things

By Peter Wells

Read by Kate Baker

Originally appeared in Clarkesworld

Nominated for the Hugo Award for Short Story, 2011
---

I am being Blair. I escape out the back as the world comes in through the front.

I am being Copper. I am rising from the dead.

I am being Childs. I am guarding the main entrance.

The names don’t matter. They are placeholders, nothing more; all biomass is interchangeable. What matters is that these are all that is left of me. The world has burned everything else.

I see myself through the window, loping through the storm, wearing Blair. MacReady has told me to burn Blair if he comes back alone, but MacReady still thinks I am one of him. I am not: I am being Blair, and I am at the door. I am being Childs, and I let myself in. I take brief communion, tendrils writhing forth from my faces, intertwining: I am BlairChilds, exchanging news of the world.

The world has found me out. It has discovered my burrow beneath the tool shed, the half-finished lifeboat cannibalized from the viscera of dead helicopters. The world is busy destroying my means of escape. Then it will come back for me.

There is only one option left. I disintegrate. Being Blair, I go to share the plan with Copper and to feed on the rotting biomass once called Clarke; so many changes in so short a time have dangerously depleted my reserves. Being Childs, I have already consumed what was left of Fuchs and am replenished for the next phase. I sling the flamethrower onto my back and head outside, into the long Antarctic night.

I will go into the storm, and never come back.


Rated appropriate for appropriate for older teens and up for disturbing imagery.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 11:35:05 AM by eytanz » Logged
Rain
Matross
****
Posts: 178


« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2011, 07:04:28 AM »

Some good and bad things to say about this

I think the narrative is very confusing and relies on people knowing the plot of The Thing, i have already read the story once and i still found it hard to follow. I also think the story repeats itself for much of the time, it is hard to say because the story is not linear, but i think you could cut a third of the story and be left with something better.

That being said i think it is the best of the Hugo nominees so far, and overall an interesting story. If i was more familiar with The Thing i would probably appreciate the story even more. So i liked it, it was a good story.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 07:07:54 AM by Rain » Logged
Dem
Lochage
*****
Posts: 554


aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com


WWW
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2011, 09:09:54 AM »

I just heard this on Clarkesworld and commented there http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/watts_01_10/ (74), so it was interesting to re-visit it so soon. This time, I already knew that it was based on a film so I didn't spend the first half wondering why it seemed familiar. And Norm kindly made that clear for the EP audience. With that insight, rather than being distracted by the fact of a different original (if such is possible), I found myself placing the two interpretations alongside each other to peg together the parallel misappreciations of two sentient species in their fight for survival.  As I'm human, I pretty much get it, on behalf of McReady et al, and so it's easy to be horrified at the alien's gross invasion. With this story, I am able to be the invader who doesn't understand and feels sorry for us, for what we're missing, due to our dreadful insularity. This feels more like it, when I'm thinking of Hugos. Good to hear Kate Baker over this way again, too.

I do think I might have to have a sit down talk with myself though - last year I rooted for Spar which was about other sorts of biological outcroppings gaining unwelcome entry!
Logged

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.
jrderego
Hipparch
******
Posts: 659


Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)


WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2011, 11:41:04 AM »

Wow. Fanfic gets a Hugo nom.... Very sad.
Logged

"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html
bolddeceiver
Matross
****
Posts: 226


Plunging like stones from a slingshot on mars...


« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2011, 12:32:10 PM »

As for the story itself, it was interesting, if drawn out a little longer than seemed necessary.  What interested me more, though, was the question of where one draws the line between reinterpretation as a legitimate literary device and fan fiction.  We've seen it here on EP before (EP083, Daniel Schwabauer's War of the Worlds-inspired Ulla), and it turns up time to time both in genre fiction and mainstream works.  Is it the transformative nature of the derivative work?  I'm not really involved in the fanfic community, but I understand that there's plenty of transformative work in that field.  Is it the age of the original work (after all, you don't see Gregory Maguire writing a grittier reinterpretation of Harry Potter), or its notibility?  In this case, stories like this one would seem to fall on the borderline at best.  A part of me is concerned that maybe it's just a question of the professional "cred" of the writer -- if you're an established writer with some published work under your belt you can write and publish things that for anyone else would be rendered unpublishable by the "fanfiction" label.  Any thoughts?

::NOTE:: Looks like Jeff said it much more succinctly while I typed this up Wink
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 12:41:58 PM by bolddeceiver » Logged
jrderego
Hipparch
******
Posts: 659


Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)


WWW
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2011, 12:57:50 PM »

As for the story itself, it was interesting, if drawn out a little longer than seemed necessary.  What interested me more, though, was the question of where one draws the line between reinterpretation as a legitimate literary device and fan fiction.  We've seen it here on EP before (EP083, Daniel Schwabauer's War of the Worlds-inspired Ulla), and it turns up time to time both in genre fiction and mainstream works.  Is it the transformative nature of the derivative work?  I'm not really involved in the fanfic community, but I understand that there's plenty of transformative work in that field.  Is it the age of the original work (after all, you don't see Gregory Maguire writing a grittier reinterpretation of Harry Potter), or its notibility?  In this case, stories like this one would seem to fall on the borderline at best.  A part of me is concerned that maybe it's just a question of the professional "cred" of the writer -- if you're an established writer with some published work under your belt you can write and publish things that for anyone else would be rendered unpublishable by the "fanfiction" label.  Any thoughts?

::NOTE:: Looks like Jeff said it much more succinctly while I typed this up Wink

It's annoying to see this story with these accolades, and it's not because it's a bad story. It's not. In fact the POV prism it puts the Campbell story through is an interesting one, and the insights of "THE THING" are ... well ... they're way cliched, but still well done. No complaints there. What I do complain about is that it takes the characters created by John W. Campbell, reimagined by Howard Hawks (less so) and John Carpenter (moreso) and uses them as a big chunk of the storytelling element. It also leans heavily on the audience's knowledge of those characters and the events at an antarctic base to make the story have any sort of narrative clarity. That's as damn near a textbook definition of fanfic as it gets.

What annoys me (getting back on track) is that this story was nominated by the fan community who have evolved to see no greater intrinsic value in originally created works as they do in derivative works. I guess that's why there are shelves of Trek, Wars, and Halo, and other media novels that outsell new works. It's not so much that the writers of original material aren't good enough is that's the so-called fans don't see the difference between a China Mieville novel and a Star Trek novel.

I hope Universal, who owns the rights to The Thing, raises a fuss.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 01:11:12 PM by jrderego » Logged

"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html
bolddeceiver
Matross
****
Posts: 226


Plunging like stones from a slingshot on mars...


« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2011, 01:17:17 PM »

I hope Universal, who owns the rights to The Thing, raises a fuss.

