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Author Topic: EP101: The 43 Antarean Dynasties  (Read 49315 times)

SFEley

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Reply #20 on: April 16, 2007, 01:51:48 PM
madSimonJ pretty much read my mind on this - but he was much more forgiving than me.  I can only imagine that this story won a Hugo out of guilt.

That's not generally how the Hugos work.  I didn't buy this story for Escape Pod out of "guilt," either.  I don't insist that everyone like a story, and we welcome criticism, but what you're doing here is very close to challenging the validity of positive opinions.  Please tread carefully when speaking of other people's views.


Quote
I found the idea and characters to be cliche, the sci-fi element unnecessary to the plot, the story too long, and in one part, a ludicrous event threw me right out of the story (when one Earth ship drops one bomb and annihilates 300,000 Antareans - seriously, they never invented bombs?  They are contacted by an alien spacefaring race and never thought that the aliens might have advanced technology?  I get that this is some kind of analogy to how the English took out the Zulu or any other race with massively advanced tech took out another, but it just seemed dopey, and besides, why mass all your troops in one spot when the attacker could land anywhere?).

My interpretation of that part was that the Antareans had a code of combat, and assumed that with territory up for grabs, the invaders would respond to customary forms.  And it is entirely possible than weapons of mass destruction were outside their cultural knowledge.  (This is not ancient and archaic thinking.  Recollect Hiroshima, and that the Japanese were busy preparing for a ground invasion.)

« Last Edit: April 16, 2007, 01:56:59 PM by SFEley »

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slic

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Reply #21 on: April 16, 2007, 02:26:02 PM
Quote from: SFEley
And it is entirely possible than weapons of mass destruction were outside their cultural knowledge.  (This is not ancient and archaic thinking.  Recollect Hiroshima, and that the Japanese were busy preparing for a ground invasion.)
And were no doubt also preparing for the "standard" aeriel bombing.  In this particular case, though, it was a paradigm shift - the idea that a single bomb (or even two or three for that matter) could decimate an entire city was beyond reason. 

In the case of the story, even a moderately sized rock/space craft/missile fired from outer orbit would cause massive damage.  Granted, it is unclear what the Antareans tech level is (though the "Dad" does mention that everyone passed them by) - maybe they never got out of feudal level tech, and never understood "flying machines". But they must have understood gravity and what happens when things fall from very high up.  If there was some other reason, considering all the other detail, I would have thought the author could have mentioned that more clearly.  My point was really, it was just one more "feel sorry for the Antareans" part, and from my pov wasn't well thought out.

The guilt comment wasn't too detract from the quality of the writing - it's just that I put this in the same grouping as "Blood of Virgins" - it feels as though the author had an agenda to write about, and crafted the story around it.

On a side note, I always feel a bit silly commenting on the stories like this - especially one that has already won a Hugo - it's not as if the author is going to change it, or the people that liked it will suddenly change their mind about it.

I guess I just like hearing myself type ;)



Thaurismunths

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Reply #22 on: April 16, 2007, 03:40:01 PM
This doesn't make my top 10, but I was impressed at how well written it was, and how well it was translated (?) in to speech.

There isn't an adventure here, but that doesn't mean there isn't a story.
This is an allegory like any of Aesop's Fables, with a lot of focus on the meaning and only enough superfluous detail to hold it together. I agree that the cast of characters is kind of flat, but they were meant to be tools to convey the message, not stand-alone pieces to be scrutinized.
What I enjoyed about this story as that it wasn't meant to excite, tantalize, or titillate, but to provoke thought by using strong parallels between the alien race and our own third-world vacation destinations.

As for the destruction of their armed forces, consider our own view on weapons of mass destruction: Having used them only twice, the whole world wants to ban them. The only exceptions are powerful nations like us who wave them around as a preventative (you nuke me, I'll nuke your family) and small nations who have little to lose. It seems that it's only a matter of time before we use them, or everyone gives them up. This civilization was old before we even came down from the trees; perhaps they have a more cautious and aged perspective on it?

