Author Topic: EP379: Concussion  (Read 13016 times)

eytanz

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on: January 18, 2013, 11:21:35 AM
EP379: Concussion

By David Glen Larson

Read by Mat Weller

--

He scrambled from the fire that was snaking through the corridor when another explosion jolted the ship, and just like that he was dead again. A moment later he was someone else, gazing down with another’s eyes at the mangled green body he’d left behind.

Never before had Tyler experienced such terror. Sure, he’d been afraid—afraid his knee would give out again, sidelining him for the big game; afraid he’d let down his teammates and make a fool of himself—but he’d never been terrified of being incinerated in an alien system countless light-years from the home world he was forced to flee. Not until now.

Staring up at the night sky, the stars were dim under the glare of the stadium lights. Which star was theirs? He caught himself and shook his aching head. It was only a dream, after all. The frog people weren’t real.

The doctor shined a penlight into each pupil. “Any headache, nausea, or dizziness?”

“What do you think? I was just hit by a freight train.” Good old Number 32—the biggest, meanest linebacker in the NFL.

“You may have a concussion.”


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!



matweller

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Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 05:03:26 PM
I really like this story, but I'm a little confused about how the ship had no way to slow down or steer but the people aboard were going to survive.



InfiniteMonkey

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Reply #2 on: January 18, 2013, 10:10:51 PM
I like the fact that I had no idea where this story was going... or more accurately, that I didn't understand what was happening. I figured it was a mess of VR overlapping in some poor bastard's skull. I was surprised when the two threads connected and it was explained.


The language mix-up "spoke" to me, because that's often how I speak when trying to speak a language other than English. Now, I neither wish to brag or claim some rare mental condition, but I've studied Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish, but when I try to speak any of them (badly, usually), if I'm not careful they all come out together. And usually using the correct vocabulary, just not staying in one language.



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Reply #3 on: January 18, 2013, 10:24:55 PM
I played high school football and did some boxing and martial arts.  Those shots to the head add up.  I have no trouble reading the whole story as just a product of the main character's cumulative brain damage.  Do people who are naturally creative have better brain damage-induced hallucinations and delusions than people who are more mundane?



statisticus

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Reply #4 on: January 19, 2013, 08:23:38 AM
Took me a while to work out what was happening with this one, but I liked this story.  Effectively written, if a little grim.

Interestingly, this story is almost the same in plot as Arthur C Clarke's 1954 short story, "No Morning After".  In each case aliens are attempting to warn those on Earth about imminent disaster so that can escape from it, in each case the only individual who could be contacted was one whose mind was not 100% (here because of concussion, in Clarke's story because he was drunk), and in each case the disaster is not averted. 

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statisticus

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Reply #5 on: January 19, 2013, 08:24:51 AM
I really like this story, but I'm a little confused about how the ship had no way to slow down or steer but the people aboard were going to survive.

Who says the people on board were going to survive?  I didn't get that.  

Perhaps they have some sort of crash-proof escape pods?



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Reply #6 on: January 19, 2013, 08:44:31 AM
The last line on the aliens' side is something to the effect of "All power to the forward shields."  I assume these mysterious magi-tech "shields" are what will keep the crash from being completely fatal, if that is in fact the case.  (Speaking personally, I wouldn't take the beliefs of a double-concussed third-string quarterback as particularly solid.)



benjaminjb

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Reply #7 on: January 19, 2013, 04:10:39 PM
I may have missed something here, so just to be clear (and assuming the truth of what he reports): could the aliens telepathically contact him because of his concussion or for some other reason? (I mean, was there anyone else for them to contact or is he special somehow besides getting his head knocked around?)



matweller

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Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 02:43:13 AM
I may have missed something here, so just to be clear (and assuming the truth of what he reports): could the aliens telepathically contact him because of his concussion or for some other reason? (I mean, was there anyone else for them to contact or is he special somehow besides getting his head knocked around?)
I gathered that the concussion opened him up to it, but he was uniquely qualified because he was in the middle of the crash zone.

I really like this story, but I'm a little confused about how the ship had no way to slow down or steer but the people aboard were going to survive.

