Author Topic: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says  (Read 13368 times)

eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« on: April 06, 2012, 11:30:41 AM »
EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says

By Ferrett Steinmetz

Read by Mur Lafferty

Originally appeared at Asimov's

---

“I just want to know where my brother is,” Irena yells at the guards. The
English words are thick and slow on her tongue, like honey. She holds her
hands high in the air; the gun she’s tucked into the back of her pants jabs
at her spine.

She doesn’t want to kill the soldiers on this iteration; she’s never killed
anyone before, and doesn’t want to start. But unless she can get poor, weak
Sammi out of that prison in the next fifty/infinity minutes, they’ll start
in on him with the rubber hoses and he’ll tell them what he’s done. And
though she loves her brother with all her heart, it would be a blessing then
if the Americans beat him to death.

The guards are still at the far end of the street, just before the tangle of
barbed wire that bars the prison entrance. Irena stands still, lets them
approach her, guns out. One is a black man, the skin around his eyes
creased with a habitual expression of distrust; a fringe of white hair and
an unwavering aim marks him as a career man. The other is a younger man,
squinting nervously, his babyfat face the picture of every new American
soldier. Above them, a third soldier looks down from his wooden tower,
reaching for the radio at his belt.

She hopes she won’t get to know them. This will be easier if all they do is
point guns and yell. It’ll be just like Sammi’s stupid videogames.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!

matweller

  • EA Staff
  • *****
  • Posts: 678
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2012, 11:44:29 AM »
This is easily my favorite story of the year so far. As I said to Mur, the attention to the degradation of each repeat is a detail most people writing a save-point story would neglect and shows how much the author really thought about it and the loss of self over the repeats is an amazing extension of what I've felt before playing games. The first time you go through an area, it's new and exciting, and you may not see every inch, but if you make it through in one try, you feel like you've accomplished something. If you hit one you have to repeat over and over, it loses magic on every iteration, and by the time you're done, even if you can perform a delicate dance through the most difficult scene and you know the map form every angle and you're going to have the health and ammo you need when you're done, it still feels like less of an accomplishment.

So enjoyable. Thank you, Mr. Steinmetz.

NoNotRogov

  • Guest
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2012, 04:23:08 PM »
I hope that the scifi trope of a lone, rogue inventor's bizarre and anachronistic technology in an otherwise mundane setting never departs the genre. Nothing encapsulates the speculative fiction methodology of establishing consistency and plausibility once a specific core conceit is given a free-pass card from disbelief as well as this tried and true Edisonade formula, in my opinion. That might have to do with the obvious other example, the Planet of Hats, where an alien or future culture or species is presented to make a commentary, is all about tying in a social commentary into the world of the story; meaning that even beyond the deliberately speculative element (the alien race itself or the technology of the future earth) that the mundane elements of the story are stylized in ways that stretch suspension of disbelief (see the attitudes and noir style plots of the cyberpunk genre).

Being a primarily social scifi fan, from my perspective the Magnificent Machine style of story introduces a clear and distinct speculative element that can be easily separated from the mundane world around it, allowing author and reader to gauge to minute degrees the level of genre tropes and other stylization in the mundane elements. That makes stories such as this, with one macguffin like the Save Point, a potential textbook showcase for applying plausibility to a narrative containing fantastical elements.

enoch

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • The Coolest New Art Form
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2012, 09:28:34 PM »
I really liked this story. Its definitely making my favorites of the year list.

This story, along with the Podcastle Miniature : Mario's 3 Lives, has given me a different perspective on video games. I know its just fiction, and I know that the characters in the games I play probably aren't independently sentient. But its still fun to think about isnt it?

This story also reminded me of the many hours spent playing DOOM. Im not sure why...  :)

ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2012, 01:41:37 AM »
I'm going to speak up and say that I surprised myself and really didn't like this one at all. And, oddly, it was less a theme issue and more a craft issue. This is odd for me. Usually I'm the one saying "thematically this one didn't do it for me, but the craft was excellent..." Here, the themes were exciting, but I just don't like how the story was written.

Specifically, I thought that the pacing was way off. In this kind of story, you need to have the part where you show-don't-tell, letting the audience into the horror of Irena's situation. Then you go to the tell-don't-show part, where you use narrative techniques to evoke the length of time Irena is stuck in this loop and how it changes her, but without detailing every minute. And, finally, you return to more immediate storytelling for the gory, heart-wrenching finish. This is basically what Steinmetz did. The trouble is, I think he went to stage two too quickly, and then stayed in it for too long. In other words, too much tell, not enough show.

Secondly, I thought that the story completely failed to evoke the characters' background through a unique voice or style. I wasn't expecting it to be all Allah this, random non-English words that - I'm glad that the main characters were real people, not caricatures - but come on... the internal monologues of human beings do in fact vary according to their cultures of origin. These characters just sounded like Americans with funny names. It was kind of a cop-out, and it annoyed me. I feel that if you aren't going to bother really evoking a character's origin, it shouldn't exist. If you're going to make your characters sound like Americans, just let them be Americans. Set your story in a near future where America has become a totalitarian shit-hole where the government preys on its own people. Don't put it in some relevant middle-eastern style place and then don't bother to do your homework.

In conclusion: great themes, poor execution. Sorry, guys.
Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.

H. Bergeron

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • COACH! Check this out!
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 02:22:12 AM »
I definitely very much enjoyed this story for the reasons detailed above - the way it seems to degrade over time and the eventual insanity of the main character seemed well-done. I saw the insanity coming once the nature of the earlier experiment - with the other person who killed seventeen soldiers - became clear, but I still enjoyed the onset.

