Escape Artists
November 21, 2017, 02:05:56 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: The FINAL ROUND of the PseudoPod Flash Fiction Contest has begun!
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 3 [All]
  Print  
Author Topic: EP372: Flash Collection  (Read 5617 times)
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 5856



« on: November 30, 2012, 04:43:27 AM »

EP372: Flash Collection

Read by Mur Lafferty

----

Health Tips for Traveler by David W. Goldman

Echoes of the Bouncing Ball By Paul Celmer

Tornado on Fire by Luc Reid

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
Logged
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 5856



« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 04:46:25 AM »

Moderator note - for some reason, the intro by Norm states that these are the winners of the flash contest. They are not; none of these stories were even participants in the contest. I'm not involved with the production of the episodes or the intros, and I don't know what the source of the error is, but as the person who ran the contest, I feel like I should apologise to the contest winners for the confusion.

So, on behalf of the EP forums, I'm genuinely sorry that the wrong stories were identified as the winners on the podcast. The editors have been alerted to this, and I'm sure we'll hear from them about this as well before too long.
Logged
treefrog
Extern
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2012, 08:07:53 AM »

There are actually such things as tornadoes on fire. Just saying. Google it! Iron Sharks, however... well, I wouldn't want to meet one.
Logged
DoWhileNot
Matross
****
Posts: 211



WWW
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2012, 08:48:17 AM »

Ah, thanks Eytanz - I thought I was going crazy or something.  I really liked these stories - well done, but I didn't remember voting for or even reading these. (I probably would have.)

It made me think that there was a contest that I missed out on... and I've got a great story almost ready for submission.   Smiley
Logged
Thunderscreech
Matross
****
Posts: 317



« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2012, 09:39:42 AM »

Thank you, eytanz!  As one of the winners I was staring at my stereo in shock.  I haven't heard anything from EA since the contest ended and wasn't too worried until 'Flash Special' with that intro posted.
Logged
chemistryguy
Matross
****
Posts: 261


Serving the Detroit Metro area since 1970


WWW
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2012, 10:35:22 AM »

I love the ridiculous translation in "Health Tips for Travelers" and especially the "...talkers of stupid..."

Logged

Cutter McKay
Hipparch
******
Posts: 952


"I was the turkey the whoooole time!"


WWW
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2012, 04:54:22 PM »

I thought I was going crazy or something.  I really liked these stories - well done, but I didn't remember voting for or even reading these. (I probably would have.)

It made me think that there was a contest that I missed out on... and I've got a great story almost ready for submission.   Smiley
This is exactly what I was thinking. I came on the forums just now to see if there was some contest I missed, or if these were the stories from a previous contest or something. Good thing I checked the comments thread first,  Wink

As for the stories, they were okay. The first one, Health Tips for Traveler was fun, if a bit difficult to follow. There's not much of a story there, but it elicited a few chuckles, so it's worth the listen. I loved this part:
After some days from your voyage, many Earther feel a big sad of missing for the lovely world of the Pooquar peoples. This sad may have big heavy of the limbs, paining in abdomen, inside the head strikes, blood-making from here and there, and other such small emotions."
Blood making from here and there. So casual. Hilarious.

The other two were ho-hum, for me. I enjoyed them just fine, but they didn't jump out to me as fantastic stories like the real winners of the forum flash contest did. Still, they could have been worse...
Logged

-Josh Morrey-
http://joshmorreywriting.blogspot.com/
"Remember: You have not yet written your best work." -Tracy Hickman
Max e^{i pi}
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1038


Have towel, will travel.


« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2012, 07:38:41 AM »

Health Tips for Traveler
Being a native English speaker in a country full of non-native English speakers I did not find this difficult to follow at all, I read the excellent and most wonderful translation of the language English by people of the non smart fluently with no of the difficulty whatsoever. So this was fun for me, because I can translate it into real health hazards as it went along.
I just have one question: transdimensional beings with the technology to hop dimensions need to rely on Google Translate for their PR efforts? I want to live in that world.

