Escape Artists
October 24, 2014, 07:40:50 AM *
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: EP304: Union Dues – Sidekicks in Stockholm  (Read 10397 times)
servicestud
Extern
*
Posts: 2


« on: August 04, 2011, 06:12:14 PM »

Since 304 isnt available yet (And I cant seem to make a new tread), I'll chime in here while I have time.

304: Union Dues - Sidekicks in Stockholm

MOST BESTEST STORY EVAH!
I am a big fan of Union Dues in general but this one just rocked my sox. Thanks! It also inspired me to make a thumbdrive with all the Union Dues stories for my comic-savvy friend who doesn't know of Escape Artists. We'll see how it goes =)


MODS: Please move this to the appropriate thread when it comes up, if possible. Thanks!

Edit: I split it for now. I can't for the life of me get the threads to merge properly. (Talia)

Edit: I merged the topic. I'm afraid I can't do anything about the order of the posts. (Eytan)
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 02:24:33 AM by eytanz » Logged
Seekerpilgrim
Palmer
**
Posts: 35


A pilgrim searching for his path and his tribe.


« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2011, 01:57:34 AM »

  This is one of the best episodes in awhile, and far too long since the last Union Dues story. It wasn't as dark as Steve suggested it would be...in fact I found it hopeful that a superhero was doing what was right instead of what was legal. I'm sure we are all aware of the difference between justice and law, and when Atom Smasher walked out he let these moral (if not legal) criminals pay for their crimes instead of paying to avoid them. One of my major problems with Batman lore is how often he allows the Joker to get away with murder because of some moral imperative to never take a life. I submit it's his moral duty to stop the Joker forever and never allow what happened to his parents happen to someone else's. In that aspect, Batman is a hypocrite, but at the end of this episode Atom Smasher proves he is not by allowing justice to take place. If ever a group of criminals was tried by a group of their peers (The Chairman), this was the case. Justice was done, and we could use a bit more of it.
Logged

By Grabthar's Hammer...what a savings.
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4685



« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2011, 02:20:42 AM »

EP304: Union Dues – Sidekicks in Stockholm

by Jeffrey R. DeRego

Read by Stephen Eley
An Escape Pod original!

---

Five of them at least, with submachine guns, body armor, and more dynamite than I’ve seen outside a Tom and Jerry cartoon. They all sound the same thanks to some digital vocal thing built into their black suits. They all look the same with black ski masks underneath a mesh sort of fencing helmet, black everything else right to the boots, and all about the same size, like someone took a picture of a terrorist and photocopied it.

This whole drama seems like it began a million years ago by now. I was scheduled to come here and open a convention of business leaders and up-and-coming corporate types. My speech, Good Corporate Citizenship, with examples of how The Union gives back to the communities it serves, is a two year old piece worked up and updated by Marketing and Promotions to accommodate a new administration in Washington, and some new economic stuff that I don’t really understand. I’d delivered only half of the text before these guys burst through the door.


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

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
Logged
Dem
Lochage
*****
Posts: 554


aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com


WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2011, 08:52:04 AM »

Nah, not for me. I don't think I've enjoyed any of the Union Dues stories. They just feel jaded, archetypal, one dimensional, and uninteresting. Should I make an appointment with my doctor, do you think?
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.
orangerunner
Extern
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2011, 09:25:06 AM »

Hello All,

I have to admit that this is the first time I'm posting on the forums, and I'm really excited to say that it was because of the Union Dues storyline.  I love these stories.  I just started listening to EP a little over a year ago, but I've gone back to listen to all the previous Union Dues stories in the archive. 

So Sidekicks in Stockholm.  I've described this one as "an all you can eat buffet of food for thought" to some of my friends.  One of the things I like in stories is if I can somehow place myself in the situation and think - what would I do?  This story certainly fit that bill.  The idea that Adam Smasher was superstrong but that his power was useless in the scenario made it even easier to do.  This was a moral dilemma.  You can reference the old adage of "does the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?" I suppose.  I think the assumption is that if all those corporate barons were gone, would things change for the better?  Would other power brokers simply take the reins and perhaps even make things worse?  Who knows. 

