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Author Topic: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread  (Read 24263 times)

eytanz

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on: March 21, 2013, 08:39:13 AM
EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread

By Eugie Foster

Read by Mur Lafferty

--

Trixie got out of her cherry-red godmobile and waved away the flitting cherubim waiting to bear her to her sedan chair. She wasn’t in the mood for a reverent chorus of hosannas, and the sedan chair desperately needed re-springing. She felt every jostle and jounce from those damned pandas. A day didn’t pass that she didn’t regret adopting giant pandas as her sacred vahanas. Sure, it seemed like a good idea at the time. They were so cute with their roly-poly bellies and black-masked faces, but they were wholly unsuited to be beasts of conveyance. The excessive undulation of their waddling gaits was enough to make Captain Ahab seasick, and their exclusive diet of bamboo made them perpetually flatulent. The novelty of being hauled along by farting ursines in a stomach-roiling sedan chair had gotten very old very fast. But there wasn’t a lot she could do about it now. It was all about the brand. Pandas were part of her theology. If she adopted new vahanas, she’d likely end up with a splitter faction, possibly even a reformation. Such a pain in the ass.

So she’d started walking more—well, floating really, since gods weren’t supposed to tread the earth. Appearances and all.

Drifting a hairsbreadth above the pavement, Trixie pulled out her holy tablet and launched the Karmic Retribution app. The first thumbnail belonged to a Mr. Tom Ehler, the owner of the walkway and the two-story colonial house it led to. She unpinched two fingers across the screen to zoom up Mr. Ehler’s details.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!



chemistryguy

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Reply #1 on: March 21, 2013, 11:02:13 AM
As much as I'm drawn to the idea of a deity whose sole job is ridding the world of dickheads, I found this tale a bit too cutesy for my tastes.  By the middle of the story, the accumulation of god puns just became annoying.

And with all the references to tablets/apps/etc, this one is bound to sound extremely dated in 10 years time.


On another note, where did the feedback disappear to?


Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 11:24:56 AM
I liked it. We definitely need a god/dess of righteous badass. Just.... well, pandas? Really? The god/dess of righteous badass should like phoenixes or something.
When the story first started out I was reminded a lot of Zelazny's Lord of Light. Which I absolutely love. This I liked differently. It wasn't as well-formed as a full length novel (duh) but what I liked more about it is that the people are people. One can easily identify with them.
Especially with the goddess of punishing ass-hattedness stuck in cordially backed up traffic.

Chemistryguy: the feedback was obviously devoured by the evil geek who has somehow escaped the PP dungeons.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2013, 11:47:56 AM by Max e^{i pi} »

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epilonious

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Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 11:53:15 AM
Yes yes yes yes yes YES YES YES YES YES YES OH GAWD...  Time to stuff my face with Pepperidge Farm...

Sorry for the mess, Eugie Foster always seems to give me storygasms.  I remember first hearing Tanuki Kettle on the way to work and almost wrecking the car in fits of glee.  And this story was no different... From the puns to the pandas to the choice of Trixie's godly friends.  I just smiled more and more.  I can see why some people might be put off by the sweetness alongside the viscera in several of her stories... But for some reason I revel in it.

Time for me to issue positive reinforcement in the form of a bigger-than-usual donation to Escape Artists.

*off to paypal*

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chemistryguy

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Reply #4 on: March 21, 2013, 12:14:20 PM
Sorry for the mess, Eugie Foster always seems to give me storygasms.  I remember first hearing Tanuki Kettle on the way to work and almost wrecking the car in fits of glee. 

That's interesting.  I've been working my way through all of the archived PCs and I'd just listened to Tanuki Kettle the other day.  I'd not noticed that was the same author.

I'm sorry to say I guess I just don't go for her writing style.  Ah well.


matweller

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Reply #5 on: March 21, 2013, 01:15:31 PM
On another note, where did the feedback disappear to?

I didn't get it in time for me to upload the episode Wednesday night. My understanding is that the episode is supposed to be there for people on Thursday morning, so if it doesn't hit then, it's because I don't have the host spot or I don't have the story or something heavy fell on me.

Perhaps we'll double-shot the feedback next week if Sir Nathan can work a good segue between the two.



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #6 on: March 21, 2013, 02:01:38 PM
On another note, where did the feedback disappear to?
Perhaps we'll double-shot the feedback next week if Sir Nathan can work a good segue between the two.
I have no doubt in his capabilities. Sir Nathan is the captain of the Segue Monkeys. In the spirit of this puntastic episode...

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chemistryguy

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Reply #7 on: March 21, 2013, 02:24:41 PM
On another note, where did the feedback disappear to?

I didn't get it in time for me to upload the episode Wednesday night. My understanding is that the episode is supposed to be there for people on Thursday morning, so if it doesn't hit then, it's because I don't have the host spot or I don't have the story or something heavy fell on me.

Perhaps we'll double-shot the feedback next week if Sir Nathan can work a good segue between the two.

I figured it was something like that.  I  found it humorous that Alasdair's outro is asking us to "choose feedback", then just ends the episode with a closing quote.


Kaa

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Reply #8 on: March 21, 2013, 04:05:16 PM
I basically enjoyed the hell out of this. My commute was a bit longer than usual today (Thanks, Atlanta!) so I was able to fit in the entire story...even if doing so meant I had to sit in the car in the parking lot for about five minutes to work in that last part.

I've been a fan of Eugie Foster for a while, and this story doesn't change that. I giggled or laughed aloud pretty much all the way in. One man's too-cutesy puns are another man's tasty breakfast cereal. Apparently.

Anyway...I have decided to give up atheism and become a devotee of Trixie, long may her winged pandas be non-flatulent. Luckily, we're all safe from her wrath here on escapeartists.net.