Who says the people on board were going to survive?  I didn't get that. 

Perhaps they have some sort of crash-proof escape pods?




Well, the last line of the story is "...but Una, at least, would be safe."



flashedarling

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Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 05:19:04 PM
I liked it. Particularly because it subverted the trope of "Doomed alien race imparts a philosophical or ethical lesson to mankind to not repeat their mistakes". Nope. The message they were trying to impart was immediate and tangible. "Get out of our way!!"




Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 08:51:09 PM
I dunno what it was, but I sort of knew that the aliens were going to crash into Earth. I thought that they were trying to make their case to the humans "look, we're the victims here" with absolutely no regard to screwing this quarterback's life. But I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out that the aliens' motives were pure, they would survive the crash, and were trying to make as many humans survive as well.

That put a new light on things.
When a war is going on, it is nearly impossible to tell who the victim is. The truth of the matter is, both sides are victims. So when it gradually became apparent that the aliens were fleeing a war, I didn't have too much sympathy for them, after all, we only heard their side of the story. But at the very end, when it was clear that with his ship falling to pieces around him, his charges being killed by the thousands, and no hope left, the captain has one purpose in mind: warn the innocents. Try and save as many people as possible.
Maybe their side was the aggressor, maybe their side was the victim of a first strike. It doesn't matter. This ship of people have good intentions, and that lends hope to their continued existence.

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Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 05:06:57 PM
I have to admit, I was rather disappointed in the ending of the story. As I'm not a writer, I'm not entirely certain what kind of ending would have satisfied me better, but that wasn't it.

(For one thing, I can't make myself forget the fact that unless the ship was deliberately aimed directly at us - by which I mean, precise calculations done, light years away and years ago, as to where Earth would be at a particular time - the odds of an alien ship accidentally crashing on Earth are (literally  ;D ) astronomically slim. Unless the ship was emerging from some kind of magi-tech* hyperspace hole immediately above the surface and on a vector for - say - Miami, the odds are just too great to believe.)

Until the end, I did enjoy the story. I liked the glimpses Tyler had into the various aspects of the 'frog people's' society. I also appreciated - in a wry, ironic way - the commentary on the despicable disregard for human safety too many sports professionals have in the service of winning a game.

However, what impressed me the most was the production. A few episodes ago (#376: Shutdown), there was a discussion - that was forked off into its own thread about the difficulty for listeners to keep track of scene changes (in that case, time flashbacks, but it would apply just as much to the changes of setting in this story).

So I was impressed with the background sounds that Mat used here: the white noise of the crowd in the stadium, and the weird alien techno-sounds on the ship, and, in places where Tyler was not quite sure where he was, both! As someone who has added sounds and effects to narrations, I know that it's a lot of work to do - far more than you might imagine. Mat did it all - from choosing sounds, to getting the levels right, to fading them in and out of each other - impressively well. (What marks it as particularly impressive is that most people didn't notice it enough to have said anything about it up to this point.)

I don't know if he did it as a result of that other conversation or if it was something he already wanted to do with this story anyway, but it stands as an excellent model for the kind of thing that can be done to enhance the listening experience.



*Thanks for that term, Scattercat!

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matweller

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Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 06:20:53 PM
So I was impressed with the background sounds that Mat used here: the white noise of the crowd in the stadium, and the weird alien techno-sounds on the ship, and, in places where Tyler was not quite sure where he was, both! As someone who has added sounds and effects to narrations, I know that it's a lot of work to do - far more than you might imagine. Mat did it all - from choosing sounds, to getting the levels right, to fading them in and out of each other - impressively well. (What marks it as particularly impressive is that most people didn't notice it enough to have said anything about it up to this point.)

I don't know if he did it as a result of that other conversation or if it was something he already wanted to do with this story anyway, but it stands as an excellent model for the kind of thing that can be done to enhance the listening experience.

You don't have to be impressed, I'd settle for it just not taking away from the experience.

It was an attempt at improving the understanding of scene changes based on the conversation you referenced and many before it. I was a little apprehensive and didn't want to take away from the story itself, but like you said, I have been extremely relieved that nobody has complained about it before now. Someone will, and I can deal with that when it comes, but the lack of comment to this point makes me confident that we can do these kinds of things when necessary without harming the experience, so I appreciate your comments.

