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Author Topic: EP303: Leech Run  (Read 18409 times)

eytanz

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on: July 30, 2011, 04:43:01 PM
EP303: Leech Run

by Scott W. Baker

Read by Alasdair Stuart
Originally appeared in Zero Gravity: Adventures in Deep Space

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The inhabitants of Galileo Station parted as Titan moved among them. Not one made eye contact, but all gawked furtively. One of Titan’s dark eyes glared back down at the throng; the other eye remained hidden behind a curtain of stark white hair. Conspicuous appearance was his curse. What bystander would forget a snow-capped mountain of dark muscle? Memorability was not an asset for someone like him.

One body in the crowd moved toward Titan rather than away. “The passengers is aboard, love,” the man said.

“Reif, call me ‘love’ in public and you’ll find yourself very uncomfortable.” Titan lowered his voice so it stayed within the wide berth granted by the populace. “How many passengers?”

“Thirty-two, lo — Captain.”

Titan shook his head. “Hemingway promised fifty.”

“If Hem flew so bad as he scored cargo–”

“Any load of leeches will turn a profit,” Titan assured the mechanic. “But small load doesn’t mean small risk. I want you sharp.”

“As ever, love.”

They continued through the bustling station to their ship, a little cargo runner designed for intra-system transport at sub-light speeds. Of course, a mechanic of Reif’s skill could make a ship reach speeds its designers never fathomed.

Such deviant engineering demanded a pilot with a select set of skills and dubious moral character. Hemingway possessed both. He was waiting for them beside the ship with his ever-present, boastful grin.

“I said there be takers on Galileo, didn’t I?” Hemingway said as his crewmates entered earshot. “I done already told them the rules.”

Titan’s brow furrowed. “Thirty-two? Don’t dislocate anything patting yourself on the back. And there’s just one rule on my ship.”

Titan brushed past his pilot into the cargo hold. It was a small hold, even for an intra-system runner, but it hadn’t always been so. Reif’s touch here made for ideal leech transport. The customized hold maintained a six-foot buffer from all electrical systems, enough of a gap that even a class-three leech couldn’t siphon a single ampere. Despite his extensive precautions, Titan always felt uneasy with such capricious cargo.


Rated appropriate for appropriate for mid-teens and up for violence and mild adult language.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 07:18:27 PM by Swamp »



iamafish

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Reply #1 on: July 31, 2011, 11:20:39 AM
Yarr! I be the pirate king under the mountain and this is the first comment in this thread me hearties!

Loved this story. Space Pirates? SPACE PIRATES?! awesome. This story didn't have a great deal of depth - the bits about identity were thrown in, but they felt a little tacked in - but that doesn't matter. It was really well written, exciting, and mixed pirate and sci-fi tropes in a really interesting way. The characters were interesting, in particular the main character. He had an interesting past which clearly deeply effected how he was, in more interesting ways that one might expect. His desire for another grade 4 leecher showed that he was a a little more than a grizzled old smuggler, but had something more to him as well.

Really good story. Well done Escape pod. and well done AL for a fantastic reading.


Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #2 on: July 31, 2011, 10:15:42 PM
I liked this story very much.
It was enthralling, it pulled me in right from the start and although the plot twist was admittedly predictable, I still enjoyed it.
My total enjoyment was slightly marred, however, by Alasdair's reading.
Generally I like the way he reads and tries to do different character voices. But I don't know what happened this time. Maybe he was reading too fast, maybe the voice of Titan was too soft... whatever it was I found myself having to rewind several times for 20 seconds or so because I missed something critical.
And no, I wasn't jogging this time, just sitting on the bus, with my noise-canceling headphones.

But despite that, this was a great story.
Anything with space-pirates, jury-rigged hyper-luminal drives and people that feed off of energy is a winner in my book.

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Scattercat

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Reply #3 on: July 31, 2011, 11:04:47 PM
I do have to say that the main character seems to be a giant butthead without any redeeming features, which impaired my enjoyment somewhat.  This is my third exposure to the story and I'm still not sure why the leeches rally against the evil girl leech instead of the equally evil and more actively bullying Titan.  He's a friggin' coyote.  Worse, he's a coyote who should know better, having experienced the appalling treatment for himself.  And he appears to get by on sheer physical intimidation, except instead of being rough bluster covering a soft heart, he actually means it when he threatens people.

I dunno.  When he revealed he had superpowers, my reaction was more of an apprehensive "Oh, crap!" than a "Yay!"

The reading was excellent, however.  The German accent gave Hemingway a lot more color than he had in text.  Sort of a trompe l'oeil for characterization; the illusion of depth. 

