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Author Topic: EP390: Cerbo un Vitra ujo  (Read 38673 times)

Frungi

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Reply #40 on: April 09, 2013, 04:23:12 PM
I'll just leave this here:

“No one knows where you are, do they, kitten?”

Grete shuddered, and then wrinkled up her nose. "Do I smell a panda farting?"

Now I want an Escape Pod crossover extravaganza. I can’t see how it could be done with really any degree of seriousness or plausibility, but I don’t care.



JauntyAngle

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Reply #41 on: April 09, 2013, 05:37:55 PM
That was one of the most sickening stories I have ever listened to. It is a none-too-implausible extension of the current state of the world. For example, in China, where there is vast poverty and inequality and the law does little to constrain the actions of the powerful, organs are harvested from executed prisoners and used by the rich. They even harvested organs from living members of the banned Falun Gong sect. If that can happen with a liver, why not a hand?

The bit about tracking the retinal scans and finding the other person with the kid's eyes was brilliantly done.

I thought the narration was over-enunciated, as if the narrator was trying to pronounce every letter in every word.

I wouldn't say I enjoyed the story, because it made me kind of depressed, but it was well written.



chemistryguy

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Reply #42 on: April 09, 2013, 05:40:01 PM
I'll just leave this here:

“No one knows where you are, do they, kitten?”

Grete shuddered, and then wrinkled up her nose. "Do I smell a panda farting?"

Now I want an Escape Pod crossover extravaganza. I can’t see how it could be done with really any degree of seriousness or plausibility, but I don’t care.

Not serious at all, but very plausible.  Just as DC has a weekly twabble, we could do a 100 character crossover challenge.  Any of the podcasts could intrude into another and potentially solve (or cause) problems.

Additional non-existent bonuses rewarded to those who could name both podcasts.

This one is over the limit by 26 letters, but it might be possible to trim it down to size.


Famous Erik

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Reply #43 on: April 09, 2013, 10:12:30 PM

What started out with some interesting intrigue( the investigation, the other missing kids and whether or not the boyfriend suspected something was amiss and thus left the girl with his bio-data) fell apart.
I have no sympathy for anything that happens to Grete after she finds his hands at the bar. She turns from hero to victim as she just passively moves through the rest of the story.
And even if she had been smart for the rest of the story(eg. leaving a message for someone about the 'doc'), it just means the doc was acting suprisingly stupid.




Frungi

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Reply #44 on: April 09, 2013, 10:43:49 PM
Now I want an Escape Pod crossover extravaganza. I can’t see how it could be done with really any degree of seriousness or plausibility, but I don’t care.

Not serious at all, but very plausible.  Just as DC has a weekly twabble, we could do a 100 character crossover challenge.

I actually meant a full-length short story (possibly amalgamating a bunch of previous stories), but this is a great idea too.



Brynn

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Reply #45 on: April 10, 2013, 12:01:58 AM
I am okay with dark stories. I do feel, however, that this one had some issues. Which is unfortunate, because the emotional quandary of someone possessing your loved one's body parts is really neat.

My first concern is how the main character was weak and not at all empowered, and it made me not care what happened to her. I might have accepted the story if it hasn't ended with Grete's implied death--if she had at least tried to fight the doctor in the end, instead of just meekly accepted what had been done to her. Had she fought, I could have cheered for her. Unfortunately, she was flat throughout the story and her personality didnt have enough texture for me to feel she was anything but a vehicle to deliver the final scene.

People often say to stay away from using rape as a tool to victimize female characters in fiction. This story made me understand why they say that, because the conflict of the story could have been presented without rape and to me it came across as cheap shock value. Very unfortunate for such a cool premise.