I think the part of the story that I had the toughest part reconciling was the Stacey character.  Somehow I thought that Adam Smasher was going to save her, but only her.  When he didn't I thought about it, and I think it was the right call for him not to.  That would have involved him in the situation, he would have been making a value judgement on the value of people based on their station.  Maybe if Adam and Stacey were friends or family he would have made sure to save her, but she was just another person.  Heroes can't save everybody.  We have to work together to save ourselves.  Sure if there's a meteor falling from the sky it's great to have somebody who can knock it back into space, but this was a societal issue.  You want to talk about working together for the greater good?  Anybody seen March of the Penguins?  Those little birds don't even have thumbs, yet we need ropes to keep us from cutting in line at the movies and amusement parks.  Maybe someday humanity will learn it's lesson.  Maybe.   

In the meantime this was another great story, and one certainly worth another donation to Escape Pod for all the great sci-fi they bring me every week.   Have a great weekend all!
Logged
childoftyranny
Matross
****
Posts: 169



« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 09:34:50 AM »

Mostly, I got what I was expecting, when I heard that was hero deconstruction, I figured the story would be what it was.

That's not to say it wasn't well written, it was well read and I think it felt pretty honest.

Yet, it does come down to the end and we see people getting "justice." The CEO that closes a factory and moves jobs to another country is being equated with a murderer here. But lets take a probably more egregious example with the private prison owner, pushing for mandatory minimum sentencing and three strikes laws, who is supposed to have bought off law makers to pass these laws. Again though, morally this means that these people ought to be killed?

These types of stories do make us think, spend a few moment considering how we define justice. We, in the US, have a legal system where its purported that people are guilty until proven innocent which I believe generally means that some who are guilty are going to get off. You could make a different system which operates the other way and generally means that more innocent people are going to jailed because you don't want ANY criminals to escape. Its all sorts of freaky and unnamed shades of grey.

EDIT: Actually, not doing anything to save them because of Union rules, and walking away, why are these two decisions so different, same results.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 09:43:26 AM by childoftyrrany » Logged
Void Munashii
Matross
****
Posts: 267


twitter.com/VOIDMunashii


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2011, 09:56:42 AM »

Union Due and Steve Eley!?!?! Thank you, Escape Pod, thank you for giving me the strength to face the day *wipes a tear away*

  Given how dark most UD stories are (a drug-addicted superhero whose secret identity is a stripper is not exactly bright and sunny), I didn't find this tale all that dark until the very end. I found most of it to be very fun dark comedy... of course I also kept seeing Holly as Meg Whitman, her physical description in the story aside.

  I think this may be my new favourite UD story, and I am still looking forward to a UD TV or graphic novel series.
Logged

"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
http://mallvillestory.blogspot.com
Swamp
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2224



WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2011, 12:06:15 PM »

This is one of those stories where you can say that you liked the storyeven though you did not like how it ended or how the characters acted.  I don't think we were necessarily suppose to like Adam Smasher's decision.  I am with childoftyrrany in that I question the justice of killing people because they are morally bad.  Yes they should be punished and brought down and this is hard because they are powerful people.  So just kill them and things will be right in the world?  Killing them puts you on the moral high ground?

However, the important thing we are asked to judge is not the actions of the terrorists, but those of Adam Smasher.  Can we blame him for how he reaced?  It does not fit the description of hero, but this universe has an interesting take on the hero to begin with.  This was a dispute between "normals" after all.  So was Adam a coward, taking the easy way out in a complicated situation, or was he just ill-equipped to deal with such a morally ambiguous dilema?  He did nothing and we feel he should have done something, anything.  A good story to ponder.

Some things I didn't like, but understand within the context of the story, is the implication that all corporate executives who make money are corupt and do not contribute back to society.  There are many who are like that, but there are also many who are not.

