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Author Topic: EP402: The Tale of the Golden Eagle  (Read 18688 times)

eytanz

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on: June 28, 2013, 05:04:49 AM



LadiesAndGentleman

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Reply #1 on: June 28, 2013, 04:46:58 PM
That was an unexpected ending! I liked it.

As for the rest of the story, the build up was disappointingly dull.  It was only at the halfway point, when the "prologue" seemed to end and the action began, I became more interested.



matweller

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Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 05:29:33 PM
I apologize for not having the full story available at the time the post was made. I was waiting for confirmation that we had permission to post it, but you can see the entire story on the site now - http://escapepod.org/2013/06/28/ep402-the-tale-of-the-golden-eagle/



Cutter McKay

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Reply #3 on: June 29, 2013, 01:23:55 AM
I really struggled with the massive back-story info dump, and almost quit listening. But the ending made it worthwhile. The "ship with the human mind and the metal captain" is such a fantastic image. I wouldn't want to read stories this bogged down in exposition on a regular basis, but in this particular story, the payoff was worth the lengthy buildup.

My only other complaint is even with so much buildup, this feels like just the beginning of the story. What I really want to read about are the adventures of the Ship with the Human Mind and Metal Captain. Does anyone know if these two play any roles in other stories of David's anthology?

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adrianh

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Reply #4 on: June 29, 2013, 09:22:53 AM
I rather liked this - slow build up and all. Especially the traditional folk-tale structure wrapped around the history of a kinda-sorta story telling robot - nicely meta that. That structure also kept my interest despite seeing the reveal coming a little early.

In many ways it reminded me of more golden/silver age SF. In a good way. Reminded me of Cordwainer Smith.

I also love this kind of storytelling - when the author sketches out a history and a world and a myth - and then leave them half formed in the reader's head for them to play with. I've no idea if the author has written any more tales of The Golden Eagle - but thanks to this story those adventures already almost-exist at the back of my head. I'm happy to let them play there.



rendall

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Reply #5 on: June 29, 2013, 04:31:51 PM
Two observations, nothing major:
1) I think her last Zeebnen-Fearsig stems from "sieben und vierzig", German for 47.
2) Lovely reading!  Is Escape Pod abandoning the policy of authors not reading their own work? 



Rain

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Reply #6 on: June 29, 2013, 05:39:31 PM
I liked the first part, and would have loved to hear more about the eagles being used to drive ships through space, on the other hand everything in present time was a little dull i thought.

Two questions : First we are told that Eagles were the best creatures, that makes me wonder how useful a human would be.
Also the eagle (can't remember her name) says that travelling through space is so painful she would rather die than do it, yet the guy at the end apparently had no problems..



adrianh

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Reply #7 on: June 29, 2013, 06:48:40 PM
Two questions : First we are told that Eagles were the best creatures, that makes me wonder how useful a human would be.

Nope. We were told that only the visual-cortex was the essential part of the space-time hack - and that eagles were good non-humans to uplift (we already know that it worked for humans because of evil-dude's experiments).

"He found a way to weld a human brain to the keel of a starship, in such a way that the ship could travel from star to star in months instead of years. After the execution of Doctor Jay, people learned that the part of the brain called the visual cortex was the key to changing the shape of space. And so they found a creature whose brain was almost all visual cortex"

Also the eagle (can't remember her name) says that travelling through space is so painful she would rather die than do it, yet the guy at the end apparently had no problems..

Nope. It was the being cut out of an existing embodiment and being placed onto the ship that was the painful part. That was what she couldn't face again - not the flying.

“To fly is joy, yes … but to be cut from this body … to be severed … uprooted … the pain, Sir and Master … that pain is something I could never endure again.”



Frungi

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Reply #8 on: June 29, 2013, 11:35:12 PM
I’m not sure why some are complaining about the story feeling slow. I liked it. It felt like someone telling a folk story aloud, maybe to a child. The whole thing just… I dunno, feels real.



Dem

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Reply #9 on: June 30, 2013, 05:45:37 PM
Superb story. Maybe I missed the info dump aspect of it because I was listening - being told a story (beautifully narrated, by the way) - and I absorbed every word. I was also torn apart by the cruelty and if it had not ended the way it did, I would have had to seek out the author and threaten atrocities until it got changed :)

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


FireTurtle

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Reply #10 on: June 30, 2013, 08:17:47 PM
Comment the First: Is no one else reminded of the Brain/Brawn/Partnership ship series (The Ship Who Sang, et al) by the late Anne McCaffery? Wow, just me? Huh.

Comment the Second: Loved it. Reminiscent of the "old" science fiction of the great space opera/optimistic times (see Comment the First). No info dump problems, because I felt it was in keeping with the more old-fashioned narrative approach. Very arresting visuals and crazily optimistic plot.

Comment the Third: Really? No one can see that this is a LOT like The Ship Who Sang? Sigh.

Comment the Fourth: I assume the author reading this one had to do with contractual obligations and not new policy??

Good job to the editors on bringing something really different (from other stories published here) to the table.

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Ursula K. LeGuin


Dem

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Reply #11 on: June 30, 2013, 09:20:56 PM
Nope, not just you, FireTurtle, I was there too. And didn't Brian Stableford do something similar with The Hooded Swan?

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #12 on: July 01, 2013, 12:22:42 PM
I liked it. The slow and info-dumpy aspect didn't bother me, it felt like a campfire story.
What did bother me was the whole welding brains to keels bit. I can accept the fact that the brain needs to perceive space, but it needs to be protected from space as well. So presumably it is in some form of containment vessel welded to the keel. But why not put it inside the ship? Why not allow it access to ship's systems? Why, if you already have a brain interfaced with your ship, not use the power of said brain for other things?