I have one tiny problem with the production, though, and I hope this is an appropriate place to mention it - the story ends on this harsh, excellent note and then, almost immediately, the music comes in. It's not like on Pseudopod, where the music slides in slowly, or on Beware the Hairy Mango, where the whole POINT is abrupt silliness. I feel like the sudden onset of the music hurts my enjoyment of the end of the story, and I'd prefer at least a beat between the last sentence and the start of the music - a moment to take a breath and let the end of the story wash over me.
Formerly Ignoranus - now too big for my britches, literally and figuratively.

sparthir

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 09:21:43 PM »
OK this one was brilliant.  I loved the pacing and the style that it was written in.

The idea behind it was clever and not knowing what actually happens to the girl in the end is clever.  Did she get out, get captured or did she in her madness do another reset?

Yaekmon

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2012, 09:36:28 PM »
I thought this was a great example of the 12:01 PM/Groundhog Day time-loop sub-genre.

I do agree with ElectricPaladin's analysis of the structure: the middle seemed over-long and the ending seemed rushed. It took hundreds of attempts to get past three guards, but the guards inside were easy pickings because they weren't wearing vests?

But, overall, I think the good outweighed the bad, and it was an evocative and thought-provoking piece about how violence begets violence.
No matter how many approaches she tried, the violent mindset of her brother's captors meant she had no choice but to use violence against them. I think that it was in recognising this cycle of violence that she decided she must dispose of those who perpetuate it, even if one was her own brother.

Lab Tinnion

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Unintentionally Superior
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 03:49:07 AM »
I have to agree with ElectricPaladin's second point about culture and thought patterns.  Irena's thoughts and way of thinking sounded American in every way, and not just because it was presented in English.  Also, I had a hard time swallowing the idea of "several old X-Boxes wired together with rusted antenna and whirligig copper cups" as something capable of pulling an entire human consciousness backwards through time.  That was just silly.

Still, even with all that said, I really liked this story.  Taken as fantasy, it's an excellent exploration of how violence degrades humanity.  Unfortunately, a lot of the narrative force in this story was lost in the podcast version.  It's a gritty, action piece with a lot of hard emotions.  The reading just failed to carry that.  If any story ever needed a good performance reader, this one was it.  The repetition of the title line alone should have gotten harsher (and more sickening?) with each iteration, not because Bakri said it differently each time, but because it came to mean something different and more to the main character (and by extension to us) as it went on and on.

I found myself agreeing in the end with Irena's choice in the story to destroy both the machine and its creator, not to keep it from the "Americans," but to keep it from existing at all.  A world with such machines would be not only free of consequences, conscience, and humanity, it would be irrevocably chained to the moment.
-->Lab Tinnion

Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today - but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.~~Isaac Asimov

Gamercow

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 654
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 09:10:22 AM »
Every video gamer has that "Throw the controller" moment.  To this day, some 25 years later, the end pogo-boss to Mega Man sticks in my head as the first to really make me throw my controller.  I can't imagine adding the sensation of experiencing of your own death to the equation, I find Irena's reactions completely believable. 

That said, I did find the setting a bit weak, and the tech a bit weak as well, but the characters involved(mostly Irena) were excellent.
The cow says "Mooooooooo"

MrBlister

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 03:01:50 PM »
I really like the premise, but the story seemed rushed. I didn't really feel the main character change, because I never really got to know her at all. The world she is moving through seems like a blank slate as well.

childoftyranny

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 175
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 08:20:30 PM »
In that best way I enjoyed this story but not without reservations. My first was definitely the setting, its a setting that can evoke quite a few emotions and I'm not sure that this story was set up to catch those and use them rather than evoking them. We should all agree the war is a terrible terrible nasty thing, a child having their mother destroyed in a war more-so, it matters quite little whether that bomb was in the right or wrong place to the dead. I think a nameless enemy would have worked fine in this story and helped to protect it from unrelated feelings since it deals with such a touchy subject, a hat-nod to Electric Paladin for giving me the nucleus to really say this the right way.

Secondly, while completely necessary the repetition nevertheless got on my nerves, there isn't much beyond that, I'm glad the overal story was evocative to get my beyond that. I caught me in the same fashion that the repetitive torture scenes in 1984 did, I reached the amount of horror I was going to get for the moment and then it just felt like someone was poking me with the horror stick(hmm, there must be a flash fiction idea in a "horror stick").

Fourthly, I think the story did quite well at evoking that horror. The transition to her first kill was pretty abrupt, in the subjective time sense of a listen, even if we know there were many attempts until it to that, I could imagine one of the soldiers accidentally shooting his partner in one attempt leading her to act bolder as a more fluid transition.

Between the brother and sister I think there is a fantastic comparison, we see both as emotionless but in different ways, by the end I think you believe Sammi doesn't understand emotions really, but Irena, hid hers. In her effort to take of her family she tucked them away and even used them as a focus to go into the never-ending battle that warped and twisted those same emotions. This was another brutal story I think, love is a dangerous weapon.

Thirdly, After Ferret has given use this and Devourhttp://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=6090.0 we need to get him to think think happy thoughts, THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS!


ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 08:25:49 PM »
Thirdly, After Ferret has given use this and Devourhttp://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=6090.0 we need to get him to think think happy thoughts, THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS!

Ferret gave us Devour? That's good - between this one and the unicorn one, I was beginning to think that I just didn't like his stories. I'm glad he also produced one of my favorites - yay for ambiguity!
Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.

Cutter McKay

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 952
  • "I was the turkey the whoooole time!"
    • Detention Block AA23
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2012, 10:18:01 PM »
Let me start off by saying I absolutely loved this story. As others have stated, I think is one of the best stories, not only of this year, but of the last hundred or so that I've managed to go back since I discovered EscapePod. What I loved most was the despairing realism that eventually this situation would drive you mad. Stories like Groundhog Day make it seem like a fun party. Yes, Bill Murray does lose it a bit, but in the end, he grows from the experience and is a better person for it. Not in this tale.

