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Author Topic: PC201, Giant Episode: Golden City Far  (Read 8887 times)

Reed

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Reply #25 on: April 01, 2012, 07:58:51 PM
Interesting setup, but didn't work very well for me. I felt it lacked structure - sure, it's alright to have weird elements defying logic in a dreamworld-reality mix, but I would have been more impressed if everything came together for a good conclusion at the end. The fight seemed random and the monsters just... some monsters thrown in because the hero needs to rescue the girl. I was also faintly annoyed by the fact that Bill became super smart and athletic and overall awesome just like that. It felt like classic fantasy wish fulfillment.

I did think the reader did a good job at Bill's halting speech though.



aesculapius

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Reply #26 on: April 01, 2012, 08:56:05 PM
Quote
You know a great way to get your scheduling requests listened to? Precede them by a four-word comment that contains absolutely nothing but an ambiguously general put-down.

OK then. I thought it was unlistenable because of the constant shifts in setting that were very difficult to follow, the lack of any overall
structure or plot, and a protagonist that didn't compel any sort of intellectual or emotional investment. I realize that yes, there's magical realism and surrealism and all that, and that those are legitimate narrative forms, but I didn't find this to be a particularly compelling example. I think that when you go against traditional narrative structure, there's an onus on the writer to make the story especially interesting in an alternative way, but I didn't find that here. Just not my cup of tea; I see that for some other listeners, it was, but that's the way it goes. That's not to say that I don't love Podcastle and enjoy 95% of the stories that you put out (heck, I thought episode 200 was outstanding).

Hope that clarifies.



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Reply #27 on: April 02, 2012, 01:39:14 PM
Quote
You know a great way to get your scheduling requests listened to? Precede them by a four-word comment that contains absolutely nothing but an ambiguously general put-down.

OK then. I thought it was unlistenable because of the constant shifts in setting that were very difficult to follow, the lack of any overall
structure or plot, and a protagonist that didn't compel any sort of intellectual or emotional investment. I realize that yes, there's magical realism and surrealism and all that, and that those are legitimate narrative forms, but I didn't find this to be a particularly compelling example. I think that when you go against traditional narrative structure, there's an onus on the writer to make the story especially interesting in an alternative way, but I didn't find that here. Just not my cup of tea; I see that for some other listeners, it was, but that's the way it goes. That's not to say that I don't love Podcastle and enjoy 95% of the stories that you put out (heck, I thought episode 200 was outstanding).

Hope that clarifies.

Much better!  I even agree with you, which I wouldn't have known from the original post.  :)



flashedarling

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Reply #28 on: April 03, 2012, 04:20:17 PM
I really disliked this story, especially after I kept pushing through to finish. I spent the entire time waiting for the other shoe to drop, the curtain to pull back, the mystery to reveal itself but no. It was exactly what it seemed to be on the surface. The rambling daydream fantasy of an adolescent boy. I could put up with the fact that there was an very loose structure, I guessed it was supposed to reflect the nature of dreams always skipping from one topic to the next. What I could deal with is the whole plot. It just reminded me of the kinds of daydreams I you have when you are a boy (or even when your grown up I suppose).

"I'm going to be sooo cool. I'll be able to talk to animals and I'll have two hot girls who both instantly want me and are passionately devoted to me. One will be the girl next door who I can depend on, the other will be all mysterious and magical. I'll remember everything I study and be super smart. All the teachers will be so amazed at how intelligent I am that they won't care if I skip class. I'll always have something smart to say and when someone is skeptical of me I'll win them over instantly. I'll always be able to end a discussion with a smart quotation or poem that leaves them in awe. Then I'll try out for the football team and be the best. But it won't be like I care about it or anything, because really it is beneath me. I'll just do it like I do everything, because I can without really needing to try. Then I'll be on the starting line, and immediately get picked by a college recruiter. The other guys will be jealous but I'll just beat them up with my amazing skills. They've got to start the fight though, otherwise it will seem like I'm picking in them. Most importantly I'll always be aloof and humble about my actions, I can't seem like I'm too proud of anything I've done. After all, I'm  too cool to have motivations"