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Swamp

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Reply #9 on: March 21, 2013, 11:56:29 PM
I usually don't go for stories like this, but it was Eugie, so I listened longer, and it won me over with its humor.  My ultimate favorite line:

Quote
Cheek-turning simply wasn't her Gospel.  She was more of an 'Eye for an I-Blow-Your-Head-Off' type.

Extremely funny!

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast


Ghoti

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Reply #10 on: March 22, 2013, 12:41:06 AM
I enjoyed this story on my way to work this morning, which made the protagonist deity's commute particularly entertaining to me.

I think that while the deityPad accoutrements may prevent the story from aging particularly well, it was a good piece that was worth my time.

It's also gotten me to resolve to myself to actually get more on the feedback bandwagon, as I often have thoughts about this or that story, but rarely get up the gumption to actually share them with potentially interested parties.  So, hi from a sometime and hopefully former lurker!



epilonious

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Reply #11 on: March 22, 2013, 12:14:39 PM
I basically enjoyed the hell out of this. My commute was a bit longer than usual today (Thanks, Atlanta!)

Well Hello to the Fellow Atlantan... Ahhh, Atlanta: always moving.  Slower than you want, faster than you need.

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Lambear

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Reply #12 on: March 23, 2013, 08:52:42 AM
First, let me apologize (great way to start eh?). I don't enjoy criticizing an author's work, especially knowing it takes a lot of time and effort to write a story. You put yourself into a story and when someone attacks it, it's like they are attacking a part of you.

That said, I did not enjoy this story at all. More than just that, it really grated on me, probably more than any story I've listened all the way through on Escape Pod (and there are only a handful I don't stick with to the end). It bothered me so much I actually registered to comment on it. Admittedly, it's kinda lame I because there have been so many truly amazing or very interesting stories I thought about commenting on and then just didn't get around to it. Hopefully I'll do better in the future.

Secondly, I do want to say I thought the story had a good premise. I think it had a lot of potential, but I found the execution (pun alert?) to be quite lacking.

Why the negative vibes, you ask? Let me count the ways:

1.I didn't get the point. Or if I did, I found it disturbing.
So the girl has godlike powers, goes around killing people she sees as jerks and then one day finds that ruthless smiting is losing its luster. So she goes to some kind of stripper bar with her fellow goddite and is encouraged to just cheer up and believe in herself more (a mantra our culture loves to throw around all too often and one that seems strange advice to a god), she then shows up at the wedding of a smitee's (yes, I just made that word up) son and, after being insulted by a child, basically annihilates everyone but the wedding party. She gives the couple some blessings and feels much better about herself and life in general. The end.

So what does this story tell us? That the world would be a better place if we could just kill all the mean people? Wow! Even if we're just talking about racist people, which is the kind of people this story seems to be judging the most harshly, is that really what would make the world better? Who would be left? I think if we're honest we'd have to admit we all hold some pretty serious prejudices and certainly every one of us has misjudged another at some point. Thankfully, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day and not Malcolm X day. Because mercy is not only better, but more also effective than wrath.
Or is this some kind of commentary on religious deities? If so, it does an incredibly poor job of representing the ones most people believe in.
Perhaps the only conclusion I might agree with is that if a bunch of us suddenly got god-like powers the world would be a pretty rough place to live in. Still, I think the author seems to condone Trixie's actions, not condemn them.

2. The two god characters we meet were reprehensible. I think Greek mythology is fascinating and one thing that seems to stand out about it is the gods being a lot like us but with way more power. The story seemed to play off of that idea, but to its detriment. The god characters seemed so ungodlike and much more like really awful college kids with crazy superpowers and a few limits on their use. What kind of Pantheon chooses these people? The characters had no depth to them and I found very little to admire about them. Have I ever been angry at insensitive, judgmental people? Sure, heck I've even wished their nonexistence I time or two, but I look back on those feelings with regret, not admiration.

3. The story has some very outrageous assumptions. For example: what normal human being, no matter how they might dislike their family, is totally chill if they all get torched in the middle of their wedding? It's just so messed up, I don't know how to comprehend it. Those who have lost a family member they were at odds with don't typically get happier (maybe in cases of extreme abuse) they regret the fact that things were never made right before the end. A happy family is one that finds reconciliation, not retribution.
And another one: it's perfectly fine to kill children as long as they're mean, selfish and unreasonably judgmental? I guess we're in for a serious death toll then, because sometimes even the best parents find themselves with some pretty nasty little whippersnappers. Heck, they're kids for crying out loud. But they still keep loving them and teaching them what is right and wrong, they certainly don't burn them to death because of a lack of character.

4. The thing that bothered me the most is that there was no redemption, for anyone. Trixie never really changed, and maybe that's why I stuck it out to the end, because I was hoping something would break her hard, judgmental, wrathful heart. She didn't give anyone a chance to repent. In her own words, she was neither just nor merciful. Only angry. That's one thing I find singularly amazing about the Bible, it takes the lowest, the scumbags, the people society has completely given up on as too sinful to be saved and it gives them hope, transformation and life when there was none. And, lest the "righteous" think everything is fine and dandy with them, it puts everyone in their place (let he without sin cast the first stone). It condemns wickedness while offering forgiveness to the wicked who repent. Justice with mercy makes for a much better story.

Final thoughts:
-Though this doesn't bother me as much as it does most people, I'd hardly label this as a sci-fi story. The godOS device was barely scraping it by, and it really worked about the same as a modern iPad, but for gods. Mostly, the story just didn't have that sci-fi feel to it. It was lacking all the things that I think makes sci-fi great. Fantasy though? I'd say it fits like a magical unicorn glove, but that'd be a silly thing to say.

-I get that this is a work of humor (can't say I appreciated that aspect of it), but even humor must be taken seriously because it's still giving a message. Just because it's funny doesn't make it right.

Thanks for reading this lengthy rant. I look forward to your responses, whether you agree or think I'm in need of a good smiting myself.



Listener

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Reply #13 on: March 23, 2013, 11:00:30 AM
I basically enjoyed the hell out of this. My commute was a bit longer than usual today (Thanks, Atlanta!)