I doubt they will, though; I'm guessing enough people are putting The Thing on their Netflix queue to watch/rewatch because this got the Hugo nod that they're not going to mind the coattail-riding in the least.
Logged
Calculating...
Palmer
**
Posts: 55


Too much knowledge never makes for simple decision


« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2011, 01:19:21 PM »

Count me confused. Hard to follow, but the parts I could follow had me enthralled and terrified. Over all I liked it.
Logged

I don't know who you are or where you came from, but from now on you'll do as I tell you, okay?
dragonsbreath
Palmer
**
Posts: 41


« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2011, 02:38:20 PM »

Good story despite being hard to follow. With regard to the "Thing" I prefer the original 1950's movie of that name.
Logged
jrderego
Hipparch
******
Posts: 659


Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)


WWW
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2011, 02:50:57 PM »

Good story despite being hard to follow. With regard to the "Thing" I prefer the original 1950's movie of that name.

Without that film we'd never have the quote "Keep watching the skies!". I was thinking about it this month too as James Arness died very recently and he played the monster in that version. Campbell's story "Who Goes There" is an excellent read, and is in the public domain and freely available online. Carpenter's film is much closer in feel and plot to the story than the Howard Hawks film.

The text version I found was this -

http://www.scaryforkids.com/who-goes-there-by-john-w-campbell/

It used to be a project gutenberg but there might be a rights thing now withe Universal shooting a dreaded remake...
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 03:00:28 PM by jrderego » Logged

"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html
Dem
Lochage
*****
Posts: 554


aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com


WWW
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2011, 04:20:11 PM »

As for the story itself, it was interesting, if drawn out a little longer than seemed necessary.  What interested me more, though, was the question of where one draws the line between reinterpretation as a legitimate literary device and fan fiction.  We've seen it here on EP before (EP083, Daniel Schwabauer's War of the Worlds-inspired Ulla), and it turns up time to time both in genre fiction and mainstream works.  Is it the transformative nature of the derivative work?  I'm not really involved in the fanfic community, but I understand that there's plenty of transformative work in that field.  Is it the age of the original work (after all, you don't see Gregory Maguire writing a grittier reinterpretation of Harry Potter), or its notibility?  In this case, stories like this one would seem to fall on the borderline at best.  A part of me is concerned that maybe it's just a question of the professional "cred" of the writer -- if you're an established writer with some published work under your belt you can write and publish things that for anyone else would be rendered unpublishable by the "fanfiction" label.  Any thoughts?

::NOTE:: Looks like Jeff said it much more succinctly while I typed this up Wink

It's annoying to see this story with these accolades, and it's not because it's a bad story. It's not. In fact the POV prism it puts the Campbell story through is an interesting one, and the insights of "THE THING" are ... well ... they're way cliched, but still well done. No complaints there. What I do complain about is that it takes the characters created by John W. Campbell, reimagined by Howard Hawks (less so) and John Carpenter (moreso) and uses them as a big chunk of the storytelling element. It also leans heavily on the audience's knowledge of those characters and the events at an antarctic base to make the story have any sort of narrative clarity. That's as damn near a textbook definition of fanfic as it gets.

What annoys me (getting back on track) is that this story was nominated by the fan community who have evolved to see no greater intrinsic value in originally created works as they do in derivative works. I guess that's why there are shelves of Trek, Wars, and Halo, and other media novels that outsell new works. It's not so much that the writers of original material aren't good enough is that's the so-called fans don't see the difference between a China Mieville novel and a Star Trek novel.

I hope Universal, who owns the rights to The Thing, raises a fuss.
It's interesting that I didn't find it derivative. Maybe that's because I didn't really like the film, which seemed coarse and sensationalistic, while this seemed sophisticated and insightful. If anything, this story feels as though it came first, with the rest devolving towards some mass market common denominator.
Logged

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.
jrderego
Hipparch
******
Posts: 659


Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)


WWW
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2011, 07:16:10 PM »

What annoys me (getting back on track) is that this story was nominated by the fan community who have evolved to see no greater intrinsic value in originally created works as they do in derivative works. I guess that's why there are shelves of Trek, Wars, and Halo, and other media novels that outsell new works. It's not so much that the writers of original material aren't good enough is that's the so-called fans don't see the difference between a China Mieville novel and a Star Trek novel.

This is a very interesting discussion - interesting enough that I'm considering splitting it to its own thread except that I find it difficult to figure out what goes there and what stays here. Anyway. I definitely see your point, but I'm wondering if what you're describing is a collapse of an artificial value system that deserves to die. "Originality" is a modern virtue, an artifact of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Many of our classics are derivative - In the days of oral traditions, almost every story was derivative. Most of Shakespeare's play are derivative. The brothers Grimm made their mark retelling folk tales. What was important, for most of human history, is not how original a story was but how well it was told.

If a writer of a Star Trek novel can create something as well written and as engaging as the better Mieville novels, why should readers see a difference there, just because Mieville got to name the main characters?

I'm not saying that originality is not valuable - it is. But I think it's at most a secondary attribute of a story's quality. When comparing two stories that are equally well-written, the author of the original one deserves the metaphorical cookie (mmm... metaphorical cookies...). But I'd much rather read a well-written derivative work than a poorly written original one.

I need to think about how to answer this as I am dumbfounded by your question.
Logged

"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html
matweller
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 552



WWW
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2011, 10:54:37 PM »

I felt much the same way, but was a little wary to say something. The story is well done, but the idea of a premier sci fi award going to a derivative work just feels wrong.

Speaking of derivatives of The Thing, I'm going to be Childs in an upcoming audio drama!  Grin
Logged
Gamercow
Hipparch
******
Posts: 649



« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2011, 12:46:15 PM »

I liked this story, but at the same time, I would have liked it 100 times more if it was written in a world without The Thing.  It is derivative, and eventually falls into fanfic territory, but I think it adds enough insight into the alien's thinking that this story has value above the fanfic nature.  The idea of individual vs community, alien vs familiar, evolution and adaptation are all investigated in an interesting(if wordy) way.  I only have a passing knowledge of The Thing, and I actually think that may have helped my appreciation of the story, because I was not as caught up with comparing it to the original.

As for the subjectivity of something derivative.  There are degrees.  Some people can, and do, pull apart every story into neat little categories.  TV Tropes wouldn't exist and have such a following if they didn't.  but the usefulness of this exercise to me is futile, and often reeks of arrogant elitism to me.  Every story can be seen as derivative of some other work, even JR DeRego's Union Dues stories.  I feel that a story should be judged on its own worth, regardless of what influenced it.  That all said, when a specific work is referenced, it does fall into the fanfic category, as did this one. 

