Escape Artists
September 22, 2014, 11:17:49 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2  All
  Print  
Author Topic: EP326: Flash Fiction Special  (Read 3923 times)
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4655



« on: January 06, 2012, 10:23:08 AM »

EP326: Flash Fiction Special

Flash fiction for the new year.

Poppies and Chrome by Sylvia Hiven
Rabbi Aaron Meets Satan by Tim Lieder
Fine-Tuning the Universe by Merrie Haskell
narrated by Mat Weller, author Richard E. Dansky, and Mur Lafferty

Appropriate for teens and up due to erotic imagery and language


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
Logged
Kaa
Lochage
*****
Posts: 545


Trusst in me, jusst in me.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2012, 01:00:46 PM »

Poppies and Chrome - I really liked this one, although I felt like I wanted to know more about the world and what had happened. It might be interesting to read/hear a longer story set in the same universe.

Rabbi Aaron Meets Satan - I listened to this one twice, and I'm relatively certain I still have utterly no clue what the story was about. Way too many threads with no visible pattern. (Note: I'm not Jewish, so maybe that had something to do with it--I didn't understand about half of the words.)

Fine-Tuning the Universe - Unfortunately, the Creationism vs. Evolution argument upon which this story revolves is one I've had entirely too many times with family, friends, and random strangers. And with about as much resolution as in this story. I only wish I could do what the robot did and erase others' memories of the entire argument. And my own. As soon as I realized that's the only meat this story had on its bones, I moved on, mentally.

So 1 out of 3. Not bad, I guess.
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
Max e^{i pi}
Hipparch
******
Posts: 891


Have towel, will travel.


« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 08:05:16 AM »

Poppies and Chrome - I must admit that the actual story played second fiddle to the brilliant idea that opened it. I just love the utter simplicity of it. "I know! Instead of actually fixing the world, we'll make these kickass sunglasses that make it appear as if nothing is wrong in the first place!" It's brilliant! Genius! Why didn't we think of it sooner?!
Seriously, I loved that. I then spent the rest of the story waiting to gather more clues about this magnificent piece of technology. I must confess that I am amazed that a pair of glasses have the memory and processing power required to do such complex on-the-fly video manipulation, not to mention sounds and smells as well. Plus it remembers configurations of how it rendered other people...! I am in awe.
Don't ask me about the story itself, I have no idea what went on, I wasn't paying attention.

Rabbi Aaron Meets Satan - While listening to this I realized that many, many people would have trouble with the issues at hand, the conflicts and the terminology. And so, as a free (as in beer) service I will try to explain.
Jews believe that God's seat on Earth is in Jerusalem. Therefore, when praying, they face towards Jerusalem. On Earth that isn't a problem, some basic knowledge of geography and geometry is required, but not much. The question arises, to where does one pray when not actually on Earth? In Earth orbit the answer is rather simple, but on another planet things begin to get complicated. And they get even worse if one is in a different solar system. That, I think, is the "Jerusalem issue".
Another thing I think people may have trouble with is the times. The Jewish day starts at sunset and ends at sunset. Besides that, different times of the day are allotted for different religious observances, prayer times and such. Different times of day include astronomical noon (exactly halfway between sunrise and sunset, regardless of the angle of the sun), astronomical night (when the sun is a certain number of degrees below the horizon), day-break and certain partitions of the day (for example: one-quarter of the time between sunrise and sunset). Now all of this is strictly calculated for a standard Earth-sun system with approximately 24 hour days. What happens when one orbits a different Sun? Or is on a moon, for that mater? Does one maintain time based on where from Earth he or she took off from? Or from Jerusalem? Or from the new day-night system?
Other than that I think everybody is familiar with Jewish prohibitions on preparing and eating kosher food.
Oh, one last thing, it is common Jewish practice to ask a rabbi a question regarding Jewish law (halacha) where one is in doubt. This is called a she'ela in Hebrew, and may be pronounced differently based on one's descent and local accents (shi'lah is common). Another common Jewish practice is to read tehilim (pronounced with a hard 'h' as in "hill" and not like Tim read it) which is the book of Psalms to ward off evil or save one's soul.
And that's it.
The story was rather mediocre. Just a regular deal-with-the-devil story set in space. I'd much rather like to hear the story of how Judaism became the chief religion on Earth and how they were the ones who populated the stars.
Space opera that doesn't involve atheists is always more interesting to me, because many religions place their deity(ies) in "heaven". So what happens when these people go to the heavens and find other planets, but no deity? How do they cope? And how do they cope with Earth being the birthplace of humanity, and therefore their religion? In our story they didn't cope so well. The rabbi's entire family moved to Israel (the term "made aliya").
Islam and Judaism seem to be not so well equipped to deal with space exploration, due to the many religious restrictions imposed upon the devout. We have seen other stories where Buddhism, Christianity and other religions were the ones to settle the stars. But the stricter monotheistic religions... not so much. So I was glad to hear this story, for that regard, but the story itself was quite lacking in everything that makes a good story.

