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Author Topic: PC250: Logic And Magic In The Time Of The Boat Lift  (Read 4297 times)
Ocicat
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« on: March 07, 2013, 12:55:07 AM »

PodCastle 250: Logic And Magic In The Time Of The Boat Lift

by Cat Rambo and Ben Burgis.

Read by M.K. Hobson.

Originally appeared in GigaNotoSaurus. The text is available.

They said the Marielitas were escoria – scum. The abuelitas muttered it to each other, and the young girls coming home from school clustered together like butterflies, looking thrilled and worried whenever the wind whistled at them. The newspapers said Miami was under siege, that Castro had loosed the worst from the Cuban prisons and madhouses.

The respectable Cubans already in Miami – the ones who weren’t driving the boats to bring over their cousins and brothers and grandparents who’d managed to flee to the port of Mariel – were quick to repudiate the incoming. Some of them put bumper stickers on their ten-year-old town cars: No me digas Marielito.

The crease-browed TV news anchors said the Marielitas “contained a disproportionate amount” of drug addicts and the criminally insane. They predicted crimes, rapes, murders. In the evenings, they showed us it was already starting: a kid kicked to death over a pair of sneakers, a bosomy young woman with her tongue cut out. The baby that…

Some things are too hard to dwell on.

But I wasn’t too worried about the Marielitas. Petty criminals, drug runners, the occasional voodoo priest.

What I was worried about wasn’t human.


Rated R for language and violence.


Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 07:57:49 AM by Talia » Logged
mkhobson
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2013, 10:35:26 AM »

A bit of technical production data on the recording of this story (possibly misplaced, so mods, feel free to move if necessary) ...

I've seen several posters on the forums asking for some better way to audially indicate scene breaks within a story. In this recording I experimented with inserting 2-3 seconds of pure (not recorded) silence between scenes. I also carefully trimmed out any breath sounds before the start of a scene. While the difference is subtle, I feel like this marks the start of a scene very clearly, and it seems like a pretty effective way to distinguish between scenes without having to insert a tone or something else that might be distracting.

Thoughts?

M
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2013, 10:48:55 AM »

Really, Hobson. You only have SIX posts? You disgust me.

(Thought it was an excellent reading. The scene breaks felt perfect to me, but I look forward to thinking what other people say.)

Also, I adored this week's host spot. I love editing with Ann, and Anna has always been such an essential part of our team here. (Are those P's or Q's on my playing card? Or BOTH?!?!)
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2013, 11:41:21 AM »

I haven't listened to the story yet, but the intro was hilarious!

And, even with Ann and Anna speaking in alternating fashion, I still had trouble telling them apart.  You might have switched identities halfway through and I wouldn't have been able to tell.  Grin

I thought I met Ann Leckie at WorldCon, but now I'm regretting that I never saw her car.
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2013, 12:11:10 PM »

Dave: I am silent but deadly. I choose my moments with care then fire my verbal salvos with laser-guided precision.  

And I too loved the intro. We hosts have to take our fun where we can find it! Grin
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InfiniteMonkey
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2013, 04:40:23 PM »

Excellent story. Was afraid I wouldn't like it when it started out because of the subject matter, but it had a strong narrative line, was easy to follow, had some big ideas behind it, and had just the right amount of funny (which M.K. pulled off nicely). I'm sorry she lost her doodad, but I hope the Powers of Light give her a replacement and we see her again soon.
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Max e^{i pi}
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 02:53:10 PM »

First of all, I always enjoy a reading by M. K. Hobson.
Second of all, this one was especially enjoyable because of the clearly defined and well-thought-out scene breaks.

Thirdly, I enjoyed this story very much, on at least two levels. I loved the thought-ramblings of Dr. Twilight, because I love weird philosophy and logic. I also liked the story for the story. It was a well told tale.

Also, I once proved on an IRC chan that the English language does not conform to mathematical logic.
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 03:14:29 PM »

Glad you liked it, Max E^. By the way, by freak happenstance, you are one of the commenters I called out in this coming week's outro. It's the first outro I've ever done, and it might be a long time before I'm asked to do another, so make sure you have a listen.   Wink

M
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2013, 06:02:47 PM »

It was a good story with good narration and good production--but how could it possibly complete with such an amazing intro?
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 06:49:58 PM »

I bought textbooks on logic and philosophy after listening to this one. Possibly not what the authors intended but....I got caught up in the arguments and drifted into some other intellectual zone for a bit. I did get swept back up again in the story and enjoyed it. Not my favorite. Not my un-favorite. Good, and strangely intellectually stimulating. I've been out of school/training for five years now and I guess my brain is getting thirsty.

Also, I really want me some toad eye.

Also also, every time I hear M.K. I have a moment of complete fan-girlishness to the tune of That's M.K. Hobson. I read her book. It was awesome. She is awesome. OMG she's talking to me through my radio!
And then I get over it. Kind of.  Grin
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 10:36:10 PM »

Wow, FireTurtle, thanks! Clearly I need to hang around the forums more often!! Grin
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2013, 07:53:37 AM »

The intro cracked me up, the outro was great, and of course the narration was stellar. You guys run a tight ship when Dave lets you out of the dungeon! Cheesy

The story was very nice though I'm still wondering who the Powers of Light are exactly, and why it is that they chose her. However, I loved how she walked that fine line between utter world-weariness and actually caring about not letting the bad guys win.