It was great to hear Steve again!  Hopefully he will drop by more frequently.
Logged

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast
Dem
Lochage
*****
Posts: 554


aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com


WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2011, 12:25:14 PM »

It was great to hear Steve again!  Hopefully he will drop by more frequently.
Hear hear! Or is it 'Here here'? No, definitely 'Hear hear'. Fab narration, right in my inbox.  So actually, 'Hear, here' covers it. Grin
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.
acpracht
Peltast
***
Posts: 90


« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2011, 04:21:53 PM »

I have two things to comment on: the return of Steve and the story itself.
First: Steeeeeeeeeveeeeee! It's funny, I slipped so naturally back into hearing Steve's voice again, that it didn't even register in my brain that he was back until he said his name. Then it was like someone poked me in the ribs and I gasped. I think I even said, "Hi, Steve!" out loud to an empty kitchen.
I love his style and, Steve, we miss hearing you say "Have fun", too.
I was so saddened to hear that the joy the birth of your child was followed so closely by a divorce. You have the support of your EP family.

OK, on to the story. This was really quite good. Like a good Union Dues story it was dark and explored the concepts of heroes and villians and victims in a complex way. In this one, we have no true heroes, no true villians, no true victims. OK, a bit of a qualification on that one, the executive assistant, who has almost certainly been killed, is one person who I don't think got justice, and I cringed that she was killed so brutally.
My one criticism is related to my praise - it was complex. It got so deep and complex that at times I found myself getting lost in the conversation that always seemed almost on the verge of dipping into straight Platonic dialogue. I think it could have pulled up short on a lot of this and let the listener fill in a lot of the logical holes. A little less "Here, let me connect those dots for you."
But like I say, got me thinking, I enjoyed it, and Steve, come back anytime.
Logged
jrderego
Hipparch
******
Posts: 659


Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)


WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2011, 04:57:28 PM »

I have two things to comment on: the return of Steve and the story itself.
First: Steeeeeeeeeveeeeee! It's funny, I slipped so naturally back into hearing Steve's voice again, that it didn't even register in my brain that he was back until he said his name. Then it was like someone poked me in the ribs and I gasped. I think I even said, "Hi, Steve!" out loud to an empty kitchen.
I love his style and, Steve, we miss hearing you say "Have fun", too.
I was so saddened to hear that the joy the birth of your child was followed so closely by a divorce. You have the support of your EP family.

OK, on to the story. This was really quite good. Like a good Union Dues story it was dark and explored the concepts of heroes and villians and victims in a complex way. In this one, we have no true heroes, no true villians, no true victims. OK, a bit of a qualification on that one, the executive assistant, who has almost certainly been killed, is one person who I don't think got justice, and I cringed that she was killed so brutally.
My one criticism is related to my praise - it was complex. It got so deep and complex that at times I found myself getting lost in the conversation that always seemed almost on the verge of dipping into straight Platonic dialogue. I think it could have pulled up short on a lot of this and let the listener fill in a lot of the logical holes. A little less "Here, let me connect those dots for you."
But like I say, got me thinking, I enjoyed it, and Steve, come back anytime.

At the risk of derailing any discussion --

I was purposely ambiguous with the ending, but I did consciously pull back from the hostages all being killed... at least I thought i did. I tried to set up that The Chairman would use his gun in a non-gun way, like a pointer, to quiet the room down etc... I wanted Adam to walk away leaving the events in the hostage room unresolved one way or the other... i.e. he washed his hands of them and they had to work out their differences however that was going to happen. I also wanted Adam to effectively equalize everyone in the room, he doesn't understand class differences, and when The Chairman says to Stacy "to him you're all innocents" he isn't editorializing, he's stating a fact.