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Rain

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Reply #4 on: August 01, 2011, 07:03:31 AM
I thought it was an ok story, but it kinda got ruined by Alasdair's reading, i will admit that i am not normally a fan of his readings, but i thought he was speaking too fast most of the time, and halfway through when one character started speaking in the same accent as another character it just became a bit of a mess and made the story hard to understand.



matweller

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Reply #5 on: August 01, 2011, 01:02:38 PM
I do have to say that the main character seems to be a giant butthead without any redeeming features, which impaired my enjoyment somewhat.  This is my third exposure to the story and I'm still not sure why the leeches rally against the evil girl leech instead of the equally evil and more actively bullying Titan.  He's a friggin' coyote.  Worse, he's a coyote who should know better, having experienced the appalling treatment for himself.  And he appears to get by on sheer physical intimidation, except instead of being rough bluster covering a soft heart, he actually means it when he threatens people.

I dunno.  When he revealed he had superpowers, my reaction was more of an apprehensive "Oh, crap!" than a "Yay!"

The reading was excellent, however.  The German accent gave Hemingway a lot more color than he had in text.  Sort of a trompe l'oeil for characterization; the illusion of depth. 
He was a coyote in function, but there are some things to consider...
  • Coyotes look different from your perspective. To us they seem horrible. To the people that use them, they seem a worthwhile risk for the return. I'm not saying anything about who's right. I'm just saying the fact that they exist means somebody thinks they have value
  • Unlike a coyote, I didn't get the feeling that he would dump cargo to save himself, but more like the money made prison risk-worthy or maybe just that he understood that because of his condition, he was a step away from prison in the best of times, so he might as well make a little cash while keeping himself in exile.
  • He didn't randomly want or try to kill his passengers, if that were the case he either wouldn't take them or this would be a Pseudopod story. It's more that because he so fully understood the risks involved, he laid down the rules with no wiggle-room because a failure to comply meant death for everybody. Better to airlock one leech than let him kill 50 and derelict your ship.

I drank the Kool Aid (tm) on this one. And while I wouldn't put this reading in his personal top 5, it's far from Al's worst. Besides, he's on a Pro-in-everything-but-paycheck plane -- his worst is better than 80% of all podcast content.



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Reply #6 on: August 01, 2011, 01:19:16 PM
This was a cool idea, generally well executed.  I liked the idea of the leeches, and the leech runner who ships them from place to place.  while the main character wasn't particularly likable, the situation was interesting enough to entirely make up for it.

The one thing that bothered me was the "twist" reveal in the middle.  I like POV immersion.  To me, that's what makes most stories worthwhile, sinking into a character's head.  But when a character suddenly reveals a major secret that should've been clear from the beginning it throws me right out of the point of view to a far far distance.  Instead of getting the "Oh wow" on the reveal like I really want in a twist, this sort of thing gives me a "Really...?  That's really the way this is going to go?" 

The tension of that scene is set up very well, setting up a seemingly unsolvable situation with the pirate in control of the ship and Titan locked in the cargo with the rest of the leeches.  I was waiting to see what would happen, what kind of innovative solution he would come up with.  And then the reveal--Oh, he can walk through walls effortlessly, though he doesn't like the feeling of it.  And he's known this all along, in fact he escaped prison by doing this sort of thing.  Speaking of leeches, that leeched the tension right out of the whole thing.

A POV character doesn't need to reveal to me every nitty gritty detail of their childhood or anything, but the fact that he's a leech, and a level 4 at that, is too important for it to be a reveal at a major moment within the story.  Now, if Hemingway had been a leech or something, that would've been no problem, because he wasn't a POV character. 



Scattercat

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Reply #7 on: August 01, 2011, 01:19:50 PM
  • Coyotes look different from your perspective. To us they seem horrible. To the people that use them, they seem a worthwhile risk for the return. I'm not saying anything about who's right. I'm just saying the fact that they exist means somebody thinks they have value

Desperate people have very different ideas about what constitutes "worthwhile risk."  In this story, these people were fleeing genocide.  If they stay, they will literally die.  There are a lot of ways to respond to that kind of situation, from the outside.  Titan picked a pretty appalling one.  The only worse position, really, would be to take their money and then just space them.  He's still preying on desperation and fear, and trading in the same.  

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grokman

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Reply #8 on: August 01, 2011, 01:56:29 PM
I liked this story very much, and I guess I'm finally getting used to Alisdair's narrating voice after all of these years, as I can't imagine another reader handling it as well, especially the various English/Irish/Aussie accents. I was totally captivated by this story until the very end - when they tied the Class 4 up with non-conductive cord. If it's so easy to contain a Class 4, then the Captain OBVIOUSLY should've been aware of this and maybe in addition to the 6 (Feet? Inches?) of space surrounding the hold from the ship he should've added a layer of non-conductive plexiglass. I guess that's HIS lesson learned, eh, luv?



Thomas

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Reply #9 on: August 01, 2011, 02:51:16 PM
his was just FUN! the gruff unlikeable capt'n turns out to be one with the leeches he transports... cool twist, should have expected it though.
(BTW, Alasdair is my hero, love his commentary on psuedopod)

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Reply #10 on: August 01, 2011, 03:50:43 PM
If it's so easy to contain a Class 4, then the Captain OBVIOUSLY should've been aware of this and maybe in addition to the 6 (Feet? Inches?) of space surrounding the hold from the ship he should've added a layer of non-conductive plexiglass. I guess that's HIS lesson learned, eh, luv?