After seeing everything just fall into the main characters lap without him actually doing anything I kept wanting it to turn into a deconstruction of such fantasies. Sadly, it was not to be. He wins because it is his dream, not because of anything he does. There is no challenge, no threat, any monsters are simply constructions he creates to be defeated. There is no dilemma, only knots which are easily cut with his sword and he can always have it both ways. Sure we all have daydream fantasies about that but when you put it in the light of day it becomes obvious those gold coins are made of plastic.

In addition the main character had no personality, again he was "too cool" to really seem to care about or get excited about anything. His rambling responses to any question reminded me of my younger self, attempting to appear intelligent and insightful by responding with overly long explanations of my entire thought process.

Overall the story left me very dissatisfied. It kept building up this scenario that I thought could be explored a little more interestingly and was just played completely straight. I can't take this seriously as a coming of age story because it lacks any sort of conflict. The main character became smarter, stronger, and more attractive through no trails of his own. When he tells Ms. Grimes that he is still a boy he isn't just being humble despite the implied "Oh he is a strong man, but just doesn't know it yet because look how humble he is." He is still a boy living a boys fantasy.



yicheng

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Reply #29 on: April 04, 2012, 04:42:58 PM
I loved this story, although I'm at a loss to explain why.  There was something elemental and epic (in the Homeric) sense about it. 



Valkyrie

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Reply #30 on: April 04, 2012, 11:52:21 PM
I liked this one, I really enjoyed how as the story progressed their stopped being transitions between the dream world and his waking life, signifying his...inability..(?) to separate reality from the dreams. My only thing was he didn't strike me as crazy though. I mean if were going to look at it from a logical real world standpoint, yes he was, but if you look at it from a fantasy perspective he was pretty lucid.
all problems would have been solved if that nosy teacher had not been reading his notebook over his shoulder. Seriously woman, you aren't paid enough for all that.



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Reply #31 on: April 08, 2012, 02:53:53 AM
Flashedarling you just about nailed everything I wanted to say, but couldn't wrap words around.

I really disliked this story, especially after I kept pushing through to finish.

This is about the only place where we diverge. Rather than active dislike, I was passively neutral, much like the character throughout the story. I earnestly hoped I would like it more, but in the end, stuff just happened.

The talking dog was cool, but militant cats killing moon frogs would have made this story awesomer. The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath got significantly better once I accepted that it was a fantasy story, not horror.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Listener

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Reply #32 on: May 02, 2012, 01:55:37 PM
I liked this story for about the first 45 minutes. Then I started to wonder where we were going.

The concept of dreams becoming reality, or daydreams influencing reality, or dreams leaking through to reality... all of these are decent concepts and themes. However, the story itself just went on and on, and after a while William/Billy/Bill because more of a Gary Stu than anything else*. He was good at everything he tried, he never really got in trouble, and in the end he gets what he wants -- the golden city becomes real and his girlfriend and neighbor's dog go with him on a quest to get there. Once we got to Gary Stu territory, I just got tired of listening. Even the action sequence didn't do much for me, and the way Bill menaced the monster that was just minding its own business, doing monster stuff, took away what little sympathy/empathy I still had for him that hadn't gone away after he fooled around with Sue in the back of the scout's car (and, by the way, I actually had to listen to that twice to believe it happened). He went from an endearing character to someone I just didn't like at all, and the same thing happened with Sue.

I was fine with the reader chosen for the story because he had the right voice in the beginning, but I'm not sure he pulled off Bill toward the end. I did like his Shep voice. I think for this one I'd have liked someone with a little more range -- I keep thinking Steve Eley because of that one EP where he played the police dog character (amazingly, I might add). However, I had a little more issue with the production -- the scene breaks weren't long enough to give my brain time to readjust.