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Thaurismunths

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Reply #23 on: April 16, 2007, 03:43:36 PM
again I agree with Simon.  I did find it somewhat hard to follow at times, as it seemed as if there were almost two storylines going on.  1 with the tourists, and another like a guide giving a tour in the future, where the Antarean Dynasties had been reestablished.  The second being given in a slightly different voice, using some sort of vocal effect from the sound of it.  An okay story, but not among my favorites.

You might want to give it another listen Lowky. : )
There wasn't any kind of segue between the 'story' and the 'history', just a change of voice, so I can see where it'd be easy to get lost.
The main story line was all 'as it happened', which was said to be at some point in the future, long after the 43rd Antarean dynasty. The history sections were all stories taken from important moments of douring the 43 dynasties. The reason each snippet of history was included was to show just how far the guide's couture had fallen.
An example of this was when the man 'tipped' the guide at the end. The parable about dropping the diamond was used to illustrate how it was culturally an insult to be given tips, or to take them, but the Antarean guide was forced by his 'powerful desire to eat sometime this month' to abase himself.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Jonathan C. Gillespie

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Reply #24 on: April 16, 2007, 04:42:12 PM
I almost resisted posting, mainly because I'm always leary of possibly irritating one of the greats.  So let me preface this by saying I'm not knocking Mr. Resnick here -- "Bartleby in Exile" is one of my favorites, as a matter of fact.

I'll advance forward the opinion that the historical-asides could have been removed, and the story would not have suffered for it.  Really, what do they add that the guide's narration doesn't?  An intelligent audience can obviously infer the fallen glory of this civilization.

I found the point behind the tale came across as ham-fisted.  The characters are one-sided, with no real development, and they're stereotypical tourists.  Standing back, this tale is essentially two parties moving from point A to B, talking the entire time.  That's it.  To contrast it further with "Bartleby", here the conflict happened thousands of years ago, as opposed to the very present.

I know what the goal was -- impart tension and the idea of an ongoing struggle across pan-economic barriers -- but it just didn't work for me.  On the up side, the world was richly illustrated, and the recollections of the Antareans' defeat were stark and haunting.

Ultimately, my main problem with this tale is logic.  Go forward three hundred years from the height of Expansionism, and we Terrans have already advanced far beyond slavery (at least in our most-free societies).  Yes, we haven't yet fully realized the whole "Good will to men" mantra, but for a Social Darwinist like myself, I see it as inevitability.  I think by the time we roll up on the Antarean homeworld, we might just be far removed from the flash-bulb, flower-print shirt tourism that feeds billions of evil American dollars into the global economy.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2007, 04:46:01 PM by JCGillespie »

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Biscuit

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Reply #25 on: April 17, 2007, 01:58:06 AM
I think by the time we roll up on the Antarean homeworld, we might just be far removed from the flash-bulb, flower-print shirt tourism that feeds billions of evil American dollars into the global economy.

Actually, this is exactly what I thought the Antareans HAD evolved from. I thought the Antareans were definitely on the road to enlightenment and scholarship, and because they were so "meek" they got their asses kicked.

Therefore, yes, I go with the Aesop's Fable idea: Be Enlightened, but not to the point that you forget others may still be on the evolution ladder.


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Reply #26 on: April 17, 2007, 11:46:48 AM
Ultimately, my main problem with this tale is logic.  Go forward three hundred years from the height of Expansionism, and we Terrans have already advanced far beyond slavery (at least in our most-free societies).  Yes, we haven't yet fully realized the whole "Good will to men" mantra, but for a Social Darwinist like myself, I see it as inevitability.  I think by the time we roll up on the Antarean homeworld, we might just be far removed from the flash-bulb, flower-print shirt tourism that feeds billions of evil American dollars into the global economy.