Or just, y'know, coat the floor and walls in rubber.

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Reply #11 on: August 01, 2011, 05:38:38 PM
If it's so easy to contain a Class 4, then the Captain OBVIOUSLY should've been aware of this and maybe in addition to the 6 (Feet? Inches?) of space surrounding the hold from the ship he should've added a layer of non-conductive plexiglass. I guess that's HIS lesson learned, eh, luv?

Or just, y'know, coat the floor and walls in rubber.

It's easier to cut through rubber and peel it back I'd think.  Either way, I've gotta say that yeah, if the captain is a class 4 he should be able to take precautions against such.  If he weren't a class 4, then sure he could dismiss them as myth, but since he IS a class 4, clearly it's not a myth.

« Last Edit: August 01, 2011, 05:41:09 PM by Unblinking »



iamafish

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Reply #12 on: August 01, 2011, 06:45:54 PM
The tension of that scene is set up very well, setting up a seemingly unsolvable situation with the pirate in control of the ship and Titan locked in the cargo with the rest of the leeches.  I was waiting to see what would happen, what kind of innovative solution he would come up with.  And then the reveal--Oh, he can walk through walls effortlessly, though he doesn't like the feeling of it.  And he's known this all along, in fact he escaped prison by doing this sort of thing.  Speaking of leeches, that leeched the tension right out of the whole thing.

bloody hell! That sucked.


olivaw

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Reply #13 on: August 01, 2011, 10:41:04 PM
I've just come back from a weekend of pirates and mad technomages, and I found all the characters and dynamics here reassuringly familiar with enough quirks to remain entertaining.

Coyote is a new term for me, although it should have been obvious from the context. I'd be interested to hear ideas of what better tactics might be used to assist refugees escape persecution, when one is a wanted criminal oneself. Titan may not have been a Mal Reynolds, but 'Lesser weevil' is very much part of the Pirates genre.

That said, I think the passenger lynching could have worked better. Why should they care that one bastard has murdered another bastard? There are possible answers that come to mind, but in the telling it came across as narrative convenience.

Somehow, when 'level 3 leech' was mentioned, I automatically assumed that the levels went up to 5. Not sure why - B5 Psi-Corps went up to 10, didn't they? For that matter, I'm struggling to think of any psionics story which hasn't featured 'oh my god, this psychic goes up to eleven!' somewhere.




Dave

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Reply #14 on: August 01, 2011, 11:48:26 PM
I liked this one, but I can't be the only one who saw Christina Hendricks in my mind's eye whenever the lady passenger was mentioned, can I?

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Alasdair5000

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Reply #15 on: August 02, 2011, 06:08:26 AM
I was actually picturing Laura Fraser from 'Neverwhere' but..yeah, she was rather Hendricks-y:)



Scattercat

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Reply #16 on: August 02, 2011, 07:41:01 AM
Coyote is a new term for me, although it should have been obvious from the context. I'd be interested to hear ideas of what better tactics might be used to assist refugees escape persecution, when one is a wanted criminal oneself. Titan may not have been a Mal Reynolds, but 'Lesser weevil' is very much part of the Pirates genre.

Not charging exorbitant fees or threatening to shoot everyone all the time would be two places to start, if one were doing it for good motives rather than profit.

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childoftyranny

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Reply #17 on: August 03, 2011, 05:39:38 PM
Quote from: grokman
If it's so easy to contain a Class 4, then the Captain OBVIOUSLY should've been aware of this and maybe in addition to the 6 (Feet? Inches?) of space surrounding the hold from the ship he should've added a layer of non-conductive plexiglass. I guess that's HIS lesson learned, eh, luv?

But then wouldn't he have screwed himself out of an escape if worst came to worst? It seems like a rather good decision on his part to build a room that he could escape but no one else can.

That said, I think the passenger lynching could have worked better. Why should they care that one bastard has murdered another bastard? There are possible answers that come to mind, but in the telling it came across as narrative convenience.

That is possible but they might go with the "known evil" of our fine fiend Titan in that there was at least some understanding that while he was screwing them money wise and and a jerk, there was evidence that he was taking them somewhere. Its a bit of a stretch but possible that his name was also known so they still might have had more trust in him, than in someone trying to hijack a ship that had zero reason to keep them alive. Would they have thought about this while in the heat of the moment, I dunno.



Ghoti

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Reply #18 on: August 04, 2011, 08:57:16 AM
I've only listened to this story once so far, whilst driving, so my attention wan't fully on the story, but I seem to recall a mention that Leeches were executed on sight or somesuch if they're found within less open-minded (or more risk-averse) areas?