That being said, I see the points several of you have made about the short-comings of this story, but I think those issues can be addressed by looking at the story in a different way. Not to say that any of you don't know how to read or listen to a story, in fact, many of your comments here in the past have helped broaden my understanding and appreciation of the stories broadcast. But I think in this case, some of you may be looking at the story from the wrong angle.

Consider Orson Scott Card's MICE Quotient; the idea that there are four parts to every story: Milieu (environment), Idea, Character, and Event. Each of these four aspects is in every story to some degree, but one is always paramount. I think the problem here is that some of you might be reading this as either a Milieu story or a Character story. A Milieu story begins when a character is placed in a foreign environment and ends when they leave or adapt to that environment. Irena is already in her environment, so this doesn't apply, and environment is not as important to the story. The Character story begins when the character wants to change their role in life and ends when they either accomplish it or give in to it. Again, doesn't apply and so a weaker character development can be overlooked.

This is clearly an Idea story. The Idea story begins when a question or problem is posed, ie. "What if we could reset our lives to a save point every time we screw up?" and ends when the answer is presented, ie. "You will eventually go mad." Card says, "...appropriate characterization for an idea story not necessarily the same thing as appropriate characterization for another type of story. Characters stand for ideas, or exist primarily to discover them."

So, for me, the idea story of creating a machine that can reset time is a wonderful idea, even in its hokey incarnation of networked X-boxes, because it asks the question of "What if?" and answers it in a dark, yet surprisingly realistic way. I think it was fantastic. I can easily get past the lack of character development or environment, even the cliche "Evil United States vs. the Terroristic Middle East" because the Idea itself is so interesting and well perceived.

This post quickly got away from me and for that I apologize. I do not mean to sound preachy or lecturing. One quick note,
Secondly, while completely necessary the repetition nevertheless got on my nerves,

I loved the repetition precisely because it got on my nerves. I thought it added to the growing sense of madness in the story.

My two (50?) cents. Thanks for hearing me out.
-Josh Morrey-
http://joshmorreywriting.blogspot.com/
"Remember: You have not yet written your best work." -Tracy Hickman

matweller

  • EA Staff
  • *****
  • Posts: 678
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 12:35:36 AM »
I have one tiny problem with the production, though, and I hope this is an appropriate place to mention it - the story ends on this harsh, excellent note and then, almost immediately, the music comes in. It's not like on Pseudopod, where the music slides in slowly, or on Beware the Hairy Mango, where the whole POINT is abrupt silliness. I feel like the sudden onset of the music hurts my enjoyment of the end of the story, and I'd prefer at least a beat between the last sentence and the start of the music - a moment to take a breath and let the end of the story wash over me.

I reject the comparison to any other show. I rather like the way the way we end a story and then the sudden music pulls you back into reality and forces you to see how gripped you really were. Plus, it's the way it's been done since long before I was at the reins, so there.

You're right, though. The music came in at least a half second sooner than I would have normally put it. I think what happened was that I aligned all the tracks the way I wanted them, then listened all the way through again to QC it. I caught an edit in the middle, and then had to adjust all the tracks at the end, and I must have slipped on placing them. I'm sorry. It's a fluke, but I agree that it should have been timed a bit better. Thanks for the catch!

Yaekmon

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2012, 06:23:13 AM »
Stories like Groundhog Day make it seem like a fun party. Yes, Bill Murray does lose it a bit, but in the end, he grows from the experience and is a better person for it. Not in this tale.

You should watch the short film 12:01PM, starring Kurtwood Smith.
It's a much grittier take on the time-loop than Groundhog Day.

It's my second favourite short film of all time, after The Bloody Olive.
That one shares a theme with another Hollywood film, but to say which would be a spoiler.

I'm pretty sure both are on YouTube.

Devoted135

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1252
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2012, 09:43:08 AM »
This is easily one of my favorite EP stories of the year. For me the repetitions, the alternating between tight focus on one or two iterations and the staccato portrayal of tens more iterations, the leaps in mind-frame that Irena took... it all worked for me.

I 100% agree that her thought patterns seemed quite American so I was thrown off when it was revealed that she was meant to be Middle Eastern, and I do wish that the various sides had remained ambiguous. However, I was able to hand-wave away the silliness of xboxes hooked together and a handcuff consciousness-tether. :)


The first time you go through an area, it's new and exciting, and you may not see every inch, but if you make it through in one try, you feel like you've accomplished something. If you hit one you have to repeat over and over, it loses magic on every iteration, and by the time you're done, even if you can perform a delicate dance through the most difficult scene and you know the map form every angle and you're going to have the health and ammo you need when you're done, it still feels like less of an accomplishment.

Having watched my husband go though this scenario countless times (most recently in playing through the Uncharted series, and perhaps most memorably in the MGS series) this piqued my interest. I would have thought that the satisfaction of finally getting through and performing "a delicate dance" would still be high, but he totally agrees with you that having to try 3-5ish times increases the satisfaction but 10-20X makes it completely lose all of its charm.

aceofwands

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2012, 11:03:18 AM »
I must post or risk losing my privileges, it says here, so "hi".

I didn't have particularly strong feelings about this story, I just didn't enjoy it as much as others obviously did.  As a point of reference, though, the ebook-pocalypse story has been my highlight so far.  I like a podcast that makes me laugh in the face of complete strangers.

Getting back to Bakri I think the choice of setting set a weight on the story's shoulders that it couldn't really carry.  In fact the real-world elements, like the references to x-box, were probably the weak-point.

That being said I didn't mind the Heath-Robinson McGuffin - it's fiction, after all, and time-travelling consciousness-tranference fiction at that, so x-boxes or egg-boxes would have been all the same to me.  I just felt it moved past the point where a Groundhog Day story would have had something useful to say about the people involved, and overplayed the save-game trope to the point of creating the same grinding impatience just to get to the end-of-level boss.

