Author Topic: EP100: Nightfall  (Read 43022 times)

SFEley

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #40 on: April 11, 2007, 02:23:59 PM »
The quip about life not being sustainable on Earth because there isn't nearly enough light suggest that they need a lot of light for survival. That being the case, they wouldn't build structures that had dark spots. It'd be like us filling rooms with water or noxious gases: We could, but they'd be a bit of a hazard, so why bother?

It's an interesting theory, though I suspect probably not Asimov's intent.  (Subtlety on that order was never his style; he'd have come out and said it.)  >8-> 

I read that line a bit more simply: I think the astronomer was simply saying that, according to his common sense, a planet that was in darkness half the time would be frozen on the dark side and the temperature variations would be extreme.  (I.e., much like we think of Mercury.)  Obviously that doesn't happen on Earth because the atmosphere retains and transfers heat, but their atmospheric science would be quite different from ours and our reality simply wouldn't occur to them.

As for structures with dark rooms, I agree: the sense I get of this culture is that almost every room has a window, just because that's the obvious and natural way for them to build buildings.  (This was true for most of Earth human history as well.)  It's not that they couldn't invent other light sources, but rather, why would they bother?
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Swamp

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2007, 03:45:15 PM »
And one final nitpick. The sentence: "Not Earth's feeble 36 hundred stars... " does break the scene of an universe that doesn't know anything about Earth or the possibility of its existence and makes it a story that is too directly aimed at a audience that does know of it.

I noticed this, too, but this was the first time I caught it.  I guess I had to hear it rather than read it.  But yeah, we have a nice third person narrative going from the newspaperman's POV, and then all of a sudden, Asimov starts talking to us, the audience.  It kind of broke me out of the story a bit, but not enough not to enjoy it.
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Djerrid

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2007, 07:09:01 PM »
I've never read this story before and the first thing that popped into my head was Lord Byron's poem "Darkness". Here's an excerpt:

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;

Morn came and went - and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires - and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings - the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face;

I wonder if it was Asimov's inspiration. You can read the whole thing here: http://englishhistory.net/byron/poems/darkness.html I think it would make a great Pseudopod flash piece. Lord Byron wrote it in 1816, the "Year without a Summer" when Mount Tambora's eruption darkened the skies and altered the climate for that summer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer 

Oh, and in the intro Steve mentioned the two "Nightfall" movies. I'd say "Pitch Black" was also based on the premise, inserting a little Vin Diesel action to the concept.

And I'd like to add my hearty "Congrats!" to the chorus.  The intros are as interesting and engaging as the stories themselves. Keep up the good work Steve!

Josh

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2007, 07:20:17 PM »
And one final nitpick. The sentence: "Not Earth's feeble 36 hundred stars... " does break the scene of an universe that doesn't know anything about Earth or the possibility of its existence and makes it a story that is too directly aimed at a audience that does know of it.

I noticed this, too, but this was the first time I caught it.  I guess I had to hear it rather than read it.  But yeah, we have a nice third person narrative going from the newspaperman's POV, and then all of a sudden, Asimov starts talking to us, the audience.  It kind of broke me out of the story a bit, but not enough not to enjoy it.

As did I, I thought it would be kind of hard to explain, though, without this reference.

Alasdair5000

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2007, 08:37:24 PM »
Happy 100 episodes!

   I've, to my shame, never read Nightfall.  This will change as both versions are in the house somewhere and I'm now on my third listen to this exceptional episode.  It keeps getting better.  It's just a beautifully constructed, intricate, moving and horrifying piece of fiction.  I love it.

Random thoughts:

-Whilst I'm sure there are horrific logistical snags, the extra long format works incredibly well.  I'd love to see more at this length if it's at all possible.
-Asimov wrote this at 21?  My God...

   Thanks for 100 episodes of consistently challenging science fiction and fantasy.  You've changed the playing field and for the better and for that as well as the phenomenal body of work you've built up, everyone at Pod Towers should be extremely proud.  And put me down to buy you a drink some time too:)

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #45 on: April 11, 2007, 10:45:16 PM »
And one final nitpick. The sentence: "Not Earth's feeble 36 hundred stars... " does break the scene of an universe that doesn't know anything about Earth or the possibility of its existence and makes it a story that is too directly aimed at a audience that does know of it.