On another note, The Thing was released 29 years ago today.  
Logged

The cow says "Mooooooooo"
Dem
Lochage
*****
Posts: 554


aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com


WWW
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2011, 01:38:47 PM »

I'm not too happy with the idea of this being seen as derivative, as it is finely written. I'm certainly not happy with the notion of plagiarism, even though that was one of my first thoughts, before I knew the original was acknowledged. The closest I have come to a framework, after following this debate, is the notion of the 'found poem' which is a piece of text that can be 'changed in a profound and systematic manner; or untreated: virtually unchanged from the order, syntax and meaning of the original' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Found_poetry).
I recall the film; I didn't like the film. I liked the writing in this piece and that is where the originality exists, along with the changed perspective and the novel insights. The bald theme, to me, is barely relevant.
Logged

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4685



« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2011, 07:12:24 PM »

Moderator note: The interesting, but rather sprawling, discussion on the merits of derivative work has been split off this topic and moved here. This was not a clean split, as it was not always easy for me to decide what belongs here and what is tangential to the story itself. My apologies to everyone involved if you feel that your post now is odd in context.
Logged
Dave
Peltast
***
Posts: 126



WWW
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2011, 09:55:57 PM »

I have listened to this probably five or six times since it first appeared on Clarkesworld. I remember reading it and then mentioning it on these forums, and Kate kindly pointed me to the audio. It remains one of my favorite pieces of fiction ever, and it is among Kate's best narration work as well.

The Things, in my humble opinion, stands right up next to the original story to which it is a companion, as a classic of the genre, more than deserving of the Hugo.

*edit*

I emphatically do not agree with the people calling this plagiarism or, worse, fanfiction. There's a world of difference between the derivative ramblings of a wannabe writer inserting themselves on the set of Star Trek and a sophisticated commentary on a classic piece of genre literature (or film, if you like) that is simultaneously thought provoking and entertaining. The Things does not merely mimic or steal from its predecessor, it recasts the original story in a new light. It adds new dimensions to the original, rather than casting a pale shadow as a plagiarist or fanfic writer might do. In the future, whenever I read Who Goes There, or watch The Thing, there will be a fresh new layer to the horror, thanks to this story.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 10:05:59 PM by Dave » Logged

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 972


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2011, 11:20:58 PM »

Quote
I emphatically do not agree with the people calling this plagiarism or, worse, fanfiction.

See, that's funny, because to me it seems much worse to call it plagiarism  (which, I think we all agree, it isn't - neither in a technical sense nor do I think anyone actually claimed that, as far as I can tell) - which is an out and out crime - than fan fic - which to me, it is, no matter how sophisticated.  That kind of clumsy scenario you refer to as fanfic is a particularly much ridiculed form in fanfic called "mary sue" (but you probably already know that).  This though, is basic fan fic - in essence, using the exact same characters the author didn't create themselves in the exact same scenario that the author didn't create themselves.

Do I think that's inherently inferior?  Hard to say.  Technically, it could be better written than the original (again, I haven't listened to it yet and hold nothing specific against the story's content) - that whole bit about "a little green world" or whatever in the original always struck me as a bit purplish - but being better written wouldn't stop it from being derivative. So to me, aesthetically, it would always get an asterix.  This seems one of the prime examples of why a term like homage was invented in the first place, in fact, as in "paying homage" - the "paying" part even implies that the producer of the derivative work understands their work's minimized status relative to the original.  Maybe that's the formula - really well written fanfic is a homage, while lousy fan fic is fan fic (of course there are other ways to render homage that don't resemble fan fic at all, so lets' say "really well-written fanfic is a form of homage")
Logged
InfiniteMonkey
Lochage
*****
Posts: 464


Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2011, 06:34:46 PM »

Well, after being force-fed two Watts novels recently I didn't expect to like this.

Surprise, surprise, I wasn't disappointed.

It certainly IS a Watts story, with his preoccupations of identity, evolution, of strange, fluid, alien biologies, and their violations of human biology. And mind you, a subject matters, I have no problem with that. It's the special extra-crispy light-destroying darker-than-the-anus-of-a-black-hole tone that Watts has with everything. Seriously, a bottle of bourbon, some 'Ludes, and old Cowboy Junkies albums will cheer you UP after reading a Watts novel.

Not that there aren't interesting ideas in them - or in this story. It's just that my insurance can't handle the anti-depressants one needs to recover.

Plus there's the whole "derivative/fanfic" thing. Which I'm not all that fond of but won't go on about that because of the topic split. Except to say that for he there's some extra ARRGHH!! because I've never seen the John Carpenter "The Thing". (I've just heard people talk about it forever) So I was about as confused as the narrator.

Oh well, at least he avoided the term "vampires" that he's fond of. Really, ENOUGH with the #!@Ying vampires!!
Logged
Swamp
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2224



WWW
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2011, 08:00:47 PM »

Well, after being force-fed two Watts novels recently I didn't expect to like this.

Surprise, surprise, I wasn't disappointed.

It certainly IS a Watts story, with his preoccupations of identity, evolution, of strange, fluid, alien biologies, and their violations of human biology. And mind you, a subject matters, I have no problem with that. It's the special extra-crispy light-destroying darker-than-the-anus-of-a-black-hole tone that Watts has with everything. Seriously, a bottle of bourbon, some 'Ludes, and old Cowboy Junkies albums will cheer you UP after reading a Watts novel.

Not that there aren't interesting ideas in them - or in this story. It's just that my insurance can't handle the anti-depressants one needs to recover.

Plus there's the whole "derivative/fanfic" thing. Which I'm not all that fond of but won't go on about that because of the topic split. Except to say that for he there's some extra ARRGHH!! because I've never seen the John Carpenter "The Thing". (I've just heard people talk about it forever) So I was about as confused as the narrator.

Oh well, at least he avoided the term "vampires" that he's fond of. Really, ENOUGH with the #!@Ying vampires!!

InfiniteMonkey, this is NOT cool.  Please be civil and respectful to the authors, narrators, and forum members.  That is our only rule here.  Here is the link again just to remind everybody.  There are ways to say you don't like an author's overall approach to things and still be respectful.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 08:06:18 PM by Swamp » Logged

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast
InfiniteMonkey
Lochage
*****
Posts: 464


Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2011, 01:22:20 AM »

I apologize.

How about "Peter Watts is not to my taste, personally"?
Logged
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4685



« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2011, 02:30:21 AM »

That's always fine Smiley
Logged
Devoted135
Hipparch
******
Posts: 869



« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2011, 08:51:19 AM »

I think this might be one of those times when ignorance really is bliss. I frighten easily so actively avoid all things horror or generally scary (me over the weekend: why no husband, I will not watch Mirrormask with you). Thus, I have only vague knowledge of the fact that a movie called the Thing exists and that it's a classic and that familiarity with this movie might up my appreciation of the story (I went back, and that last is basically how Norm introduced the connection in his intro).

