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Author Topic: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread  (Read 17358 times)
JauntyAngle
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« Reply #60 on: April 08, 2013, 08:46:06 AM »

This story sounded to me like the power fantasy of a Tumblr Social Justice Blogger. The gods in the story were hateful and violent and none of the characters in the story had any redeeming qualities. But LGBT people are constantly told they will be on the receiving end of divine punishment, hellfire, etc., so turnabout is fair play I guess.
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Leslianne
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« Reply #61 on: April 08, 2013, 01:15:17 PM »

I was initially very trepidatious about this story because "gods are shallow, vapid people who use modern technology just like us" is one of my least favorite story tropes (along with variants: God calls technical support, God is trying to do something else and accidentally performs creation myth, God is a child, gods are just ordinary housewives/office workers, and so on). But I trust Eugie Foster, and by the end I was glad I had stuck with it. I was not expecting it to go in the direction it did- with Trixie ultimately embracing a completely non-human moral structure in order to become most fully what she is (as opposed to her learning a lesson about smiting being wrong (to be fair, I also enjoy stories about serial killers becoming even more serial killery, for an example of character growth in a not-traditionally-redemptive direction)). Trixie's own evolution and the unfolding of her mentor from someone who was apparently there to do nothing but hoot at strippers into someone who was genuinely there for her followers made this story satisfying for me.

It's not my absolute favorite, but put me down on the list of people who liked it.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 01:18:57 PM by Leslianne » Logged
Gamercow
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« Reply #62 on: April 09, 2013, 08:32:59 AM »

Wow, this thread has been all over the place.  My thoughts on the story:

1) I liked Mur being the narrator.  I liked the work better I think because she was narrating it.  Not because she's a great narrator(she is), but because she narrated it, my brain stuck it in with her other god works.  I like those books, and this short story fits in well with that world(to me), where the gods have very human attributes, and are anything but infallible. 

2)Overall, perhaps because of Mur, I liked this story more than I disliked it. The biggest problem that I had was that no one is 100% good or bad, and to destroy them is going to have an effect on the world at large.  It may seem like a good thing to get rid of them, but sometimes it isn't.  Then again, when I think about rapists, pedophiles, and abusers, I find it hard to excuse their behaviors.

3)Maybe it was because of the pandas, but I saw Trixie as Asian. 

4)Can we please stop with the "It wasn't Sci-Fi" arguments?  The vast majority of EscapePod stories are sci-fi, so when a "marginal" one gets through, who really cares?  Is it that important to people that you be right, that you point out "This isn't Sci-Fi"?  Who does it help?  What does it accomplish?  Just give it a rest.
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #63 on: April 17, 2013, 12:47:24 PM »

Just because the comments on the forum seem so polarized, I have to register my solid "Meh" on this one.
I didn't find it all that funny or entertaining, but I also didn't find it annoying, bad, or a waste of my time. It was just meh for me.
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InfiniteMonkey
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Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #64 on: April 19, 2013, 11:10:38 PM »

4)Can we please stop with the "It wasn't Sci-Fi" arguments? 

No.

And I should point out this is the first time I've ever raised the point.... um, that I have recall. I certainly don't during Awards month, because Escape Pod is doing me a solid favor broadcasting award nominated stories, which of course don't have to be SF. Thanks, btw.

But as long as you now have another affiliated fantasy podcast - Podcastle - people looking for one and not the other are gonna complain if you get peanut butter in their chocolate. It's just human nature.
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eytanz
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« Reply #65 on: April 20, 2013, 04:56:51 AM »

Actually, yes, please stop the "it's not SF" arguments, at least in episode threads. If anyone wants to point out that they didn't think a particular story is SF, then they can go ahead and do so, as long as they understand that that's a subjective opinion and not something that's a matter of debate. On the other hand, the question of "does this belong in Escape Pod" is not a comment about an episode, but a comment about Escape Pod's editorial policy, and if anyone wants to raise an issue with Escape Pod's editorial policies, then they are free to start a thread in the "About Escape Pod" forum, but they should not be continued in Episode threads.

I've been relatively hands-off in this thread because I felt that things are relatively calm, but please let's not rehash, in this thread, a debate that's several years old and which every single editor EP has ever had has stated that they are not interested in.
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Dave
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« Reply #66 on: April 21, 2013, 07:55:17 PM »

Gods behaving badly? Check. Trixie's my kinda god. I mean, if you're going to go around smiting willy nilly, at least smite people who *I* think deserve it.