Well Hello to the Fellow Atlantan... Ahhh, Atlanta: always moving.  Slower than you want, faster than you need.

That makes three of us. Fortunately my commute time only changes if there's an accident on the road. Otherwise it's not too bad.

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Listener

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Reply #14 on: March 23, 2013, 11:04:15 AM
As everyone knows, the quickest way to my heart is via fart joke, so this story hooked me right away. I thought it was funny and clever, although I do agree with the person who said the tablet thing would be a bit dated -- however, they do have iPads (basically) on Star Trek, so one never knows. If I had a problem with the story, it was in the church scene when Trixie explodes. I almost didn't feel like there was enough for that to be the straw that broke the camel's back. Trixie's life as a goddess is full of drudgery -- smite this guy, smite that girl, etc -- and while I got the point, from a story perspective I almost would've liked another beat, rather than the scene in the Junkyard (ha. ha. ha., by the way).

I also think that a narrator of color might have been optimal, because until the little girl said that Trixie wasn't white, my mental picture of her was with caucasian skin tone. I'm not saying that Mur's narration affected my enjoyment of the story, but it may have changed the way I perceived Trixie's anger at the end.

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TheArchivist

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Reply #15 on: March 23, 2013, 06:20:02 PM
It bothered me so much I actually registered to comment on it.
I've only recently registered, and this is the first story I've commented on, too. Just not for that reason.

1.I didn't get the point. Or if I did, I found it disturbing.
...
So what does this story tell us?
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.

2. The two god characters we meet were reprehensible.
Yes. That entirely fits with the concept of a pantheon. As I had to be reminded at the last meeting of my local writers' group, gods in fantasy pantheons do not need to be like the Christian God, because they are not Him. They are not real, so why care? The ancient Greek gods were pretty reprehensible.

3. The story has some very outrageous assumptions.
Well yeah! It's got a pantheon of random gods in it! What do you expect? See my response to your point 1.

4. The thing that bothered me the most is that there was no redemption, for anyone. Trixie never really changed,
I think she came to accept the truth (within the context of the story!) and thus achieved some closure. That's enough redemption, I think.

-Though this doesn't bother me as much as it does most people, I'd hardly label this as a sci-fi story.
No, I'd agree there. It's clearly fantasy and probably belongs on PodCastle, but hey, I'm not subscribed to that so I'd have missed it there, so I'm not complaining.

-I get that this is a work of humor (can't say I appreciated that aspect of it), but even humor must be taken seriously because it's still giving a message. Just because it's funny doesn't make it right.
Errr... I totally disagree with you here. Totally. If it's a work of humour and declares itself as such (and hey, that title is a dead give-away) then being funny is really all it needs to achieve. If it had failed in that then it would have failed (like an awful lot of what passes for comedy these days). But I found it fun and even laughed aloud a couple of times. I'll say it again: it DOESN'T NEED TO HAVE A DEEP MESSAGE.



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #16 on: March 23, 2013, 09:23:15 PM
GAH! All you "stories with tablets won't age well" people are pissing me off.
First of all, so what? When you write a story you write a story for now. Who cares that in two hundred years when we all have implants and nobody uses tablets anymore that the story won't sound up to date? Honestly, you guys are just being narrow minded.
And second of all, do stories with fountain pens age poorly? Or stories with gas lanterns? How about carriages? And knights? What about people wearing togas and sandals? Nobody reads a story and says to themselves "Ha-ha! The people in this story were so backwards and ancient that they used stone and chisels to write with!"

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go feed some pandas and offer a carefully worded and grammatically correct email to a certain goddess.

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eytanz

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Reply #17 on: March 24, 2013, 02:46:14 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.

TheArchivist - please rethink your tone when posting. You can disagree with other posters, and with Alasdair's approach to this outros, without being confrontational about it.



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Reply #18 on: March 24, 2013, 01:41:06 PM
This was a cartoon, wasn't it, where all the characters were 12 years old? (and damn difficult to narrate as a result so well done, that Mur Lafferty). Whether it had a message buried in its farty blasty humour is kinda down to the reader. I didn't think so, at least not beyond reinforcing my view that all gods are capricious and not to be trusted and I brought that with me. Should there have been? I don't think there should be too many 'shoulds' in writing but if anyone needs a message well, we're all in here banging each other over the head with frying pans and leaving our face imprints in doors and walls so something must have happened :)

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Reply #19 on: March 24, 2013, 09:33:05 PM
. Just because it's funny doesn't make it right.

Thanks for reading this lengthy rant. I look forward to your responses, whether you agree or think I'm in need of a good smiting myself.

Yes Lambear, you are right, absolutely right.  The problem with this story is that it could only really work for someone who at some level thinks that racism is worse than murder, and as you so succinctly say - making it funny doens't make it right.

In terms of it's technical content it was a pretty good story, and I enjoyed the Pandas and deities teme (which somehow reminded me of Disney's treatment of Hercules) - yes that was all good fun, but there was something wrong about this story. What's wrong is that it's very revealing about what current political fashion says are the worst things wrong in (Western) society at the moment. Racisim, sexism, in fact any kind of "ism" are viewed as about the worst thing out there at the moment. Not murder (which the 'hero' of this story commits multiple times over) not poverty, not violence (unless it's in the context of gender and sexual orientation); and that's what bugged me about it. It wanted me to adopt a worldview that I think it twisted and unbalanced. There's no sense of perspective.

And hear me here please, racism - WRONG, sexism - WRONG. Discrimination - WRONG. Absolutely. Absolutely, but really, murder? VERY WRONG.






Andy C

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Reply #20 on: March 24, 2013, 09:38:18 PM
Yes yes yes yes yes YES YES YES YES YES YES OH GAWD

and I've just got to say Epilonious that YES YES YES! Your hat is indeed pretty.