Fine-Tuning the Universe - This was an interesting contrast to the previous story, a robots society's attempt at answering the age-old question.
Again, the idea behind the story appealed to me much more than the story itself. The story seemed to lack climax and resolution. It just sort of happened. I think I'd rather read the philosophical papers written in that society.

So, the final score seems to be.... potato. I didn't actually like any of the stories as stories, but I did like some of the ideas that they came with. So how does one grade that on a number-based system?
Logged

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!

kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 1970


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2012, 09:36:14 PM »

So, the final score seems to be.... potato. I didn't actually like any of the stories as stories, but I did like some of the ideas that they came with. So how does one grade that on a number-based system?

Potato works for me Wink
Logged

4WheelDrive
Extern
*
Posts: 13


« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 06:39:37 AM »

Greetings to all in the EscapePod forums.  First time offender for the forums, but a long time listener and one time donor.  And that last part needs to change.

Poppies and Chrome by Sylvia Hiven

Post apocalyptic world stories just don't appeal to me as I think they are too "final answer".  The Human race as a whole is ingenuous and has a penchant for survival.  Or maybe I am looking at the world though these special glasses though.  The reading was good, and the ending was Potato. Smiley

Rabbi Aaron Meets Satan by Tim Lieder[/i]

Max e^{i pi} commentary helped me understand this story better.  Who would have thunk it that I would get educated here at the forums; silly me! Tongue  Anytime religion is introduced into a Sf story, I love it.  Makes me think.  Again, the reading was good, but the ending was Potato.

Fine-Tuning the Universe by Merrie Haskell

Again, loved this story, for the most part.  Religious ideas are most welcome to me in stories, but the ending was just plain wrong.  Erasing Cobalt's memory of the Creationist/Evolutionist argument was too much like condemnation.  Every person must have their say, and just because they do not agree with me is not a good enough reason "reprogram" them for "better use".     
Logged
Max e^{i pi}
Hipparch
******
Posts: 891


Have towel, will travel.


« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2012, 05:22:02 PM »

as good, and the ending was Potato. Smiley
Rabbi Aaron Meets Satan by Tim Lieder[/i]

Max e^{i pi} commentary helped me understand this story better.  Who would have thunk it that I would get educated here at the forums; silly me! Tongue  Anytime religion is introduced into a Sf story, I love it.  Makes me think.  Again, the reading was good, but the ending was Potato.
Glad I could be of service.
Also, you can just call me Max. I was going to use that nick but it was already taken. So when in doubt, go with an obscure math reference.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 05:25:01 PM by Max e^{i pi} » Logged

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!

slag
Palmer
**
Posts: 50



« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2012, 05:30:17 PM »