A bit of technical production data on the recording of this story (possibly misplaced, so mods, feel free to move if necessary) ...

I've seen several posters on the forums asking for some better way to audially indicate scene breaks within a story. In this recording I experimented with inserting 2-3 seconds of pure (not recorded) silence between scenes. I also carefully trimmed out any breath sounds before the start of a scene. While the difference is subtle, I feel like this marks the start of a scene very clearly, and it seems like a pretty effective way to distinguish between scenes without having to insert a tone or something else that might be distracting.

Thoughts?

M

This worked very well for my ears. I'd love to know if the same method would be as effective for a less linear (in terms of timeline) story.
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2013, 11:47:02 AM »

Hi Devoted:

I too question if my experiment with scene breaks would be sufficient for a story with significant time jumps. This problem first came to my attention when I was reading "Shutdown" for Escape Pod. There is a time skip in the last 1/3 of the story that I knew was going to be confusing as I was reading it (and indeed, several listeners did comment in the forums about being confused) which is why I've been thinking about this.

For significant time skips, honestly, I think there might need to be some minor editorial tweaking, e.g., working with the author to insert a tiny little time-tag like "Three years earlier..." or whatever. There are just situations where the listening ear is not going to catch what the reading eye can.

In other news ... can anyone tell me why my signature is not showing up? I went in and made one in my profile and everything!
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2013, 11:47:38 AM »

Oh wait. Now it's showing up. Never mind. Tongue
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2013, 02:11:51 AM »

Despite being a child of the 80's, (yes, I know I'm dating myself here..) I don't think I really found a great deal in this story that was working hard to hold my attention.  With the exception of the ending, wherein we see how the main character deals with the demon.  However, the intro with Ann and Anna was my favorite part.  I was pretty enthused to discover they're both just over on the other side of the state!  Who knew?
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2013, 09:23:15 AM »

The presentation was great; no worries there. 

The story left me a little cold; it was well-handled, but it felt a little too much like formulaic urban fantasy for me to really enjoy it, from the unwilling hero to the dime-novel detective trappings to the MacGuffin with unspecified ultimate power in it.  Even the demon wasn't particularly striking or interesting - cold aura, cloven hooves, dark cloud, yadda yadda - and the climactic fight scene wasn't very.  (And honestly, if the purple eye can be exploded by a simple paradox, it's amazing it survived as long as it did.)  The discussion of logic was the most interesting part of the story, but I was disappointed that it turned out to just be laying the groundwork for the "No man of woman born can slay Macbeth" ending to the demon battle.  I'd have been interested in a story that explored the idea of paradoxes a little more thoroughly, in the way that "The Axiom of Choice" explored free will and consequences.
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« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2013, 09:07:26 AM »

A couple of notes before I comment:

1. I first heard "if p then q" and similar in the John M. Ford Star Trek novel How Much For Just The Planet?, which is hilarious and worth your time to read. Neil Gaiman is in it, too.

2. The Mariel boatlift appeared in one of my unfinished stories as well -- the MC, a child, knows that her family's housekeeper came over in the "Mary L. boat lift, whatever that is".

Now:

This was only the second Cat Rambo (or partly-Cat Rambo) story I've liked. I don't know why that is. Maybe because the locale (I'm from southern Florida) and the time period made me more invested in the story, or maybe the story was better. But I've mentioned in the past that Rambo stories don't do it for me. Well, I liked a lot of this one, although parts of it did feel formulaic and the logic diversions seemed to go on quite a bit too long at times. The world was rich and detailed, and there was just enough fantasy worldbuilding to tell us what we needed to know without inundating us.
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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2013, 08:28:10 AM »

Glad you liked it, Max E^. By the way, by freak happenstance, you are one of the commenters I called out in this coming week's outro. It's the first outro I've ever done, and it might be a long time before I'm asked to do another, so make sure you have a listen.   Wink

M
Thanks for that.
BTW, it's pronounced "Max". Unless you happen to be Nathan.
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2013, 09:56:44 AM »

I found a few of the details hard to believe based on my memory of Miami and the boatlift. However, I was only 11 at the time.

I was born in Cuba and my family moved to Miami in 1975. I was in 6th grade when it occurred. I remember there were some new kids in my class that had arrived via the boatlift. They didn't speak English but that wouldn't be a hindrance as most kids in my school where bilingual. English was the preferred language, but most of us are quite capable of speaking Spanish. However, I felt compelled to befriend them and help them get acclimatized to school and life in the US. Then one day I was in the lunch line talking to one of my new friend. Someone overheard me speaking Spanish and called a Marielito. I was quite offended by that and said so. Unfortunately, that caused my friendship with the new kids to cool.

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« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2013, 10:53:38 AM »

I personally had a hard time following the logic segments of the story, but I wasn't worried about that. I enjoyed the little glimpse of this magical world the story granted - I didn't mind that parts of it were left unexplained. I can't quite decide if I'd like more stories from this world or if it'd be best just left as is. I kind of like the bits that were left for my own imagination to fill in. Smiley
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