By the way, I would be remiss if I didn't thank the folks at FreeSound.org for their help with the sounds (which reminds me that I need to update the posting of the episode to thank the people responsible for the sounds I used, which I will do right now ;) )



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 07:04:34 PM
So I was impressed ...

You don't have to be impressed, I'd settle for it just not taking away from the experience.

If I didn't know the work that went into it, I might not be as impressed, because it was good enough that it seemed (to me) to be perfectly natural and fitted to the story. As it is, I do know, and I'm glad you give me the choice, because I am impressed whether I have to be or not. ;)

As to not taking away from the experience, I didn't even notice the changes the first few times they occurred, and - based on comments I've read - I think I tend to be more attuned to the audio experience than average. (Unless the reading or sound quality is terrible, most people focus more on the story than the audio, which is how it should be. I'm atypical in being about equal; I can't help myself from judging the readings just as much as the stories, though I rarely say anything about them.)

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Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 08:58:50 PM
(For one thing, I can't make myself forget the fact that unless the ship was deliberately aimed directly at us - by which I mean, precise calculations done, light years away and years ago, as to where Earth would be at a particular time - the odds of an alien ship accidentally crashing on Earth are (literally  ;D ) astronomically slim. Unless the ship was emerging from some kind of magi-tech* hyperspace hole immediately above the surface and on a vector for - say - Miami, the odds are just too great to believe.)

Or they were traveling along in hyperspace and got thrown out or tried to escape from their pursers.
They could have tried to make for the nearest habitable planet, they could have been blown into a crash vector with Miami from the missiles.
Or a combination of those.
Chased through hyperspace they try a surprise maneuver to lose their pursuers. They see a habitable planet approaching (hey, it's magi-tech) and decide to jump out of hyperspace. Their pursuers follow them out of hyperspace, and launch missiles. The impacts from missiles and ensuing explosions screw up the frogmen's approach vector, and prevent them from fixing it and so they crash into Miami.
Also, remember, Earth is at the far edge of the sparsely populated and unfashionable western arm of the galaxy. Or as Una put i t"the edge of the universe". They could have been trying to come here on purpose, to get away from it all.

So I was impressed with the background sounds that Mat used here: the white noise of the crowd in the stadium, and the weird alien techno-sounds on the ship, and, in places where Tyler was not quite sure where he was, both! As someone who has added sounds and effects to narrations, I know that it's a lot of work to do - far more than you might imagine. Mat did it all - from choosing sounds, to getting the levels right, to fading them in and out of each other - impressively well. (What marks it as particularly impressive is that most people didn't notice it enough to have said anything about it up to this point.)

Yes. I noticed it, and loved it. Thank you Mat.

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matweller

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Reply #15 on: January 21, 2013, 09:23:38 PM
They could have been trying to come here on purpose, to get away from it all.
In that case, the joke's on them since they ended up in Miami... :P



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #16 on: January 21, 2013, 09:36:42 PM
They could have been trying to come here on purpose, to get away from it all.
In that case, the joke's on them since they ended up in Miami... :P

llol

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ElectricPaladin

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Reply #17 on: January 22, 2013, 03:57:55 AM
This one didn't much do it for me. I don't like stories where the main characters grind away at a deadly situation and then, finally, when all hope seems lost, they dramatically... fail. Because actually all hope was lost. Perhaps this story was well written, but the way it ended cast a huge shadow that no amount of good writing could pull the story out from under. Others may feel differently - and more power to 'em - but for me, this one was a total loss.

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Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #18 on: January 22, 2013, 07:29:27 AM
I don't like stories where the main characters grind away at a deadly situation and then, finally, when all hope seems lost, they dramatically... fail. Because actually all hope was lost.

That's what I wanted to say. Thank you.


"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


Listener

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Reply #19 on: January 22, 2013, 01:53:46 PM
I liked the concept of the story -- that aliens could only communicate with a human who was concussed. But why pick THAT guy in particular? Why not just broadcast to everyone who was concussed in the entire Miami area?