If this is the case, our protagonist isn't so much a Coyote as an opportunist mercenary running one of (presumably) many routes in a sort of underground (or in this case, oversky) railroad.

Or maybe I just misheard.

I do agree that Al might have toned his rate of reading down just a notch- it seemed slightly hurried, and it didn't have any reason to be.  Other than that, though, no complaints!
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 03:11:57 AM by Ghoti »



InfiniteMonkey

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Reply #19 on: August 04, 2011, 10:56:23 PM
oooh Space Opera! and OOOOO Alasdair!  (probably my favorite editor-narrator of the three podcasts)

Actually, I loved the characters and the setting, but I did find the whole notion of the leeches to be a bit, well, silly. X-men silly.

But other than that, I enjoyed it. The characters were appropriately colorful.



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Reply #20 on: August 05, 2011, 01:30:56 PM
oooh Space Opera! and OOOOO Alasdair!  (probably my favorite editor-narrator of the three podcasts)

Actually, I loved the characters and the setting, but I did find the whole notion of the leeches to be a bit, well, silly. X-men silly.

But other than that, I enjoyed it. The characters were appropriately colorful.

I, for one, welcome the silly.  Especially the X-men silly.   ;D



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Reply #21 on: August 05, 2011, 01:45:34 PM
Still recovering from hearing a Brit making Brit noises for Brit characters - yay! There were some cracking lines too: 'pompous pilot', 'lady in red' - delicious! And I loved the one about Titan being able to 'smell her lies'. I'm not a great fan of pirates, or sultry Mata Hari types, but this was a riotous hoot all the way through. Alasdair is a tad nimble on his narratory feet, but so am I when I try to read my own work out loud, on my own, with no audience; never mind someone else's, and for bunch of piranhas like us!

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kibitzer

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Reply #22 on: August 06, 2011, 08:33:56 AM


Dem

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Reply #23 on: August 06, 2011, 10:24:48 AM

Oh nice shot! So who had their webcam on then?

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El Barto

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Reply #24 on: August 06, 2011, 10:26:08 PM
I generally like fast narration but this one was way too fast even for me.  I actually checked my iPod to see if I had accidentally put it on doublespeed playback somehow.   The too fast reading and some mumbling made it hard to follow the story.  I do like Alasdair otherwise (a bunch) though so hopefully someone can get him to slow down for his next one!

As for the story, I thought it was good but not great.   Hard to understand the grizzled captain putting himself in a situation like that -- his life essentially being in the hands of the single person outside the door, no matter who it was.



Pooloniousmonk

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Reply #25 on: August 07, 2011, 06:56:51 PM
The story was fine, but the reading was often incomprehensible. This gentleman reads for himself, without proper consideration of his podcast listening audience. I am sure he is a nice fellow, but he needs to slow down and enunciate. What he hears in his mind's ear is not necessarily the best approach to a reading performance. I am disappointed also at the lack of oversight. A substandard reading should not be distributed.



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #26 on: August 07, 2011, 07:51:26 PM
The story was fine, but the reading was often incomprehensible. This gentleman reads for himself, without proper consideration of his podcast listening audience. I am sure he is a nice fellow, but he needs to slow down and enunciate. What he hears in his mind's ear is not necessarily the best approach to a reading performance. I am disappointed also at the lack of oversight. A substandard reading should not be distributed.

This reading was far from substandard. It wasn't perfect, but there have been far worse readings than this.
Alasdair usually does a much better job than this, but even masters have off days.

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Reply #27 on: August 09, 2011, 04:51:31 PM
I like how this story came to in the end, the twist of finding out that the captain was an escaped prisoner, and how he escaped.  I also was pleased to see that the captain was more interested in helping a fellow level 4 learn her lesson, and hopefully become 'better' for it.

While the captain is running an illegal business, he's running the business nonetheless.  I suppose it depends on how big a difference you see between extortion and theft.  He's offering a service, one that isn't easy to come by, so his prices are high.  But, that's what the market will bring, isn't it?

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Devoted135

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Reply #28 on: August 09, 2011, 06:07:28 PM
I really liked this story, and didn't find anything strange about how he was so slow to realize that leeches were going unaccounted for because they were class 4's. After all, he said that we had never met another one in his life so there was no reason to suspect that today would be the day he met not one but two more! I will say that a bit more exposition up front about the classification system, etc would have helped me out - I'm still a bit fuzzy on if the other "leeches" were normals or a lower class level - but my confusion didn't detract too much from being able to enjoy the story.



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Reply #29 on: August 10, 2011, 08:20:33 AM
The story was fine, but the reading was often incomprehensible. This gentleman reads for himself, without proper consideration of his podcast listening audience. I am sure he is a nice fellow, but he needs to slow down and enunciate. What he hears in his mind's ear is not necessarily the best approach to a reading performance. I am disappointed also at the lack of oversight. A substandard reading should not be distributed.

This reading was far from substandard. It wasn't perfect, but there have been far worse readings than this.
Alasdair usually does a much better job than this, but even masters have off days.