A fine point.
I guess I figured a human is a human, wherever he goes. But that's not giving us much credit as a species.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Monty Grue

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Reply #27 on: April 17, 2007, 10:23:28 PM
The degree of negativity towards the story is a bit puzzling.  There should be more stories, SF or other wise, of internal conflict, even to the point of completely eschewing physical action like this one.  There is a resolution, though narrators may not say so explicitly, the Antareans are doomed to fade away like the lost diamond.  Like it or not, that is a kind of resolution for a story, one that ends not with a bang but a whimper.

Overall, a good story.  Not the best Resnick story I've heard or read, but better than others.



Thaurismunths

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Reply #28 on: April 18, 2007, 10:58:47 AM
There is a resolution, though narrators may not say so explicitly, the Antareans are doomed to fade away like the lost diamond.

Aah!
That's why he mentioned the diamond. All the other historic bits were very obviously, but I didn't catch the significance of that one part. Thanks!

edit: (the diamond getting lost in the sand storm, I mean)
« Last Edit: April 19, 2007, 11:04:27 AM by Thaurismunths »

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


mike-resnick

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Reply #29 on: April 18, 2007, 09:31:00 PM
     Since there seems to be considerable discussion about the story, perhaps the author can clear up a few points.
     My wife, my agent and I were in Cairo in 1989, and had a guide named Iman. He was a very pleasant and highly intelligent fellow, who told me that he had previously taught at the university, but he had a family to feed and found that he could make more money from tourists' tips. He explained that you couldn't even apply for a job as a guide until you had the equivalent of a Masters Degree in Egyptian History and spoke at least 4 languages fluently   -- which meant that he was far better-educated than 99% of the people he guided.
     So here was this man, whose race had built pyramids and temples on an unbelievably vast scale when our ancestors were living in mud huts, showing off the lost glories of his people to the newest set of conquerors. For tips. And I remember that at one point he told us how pleased he was to have attentive listeners, because his previous group got annoyed with him for interrupting their discussion of the point spread in the upcoming Steelers-Rams game.
     I took some notes, thought about it for eight years – some stories take longer to coalesce than others – and wrote "The 43 Antarean Dynasties".             
     Did it have to have science fictional elements it in? No. I doubt that more than 5 stories in my entire output have -required- science fictional elements, and yet according to Locus I am the most-awarded short fiction author, living or dead, in science fiction history -- which implies to me that while not necessary to the stories I wish to tell, science fiction adds insights and resonances beyond those which could exist in a mainstream story and clearly enhances the stories I choose to tell.
    At any rate, "The 43 Antarean Dynasties" won the Hugo and the Ignotus (Spain's Hugo), was resold 5 times in the States as well as to 8 other countries, and was optioned to Hollywood, so -someone- must have felt the resolution was satisfactory.
    (Seriously, if there was a better resolution, the average Egyptian would make more than $61.00 a month, and Ph.D.'s wouldn't quit teaching college because tourists' tips paid better.)
     Finally, if there's a surprise ending, I didn't write it. I consider them cheap shots. My endings are inherent in my beginnings. Otherwise, to my way of thinking, the story wouldn't be worth telling. (That doesn't mean the reader will always see the ending coming, but once it's there he can go back over the story and realize that of course that was the only possible ending.)
     Okay, end of history, end of lecture.

-- Mike Resnick



Swamp

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Reply #30 on: April 19, 2007, 09:27:40 PM
First of all, I liked this story.  As I was listening to it, I decided that I am indeed a Mike Resnick fan.  I like the emotional connections he brings out in his characters.  They all seem like real, genuine, emotional beings--at least the main characters. 

Were the tourists in this story sort of one-dimentional stereotypes?  Yeah, they were, but the story wasn't about them; they were part of the backdrop.  The story was about the guide and his internal conflict, stradling the line between humility and humiliation.