So, I approached it as a free-standing story and enjoyed it as such, to the extent that I listened to it twice in a row to more closely watch the narrator slowly realize the truth about these so-called biomasses. I thought it was subtly done and that her horror (for some reason the alien was a "her" in my head) upon each new revelation was well written.
Logged
ElectricPaladin
Hipparch
******
Posts: 860


Holy Robot


WWW
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2011, 12:16:50 PM »

I enjoyed the "alternate take on a classic story" angle, but I have to say that I think it went on a little too long. The fact is that I don't remember nearly enough of The Thing or Who Goes There for most of this story to really gel. I did appreciate the fact that to the thing, we are the monsters, and it was amusing to see its actions reinterpreted as its misguided (?) attempt to save us from our own "disability." I wouldn't vote for this to win a Hugo, but I can see why it was nominated and enjoyed hearing it. As I said, though, I felt that it was too long and too detailed to work unless I had absorbed one of the originals shortly prior.

The reading, by the way? Pure genius. Let us hear more of her, please.
Logged

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.
InfiniteMonkey
Lochage
*****
Posts: 464


Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2011, 12:48:15 PM »

I enjoyed the "alternate take on a classic story" angle, but I have to say that I think it went on a little too long. The fact is that I don't remember nearly enough of The Thing or Who Goes There for most of this story to really gel. I did appreciate the fact that to the thing, we are the monsters, and it was amusing to see its actions reinterpreted as its misguided (?) attempt to save us from our own "disability." I wouldn't vote for this to win a Hugo, but I can see why it was nominated and enjoyed hearing it. As I said, though, I felt that it was too long and too detailed to work unless I had absorbed one of the originals shortly prior.

The reading, by the way? Pure genius. Let us hear more of her, please.

Who Goes There is actually a really short story, and ends very differently from either movie (yeah, the end of Carpenter's has long been spoiled for me). I think perhaps this story's length has as much to do with it following the length of the Carpenter movie as anything. Who Goes There probably would barely be 90 mins. if filmed.
Logged
DKT
Friendly Neighborhood
Editor
*****
Posts: 4605


PodCastle is my Co-Pilot


WWW
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2011, 01:29:29 PM »

The reading, by the way? Pure genius. Let us hear more of her, please.

Are you listening to the Clarkesworld podcast? Kate Baker (who also read Spar and Non-Zero Probabilities from last year's Hugo batch) narrates there regularly. (She's narrated several other stories at EP, as well.)

I agree, she's a fantastic reader  Smiley
Logged

Equalizer
Extern
*
Posts: 12


Ninjas are always better.


« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2011, 09:41:57 PM »

I liked this one a lot. I agree that the narrative was a little "all over the place" spanning between a pack of dogs and the 2 different camps of humans. Giving this more thought, I concluded that it would be hard to write a less confusing story when the narrator exists and thinks on the cellular level, especially when the character switches from first to third almost seamlessly.

I remember watching the old Hawks version of this story when I was a kid and never really thinking about it more than just a fun sci-fi action movie. While I haven't seen the Carpenter version yet (I so totally will now), the parasite in this story reminds me of the Erythro sentience in Nemesis by Asimov. Especially when the parasite discussed being entire worlds and also when I realized the protagonist lived and communicated with itself through microbial cells. Unfortunately, the parasite in this story doesn't talk directly to its victims, which could have made for some interesting dialogue. Anyway, thanks for raping another great Hugo nominee into my brain, EP. Much appreciated!
Logged

All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landing there. Use them together. Use them in peace.
Seekerpilgrim
Palmer
**
Posts: 35


A pilgrim searching for his path and his tribe.


« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2011, 12:49:32 AM »

     This was a fantastic story. I've listened to many episodes of Escape Pod, as well as Pseudopod and PodCastle, and while I enjoy most of them, this is only the second that I found worth commenting on. Having seen "The Thing" definitely helps this unofficial sequel make sense, and while I can see where many of the commenters found the storytelling fractured, I agree with those who argue that since the Entity itself is fractured (in fact, the way it divides and sacrifices itself is one of the main plot points), it makes sense within the story's context. I would love to see more stories told (well) from the "monsters" point of view, especially an iconic character like Darth Vader. Keep 'em coming!
Logged

By Grabthar's Hammer...what a savings.
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 6448



WWW
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2011, 08:50:49 AM »

I really enjoyed this one.  This, combined with "For Want of a Nail" make this a record year for me to actually like two of the stories, and consider them worthy of the nom.  (I still haven't heard one of them yet)

The "fanfic" label never really occurred to me.  This had something to do with the face that I've never seen the movie.  It seemed somewhat familiar, a horror story in the Antarctic station, and I Googled it later to find it out.  But in any case, there was so much invention done for this story to give the Thing a fleshed out perspective that, even being aware of the source material, I didn't have a problem with that.  The perspective was so well done that I really felt like I understood the well-meaning reasons behind the horrible things the creature does, and I was sort of rooting on this creature that could quickly overtake all of our world's organisms.

Regarding the label of "fanfic", I guess I use a more narrow definition than many of you.  To me, "fanfic" is one of those terms that's always derogatory.  Generally what I call "fanfic" is unofficial, probably anonymously posted to someone's blog or fan site, certainly not professionally published.  "Slash" fiction or whatever you call it where someone writes about their favorite characters all having sex with each other, is generally the sort of thing when I think of "fanfic", not well-written and extremely imaginative stuff published at award winning magazines like this.  To me, I find the moniker insulting, perhaps because by the broader definition I've sold fanfic as well.

I'd certainly not call it plagiarism either, as all the words are Watts's own.  I assume Watts got explicit permission to publish this story, else I can see how it would be called copyright infringement.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 08:52:35 AM by Unblinking » Logged

--David Steffen
The Submissions Grinder:  Fiction market listings, submissions tracker, always free, poetry and nonfiction markets coming soon!
Talia
Moderator
*****
Posts: 2532


I like pie


« Reply #29 on: June 28, 2011, 09:03:43 PM »

I have to admit that generally Watts' writing style doesn't appeal to me. Thus, I was particularly surprised when I found this one growing on me, and was deeply chilled by the ending. A masterful study of a completely alien mindset.

I'd shy away from the label of fanfic myself, because in my mind "fanfic" = "amateur", which is something this story most assuredly is not. Perhaps that's a misperception, but if so, it's a common one I think.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 6448



WWW
« Reply #30 on: June 29, 2011, 01:15:58 PM »

I'd shy away from the label of fanfic myself, because in my mind "fanfic" = "amateur", which is something this story most assuredly is not. Perhaps that's a misperception, but if so, it's a common one I think.

That's how I view the term "fanfic" too.
Logged

--David Steffen
The Submissions Grinder:  Fiction market listings, submissions tracker, always free, poetry and nonfiction markets coming soon!
InfiniteMonkey
Lochage
*****
Posts: 464


Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2011, 11:58:17 AM »

I'd shy away from the label of fanfic myself, because in my mind "fanfic" = "amateur", which is something this story most assuredly is not. Perhaps that's a misperception, but if so, it's a common one I think.

That's how I view the term "fanfic" too.