Echoes of the Bouncing Ball
As soon as the vendor "looked a little familiar" I had my suspicions, and when the narrator bumped into himself as he was leaving the stall I knew where this was going. But I still enjoyed the journey. That last scene was a bit too much IMO. I would have ended with his declaration that he had quit.

Tornado on Fire
Short and to the point. I liked it.
Logged

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!

eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 5856



« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2012, 08:08:54 AM »

Moderator's note: A new audio file has been uploaded, with a short added announcement by Mur explaining and apologising for the mix up.
Logged
Piet
Extern
*
Posts: 19



« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2012, 08:22:08 PM »

Health Tips For Traveller

Reading between the lines, it would appear that the Pooquar want to infect the Earthers with life forms that will spread the Pooquar to other worlds. This travel brochure is actually bait to lure incubators for alien larvae.
Logged

It's not the destination...it's the glory of the ride.
Piet
Extern
*
Posts: 19



« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2012, 09:17:56 PM »

Echoes of the Bouncing Ball

When Wheeler held the ball in the store, did he actually experience the alternative timeline, or did he simply experience an overwhelming rush of possible memories associated with the alternative timeline? It's hard to imagine a world where children can use a toy to venture out on life-long timelines from which they can eventually return to the point where they acquired the toy. Imagine how the vendor of such a toy is exposed to the possibility of being thrown about by the temporal manipulations of his customers. Given the playful nature of toys, it seems more likely that the functionality of this toy is limited to providing the holder with glimpses into alternative timelines that are amusing for their realism.
Logged

It's not the destination...it's the glory of the ride.
chemistryguy
Matross
****
Posts: 261


Serving the Detroit Metro area since 1970


WWW
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2012, 07:14:46 AM »

Echoes of the Bouncing Ball

When Wheeler held the ball in the store, did he actually experience the alternative timeline, or did he simply experience an overwhelming rush of possible memories associated with the alternative timeline? It's hard to imagine a world where children can use a toy to venture out on life-long timelines from which they can eventually return to the point where they acquired the toy. Imagine how the vendor of such a toy is exposed to the possibility of being thrown about by the temporal manipulations of his customers. Given the playful nature of toys, it seems more likely that the functionality of this toy is limited to providing the holder with glimpses into alternative timelines that are amusing for their realism.

I chose to think that he was exposed to an alternate reality.  It seemed to be a most valuable decision-making tool.  In the end I'm not sure whether he should have left it as he did or taken it with him.

Note: Maybe he did take it with him?
 
Logged

Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 09:56:43 AM »

Listened to the "flash contest winners" version, though I'd noticed on the website the note explaining this, so I wasn't too thrown.

"Health Tips for Traveler"--enjoyable.  I've read stories along this line, but the joke never gets old for me.  I've taken some trips to China, and many of the signs that have English writing are along these lines, fun to see it expanded to dangerous alien tech.
"Echoes of the Bouncing Ball"--This was all right.  It seemed a little message heavy for a flash story.  Interesting to contemplate the concept of "The kids grow up so fast" when combined with the parent taking business trips at relativistic speeds so that it is even more so. You leave for 3 weeks and your kid is 3 months older. 
"Tornadoes on Fire"--The body of the story was amusing in a tall tale kind of way.  But it all seemed to be in place to lead to the punchline.  But I didn't get the joke.  So it didn't work for me overall.

Logged
Scumpup
Peltast
***
Posts: 102


...


« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2012, 09:48:33 AM »

"Health Tips for the Traveler" was hilarious.  I think I'd have liked the other two stories better if "Health Tips..." had been played after them.  In the order in which they were played, "Echoes" and "Tornadoes" were kind of a letdown.
Logged
Thunderscreech
Matross
****
Posts: 317



« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2012, 10:39:12 AM »

Agreed, Health Tips was fantastic.  The author did more with X-hundred words than some do with ten thousand.
Logged
SF.Fangirl
Peltast
***
Posts: 145


« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2012, 08:40:09 PM »

Hmmm ... in general I'm not a fan of flash fiction and unfortunately there were no exceptions here. 

