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Author Topic: EP102: The Angle of My Dreams  (Read 13250 times)
Jim
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« on: April 19, 2007, 08:46:42 PM »

EP102: The Angle of My Dreams

By Jay Lake.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in 3SF Magazine, October 2002.

That spring in math class, after we’d all kind of got back to normal about the Challenger blowing up, we were studying angles. Because I do good in class, Mrs. Doornie gave me a protractor to work with, and I used it to measure the angle of my dreams. That’s when I figured exactly how steep a hill needed to be for me to fly in real life.

Rated PG for corporal punishment and death of family members.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2007, 08:51:18 PM by Jim » Logged

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Thaurismunths
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2007, 08:54:58 PM »

Wow, what a cool story!
I was doing dishes while listening and actually found myself 1) smiling to myself, and 2) hoping the boy and the old man would make it.
All around an enjoyable tale!
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Josh
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2007, 09:06:02 PM »

It's great to have an all around nice and friendly story in the midst of depressed alien races and civilizations destroying themselves due to soul rendering darkness.
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Simon Painter
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2007, 04:01:13 AM »

I don't really have much to say about this one.  It was OK, but just that.  The writing style is great, the characters are well defined, and there's a plot, all good stuff.  For some reason, though, this one just didn't do it for me.   It could be the short length of the story that somehow made it seem somewhat trivial: a conflict is set up, only to be overcome almost immediately.

I agree, though, that it's nice to have something light once in a while, and with that idea in mind, I've not really got any objections to this story (well, I could argue once again that it's not SF, but it's not worth getting into a debate  Tongue)

Simon Painter
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beville
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2007, 08:08:17 AM »

Yay for the out-tro

To paraphrase a recent commercial - with Escape Pod - "Implausibility is everything"
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Simon Painter
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2007, 08:42:51 AM »

oh yes, I forgot to comment on the outro.  Yay for Implausibility.  The Martian Chronicles is one of my favorites and look what the science in that is like  Smiley
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Simon Painter
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2007, 09:11:12 AM »

hmm, two Simons on consecutive posts, shouldn't the universe implode or something when that happens?

Simon Painter
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2007, 09:30:51 AM »

I found this story cute. With a light touch and sweet ending. Good for parents and children at heart everywhere. It was especially nice on a day, in a week, that's full of dark, heavy things and especially burdensome weights.  That said, it struck me as more Hallmark Channel then what I'm used to in spec/fic. That's not a bad thing. Heart-fuzzers are sometimes just what is needed.

~Sarah
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clichekiller
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2007, 03:49:19 PM »

I found this piece enjoyable.  It was definitely light and a feel good piece and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  While not quite science fiction, more of a fantasy podcast kind of story, I didn't mind it. 

My only piece of criticism is this, I feel the grandpa adapted to the grandson's way of thinking too quick in the end.  There was a definite transition on his part, with the removal of the nails, the space shuttle model and his more tolerant treatment of the boy, but I felt the last part was just too sudden. 

As for your outro I agree wholeheartedly; please don't ever limit your stories by plausibility.  I think plausibility is a great way to divide science fiction from hard science fiction, the latter being more plausible, but I don't feel it distinguishes sufficiently to remove the science fiction moniker. 
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Swamp
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2007, 04:21:42 PM »

While not quite science fiction, more of a fantasy podcast kind of story, I didn't mind it. 

Remember, the new fantasy podcast hasn't started yet, so Escape Pod still has both SF and Fantasy stories.  Smiley

As for this story, I liked it too.  Just a nice upbeat story.  It brought back memories of when I was in school when the Challenger blew up.  It also made me impatient for my kids to get old enough so I can build models with them.  I guess I'll have to make due with building tall towers with oversized Legos.

I think the most poigniant moment was when Ronnie realized the sacrifices his grandfather had made in his life.  Good stuff.
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2007, 05:51:02 PM »

Wow, that story brought a little sunshine to my rainy day.  I loved how the story took a really dark event and yet came off with very upbeat tone.  The bit about flying making the boy feel like he was closer to God was great.  Kudos to Jay Lake and a great reading by Steve.  I don't think there could have been a more perfect story for this week. 
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Jonathan C. Gillespie
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2007, 09:00:54 PM »

This story was terrific.  Very moving characters inhabiting a short work that also crams in great scene descriptions.  I dug it.
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slic
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2007, 08:52:40 AM »

I liked the story very much - there are times when the fantastic element should not try and be explained.  The boy could fly, let's move on to the story - well done.
However, I didn't get the warm fuzzies that everyone else seemed to get.  I thought both of them had pretty rough lives, and while they came together at the end, it wasn't, to me, a triumphant huzzah type moment.