However...

When I write, or talk about writing with my crit group, I always stress this point: get the small stuff right and the big stuff won't matter. So, when I wrote my novel, I made sure to be very careful about what bus routes the MC's apartment were near, the floor plan, etc. In my groupmate's fantasy novel, I'm always getting on her about how long a human pre-teen can walk in a day. That sort of thing.

That said... I'm a huge American football fan. I found so many issues with the way the football portion was technically described that I just kept getting pulled out of the story. To wit:

* If a player is injured and the team takes an injury time-out, said player must leave the game for a play and, if it's in the last two minutes and no time-outs are available, then ten seconds are taken off the clock. This means Tyler wouldn't have been in for consecutive plays unless the coach or QB (as team captain on the field) called time-out, and even then, with the way the NFL is about concussions these days, the team would have pulled Tyler rather than face massive fines and restrictions for letting him play.

* It's not very easy to get 22 points in football -- a TD is worth six, but usually seven because the extra point is a gimme. Field goals are worth 3. It is possible to get a two-point conversion after a TD, but given that the other team had 27, I can't see a reason Tyler's team would go for two even if they were mounting a comeback. Unless somehow Tyler's team got a safety early on in the game (which is possible, but not likely, as safeties are rare), 22 is a very strange point total to have.

* Linebacker numbers are 50-59, and then 90-99, and then, if the team somehow has all those numbers taken, I believe it goes 40-49. I've never in my life seen an NFL-level linebacker with a number in the 30s. Therefore, "old number 32" was more likely a safety (a la Troy Polamalu or Ed Reed), not a linebacker. Also, in a situation where you have to throw the ball downfield to make a comeback, the safety would probably be in coverage and the defense would be playing a three- or four-man line so that they'd outnumber the offensive players who could catch the ball (a maximum of five) by at least two.

* Rollins was called a runningback. RBs generally don't go downfield. They're usually the checkdown guy. Until he was named as an RB, I saw Rollins as a WR or really talented TE. I know the RB sometimes goes downfield, and more and more these days they get split out as WRs, but in a situation like this the coach would probably have the guys with the best hands and the best size to beat the defenders if they had to go up for a hail-mary.

* The odds of a third-string QB in the Superbowl at the last minute are highly unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely. Plus, even if Tyler goes down, there'll still be SOMEONE on the team who can chuck the ball. Maybe not as well as a trained QB, but if you watch NFL practices before games, you do often see RBs, WRs, and TEs throwing the balls back to the QB.

So -- good concept, distracting execution.

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ElectricPaladin

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Reply #20 on: January 22, 2013, 02:20:57 PM
I don't like stories where the main characters grind away at a deadly situation and then, finally, when all hope seems lost, they dramatically... fail. Because actually all hope was lost.

That's what I wanted to say. Thank you.

You're welcome!

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matweller

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Reply #21 on: January 22, 2013, 02:26:35 PM
But Baltimore plays their 3rd string QB every week...

;)



Listener

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Reply #22 on: January 22, 2013, 03:56:12 PM
But Baltimore plays their 3rd string QB every week...

;)

They could play zombie Kim Jong-il (or even Kim Dotcom) as the QB and I'd still have rooted for them against the Patriots last weekend.

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Cutter McKay

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Reply #23 on: January 22, 2013, 09:21:10 PM
That said... I'm a huge American football fan. I found so many issues with the way the football portion was technically described that I just kept getting pulled out of the story...

So -- good concept, distracting execution.

Agreed. I really enjoyed the idea here, but as an avid American Football fan this plethora of inconsistencies relating to the game itself were distracting at best. Listener covered most of my concerns already, and I can't help but think that the author obviously doesn't follow the sport and didn't bother to do enough, if any, research on the subject.

The thing that bothered me, that Listener didn't touch on, was the lack of player names in the story. We have Tyler and Rollins, and then the aliens all have names, but none of the other players do, neither does the coach. That doesn't feel natural to me at all. I mean, football players know their business and they know their comrades and their opponents. Tyler would not be referring to the linebacker as "Old Number 32." He would call him, Urlacher, or Vrabel, or whatever. Especially if this player is as good as the story makes him out to be, Tyler is going to know him. He also kept referring the the center as "the center". This guy is not only his teammate, but one of the players the QB spends the most time with. Tyler would know his name. The same goes for the coach. He would call him "Coach Harbaugh", not just "the coach".