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patriciomas

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Reply #33 on: May 05, 2012, 06:59:28 PM
This is the first EA story I've actively hated. I'll echo a lot of what flashedarling said. Outside of the conceit of the dream world, the main character is the least imaginative character I've seen in a long time. He's a high school boy who wants nothing other than to be a football star and have a girl all to himself. And he gets them both, with a second girl fawning over him, the adoration of his teachers, and total vindication against anyone who thought him crazy. It felt to me like a story a high school kid would write about someone he disliked, with the main character dying horribly or turning out to be crazy in the end. And that's what I was really cheering for -- a dismal ending to the character who's everything (and nothing more) that Hollywood likes to tell us teenage boys are supposed to be.

The part that tipped me from actively dislike to hate, though, was that the entire high school setting screamed false to me. In any school I've heard of, high school kids don't have "social studies". They have actual subjects, like US history, world history, economics, etc. And the whole plot line where the kids (try to) beat up the main character because he dared to wear a letterman's jacket was so different from my experience that I laughed at it. I lettered in quiz bowl in high school, so the idea that football players would care about someone wearing a jacket (without a letter!) was ludicrous to me. Those are two small things, but they made the setting unbelievable.



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Reply #34 on: May 06, 2012, 03:05:11 AM
I can't believe I'm about to defend this story but...

Social studies is an authentic school subject. Maybe it's a Catholic school thing, or maybe it's a Chicago thing--heck, maybe it's an age thing, but the school I went to had "social studies" instead of history. Sometimes it would come up in conversation, and people would look at me funny. We also didn't have "middle school" or "junior high". For us, grammar school went all the up to 8th grade, then you went to high school.

As far as the letterman jacket, well, I never had one, so I don't know what that experience is like. Not saying I liked the story for that (in fact I disliked it), but I just wanted to vouch for the social studies thing.

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Talia

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Reply #35 on: May 06, 2012, 03:42:00 AM
Yeah, my high school had 'social studies' too, and I went to a public school nowhere near Chicago.




childoftyranny

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Reply #36 on: May 06, 2012, 10:58:40 AM
I'll match your social studies and raise you global studies as well, this is from rural Western New York



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Reply #37 on: May 06, 2012, 03:23:52 PM
Southern California had social studies in high school too.

Also football players who'd beat your ass if you wore an un-earned letterman jacket. (I don't recall anyone on quiz bowl getting a jacket).



childoftyranny

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Reply #38 on: May 06, 2012, 04:00:04 PM
I got one for marching band though, so yanno how THAT goes.



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Reply #39 on: May 07, 2012, 01:48:25 PM
I had "Social Studies" too in public school in South Dakota, both very small town and bigger town (relatively speaking). 

And the letterman jacket thing, I did not see at our school, but I don't find it far-fetched at all.  A lot of people in this world are a-holes, and those people tend to thrive in the high school environment.  Some are looking for any reason to kick some butt, regardless of whether it makes rational sense or not.  So, yeah.

(I still don't really like the story, but those details didn't seem at all out of place to me)



LaShawn

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Reply #40 on: May 07, 2012, 01:56:57 PM
BTW Patriciomas, don't think we're ganging up on you. We all have different reasons to dislike the story. It's what brings us together! I still maintain, though, that Gene Wolfe is the sweetest guy I've ever known. One day, I *will* fall in love with a story he's written.

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Devoted135

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Reply #41 on: May 07, 2012, 03:23:48 PM
Well, I'll come in on Patriciomas' side and say that my Chicago public school (full disclosure out of respect for LaShawn - it was technically a suburbian public school :P) had no social studies. It was called world history or US history or economics as appropriate in 7-12th grade, and social studies in 6th grade. Also, elementary school was k-5, jr high was 6-8 and high school was of course 9-12. :)