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Reply #21 on: March 25, 2013, 03:10:36 AM
Wow. I really didn't like this.

Too bad, too, since I know I've liked some of the author's other works. But the complete moral imbalance of the Divine character is bothersome. Not that if *I* was a person of color and was verbally spit on, I wouldn't want to smite that little brat, nor that plenty of polytheistic (or even monotheistic) Deities weren't over-smiting assholes themselves. No, my problem is that we're supposed to be celebratory that Trixie gets her groove back by torching a wedding party; we're even told that we should feel that way by her more accomplished Divine friend. Sorry. Didn't work for me. There has to be a level of dickishness an order of magnitude higher for that... for me at any right.

There are few complaints I don't agree with - yes, pandas are silly for a goddess of Wrath, but that's the joke. As are the references to tablets and icons.

I also think that a narrator of color might have been optimal, because until the little girl said that Trixie wasn't white, my mental picture of her was with caucasian skin tone. I'm not saying that Mur's narration affected my enjoyment of the story, but it may have changed the way I perceived Trixie's anger at the end.

I disagree. If you read it, you wouldn't know that either. Having a colorblind reading makes that more of a reveal.

No, my two big complaints are:

1) Really? You're trying to sell this as science fiction? I kept waiting for the naturalistic or technological explanation for this sudden eruption of Divinity (among, I presume, young urban hipsters), and none was forthcoming. tut-tut.

2) Ok, let's go with a technological assumption. Am I honestly supposed to believe that such a suite of technology won't be the sole province of the rich and powerful in our society? Do you think the military - or the "1%" - would let it get into the hands of the unwashed proletariat?

Yeah, there's you're story - a pantheon of rich asshole gods!



Frungi

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Reply #22 on: March 25, 2013, 06:59:19 AM
This one was just fun. If I were taking it seriously, I’d probably say the protagonist was horrifyingly capricious to have such power—but no, it was just fun.



chemistryguy

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Reply #23 on: March 25, 2013, 10:43:03 AM
GAH! All you "stories with tablets won't age well" people are pissing me off.
First of all, so what? When you write a story you write a story for now. Who cares that in two hundred years when we all have implants and nobody uses tablets anymore that the story won't sound up to date? Honestly, you guys are just being narrow minded.
And second of all, do stories with fountain pens age poorly? Or stories with gas lanterns? How about carriages? And knights? What about people wearing togas and sandals? Nobody reads a story and says to themselves "Ha-ha! The people in this story were so backwards and ancient that they used stone and chisels to write with!"

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go feed some pandas and offer a carefully worded and grammatically correct email to a certain goddess.

First, I didn't say 200 years, I said 10.  That's a pretty short shelf-life.  But I agree that an author's story should be left to their own discretion, without the need to make it more "technologically neutral".  If such a thing was even possible.  I'm just sayin'.  My biggest beef with the cutesy-ness. 

Whereas a lot of the posters took offense to Trixie's reprehensible acts, I appreciated the dark humor aspect of it.  The violence was the story's saving grace.  Besides, have you taken a good look at the behavior of our current god(s)?  The slaying of a wedding party is a welcome change from the catastrophic annihilation that's going around.  Perhaps Pope Francis can put in a good word with the almighty and suggest a bit less death and suffering.  Once again, just sayin'.


Listener

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Reply #24 on: March 25, 2013, 12:29:27 PM
I also think that a narrator of color might have been optimal, because until the little girl said that Trixie wasn't white, my mental picture of her was with caucasian skin tone. I'm not saying that Mur's narration affected my enjoyment of the story, but it may have changed the way I perceived Trixie's anger at the end.

I disagree. If you read it, you wouldn't know that either. Having a colorblind reading makes that more of a reveal.

The thing is, I _know_ what Mur looks like, and as with other narrators I know or have seen photos of (Al, Ben, MK Hobson, Dave, et al), I tend to superimpose an image of them over the story. Whereas if I'd been reading this, I might not have known, and I would've found it easier to pause my brain at that reveal and go back and reconsider other points.

Plus, the name "Trixie", to me, doesn't evoke the image of a person of color. Maybe that's just my upbringing, but I live and work in a southern area with a large non-Caucasian population and I've NEVER met a non-Caucasian named Trixie.

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TheArchivist

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Reply #25 on: March 25, 2013, 01:19:33 PM
Yes Lambear, you are right, absolutely right.  The problem with this story is that it could only really work for someone who at some level thinks that racism is worse than murder, and as you so succinctly say - making it funny doens't make it right.
OK, I shall try to respond in a way that nobody could mistake for confrontational.
I believe this statement makes an invalid assumption. It assumes that a god "smiting" is, in fact, identical to a person committing murder. That would be true if starting from the assumption that gods are merely people, but that is also a (clearly, to my mind) wrong starting point. Even then, the story does not require racism to be worse than smiting, merely just as bad.
Now, given that the story is postulating a (fantasy) universe in which a pantheon of reprehensible gods exists, and that this pantheon can elect to elevate certain (presumably recently deceased) humans to join their ranks, the concept of divine retribution being normal is inherent in that scenario. The question of whether it is appropriate, (which has not actually been considered, merely assumed false) depends on the omniscience and wisdom of the gods in question. If the gods are wise, they will smite wisely and justly. If they are not, their smiting is liable to be arbitrary and not beneficial.
The issue that concerns, indeed depresses, Trixie at the beginning is her residual human frailty and doubt in her wisdom and righteousness. As such she is (arguably quite correctly) reluctant about her role as a goddess. The story's resolution sees her abandon that self-doubt in favour of what the ancient Greeks called "Apatheos" - the property of gods that made them uncaring about the conseuqences of their actions.