Basically this lack of familiarity with his teammates and opponents prevented me from feeling like Tyler was a part of this team or had any real connection to them or the game, which in turn made me less emotionally involved in the story.

That said, I really liked the idea of the aliens trying to warn off the innocents by communicating the only way they knew how. And I absolutely loved spending the entire story wondering if the aliens were a hallucination caused by the concussion, or if the football game was a hallucination caused by the attack on the ship. The execution of this idea kept me going for the entire tale and I loved that.

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Reply #24 on: January 23, 2013, 02:07:34 PM
As much Fun as I have with older stories, I have trouble with the new one. This one was strange.
One side an alien ship with problems, the other side an alien game like football. Even looking up what football is and what a quarterbacl ist and what a superbowl is, did not make anything clearer or more interesting. Everybody died, or almost everbody ? Good, so none of them wont bother us again.

The Background Noise all over the Podcast was maddening, first I thought it to be a Problem of the recording, later I realized it was on purpose.

Please dont do that again.



timprov

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Reply #25 on: January 23, 2013, 02:42:05 PM
I agree with Cutter and Listener, I kept thinking to myself "wow, this is a really cool Science Fiction story, but a really lousy sports story."

That said, this was one of the more enjoyable stories I've listened too in a while.

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Reply #26 on: January 23, 2013, 05:10:50 PM
I forgot to mention, I LOVED the background sounds in this tale. I noticed it right away because I'm used to these stories all having a silent background. So when it started with the alarms, I actually glanced around my car to see if it was coming from an outside source. Once I realized it was a part of the recording I almost smiled. I think it did wonders for separating the breaks in the story and added volumes to the mood of the piece. Well done, Mat.

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HailToTheChimp

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Reply #27 on: January 23, 2013, 08:43:04 PM
Like a few people on this board I couldn't fully appreciate this story due to too much suspension of disbelief.

Until, I realised that there was a specific reason that the aliens had aligned their ship to head towards a concussed quarterback;
the only cultural knowledge the frog people had of earth were late night repeats of camp 80's films:

http://youtu.be/UoKV2dudWYk

Flash!



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Reply #28 on: January 23, 2013, 09:52:25 PM
And speaking of American Football:
Go 49ers!


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Devoted135

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Reply #29 on: January 24, 2013, 08:35:24 PM
Knowing essentially nothing about football, I was thankfully spared from being bothered by all of the technical issues. I spent most of the story wondering what the connection between the two scenes was, and also feeling very sorry for concussed football players. The conclusion was a little too quick for me to really pick up what was happening; by the time I caught on the outro was already playing. However, for the most part I was just enjoying the ride. :)

I also thought the reading was excellent, and very much noticed/appreciated the sound effects. Much like EP316: Site Fourteen, I thought the subtle use of sound effects elevated a middling story to a great episode.



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Reply #30 on: January 26, 2013, 12:52:41 AM
I couldn't figure out the plot of this until I came in here and read this thread. It made more sense once I knew what to look for, but mostly I was as tangled as Tyler.

What an ending, though.



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Reply #31 on: January 27, 2013, 06:00:14 AM
I wanted to comment on this story specifically to congratulate Mat on the tremendous job he did on the production!  I am so glad that others have commented to say the same thing.  I have also done some production with sound effects, and I know how much work it can be.  This story needed some audio ques to make it understandable and you made it work seemlessly.  Fantastic job, man!

I did like the story.  I did notice some of the football-specific oddities that Listener mentioned, but wasn't too distracted by them.  I just kind of went with the flow.  I am interested to hear more about the alien war with the frog-men.  (or were the featured aliens the frog-men).

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Reply #32 on: January 31, 2013, 02:51:04 PM
This had some good things going for it.  I liked the idea that the ship's captain was trying to evacuate the target area, but that only a certain class of neuro-atypical was able to get the message (neuro-atypical in this case caused by blunt force trauma).