I needed The Chairman to monologue, all good villains monologue except this one wasn't the same "moohahahahahah take over the world" type monologuing you'd get from a typical villain, I wanted to give Adam a lecture that would appeal to what his sense of right and wrong should be. I wrote a version of this also with The Chairman and Holly's roles reversed, he was a religious/domestic fanatic and she was a progressive political leader, but I couldn't write The Chairman's dialogue in such a way as to sway Adam without making the story into a horror story. So I went with this role set and therefore the Chairman is forced to deconstruct the Normal world for Adam because of his position as leader of the gunmen.

With that I fade back into the shadows to watch the discussion flow on. Thanks for all the comments.
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
childoftyranny
Matross
****
Posts: 169



« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2011, 05:22:57 PM »

I was purposely ambiguous with the ending, but I did consciously pull back from the hostages all being killed... at least I thought i did. I tried to set up that The Chairman would use his gun in a non-gun way, like a pointer, to quiet the room down etc...

I can see that in story, though they came in shooting so that is one reason I think that I thought that was going to be at least some of their ends, our dear Chairman doesn't particularly interested in the ransom money, and while he got his way with Atom Smasher, the ending with shots to quiet people down I think indicates more to come, but that is just me. Definite thanks for sharing this one with us!
Logged
bolddeceiver
Matross
****
Posts: 226


Plunging like stones from a slingshot on mars...


« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2011, 06:15:50 PM »

I liked it -- not my number one Union Dues story, but still very good.  The politics edged on a little too unsubtle at moments, but it fit (the whole private prison guy would have seemed ridiculous and overdone if I didn't know about the actual real world facts around the same issue -- if it seemed over-the-top to you, check out this two-part investigative report).  I know there are probably those among the audience upset at the lack of anything happening, but I for one enjoy the Union Dues stories that dwell on the broader societal consequences of the setting details.
Logged
Gamercow
Hipparch
******
Posts: 649



« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2011, 10:02:30 PM »

Very mixed feelings about this.  I enjoyed having Steve back for a guest hosting, it was good to hear his voice, though I still think that Mur does a wonderful job, and has taken over admirably, filling his shoes and then some.  He did a great job narrating, and the characters were all well done. 

To the story:  Overall, I liked it.  However, there were many swaths of it that seemed manifesto-ey, and not character-driven, but author driven.  I'm not 100% sure of JRD's politics, but this seemed like an excuse to vent some anti-corporation ichor in story form.  Personally, I got the point about 3 minutes into The Chairman's rants, but he kept repeating basically the same thing.  Additionally, the basic subtext of the Union Dues universe was there:  Supers exist, but are slaves to a mega-corporation that reduces them to marketing icons, making them miserable. Almost every UD story has had this subtext, and its gone beyond "world building" to trope.
Logged

The cow says "Mooooooooo"
ToooooMuchCoffeeMan
Palmer
**
Posts: 20


« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2011, 04:37:27 AM »

I think I have three things to say about this:

1. It's really good to hear Steve's voice again. Steve, if you read this, I'm sorry your life has been so "interesting" of late. As I just counseled a friend who's going through a rough divorce, breathe in, breathe out. And as John Irving wrote, keep passing the open windows.

2. It's really good to hear from Jeffrey DeRego again. I'm happy that he's apparently completely recovered from his health problems and in fine voice.

3. About the story, the most effective thing about it was this: Obviously, the Union and the whole concept of superheroes and all it entails is an exaggeration of reality. By contrast, the sins of the CEOs are utterly mundane. Everything that was mentioned, up to and including the operator of private prisons lobbying for stiffer criminal laws, is happening right now, today. It's even true that the real unemployment rate in the USA is getting uncomfortably close to the 20% mentioned in the text.

Fine job all around.
Logged
olivaw
Peltast
***
Posts: 105



« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2011, 05:10:48 AM »

So Union Dues is an ongoing / episodic series?
Are they all on Escape Pod? Where's a good place to start?
Logged
Andy C
Palmer
**
Posts: 21



« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2011, 08:03:34 AM »

Well this was a fascinating episode, and I'm coming to this as someone who'd never heard of 'Union Dues' before, and hadn't even heard of Stephen Eley.