So maybe I was wrong before to say this story didn't have a deep, meaningful message. It has the message "choose your gods carefully, because humans don't make good ones". And I think it works both as humour and as bearer of that message even (especially?) if you don't think racism is worse than murder.



pixelante

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Reply #26 on: March 25, 2013, 01:31:58 PM
I loved this story, it had me laughing and cheering all the way to the end. But, there was one sour note in the chorus of hosannas. I just could not help thinking that Trixie and the Pandas of Dread really belonged on Podcastle under the category urban fantasy. The explanation that Trixie's powers were perhaps a product of technology so advanced as to seem like magic was actually an afterthought offered by Allister.



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Reply #27 on: March 25, 2013, 07:49:49 PM
This story didn't work for me.  It wasn't fun.  It wasn't funny.  Re-reading my posts about earlier stories points toward excessive negativity, so I'll just stop with that.



Lambear

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Reply #28 on: March 25, 2013, 08:31:17 PM
TheArchivist-
As for your first post. I'm all for stories that are simply funny for funny's sake. Obviously this is supposed to be a humor piece, but the problem arises in that the story is addressing some serious issues of racism and murder with what I perceive as a very flippant attitude. If they aired a story about some superhero cracking jokes while raping irresponsible moms and at no point in the story is he condemned for his actions, would everyone be ok with that provided it's clearly intended as a funny story? Does him being a superhero that's an alien from another planet and not actually a human make it any better? I hope you see my point.

This may be the worst example ever, but that's why I absolutely hated the movie Hairspray (and got a deal of flack for it from friends), not because it's silly or deals with racism, but because it handles a very sensitive and important issue with not nearly the respect and sobriety I believe it deserves.

Following into your second post: Maybe I'm mistaken, but it seems like the author is condoning the gods' actions. It's one thing to have a universe where despicable (or even morally ambiguous) gods meddle in the affairs of men, it's another thing to tell me they are completely justified in how they behave and when they abuse their power we should laugh.
As for the conclusion you come to in your second post, perhaps you are right. That very well may be the message of the story. If so, I just feel like it could have been (and has been) done better.

Andy C-
Thanks, I think you summed it up pretty well. Like I said, I think the story idea itself is good and the concept is funny (who doesn't like pandas, farting ones especially), but I found its message troubling.

As far as Mur's reading (which was fine as usual) and the reveal of Trixie not being Caucasian, I agree that it was something of a surprise (if there were any hints before I missed them), but it didn't really change things one way or another for me. It certainly didn't justify her actions, though it did explain them to an extent.



Andy C

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Reply #29 on: March 25, 2013, 09:38:06 PM
"choose your gods carefully, because humans don't make good ones".

I'm not sure this was the message of the story, but if it was I'd go with it - thanks Archivist.



JDoug

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Reply #30 on: March 25, 2013, 09:43:53 PM
I liked the 'troubling message'. I mean, isn't that the whole point of the story - happiness comes from being true to yourself, even if that involves making other people unhappy. Or melting their spines. Sometimes you've just got to put yourself first.

Besides, it's not like anyone uses these stories for moral guidance is it. Right?




TheArchivist

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Reply #31 on: March 26, 2013, 09:36:46 AM
the problem arises in that the story is addressing some serious issues of racism and murder with what I perceive as a very flippant attitude.
I really didn't see it that way. Trixie is the goddess of smiting assholes - it happens the assholes we see are racists. As a goddess of smiting, she smites them. Any "addressing issues" is in the ear of the beholder. Yes the tone is "flippant" - it's a humorous piece. I don't think that's a bad thing. Being all outraged and serious about everything may work when talking to serious and outraged people, but humour is very effective at getting people thinking without raising their instinctive hackles. Although perhaps the evidence here is that in some cases it hasn't achieved that.

If they aired a story about some superhero cracking jokes while raping irresponsible moms and at no point in the story is he condemned for his actions, would everyone be ok with that provided it's clearly intended as a funny story? Does him being a superhero that's an alien from another planet and not actually a human make it any better? I hope you see my point.
It's not necessary for the author to blatantly and explicitly condemn the characters. Trixie and the other gods are not portrayed particularly sympathetically (unless you're the sort of person who thinks their generally reprehensible behaviour is perfectly fine) so it's unreasonable to assume there is any implicit praise of ANY of their actions. Reading in approval of smiting racists just because it's not explicitly condemned... strikes me as silly.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but it seems like the author is condoning the gods' actions.
Again, I really can't see how you get that impression.



Devoted135

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Reply #32 on: March 26, 2013, 12:56:30 PM
Hmm, this story was emphatically not for me. It wasn't sci-fi, it wasn't funny (for my funny bone) and the "moral" of the story was reprehensible. Yes, stories have morals whether explicit or not, especially stories that utilize a pantheon of bone-headed "gods."


I liked the 'troubling message'. I mean, isn't that the whole point of the story - happiness comes from being true to yourself, even if that involves making other people unhappy. Or melting their spines. Sometimes you've just got to put yourself first.  

Exactly my point. That's a moral that could never go wrong... ???



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Reply #33 on: March 26, 2013, 05:34:08 PM
I was moderately underwhelmed with the story.  Seeing the 'other' side of being a god may have been a bit interesting.  I have to say that I did sort of perfer it to other stories we have heard in the venue with god and pettiness between them.  However, the story did not really evoke a strong emotion for me, therefore it was relatively 'meh' in that regard.

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Reply #34 on: March 26, 2013, 09:38:39 PM
TheArchivist-
I get what you're saying. And admittedly I've read/seen stories with wanton violence that I've found to be very funny. I suppose I just strongly disagree with what I perceived to be the author's moral implications. Clearly, you don't see it the same way. So we'll leave it at that and call it a day. Thanks for the well articulated reply though, you certainly made your case.

I liked the 'troubling message'. I mean, isn't that the whole point of the story - happiness comes from being true to yourself, even if that involves making other people unhappy. Or melting their spines. Sometimes you've just got to put yourself first.

Besides, it's not like anyone uses these stories for moral guidance is it. Right?