We can disregard the obvious troll account, I think.  For whatever reason, there is this small but dedicated band of people who create new accounts and rag on Alasdair's readings whenever he steps out of Pseudopod's waters.  I blame Enron.

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Reply #30 on: August 10, 2011, 09:01:54 AM
We can disregard the obvious troll account, I think.  For whatever reason, there is this small but dedicated band of people who create new accounts and rag on Alasdair's readings whenever he steps out of Pseudopod's waters.  I blame Enron.

Though I certainly agree about the facts of the particular posting, i.e., that the poster in question has only one post and used it to post a rather ungracious and unconstructive criticism of Alasdair's narration, I would like to remind everyone that when that happens, it's best if people respond to the content of his comments (as Max e^{i pi} did) and not make personal allegations about the posters.

Specifically, creating sock puppet accounts is frowned upon here and could lead to the banning of the offending party. If it is suspected that some person or persons are creating new accounts for any reason, please alert a moderator (such as myself). If a new poster has made a rude or otherwise potentially problematic post and no action has been taken, it is safe to assume that the situation was investigated and no evidence pointing to deliberate trolling has been found.



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Reply #31 on: August 10, 2011, 10:21:08 AM
Not going to jump into the actual reading discussion because, well, it's done (YOU LISTENED TO IT! YOU CAN'T UN LISTEN TO IT!), that's actually the most polite, formal criticism I've ever had:)



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Reply #32 on: August 10, 2011, 01:11:32 PM
to chime in on the reading of the story:  It sounded good to me.  I thought the pacing was fine.  I didn't have any trouble following whatsoever.



Devoted135

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Reply #33 on: August 10, 2011, 01:54:06 PM
I forgot to mention that I actually really enjoyed Alasdair's reading, especially all the lovely voices. It's quite possibly my favorite reading of his that I've heard (not being a pseudopod listener, this is a somewhat limited list).



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Reply #34 on: August 10, 2011, 03:27:32 PM
Did I mention that Alasdair is my hero??

Enjoy and be nice to each other, because "WE" is all we got.


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Reply #35 on: August 10, 2011, 08:21:19 PM
On the story:

I enjoyed it. The idea was, if not entirely new to me, at least not something I've encountered super often. When Titan admitted that he was a Level 4, I felt that I should have predicted it (as, it turned out, others did), given his escape from the prison planet and his knowledge of fours' existence. The fact that I didn't is simply testament to the fact that I don't generally engage with stories much when I'm reading/listening, but simply let them pull me along.

While that may be facile, I'm pretty sure I enjoy more stories than people who can't help but analyze them to within an inch of their lives. Like Scattercat, say. ;D

On the reading:

Troll or not, I can see where Pooloniousmonk is coming from (and El Barto, too, who is obviously not a troll). In my case, the narration gave me some difficulty in getting into this story. I have an MP3 player that allows me to change the track tempo by small increments; usually when listening to stories, I pump the speed a notch or two, to get in more story in the time I have for listening.

In this case, I had to listen at regular speed and even considered dropping the speed down a notch. There were even a few places where I had to rewind a bit and re-listen ("Oh, that's what he said."), though mostly at the beginning, so hopefully my ear attuned to his rhythm, tempo and, yes, accent somewhat.

So, I think that Alasdair could have gone just a touch more slowly (not too much, though; I'm generally more frustrated by readers that go too slow than too fast).

All that said, I enjoyed all the other aspects of the reading immensely; the vocal characterization and character differentiation were excellent. I love that different British accents can convey a sense of social class/education/breeding without coming off as being cartoonish. There are North American accents that can convey similar information, but they tend to evoke eye-rolls rather than simple recognition.

Also, I'd like to note that Al has gotten a new recording setup sometime in the past few months and that technically, the sound was less distorted than I've heard in the past as well.

And as Al himself said: the recording is done, and can't be unlistened. The difficulty I encountered was minor enough that it's nowhere near worth re-doing this story and I wouldn't expect it, but the concerns raised here may be something Al could keep in mind for the future. As a narrator myself, I always appreciate when people bring such concerns to my attention (preferably in a respectful way).

"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


Alasdair5000

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Reply #36 on: August 10, 2011, 09:48:56 PM
Okay THAT is the most polite, courteous criticism I've received today:)

I loved doing the voices for this. LOVED it. It's always interesting for me to find the way a character speaks and, as a big guy, myself, it felt very easy to slip into Titan's very deep, very precise voice. Big, in most people's eyes, means dumb and those people are usually the ones who wake up somewhere hot after a hijacking goes very wrong...I loved Titan's precision, his deliberation, his ruthlessness. He doesn't stop. He doesn't back down. He wins.

Hemingway, I have a bit of a confession to make about. I originally heard him as a very sort of Terry Thomas figure ('I say!' very much a sort of upper class bounder) but the accent, halfway between Germany and the Middle East, I went with I think works better. I rather liked Hemingway.