First, when itunes said 'explicit' I thought we were in for all sorts of really quite spikey language and /or extreme sex or violence. In the end it didn't seem too heavy to me, maybe i am just getting a bit jaded in my old age. Just a bit of an 'f' word in there somewhere was there?

I enjoyed this story, I could tell I was getting in to it when I found myself arguing with all of the characters at different times. Adam, the Chairman, and the rest of them. I did find that the story just lagged slightly i think around 1/2 an hour in; now I think this is slightly because a bit of monologing is  clearly part of the genre here, so fair enough. All the same, there was this five minute period when I wasn't shouting back at the lot of them.

Stacey was a bit of a squeaker at the start, bless her, I was definitely telling her to shut up as I listened to this story on the journey to work.

Good narration, again, I have to say I think all of the narrators at EP do a great job, well done guys!

I was slightly startled by Steve's very candid commentary at the end, including personal details. I guess this might split some people, depending on their outlook and personality. Some people might find this uncomfortable, others might feel compassion for the guy (that's where I'm at) i guess others wouldn't feel very much. Clearly, though from the comments here there's a lot of good will for Steve. So I hope things work out there.

Anyway, this felt different as stories go, and it's a god one - I'd like to hear more of this 'union dues' stuff again in the future.

A


Logged
jrderego
Hipparch
******
Posts: 659


Writer of Union Dues stories (among others)


WWW
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2011, 09:21:17 AM »

So Union Dues is an ongoing / episodic series?
Are they all on Escape Pod? Where's a good place to start?

The stories are stand alone and can be listened to in any order. Just click my name on the main page and I think it brings up all the Union Dues stories that Escape Pod has published. Actually it doesn't, you can keyword search Union Dues on the main page and it'll bring up all the stories and stuff there. Start anywhere, but publication order is -

Iron Bars and the Glass Jaw
Off-White Lies
The Baby and the Bathwater
Cleanup in Aisle 5
Send in the Clowns
All That We Leave Behind
Freedom with a Small f
Tabula Rasa
All About the Sponsors
The Sum of its Parts
The Threnody of Johnny Toruko*
Sidekicks in Stockholm

*If you want to seek out some other stories too because you like these, you can also dig up The Ballad of Kitty Momoiro, The Saga of Tam Suji, and The Sojourn of Taizen Kiiro in the archives of www.clonepod.org which will make the Escape Pod story "The Threnody of Johnny Toruko" make sense as these stories are all more closely linked than the regular Union Dues stories.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 09:26:21 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
Swamp
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2224



WWW
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2011, 09:30:44 AM »

I enjoyed having Steve back for a guest hosting, it was good to hear his voice, though I still think that Mur does a wonderful job, and has taken over admirably, filling his shoes and then some.

Yes, this is Mur's baby now, okay toddler, and she has taken it to new heights, but it's good to know that Steve will still be available to host/narrate on occasion.  It kind of like when Art Bell guest hosts on Coast to Coast AM.  It doesn't take anything away from George Nory, but it is way cool to hear him again.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 10:25:34 AM by Swamp » Logged

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast
Swamp
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2224



WWW
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2011, 09:45:54 AM »

So Union Dues is an ongoing / episodic series?
Are they all on Escape Pod? Where's a good place to start?

The stories are stand alone and can be listened to in any order. Just click my name on the main page and I think it brings up all the Union Dues stories that Escape Pod has published. Actually it doesn't, you can keyword search Union Dues on the main page and it'll bring up all the stories and stuff there.

Here they are with links:


And Team Shikaragaki on Clonepod:
Union Dues: The Ballad of Kitty Momoiro - (Clonepod Ep. 11)
Union Dues: The Saga of Tam Suji - (Clonepod Ep. 16)
Union Dues: The Sojourn of Taizen Kiro - (Clonepod Ep. 22)
« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 09:50:13 AM by Swamp » Logged

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast
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!