"Health Tips for Traveler" -- Hard to follow (might have worked better if I read it), but I saw the ending coming a mile away.  Okay, at first I though the aliens were planning to eat the human travellers (references to fat and hydration), but then there must have been some hint because I figured out parasitic infection before the end.  It was so hard to follow that my mind wandered off during the listen, though, and I only barely came back for the ending.

"Echoes of the Bouncing Ball" -- Okay but again not a huge surprise ending.

"Tornado on Fire" -- Silly, not terribly, but totally forgettable.  I could not for the life of me remember the third story until I saw it mentioed again here.  But, OMG, tornados on fire are real; goggle images have pictures!
Logged
SF.Fangirl
Peltast
***
Posts: 145


« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2012, 08:43:22 PM »

"Tornadoes on Fire"--The body of the story was amusing in a tall tale kind of way.  But it all seemed to be in place to lead to the punchline.  But I didn't get the joke.  So it didn't work for me overall.

Oh, was there a joke?  If there was one I did not really get it either except mybe the old dude though tornados on fire weren't scary enough to make him quit but iron sharks are.  But that's not really funny.
Logged
chemistryguy
Matross
****
Posts: 261


Serving the Detroit Metro area since 1970


WWW
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2012, 07:11:02 AM »

"Tornadoes on Fire"--The body of the story was amusing in a tall tale kind of way.  But it all seemed to be in place to lead to the punchline.  But I didn't get the joke.  So it didn't work for me overall.

Oh, was there a joke?  If there was one I did not really get it either except mybe the old dude though tornados on fire weren't scary enough to make him quit but iron sharks are.  But that's not really funny.

You have to have a penchant for the ridiculous to get a chuckle out of this one.  While the guy casually describes his dealing with tornadoes on fire, a concept that goes beyond your ordinary, run-o-the-mill storm chasers you're reminded (or at least I am) of a tall tale. 

Then the story tops it off by going from something with at least some level of plausibility, to the impossible vision of iron sharks swimming within this flaming vortex of death. 

It's just silly, that's all, and explaining it just deflates the joke into a sad, limp puddle Sad
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 07:20:20 AM by chemistryguy » Logged

eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 5856



« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2012, 07:25:28 AM »

I think the joke arises from the juxtoposition of the over-the-top nature of the man's story with the utterly mundane coda. But yeah, explaining it doesn't do it any favours.
Logged
Max e^{i pi}
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1038


Have towel, will travel.


« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2012, 07:54:38 AM »

Explaining a joke never does work.
But remember kids: a joke is meant to amuse oneself. If others laugh too, that's just a bonus. I'm sure Luc Reid enjoyed that little joke, and that's all that really counts. I laughed, so it was a bonus on that account.
Logged

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!

Devoted135
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1252



« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2012, 08:48:49 AM »

I listened to the original file so spent the first few minutes of "Health Tips" talking myself down and telling myself to try and simply enjoy these stories for their own merits. After all, it's not their fault that they were in the middle of a mishap. Smiley

Health Tips for Traveler
I'll join the "loved it" party, and I think that reading it would be even better since I would catch more of the references. It sounded like emails that my boss writes to me at 2am: What that means? What the data says? or my all-time favorite (this one was spoken aloud with much gusto) Molecular biology do happens! Tongue

Echoes of the Bouncing Ball
I think this was a really good flash story, any more and it would have worn out its welcome. Sure I saw the end coming, but that didn't prevent me from cheering a little anyway.

Tornado on Fire
It's definitely a joke piece and therefore can't possibly be for everyone, but it sure was for me! I think chemistryguy nailed it on the head in that this is a tall tale and I thought it was great!
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2012, 09:42:09 AM »

"Tornadoes on Fire"--The body of the story was amusing in a tall tale kind of way.  But it all seemed to be in place to lead to the punchline.  But I didn't get the joke.  So it didn't work for me overall.