In the end, I wasn't even clear on the message - war is hell, video-games desensitise, or overachieving geek brothers must ... avoid plot spoliers?

Wilson Fowlie

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1471
    • The Maple Leaf Singers
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2012, 11:55:58 AM »
This story really worked for me, too. While I realized that no configuration of XBoxes would result in any kind of time travel, I realized that that was really just a hook into the 'save point' aspect of video games and gave it a pass for the idea.

I didn't see where this was going at all (my own naïveté, I suppose) and the moment when I realized that Fahrouz's 'insanity' was simply(?) a result of the same kind of repetition the main character was going through (and yes, that Bill Murray's character went through in Groundhog Day), was a bit of a stunner, I have to admit.

What I loved most was the despairing realism that eventually this situation would drive you mad. Stories like Groundhog Day make it seem like a fun party. Yes, Bill Murray does lose it a bit, but in the end, he grows from the experience and is a better person for it. Not in this tale.

I think the difference is in the circumstances. There's a huge difference between reporting on a benign - if ridiculous - winter ritual in the peace of the U.S., and breaking into a military prison in the Middle East in war time. The latter situation could drive you insane without a time loop.

Also, I don't think the main character in this story lost her sanity. She lost her ability to see Bakri and the guards as humans, because while she was repeating her actions, they weren't.

But she also recognized that she had lost that perspective as a result of the time loop; as soon as she was no longer in it, she regained her ability to recognize someone as, not a video game obstacle to be overcome, but another person, to be seen as an individual and loved for it.

Makes me wonder if Fahrouz came to the same realization by the end of his similar - and probably longer - journey.


(Edited for word choice.)
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 01:48:10 PM by Wilson Fowlie »
"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

robertcday

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 25
  • I don't need anything from you.
    • MeMyMine
Loops Within Loops
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2012, 06:28:13 AM »
..and then I thought: 'all that effort trying to perfect that inner loop when it may, in fact, be only one iteration of a bigger outer loop'! Brain warming stuff; me likes.
Robert.
fanaticus, meaning "insanely but divinely inspired"

Cutter McKay

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 952
  • "I was the turkey the whoooole time!"
    • Detention Block AA23
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2012, 07:08:14 AM »
I think the difference is in the circumstances. There's a huge difference between reporting on a benign - if ridiculous - winter ritual in the peace of the U.S., and breaking into a military prison in the Middle East in war time. The latter situation could drive you insane without a time loop.

You're right. The difference is not only in the circumstances of the situation, but also, I think, in the amount of time. In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray has, what, 16-20 hours every day to deal with his situation; plenty of time to accomplish his goals while also having the freedom of leisure and comfort. Irena, on the other hand, had I believe forty minutes in each iteration, not to mention her initial discomfort. So I fully agree that the circumstances are what make this different from other time loop stories and I think that's what makes me love it so, even though it's been done before.

Also, I don't think the main character in this story lost her sanity. She lost her ability to see Bakri and the guards as humans, because while she was repeating her actions, they weren't.

But she also recognized that she had lost that perspective as a result of the time loop; as soon as she was no longer in it, she regained her ability to recognize someone as, not a video game obstacle to be overcome, but another person, to be recognized as an individual and loved for it.

I concede this point. Insanity was the wrong choice of word. More proper would be to say that she lost her humanity. In being stuck in the machine, she became a machine herself. And, looking back at it now from this vantage, I think her return to humanity once she was finally free of the loop is what makes this story so powerful to me. I didn't fully realize that at first, but now I see.

“I don’t have to kill you,” she says, smelling his hair, feeling his
clothes, loving him more than anyone she’s ever loved before.


Her return to humanity is the triumph of the story, not her victory over the "end boss". Even in the face of the fact that she just cold-bloodedly murdered her own brother. Great story.
-Josh Morrey-
http://joshmorreywriting.blogspot.com/
"Remember: You have not yet written your best work." -Tracy Hickman

Wilson Fowlie

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1471
    • The Maple Leaf Singers
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2012, 02:02:24 PM »
Her return to humanity is the triumph of the story, not her victory over the "end boss".

Just how I feel.

Even in the face of the fact that she just cold-bloodedly murdered her own brother. Great story.

She came to a deep, visceral understanding of what the use of this technology means: what it does to a user and what it might mean for humanity. She knew that it couldn't be allowed to continue to exist, or even be known about any more.

She may have come to hate Sammi for inventing it, or not, but I think she came to the conclusion that, whether she still loved him or not, he simply could not continue to live. Possibly, if she could have figured out how to erase his memory/understanding of the machine, she might have chosen to do so, but that wasn't an option.

It was a quick murder, but it may not have been easy, for all that. (That said, she could well have come to hate Sammi by the time she got to him, so it could have been done in cold blood.)

However, what is something of a shame is that her killing of Sammi and Bakri in order to keep the technology from humanity was, ultimately, futile. If a technology can be discovered once, it can be discovered again (and, if necessary, again). And if it can be made, then eventually, no matter how horrific it is, someone will make it. She has only postponed the day of reckoning.

Fortunately for us all, I expect the technology described in the story is happily impossible.
"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

eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2012, 02:24:23 PM »
I don't think she hated Sammi - I think she still did love him, in some way, as evidenced by her making sure he enjoys his few moments of joy in the success of his invention before she killed him, and then doing it quickly. Furthermore, I don't think she killed him just for his knowledge of his invention - I think she killed him because of his delight in what it did to her (which I'm pretty sure she expected). She knew that he only values humans as potential weapons and not for their humanity. This wasn't a matter of knowledge of how it can be done - he was also not only willing to use it again, but he would have been happy to do so.