Reif? Reif's a combination of Baldrick and Vila from Blake's 7 for me. Possibly my favorite character:)

As for the speed? Yeah, next time it'll be slower, promise. And thank you for the people who liked it and to Scott for putting together such a great story:)



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Reply #37 on: August 10, 2011, 10:31:08 PM
I enjoyed Alasdair's reading, particularly the character voices.  And like Alasdair, Reif was my favorite.  A lot of fun to write.  All the characters were great.  I hadn't envisioned an accent for Hemingway, but I loved it. 

Was it a little fast?  Maybe.  If that's the worst complaint, I call that a win.  This was the first time one of my stories has gotten an audio performance and I couldn't be happier with it.  Alasdair, you added a whole new dimension to the story.  Thanks a million.

This was a fun one to write.  I'm glad to hear people enjoyed it.

-SWB

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Reply #38 on: August 11, 2011, 01:49:40 AM
While that may be facile, I'm pretty sure I enjoy more stories than people who can't help but analyze them to within an inch of their lives. Like Scattercat, say. ;D
We take our enjoyment where we find it.  I like nitpicking and analysis.  :-P

Quote
So, I think that Alasdair could have gone just a touch more slowly (not too much, though; I'm generally more frustrated by readers that go too slow than too fast).
I've run into similar issues listening to other UK/Australian English presenters.  The rapid-fire patter of dialogue, in particular.  Perhaps it's just an accent/regionalism thing?  It might just be that I run into dozens of accents every day (I work as a night-shift phone monkey for a compliance hotline, so I get Australia, China, Indonesia, etc.), but I'm willing to give a lot of leeway to differing speech patterns.  I'd only speak up if it was clearly a technical fault, myself.  That said, bearing in mind the difficulties of communicating across accents within one language and paying more attention to relative speed and elocution can only improve a performance, so far be it from me to say one shouldn't try to do better.  I just didn't see any need for criticism in this case; I listened to it from across the room while doing dishes and had no particular trouble.

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sykoticwit

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Reply #39 on: August 11, 2011, 04:32:11 AM
This was a great story, simple, to the point and most importantly, fun. I love space opera-type stories and space pirates, and the addition of the special abilities was a great twist. More like this please!

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Reply #40 on: August 11, 2011, 11:23:23 PM
While that may be facile, I'm pretty sure I enjoy more stories than people who can't help but analyze them to within an inch of their lives. Like Scattercat, say. ;D
We take our enjoyment where we find it.  I like nitpicking and analysis.  :-P

And I promise: I am genuinely glad for you, for that. (I don't know how to say that without sounding sarcastic, but I don't mean to be.) If the bit about analyzing came across as anything more than a gentle tease, I apologize.

I just didn't see any need for criticism in this case; I listened to it from across the room while doing dishes and had no particular trouble.

Excellent. And as a result, you didn't criticize or complain about it. That's how it should work.

However, since your experience can't be universal to the rest of us, those of us who had more trouble should be able to express that. Pooloniousmonk was probably harsher than he needed to be*, though Al clearly didn't think so, but I don't think the content of his (Pooloniousmonk's) comments should be dismissed just because not everyone else had the same experience. It was a valid - if not especially respectfully expressed - opinion.



*Especially the last bit about oversight, which I didn't think was necessary - the EP folks have repeatedly shown themselves to be willing to replace bad recordings.

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Thomas

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Reply #41 on: August 12, 2011, 03:13:29 AM
I'm a south Texas boy and wifey says you could drive a semi through my pauses. I generally talk slow with too many pauses (and too long), except when I talk MATH, but my ears do not suffer from that affliction. Al's pacing was fine. From what I can tell and from past experience, Al's accent may have been more the issue than the speed of the read. If i had read the story, then speed would have been an issue (did he just die? oh there he is....).

I love Al's work on Pseudopod and always enjoy hearing him crossing over to the other two Escape Artists shows.

Enjoy and be nice to each other, because "WE" is all we got.


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Reply #42 on: August 13, 2011, 02:22:49 PM
I love the voices, especially Hemingway's, and the one thing that makes this story is that it doesn't turn into a love story. I loved the fact that the captain doesn't fall for the pirate babe.



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Reply #43 on: August 14, 2011, 09:57:42 PM
I have read all the posts and have learned a few things.  Apparently, the reader is a popular fellow.  That’s great, but he still reads too fast and he mumbles.  Second, there seems to be a phenomenon known as a “troll account.”  As a practical matter it should be defined as a “first posting that contains criticism of a popular individual.”   Third, I see that there have been many complaints about these readings, to no avail.   That suggests a lack of oversight. 

My posting clearly stated that the criticism was not ad hominem. I would probably enjoy the gentleman’s company.  And, it was not disrespectful, rather, it was an opinion that is unpopular.  Given the incestuousness of this bunch, which I did not realize when I posted, I am not surprised it was not well taken by many.  Nevertheless, the characterization of my words by the narrator of this forum, who should know better, as “ungracious and unconstructive” was disappointing.  Though quite simple and rather obvious, my advice to slow down and enunciate was on point. 