But Trixie is definitely part of the tradition of amoral gods who enforce their whims rather than the moral ones who (at least ostensibly) lay down laws.
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-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)
madrob101
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« Reply #67 on: April 26, 2013, 01:53:06 AM »

hi so im behind i my podcasts and only just listened to this but I loved it, a story that while driving home from work made me laugh out load, ok so the main character has an odd sense of morals and pandas ? really but who wouldn't make somebodies spleen explode for being annoying in a cinema !
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Bdoomed
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Mmm. Tiger.


« Reply #68 on: April 29, 2013, 10:24:41 PM »

Enjoyed this story sososososososososososososo much!  I'd subscribe to Trixie Smiley
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yicheng
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« Reply #69 on: May 14, 2013, 09:58:29 AM »

I hardly ever comment here anymore, but I had to dig up my account and trudge over here to say that I pretty much side with Lambear.  At first, I kept on thinking it was supposed to be darkly comedic satire of some sort, and then I thought maybe it was a cleverly hidden horror piece in the vein of Scott Sigler's Bagman, but in the end it just seemed like an unapologetic revenge-porn-fantasy. 

For a start, I had a very very visceral hatred of the main character.  I think Lambear is right on the mark in saying that nobody in this story evolves at all.  Trixie was basically a depressed serial killer at the start of the story, and about the only thing that changed was that she discovered her true serial killer calling and became a lot less depressed.  She's given near omniscience and unlimited powers, and instead of actually making the world a better place (like ending world hunger, throwing all of the nuclear warheads into the sun, making Americans change to the metric system, giving everyone universal healthcare, etc), she chooses to go door to door like some kind of karmic batman and kill people who's only crime seems to be that they were born into a racist upbringing.  There's not even any proportionality to it.  Racist twitter trolls and selfish kids apparently get the same kind instant divine smiting as drunk drivers, murderers, drug-dealers, and rapists.

I mean, the whole universe in this story is utterly horrific, and the essential statement is that this is some kind of Calvinistic world where everyone is either innately evil (in which case fuck you), or innate good (in which case you get a free pony if some capricious God/Goddess gets around to it).  Nobody is redeemed.  Nobody is given the opportunity to live, learn, or change.  Every.  Single.  Person.  Is utterly one-dimensional.  The universe just creates you the way you are, you stay that way, and if you are bad, then some random supreme being smites you for it.
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childoftyranny
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« Reply #70 on: May 20, 2013, 07:21:13 PM »

This must go into the bag of well/decently written, well narrated pieces I just don't like. I'm a huge fan of puns, I find it be a great humor style which is especially difficult to do over a long period of time, you have to be very good at matching synonyms and word play!

I think that this story was meant to be dark humor, of the revenge variety, but I've pretty much never liked those kinds of stories, and taking it to a next level with god-powers acting like anonymous web posters with weapons of mass of destruction, I don't find it humorous, pretty much at all. That makes the story very hard to get into and/or enjoy. A god doesn't to be wonderful, or fix problems, they can be mean, nasty or capricious, and they often are. Looking through most pantheons you see fine examples, and in "American Gods" plenty of them are hardly what one might call "good." But the story also isn't ONLY about them, in this case we only see Trixie, raised by the whatever committee that apparently says, "You, you there, be a god!" I assume these gods are picked by facebook popularity contests, which is the perfect way to pick everything!

There are a lot of comments about morals vs a story for amusement, one big issue I see with this story is that if, like myself, you don't find her actions darkly humorous, or don't understand half of what they say in the club, its hard to move past actions that just feel reprehensible, in god and human alike. I've often pondered what it means when we try and judge the actions of gods, but often times I end up stalling in that we sort of have to judge them by what we have, when you have a pantheon you have to judge them on what they say and do, and how you feel. Perhaps there is more reason than internet-rage behind her actions...but from this tid-bit sure doesn't feel like it.