Was the message a little heavy-handed and guilt-inducing?  Maybe, but I think the richness of the guide character (and his people's history) made up for that.

I just don't like it when people say "I will only like a story if it has this." or "To be an SF story worth reading, it has to have these elements."  I think that is quite a limited view.  One the other hand, everyone has the right to their opinion, and I am happy to read them here in the forums. 

I do enjoy the honesty of EP listeners, though.  It doesn't matter if the author is considered a master in the field and a forefather of science fiction (Asmiov), or if Locus claims them to be "the most-awarded short fiction author, living or dead, in science fiction history".  EP listeners say how they feel.  If they didn't like it, they say so.

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GinaCole

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Reply #31 on: April 20, 2007, 06:48:30 AM
Whenever I hear that a Escapepod has a story by Mike Resnick, I groan inwardly. Not because I hate his stories, but because they're always beautifully written pieces that evoke a very specific feeling and leaves me mulling over the story for a good portion of the month - often this feeling is of sadness, which puts me in a funk for the time that I'm thinking it over. Still, I find them to be wonderful stories, and this story was no exception.

Being an American living in a foreign land will give you a different insight on not only other cultures, but your own people. I felt that this story portrayed both the tourist and local very accurately. I found myself nodding my head & smirking when the Antarean gave his educational background as this is kind of over qualification is rampant in other countries due to the severe lack of jobs.

Also, the family's reactions to the various landmarks and local street urchins was spot-on as well.

All in all I found the story great. Also, i felt that the narrators did a really great job and made the story much more fun to listen to.

Its not like the movies... they fed us all little white lies...


Simon Painter

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Reply #32 on: April 20, 2007, 01:56:12 PM
I've been debating whether I should make a response to Mr Resnick's comments. I've finally decided to do so, though purely in an effort to clarify my own opinion. Out of respect to our host, I've no wish to start an argument. I know subjects like this can be touchy, so I'll do my best to tred gently.

First off, I whole-heartedly agree that the situation in Egypt Mr Resnick described is a genuine problem, and an issue that is worthy attention.  I agree also that we have a big problem in the West with ignorance of other cultures. My critisisms of Mr Resnick's story are purely literary. My main points, which I stand by, are these: 1) that it has little or no plot, 2) that the characters are poorly developed, and 3) that it contains no science fiction elements.

For the first, I do not require any plot twists or tagged-on happy endings to satisfy me. I agree with Mr Resnick's comment about the cheapness of surprise endings: they are something that rarely works.  I've no problem at all with an ending that's predictable or inherent, just so long as the plot develops.

The second point I can overlook. This is a short story, and detailed characterisation is very hard in such a short space of words.

For the third point, I disagree that labelling this a science fiction story adds any insight to the situation it puts forward. If anything it might have been more effective if it had retained its original Cairo setting, as that would make everything so much closer to home.  It reminds me of something Jon Pertwee used to say, that the scariest monsters are those you find in your own home, rather than going to other worlds to find them.  I think this might be the case here, that these "monsters," the tourists, might be scarier if they they were shown existing in the real world, and that the guide was one of a number of real people.

I'm not saying that "This is not science-fictiony enough, therefore it's rubbish," just that I feel it's been written in the wrong Genre. Should Mr Resnick ever rewrite this as a mainstream or even an autobiographical piece, I genuinly would be interested to read it.

To be honest, I was rather taken aback by Mr Resnick's argumentum ad numeram view, that the number of awards it has won proves the story's merits. The fact that many people hold an opinion does not make it more valid than any other.

If I've caused any offense by this post, I sincerly apologise. It's not my intention to offend, just to properly explain my opinions. 

Simon Painter
Shropshire, UK

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Thaurismunths

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Reply #33 on: April 20, 2007, 02:35:39 PM
For the third point, I disagree that labelling this a science fiction story adds any insight to the situation it puts forward. If anything it might have been more effective if it had retained its original Cairo setting, as that would make everything so much closer to home.  It reminds me of something Jon Pertwee used to say, that the scariest monsters are those you find in your own home, rather than going to other worlds to find them.  I think this might be the case here, that these "monsters," the tourists, might be scarier if they they were shown existing in the real world, and that the guide was one of a number of real people.

