Author Topic: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit  (Read 8422 times)

Windup

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2013, 10:40:18 PM »

One thing that I didn't get was why the MC was so sure she was going to die.  I understand that the match was fixed and Coke had to lose, but I thought it was pretty clear that the defeated operator normally isn't killed, and that there is a certain amount of effort made to protect the operator -- various harnesses, straps, the "crumple zone" around the operator's cage, for example.  While they may not always work, I wasn't clear on why she expected them to fail in this case.
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InfiniteMonkey

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2013, 12:10:49 AM »
1) Yes OF COURSE it was Science Fiction. It's only not science fiction when there's not a rational/naturalistic/technological reason why the things happening in the story aren't like now.

2) it's become fashionable of late (esp. in short fiction) to spend more energy and time on building up the setting of the story and the character and then existing at the moment of action. I'm not exactly sure why (I smell academic creative writing programs, though that might be the scent of my own paranoia), but it's definitely A Thing. Perhaps they're letting the reader decide the outcome? I'd just not sure.

3) In this case I didn't really mind all that much, because that set up was well done and emotionally compelling. I especially like the poverty of our fighter; it made for a very believable motivation.

4) so, people beating the crap out of each other (for others' entertainment) in giant mechs isn't mind-blowing enough?

I'm reminded of a co-worker who complained that the photos from Titan weren't "alien enough". "OK", I said "the pictures you're seeing - pretty much in real time, being beamed across the solar system, so plus transit time, and coming up on a worldwide network of computers, are disappointing because they aren't alien *enough??*"

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2013, 12:56:40 AM »

One thing that I didn't get was why the MC was so sure she was going to die.  I understand that the match was fixed and Coke had to lose, but I thought it was pretty clear that the defeated operator normally isn't killed, and that there is a certain amount of effort made to protect the operator -- various harnesses, straps, the "crumple zone" around the operator's cage, for example.  While they may not always work, I wasn't clear on why she expected them to fail in this case.

The way I understood it, very few people in the giant mechs are injured. More often than not the loser user gets killed.
And if the loser user isn't killed, then the loser user is bamboozled.
And when the loser user's bamboozler is snoozered we call it a loser user bamboozler snoozer.[/Dr. Seuss]
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chemistryguy

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2013, 06:16:32 AM »
The way I understood it, very few people in the giant mechs are injured. More often than not the loser user gets killed.
And if the loser user isn't killed, then the loser user is bamboozled.
And when the loser user's bamboozler is snoozered we call it a loser user bamboozler snoozer.[/Dr. Seuss]

;D <--- If there was an emoticon with a bigger smile, I'd have used it

In my humble opinion, if you can remove the science fiction element and still be left with a great story you're doing something right.  The fact that the mecha fighting is used as a backdrop rather than being In-Your-Face, Mecha-on-Mecha Action (ignore what that sounds like) makes it seem more real.  And I want to be immersed in the story I'm listening to.

It bothers me that others seem to be assuming that Cat Rambo is just checking off boxes:

☑ Science fiction-type stuff added
☑ Next time deal with immigration but substitute Mars for Mexico

The science fiction wove quite nicely into the story.

chemistryguy_rant.exe has stopped working...




garlic

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2013, 02:26:52 PM »
I loved how modern this story felt, and of the moment. That may make it age less well, but I really enjoyed the references.

davidthygod

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2013, 09:26:25 AM »
Good story.  I was rapt, but my one complaint would be that I just didn't feel the desperation that Jane must have felt.  They talked about how her life had improved and some of the dire straights she was in prior to her mecha career, but I was not clear on two things: (1) why was the sacrifice worthwile (what does she get out of dying) and (2) who is she saving (it was hard for me to respect the sacrifice for "her family" whom we never really heard anything about.   I also agree with the comments about losing meaning death, not being set up quite well enough.  I never got the feeling that she was sacrificing her life until the very end. 

And I definitely did not miss the fighting scenes, I think it would have detracted from the tone honestly.

I don't want to be over critical.  I loved the tone of this story, and was thoroughly entertained. 
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evrgrn_monster

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2013, 10:00:00 PM »
Maybe it's because I had my fill after buying and rewatching Pacific Rim, but I actually didn't really need to get to the robot on robot action here. I thought the buildup and character conflict were incredibly interesting, and the world that was set up seemed disturbingly plausible. Although this story did seem like a small part of a bigger story, I didn't mind the closed focus on this one character in this one instance. Frankly, it just wet my appetite for more stories set in this world; one that can breed strong characters who don't mind dying for the ones they love. Plus, we don't know if she really dies here, and I liked the mystery we were left with.