I noticed this, too, but this was the first time I caught it.  I guess I had to hear it rather than read it.  But yeah, we have a nice third person narrative going from the newspaperman's POV, and then all of a sudden, Asimov starts talking to us, the audience.  It kind of broke me out of the story a bit, but not enough not to enjoy it.
Since it comes right at the end (even in the last paragraph of the story? I can't recall exactly), I don't think it really destroys the suspension of disbelief that much. But I've always read this story as one that depends on being very self-conscious about the story as a kind of thought experiment rather than a truly made up world we're supposed to believe in totally. That's not to say that Asimov hasn't created a very logical and thorough world. But so much of our reactions depend on knowing that some people are obviously wrong (of course there are stars, of course the reporter is far too self-confident, of course the religious freaks are misled by their own half-truths, etc.). The reference to Earth, to me, just reinforces the relationship to the "real" world...i.e., that, in the end, maybe there's something just as terrifying to us which is completely commonplace from a different perspective.

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #46 on: April 12, 2007, 04:14:20 PM »
Hi!

While I'm sure it's been said a million times, and may perhaps not bear repeating, I do just want to say this: the story was fantastic, and I loved it. I've never actually read Nightfall, but it is such a charming concept that I enjoyed every moment of it (as I have with almost every story on Escape Pod ... why it took me this long to join the forums, I'm not sure ...)

There's a reason it's a sci fi great. Thanks Escape Pod / Steve!
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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #47 on: April 12, 2007, 06:30:12 PM »
I really enjoyed Steve's reading of Nightfall.  It's a great story and Steve did it justice.  I came away feeling not as if I had heard the words, but seen the images of the story.  That's "theater of the mind" as it should be.  Two thumbs up!

clichekiller

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #48 on: April 13, 2007, 03:45:35 AM »
Asimov is one of my favorite authors, if not the most favorite.  I read the first book by him when I was in 5th grade and was swiftly hooked.  He was a most masterful writer capable of expressing complex concepts with very few words.  Steve thank you so much for bringing us this work.  It was a pleasant surprise. 

Mfitz

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #49 on: April 13, 2007, 08:52:26 PM »
[
The moon is the biggest stretch.  


No the biggest stretch is the complete lack of artificial lighting.

That would mean they have no buildings more than one or two rooms deep.  Sure there is always a sun, but what about basements, closets.  What about things like wells, or meat lockers that would be very hard to build with windowns?   How were they planning on developing the film without a dark room?  Didn't it ever rain on the planet?   That would dim sunlight enough to make supplementing it nice.

They have worked metal and mines, are almost all to some degree underground places that need artificial lighting. (OK maybe got everthing from open pit and strip mines but that would make getting metal way more eco damaging and labor intense.)

What about extreme sports types who would cave just because it was hard and unpleasant?  They would know about lighting.

Still, Wow what a good story.

I have not read Nightfall since grade school, when it didn't impress me. If not for your podcast I don't know that I would have read it again, and that would have been a shame.  At 47 I got a lot more from it than I did at 11.  I'm always amazed at Asimov's grasp of the little quirks that make us human and how well he uses them to make his characters people.


Thaurismunths

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #50 on: April 14, 2007, 04:29:05 PM »
What about extreme sports types who would cave just because it was hard and unpleasant?  They would know about lighting.

Though not explicitly mentioned, I figure they'd be the ones who might survive the night with out going mad and survive to be "he who survived the night" and would carry on to give a full account that would become rumor, that would be come myth, that would become the foundation for religion.
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slic

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #51 on: April 16, 2007, 03:09:26 AM »
What about extreme sports types who would cave just because it was hard and unpleasant?  They would know about lighting.

Though not explicitly mentioned, I figure they'd be the ones who might survive the night with out going mad and survive to be "he who survived the night" and would carry on to give a full account that would become rumor, that would be come myth, that would become the foundation for religion.

More or less, ya.  Just imagine a global catastrophe - a very small percentage of the population is always prepared (check out the zombe thread at http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=20.0 ) but most everyone else would go nuts.