I neither agree, nor disagree with any of your other points, and I do not mean this in context of this story alone, I only debate the merits of this one comment.

A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down:
A story is only effective if it gets told/read. If the audience doesn't hear/read your story then the message is dead and it's as good as having never been created. So, if you want to make a point to an unwilling audience it some times helps to wrap that message up in a story that will make it easier to take: a fable.
What I mean by unwilling audience is that if we actively wanted to be better people all the time, we wouldn't waste our time reading silly make believe stories, we would be active and out there in the world, changing things and campaigning for peace and saving lives. But we aren't. We sit her in front of our computers and enjoy fiction. There's nothing wrong with that in moderation, but often people get comfortable with fiction and distraction and look less and less for ways they can improve themselves or the world.
So how do you get your message to an audience that isn't actively looking for an outside perspective? That's where writers and story tellers come in. They bundle meaning with entertainment.
Some obvious objections to this is are "If I wanted a morality tale, I'd have gotten one." or "Who are you to say that I'm culturally insensitive?" or "I'm not here for morality. This is my distraction." Unfortunately, writers can't write a story for every reader all the time. The best they can do is shot-gun the world, aiming a genre and hitting whomever picks up their article. Most people will just get grazed, for some it will go right over their heads, but once in a while someone’s going to get hit where it counts and they’ll be motivated to change the world.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


clichekiller

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Reply #34 on: April 20, 2007, 03:37:54 PM
I've been debating whether I should make a response to Mr Resnick's comments. I've finally decided to do so, though purely in an effort to clarify my own opinion. Out of respect to our host, I've no wish to start an argument. I know subjects like this can be touchy, so I'll do my best to tred gently.
First I would say that if there is one universal truth about good literature, it is that it exists to make people think, challenge preconceived notions and spark debate; it is only through discussion that we can grow as individuals. 

First off, I whole-heartedly agree that the situation in Egypt Mr Resnick described is a genuine problem, and an issue that is worthy attention.  I agree also that we have a big problem in the West with ignorance of other cultures. My critisisms of Mr Resnick's story are purely literary. My main points, which I stand by, are these: 1) that it has little or no plot, 2) that the characters are poorly developed, and 3) that it contains no science fiction elements.

For the first, I do not require any plot twists or tagged-on happy endings to satisfy me. I agree with Mr Resnick's comment about the cheapness of surprise endings: they are something that rarely works.  I've no problem at all with an ending that's predictable or inherent, just so long as the plot develops.
I disagree with you here.  I think the story definitely had a plot; although maybe not one as concrete as some.  I viewed the plot to be the internal conflict of the narrator between his extensive education and self worth and taking the easy way out by telling lies here and there because they're easier.  A battle not to become a total and complete sell out. 

The second point I can overlook. This is a short story, and detailed characterisation is very hard in such a short space of words.
Again I believe the narrator was really the only character that mattered.  He was the center of the story and the others only served as sources of conflict to move his internal struggle along. 

For the third point, I disagree that labelling this a science fiction story adds any insight to the situation it puts forward. If anything it might have been more effective if it had retained its original Cairo setting, as that would make everything so much closer to home.  It reminds me of something Jon Pertwee used to say, that the scariest monsters are those you find in your own home, rather than going to other worlds to find them.  I think this might be the case here, that these "monsters," the tourists, might be scarier if they they were shown existing in the real world, and that the guide was one of a number of real people.