I would have to say that "Poppies And Chrome" was definitely the best. Most of all cause I think it had the best idea for a story overall. There are so many things you can allude to when you literally have the people in the story covering their reality with other ones. Plus I would love to see this as a short graphic novel. It would be something really fun to illustrate.
I couldn't really get into the other two so much. I do think there were too many details in the Rabbi story that do go over my head, and perhaps that's why I couldn't really get that behind it.
As for the third story, it just felt so blunt and bland. It's probably just a preferential thing but I prefer my philosophical bits in sci fi to be brought up a bit more situational, through good story telling. I felt like I was someone just reading off of a chatroom transcript. If sci fi is going to pose a question of evolution vs. creationism, I'm sure there are better stories out there than listening to two robots argue over it. The only thing I really thought was interesting was the ending. By reprogramming his concubine, who I guess would no longer be his concubine, the king kinda made me wonder about the level of tolerance in the world the story was taking place in. If he was so quick to reset the concubine because of her beliefs, then what exaclty of the history of the debate, and how were the debaters dealt with? It seems to me that if a robot has no issue with deleting an arguementative mind, then maybe there's a really ugly history that precedes the time that the story takes place, and perhaps something horrendous to come. Maybe the king will wind up bringing about an evolutionist robot inquisition, where all creationists have their minds wiped, just cause the king thinks it logical. Kinda reminds me of The Borg from Star Trek. Maybe the creationists robots will rebel and start some kind of holy war? I don't know, but I think taking up something like that would be a way better story.
Logged

"Just remember what ol' Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ol' storm right square in the eye and he says, "Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it."
Devoted135
Hipparch
******
Posts: 858



« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2012, 10:44:23 AM »

Poppies and Chrome: This was by far my favorite of the three. Like others, I'd love to hear more stories in this world, but honestly this was a poignant and self-contained story that doesn't need expansion.

Rabbi Aaron Meets Satan: My second favorite, with thanks to Max for the couple details that I missed along the way. I agree that this works better as a "what if" scenario than as a "story" per se.

Fine-Tuning the Universe: To my ears, it seemed like he erased the memory of the discussion they had just been having, but that everything else about the concubine was left intact (i.e. he did not wipe her just because he disagreed with her). Of course this still raises some of the same issues that slag mentioned, but not to the same degree. Regardless, I continue to dislike listening to philosophy lectures thinly disguised as "stories."
Logged
slag
Palmer
**
Posts: 50



« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2012, 02:41:56 PM »

Really? Damn, okay I'll have to go back and listen to it again.
Logged

"Just remember what ol' Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ol' storm right square in the eye and he says, "Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it."
balderdash
Extern
*
Posts: 6


« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2012, 01:30:09 AM »

I liked the ideas of Poppies and Chrome, but I admit I had a hard time feeling any empathy for the characters or quite buying into it. After some sort of nuclear(ish) apocalypse, it's hard to imagine there'd be the resources for this kind of coddling even for the wealthy and privileged. What must the rest of that world be like? How are the poorer people who have to be supporting that high-tech infrastructure getting by? Maybe the central concept of the glasses would have worked better in some kind of "soft apocalypse" scenario (with apologies to Will McIntosh) where the cataclysm wasn't violent and sudden and it was possible for the idea of yuppies to still make a certain sense. Or maybe I'm just nitpicking. Anyway, it did neat things with ideas about intimacy in a traumatized society.

I really don't know enough Judaica to have gotten much out of Rabbi Aaron.

I've had a lifetime's worth of aggravating arguments about creationism and intelligent design, so I'm afraid I couldn't really give Fine-Tuning a fair hearing. It just made me roll my eyes.
Logged
Gamercow
Hipparch
******
Posts: 648



« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2012, 10:18:21 PM »

potato.

The first story had some very interesting themes, awesome technologies, but the ending bothered me.  I could have done without the "twist" ending, and would have been happy with them Thelma and Louise-ing off the cliff.  The goggles were amazing, and I could see it happening.  If the world is ultimately screwed, humans are going to adapt in any way possible, even if the situation is dire. One of the ways to adapt is escapism, and focusing on the beautiful, superficial, and ultimately false things that are presented as real.  See: Reality television

The second story fascinated me, but I had very little idea what was going on.  Thanks to Max, I have a better idea, and I thank him for that.  It really does bring up problems of religion in space.  Will there be "local" Jerusalems/Meccas?  A pilgrimage to Mecca would be VERY expensive indeed if you were coming from halfway across the galaxy. 

The third story had good, interesting ideas, but when boiled down, comes down to the same old argument. 
Logged

The cow says "Mooooooooo"
Anarquistador
Matross
****
Posts: 267


Servant of Fire


WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2012, 08:55:56 AM »

Did anyone else have a weird technical thing when downloading this Podcast? I got about 20 minutes of dead air after the three stories were finished. Was there supposed to be more? Or was I just given a post-hypnotic suggestion?
Logged

"Technology: a word we use to describe something that doesn't work yet."