I didn't pick up on all the football flubs.  I played in high school, but was never any good at it, and have never watched much of it.  But I found it entirely implausible that the doctor who has checked him over would allow him back on the field.  If the coach doesn't want to let him, then he should've talked to the officials.  That's a man's life on the line there, and that was a major violation of his Hippocratic oaths to keep his mouth shut for the sake of a football game.

I found it implausible that not only is the ship going to hit Earth somehow in the vastness of all space, by accident, but it's going to land in the middle of a once-a-year event with the highest television ratings.  By accident.



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Reply #33 on: January 31, 2013, 04:05:58 PM
* It's not very easy to get 22 points in football -- a TD is worth six, but usually seven because the extra point is a gimme. Field goals are worth 3. It is possible to get a two-point conversion after a TD, but given that the other team had 27, I can't see a reason Tyler's team would go for two even if they were mounting a comeback. Unless somehow Tyler's team got a safety early on in the game (which is possible, but not likely, as safeties are rare), 22 is a very strange point total to have.

Here is a very possible scenario for 22 points:  Touchdown(6), XP(7), 3FG(16), Touchdown(22), missed 2 point conversion.  The score before the second touchdown was 24-16.  In that case, the 2 point conversion makes a TON of sense, because if you miss, you're down by 2, if you get an XP, you're down by 1, but if you convert, you're tied.  Same scenario if the score was 27-16.

On the story, I was able to suspend some disbelief about the football flubs, noting that it made a good setup for the ending.  Unfortunately for me, it was seen as just that, a setup for an ending.  It seemed like this story was written backwards from the ending.  That said, it was overall enjoyable and Mat's audio effects helped it MASSIVELY, just like Site Fourteen. 
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 04:09:02 PM by Gamercow »

The cow says "Mooooooooo"


Listener

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Reply #34 on: February 02, 2013, 01:00:20 AM
* It's not very easy to get 22 points in football -- a TD is worth six, but usually seven because the extra point is a gimme. Field goals are worth 3. It is possible to get a two-point conversion after a TD, but given that the other team had 27, I can't see a reason Tyler's team would go for two even if they were mounting a comeback. Unless somehow Tyler's team got a safety early on in the game (which is possible, but not likely, as safeties are rare), 22 is a very strange point total to have.

Here is a very possible scenario for 22 points:  Touchdown(6), XP(7), 3FG(16), Touchdown(22), missed 2 point conversion.  The score before the second touchdown was 24-16.  In that case, the 2 point conversion makes a TON of sense, because if you miss, you're down by 2, if you get an XP, you're down by 1, but if you convert, you're tied.  Same scenario if the score was 27-16.

I concede the point.

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CryptoMe

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Reply #35 on: February 10, 2013, 06:25:19 AM
Okay, I interpreted the ending in a very different way than everybody else.

To me, the lines
"Tyler made the sign of the old ones again, dabbing the second finger of his left hand to his forehead and making the circle. The priests had killed him too, but Una, at least, would be safe"
meant that Tyler had been taken over by Una, so Tyler's mind (but not his body) was effectively killed, and Una (whose mind now inhabited Tyler's body) would survive. For me, the clincher was that Tyler's body made the religious sign as if he was a frog-person.

But maybe I'm wrong....



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Reply #36 on: February 15, 2013, 06:45:31 PM
I liked this story! Maybe there were some plausibility issues with the science and the football (never thought I'd say that sentence!), but overall, I thought it was an enjoyable ride. And I loved the background audio!

I couldn't help but spend most of the story trying to imagine how it would end and how the two threads would come together. I kinda hoped the resolution would be that the frog people would have no choice but to be reborn as whatever sentient lifeforms happened to inhabit the nearest planet. Then one of them would ask the question, "Do you think we'll ever remember our past lives?" to which frog number 2 would reply something along the lines of, "I can't imagine the scenario that would cause that to happen!"