Mercurywaxing

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2012, 03:04:51 PM »
I loved the story not for the technology, but rather how it uses the technology to make a universal comment about war.  War is an endless sameness of boredom or violence.  Like in the story, inches become important and gained through time.  The sameness of the violence wears you down.  The curse of Irena was that she got to know the people she was killing.  At first that is a curse, then it dehumanizes you and you and they, like the guards, become not people but ideas of what they could do and others from the group they come from have done (it can be argued that in the story each set of guards were unique and different iterations).  Then, in the end, the war ends, the sameness breaks, and she becomes a person again.

Yeah, I liked this one.  A lot.

bluetube

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 25
  • Old geeza.
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2012, 04:37:34 PM »
Despite its serious nature, or perhaps because of it, I enjoyed this story.

The idea of a "game style" save point and the ability to repeatedly try different strategies to get past an ordinarily impossible obstacle introduced interesting possibilities. The effect this had on the girl and her willingness to go through repeated deaths to achieve the final goal, but not before she had vented her frustration and anger on Bakri. Playing the game against the stated aims, just for the fun of it.

The ending was kind of unexpected, and potentially open-ended... does she go back to the save point and run through the scene again without harming Bakri and her brother, or does she walk out of there, staying in that time stream?

If I had to criticise the story, it could have been longer with more insight into the characters and their situation. Perhaps some views from the soldiers' perspective.

TimothyAWiseman

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2012, 01:55:21 PM »
This story was fantastic.  It was creative, thought provoking, and almost poetic with its lovely repetitions.

Dem

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 567
  • aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com
    • Suzanne Conboy-Hill
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2012, 09:19:15 AM »
I was not sold on the repetition although I see the point of it - the slow dehumanisation of the character and her ultimate, almost altruistic, decision. The problem for me was that I found the characterisations thin and unconvincing; as though the author really just saw them as vehicles for extended rumination over the killings. The premise is horrendous - gaming time loops and reboots brought into the real world with the consequence of almost interminable pain and psychological shock - but I needed to be alongside the characters, and they were not solid enough for me.
Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.

Magic Smoke

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2012, 10:59:26 AM »
Without question my favorite story this year. It's like Groundhog Day except Bill Murray goes insane and stats killing and torturing people for fun. And he kills his girlfriend at the end too. But I really did love the story's portrayal of how spending years repeating the same traumatizing minutes again and again chipped away at the humanity of a young girl (who would rather 'die' than kill someone else, even if they were an immediate threat), until she starts killing innocent people for her own amusement.

DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2012, 12:40:48 PM »
Thirdly, After Ferret has given use this and Devourhttp://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=6090.0 we need to get him to think think happy thoughts, THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS!

Ferret gave us Devour? That's good - between this one and the unicorn one, I was beginning to think that I just didn't like his stories. I'm glad he also produced one of my favorites - yay for ambiguity!

He also wrote As Above, So Below (for those who don't regularly visit PodCastle, it's from the perspective of a Giant Monster Squid and is read by Norm Sherman).

I'm honestly disappointed this story was not nominated for a Hugo. It's my favorite of Ferrett's stories (although I'm terribly fond of the two we did at PodCastle, and, of course, Devour). It's all about breaking the cycle, and Ferrett's protagonist is so full of humanity, and I thought the ending was just absolute perfection. Hell of a story.

InfiniteMonkey

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 483
  • Clearly, I need more typewriters....
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2012, 11:35:26 PM »
I rather liked this. Especially as a meditation on the nature of video-game reality and its effect on a person's psyche. And not - I think - in the "they turn 'em all into psycho killers!" sort of way.

If there was any problem I had with it, was a very petty nitpick - I always thought the pronunciation of the article of clothing as an "a-BUY-a", rather than an "AB-a-yuh". But maybe that's just me.

Dem

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 567
  • aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com
    • Suzanne Conboy-Hill
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2012, 08:22:41 AM »
I rather liked this. Especially as a meditation on the nature of video-game reality and its effect on a person's psyche. And not - I think - in the "they turn 'em all into psycho killers!" sort of way.

If there was any problem I had with it, was a very petty nitpick - I always thought the pronunciation of the article of clothing as an "a-BUY-a", rather than an "AB-a-yuh". But maybe that's just me.
I'm with you, Monkey - 'a-BUY-a'
Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.

hilmera

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 9
    • Things that only exist in my head.
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2012, 11:16:50 PM »
I was captured by this story. Irena's everlasting now was believable and her inner life played out very well. The title's reprise through the story was a great hook for maintaining the tension and connecting with the story device of a short-term videogame save point rather than a full Groundhog Day. I loved it and listened to it half a dozen times over the weeks since it was posted.

That said, the lack of Arabisms in the language of the work was a problem. It would have been less of a problem if there was an explicit context of Americanized culture among the youth. The Xbox-obsessed bomb-maker wasn't quite enough to finish this beat. Perhaps they had all been Americanized before the invasion or maybe the story wasn't set in a current conflict country, but someplace like Lebanon where the mixing of cultures is better known and easier to use for this purpose. Irena's journey through the market every time would have been a great point to add some of this color.

That's the problem with sci-fi. A sci-fi story needs a strong hook and characterization to bring a reader in, but for some readers the hook isn't quite enough. Beyond the hook, the technological devices and the culture -- the world as a whole needs to be round enough. For me, this story succeeded, but it needs a little help for others.

Jeff C. Carter

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 14
    • Compendium of Monsters
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2012, 02:14:53 AM »
I enjoyed this story.  I love the looping time plot (Run Lola Run, Source Code...Quantum Leap?).  I love almost any story with a ‘mantra’, and I enjoy how loops and call backs create a strong rhythm.

This story made me wonder: is violence the only thing that can desensitize people?  It seems like repetition itself is capable of numbing the mind and reducing humans to the level of automatons.