Oh, was there a joke?  If there was one I did not really get it either except mybe the old dude though tornados on fire weren't scary enough to make him quit but iron sharks are.  But that's not really funny.

You have to have a penchant for the ridiculous to get a chuckle out of this one.  While the guy casually describes his dealing with tornadoes on fire, a concept that goes beyond your ordinary, run-o-the-mill storm chasers you're reminded (or at least I am) of a tall tale. 

Then the story tops it off by going from something with at least some level of plausibility, to the impossible vision of iron sharks swimming within this flaming vortex of death. 

It's just silly, that's all, and explaining it just deflates the joke into a sad, limp puddle Sad
I think the joke arises from the juxtoposition of the over-the-top nature of the man's story with the utterly mundane coda. But yeah, explaining it doesn't do it any favours.


See I thought it must be a joke simply because of the final line "and that’s why I’m a-here applyin’ for my social security benefits."  I don't get it.  What do iron sharks have to do with social security benefits? 

I was actually digging it up until then because it was an entertaining tall tale.  But if you end a tall tale with a punchline, it doesn't feel like a tall tale anymore.  And if I don't GET the joke, then it doesn't even work as a joke for me.
Logged
Cutter McKay
Hipparch
******
Posts: 952


"I was the turkey the whoooole time!"


WWW
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2012, 10:59:40 AM »

I was actually digging it up until then because it was an entertaining tall tale.  But if you end a tall tale with a punchline, it doesn't feel like a tall tale anymore.  And if I don't GET the joke, then it doesn't even work as a joke for me.

To me, the punchline was that this tall-tale style character is basically entering a mundane retirement on Social Security. It's the juxtaposition of say, Pecos Bill on foodstamps. These folk legends are huge characters that could do absolutely anything, so to picture them in something like a retirement home, or living off of social security checks in a trailer park is anti-climactic. That's what this story meant to me. (And I just realized that's what eytanz said, but I don't feel like deleting all of this. So I'm seconding the opinion.)

That being said, I didn't find the joke funny, I found it disappointing. As we discussed in length during the Flash Contest III a few months ago, flash lends itself well to the "Punchline Story", however, most punchline stories end up being more disappointing than enjoyable because it makes a promise to the reader, then breaks that promise for a cheap laugh.
Logged

-Josh Morrey-
http://joshmorreywriting.blogspot.com/
"Remember: You have not yet written your best work." -Tracy Hickman
zoanon
Peltast
***
Posts: 126



« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2012, 10:53:34 PM »

health tips for traveller:
hilarious? every word was dripping with insidious venom, and I loved it, but I didn't find it funny at all.
 
other two stories:
meh

as I was listening to them I didn't think they were up to par with the usual flash fiction winners, so no surprise to me that they weren't in the contest at all Tongue
Logged
Myrealana
Peltast
***
Posts: 105



WWW
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2012, 02:21:00 PM »

Health Tips for Traveler - Oh my gosh, I loved this story. I thought it was indeed hilarious.

In my job, I email almost exclusively with people who are non-native speakers of English, and I often have to perform mental gymnastics to understand what they're requesting from me - as I'm sure they have to do with some of my responses.

The other two - meh. I was a little lost on the fire tornados one. I'm not sure where it was going, but wherever it was, I'm not sure it ever got there.
Logged

"You don't fix faith. Faith fixes you." - Shepherd Book
Fenrix
Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
Editor
*****
Posts: 3605


Have you found the Yellow Sign?


« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2012, 09:14:35 AM »

Health Tips For Traveller

Reading between the lines, it would appear that the Pooquar want to infect the Earthers with life forms that will spread the Pooquar to other worlds. This travel brochure is actually bait to lure incubators for alien larvae.

I heard this one over on Toasted Cake earlier this year, and congrats to the author on another sale. The second listen let me search for the clues about the dark goings on in this world. There are dissidents who need to be avoided and will try to inject chest bursters under your skin. But the tingling caused by the prickings of the good Pooquar is full of goodness and happy (and not little alien babies at all). They want you to get a nice thick layer of fat under the skin to better feed their young. Any random bleeding is from sadness, not from this feeding process. Delightfully awful.

