Author Topic: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread  (Read 21411 times)

Andy C

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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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.

InfiniteMonkey

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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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.

Scumpup

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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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... ???

Lionman

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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Lambear

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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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Re: EP388: Trixie and the Pandas of Dread
« 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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