A lot of posts made valid gripes about weak setting, technology and culture but Cutter McKay (via Scott Orson Card) made the best point, that this was an ‘idea’ story.

A long, painstaking explanation of the save point machine would have thrilled my geeky brain, but it really wasn’t necessary in order to tell an interesting science FICTION story.  I love hard sci-fi, but I love stories more. 

P.S: alternate title: Red Ring of Death
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://jeffccarter.wordpress.com/

aesculapius

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #33 on: April 22, 2012, 08:10:49 PM »
Unlike some of the other posters, I though this story's pacing was perfect, matching the content entirely. A case of form = function. The middle part of the story WAS long and dragged on, just like the protagonist's experience of the endless repetitions. And the end being "easy", I think, reflects the real way that games become after a certain point- everything just clicks, and a leap to the next stage is made. One of the best stories, I think, that EscapePod has put out.

(PS. Did nobody else think this was more like Run Lola Run than Groundhog Day)?

Pirvonen

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 35
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #34 on: April 24, 2012, 10:41:54 AM »
My spouse is an avid videogame player.

I understand him much better now.

Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3826
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2012, 12:29:20 PM »
(PS. Did nobody else think this was more like Run Lola Run than Groundhog Day)?

I just think more folks are familiar with Groundhog Day than Run Lola Run. One's a big studio comedy starring Bill Murray, whereas the other is a foreign language art film.
All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”

MontanaMax

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Who let the crazy fruit bat free?
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2012, 01:27:12 PM »
I loved this story and narration - definitely a favorite this year - and I found it more engaging and thoughtful than Groundhog day and Run Lola Run. But I did enjoy both of those movies too.

CryptoMe

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1042
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #37 on: April 24, 2012, 03:15:00 PM »
I liked this story. It was a great study of the character's slide into "cold-blooded killer" under a really bizarre set of pressures. The best part for me was at the end, when Irena takes back control of her humanity with the declaration that she doesn't have to kill the receptionist. Well done!

And a special thank you to Cutter McKay and Wilson Fowlie for some of the best discussion on this thread (though that may be because I agree with you ;) )
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 11:03:53 AM by CryptoMe »

Rembrandt

  • Guest
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2012, 12:55:38 AM »
Most of us can relate to this story if only for no other reason than that we live through it ourselves.
Only..our story is called "Trrrring!, the alarmclock says".

childoftyranny

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 175
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #39 on: April 25, 2012, 05:26:59 AM »
This story made me wonder: is violence the only thing that can desensitize people?  It seems like repetition itself is capable of numbing the mind and reducing humans to the level of automatons.

I'm going to say the violence is necessary for desensitization. Violence is the change, the difference that one is sensing and responding to. Repetition is a necessary mode of the process, but simply repeating something is not enough. One would not declare they are desensitized to orange juice because, despite how delicious it could be, the difference between it and other edibles isn't enough, there is no "violence" to it. Compare orange juice with kimchi, which can be quite hot; I've learned to trust Korean restauranteurs opinions on what counts as hot. You will know the difference this food and others, there is a clash, there is violence. When you can eat it without noticing that difference you are desensitized. That is why I propose that repetition is not enough to desensitize in and of itself, for there must be something sensational for one to become desensitized.

InfiniteMonkey

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 483
  • Clearly, I need more typewriters....
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #40 on: April 25, 2012, 05:11:36 PM »

This story made me wonder: is violence the only thing that can desensitize people?  It seems like repetition itself is capable of numbing the mind and reducing humans to the level of automatons.


See, I think you could desensitize people to anything with enough repetition. Sex, food, whatever. I think as a society we just get more concerned about the desensitizing people to violence, since that usually involves harming other people.

BlueLu

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • www.lenacoakley.com
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2012, 10:40:25 AM »
This story was utterly brilliant.  Loved it.

Don't have much more to add.  Just...thanks!
Lena

SF.Fangirl

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2012, 10:16:31 PM »
This is easily my favorite story of the year so far. ....  So enjoyable. Thank you, Mr. Steinmetz.

YES!  Although not "fun", it was good and engaging which I cannot say for the previous two stories.  I started both, grew bored, and haven't finised yet.  "'Run', Bakari Says" was good and I was happy to listen to such an excellent story.

FireTurtle

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 898
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #43 on: April 29, 2012, 09:40:41 PM »
I dont' think I've commented anywhere on Escape Artists for months. This story brought me completely out of my non-commenting apathetic black hole.

I loved it. I love it for the poetical nature of the repetition of the title phrase. I loved it for the frustration. (Yes, I did think of Run, Lola, Run and not Groundhog Day while I was listening.) I laughed when I heard the description of the xbox thingamajig that ran the loop. It didn't matter to me if it was made out of cardboard boxes held together my duct tape, xboxes, or Amazium atoms cooled to a hyper dense state. I think the machine was meant to point the finger directly at the reader: look what we become when we play these games. Do you ever really think about it when your hapless avatar appears yet again in the same damn place over and over? In a way, thats you, granted, a virtual you, doing the same thing over and over until you get it right.
 
Also, reminded me of Einstein's definition of insanity to the effect of: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, that's what we had here. In a really scary way. The asshole at the beginning was that guy.

In regards to the more contemporary political setting, I must say that I have to agree with everyone else. It served as an unnecessary emotional trigger for me that I don't believe actually advanced the plot in a meaningful way. This is my singular quibble.

The other quibble (or major hangup, for some of you) that has been bandied about its the "lack of characterization". I thought that was deliberate or if it wasn't, it was a brilliant irony. Irena is essentially a character in her brother's xbox reality game. And Bakri's. Her humanity, her past, her feelings, aren't necessary for her to carry out the mission. In fact, it is only when she loses her humanity that she is able to complete the mission. She is a living avatar, and so I feel her lack of "reality" only emphasizes this point. "Who" she is doesn't matter, only the "mission". That's what I loved about it.