I'm not saying that "This is not science-fictiony enough, therefore it's rubbish," just that I feel it's been written in the wrong Genre. Should Mr Resnick ever rewrite this as a mainstream or even an autobiographical piece, I genuinly would be interested to read it.
I once heard it said that a work should be considered science fiction if the science fiction elements are integral to the plot.  Such that if you can remove those elements and the work stands on it's own then it is just a mystery or war novel dressed up in science fiction garb, etcetera.  Issac Asimov's R. Daneel Olivaw novels I believe are a good example of this.  At their core they are murder mysteries, while Neil Stephen's Snowcrash or Diamon Age are fundamentally about technology and it's impact on society and as such couldn't be separated out.  This is not to say that Caves of Steel wasn't a good novel, and as such I enjoy many science fiction works that are just other novels wrapped in science fiction trappings.  Mr. Reznic's piece is one such work.   

To be honest, I was rather taken aback by Mr Resnick's argumentum ad numeram view, that the number of awards it has won proves the story's merits. The fact that many people hold an opinion does not make it more valid than any other.
While not absolute public opinion is often a good marker of merit.  Numerous awards would seem to indicate that this work was well received by a body of his peers and his target audience.  Though I will agree with you that it alone does not refute your opinion. 

If I've caused any offense by this post, I sincerly apologise. It's not my intention to offend, just to properly explain my opinions. 

Simon Painter
Shropshire, UK
Again I enjoy well thought out and expressed debate.  When it is done intelligently, as has yours, and not emotionally I believe there is a lot to be gained.  Thanks for making me think. 



slic

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Reply #35 on: April 20, 2007, 03:40:14 PM
Quote from: Thaurismunths
...but once in a while someone’s going to get hit where it counts and they’ll be motivated to change the world.
This is a very true statement, but keep in mind it applies to all things.  You could say the same thing if Mr. Resnick wrote this for a travel magazine or submitted it to Reader's Digest.  Someone in a Doctor's office somewhere (for many years to come, considering how often they update the mags) could read that and be just as affected.

To echo/further expound on madSimonJ's third point take the Original Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" - better known as the Half Black/Half White guys episode.  Clearly, it is about race relations, and dissects the ridiculous idea that the colour of your skin is what defines you.  And yet you cannot just take that story and simply replace the characters with modern day equivalents.

Really, I think you could substitute Earther for American, Antarean history for Egyptian and the story here is the same.



SFEley

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Reply #36 on: April 20, 2007, 03:46:26 PM
For the third point, I disagree that labelling this a science fiction story adds any insight to the situation it puts forward. If anything it might have been more effective if it had retained its original Cairo setting, as that would make everything so much closer to home. 

Argh.  I hate to step into discussions like this as editor -- I don't ever want people to think I'm cramping feedback or placing my opinion above theirs -- but since there is discussion on the whys and wherefores of this story (civil and intelligent discussion, no less!) I might as well throw my two cents in.

First, not a literary point, but a marketing one: if this story had been a modern recollection set in Cairo, it would not have been on Escape Pod.  Barring odd flukes of publicity, it almost certainly would have been read only by an audience that seeks out and reads travel stories -- and to that audience, this story would be preaching to the choir.

Casting it into science fiction may not have been strictly necessary for the plot, but it did get a message out to an audience that may not have received it otherwise.  I personally didn't think my time was wasted in learning the things this story told me.  And just as, in my EP102 outro, I said I didn't put plausibility on the top of my editorial list, I don't place the question "Is the SFnal component integral to this story?" above effectiveness or fun either.  I agree that most SF stories are stronger with a strong SF idea at their core, but it isn't universal, and it isn't the central point of my buying decisions.

This story blew me away on an emotional level.  I read it and got chills.  The scope, the grandeur, the tragic sense of history erasing all greatness...  It hits me deep for exactly the same reason that Shelley's "Ozymandias" is my favorite poem:


     I met a traveller from an antique land
     Who said: 'Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
     Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
     Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
     And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
     Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
     Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
     The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
     And on the pedestal these words appear:
     "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
     Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
     Nothing beside remains: round the decay
     Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
     The lone and level sands stretch far away.'