On a distantly related note, I recently recovered from the most awful food poisoning of my life from Papa Johns, so just hearing their name mentioned made me super nauseous. I wish they had lost the fight to the other robot, because that pizza sure kicked my ass, and I would love some, if fictional, retribution.

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2013, 05:29:44 AM »
I didn't mind the lack of on-screen robo fighting in this one.  Maybe because there've just been so many robot battle movies lately that I don't feel I'm missing out.

I thought it was a very well done character sketch, and I felt for her plight by the end.  And the worst part is, her rational self might make a different decision to throw the fight early but she's so high this ain't gonna happen.

I felt like the story focused more on the system of mechsuit drivers than most mechsuit stories do, so I appreciated the change in perspective.  The public completely ignores them as a component of the system, they only see the battlebots out there, but we see the untold story.

I don't agree that this could be transferred to boxing/wrestling/whatever and remove the sF element entirely while leaving the rest the same.  A major component of this story was the sabotage of the match.  They may be able to coerce her to throw the match, but it's not so easy to sabotage a boxer like that.  A more mechanical sport like racing could work in THAT respect, but you wouldn't have the cage match dynamic then.

SonofSpermcube

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2013, 03:51:45 AM »
I loved how modern this story felt, and of the moment. That may make it age less well, but I really enjoyed the references.

On a ham-fisted-topicality scale with 1 being "don't even notice it" and 10 being South Park, I'd say this is about a 4. 

SF.Fangirl

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2013, 11:15:33 AM »
At first, I thought this was all lead up and then the story ended before the action, but then at the last moment the main character just accepted her fate.  What I don't understand is why she simply accepted her fate - other than drugs. She could go down early and throw the match (it was already fixed); she could fight on knowing where her rig was sabotaged and try to compensate for it.  I'm not going to necessarily demand a big fisted battle scene, but felt let down at the end.  It was kind of a character piece but I just never really felt like I got in her head - from my exterior view of the character from a distance, I was confused and annoyed by her simply giving up.

Prophet

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2013, 08:51:42 PM »
Wow, cannot remember the last time I actually commented on a story. Guess the Metacast motivated me in more ways than one. :)

Quote from: SF.Fangirl
What I don't understand is why she simply accepted her fate - other than drugs.

Yes, in the end she accepts her doomed fate in a thrown fight. Maybe I am mis-remembering the story, but isn't there a big compensation paid out to the family of a dead pilot? Because that would explain it. Defeat gets you nothing, death gets a pay out. She fought to feed her family. And if her sacrifice could keep them afloat, maybe it was worth it. Better than all of them starving to death. And I'm sure the drugs helped ease any reservations.

I liked this story. I am glad it ended before the fight. Best left to one's imagination. Well, they always look cooler in MY head.

I did feel this story could work real well as a prologue to a much larger one. Not so much about mecha. I kinda feel that would be an element to a much larger world. There is so much storytelling you could do here.
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CamTurner

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2013, 06:29:26 PM »
I'm new here.

My verdict: Meh.

Wasn't able to get excited about this nor am I passionate enough to lambast is either. Made the drive marginally more interesting... so uh... thanks for that.

Cam

Cutter McKay

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #32 on: October 22, 2013, 10:40:29 PM »
Can it be? A Cat Rambo story I actually liked? Not to say that Cat is a bad writer, obviously her resume says otherwise, and to date, all of her stories that I've read have been well written, but just didn't do it for me. This one did.

I do agree with the previously mentioned concerns about why Jane was so certain she was going to be killed. I mean, it did say:
Quote
Sure. Up here in the big leagues you didn’t break your arm. The scale of these suits was monumental and so were the risks. You didn’t walk away from an injury incurred in one of these.

But at the same time, it also said:
Quote
And that blow had come while wearing a suit in its thirteenth battle, fighting for a breakfast cereal they didn’t make anymore... Who was Herk to talk about such things? The biggest piece of bad luck possible had written itself across his face.
So Herk obviously survived a fall in a big mech, why couldn't she?

