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Author Topic: EP656/EP436: Into the Breach (Flashback Friday)  (Read 5907 times)
Jompier
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From a galaxy far, far on the East Coast.


« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2014, 10:12:59 AM »

I listened to the story right after it was released but it has taken me a while to figure out a way to respond. When I reflect on the piece and consider what it was about (sacrifice and nobility) and where it was set (some alternate reality, secessionist, militarized Illinois) and what it was comprised of (militias, flying mechs, etc.) I don't see a lot that I wouldn't like. But I didn't get into this story. It's not that I didn't like it, but I didn't find it all that compelling. All the intrigue about the setting and the characters was hinted at, referred to obliquely, or simply mentioned in passing. We don't develop the mechs, the militia, the transformation of the Tuskegee Airmen, the secession of Chicago, the militarization of Illinois ... nothing.

Unlike other stories on EscapePod, this one felt more like a portrait than a story. It was like looking at realist portraiture with strokes that revealed grit and grime, hinted at something tantalizing about the setting, but ultimately gambled on whether the technique and subject would be enough to stir contemplation and immersion. For me, it didn't.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2014, 10:16:40 AM »

The narrator has a beautiful voice, and I love the accent. I could understand what she was saying, but I'm unfamiliar enough with the particular accent that it took most of my concentration to understand words, and I was focusing on understanding individual words that I had trouble absorbing the meaning of sentences and paragraphs.  And since I listen in the car, the slightest distraction from traffic would mean that I didn't catch anything at all for a short time.  That's not a criticism of the narrator, or of the story, it sounds like the narrator was a good pick for the world the story was set in.  But for me, personally, I had a lot of trouble absorbing anything.

What I did pick up was that there were two sisters who fight in mechsuits to save the city-state of Chicago from the rest of Illinois.  The sister has died.  That was about the extent of what I got, and that part wasn't awesome enough for me to want to spend the time on another listen.  Mechsuits are kind of in the same category as steampunk for me at the moment--theoretically they should be cool, they have all the components of coolness, except that they have been so prominently cool that I'm kind of sick of them unless they do something really novel with the concept.  I'm working my way through the Bradbury Award nominees for movies this year and just watched Pacific Rim, which got tons of hype--but similar thing there.  Except that GLaDOS was the voice of the computer--that was awesome.

Alasdair, on the outro I was a little lost when you launched into talking about some guy named Pentecost that I'm not at all familiar with.  A sentence or two to explain briefly what medium/title you're referring to might help ground the conversation.  
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Alasdair5000
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« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2014, 10:25:58 AM »

It was a reference to a character in Pacific Rim. It's a polarizing movie and I would have done the story a disservice by specifically naming it. That would have triggered the knee jerk 'but Pacific Rim was crap' reaponse I've seen on multiple times and in multiple places. I took the decision to discuss the character because he has resonance with the piece for me, but not to name the movie in an attempt to sidestep that knee jerk reaction.
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Asomatous
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Uniformity≠equality


« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2014, 11:43:43 PM »

It was a reference to a character in Pacific Rim. It's a polarizing movie and I would have done the story a disservice by specifically naming it. That would have triggered the knee jerk 'but Pacific Rim was crap' reaponse I've seen on multiple times and in multiple places. I took the decision to discuss the character because he has resonance with the piece for me, but not to name the movie in an attempt to sidestep that knee jerk reaction.

Oh Alasdair!

Judging from the abundantly positive discussion of Pacific Rim in the Science Fiction thread, maybe you should have given we Esacapodians a bit more credit for our geekdom.  Grin
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Alasdair5000
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« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2014, 02:30:21 AM »

Fair point but every other place it's discussed it splits opinion, vehemently. The story this week didn't deserve to lose the spotlight that way so I made the call that anyone who'd seen it would pick up on the resonance, and, that the vast majority of the audience would have done so.
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SF.Fangirl
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« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2014, 06:40:02 PM »

I am somewhat surprised that I am in the minority.  Between the hard to understand accent of the narrator and being thrown into a weird AU without any explanation, I didn't understand much of this story and my attention wandered.  Now this was always going to be a hard sell for me because I don't generally like hard military sci fi (ie equipment/weapon porn and detailed descriptions of tactical battle movement).  I did find the explanation of the how Chicago came to be the Gold Coast ended up fighting the Illinois National Guard interesting, but the rest was boring.  I even missed the fact that the main character sacrificed herself in the end and then didn't even care enough to go back and listen.  And what was the point?  It did listen enough to know that this was a losing battle and the sacrifice would merely serve as a delaying tactic.