If any of y'all who enjoy flash fiction aren't listening to Toasted Cake, go fix that and add it to your feed. Tina's planning to extend this experiment at least through the end of next year. That's at least 100 stories poured into your ear.
Logged

I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
CryptoMe
Hipparch
******
Posts: 875



« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2012, 03:09:11 AM »

I will jump on the praise bandwagon for Health Tips for Traveler. And while I did think the broken English was hilarious, the best part of the story for me was the nefarious plot by the aliens to infect their human guests. I particularly liked the reference to alien dissenters ('talkers of stupid"), who are apparently opposed to this plan. Though, my favourite line was definitely a physical humour joke ... "means of non-conscious, both pharmacological and percussive are on offer..." I love the concept of someone being offered a "percussive" method for (literally) being knocked out. Smiley

Echoes of the Bouncing Ball was pleasant but forgettable.

I wasn't a big fan of Tornado on Fire. Like Unblinking, I too didn't get the joke. And I wasn't particularly impressed by the obviously false tall tale. But, after reading what has been said about it in the forums, I think this one is growing on me.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2012, 10:07:47 AM »

And I wasn't particularly impressed by the obviously false tall tale.

The fact that it was obviously false didn't bother me.  A tall tale that is NOT obviously false is not a tall tale at all.  That's why it's "tall".  Smiley
Logged
Fenrix
Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
Editor
*****
Posts: 3605


Have you found the Yellow Sign?


« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2012, 02:36:53 PM »

And I wasn't particularly impressed by the obviously false tall tale.

The fact that it was obviously false didn't bother me.  A tall tale that is NOT obviously false is not a tall tale at all.  That's why it's "tall".  Smiley

Depends on how you define a tall tale, I think. Your position covers Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan. However, Ambrose Bierce's "Oil of Dog" is a tall tale, but if you have a cynical view of people, it's not obviously false.
Logged

I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Ho-bot
Extern
*
Posts: 2



« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2012, 09:48:29 PM »

I definitely liked all three- the last one was clever in my opinion, especially since it is revealed that he's applying for social security at the end. Got a little chuckle out of me.

Health Tips was amazing, too, as aforementioned. Wow!
Logged

**END TRANSMISSION**
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2012, 09:58:08 AM »

Depends on how you define a tall tale, I think. Your position covers Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan. However, Ambrose Bierce's "Oil of Dog" is a tall tale, but if you have a cynical view of people, it's not obviously false.

I don't consider "Oil of Dog" a tall tale at all.  If it's not obviously false, it's not a tall tale.  Dictionary.com says a tall tale is "An exaggerated, unreliable story".  If it's not unreliable, then it's just a tale, not a tall tale.
Logged
Scumpup
Peltast
***
Posts: 102


...


« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2012, 11:30:49 AM »

After seeing the references to it here, I went and read "Oil of Dog."  I'm not sure exactly how I would describe that story, but it definitely isn't a tall tale.  Many of Bierce's stories ooze misanthropy, but "Oil of Dog" is exceptionally nasty even for Bierce.
Logged
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 1161


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2012, 01:42:50 PM »

I'd agree that "Oil Of Dog" isn't a tall tale (and that it's a particularly nasty piece of work) - to me, it's not just obvious falsity and exaggeration, but also an ongoing "upping the ante" of exaggeration as the story progresses that makes something a tall tale.  Think Rudolf Erich Raspe's "The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen" or Commander McBragg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4roxM8hUMk).
Logged
Fenrix
Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
Editor
*****
Posts: 3605


Have you found the Yellow Sign?


« Reply #33 on: December 18, 2012, 08:53:40 AM »

After seeing the references to it here, I went and read "Oil of Dog."  I'm not sure exactly how I would describe that story, but it definitely isn't a tall tale.  Many of Bierce's stories ooze misanthropy, but "Oil of Dog" is exceptionally nasty even for Bierce.