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Reply #37 on: February 16, 2013, 06:57:36 PM
when I discovered this Podcast, I downloaded several stories. this was the first I listened to and it hooked me.
im so glad this was shared to me



SF.Fangirl

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Reply #38 on: February 24, 2013, 11:47:34 PM
Okay, I interpreted the ending in a very different way than everybody else.

To me, the lines
"Tyler made the sign of the old ones again, dabbing the second finger of his left hand to his forehead and making the circle. The priests had killed him too, but Una, at least, would be safe"
meant that Tyler had been taken over by Una, so Tyler's mind (but not his body) was effectively killed, and Una (whose mind now inhabited Tyler's body) would survive. For me, the clincher was that Tyler's body made the religious sign as if he was a frog-person.

But maybe I'm wrong....

I interpreted as that Tyler (body and mind) was about to die, but he was still addled enough and enough frog people memories that he was glad that the frog boy Una would be safe. Meaning that some frog people on the ship would live, but nobody in the stadium would.



SF.Fangirl

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Reply #39 on: February 24, 2013, 11:55:49 PM
Overall I enjoyed it.  It's not deep, probably forgettable, but fun. I went through several iterations of what I thought was happening before I reached the correct one.  I did definitely feel an "ah ha" when Tyler understood who was being told to evacuate.  I'm enough of a football fan to understand what was happening there, but not enough to notice the errors.  Or it could just be I quickly realized that what was happening on the football field didn't matter to the story and didn't actually pay much attention to it because I really put no effort into "following" the game on the field while listening.

It was a fun one.  And the sound effects were outstanding.  I don't think I would have been confused by the scene changes here, but the effects did not hurt and may have helped.



El Barto

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Reply #40 on: February 27, 2013, 03:42:22 AM
I enjoyed this one quite a bit too.  It reminded me a bit of the movie Memento in how I was confused (like he was) about what was really happening.  Was a football player hallucinating about aliens?  Or an alien hallucinating about football players? 

It took a while before I realized both threads were real, and even then I figured the 'real' person was the alien because the descriptions of the football game were so bizarre to me as others have pointed out.

As for crashing straight into Earth, I didn't have any problem with that.  They were heading here for whatever reason and lost their brakes / control at the last moment.  Kind of like when my sister drove her car into the closed garage door by mistake.

The sound effects were awesome.



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Reply #41 on: October 04, 2013, 08:16:55 PM
I really enjoyed this story and it was a great way to start my morning. The action was good and the tension was slowly and effectively built on both parts, and the sound effects underscored the growth of the tension nicely. Possibly one of my favorites of the year (I'm about halfway done with 2013). I'm both enough of a football fan and an astrophysics/science-fiction fan to understand what was happening there, but not enough to notice (or care about) the errors.


I don't like stories where the main characters grind away at a deadly situation and then, finally, when all hope seems lost, they dramatically... fail. Because actually all hope was lost.


I saw this differently. This was success (we won the game!) followed by a fall (we're gonna die!) that is made all the more tragic by underscoring the pointlessness of the sacrifices made to reach the prior success. If it was only failure, then I might agree with you.


The thing that bothered me, that Listener didn't touch on, was the lack of player names in the story. We have Tyler and Rollins, and then the aliens all have names, but none of the other players do, neither does the coach. That doesn't feel natural to me at all. I mean, football players know their business and they know their comrades and their opponents. Tyler would not be referring to the linebacker as "Old Number 32." He would call him, Urlacher, or Vrabel, or whatever. Especially if this player is as good as the story makes him out to be, Tyler is going to know him. He also kept referring the the center as "the center". This guy is not only his teammate, but one of the players the QB spends the most time with. Tyler would know his name. The same goes for the coach. He would call him "Coach Harbaugh", not just "the coach".

Basically this lack of familiarity with his teammates and opponents prevented me from feeling like Tyler was a part of this team or had any real connection to them or the game, which in turn made me less emotionally involved in the story.


Actually, I found the lack of names an effective presentation in the short fiction format. Does the Coach really need a name? Does he really get development worth of a name? He's an external force. Same with the guy who keeps breaking through the line to sack the QB. Naming everyone in a short story is a good way to confuse things, especially in audio when you can't easily scan back and see who was who.

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