I would also add that, IMHO, "fanfic" usually tries - tries, mind you, not necessarily succeeds - to be the voice of what it's derived from. This is mostly certainly NOT the case here; this is very clearly a Watts story in Watts' voice.

Oh, and BTW, for those of you who liked this story, well, don't take my critical judgement as a guide, fer Gawd's sake! I would invite you to go to the author's website, Rifters.com, http://www.rifters.com/index.htm. Why? Well, because if you liked this story, four whole novels of his are available there in Creative Commons (just like Escape Pod).

Just be warned : This Is a Dark Ride.

Logged
Listener
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3177


I place things in locations which later elude me.


WWW
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2011, 01:11:14 PM »

I've never seen The Thing, so if Norm hadn't mentioned it I wouldn't even know it was a retelling or whatever we're calling it.

My opinion of the story is: for the first 20 minutes, nothing happened except a lot of whining about biomass (seriously, could that word have been used any more times?). For the next 25, stuff happened. Then there was a really long denouement that could've been cut off about 60 seconds sooner. Plus, I don't think the story really explored the concept of "alien who is connected to its environment is flabbergasted that humans are discrete creatures" any better than any other pro- or semi-pro published story in the genre. The only things that set it apart were the author and the The Thing elements.

The reading fit the mood of the piece. I just didn't like the piece very much. I'm not quite sure what makes it better than other stories and therefore led to its Hugo nomination. The writing was good, but the story was really, really boring.

Having written and sold a similar story (although where this one uses The Thing, I did Super Mario Bros), the "fanfic vs homage" topic was very interesting to me to read. Henry Jenkins, an expert on fanfiction and participatory culture, has said that fanfic exists to correct a perceived wrong in something the author did (for example, SPOILER Harry Potter not dying at the end of Deathly Hallows END SPOILER).
Logged

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 6448



WWW
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2011, 11:15:45 AM »

Having written and sold a similar story (although where this one uses The Thing, I did Super Mario Bros), the "fanfic vs homage" topic was very interesting to me to read. Henry Jenkins, an expert on fanfiction and participatory culture, has said that fanfic exists to correct a perceived wrong in something the author did (for example, SPOILER Harry Potter not dying at the end of Deathly Hallows END SPOILER).

That's interesting!  I've never heard that definition before.  Of the story I've sold that might be called fanfic, I might say that's true, imagining what Dorothy's journey would've been like if the Tin Man had been truly heartless as he was supposed to be instead of just mopey.
Logged

--David Steffen
The Submissions Grinder:  Fiction market listings, submissions tracker, always free, poetry and nonfiction markets coming soon!
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3789


Cool story, bro!


WWW
« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2011, 06:21:59 PM »

Of the story I've sold that might be called fanfic, I might say that's true, imagining what Dorothy's journey would've been like if the Tin Man had been truly heartless as he was supposed to be instead of just mopey.

Schaffer the Darklord has his own version of that story too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFgKefdOkLA
Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3789


Cool story, bro!


WWW
« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2011, 06:22:53 PM »

This story made me want to rent Carpenter's film again. Haven't seen it for yonks.
Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 1983


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2011, 04:00:34 AM »

Are you listening to the Clarkesworld podcast? Kate Baker (who also read Spar and Non-Zero Probabilities from last year's Hugo batch) narrates there regularly. (She's narrated several other stories at EP, as well.)

I agree, she's a fantastic reader  Smiley

Is she not the only reader? She was when I stopped listening some time ago.
Logged

kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 1983


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2011, 04:02:59 AM »

This story made me want to rent Carpenter's film again. Haven't seen it for yonks.

OK, now that's a good effect!

Personally, I found this tale a little dull. And it also made me want to see Snake Plissen take down the Arctic. :-) Again.
Logged

olivaw
Peltast
***
Posts: 105



« Reply #38 on: July 03, 2011, 11:26:23 AM »

Having only a dim memory of the Carpenter movie, I enjoyed trying to piece together the various bits of the story from the 'wrong' perspective.
Not sure I managed it; it was tricky to keep track of who knew what, who believed what, who was really part of what, even when told from the near-omniscient perspective of the narrator. I found the various characters fairly indistinguishable cyphers, but I'm not sure how much of that was down to the original story, how much a deliberate part of the twisted perspective of the narrator, and how much a failing of the narrative.

Loved the concept, but like others I think it could have been shorter.
Logged
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3789


Cool story, bro!


WWW
« Reply #39 on: July 03, 2011, 01:50:55 PM »

Another thing this story reminded me of was a single-page story in an old issue of Heavy Metal; it was called "The It, or Who Glows There?"

The first panel has one of the Antarctic base team telling the other guys that the alien can impersonate any life form.
In the second panel, MacReady says "you mean like this...?"
Next couple of panels, MacReady's head is morphing into different shapes as he says "...a pig, or..."
Final panel, everybody in view is laughing as the first guy admonishes: "MacReady, quit clowning! I said this was SERIOUS!"
2nd man: "Say 'impersonate' and Mac goes into his act."
3rd man: "Get him to do Haig with constipation!"
Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
CryptoMe
Hipparch
******
Posts: 777



« Reply #40 on: July 04, 2011, 12:18:20 AM »

Okay, I am very surprised by the discussion here. My reaction seems to be completely different from the norm.

First, I didn't mind the derivative/fanfic aspect, except for the fact that it made the story completely incomprehensible for me (never seen The Thing). That to me is a big flaw. Even authors of original work make sure that a new reader can follow along in the nth book if they haven't read the (n-1) earlier books. The fact that this one didn't is a big fail for me.

Secondly, I really did not like the writing style in this story.  For me, it had this quality that tries to scream "Look at me, I am being deep and profound", but all it ends up doing is saying "I'm being pompous!" That aspect in particular, made the story tedious and not enjoyable for me.
Logged
matweller
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 552



WWW
« Reply #41 on: July 04, 2011, 09:55:37 AM »

This story made me want to rent Carpenter's film again. Haven't seen it for yonks.
It's on Netflix streaming right now. I...erm..."listened" to it at work the other day to prepare for my upcoming role.
Logged
kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 1983


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #42 on: July 04, 2011, 09:35:42 PM »

This story made me want to rent Carpenter's film again. Haven't seen it for yonks.
It's on Netflix streaming right now. I...erm..."listened" to it at work the other day to prepare for my upcoming role.

Role as... an amorphous blob?
Logged

matweller
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 552



WWW
« Reply #43 on: July 04, 2011, 09:46:19 PM »

No, that would be my reality...I'll be Childs in an upcoming audio drama adaptation.

http://matweller.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/a-new-gig-with-a-flamethrower/

Sorry, I mentioned it in an earlier post in this thread. I promise it's not all ego, I'm just really excited to be in a project like this.
Logged
Listener
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3177


I place things in locations which later elude me.