Mack46

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Reply #46 on: April 10, 2013, 01:41:10 AM
The premise of the story was intriguing but in execution I disliked it intensely. The moment Grete tracked the eyes to a neighboring station I knew how it was going to play out. Frankly Grete is so dumb I couldn't work up any sympathy for her. Maybe we are supposed to think of a Romeo and Juliet pure love  but I would rather see it played out as a revenge story. Grete is shown as a very resourceful young woman but the "I'm going to follow Kaj's body parts around the solar system because he might be alive" is irritating. "I'm going to get revenge on the people responsible starting with his mom" would have appealed to me more. I guess the "no one knows you are here, kitten" line at the end is supposed to be chilling but why would she have any trust in the doc after the bar and apartment. Bah! let her parts go to someone more deserving.



DruidPrince

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Reply #47 on: April 10, 2013, 02:18:32 AM
Sweet mother of lizards. Sweet fuck. Sweet fucking lizard. The sex was the least disturbing part. I'm going to take a shower. In bleach. Hot bleach.

If this becomes the future, I'm siding with the aliens. It's time to start again.

I COULDN'T HOPE TO SAY IT ANY BETTER THAN ELECTRIC PALADIN! Now......Where is that bleach?

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Devoted135

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Reply #48 on: April 10, 2013, 01:01:50 PM
Now I want an Escape Pod crossover extravaganza. I can’t see how it could be done with really any degree of seriousness or plausibility, but I don’t care.

Not serious at all, but very plausible.  Just as DC has a weekly twabble, we could do a 100 character crossover challenge.

I actually meant a full-length short story (possibly amalgamating a bunch of previous stories), but this is a great idea too.

Someone actually did this very early on, and included all of the EP stories that had run up until that point. I forget, it was somewhere in the vicinity of the very first 20-40 stories, and Steve actually read it at the end of an episode. It was fantastic! I have no hope of finding it, but maybe someone else remembers better where it was?



Devoted135

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Reply #49 on: April 10, 2013, 01:13:00 PM
Okay, to the actual story... Unfortunately, I listened to this one back to back with PC's Sundae. That was a rough morning.

One of my problems with this story was that I somehow missed all of the clues that were apparently there to let me know Grete's age and her sexual relationship with Kaj. Having missed them, and hearing that he was being sent to school, I decided that they were about 14 and were very close friends - maybe even best friends. Wow, was I wrong! The hacking and the tracking him down made sense until she had confirmation that the lady had his eyes, and then I completely lost any ability to connect with Grete's motivations.

It's so painful to watch a character decide to be repeatedly raped just because her *friend* might still be alive! I was 100% convinced that Kaj was dead (after all, he doesn't have key organs or extremities any more) so I couldn't figure out why she didn't run home and at least save herself. Of course, my assumption that he was dead turned out to be wrong, but that didn't help on first listen through. I can see that many of my issues were due to false assumptions that I made while listening, but I feel like at least part of that is the story's fault (after all, I'm not usually that far off). And I'm not even going to get in to the buy-in and rape-card and other issues, because that's been thoroughly covered.

Anyway, I think that Mat is probably right and this story should be taken as a tragedy. However, I'm not really willing to give it another 30-40 minutes of my time in order to read it right now. :-\ Also, THANK YOU to Norm for that strong warning at the front of the episode. Seriously, I appreciate it.



jtshea

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Reply #50 on: April 10, 2013, 01:45:15 PM
That was a really ugly story.  I can accept ugliness as a means to make a point.  I already knew all the points this story might have made, though.  Haves can exploit have-nots in ever more terrible ways as tech advances?  Check.  Young lovers can do stupid things?  Check.  Poor people can be pushed into awful acts by their poverty?  Check.  Rapists exist and they are evil?  Check.  So, listening to it left me in the detestable position of "watching" a rape for nothing more than entertainment.  I like myself less for having listened through to the end.


This, and I respect Escape Pod just a little less for picking this story. 

I've been subscribed since day one and have never been so....  at a loss for words at the end of a story. It barely fits the science fiction definition,  It started ok... but at the end I was actually yelling at my car stereo "Really?! You are going there with this?  Really?!?"  Psycho horror stuff porn.  Classy.

So, if this story was a clever plot to get people to register on the forum.  Well played!

I miss Steve and Mur.



Kaa

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Reply #51 on: April 10, 2013, 03:01:29 PM
I miss Steve and Mur.