Accordingly, this post will be my last and my experiment in participating in this forum has ended.  I will read no more.   Thank you.



eytanz

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Reply #44 on: August 15, 2011, 04:38:19 AM
Moderator note:

I'm genuinely sorry that Pooloniousmonk ended up feeling unwelcome, but there's nothing I can do about that now since he states he will no longer read these forums. I think that if he chose to stay and engage with us, rather than let us know what he thinks of us and move on, he would have discovered that maybe first impressions are not set in stone, in both directions. If he has a change of heart about leaving the forums, I invite him to PM me and let me know.

But, as far as this thread goes, I think we have covered the topic of his criticism of Alasdair and Scattercat (and my) criticism of his criticism to a sufficient degree. So please, no responses here on the topic. If anyone wants to discuss this, PM me. Otherwise, let's focus on the story itself (including the narration - but only discussing the narration itself, not past responses to the narration, please).



Aridawn

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Reply #45 on: August 16, 2011, 03:10:18 AM
I LOVED this story. This just barely beat out "Amaryllis" as my all-time favorite Escape Pod episode (not just because Al's voice is just so damn amazing). "Leech Run" just had such a fine combination of character, story, and sci-fi. My fiance and I were discussing another story which we thought just bogged us down with the description of the world and the rest of the story and characters just got swept away.

But "Leech Run" gives such a vivid picture of who these people are, what sort of "world" they live, and what challenges they face without taking away from any leg of the tripod.

I thought Al sounded a lot like Johnny Depp's Sweeney Todd when he spoke for Titan.



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Reply #46 on: August 16, 2011, 04:13:01 PM

Reif? Reif's a combination of Baldrick and Vila from Blake's 7 for me. Possibly my favorite character:)



I thought I heard Baldrick!



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Reply #47 on: August 16, 2011, 08:06:11 PM
Reif? Reif's a combination of Baldrick and Vila from Blake's 7 for me. Possibly my favorite character:)

I don't know Vila from Blake's 7, but I was wondering when Reif was going to come up with a cunning plan, so you nailed that voice. 

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rotheche

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Reply #48 on: August 16, 2011, 09:39:18 PM
Great fun story - though the impracticality of using your hair to disguise a facial feature did bug me a bit.  It just doesn't work, not without half a can of Konkrete-Lok (TM) hairspray.

And Vila was always my favourite character: I had him a bit in mind listening to Reif's lines :)

On the reading: yep, a little fast in places.  Great characterisation, but I did lose some lines in there, or get confused on who was speaking.  It's not the accents; there were just places where it flew past too fast for me to catch.



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Reply #49 on: August 18, 2011, 02:14:58 PM
Great fun story - though the impracticality of using your hair to disguise a facial feature did bug me a bit.  It just doesn't work, not without half a can of Konkrete-Lok (TM) hairspray.

Why wouldn't that work?  And who says he doesn't use hairspray?  Depending on how exactly the tattoo was set on his face, something like this might do the trick:


« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 02:23:45 PM by Unblinking »



liter8

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Reply #50 on: August 24, 2011, 02:39:55 AM
This was my own first Escape Pod story, and it has hooked me.  I found that the action, and the character was solid.  Titan was not a man to be trifled with.  In fact, avoiding him was best for any person's health.  But what really hit me was the allegorical elements below it, about the definition of one's identity, and the masks that one often wears with it.  Titan was not what I expected, though I expected something.  So, I wanted to ask what was everyone else's thoughts on this overlapping theme.  Do you agree?  Does it ring true for you?

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kibitzer

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Reply #51 on: August 24, 2011, 03:45:44 AM
...But what really hit me was the allegorical elements below it, about the definition of one's identity, and the masks that one often wears with it.  Titan was not what I expected, though I expected something.  So, I wanted to ask what was everyone else's thoughts on this overlapping theme.  Do you agree?  Does it ring true for you?

For myself, I treated it as just a straight action/intrigue/fun adventure story. But I tend to do that, I'm fairly literal when I read. Often someone will mention an allegorical interpretation or element and I think, "oh yeah! it does kinda say that!"


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Reply #52 on: August 24, 2011, 04:15:07 AM
While you can read this story allegorically, it really doesn't invite such an approach.  It's written more or less to appeal to your reading style, kibitzer, and go as a straight action-adventure piece.  There's certainly a thread of questions about identity, but they aren't really central to any of the characters' internal struggles, and in the end play little role in the resolution of events (other than enabling the "surprise" that the captain is also a Level Four.)  I mean, you can always read things into stuff (c.f. my long-standing reference to that professor who talked up Dr. Frankenstein's latent homosexuality) but at a certain point you're adding things in rather than extracting them, if that makes sense.  I don't think it's wrong to appreciate the story's minor thematic aspects, but it wasn't something the story itself was very interested in exploring or elaborating upon.  (Compare to, say, "Being Mandy" or similar, which DOES have a strong thematic core about questions of identity but many fewer space pirates shooting commie mutant traitors.)