Also, the certainty that her family would be taken care of only works if there is some big payout for someone dying in a mech, but as far as I can recall, that wasn't mentioned at all. So I don't really get it.

As for the lack of mech-on-mech, I admit I'm a little sad it wasn't there, but since I was already imagining the many ways Jane was going to win the fight despite the sabotage, which would have been too predictable, I was pleasantly surprised at the resolute sacrifice at the end instead. And that particular piece of the story didn't need to be shown, we already knew what was going to happen. So I'm happy where it left off.

And, being an avid drinker of Mt. Dew and wielding a strong preference for Pepsi over Coke, I'm all for the titanic downfall of that big red and white bastard. Die you power hungry corporate monster! What makes you think the world is content with Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite for their only options in most establishments? Your pathetic attempt to create your own Dew, Surge, was a colossal failure, why can't you just accept that and allow the real thing into your tight fisted little...

Ahem. Sorry about that. Obviously a little pent up aggression here... ;)
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Prophet

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2013, 07:12:27 PM »
Ah, found it. Knew I wasn't going crazy. This time...

Quote from: On The Big Fisted Circuit
Sure. Up here in the big leagues you didn’t break your arm. The scale of these suits was monumental and so were the risks. You didn’t walk away from an injury incurred in one of these.

That was why they were safer, statistically speaking.

That was why a death in one paid out so much.

That is how I read the last line. By dying in this fixed match, Jane was giving her family one final big payday.

Quote from: Cutter McKay
So Herk obviously survived a fall in a big mech, why couldn't she?

Good point. I too was a bit fuzzy on why she was so certain she was to die. I would assume "statistically safer" would include death risk. About the only thing I could find is:

Quote from: On the Big Fisted Circuit
“You go try to shut me out of this channel,” Herk said. “See what good it does you.” He addressed Jane again. “You know and I know. It’s time for Coke to go down, for Pepsi to rise for a while, keep the wheel turning. Trick is to throw the fight without getting killed, do it before whatever they’ve got–”

His channel went dead.

Herk's last line there. Perhaps "they" have something planned for Jane that will get her killed. They don't just want Pepsi to beat Coke. They want Pepsi to crush the Coke can. And she knows.
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Unblinking

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #34 on: October 25, 2013, 09:28:45 AM »
Herk's last line there. Perhaps "they" have something planned for Jane that will get her killed. They don't just want Pepsi to beat Coke. They want Pepsi to crush the Coke can. And she knows.

That was my interpretation.  She's going to lose no matter what happens because the fight is rigged.  But what they have planned for her is certain to be fatal--she might be able to dodge that if she throws the fight very quickly, but by the end of the story she has decided not to.

Devoted135

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2013, 10:58:40 PM »
So far behind here too...

I liked this one as a character piece, and wasn't at all sad that the fight wasn't included. The real story was what was told: a woman is faced with an impossible situation and makes what she deems is the best decision available to her.

CryptoMe

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2014, 08:21:45 PM »
I'm a bit ambivalent about this story. It was a good story (for many of the reasons already mentioned) and well written. But, I really don't like stupid sacrifices (as I have said before, I believe). And to me, this was a stupid sacrifice. Not that her family isn't a worthy reason for sacrifice, it's just that I firmly believe she could have helped them more by staying alive. She could have stayed in the lower leagues, made less money, true, but continued to make money.  It may have been less money this way, but she would have been alive and with her family. Plus, if her family prefers a big payout to having her alive, then they certainly aren't worth the sacrifice. But, that is just my 2 cents worth.

hardware

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2014, 04:36:23 AM »
Pretty good, but very bleak. Robot action is nice, but without the visuals ? Nah, we didn't need that, and that was anyway not what this story was about. Of course, sacrifice is by now a pretty well-worn theme, it was well done here, but I'm not sure it added that much to the conversation. I like most of Cat Rambos stories, this one being somewhere in the middle.

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2014, 08:51:28 AM »
Of course, sacrifice is by now a pretty well-worn theme

Like love and quests, I expect sacrifice has featured prominently in stories since there were stories.  :)

hardware

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Re: EP416: On the Big Fisted Circuit
« Reply #39 on: March 28, 2014, 03:38:31 AM »
Of course, sacrifice is by now a pretty well-worn theme

Like love and quests, I expect sacrifice has featured prominently in stories since there were stories.  :)

Definitely, which should make you think hard of what you bring to the table.