That poem, and "The 43 Antarean Dynasties," hit a nerve for me.  They're about the entropy of history and the universe -- and also about fighting that entropy.  To me this is a core of life.

I personally think this piece is the best of Mr. Resnick's that we've produced, and one of the top three contemporary stories we've run on Escape Pod.  It doesn't bother me if people disagree.  It's just where I'm coming from, and that's neither more nor less important than where anyone else comes from. 

(Finally: the imagery of this story, folks!  A million crystal spires!  A Spiral Ramp to Heaven!  Buildings large enough to contain God!  If we're talking about stoking the imagination with grand SF concepts, how frickin' cool is this stuff?)


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Thaurismunths

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Reply #37 on: April 20, 2007, 04:51:58 PM
Quote from: Thaurismunths
...but once in a while someone’s going to get hit where it counts and they’ll be motivated to change the world.
This is a very true statement, but keep in mind it applies to all things.  You could say the same thing if Mr. Resnick wrote this for a travel magazine or submitted it to Reader's Digest.  Someone in a Doctor's office somewhere (for many years to come, considering how often they update the mags) could read that and be just as affected.
Yes, that's a principal of my point.
The story could be written (gun could be aimed at) anyone. Mike decided to write (point) it at SF fans.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


slic

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Reply #38 on: April 20, 2007, 05:47:54 PM
Quote from: Thaurismunths
...but once in a while someone’s going to get hit where it counts and they’ll be motivated to change the world.
This is a very true statement, but keep in mind it applies to all things.  You could say the same thing if Mr. Resnick wrote this for a travel magazine or submitted it to Reader's Digest.  Someone in a Doctor's office somewhere (for many years to come, considering how often they update the mags) could read that and be just as affected.
Yes, that's a principal of my point.
The story could be written (gun could be aimed at) anyone. Mike decided to write (point) it at SF fans.
I'm not going to try and guess on how Mr. Resnick decides a market for a story, but considering he's "the most-awarded short fiction author, living or dead, in science fiction history" (according to Locus, I'm told) it's not really surprising that he didn't submit a less sci-fi version to Reader's Digest - and for all I know he did, butI think you get my point.

Perhaps Mr. Resnick purposely chose to thinly veil the characters and setting so more people would draw the obvious parallels - but really that has no bearing on my personal liking/disliking of the story.



mike-resnick

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Reply #39 on: April 20, 2007, 06:41:13 PM
Time for a clarification. I was not saying that anyone had to like the story because it won a batch of awards. I was saying -- as I have said here about "Barnaby in Exile" (a contemporary story told in the first person of a lab chimpanzee) and "Travels With My Cats" (about the consequences of rediscovering a book forgotten from one's childhood) -- the awards are simply proof that the definition of science fiction has changed and broadened, that writers are no longer constricted byJohn Campbell's definition of what science fiction must be and what it must accomplish. A travelogue set on another world, such as "The 43 Antarean Dynasties",  or stories about a chimp or a forgotten book, are, these days, accepted as legitimate science fiction every bit as much as stories about space wars and alien invasions. The awards simply support the fact that what I write IS science fiction and is universally accepted as such.

Most fans of the literature have adjusted and broadened their definitions. It's movie fans that seem stuck in the past these days. Ask any cross-section of film fans to name their top 10 or 20 science fiction films, and there are two brilliant movies that will almost never make their lists -- Dr. Strangelove and Charly. Both are demonstrably science fiction, but neither have starships, aliens, or zap guns, and most of the moviegoing public, while they'll confess to liking the films, don't consider them to be science fiction.

They're wrong, just as people who claim that Connie Willis's "Even the Queen" or David Gerrold's "The Martian Child" or (dare I say it?) "The 43 Antaream Dynasties" are wrong. Doesn't mean to have to like any of them, but the stories  are clearly, demonstrably science fiction.

-- Mike Resmocl