WWW
« Reply #44 on: July 05, 2011, 08:12:19 PM »

This story made me want to rent Carpenter's film again. Haven't seen it for yonks.
It's on Netflix streaming right now. I...erm..."listened" to it at work the other day to prepare for my upcoming role.

My coworker does that all the time. Lucky for him, his desk is in the far back corner of the floor, and you can't see his screen even when you walk down the hallway to speak to him.
Logged

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42
kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 1983


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #45 on: July 05, 2011, 09:53:47 PM »

No, that would be my reality...I'll be Childs in an upcoming audio drama adaptation.

http://matweller.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/a-new-gig-with-a-flamethrower/

Sorry, I mentioned it in an earlier post in this thread. I promise it's not all ego, I'm just really excited to be in a project like this.

I missed the earlier post, sorry. Wow. That sounds freakin' awesome, man, major gratz! Might have to pick your brains about how one finds these auditions...
Logged

Kaa
Lochage
*****
Posts: 547


Trusst in me, jusst in me.


WWW
« Reply #46 on: July 07, 2011, 01:49:38 PM »

I was prepared to hate this. I started listening, and couldn't wait for the narrative to stop and for it to get to the meat of the story. Some action. Some dialogue. And then...I realized what it was. What I was listening to.

I listened to it completely entranced from that point on. It's been ages since I saw the movie, but I really like the idea of this story told from the viewpoint of the "bad guy."

I don't agree at all with those dismissing this as "derivative" or "fanfic," myself. I think of it--if anything along those lines--as more of an homage.
Logged

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else
LaShawn
Editor
*****
Posts: 549


Writer Mommies Rule!


WWW
« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2011, 02:39:33 PM »

Most of this was background noise to me. Never saw the Thing. Might, but this story didn't give me a burning drive to watch it. Writing was interesting, though, and that last line....huh. Strong and heavy. I gleaned its impact from the story, but I bet if I seen the movie, it would've left me flabbergasted and raw.
Logged

--
Visit LaShawn at The Cafe in the Woods:
http://tbonecafe.wordpress.com
Another writer's antiblog: In Touch With Yours Truly
Spindaddy
Peltast
***
Posts: 152


Small god of doughnuts


« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2011, 11:06:37 PM »

This is my first EscapePod story and I think I kind of liked it--or maybe not really. I'm not sure to be honest. Perhaps it's safest to say that I like parts of it, but other parts bored me. I must say that Kate compelled me to keep listening. The last line was like a punch to the face. I also liked the comparision of the human brain to being 'a cancer'.

Never saw 'the thing' but after reading this discussion, I sort of want to now to at least get a better perspective of the story.

Or maybe not.
Logged

I'm not evil. I'm corporate.
kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 1983


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #49 on: July 08, 2011, 01:49:46 AM »

This is my first EscapePod story and I think I kind of liked it--or maybe not really. I'm not sure to be honest. Perhaps it's safest to say that I like parts of it, but other parts bored me. I must say that Kate compelled me to keep listening. The last line was like a punch to the face. I also liked the comparision of the human brain to being 'a cancer'.

Never saw 'the thing' but after reading this discussion, I sort of want to now to at least get a better perspective of the story.

Or maybe not.

...as long as you're sure ;-) ;-)
Logged

NoNotRogov
Guest
« Reply #50 on: July 09, 2011, 02:52:23 PM »

Norm is freaking hilarious as a narrator, but I sometimes wonder if he's jarring to people not used to him from the Drabblecast, where comments such as his in this show are to be expected.

The story itself: there's so much homage/pastiche/etc. in everything from classic to contemporary SF that "plagiarism" or "fanfic" never even crossed my mind. What stuck out in the story for me, was that Watts came up with explanations that made the characters proven to be non-Things in the testing scene to actually be Things; which makes MacCready all the more alien and impressive in the story. He's the only one who avoids being very quickly assimilated, and yet the Thing is disjointed enough and not able to control all of its' tendrils that it fears him despite outnumbering him so heavily.

I'll also note something: for some reason in stories that have the well known hero as the Antagonist, as the monster, they seem to give them less dialogue and characterization than regular monster villain antagonists are given. From Beowulf in Grendel to this story here, it seems to often be the case.

As awesome as making a well known hero out to be a force of nature, an impending doom or indescribable horror from the perspective of a protagonist (like the way the fictional version of Orson Welles in "The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril" pitches a The Shadow movie where the gangster are the protagonists and The Shadow is antagonist - hunting them down and never seen clearly), I would also like to read just one story where the Hero Antagonist has a lot of dialogue and is like a chatty well characterized Villain Antagonist character rather than a plot device like zombies or an avalanche.

Overall this story gets one self-aware, mutating thumb up from me.
Logged
Westlake
Extern
*
Posts: 8


« Reply #51 on: July 10, 2011, 06:24:43 AM »

I see where everyone's coming from with the whole 'this is fanfic' thing. But I suppose you could then ask, where do you draw the line between fanfic and homage? That said, I do think you ought to have seen the film in order to really appreciate this story.

But moving on from that and focussing on the story in itself, I thought it was excellent, if a little self-conscious at times. The language was tight, with some cool turns of phrase. Also, the Thing's horror at the concept of individuality etc was conveyed very well, in my opinion.
Logged
jrderego
Hipparch
******
Posts: 659


Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)


WWW
« Reply #52 on: July 10, 2011, 08:18:54 AM »

...But I suppose you could then ask, where do you draw the line between fanfic and homage? That said, I do think you ought to have seen the film in order to really appreciate this story.

At the risk of reopening this discussion here and not on the thread where it belongs... The way I see it is, if you're writing a story using the characters, plot, setting, mechanics, and event sequence as written by someone else, you're writing fanfic, if you're writing a story that references those characters, plot, setting, mechanics or event sequence you're writing a homage.

But go to the other thread and see how the argument went (it was a fun one).
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 08:39:10 AM by jrderego » Logged

"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html
Dem
Lochage
*****
Posts: 554


aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com


WWW
« Reply #53 on: July 10, 2011, 11:53:47 AM »

...But I suppose you could then ask, where do you draw the line between fanfic and homage? That said, I do think you ought to have seen the film in order to really appreciate this story.

At the risk of reopening this discussion here and not on the thread where it belongs... The way I see it is, if you're writing a story using the characters, plot, setting, mechanics, and event sequence as written by someone else, you're writing fanfic, if you're writing a story that references those characters, plot, setting, mechanics or event sequence you're writing a homage.

But go to the other thread and see how the argument went (it was a fun one).
Unless it stands up on its own, you don't need to know about the other perspective, and it comes from a POV that wasn't even mentioned in the 'original'?
Sorry, I don't know how to get this over to the other thread  Sad
Logged

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.
jrderego
Hipparch
******
Posts: 659


Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)


WWW
« Reply #54 on: July 10, 2011, 01:58:36 PM »

...But I suppose you could then ask, where do you draw the line between fanfic and homage? That said, I do think you ought to have seen the film in order to really appreciate this story.