I would suggest you also go over and check out PseudoPod 200 and let Ben read it to you.

Some editor thinks it qualifies more as a tall tale than horror or war. The complete works anthology I have has only those three divisions, and Oil of Dog is in the Tall Tale portion. I'll have to read the foreword on the Tall Tale section and see how they defend their position.

If we accept the wikipedia definition as mostly true, this is the first line of their entry "A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual." Using this definition both the final story of this collection as well as Oil of Dog are tall tales.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 08:59:02 AM by Fenrix » Logged

I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2012, 09:33:27 AM »

If we accept the wikipedia definition as mostly true, this is the first line of their entry "A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual." Using this definition both the final story of this collection as well as Oil of Dog are tall tales.

By that definition, pretty much anything on Escape Pod or Podcastle are tall tales.  That definition's too broad, more along the lines of "speculative fiction" rather than "tall tale"

but also an ongoing "upping the ante" of exaggeration as the story progresses that makes something a tall tale.  Think Rudolf Erich Raspe's "The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen" or Commander McBragg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4roxM8hUMk).

That makes sense--I hadn't thought of that, but it meshes well with my feeling of a tall tale, which is the kind of tale best suited to telling at a pub with drinks freely flowing.

My favorite example of tall tales is the Big Fish book, which is basically a series of tall tales.  Though in that case the first chapters are more exaggerated than the later, probably because the the beginning of story is a history of a father's life as told to his son in the form of tall tales, so the earlier chapters can be more fantastical since the boy had not been born yet.
Logged
chornbe
Extern
*
Posts: 19


« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2012, 01:40:19 PM »

EP372: Flash Collection

Read by Mur Lafferty

----

Health Tips for Traveler by David W. Goldman


Loved it for the first few minutes. As a motorcyclist who owns and works primarily on Japanese motorcycles, the familiarity of the poor translations was amusing, funny, charming. After a while it got pretty trite and droll, and the story was lost to me in the constantly awkward prose.

Rather than the entire story, snippets of the translation would have made this story much better.

$.02
Logged

More Union Dues, please!

http://thepacepodcast.com
Fenrix
Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
Editor
*****
Posts: 3605


Have you found the Yellow Sign?


« Reply #36 on: December 21, 2012, 09:28:38 AM »

If we accept the wikipedia definition as mostly true, this is the first line of their entry "A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual." Using this definition both the final story of this collection as well as Oil of Dog are tall tales.

By that definition, pretty much anything on Escape Pod or Podcastle are tall tales.  That definition's too broad, more along the lines of "speculative fiction" rather than "tall tale"

but also an ongoing "upping the ante" of exaggeration as the story progresses that makes something a tall tale.  Think Rudolf Erich Raspe's "The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen" or Commander McBragg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4roxM8hUMk).

That makes sense--I hadn't thought of that, but it meshes well with my feeling of a tall tale, which is the kind of tale best suited to telling at a pub with drinks freely flowing.

My favorite example of tall tales is the Big Fish book, which is basically a series of tall tales.  Though in that case the first chapters are more exaggerated than the later, probably because the the beginning of story is a history of a father's life as told to his son in the form of tall tales, so the earlier chapters can be more fantastical since the boy had not been born yet.

From the editor Ernest Jerome Hopkins:

"To a Westerner no explanation should be needed for the fact that Ambrose Bierce wrote twenty-three "tall tales," since this was the one form of literature that the pioneers had brought across the plains, and it probably had its origin in the frontier farm country long before that. The essence of a "tall tale" was high exaggeration presented in a deadpan manner as truthful fact; it was a hoax aimed seriously, and the moment he betrayed that belief, as by a harmless question, the works blew up. ... And the suckers indeed fell for hoaxes--solemn Eastern critics regarded these stories as out of taste and were shocked, especially, at "oil of Dog" ... In the West these critics and psychologists would have had to buy the drinks."