Assuming you're not being sarcastic, therein lies the problem. I think that's the worst possible way for a person live. It's bad for family, it's bad for friendships, it's bad for the work environment, and it's just bad in general for society. Sure, a person has to take care of themselves, but specifically so they remain capable of caring for others.

I don't think we should suppose any story is beyond teaching a lesson. People find moral guidance from all sorts of places, and stories are no exception. Heck, throughout history that's been one of the main methods of teaching people morality, through storytelling.



Lisa3737

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Reply #35 on: March 27, 2013, 12:28:59 AM
I thoroughly enjoyed this story!  Sometimes, it is enough just to be entertained with a delightful piece of escapism.



El Barto

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Reply #36 on: March 27, 2013, 02:47:28 AM
I didn't like this story much, mostly because it had nothing to do with science fiction, and this is supposed to be a Flagship podcast for the genre. 

It is hard to understand how things like this get picked.  It is because they are "fun?" 

I'm all for fun science fiction stories but have little interest in fantasy stories - especially when I am expecting the great science fiction usually here.



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Reply #37 on: March 27, 2013, 05:35:49 AM
I didn't like this story much, mostly because it had nothing to do with science fiction, and this is supposed to be a Flagship podcast for the genre. 

It is hard to understand how things like this get picked.  It is because they are "fun?" 

I'm all for fun science fiction stories but have little interest in fantasy stories - especially when I am expecting the great science fiction usually here.

The fact that a lot of people in this thread do seem to enjoy the story a lot is a sign that it was correctly chosen. It is not Escape Pod's mission to please all its listeners all the time, or to adhere to a strict definition of Science Fiction story. Mur had made it clear while she was an editor that she'll run occasional fantasy stories (and I'm pretty sure we are still running stories she purchased).

If you don't enjoy a story one week - well then, wait a week, and there will be a different story, at the same price of free.



El Barto

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Reply #38 on: March 27, 2013, 02:31:27 PM
The fact that a lot of people in this thread do seem to enjoy the story a lot is a sign that it was correctly chosen. It is not Escape Pod's mission to please all its listeners all the time, or to adhere to a strict definition of Science Fiction story. Mur had made it clear while she was an editor that she'll run occasional fantasy stories (and I'm pretty sure we are still running stories she purchased).

If leadership looks to the forum to decide which direction to aim the ship, I'm glad I spoke up and I hope more people who feel the same will do the same. 

Looking at the feedback I see that a good chunk of people did not like this story, and multiple people mentioned it not being sci-fi, including Lambear, Infinite Monkey, Devoted135, and myself. 

I do agree that if we wait a week we're likely to get a sci-fi story we do like.  That is why we always return.




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Reply #39 on: March 27, 2013, 03:20:41 PM
Looking at the feedback I see that a good chunk of people did not like this story, and multiple people mentioned it not being sci-fi, including Lambear, Infinite Monkey, Devoted135, and myself. 

She had a technological device that assisted her in her godding (goddessing?), so I suppose that technically fulfills the sci-fi part.

I didn't mind it so much.

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Talia

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Reply #40 on: March 27, 2013, 03:30:07 PM
The fact that a lot of people in this thread do seem to enjoy the story a lot is a sign that it was correctly chosen. It is not Escape Pod's mission to please all its listeners all the time, or to adhere to a strict definition of Science Fiction story. Mur had made it clear while she was an editor that she'll run occasional fantasy stories (and I'm pretty sure we are still running stories she purchased).

If leadership looks to the forum to decide which direction to aim the ship, I'm glad I spoke up and I hope more people who feel the same will do the same. 

Looking at the feedback I see that a good chunk of people did not like this story, and multiple people mentioned it not being sci-fi, including Lambear, Infinite Monkey, Devoted135, and myself. 

I do agree that if we wait a week we're likely to get a sci-fi story we do like.  That is why we always return.



So why's your opinion more important than the people who did like it?

:P

If you go through all the threads, there are very few that are universally liked, some that are mostly liked, many that draw a mixed reaction, and a relative few that people didn't respond well to. That's because everyone's tastes are different (just like everyone's idea of what "science fiction" is varies....).  All those people you named, it's likely they disliked stories you disliked, and vice versa, so even if Escape Pod renamed to
ElBartoLambearInfiniteMonkeyDevoted135 Pod there'd STILL be stories one or the other of you didn't enjoy. :P

Also, ElBartoLambearInfiniteMonkeyDevoted135 Pod isn't as marketable and won't fit on a t-shirt.






JDoug

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Reply #41 on: March 27, 2013, 05:25:57 PM
Assuming you're not being sarcastic, therein lies the problem. I think that's the worst possible way for a person live. It's bad for family, it's bad for friendships, it's bad for the work environment, and it's just bad in general for society. Sure, a person has to take care of themselves, but specifically so they remain capable of caring for others.

I don't think we should suppose any story is beyond teaching a lesson. People find moral guidance from all sorts of places, and stories are no exception. Heck, throughout history that's been one of the main methods of teaching people morality, through storytelling.

I think she was capable of taking care of others - at the end of the story, Trixie becomes a fairy godmother, which is arguably her first non self-interested act in the story. But the point was that Trixie was unhappy, and that problem was solved by being herself. That didn't necessarily result in her caring less for others - arguably she ended up caring more for other people. Providing they weren't arseholes. Although it's arguably how much caring you expected from a god of smiting....  

(As a more serious point, I do have friends who worried about other peoples welfare more than their own. This is a beautiful, beautiful idea that I would never discourage (to a certain extent, it's a definition of love). But the point I was trying to make (badly at the expense of humour) earlier is that it should never stem from a feeling of low self worth. I do genuinely believe that it is healthy to be selfish sometimes (maybe approximetly 30% of the time)).

In terms of the morality of the story, it's certainly not a fable. I don't think this story was trying to teach a lesson - the manner of deaths and hipster use of technology gave it a fairly flippant feeling. Not to mention the junkyard full of jockstraps. Like seriously, would you base your moral compass on this story? I don't think the author wants you to.  