At the risk of reopening this discussion here and not on the thread where it belongs... The way I see it is, if you're writing a story using the characters, plot, setting, mechanics, and event sequence as written by someone else, you're writing fanfic, if you're writing a story that references those characters, plot, setting, mechanics or event sequence you're writing a homage.

But go to the other thread and see how the argument went (it was a fun one).
Unless it stands up on its own, you don't need to know about the other perspective, and it comes from a POV that wasn't even mentioned in the 'original'?
Sorry, I don't know how to get this over to the other thread  Sad

The other thread is pegged at the top of Science Fiction Discussion.

http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=5081.0

And, yes. Even if it's a different POV, it's fanfic. As stated several times, this is my opinion not a universally acknowledged truth. Fanfic by design can't stand up on its own. The responses to The Things, from all who haven't seen The Thing or read Who Goes There (read the bleedin' thread) all complain about some measure of narrative confusion. That's because the The Things is requires knowing the situation, setting, and characters of the donor work(s) to be completely comprehensible.

Also, as stated, I liked this story. I thought it was clever and well written. My complaint was that the fan community doesn't value originality by virtue of this work being nominated for a Hugo. Ok, I'm out of this discussion because it's getting repetitive.
Logged

"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html
Anarkey
Meen Pie
Editor
*****
Posts: 703


...depends a good deal on where you want to get to


WWW
« Reply #55 on: July 10, 2011, 03:06:24 PM »


And, yes. Even if it's a different POV, it's fanfic. As stated several times, this is my opinion not a universally acknowledged truth. Fanfic by design can't stand up on its own. The responses to The Things, from all who haven't seen The Thing or read Who Goes There (read the bleedin' thread) all complain about some measure of narrative confusion. That's because the The Things is requires knowing the situation, setting, and characters of the donor work(s) to be completely comprehensible.

I wanted to mention that I have not - so far as I know - seen the original and had no idea the story was related to anything else, but managed to understand the gist of it just fine.  Here's to keeping the stats real, and avoiding the whole universal response blanket statement which is rarely true anyway.  

Then again, I may have a higher than mean tolerance for narrative confusion.  Then again, again, I'm sure I'm not the only one who understood it well enough to enjoy it without the frame of reference of the original, even if I'm in the minority.    

And while this isn't my favorite, I still heart Peter Watts and I dug this story.

edited to remove extraneous article.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 03:08:15 PM by Anarkey » Logged

Winner Nash's 1000th member betting pool + Thaurismunths' Free Rice Contest!
motoyugota
Extern
*
Posts: 10


« Reply #56 on: July 10, 2011, 09:29:14 PM »

Ugh. This is the first story here in a long time that I just could not get through. The writing style, the content, the fact that it drags on and on and goes nowhere, sorry, absolutely terrible. I kept going for far longer than I should have, hoping that it would somehow redeem itself, and it never did.
Logged
iamafish
Matross
****
Posts: 261



WWW
« Reply #57 on: July 11, 2011, 05:34:44 AM »

this one actually grew on me quite a bit. At first i was very confused and slightly bored. I've never seen The Thing or read Who Goes There, so i was pretty lost to start with. Eventually i managed to see through the confusion and get the point, even if i didn't get the story too well. Enjoyable, but not outstanding, because it was just too hard to get into for someone unfamiliar with the original work

I think that is a massive flaw in the story, because it makes it very hard for someone unfamiliar with the original to get into it. It's like watching a sequel where so much is reliant on the first film, that it's impossible to get into. Any derivative work needs to stand up on its own, not be propped up by the work from which it is derived.

on a different note, reading through a thread which has been the subject of a split is really odd, because you get the eerie feeling that there's something missing, but you're not sure what until the mod says the thread has been split.
Logged

jrderego
Hipparch
******
Posts: 659


Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)


WWW
« Reply #58 on: July 11, 2011, 04:53:17 PM »

this one actually grew on me quite a bit. At first i was very confused and slightly bored. I've never seen The Thing or read Who Goes There, so i was pretty lost to start with. Eventually i managed to see through the confusion and get the point, even if i didn't get the story too well. Enjoyable, but not outstanding, because it was just too hard to get into for someone unfamiliar with the original work

I think that is a massive flaw in the story, because it makes it very hard for someone unfamiliar with the original to get into it. It's like watching a sequel where so much is reliant on the first film, that it's impossible to get into. Any derivative work needs to stand up on its own, not be propped up by the work from which it is derived.

on a different note, reading through a thread which has been the subject of a split is really odd, because you get the eerie feeling that there's something missing, but you're not sure what until the mod says the thread has been split.

we're doing blood serum tests in the split off thread.
Logged

"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html
Scattercat
Caution:
Editor
*****
Posts: 4400


Amateur wordsmith


WWW
« Reply #59 on: July 12, 2011, 02:53:54 AM »

we're doing blood serum tests in the split off thread.

*Points*
*Begins to howl like a siren*
Logged

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 6448



WWW
« Reply #60 on: July 12, 2011, 09:40:28 AM »

And, yes. Even if it's a different POV, it's fanfic. As stated several times, this is my opinion not a universally acknowledged truth. Fanfic by design can't stand up on its own. The responses to The Things, from all who haven't seen The Thing or read Who Goes There (read the bleedin' thread) all complain about some measure of narrative confusion. That's because the The Things is requires knowing the situation, setting, and characters of the donor work(s) to be completely comprehensible.

Not "all".  I have not seen the source movie or prose, and I was not any more confused than I was supposed to be.  It took me a bit of time to sort out the rules, but that is to be expected with any competently written non-human POV, and all the details were laid out for me to understand.
Logged

--David Steffen
The Submissions Grinder:  Fiction market listings, submissions tracker, always free, poetry and nonfiction markets coming soon!
Lionman
Peltast
***
Posts: 98


[Insert witty banter here!]


« Reply #61 on: July 12, 2011, 11:09:47 AM »

This story wasn't captivating to me, but I do think it was a very interesting POV commentary with the movie.  And, a very nice synopsis, if you've seen the movie.
Logged
InfiniteMonkey
Lochage
*****
Posts: 464


Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #62 on: July 12, 2011, 11:16:07 AM »

we're doing blood serum tests in the split off thread.

*Points*
*Begins to howl like a siren*

Now, see, I thought this was to see if you were a Changeling, rather than a pod.....
Logged
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3789


Cool story, bro!


WWW
« Reply #63 on: July 12, 2011, 04:48:04 PM »

Deja vu...
« Last Edit: July 13, 2011, 08:37:08 AM by stePH » Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
jwbjerk
Palmer
**
Posts: 25



« Reply #64 on: July 12, 2011, 05:42:52 PM »

All i can say is, when i see a story labeled: "Hugo Winner", i hope to find something like this.