I'm an engineer, and thus no expert on literature, but prior to Manifest Destiny how much fantastic fiction was presented as truthful fact? As I understand it, much early fiction had to be fully grounded in the real world, otherwise it was not literature. When did this format start where the real world is used with elements that stretch the boundaries, as in a tall tale? My understanding is that the format of the "tall tale" is America's only major contribution to literature forms.
Logged

I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 1161


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #37 on: December 21, 2012, 06:50:01 PM »

Baron Munchausen certainly predated this...
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2013, 09:37:02 AM »

I'm an engineer, and thus no expert on literature, but prior to Manifest Destiny how much fantastic fiction was presented as truthful fact? As I understand it, much early fiction had to be fully grounded in the real world, otherwise it was not literature. When did this format start where the real world is used with elements that stretch the boundaries, as in a tall tale? My understanding is that the format of the "tall tale" is America's only major contribution to literature forms.


True enough, much fiction in the past had to have a grounding point in real life--some way the story could've gotten to where it got.

But I'd still say that a "tall tale" is distinct from "fiction grounded in reality".  When I think "tall tale" I think ridiculous and obvious exaggerations and fabrications--lassoing a tornado kind of stuff. 
Logged
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 1161


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2013, 09:32:55 PM »

Quote
As I understand it, much early fiction had to be fully grounded in the real world, otherwise it was not literature.

I don't think this is at all true - "literature" is a pretty late invention (in that conception at least) - I mean, "Midsummer's Night's Dream" wasn't literature because it had fairies and such?  It doesn't make sense.  The 19th century was the dueling ground of Naturalism/Realism and Romanticism/Imagination - nobody won and readers everywhere profited.  Things like definitions by which "literature" are judged are constantly shifting, depending when and where you stick the pin, and the further back you go, the muddier it gets until there is no formal concept of literature, just good reads whose value everyone argued over anyway (and whether fiction and tale telling were affronts to the traditional, printed religious text of name-your-geographical-locale religion in the first place).

Did Poe invent the mystery with August Dupin or was it Hoffmann's "Madame De Scuderi"?  Make your choices, place your bets - me, I've got two great stories to read!   
Logged
Fenrix
Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
Editor
*****
Posts: 3605


Have you found the Yellow Sign?


« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2013, 10:36:22 AM »

Maybe this delineation between "literature" and things that would fall into speculative fiction is more of a problem with academics. Academic classes that focus on speculative fiction are subject to ridicule, both from the general public and from academic peers. However, I don't need to justify the statement here that there's a lot of great writing and value in speculative fiction. When I was matriculating at a technical school, there was a single science fiction class offered by the English department once a year, and it would fill during the first 30 minutes of registration. All the English classes I took were the equivalent of Charlie Brown in the Great Pumpkin where he declares "I got a rock."

This makes me wonder several things. How long until the social stigma of being geeky is gone (or greatly diminished) and academic rigor can be applied to speculative fiction? Along with this, why don't more schools push this and provide the classes that people want to take? May as well give students something enriching that they will enjoy, as that class is going to set them back several mortgage payments.
Logged

I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2013, 12:57:56 PM »

Maybe this delineation between "literature" and things that would fall into speculative fiction is more of a problem with academics. Academic classes that focus on speculative fiction are subject to ridicule, both from the general public and from academic peers. However, I don't need to justify the statement here that there's a lot of great writing and value in speculative fiction. When I was matriculating at a technical school, there was a single science fiction class offered by the English department once a year, and it would fill during the first 30 minutes of registration. All the English classes I took were the equivalent of Charlie Brown in the Great Pumpkin where he declares "I got a rock."

This makes me wonder several things. How long until the social stigma of being geeky is gone (or greatly diminished) and academic rigor can be applied to speculative fiction? Along with this, why don't more schools push this and provide the classes that people want to take? May as well give students something enriching that they will enjoy, as that class is going to set them back several mortgage payments.