As someone else pointed out, many of us have a sensation of being the pawn or avatar for someone else at some point in our lives, and it is a fairly old theme. The oldest film reference that springs to mind is Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times", a commentary on the dissolution of humanity through a different form of repetition (albeit from a more socialist perspective).

Analysis aside, as with most stories, I either like something a lot or don't, and its not always easy to put my finger on why. This time, I liked the pace, the distance, the irony, and the satisfying conclusion. For me, it worked.

Now, this is what happens when I go to long without commenting. Good Lord. 
“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin

El Barto

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 132
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2012, 06:53:05 AM »
Part of what I really like about listening to each episode at least a week after it has been posted is coming to the forums to read the feedback and musings of other listeners.  It often gives me perspectives I hadn't considered before, though I sometimes feel like a free-rider by consuming a bunch of early feedback instead of contributing early in the cycle.

In this case I agree with all the comments about this being a great story overall, the X-Box idea feeling out of place, and the memories of doing this myself so many times.  There's a whole new generation of kids right now who are experiencing a lite version of this frustration as they play Angry Birds and then call in the Mighty Eagle when they get too stuck. 

Run Lola Run was a great movie for those who haven't seen it.

Of course it remains possible that we ourselves are living in a simulation right now, and we are in a loop right now, as some kid somewhere fights a boss (an algebra quiz?) beyond our perception.  (http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/09/are-we-living-in-a-simulation/)


Dem

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 567
  • aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com
    • Suzanne Conboy-Hill
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2012, 07:28:08 AM »
What? I was here before? Damn!
Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.

Cattfish

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 24
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #46 on: May 06, 2012, 02:08:51 PM »
I think most people covered everything I was gonna say already, except that, ok she goes years and years doing the iteration over and over, finally getting into the complex, and then she gets to her brother perfectly in one try?  I'm thinking she would be so set in her loop that once she got out of the guards part she would be totally unable to function at all!

Zedonius

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #47 on: May 21, 2012, 04:20:31 PM »
I think most people covered everything I was gonna say already, except that, ok she goes years and years doing the iteration over and over, finally getting into the complex, and then she gets to her brother perfectly in one try?  I'm thinking she would be so set in her loop that once she got out of the guards part she would be totally unable to function at all!

This also troubled me a bit (not so much that the story was ruined, because I really did enjoy it). Once she gets in the compound it seems that she would have had trouble adapting to a new situation, having repeated the same iteration of events over and over for years. She seemed very decisive for entering the compound for the first time, and that just didn't ring true. It was as if the author made the three guards at the beginning the challenge she had to overcome, but it seems to me that after years of perfecting her technique into the compound, the narrator would truly struggle with the unknowns that exist inside the prison.

This makes the ending seem rushed, throwing a kink into what is a really compelling, immersive story.
"All goes onward and outward....and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and
luckier." -Walt Whitman

childoftyranny

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 175
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #48 on: May 22, 2012, 05:05:20 AM »
Now, this is what happens when I go to long without commenting. Good Lord. 

Thank goodness they finally invented the e-cigarette for just this situation.

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #49 on: May 22, 2012, 09:18:17 AM »
This story made me wonder: is violence the only thing that can desensitize people?  It seems like repetition itself is capable of numbing the mind and reducing humans to the level of automatons.

I'm going to say the violence is necessary for desensitization. Violence is the change, the difference that one is sensing and responding to. Repetition is a necessary mode of the process, but simply repeating something is not enough. One would not declare they are desensitized to orange juice because, despite how delicious it could be, the difference between it and other edibles isn't enough, there is no "violence" to it. Compare orange juice with kimchi, which can be quite hot; I've learned to trust Korean restauranteurs opinions on what counts as hot. You will know the difference this food and others, there is a clash, there is violence. When you can eat it without noticing that difference you are desensitized. That is why I propose that repetition is not enough to desensitize in and of itself, for there must be something sensational for one to become desensitized.

I'm going to say that the word "desensitize" itself can apply to a broad spectrum of things, like your orange juice example.  The difference is that NO ONE CARES if you have desensitized yourself to orange juice.  "Go find yourself another beverage and stop whining," they would say.  Likewise, anything that you can be sensitive too you can be densensitized to.  Your average teenager is very sensitive to all things sex.  As a person ages, typically they will become desensitized to sex, due to hormones leveling out and perhaps from finding a long-term partner (at least as compared to a horny teenager).  If it drops too much, people might investigate drugs or experiences, or new partners, in an attempt to re-stoke their libido, but generally one does not call that "desensitization to sex".  I think it's just because the word has become a media buzzword for the degradation of culture, for adults to criticize youth.

The word, as commonly used (especially in news stories and other media) is usually applied to being desensitized to violence.  The reason for that, I think, is because we have decided that ideally we desire a higher sensitivity to violence, presumably as a deterrant to violence;  I don't think that desired high violence sensitivity is necessarily a foregone conclusion but is an ideal of our modern society, unlike many past societies where a powerful warrior who was able to kill would be more of an ideal (Imagine Beowulf being squeamish at the sight of blood).  "Kids these days are exposed to too many violent video games," this kind of argument tends to go, "so they have become desensitized to violence and will become violent themselves."  (I've always thought that a flawed argument, but I am probably digressing too much here to really debate further)

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #50 on: May 22, 2012, 09:35:11 AM »
This story was great!  Ferrett is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, between this story, "As Below, So Above", "Devour", and others.  He has the imagination to come up with new ideas or to put new twists on old ideas, add some patented Steinmetz flavor, add some interesting philosophy and emotional depth, and make it into something really brilliant.  At this point, I'm watching for his name in publications like I watch for Tim Pratt's (with anticipation of a riproaring tale).