- Douglas Adams

http://www.thereviewpit.com
http://thesuburbsofhell.blogspot.com
Kaa
Lochage
*****
Posts: 545


Trusst in me, jusst in me.


WWW
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 09:17:36 AM »

Did anyone else have a weird technical thing when downloading this Podcast? I got about 20 minutes of dead air after the three stories were finished. Was there supposed to be more? Or was I just given a post-hypnotic suggestion?

Not I.
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
Max e^{i pi}
Hipparch
******
Posts: 891


Have towel, will travel.


« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2012, 09:37:08 AM »

Did anyone else have a weird technical thing when downloading this Podcast? I got about 20 minutes of dead air after the three stories were finished. Was there supposed to be more? Or was I just given a post-hypnotic suggestion?
My episodes was ~45 minutes long. But the actual content ended after 25 minutes. I did a random spot check on the remaining 20 minutes for any post-hypnotic suggestions, but didn't find any. I guess you'll have to listen to the whole 20 minutes to be sure though.
Logged

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!

Devoted135
Hipparch
******
Posts: 858



« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2012, 09:39:06 AM »

Did anyone else have a weird technical thing when downloading this Podcast? I got about 20 minutes of dead air after the three stories were finished. Was there supposed to be more? Or was I just given a post-hypnotic suggestion?

I totally had that too! The episode "ended" while I was heading down the hall for lunch so I never bothered to check my ipod or take out my headphones. Then halfway through my lunch I had a surprise when the music randomly started back up for a couple minutes. Tongue


ETA: I guess I should have headed that red warning Roll Eyes Max, I have accidentally done as you suggest and it is silence except for the last two or so minutes.
Logged
Aaronask
Silent
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2012, 10:36:16 AM »

I was wondering how anyone was going to understand the Rabbi Aaron story without a line by line explanation, so thanks to Max for the great explanation. But he didn't explain the funniest line in the story - the Devil likes Yemenite food because it was known as the spiciest food in Israel (until the Ethiopians came).

The story really felt like an introduction to a longer story that explores the issue of how an Earth based religion struggles when it leaves the planet. The story might be called something like "Jews in Space"...  Cheesy
Logged
Max e^{i pi}
Hipparch
******
Posts: 891


Have towel, will travel.


« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2012, 11:04:18 AM »

I was wondering how anyone was going to understand the Rabbi Aaron story without a line by line explanation, so thanks to Max for the great explanation. But he didn't explain the funniest line in the story - the Devil likes Yemenite food because it was known as the spiciest food in Israel (until the Ethiopians came).
Just like Death on Discworld likes curry.
Logged

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!

slag
Palmer
**
Posts: 50



« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2012, 11:06:41 AM »

Yeah I got the dead air too. Lasted for nearly half the total episode. Just some snafu I guess. Or maybe Mur didd want us to sit and ponder on things for a bit.
I did listen to the third story twice, and I still say that Cobalt was the one that got her mind wiped cause it said she was "reset." Bad Titanium!
Logged

"Just remember what ol' Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ol' storm right square in the eye and he says, "Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it."
Anarquistador
Matross
****
Posts: 267


Servant of Fire


WWW
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2012, 01:01:53 PM »

Oh good, so it's not just me.

It's oddly comforting that I won't be the only one who will start gearing up for action when a seemingly random innocuous phrase gets inserted into the thread...
Logged

"Technology: a word we use to describe something that doesn't work yet."

- Douglas Adams

http://www.thereviewpit.com
http://thesuburbsofhell.blogspot.com
Gamercow
Hipparch
******
Posts: 648



« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2012, 04:16:05 PM »

The story really felt like an introduction to a longer story that explores the issue of how an Earth based religion struggles when it leaves the planet. The story might be called something like "Jews in Space"...  Cheesy

There was a EP about some priest on Mars, or something.  My mind is like a tar pit.  If it is recent, I can recall it easily, but stuff further back only occasionally bubbles to the surface.
Logged

The cow says "Mooooooooo"
Pages: [1] 2  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!