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Author Topic: EP315: Clockwork Fagin  (Read 4151 times)
Bill
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« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2011, 03:58:19 PM »

I first have to say I've never been much of a fan of steam-punk, just never got into it. With that prejudice, in my opinion this may be one of the finest pieces Escape Pod has put out. The writing was lyrical and gorgeous. The reading was perfect. I've been disappointed of late of some of the stories that EP has done, but this one was a home run.
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SwingsetPark
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« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2011, 06:13:35 PM »


  Sorry, I couldn't help thinking of Conan O'Brian playing olde tyme baseball--or that SNL skit of him being a pugilitory fisticuffsman.  So, the language was a little distractin for me.

Thank you!  I rather enjoyed the accent, but it made me want to laugh and I couldn't figure out why.  I think it was because of Conan, and that fisticuffsman role is the association I think I was having, now that you point it out.

So I found what I was looking for: a transcript of the SNL skit!  Conan O'Brien played fisticuffsman and Irishman--one James Corcoran--as he embarks on the first integrated boxing match.  Re-reading it completely brought me back to both the skit and some passages of this Doctorow story.  http://snltranscripts.jt.org/00/00nsports.phtml

A quote for those who don't follow the link:

Quote
To the next fighter against whom I spar, let me just say this: I'll put corn in his muffin! I'll crimson his face! I'll butter his bean and serve it to him cold I will! Then I'll deliver a blow to the mouth area, the blood from which will issue most copiously!
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Rain
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« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2011, 03:42:50 AM »

I love Steampunk, especially these days where people seem to think that it is all about dressing up in stupid costumes and then gluing a gear on it, so i am always exited when authors use the genre. 
But i will have the be the lone critic and say that i didnt manage to finish the story, i got about 10 minutes into it and then couldnt listen anymore, i cant quite explain it clearly, but the tone of the reading just really annoyed me, it also felt like the reader was in a rush and spoke a bit too fast, together with a very slow starting story i just dropped it.
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reverendshoebox
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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2011, 11:53:02 AM »

I loved this on a bunch of levels.  I'm normally not a fan of steampunk stuff, but it really worked here.  The way the orphanage evolved, and the way it was described, felt like the excitement of working at a startup software company - a feel Doctorow has certainly evoked before, but in this setting it was extremely clever.  Saw the ending coming but that didn't make it any less satisfying.  One of the best Escape Pod stories ever. 

...Oh, and hi.  I'm Shoebox.  I don't think I've posted here before, but I've heard every episode and did the narration for one ("Eugene" back in episode 253.) 

-='Box=-
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rotheche
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« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2011, 08:33:35 PM »

...I think a narrator needs to go beyond that and take a moment to look up the pronunciation of words and names they have never heard. (I know, because I was taught the same lesson.) If we didn't have a near-infinite information resource at our disposal, that'd be one thing, but we do.
Exactly.  It's easy to check - type 'gaol' into Google and you'll get a ton of results tying it with 'jail'.  I'm Australian and 'jail' has largely replaced 'gaol', but historical sites like Parramatta Gaol or Old Melbourne Gaol still use the old spelling (and for that matter so does the Williamsburg Public Gaol in the US).  It's a hard yank out of the story to hear it mispronounced.

That said, that's my only quibble with the reading.

And the story itself was great - I really enjoyed it.  Some neat worldbuilding and characters as well.
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2011, 02:33:15 PM »

I enjoyed this story. It was fun!
Also, I was listening to this story while out running in Toronto, so it was interesting hearing references to some landmarks that I had recently passed by.

I'm not sure why Toronto was part of "Upper Canada" in the Canadian war, but that's what I gathered.   
Upper Canada is the part that is further "up" the St. Lawrence seaway (towards the source). So, even though Toronto is south west of Montreal, it is Upper Canada. Strange local factoid Wink
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2011, 03:12:14 PM »

I'm not sure why Toronto was part of "Upper Canada" in the Canadian war, but that's what I gathered.   
Upper Canada is the part that is further "up" the St. Lawrence seaway (towards the source). So, even though Toronto is south west of Montreal, it is Upper Canada. Strange local factoid Wink

Also, since 'Upper Canada' was (mainly) English-held and 'Lower Canada' was (mainly) French, and the terms are English, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to learn - though I have never heard this - that there was a cultural factor to them as well, though possibly not at first.
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Gary
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« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2011, 06:38:03 PM »

Yea!
Just "Yea!"
One of those stories that is so fun and engaging you ignore the few holes and actually cheer for the sappy ending!

Again I cry "Yea!"
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Gamercow
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« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2011, 09:13:15 PM »

I enjoyed this story. It was fun!
Also, I was listening to this story while out running in Toronto, so it was interesting hearing references to some landmarks that I had recently passed by.

I'm not sure why Toronto was part of "Upper Canada" in the Canadian war, but that's what I gathered.   
Upper Canada is the part that is further "up" the St. Lawrence seaway (towards the source). So, even though Toronto is south west of Montreal, it is Upper Canada. Strange local factoid Wink

Right!  I learned this when I was touring the St. Lawrence seaway.  Thank you for reminding me.
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« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2011, 08:15:45 PM »

Well done.  I liked this a lot which surprised the heck out of me.  I do want to like Cory Doctorow because he's been elected the epitome of geek cool, but I usually don't care for his work.  Also I am not a steampunk fan so my enjoyment of this story was a very pleasant surprise.  But it was a good story with good worldbuilding and an uplifting ending.  Quality makes for a very enjoyable listen.

