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Author Topic: PC207, Giant Episode: Hope Chest  (Read 2624 times)
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« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2012, 06:02:20 PM »

I disliked the story... enough that I felt like coming over and commenting, and I see that several people already metioned the exact things that rubbed me the wrong way. Still I will repeat some of it.
First of all, the mind-controlled Nazis. Actually I'm not a fan of using Nazis as Big Bads in any case, and making them mind-controlled by demon Hitler is just the worst way of oversimplifying things. Really, I would thought it pretty weak if the 'Master' was a flat out demon, but all the Nazi allusions on top made it ten times worse.
Second, I was hoping till the end that the story might have some twist, something that uses the fact that it felt totally wrong how the protagonist went on auto pilot and shows us the problem with that. But it went smoothly as expected.
Childoftyranny's comment made me think that perhaps, yes, it was meant to be a deconstruction of the hero (and actually I hope it was), but I'd preferred it if it had shown that intention more clearly. So it just left me dissatisfied and slightly annoyed.
Which is especially sad as the writing was good and I actually enjoyed it up until the thing with the 'Servants' started.
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Zedonius
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« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2012, 11:45:27 PM »

For some strange reason I kept on imagining Alice May as visually similar to Christina Ricci's character in Buffalo 66, which was distracting, but not at all the author's fault. That said, if Christina Ricci's character in Buffalo 66 had a pair of six-shooters, a rifle, and a badge, I probably would have found the movie more to my liking.
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2012, 01:39:39 PM »

I'm fairly certain that the deprotagonizing was purposeful; I just think it was a gambit that failed, at least for me.  The interesting thought exercise of making the protagonist literally just moved directly by Fate didn't make for a very compelling narrative.  I was especially unhappy with the efforts to make her victims seem like, well, like victims; if you've thoroughly established that she can't stop what's happening no matter how hard she tries, it's a little silly to try and make me feel sympathy for the people who get in her way.  We can't blame HER, and Fate doesn't actually show up in the story for us to be annoyed at.  The villain ends up feeling very thin and pasted-on, since the truly unpleasant personality here is the invisible force that forces her through her paces.  I applaud the willingness to take risks and break the "rules" of storytelling, but it simply did not work for me as a story as a result.

Ironically, I think Mr. Nix has done a vastly superior job of exploring the idea of a hero without agency and the pain of struggling against the inevitable in the Sir Hereward stories.
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« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2012, 01:42:50 PM »

I'm fairly certain that the deprotagonizing was purposeful; I just think it was a gambit that failed, at least for me.  The interesting thought exercise of making the protagonist literally just moved directly by Fate didn't make for a very compelling narrative.  I was especially unhappy with the efforts to make her victims seem like, well, like victims; if you've thoroughly established that she can't stop what's happening no matter how hard she tries, it's a little silly to try and make me feel sympathy for the people who get in her way.  We can't blame HER, and Fate doesn't actually show up in the story for us to be annoyed at.  The villain ends up feeling very thin and pasted-on, since the truly unpleasant personality here is the invisible force that forces her through her paces.  I applaud the willingness to take risks and break the "rules" of storytelling, but it simply did not work for me as a story as a result.

Ironically, I think Mr. Nix has done a vastly superior job of exploring the idea of a hero without agency and the pain of struggling against the inevitable in the Sir Hereward stories.

Precisely. In those stories, he handled the issue with a much lighter hand. That's why Fitz - and more especially, Hereward - are still interesting and sympathetic characters, despite their lack of agency. There's just enough choice in their lives to let them seem like real people and dynamic characters. In this story, though, all of Alice May's vitality was sucked out of her. Zombies make good villains, but it takes a lot of narrative massaging to make them good protagonists.
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« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2012, 06:11:26 PM »

I agree with basically all the criticisms given above. I really enjoyed the beginning of the story but by the end I had come to be simultaneously bored and angry. It spent the first half building characters, then it basically says "but none of that matters because all the people you just heard about get their personality wiped as they become marionettes in an incredibly unsubtle and tedious puppet play of good versus evil".

There was a section about 40 minutes in where Alice May thinks that she still has agency (including the rather anachronistic line about not being a zombie), which gave me some hope that the story will get interesting again but the story explicitly denies this just a few minutes later when she shoots the old man.