I've been adding market listings to The Submissions Grinder for a while, and have been continually made sad by self-labeled literary markets that have guidelines that paraphrase to.  "We are amazing and we publish the most amazing writing on the planet, bar none.  No science fiction.  You have to pay to submit electronically (but you should cuz it'll save the planet).  We don't pay you with money, but we do pay you in prestige, maybe a subscription to our amazing magazine if you're lucky.  --sincerely, editors of Journal  That No One Reads"
Logged
Devoted135
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1252



« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2013, 04:35:41 PM »

This makes me wonder several things. How long until the social stigma of being geeky is gone (or greatly diminished) and academic rigor can be applied to speculative fiction? Along with this, why don't more schools push this and provide the classes that people want to take? May as well give students something enriching that they will enjoy, as that class is going to set them back several mortgage payments.

I personally can't wait for this day. I give props to my 6th grade English teacher for having us read The Giver, and also enjoyed an entire class on dystopian literature from the Soviet Union and East Germany in college. (If you haven't read "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin, I recommend it.) However, these two examples were few and far between in an education filled with Steinbeck, Shakespeare, and excerpts of Dickens novels.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2013, 09:41:17 AM »

This makes me wonder several things. How long until the social stigma of being geeky is gone (or greatly diminished) and academic rigor can be applied to speculative fiction? Along with this, why don't more schools push this and provide the classes that people want to take? May as well give students something enriching that they will enjoy, as that class is going to set them back several mortgage payments.

I personally can't wait for this day. I give props to my 6th grade English teacher for having us read The Giver, and also enjoyed an entire class on dystopian literature from the Soviet Union and East Germany in college. (If you haven't read "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin, I recommend it.) However, these two examples were few and far between in an education filled with Steinbeck, Shakespeare, and excerpts of Dickens novels.

We're already a long way there.  I rarely hear "geek" used an insult any more, and blockbuster SF movies have brought the genre to the mainstream audiences. 
Logged
Umbrageofsnow
Hipparch
******
Posts: 752


Commenting by the seat of my pants.


« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2013, 03:23:29 PM »

Likewise, I took a course on Science Fiction as Literature in college where we spent an enormous amount of time on "The Martian Chronicles" and "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and went into a fair amount of depth.

Of course my college also hosted an academic conference on Tolkien and had an English professor who specialized in Lord Dunsany (I think).

Some authors already get a pretty good scholarly treatment, I'd say we are past that point, except for a large number of old relics in college Literature departments. But that's always been true in every field, at this point I think we're just waiting for a few of the old sticks-in-the-mud to die off. And in the mean time, legitimate academics can create academic journals about Poe and set up the "Center for Ray Bradbury Studies" and whatnot.  The disapproving old guys have lost their stranglehold on what counts as "Literature", give it a few more decades and they'll lose their majority as well.
Logged
hardware
Matross
****
Posts: 192



« Reply #45 on: March 15, 2013, 01:43:18 PM »

Not a huge flash fiction fan normally and this was a pretty mixed bag. Health Tips was kind of amusing, but the joke wore thin pretty quickly. Bouncing Ball felt like one of these middling Escape Pod episodes with a way too obvious message and kind of unoriginal Macguffin.
Tornadoes on fire, on the other hand, had some swagger and a punchline to match it. Thats what I always hope to get from this kind of excercises.
Logged
childoftyranny
Matross
****
Posts: 175



« Reply #46 on: April 10, 2013, 08:03:06 PM »

Hmm, I'd not quite grasped that it was parasitic but I figured the bleeding was some sort of disease, but that makes mors sense for Health Tips.

Bouncing Ball just seemed a nice ending little short without much more to it, though I assumed that it was basically a dream and he would wake up in his original life too.

I have to give a miss to Tornadoes on Fire, I see the tall tale aspect, but it just seemed to not have any purpose at all to my mind.
Logged
Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4813


Mmm. Tiger.


« Reply #47 on: May 25, 2013, 04:33:25 AM »

saw this image and was reminded of Tornados on Fire
Logged

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
Pages: 1 2 3 [All]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!