And count me with the folks who misheard gaol as gallows or something similarly sensible enough that I didn't notice it at all.
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El Barto
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« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2011, 02:16:44 PM »

I first have to say I've never been much of a fan of steam-punk, just never got into it. With that prejudice, in my opinion this may be one of the finest pieces Escape Pod has put out. The writing was lyrical and gorgeous. The reading was perfect. I've been disappointed of late of some of the stories that EP has done, but this one was a home run.

I've got to agree with you.  I'm not a fan of steampunk at all but this story was brilliantly written and gorgeously narrated.  I remember looking down at my iPod thinking it must be about to end, and then being excited to see that I had 40 more minutes of goodness coming my way.
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FireTurtle
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« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2011, 09:50:34 PM »

Yay! This is definitely going on my "Best of Escape Pod" list. Loved it. I enjoyed it from beginning to end (this is not to say that I didn't get the willies from enjoying a story about horribly maimed children, that would be wrong Tongue).

The narration was excellent from a pacing and voice standpoint. The breathless delivery was very evocative not only of "Victorian" pacing but also youthful storytelling. That being said, the accent did wander a bit and I occasionally was thrust part way out of the story when it did.

Great, inventive fun. Love it. Good feelings all the way around.
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Spindaddy
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« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2011, 10:43:03 AM »

I really dug this story although it was frustrating that my phone kept losing signal, causing the story to reset. I found the reading and the telling great. I thought it was pretty funny the city was called Muddy York, but I thought it was originally in England, then in the US and then toward the middle/end of the story I kept wondering... 'woah, is this in Canada?'

I was a little mollified when I realized it wasn't taking place in England but in our New York, but - really. You should know that "gaol" is "jail". Including in pronunciation.

That's an incredibly hard pronunciation to pick up.  I've seen it written before, but typically I just mark it in my mind as "word I don't know" and try to pick up what I can from context.  Last year my wife was reading a translated book about a criminal trial and she asked me what the hell "gaol" meant and I didn't know.  If I've seen it written, then I just assume it's some dialect word I'm unaware of.  If I hear it said, then I just think "jail".  And my wife thought the same.  Only if there's an association created between the two that the link is fully formed.  For me, that didn't happen until the Podcastle episode "The Fairy Gaol" some time recently-ish, in which the narrator pronounced it like "jail" and it was clear from the context that it meant the same thing too.
Same here... I do that same thing where I mark something as "word I don't know but will eventually look up." I had no idea that gaol is pronounced jail, but I had previously assumed it was sort of a word to describe a place of holding somewhere between a dungeon and a 'wild west' style jailhouse.
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Swamp
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« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2011, 01:30:51 PM »

Great story!  One of the my top favorites, and I think my new favorite Doctorow story.
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gelu88
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« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2011, 05:22:59 AM »

I enjoyed this story. It was fun!
Also, I was listening to this story while out running in Toronto, so it was interesting hearing references to some landmarks that I had recently passed by.

I'm not sure why Toronto was part of "Upper Canada" in the Canadian war, but that's what I gathered.   
Upper Canada is the part that is further "up" the St. Lawrence seaway (towards the source). So, even though Toronto is south west of Montreal, it is Upper Canada. Strange local factoid Wink

Right!  I learned this when I was touring the St. Lawrence seaway.  Thank you for reminding me.

Wonderful story, one of the best EscapePod has ever done.

On the subject of geography, this might be of interest:
These borders were in effect until 1840, when both territories were combined.
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hardware
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« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2011, 12:34:04 PM »

Yeah, don't have too much to say except that it was good fun, and I would probably enjoy an adaptation by Jean-Pierre Jeunet to the movie screen. I guess there is something about these uber-resourceful kids which strikes me as overly wishful thinking, but as a fairytale it works fine.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2011, 01:00:15 PM »

Yeah, don't have too much to say except that it was good fun, and I would probably enjoy an adaptation by Jean-Pierre Jeunet to the movie screen. I guess there is something about these uber-resourceful kids which strikes me as overly wishful thinking, but as a fairytale it works fine.

I thought their resourcefulness was plausible.  They've been trained toward fulfilling their skilled-labor roles since birth, and those who were bad at it probably are dead of starvation on the streets, having lost their work for lack of production (it's been a while since I listened, but isn't this a home for the mangled, but not for the incompetent?).
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hardware
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« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2011, 01:52:25 PM »

Yeah, don't have too much to say except that it was good fun, and I would probably enjoy an adaptation by Jean-Pierre Jeunet to the movie screen. I guess there is something about these uber-resourceful kids which strikes me as overly wishful thinking, but as a fairytale it works fine.

I thought their resourcefulness was plausible.  They've been trained toward fulfilling their skilled-labor roles since birth, and those who were bad at it probably are dead of starvation on the streets, having lost their work for lack of production (it's been a while since I listened, but isn't this a home for the mangled, but not for the incompetent?).

True, but that kind of situation was hardly what they were trained for, and from what he describes it doesn't seem to be an environment that would encourage that kind of independent thinking (beyond the purely technical skills). 
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LaShawn
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« Reply #38 on: April 13, 2012, 12:06:06 PM »

Hmmm...I think I'm the second dissenter. Maybe I'm too much into dark things as of late, but I was disappointed with the ending of this one. Everything else I loved--the reader was full of cheerfulness, even during the hard times, and I loved the resourcefulness of the kids. But I kept waiting for something bad to happen--the story kept dropping hints, but never followed up. And the deus ex machina of the narrator conveniently having his 18th birthday right when the kids needed someone to run the orphanage was a bit hard to swallow. I would have accepted it more if the kids used him temporary to make another clockwork person--the already put so much work into making a clockwork Grinder--but the story just peters out. At least it was fun to listen to.
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