Stories make great teaching tools. But I'm not sure all stories need to be teaching tools, or viewed in a moral framework. Tha'ts where in horror, it's always the bad guy who dies, or the girl who isn't a virgin, or the jock who's had a drink, despite being underage. It's how you end up with Starship troopers, a film that is unintentionally funny as hell because the book was a facists wet dream (apologies to Heinlein, I overexaggerate). Some books are written as teaching tools and are marvelous for it. I love crime and punishment. Some books are written as teaching tools and are a little bit rubbish (The good man Jesus and the scoundral Christ). Some books are turned into teaching tools, against their authors wishes. I don't think this will be one of them.

This story was a silly story with a light heated message. The main character was about as trigger happy as Django with perhaps slightly less cause. But it was fun, had an ending I didn't expect and entertained me for a good solid 30 minutes on a train into London. That's enough for me.

Plus it led to a rather stupidly long post on my part....
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 05:28:48 PM by JDoug »



eytanz

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Reply #42 on: March 27, 2013, 05:48:32 PM
If leadership looks to the forum to decide which direction to aim the ship, I'm glad I spoke up and I hope more people who feel the same will do the same. 

Looking at the feedback I see that a good chunk of people did not like this story, and multiple people mentioned it not being sci-fi, including Lambear, Infinite Monkey, Devoted135, and myself. 

Well, the thing about the podcast not trying to please all of the people all of the time is - some of the time, you'll be among the some people who are not pleased. Which isn't to say that you shouldn't express negative opinions (there have been plenty of stories I haven't liked, and I've never been shy about saying it - hell, I haven't listened to this one yet, so maybe I'll dislike it too) - it's just that it makes no sense to be surprised that it happens, or state that it's hard to understand. It's pretty easy to understand how stories like this get picked - they get picked because the editors like them, and they think they belong in the podcast.




Lambear

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Reply #43 on: March 27, 2013, 07:00:00 PM
JDoug- Good points! Definitely not all stories have the same intent. But I do think they all have the potential to change us in some way when we consume them, for better or worse.
I would say selfishness is never a good thing, and naturally we're all pretty selfish so I'm more concerned with working against it than making allowances for it, but that's me.
Sadly, I have not yet watched Starship troopers (though I hear it's a riot). I did read the book and found it pretty interesting, though I might not agree with the ideology. I'll have to add it the the queue.

Also, ElBartoLambearInfiniteMonkeyDevoted135 Pod isn't as marketable and won't fit on a t-shirt.

And I both pity and respect the graphic artist who designs that logo!



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Reply #44 on: March 27, 2013, 07:02:37 PM
Also, ElBartoLambearInfiniteMonkeyDevoted135 Pod isn't as marketable and won't fit on a t-shirt.

And I both pity and respect the graphic artist who designs that logo!

I would guess they'd go with the EBLIMoDe 135 'cast. I know I would.

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Lambear

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Reply #45 on: March 27, 2013, 08:32:19 PM
I would guess they'd go with the EBLIMoDe 135 'cast. I know I would.

Well played! I'd take that over the Blink 182 'cast any day.



SF.Fangirl

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Reply #46 on: March 27, 2013, 11:59:39 PM
Hmm, this story was emphatically not for me. It wasn't sci-fi, it wasn't funny (for my funny bone) and the "moral" of the story was reprehensible. Yes, stories have morals whether explicit or not, especially stories that utilize a pantheon of bone-headed "gods."

+1.  Was this supposed to be funny?  Because it wasn't.  Was this supposed to be science fiction?  Because it sure didn't seem like it.

And I did think it odd that the groom was not at all upset about the murder/smiting of his mother, sister, and lots of other relative and friends.  Overall my impression of the story was "dumb."



DruidPrince

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Reply #47 on: March 28, 2013, 06:16:24 AM
I really hate being negative, especially being new on here...but this story was a waste of an hour of my life.

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BrentN

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Reply #48 on: March 29, 2013, 12:31:44 PM
This story was a whole lot of fun. I got the impression that it was as fun for Ms. Foster to write as it was for me to listen to it. I hope so.

I find the kurfuffle about "murder" here in the forums amusing. Is it murder when its divine retribution? Or, I guess I should say Divine Retribution. The capital letters are important, doncha know. As I think someone else pointed out, the Greek deities randomly offed people for much pettier offenses. And after all, if a godhead doesn't allow to smite the $#!+ of some a$$hole who desperately deserves it, then what good is it?



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Reply #49 on: March 29, 2013, 02:45:27 PM
As to people who complain that this story was not dark enough.  Just replace "god" with "mutant" and your good to go.  Seems like the process is sufficiently random and naturalistic that gods in this universe are normal. 

Loved the story, maybe mostly because I listened to it while commuting across the 520; a place that could use some holy wrath to keep the traffic flowing. 

The pun run that they had some appreciated, but again maybe that's just me.  "Smile on your lips"  ha how did I miss that one the first time. 

I would love to see more out of this universe, it seemed complex and odd like the Union Dues universe (replace pyramid with god guild or whatever) and the author seems to have developed it and has some basic rules laid down. 



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Reply #50 on: March 30, 2013, 02:17:54 PM
This story was fun. Bat-winged fartng pandas and their god of wrath. I'm going back through the archives and have been starting with Escape Pod 001 and it's been a pretty clear point where the goal of Escape Pod for fun was identified and reiterated. Have fun and be mighty. This story is both.

...rather than the scene in the Junkyard (ha. ha. ha., by the way).

It's good, but I think The Mouse Trap as a name for a strip club (featuring ladies of course) is much better. I thought it was a loss to Atlanta when it was replaced by a club with a generically unobtrusive name.

Plus, the name "Trixie", to me, doesn't evoke the image of a person of color. Maybe that's just my upbringing, but I live and work in a southern area with a large non-Caucasian population and I've NEVER met a non-Caucasian named Trixie.