It did get me thinking and I'd like to try a wholly unscientific poll (does this make it a science fiction poll? Wink) about endings - so I started a new forum here - http://forum.escapeartists.info/index.php?topic=774.0

This story clearly leaves the ending up to the reader - either they fly or they don't, either the grandpa finds joy in it or is scared to death, etc etc.  Do people prefer that type of open-ended ending or something with more closure?
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Jim
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2007, 11:44:24 AM »

I liked the story a lot, but Steve's outtro just seemed entirely too implausible. Smiley

More realistic outtros, please!  Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2007, 06:50:15 PM »

Am I the only one who thought that there might be a dark side to this story? Sure. I love dark stories, but I am getting worried that, well, Im hearing things which are not there.
Lets take it from another angle. (heh.... angle... geddit?)
The grandpa is clearly troubled. As is the boy, both for their own reasons. What if the son really DID try to jump off the roof? What if he really WAS sleepwalking? Mabey the grandpa is shocked, and this is the reason he comes across to lead us along with the idea that the boy really did fly. Sure, the grandpa near the end starts to enjoy life with his boy, but what if the ending aint as happy as it first appears?

This idea came to me at about 3:30 AM last night, and I am typing it out at 1:20 AM the night after, hence grammatical errors and general senselessness. Sorry about that.
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2007, 08:43:24 PM »

I did consider that near the beginning of the story, but there were a couple of things that cemented my belief that the boy did fly:
a) why would the grandpa tell him about his flying grandma
b) the grandpa had that kind of steel in his voice that is about convincing himslef as mich as the boy when telling the boy he had been sleeping walking.

As I mentioned, I didn't see this as a warm fuzzy story either - both lives had much hardship, and the ability to fly might not make it all better.
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slasher_65
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« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2007, 04:34:48 AM »

I think I can explain at least the first one.
The grandpa is very religious, (tells the boy to come down, as he is mocking the angels) and I would have guessed that this was his way of telling the boy that she was dead. Now, I haven't listened to the story in about 3 days, so correct me if I am wrong on this one. We learn (again... I could be wrong) that she went while jumping off the roof, and the grandpa says that she never came down. He could be referring to his belief that she must have gone to heaven, as she was to good to go to hell.
Adults also usually try to comfort children by saying things like this when somebody close to them, or a pet, dies.

As for b), I think that the grandpa might be just completely shaken, and realizes how he has been treating the boy. After this incident, he buys the space-ship model, and starts to change his ways.

So far, I think that this is the first EP story which really got me wondering about what happened at the end. Sure there were others, but I just signed up to a forum to discuss it gorramit!
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« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2007, 08:15:46 AM »

Quote from: slasher_65
that she went while jumping off the roof, and the grandpa says that she never came down. He could be referring to his belief that she must have gone to heaven, as she was to good to go to hell.
Sorry for the late reply - busy busy.  So the problem with this idea is two fold 1)why would he emphasis the flying and, in a way, reinforce the belief that the boy could fly
2)in all Christian teachings that I know (not that many really), suicide is a mortal sin, you cannot go to heaven if you kill yourself (otherwise, why not just end your life when things got bad - you'd go straight to heaven).
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Thaurismunths
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2007, 09:11:00 AM »

I think that the grandpa might be just completely shaken, and realizes how he has been treating the boy. After this incident, he buys the space-ship model, and starts to change his ways.
I would have taken the whole thing of climbing on the roof, jumping off, and not hitting the ground, as an illusion to hanging oneself. Granddad never confirms Ronny's belief that she flew, only that it was "the devil's work' and "a mockery of god."
His fervent refusal to discuss the reality of the situation could be covering the guilt or shame he feels at having lost two people to suicide already.
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clichekiller
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2007, 09:42:57 AM »

On a total tangent, did anyone else notice the whole you just fall and forget to land, Hitchhikers angle to the story?
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