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matweller

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Reply #13 on: July 01, 2013, 12:45:42 PM
Comment the Fourth: I assume the author reading this one had to do with contractual obligations and not new policy??
The author was recording it for his purposes in a professional studio anyway, and that gave us a rare opportunity to have the author narrate. It's not regular policy, though I think we'd be happy to do it again anytime we can get such a good quality recording.



Thunderscreech

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Reply #14 on: July 01, 2013, 12:50:44 PM
This story felt to me like a Mike Resnick story, along the lines of the universe his 'Birthright of Man' is held.  I love the tapestry effect; there's this feeling that the story is a moment in time surrounded by millions of other compelling stories and moments that are juuuuust barely out of sight and I can see them if I can just move a little bit over and keep reading.



Dem

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Reply #15 on: July 01, 2013, 01:07:17 PM
Comment the Fourth: I assume the author reading this one had to do with contractual obligations and not new policy??
The author was recording it for his purposes in a professional studio anyway, and that gave us a rare opportunity to have the author narrate. It's not regular policy, though I think we'd be happy to do it again anytime we can get such a good quality recording.

Bonus: he's a damn good narrator!

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


chemistryguy

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Reply #16 on: July 01, 2013, 06:42:37 PM
The back story was interesting enough.  The deadpan delivery at the beginning really worked for me.

I just couldn't relate to Nerissa.  I suppose that's only to be expected when one is an eagle with intelligence elevated to a human and subsequently plugged into a spaceship, but still.  Her character rang flat.  I couldn't get emotionally invested. 


matweller

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Reply #17 on: July 01, 2013, 07:41:41 PM
...there's this feeling that the story is a moment in time surrounded by millions of other compelling stories and moments that are juuuuust barely out of sight and I can see them if I can just move a little bit over and keep reading.
I feel that way about most of our stories. It's one of my favorite things about the show. I've even started writing peripheral stories on a couple occasions just to expand the universe in my head some more.

You know, that would be a fun special episode...give the forum a flash story a couple months in advance and invite people to write their own peripheral flash pieces and record them, then put 5 or 6 together into an episode...

. o O ( I wonder if JC Hutchins could flash us something...that kinda play would be right up his alley )



Thunderscreech

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Reply #18 on: July 01, 2013, 07:49:08 PM
You know, that would be a fun special episode...give the forum a flash story a couple months in advance and invite people to write their own peripheral flash pieces and record them, then put 5 or 6 together into an episode...

. o O ( I wonder if JC Hutchins could flash us something...that kinda play would be right up his alley )
Awwwww yes, that would be fantastic!



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #19 on: July 01, 2013, 08:14:12 PM
You know, that would be a fun special episode...give the forum a flash story a couple months in advance and invite people to write their own peripheral flash pieces and record them, then put 5 or 6 together into an episode...

. o O ( I wonder if JC Hutchins could flash us something...that kinda play would be right up his alley )
Awwwww yes, that would be fantastic!

Can we please do this?

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Frungi

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Reply #20 on: July 01, 2013, 08:18:31 PM
What did bother me was the whole welding brains to keels bit. … But why not put it inside the ship? Why not allow it access to ship's systems? Why, if you already have a brain interfaced with your ship, not use the power of said brain for other things?

I got the impression that they could (I believe they did with the MC’s brain); they just didn’t want to. To them, it was just part of the engine, nothing more.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 08:24:39 PM by Frungi »



flintknapper

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Reply #21 on: July 01, 2013, 08:27:36 PM
Like most people have already said, the info-dump -as that appears to be what we are calling it- at the beginning of the story did not bother me. I think it introduced us to this amazing setting which I thoroughly enjoyed. For me, story setting is important and the author really delivered a fantastic universe. The level of detail for a short story was tremendous.

Many have already made comments regarding other stories, specifically the classic space operas. I would like to add to the myriad of obvious influences that this story is drawing from also includes space travel in the Dune franchise. However, the fact that it reminds me of these other stories is a huge positive. The stories we are comparing it to do not suck. They are excellent pieces within the genre.

The only place I am going to deviate from what others said is that to me, the narration was only so-so. I get that the author was reading his own work. However, I would have liked someone else to do. I think if anything the narration came off as generic white male. He was articulate, but I would have liked something deviating from the status quo... perhaps an accent. I don't know. My criticism is minor. Overall it was a fun story.



InfiniteMonkey

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Reply #22 on: July 03, 2013, 03:48:53 AM
Well, having heard Levine read his own (and other) works before, I knew he'd be fine. And I liked the long-tale aspect of the story. I thought this would end up with our destitute nobleman welding the now-android body with the brain somehow to the ship, but this was a more satisfying ending.

The one problem I had with the story was minor, because it didn't really effect the story too much, and that's the idea that a mind can somehow fly between the stars by virtue of being a mind. That's kind of silly. Catherine Asaro goes even farther with her "only some minds can master imaginary math that makes ships fly faster than light!" thing- that's REALLY silly, and kind of broke her book for me. Here the emotional context of the well-told story falls apart if you remove that stick, so I chose to overlook it.



Frungi

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Reply #23 on: July 03, 2013, 06:34:06 AM
The “only minds can do space” thing actually reminded me of Orson Scott Card’s Speaker series, where a big enough mind can manipulate metaphysics to remove a body (be it person or spaceship) from the universe and insert it elsewhere. So I had that on my mind when considering how it worked here.



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #24 on: July 03, 2013, 07:39:03 AM
Minds can do space didn't faze me at all.
Our minds are pretty good at abstract thinking, throw in a little Terry Pratchet and some extra narrativium and abstract thinking turns into warping spacetime. Easy as falling off a log. Not sure about the whole visual cortex thing, but I'm no rocket surgeon.

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