I closing, while I didn't really like this one, I would gladly listen to others written by the same author, its well written and I totally see why it was picked for publication.
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Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #71 on: June 07, 2013, 10:05:57 AM »

No, I'd say you didn't get the point, or you wouldn't ask that question. Mind you, my logic there also extends to why I think Alasdair completely missed the point, because in his outro he insisted on trying to make it all deep and meaningful social commentary. No, Alasdair, not everything is deep, not everything demands your so-called wisdom! Sorry, I'm not going to get into a rant on why I intensely dislike Alasdair's outros, I just feel that this was a fun, humorous story. It doesn't need to tell us anything! It was fun! That's all it needs to be and it did it well.

I couldn't disagree more.  Alasdair may see depth where I do not see depth, that's the best part!  Another perspective on the story, especially in Alasdair's characteristic thoughtful and inexplicable manner, is always welcome.  To the extent that even in the cases where I hate hate hate a story, I never ever skip to the next track entirely, I always skip to the outro instead to see what Al has to say about it.

Keep up the good work Alasdair!
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adrianh
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« Reply #72 on: June 10, 2013, 04:08:58 AM »

Rather late to this - but since I've just listened to it yesterday I thought I'd put in my ha'penneth.

I thought this was 100% pure fun. The story and the reading made me grin like a mad thing.

I'm somewhat confused by the comments that seem to say this story implies that racism is worse than murder, PC-gone-mad, etc.

For a start Trixie's focus isn't racism - racism is just one of the many forms of asshattery that she deals with. Despite the fact that the story revisits a racist family - I think it's pretty clear from the rest of the story that it isn't all Trixie does. She killed somebody for shouting out film plots in the cinema for goodness sake!

Second - on the moral front - this is a world of a pantheon of gods. From the little I know of polytheistic religions people don't necessarily look to the gods for moral guidance. They're a force in the world. One that has to be dealt with. This isn't the world of the Christian or Islamic god where whatever "god" does is good by definition.

So this is the tale of Trixie coming into her godhood and truly understanding the reality of the world she is a part of. A coming of age story of a different stripe.

For me this is a fun what-if story of how a pantheon of "modern" gods would behave in world roughly contemporary with our own (Which is also why the tablet reference works for me. Of course "modern" gods would have tablets - just like Thor has a hammer).

Is this a world that I would like to live in? Hell no! But that doesn't make it a bad story in my eyes.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #73 on: June 10, 2013, 09:48:29 AM »

For most of the story I was going back and forth on whether or not I liked it.  The pandas were kinda funny, but wore out their humor for me pretty quickly.  But really, if you've ever read some of the ridiculous Internet comments people leave on Youtube videos and 4chan and whatnot, I can totally dig a god who smites those folks.  The main speculative element reminded me enough of other stories I've read that I wanted it to go somewhere original, kind cutesy, and familiar.

I'm glad I stuck with it to the end because the ending is what made it feel different to me.  It could've been called "How Trixie the Terrible Got Her Groove Back."  At the beginning of the story she's in a funk, and by the end she's gotten out of the funk.  How?  By discarding human notions of morality and just letting loose like a Greek God of the past.  Is her smiting just?  It doesn't really matter.  The story doesn't imply it's just.  The less just the smiting is, the better the story is, because that's the point, the old gods are basically the Id embodied, just doing whatever they please whenever they please.  She finds the old god within her, yay!  And she gets back in her groove.  The story doesn't imply this is a good thing for the world, who will feel her wrath, but that it's a good thing for godly self.  I found this absolutely hilarious in that it is structured as though it were a life-affirming feel-good ending, and it is from the right point of view.  But that point of view is a god's, so to us mere mortals if it is taken literally it is more scary than feel-good, and that juxtaposition makes it very funny to me.

Would I want her for a god?  Not really.  But that doesn't mean it's not a good story.
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childoftyranny
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« Reply #74 on: June 10, 2013, 01:45:35 PM »

The story doesn't imply it's just.  The less just the smiting is, the better the story is, because that's the point, the old gods are basically the Id embodied, just doing whatever they please whenever they please.  She finds the old god within her, yay!  And she gets back in her groove.  The story doesn't imply this is a good thing for the world, who will feel her wrath, but that it's a good thing for godly self.

Let me posit a question as to whether its good for her godly self or perhaps is it good for the agenda of godhood comittee? It was really only mentioned once and quite in passing, yet, are these gods as all powerfull as they are leading us to believe, there seems to be a greater force at work, perhaps even a force capable of retracting/redacting godhood! What part does having a vengeful comment reading panda riding girl as a goddess serve?