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #52 on: April 16, 2007, 06:05:53 PM »
Hooray for 100! I've been enjoying EP for a while now and now I'll make it official...thanks, Steve, for something great.

On to this particular episode, which was excellent, of course.

[
The moon is the biggest stretch. 


No the biggest stretch is the complete lack of artificial lighting.


I had that thought initially myself, particularly considering that this society had discovered electricity. But then I considered the fact that this world was eternally lit. Without regular periods of darkness, there would be no need to create even basic light sources. Furthermore, the intense fear of darkness would limit all activity in dark places, further delaying the necessity and therefore invention of artifical light.

wakela

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #53 on: April 16, 2007, 11:56:45 PM »
Best
Escape Pod
Evar

The graphic on top of the EP home page shows the pod escaping from the ailing mothership.  The once great freighters, dragging their loads of speculative fiction between the stars are damaged.  So a scrappy little pod is launched to provide fans with their fix.  Maybe at one time it was looking for a new home.  But not anymore. 

Jonathan C. Gillespie

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #54 on: April 17, 2007, 12:37:24 AM »
A belated congratulations on hitting 100, Steven and company.  You deserved every bit of success!  And thanks for putting "Nightfall" into a format wherein I'll have time to get to it :)
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FanofIppo

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #55 on: April 19, 2007, 08:29:17 AM »
Congrats to EP on the 100th podcast!

Checking from my itunes, I had started listening from the 56th podcast and I had enjoyed all of them!

Thanks for reading Nightfall, it was one of the first Asimov SF stories that I read and is one of the reasons why I love SF till today.

Here's to another wonderful 100!

Thaurismunths

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #56 on: April 19, 2007, 11:25:42 AM »
Checking from my itunes, I had started listening from the 56th podcast and I had enjoyed all of them!

I hope you've gone back and listened to the first 55 stories.
They're worth it!
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Simon

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #57 on: April 19, 2007, 02:01:25 PM »
And one final nitpick. The sentence: "Not Earth's feeble 36 hundred stars... " does break the scene of an universe that doesn't know anything about Earth or the possibility of its existence and makes it a story that is too directly aimed at a audience that does know of it.

I noticed this, too, but this was the first time I caught it.  I guess I had to hear it rather than read it.  But yeah, we have a nice third person narrative going from the newspaperman's POV, and then all of a sudden, Asimov starts talking to us, the audience.  It kind of broke me out of the story a bit, but not enough not to enjoy it.

I add to this something which is almost preaching to those who already know, but I am surprised to find this comment isn't on wikipedia:  This final paragraph was not written by Asimov, it was written between submission and publication by Astounding's legendary editor John W. Campbell jr.  Asimov was furious that his prose had been tampered with, but was even more furious when this particularly fluid paragraph started being cited as evidence amongst the SF community that Asimov was indeed capable of writing beautiful language.  Campbell always had a way with beautiful language that Asimov lacked.

Asimov agreed with you that the mention of Earth broke the tone of the story, and I would like to say "Hurrah" to Steve for posting the original Astounding version as opposed to the Asimov version that has seen print in a few anthologies.  Much like a Horace Gold story for Galaxy in the 50s (there is a particularly amusing section about Gold's meddling in Fred Pohl's autobiography The Way The Future Was), a story for JWC was always partly a collaboration - this story was written from an idea given to Asimov by JWC.

Steve,  may you be SF's new JWC.

I am currently away from my library, so excuse me for the lack of citations for this little bit of sf history.

Swamp

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #58 on: April 19, 2007, 04:00:12 PM »
This final paragraph was not written by Asimov, it was written between submission and publication by Astounding's legendary editor John W. Campbell jr.  Asimov was furious that his prose had been tampered with...

...Asimov agreed with you that the mention of Earth broke the tone of the story...

Thanks for the info.  Information like this is another example of why I love these forums.  I find these tidbits of publishing inside knowledge extremely interesting and entertaining.  And now it makes complete sense why the prose took a divergence at the end.
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ClintMemo

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Re: EP100: Nightfall
« Reply #59 on: April 19, 2007, 05:01:03 PM »
So did it replace something Asimov wrote or did Campbell just tack it on the end?

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