In all likelihood, Mur was still in charge when this story was selected, given the speed of turnaround. (Not a dig; just a statement of the way things are.)

One thing I wanted to add, though, was that this story certainly is not 'fun' in any definition of the word that I recognize. In that sense, I do think Escape Artists should probably have run this on Pseudopod where there is no expectation for the stories to be "fun." Is it science fiction? Yes. Is it horror? Yes. Is it fun? Absolutely under no circumstances. And that's where I think the mistake was made.

I would have listened to the story anyway--I listen to all three 'casts, and a number of others. But there are others here who scrupulously avoid Pseudopod.

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eytanz

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Reply #52 on: April 11, 2013, 05:57:08 AM
Moderator note: Ok, ok, time to cool things down a bit, everyone (and I include myself in this) - let's keep this thread to discussions of this episode. I'm going to leave the discussion as it is for now; if people want to start a different thread about the relationship between SF and horror, feel free to continue the discussion there - if people do so, I'll go back and move some of the relevant posts out of this thread once I have some more time - but please keep in mind that we ask you to respect your interlocutors. Thank you!



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #53 on: April 11, 2013, 06:59:20 AM
It's funny, but critiques about the technical aspects that I control don't bother me, but when the validity of the art (for which I am really just another audience member) is called into question on a completely subjective basis, I get itchy.
It's not funny at all. It means that you are a mature adult who can accept criticism about something that he can improve upon, but when it comes to something that you have no impact on, the only thing you can do is get itchy.

And now back to our discussion about the story.
Having let it sink in for a while, and gotten over the shock aspect of the story, I think that it is an interesting piece of speculative fiction. Science fiction at its best holds a mirror up to society and says "This is where we're heading!" (Or in the case of Star Trek, "This is where we can be heading if we all smoke something really groovy!").
That's what this story does. In my mind the true horror of this story is the society where body snatchers are a real thing, and they are other humans. And they do it for personal gain. (And sometimes they don't even need to snatch, just pay some cash).
Every time a new discovery is made, a new procedure perfected, a new patent is awarded, ethical questions arise. Some weightier than others, but nonetheless, ethical questions. We need to answer them in such a way as to better our interests as a species, but also to maintain our humanity. This story is a glimpse at what can happen if we don't.
So as speculative fiction: this story rocked. But I don't think I want to listen to it ever again.

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eytanz

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Reply #54 on: April 11, 2013, 03:06:41 PM
I'm on my phone now so I can't really do too much but let me be clear - when I said "feel free to continue the discussion but not in this thread" that's exactly what I meant. I will split the discussion when I am able. In the meanwhile, any post that is not directly on the topic of the actual episode will be deleted and the person who posts it may be banned. If anyone wants to discuss this, please do so over PM or your posts run the same risk.



matweller

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Reply #55 on: April 11, 2013, 07:19:11 PM
And that's my major complaint with this story - that the rape doesn't have any consequences, it's just another check box in the "bad guy is bad" column.

The rape doesn't have to have consequence, the crime in and of itself is inconsequential to the scene it's a circumstance of the journey. The fact that Grete chooses to endure it to find her love and either save him or bless him with release is the whole beauty of it. She didn't have to go to Doc's house, and she certainly didn't have to go to the office, but she knew there was a chance that her love needed her and that she was the only one in the universe that could do anything to help him. So she chose to go on a potential suicide mission, knowing what it would entail -- remember she flirted with Doc to get there in the first place and maintained the charade to continue -- and none of that mattered to her to accomplish her mission.

That's my beef with the "female victimization" whiners -- she wasn't the victim, she controlled the situation from beginning to end by making Doc think he was getting his way.

And my complaint with the "eeew-yicky!" people is that they're letting the act cloud their judgement. It was self sacrifice like in any of 100 movies where the male hero gets shot to shreds to save his girl or his kid, and many of these same people would cheer the sacrifice. In this case it's sex instead of bullets and a girl instead of a hero against the odds, but the end result in both cases is chosen self sacrifice for love, and that may be the single greatest thing anyone has to offer. It's Biblical. It's Shakespearean. It's the very definition of "epic."