-----------------------
Edited to remove semi-obnoxious hmmm! at the end.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 01:23:48 PM by childoftyranny » Logged
matweller
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« Reply #75 on: June 11, 2013, 09:47:27 AM »

The story doesn't imply it's just.  The less just the smiting is, the better the story is, because that's the point, the old gods are basically the Id embodied, just doing whatever they please whenever they please.  She finds the old god within her, yay!  And she gets back in her groove.  The story doesn't imply this is a good thing for the world, who will feel her wrath, but that it's a good thing for godly self. 

Let me posit a question as to whether its good for her godly self or perhaps is it good for the agenda of godhood comittee? It was really only mentioned once and quite in passing, yet, are these gods as all powerfull as they are leading us to believe, there seems to be a greater force at work, perhaps even a force capable of retracting/redacting godhood! What part does having a vengeful comment reading panda riding girl as a goddess serve? Hmmm!
What purpose did it serve in nearly every myth structure/religion man has created?
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childoftyranny
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« Reply #76 on: June 11, 2013, 01:22:51 PM »

The story doesn't imply it's just.  The less just the smiting is, the better the story is, because that's the point, the old gods are basically the Id embodied, just doing whatever they please whenever they please.  She finds the old god within her, yay!  And she gets back in her groove.  The story doesn't imply this is a good thing for the world, who will feel her wrath, but that it's a good thing for godly self. 

Let me posit a question as to whether its good for her godly self or perhaps is it good for the agenda of godhood comittee? It was really only mentioned once and quite in passing, yet, are these gods as all powerfull as they are leading us to believe, there seems to be a greater force at work, perhaps even a force capable of retracting/redacting godhood! What part does having a vengeful comment reading panda riding girl as a goddess serve? Hmmm!
What purpose did it serve in nearly every myth structure/religion man has created?

Well my first reaction is to say behavioral influence, to cover as much as possible. The creating groups wish to influece others behavior to benefit them in some manner, which is perhaps easier to see in something like a fertility goddess than say Zeus, I'm not really sure what his constant sex with women in odd forms was really supposed to tell people, it could perhaps just have been people enjoyed sex stories as they do now.

Under that idea I'd still think that if we wanted to apply a purpose, with a goddess of destruction, one initially must assume the idea is to incite fear and to stop certain behavior, though even if that its really just behavior that annoys her, it may annoy others too, but mostly its what annoys her in the "old god" mentality. Its a possible reasoning, though as a purpose for a committe that seems pretty narrow in the realm of making gods. And if that is the reason, quite curious indeed.

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csrster
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« Reply #77 on: June 21, 2013, 04:27:20 AM »

Well I suppose I have to add my voice to the "didn't much like this one" group. I'm not actually morally outraged by it - we all need cartoonish revenge-fantasies sometimes - and I admit to smiling at some of the jokes. But as a story it just didn't seem to go anywhere. It really needed a bit more conflict - an antagonist to push against Trixie, rather than just a bunch of mere mortals for her to blast.
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Umbrageofsnow
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« Reply #78 on: July 11, 2013, 04:26:43 PM »

Holy crap, I didn't even realize this was Eugie Foster!  Somehow that makes me like it more, because it's a bit out of what I think of as her standard tropes (which are also good).

This story was wonderful and hilarious and I have no problem with the morality.  Trixie is a badass goddess of vengeance, if anyone is allowed to smite someone for being a prick on the internet it's her.

This is fighting "They Go Bump" for my favorite story of the year so far.
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hardware
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« Reply #79 on: October 29, 2013, 02:08:11 PM »

Nah, while I found it moderately funny and the reading very good, I must agree with those here who got pretty turned off by this story and what it brought to the table. I'm fine with unlikeable characters doing unlikeable things - in fact, that's a complaint I never really understood, but I'm not OK when someone tries to make me feel sympathy for such characters without revealing anything that might make me understand where that behavior came from. Fine, if this was a satire where a god was just a psychopath who needed to kill puny humans without regret to feel good, I could roll with that, but here they try to have the cake and eat it by applying that story, plus selfhelp book level psychology to an all too human (and unbearably whiny) god, who ends up neither as a believable deity, nor a as a believable human. And no amount of clever puns about farting Pandas can change that. 
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