I'll back this up. My only exposure to a "Trixie" was the eponymous character in a Nancy Drew knock-off series who was supa-white from upstate New York or somesuch near there.

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InfiniteMonkey

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Reply #51 on: March 30, 2013, 02:20:55 PM

Plus, the name "Trixie", to me, doesn't evoke the image of a person of color. Maybe that's just my upbringing, but I live and work in a southern area with a large non-Caucasian population and I've NEVER met a non-Caucasian named Trixie.

I'll back this up. My only exposure to a "Trixie" was the eponymous character in a Nancy Drew knock-off series who was supa-white from upstate New York or somesuch near there.

Speed Racer.



Fenrix

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Reply #52 on: March 30, 2013, 02:51:27 PM

Plus, the name "Trixie", to me, doesn't evoke the image of a person of color. Maybe that's just my upbringing, but I live and work in a southern area with a large non-Caucasian population and I've NEVER met a non-Caucasian named Trixie.

I'll back this up. My only exposure to a "Trixie" was the eponymous character in a Nancy Drew knock-off series who was supa-white from upstate New York or somesuch near there.

Speed Racer.

Good call, but still also very white. That makes two.

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Calculating...

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Reply #53 on: April 04, 2013, 01:12:01 PM
It has been a long while since I last posted on the escapepod forums, but I have been listening to escapepod from when there were no forums. Other stories moved me in different ways but this one, BADASS! As a person who would LOVE to smite dickheads and assholes daily, I thought this was PERFECT! And I also love the idea of flying pandas and having gods and goddesses running around in our daily lives. And owning iPhones. And getting drunk. And just everything about this story. Kudos EP!!

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Reply #54 on: April 04, 2013, 04:18:09 PM
It has been a long while since I last posted on the escapepod forums, but I have been listening to escapepod from when there were no forums. Other stories moved me in different ways but this one, BADASS! As a person who would LOVE to smite dickheads and assholes daily, I thought this was PERFECT! And I also love the idea of flying pandas and having gods and goddesses running around in our daily lives. And owning iPhones. And getting drunk. And just everything about this story. Kudos EP!!

All of this.

But then I came on the forums and got a bigger kick out of the Victorian sensibilities and disdainful sniffs of my fellow listeners. We jump on a guy for asserting his position (opinion) that the story doesn't need deeper meaning, but no one says anything to the guy claiming to have wasted an hour of his life or those that rubber stamp the story with NOT FUNNY (fact) brand? Goodness.



Fenrix

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Reply #55 on: April 04, 2013, 06:40:51 PM

But then I came on the forums and got a bigger kick out of the Victorian sensibilities and disdainful sniffs of my fellow listeners.


I don't know what you're talking about. There are some downright raunchy Victorian stories. Granted, the raunchy stuff is usually only obliquely pointed towards, so you have to fill it all in yourself. The Great God Pan gets WAY better once you fill in all the naughty gaps.

Maybe people just have a problem with naughty bits waggling out in the open.

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Reply #56 on: April 05, 2013, 01:07:32 PM
Maybe people just have a problem with naughty bits waggling out in the open.
   :D



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Reply #57 on: April 05, 2013, 01:17:39 PM

...or those that rubber stamp the story with NOT FUNNY (fact) brand? Goodness.

I didn't think it was funny.  You apparently did.

Taste is not the same as appetite, and therefore not a question of morals, hmm?



flintknapper

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Reply #58 on: April 05, 2013, 08:59:12 PM
Wow I cant believe the intense debate this piece invoked considering its light hearted nature. I was in the camp that it was a so-so sort of story... it didn't connect with me, but I thought the narration was good.



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Reply #59 on: April 07, 2013, 12:37:13 AM
For me it was overly silly. And it seemed more fantasy than SciFi, but debating the arbitrary decisions about arbitrary lines seems silly as well.

The narration was OK, but could have been even campier.

Not a bad story, just not my thing.



JauntyAngle

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Reply #60 on: April 08, 2013, 01:46:06 PM
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.



Leslianne

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Reply #61 on: April 08, 2013, 06:15:17 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, 06:18:57 PM by Leslianne »



Gamercow

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Reply #62 on: April 09, 2013, 01:32:59 PM
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.

The cow says "Mooooooooo"


CryptoMe

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Reply #63 on: April 17, 2013, 05:47:24 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.



InfiniteMonkey

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Reply #64 on: April 20, 2013, 04:10:38 AM
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.



eytanz

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Reply #65 on: April 20, 2013, 09:56:51 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.



Dave

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Reply #66 on: April 22, 2013, 12:55:17 AM
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.

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)


madrob101

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Reply #67 on: April 26, 2013, 06:53:06 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 !



Bdoomed

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Reply #68 on: April 30, 2013, 03:24:41 AM
Enjoyed this story sososososososososososososo much!  I'd subscribe to Trixie :)

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


yicheng

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Reply #69 on: May 14, 2013, 02:58:29 PM
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.



childoftyranny

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Reply #70 on: May 21, 2013, 12:21:13 AM
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.



Unblinking

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Reply #71 on: June 07, 2013, 03:05:57 PM
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!



adrianh

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Reply #72 on: June 10, 2013, 09:08:58 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.



Unblinking

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Reply #73 on: June 10, 2013, 02:48:29 PM
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.



childoftyranny

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Reply #74 on: June 10, 2013, 06:45:35 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, 06:23:48 PM by childoftyranny »



matweller

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Reply #75 on: June 11, 2013, 02:47:27 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?



childoftyranny

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Reply #76 on: June 11, 2013, 06:22:51 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.




csrster

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Reply #77 on: June 21, 2013, 09:27:20 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.



Umbrageofsnow

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Reply #78 on: July 11, 2013, 09:26:43 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.



hardware

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Reply #79 on: October 29, 2013, 07:08:11 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.