JDoug

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Reply #56 on: April 11, 2013, 11:02:17 PM
I liked the idea of self-sacrifice. Part of thinks I'm clutching it like a drowning man does to a piece of timber. If she was sacrificing herself, then it was a good ending. Not a happy ending, but something good came of it. She won, in so far as the fates allowed her to.

What frustrates me is that I didn't pick this idea when I was listening to the story. Twice now. I'm reluctant to do so a third time. I think the problem for me is a lack of choice on her part. See, I do agree that she wasn't a victim - she made an initial choice to seek Kaj out and was aware of the dangers. But although it was a choice, it wasn't a sacrifice. To try and explain, using a no-doubt flawed metaphor: A soldier might chose to sign up to fight, well aware of the risks involved. That's the choice. Three months, later, he's faced with another choice when a grenade lands right in the middle of his squad - does he throw himself on the grenade. This is a separate choice, but it is also more than that, it is a sacrifice. The first choice (to sign up) was accepting a degree of risk, the second choice is accepting an inevitability of death.

In the story Grete continually (and knowingly in my opinion) chooses to enter into situations where the level of risk to herself increases. At what point does it become a sacrifice? Her fate is sealed is when she enters into the hospital room with Doc, she will be raped, then dismembered into parts. Grete has at no point chosen this as an inevitable outcome though, merely entered into situations where the likelyhood of it increased, until it was a certainty. The other, darker side too this is that whether she 'saves' Kaj or not, the same thing will happen to her. By the time she enters Kaj's hospital room, she has nothing left to sacrifice......

If the authors purpose of the story was about the sacrifices of Grete, I think it would be simple enough to rewrite the story so that a more 'active' choice was available for her to make in the last few segments - even if it's just Grete admitting to herself enroute to the hospital what she's getting into. That would probably make the story at least marginally more 'enjoyable' for sum. I'm not sure it'd be a better story though. What made this story sickeningly tragic for me was Grete's endless hope that maybe, just maybe Kaj was ok and that everything else might just work out. As I've (tried to, no doubt badly) said before, I don't think this is a story we're meant to like, but it doesn't mean it's not worth listening to.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 11:06:50 PM by JDoug »



Frungi

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Reply #57 on: April 11, 2013, 11:05:15 PM
That's my beef with the "female victimization" whiners -- she wasn't the victim, she controlled the situation from beginning to end by making Doc think he was getting his way.

Except she didn’t make him think he was getting his way; she let him have his way. She did manage to kill Kaj, but the doc didn’t even seem to care about that once he had her. He got exactly what he wanted—and more, it seemed, once he realized she’d known Kaj—and she lost absolutely everything. I think it’s more suicidal shaggy dog than self-sacrifice, honestly, since there was nothing gained from the sacrifice.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 11:14:06 PM by Frungi »



Peevester

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Reply #58 on: April 12, 2013, 12:29:18 AM
What Frungi said!

The more you think about this story, the more you realize that everyone, other that Kaj and Grete, are either perpetrating or complicit in this crime.

If it's been going on for any length of time, even the state is in on it, given that Grete could track Kaj using the kind of forensic evidence that the police would have no problems following if they had a mind to.

Nihilist stories are just not for me. I don't want to be entertained by something this ugly. It reminds me of a Douglas Adams gag. The story made me feel bad, and I feel good about feeling bad about it. If I had initially liked it, I would have felt bad about liking it, and then felt good about feeling bad about feeling good about it.

P.S. Matt, you should lay off phrases like "female victimization whiners" and  "eeew-yicky! people". That's really uncalled for, and an incorrect characterization besides.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 12:41:19 AM by Peevester »



Scattercat

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Reply #59 on: April 12, 2013, 05:13:23 AM
Y'know, every now and then I really wonder what the heck the world looks like to other people.  Some of y'all appear to have heard a completely different story on a different podcast from me.  Possibly in a different language.

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