I've read the story (years ago), but have never seen the movie.  I think i still would have liked it and understood enough of it, even if i'd never read the story.

EDIT: having listened to the other available nominees for short story, this one is indeed my pick for for Hugo winner.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2011, 03:24:38 PM by jwbjerk » Logged
Wilson Fowlie
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1435


WWW
« Reply #65 on: July 12, 2011, 05:44:58 PM »


Hah!
Logged

"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
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 972


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #66 on: July 21, 2011, 07:50:09 PM »

Well, finally got to listen to it.  I enjoyed it, a bit more at the start than by the end.  I would assume it was inspired by the comments on the DVD commentary track about how Carpenter and the cast amused themselves during filming with an ongoing debate as to whether those who had become the THING would even know they were the THING (that is - did it replicate everything, including memory, and then control, or was it total replication and replacement?).  I thought the viewpoint was interesting, although as it went on I almost wanted it to be a little *more* alien, it seemed to rely a bit too much on human terminology in its thought processes (I realize that that is a tightrope that has to be walked when writing from an alien POV, for my money the one word that kept getting under my skin was "shapeshift" - and I didn't feel the rest of the story supported a reading where the THING integrates its hosts languages, either).

I liked its realization that humans died/ended.  Good stuff.  Nice reader choice as well.

Unfortunately, though, I still felt what I'd feared (and I'll try to be brief so as not to relegate this to the other split off thread) - it's really great to have a story idea like this but other considerations outside of the creative act should be taken up and, to put it bluntly, Campbell - and even more so Bill Lancaster, let's be honest here - did a lot of the heavy lifting and Peter Wells was able to take advantage of their work to produce his.  I mean, there's even direct lifts of Lancaster's dialogue and scenarios here (in fact, I felt that that was one of the weakest points - the need to have to go back and "explain" why certain scenes in the movie happened the way they did if we, with this new story, are now privy to inside knowledge of who was THING and who wasn't - so the cardiac paddles scene gets to be replayed because the THING has to explain why it would allow itself to be hurt - hmmmm...) and so Wells also gets to kind of ride the coattails of a memorable, wonderfully ambiguous ending (while providing us with an answer to that ambiguity that, honestly, I never wanted).

But, I know, it's only a story.  A story I enjoyed listening to, a story that obviously had some depth to it and much thought behind it, - but sorry, IMHO a story that has an eternal asterisk next to it and really shouldn't have been up for an award (whether it be a Hugo, a Parsec, a Shirley Jackson, a BSFA, a Ted Sturgeon Memorial or a Locus - although as Eytanz pointed out, I guess none of those are awards for originality either).  A fun story, a thoughtful story, but not whole work on its own.

I wonder if a story about Freddy Krueger(tm) musing on his indeterminate state between NIGHTMARE(tm) films, eternally defeated (different every time), eternally resurrected (just by being remembered), aware that he's in a film series (thanks to NEW NIGHTMARE(tm) - FREDDY VS. JASON(tm), that followed, actually had him directly addressing the audience in his opening narration), heck - pissed that he's treated like an action figure to be pitted against another franchise "monster", and then horrified to find he's being resurrected in a different form, retooled for the next generation of dumber teens who he hates - I wonder if such a story would be as warmly embraced?  Lots of neat ideas there, lots of meat, but shouldn't writing be something more than that?  Maybe not.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2011, 08:51:07 PM by Sgarre1 » Logged
Scattercat
Caution:
Editor
*****
Posts: 4400


Amateur wordsmith


WWW
« Reply #67 on: July 22, 2011, 07:39:55 AM »

I think Freddy isn't quite the same; he's already gone meta, to a certain extent, and his very nature is more flexible and accepting of metanarrative than "The Thing," which was very much without a sly wink and nod at the audience for the most part.  I'd be a lot more accepting of a Freddy meta-story, I think.
Logged

---
Mirrorshards: Very Short Stories
100 Words.  No more.  No fewer.  Every day.
Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book
gjones9
Extern
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #68 on: July 24, 2011, 10:30:18 PM »

I listened to this story twice before I realized it was based on both a movie and older short story. I love the story and think it is deserving of the Hugo.  It is the only Hugo-nom story I have revisited three times.  I have since seen the John Carpenter movie (generating revenue for the studio, hopefully easing the minds of those commentators worry about copyright whatnots and such things).  The topics that captivated me are myriad, and include the classic drama inherent in "the clash of cultures" motif, not to mention the increasingly relevant monster's perspective angle.  Also, the nuts-and-bolts sci-fi speculation about alternative biology was utterly fascinating.           
Logged
hardware
Peltast
***
Posts: 148



« Reply #69 on: August 11, 2011, 12:04:09 PM »

I have only a superficial knowledge of the movie and still managed to enjoy this a lot. While it's true that it does drag on about how weird it is that human has a fixed shape a bit longer than really needed, it is one of the best alien POV stories I've encountered, and the sense of loss and confusion is very well executed. I don't see how taking a story and turning it inside out plus injecting your own writing style can really be counted as anything else than original.
Logged
ItCameFromTheWest
Extern
*
Posts: 3

I am become Death


« Reply #70 on: August 28, 2011, 08:29:28 PM »

not much to say... but i really loved this story
Logged

I sit alone and listen to the receding footsteps of what might have been
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 972


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #71 on: September 10, 2011, 01:25:36 PM »

"From the producers of the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, the remake of the remake of THE THING"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKjErC2JLQc

(Of course, they institute "CoverYourAss" by claiming it's a prequel but, seriously, who buys that?)

So maybe Peter Wells can get another award winning story out of it?  Wink
Logged
Alasdair5000
Editor
*****
Posts: 979



WWW
« Reply #72 on: September 10, 2011, 03:13:08 PM »

*ahem*

Boss? It has Mary Elizabeth Winstead in it. And Mr Eko from Lost.

And...it looks kind of great actually. The director is on record as saying they spent a LOT of time studying the Norwegian camp scenes and reverse engineering what we see to get to what causes it.

I'm honestly pretty excited about this movie:)
Logged
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 972


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #73 on: September 10, 2011, 07:13:32 PM »

Oh don't mind me, I'm an old grump - I'll probably still go see it anyway!  But I do dread that a previous masterwork of practical special effects is going to be remade with a lot of CGI.


“A picture might be worth a thousand words but a good sentence is worth a thousand windows.”
Mati Klarwein
Logged
matweller
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 552



WWW
« Reply #74 on: June 25, 2012, 10:26:56 AM »

Because I mentioned this earlier in the thread...

In case you're interested in an amateur audio drama of Who Goes There? -- the story The Thing was based on, you may want to check this out:
http://matweller.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/released-who-goes-there-the-story-the-movie-the-thing-was-based-on/

I really want to help this project out, so I'm going to post it a couple applicable places on the forum. Please forgive me if you see this post creep up elsewhere.
Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 4 [All]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!