Nix is certainly a very good spinner of prose, and when he has a good story to tell it works really well, but this story was a serious misstep.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 06:12:58 PM by eytanz » Logged
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« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2012, 05:52:04 PM »

I made one of the first comments on this story, which everyone appears to have then ignored, in order to go on with the most ridiculous reasons for disliking this story. After reading all that nonsense, I reviewed the episode again, and guess what? it's still good! I may put this one up with the best that Podcastle has put forth!

Listening to this story is like reading a graphic novel sized origin story of some new hero. Sure it's bloody and mature rated, but so are a lot of comics these days. Anyone ever read Preacher and the blood and guts without consequences in that comic, for example?

It is also clearly not a Hitler, but some supernatural enemy, which is why her own supernatural powers are the only thing that could oppose him. So the magic spell the people were under had little if any relation to non magical despots who only use their own charisma.

I am also fascinated by the possibilities inherent in the end of the story, wherein the next obvious step is to go searching for the origin of herself, her hope chest, and how it all connects to that enemy she faced in her hometown.

You know, this story actually gets better for me with a relisten.
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« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2012, 10:48:32 AM »

I made one of the first comments on this story, which everyone appears to have then ignored, in order to go on with the most ridiculous reasons for disliking this story. After reading all that nonsense, I reviewed the episode again, and guess what? it's still good! I may put this one up with the best that Podcastle has put forth!

I'm sure you mean to be tongue-in-cheek here, but neither demanding other people address your comments, nor dismissing dissenting opinions as "ridiculous", are acceptable on these forums.

I'm glad you found the story so enjoyable, and that what didn't work for others worked for you. And you're more then welcome to try to argue for your position. But please do so in a manner respectful to other posters on this thread.
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« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2012, 06:41:37 AM »

Listening to this story is like reading a graphic novel sized origin story of some new hero. Sure it's bloody and mature rated, but so are a lot of comics these days. Anyone ever read Preacher and the blood and guts without consequences in that comic, for example?

Preacher I found rather revolting, strangely compelling and quite thought-provoking. All of which means -- I probably enjoyed it? I know I've borrowed the entire thing twice from my library. Might be time to borrow again Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2012, 09:18:08 AM »

It is also clearly not a Hitler, but some supernatural enemy, which is why her own supernatural powers are the only thing that could oppose him. So the magic spell the people were under had little if any relation to non magical despots who only use their own charisma.

It was clearly not Hitler himself, if nothing else because he was American. 

But it also seemed clear to me (and also to others here) that he was meant to be very Hitler-like, in his rise to power.  A lot of the background details here reminded me of details I've read in books like Sophie's Choice, and I don't think that was mere coincidence.
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« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2012, 11:33:26 AM »

Very interesting. Kept me riveted. The only time I was taken out of the story was not so much all the killing or the seemingly lack of free will. It was the aftermath, when suddenly the train pulls away, and Alice May doesn't seem fazed. She makes no attempt to jump off, even though it's clearly a "supernatural train".

That made me wonder about the whole good vs evil archetype throughout the entire story. Was the train itself meant to be a metaphor that both spring from the same place, considering that evil dude was riding the train before Alice May? Where will that train go now? Will the evil guy revive in a different dimension the same way Alice May did, as a baby? Are both doomed to fight their battle, over and over and over again, in alternate universes?

If that's the case, I feel sorry for the townspeople, in that they were caught up in some ancient battle that had nothing to do with them. They were just in the way.

Mur's reading, btw, was absolutely riveting.



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« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2012, 08:55:34 AM »

That made me wonder about the whole good vs evil archetype throughout the entire story. Was the train itself meant to be a metaphor that both spring from the same place, considering that evil dude was riding the train before Alice May? Where will that train go now? Will the evil guy revive in a different dimension the same way Alice May did, as a baby? Are both doomed to fight their battle, over and over and over again, in alternate universes?

I did get that impression, yeah, that Annie Oakley would continue to be reborn at times of need.  Unfortunately those times of need are apparently caused by the reborn Enemy so it all seems kind of pointless.

The riding off on the train was, to me, evocative of the old Western trope of riding off into the sunset, fitting for Oakley to do.
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