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Reply #53 on: August 25, 2011, 03:15:16 AM
For myself, I treated it as just a straight action/intrigue/fun adventure story. But I tend to do that, I'm fairly literal when I read. Often someone will mention an allegorical interpretation or element and I think, "oh yeah! it does kinda say that!"

I tend to read literally as well, and usually when someone will mention an allegorical interpretation or element, I'll think or say "really? I don't see it."  ;D

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Reply #54 on: August 26, 2011, 06:24:22 PM
A romping good tale! 

I was clearing episodes from my phone and when I ran across this one, I realized that I had only listened to the intro.  So I listened to it, and I'm so glad I did.  I was so glad to see Alasdair return to Escape Pod, and he did a great job!  Too fast?  Maybe, but I really enjoy Al's cadence (where he pauses, where he speeds up, slows down, etc.) 

I liked the story too.  It's a great treat to those who say that EP doesn't run any good old-fashioned sci-fi.  Was Titan a hypocrite, and morally challenged?  Yes, as are most pirates/smugglers.  It would have been nice to see more redemption from him (a la Han Solo), but all in all it was a good rollicking mini adventure.

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captain0terror

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Reply #55 on: September 01, 2011, 07:27:10 PM
Quote
We can disregard the obvious troll account, I think.  For whatever reason, there is this small but dedicated band of people who create new accounts and rag on Alasdair's readings whenever he steps out of Pseudopod's waters.

No. How about his narration sucks and noone is willing to admit it fsr? Previous comments of him speaking too fast and frequently mumbling are not a fabrication, THIS IS how he speaks. What would be someone's motive for making something like that up? Not to mention his accent is an additional distraction.

People come out of the woodwork to complain because it's just THAT BAD, not for some personal vendetta..

I don't mind his intros/outros on pseduopod, but i generally skip any story narrated by Al for the above-stated reasons.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 08:52:55 PM by captain0terror »



kibitzer

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Reply #56 on: September 02, 2011, 03:02:04 AM
Quote
We can disregard the obvious troll account, I think.  For whatever reason, there is this small but dedicated band of people who create new accounts and rag on Alasdair's readings whenever he steps out of Pseudopod's waters.

No. How about his narration sucks and noone is willing to admit it fsr? Previous comments of him speaking too fast and frequently mumbling are not a fabrication, THIS IS how he speaks. What would be someone's motive for making something like that up? Not to mention his accent is an additional distraction.

People come out of the woodwork to complain because it's just THAT BAD, not for some personal vendetta..

I don't mind his intros/outros on pseduopod, but i generally skip any story narrated by Al for the above-stated reasons.

OK, two things.

One: it is fair to say "Alasdair sometimes reads too fast." Possibly with the rider, "for some people." That's more or less verifiable as there have been comments of late. If someone said that about my readings I wouldn't mind. (Actually, I've had the reverse said of mine :) )

Two: it is not fair to say, "his narration sucks". It is fair to say "His narrations don't work for me" or "I find his accent difficult". It is not fair to make these sounds like a personal attack. If someone said of my readings "Kibitzer's narrations suck" or "Kibitzer's accent is way too weird" I probably would mind very much.

Understand me very carefully here, Captain: I am not saying that you're deliberately making a personal attack. I am saying it comes off like that.


ancawonka

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Reply #57 on: November 07, 2011, 06:40:17 AM
Just listened to this story a couple of days ago.  I liked the reading (though I was having skipping issues on my ancient iPod).  I LOVED the different voices, especially Reif.  Titan did start to speak slower towards the end, and I was wondering why...  but that was covered by the story.  Well done!

Is there going to be a sequel?  Are there more stories set in this universe?  I'm curious to read more.



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Reply #58 on: November 29, 2011, 11:08:26 PM

Is there going to be a sequel?  Are there more stories set in this universe?  I'm curious to read more.

I would love to hear more stories about this capt'n.

Enjoy and be nice to each other, because "WE" is all we got.


Scott W Baker

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Reply #59 on: December 14, 2011, 02:39:47 AM
 
Is there going to be a sequel?  Are there more stories set in this universe?  I'm curious to read more.

I do have plans to revisit Titan an company.  Both sequel and prequel type plans.  Sadly, none of those plans are on the near horizon. 

Scott W. Baker
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Reply #60 on: December 14, 2011, 12:52:35 PM
 
Is there going to be a sequel?  Are there more stories set in this universe?  I'm curious to read more.

I do have plans to revisit Titan an company.  Both sequel and prequel type plans.  Sadly, none of those plans are on the near horizon. 
That's still good to hear!
But a prequel? We have some bad history with prequels...
You should create a space-time discontinuity and go write the prequel first. So it won't be a prequel.

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