This one I especially enjoyed because of its tie-in to video games, but there was plenty of food for thought even without it being related to one of my favorite pastimes.  I thought her change from trying not to kill anyone to ruthless killer was in-character and made complete and total sense.  If you see these guards making the same reactions every single time it would be very hard not to think of them as robots, or a science experiment (stimulus A prompts reaction B).

Sometimes I wonder about the stuff that I find funny, but I laughed loudly when she first shot Bakri, and then continued to shoot him for target practice.  What's even better, it totally made practical sense--she has had no weapons training, and has never killed a person before.  Especially with a trained sniper involved, doing your gun training in an active combat zone is foolhardy--even with automatic re-spawns it's not very productive.

The discussion that came up earlier about how 3-5 retries may make for a satisfying conclusion, but 10-20 becomes too frustrating, I can agree with that.  It brings a few games to mind:
--Ghouls and Ghosts and other games from a similar time period.  There are no saves.  You are a lone knight, with just a couple lives and a suit of armor.  If you get hit once, you lose your armor and run around in your undies.  If you get hit again before regaining your armor you lose a life.  If you lose all your lives you go all the way back to the beginning of the game and have to play through every damned level all over again.  Argh!  You thought the constant loading from save from frustrating!  I find that I just can't play this kind of game like I used to, partially because I don't have daily slots of many many hours to kill and no money to buy new games like I did in my teenage years.  And modern games have spoiled me, because they're never designed this way anymore.
--Deus Ex:  Human Revolution.  I played this game a few months ago, and generally liked it.  The game overall let you take the mission with a variety of tactics, blasting in the front door and killing everyone, incorporating hacking, stealth, to incapacitate your enemies quietly or to just sneak around them.  You could save anywhere at anytime, so generally the game wasn't too bad along the lines of saves.  And then you hit the first boss.  The making of the boss characters was outsourced, and it's pretty obvious that the makers didn't know what kind of game they were working with, because it's built as a fight more suited for Doom, wherein you must out-tank a tank character.  Unfortunately, at this point, I'd made inventory and augmentation choices to support my strategy of going through the game as a non-lethal stealth character (I had killed no one up to that point, just leaving heaps of unconscious guards wherever I went).  Even worse, the boss fight starts with a cut scene that leaves your character stupidly stranded without cover in front of this tank character.  It took me probably 50 tries over the course of an hour, most of those lasting only 30 seconds or so as I tried a weapon on him to judge its effectiveness and then got ripped to shreds.  Eventually I did beat him, but I was just relieved at that point to have the stupid thing over.
--Bio Shock.  I'm playing this game now.  I like the way that this one is set up.  If you die, you are just re-spawned elsewhere, whatever you had done before you died is still in effect including the enemies that you've killed and the items you've picked up.  I still try not to die, but this lets me be a bit more bold, a bit more daring, if I know I won't lose everything in it, and I find that I'm enjoying that.

LaShawn

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 550
  • Writer Mommies Rule!
    • The Cafe in the Woods
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #51 on: May 24, 2012, 09:37:07 AM »
DAMMIT FERRETT FIRST DEVOUR AND NOW THIS?!?!?! HOW DO YOU WRITE SO GOOD?!?! DAMN YOUUUUUUU!!!

So yeah. Loved this one too. Ferrett is turning into one of my favorite writers. Loved the protagonist in this one, and the rhythmic repetition. Wow. Wow. Wow.
--
Visit LaShawn at The Cafe in the Woods:
http://tbonecafe.wordpress.com
Another writer's antiblog: In Touch With Yours Truly

hardware

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 192
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #52 on: June 22, 2012, 08:22:40 AM »
This was really good. Here is a writer with a good grasp of what he want's to say and how the best way of saying that is. He is also concerned with actual relevant modern themes that hasn't been flogged to death already. I get that he didn't do much with the middle eastern angle, but I still found it a nice touch, that helped to anchor the story in our world. In the end, this is a story of what makes things meaningful: choises, and that they have consequences. Without those consequences, good or bad, everything loses it's meaning. I agree with several people here that Ferrett has become a name to look for.

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #53 on: June 17, 2014, 12:21:30 PM »
I put this as #29 on my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time list:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/06/the-best-podcast-fiction-of-all-time-21-30/

Cutter McKay

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 952
  • "I was the turkey the whoooole time!"
    • Detention Block AA23
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #54 on: June 17, 2014, 03:46:10 PM »
I put this as #29 on my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time list:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/06/the-best-podcast-fiction-of-all-time-21-30/


This story remains my all-time favorite EP episode. Ever. Of all. Forever and ever, amen.  ;)
-Josh Morrey-
http://joshmorreywriting.blogspot.com/
"Remember: You have not yet written your best work." -Tracy Hickman

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #55 on: June 18, 2014, 10:17:16 AM »
I put this as #29 on my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time list:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/06/the-best-podcast-fiction-of-all-time-21-30/


This story remains my all-time favorite EP episode. Ever. Of all. Forever and ever, amen.  ;)

Ummmm...  On my list it is the 8th Escape Pod episode.  But considering the size of the pool those are coming from there's not that much difference between those numbers.

Marlboro

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 24
Re: EP339: “Run,” Bakri Says
« Reply #56 on: November 03, 2019, 10:41:44 AM »
Episode 309: "All your base are belong to Irena"

 I enjoyed this episode. The premise is great and I thought the ending was perfect.

 My only complaint: the time travel machine was really silly. A kid growing up in a war zone in the early 2000s makes a working time machine out of old X-Boxes? You don't have to go all hardcore hard sci-fi or anything but least throw in a flux capacitor or something.  Or maybe set the story in Iraq circa 2200 A.D.