The narrator had a beautiful voice, but I found her very difficult to understand.  For me she was a bad choice for a story that dumps you into a confusing situation, but again I doubt even the best narrator could have improved my enjoyment of this story.  It's the non-exception that proves the rule that I don't care hard military sci fi.

* RE: The outro. I hear your explanation, but disagree with your logic. I watched the film Pacific Rim, but had no clue what the heck you were talking about in the outro.  If you had named the film, I might have been able to figure out which character you were referring to. But without any context, your outro made little sense to me and just confused me instead of adding anything to the podcast.  *Especially with a name like Pentecost which sounds strangely religious.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 07:21:12 PM by SF.Fangirl » Logged
Alasdair5000
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« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2014, 07:24:46 PM »

Fair enough:) Sorry you didn't get on with this particular piece, and my outro didn't work for you. Hopefully the next one'll be more enjoyable.
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DKT
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« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2014, 07:32:09 PM »

Ha. I would've thought with a name like Stacker Pentecost, it was obvious  Smiley. Such a unique, fantastic character name.

(Says the guy who hasn't yet seen Pacific Rim.)
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Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2014, 08:58:51 AM »

It was a reference to a character in Pacific Rim. It's a polarizing movie and I would have done the story a disservice by specifically naming it. That would have triggered the knee jerk 'but Pacific Rim was crap' reaponse I've seen on multiple times and in multiple places. I took the decision to discuss the character because he has resonance with the piece for me, but not to name the movie in an attempt to sidestep that knee jerk reaction.

Ha!  That's actually kind of hilarious, because I just realized I made these two statements in that original comment:

I'm working my way through the Bradbury Award nominees for movies this year and just watched Pacific Rim, which got tons of hype--but similar thing there.  
Alasdair, on the outro I was a little lost when you launched into talking about some guy named Pentecost that I'm not at all familiar with.  

I had literally seen Pacific Rim for the first time within 48 hours before listening to the episode.  I am terrible with names in real life, and that extends to movies.  I would've thought I'd've remembered that one, but I have no recollection of it.  I recalled Raleigh's name, and Mako's, the mech name Gipsy.  If I'd gotten into a discussion about the movie and wanted to refer to the character, I might have said something like "wossname, the dude with the awesome mustache".  And people would probably know about whom I was talking.

So while the outro was going on and the discussion of Stacker Pentecost, I was contemplating the name and what kind of genre it sounds like to me.  Without any other information i would've guessed that he is a detective in a speculative noir universe, I'm guessing he has ram's horns, and professes to be an atheist even though people assume he is a demon of the religious variety.

So, while I was picturing all of that, and assuming that I would probably never actually read/see whatever Stacker Pentecost originated in, I missed pretty much all of the discussion of how Pentecost actually related to the story.  So even though I just saw the movie, I have no idea if I agree with that you said about Stacker.  

Maybe I'll go back and listen, but I'd still like to suggest that it would be helpful if you mention the source material at the beginning of a talk of that sort?  Otherwise if I don't recognize the character name immediately, it's easy to think it's one of the endless list of media that I won't have time to experience, even if I already have.


« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 09:01:33 AM by Unblinking » Logged
Myrealana
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« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2014, 11:03:16 AM »

I found the narrator's voice almost hypnotic--enough so that I had to turn the episode off while driving and wait until I was parked outside my office to finish. I also found her difficult to understand at times, but I have a particular problem understanding some accents. Because of that, I missed some of the details.

I want to know more about this world.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2014, 10:08:50 AM »

Loved the narrator. Would have loved some light production to assist the flashbacks, but it didn't diminish my enjoyment.
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Toasty_Ohs
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« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2014, 03:10:30 PM »

I loved the voice work on this one, and liked the story well enough.

My only beef was that it felt like a bait and switch.  What started out with cool characters headed towards impossibly cool exoskeleton suits to mount a daring defense of their homes rapidly became a journey into flashbacks and deep introspection.

Please point me towards the novel that follows these brave pilots from boot camp to the battle where her sister is killed.  That would be a great read.
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LaShawn
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« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2014, 03:40:09 PM »

YAAYYY!!! So glad this one made it over here. As a former South sider (SOUTH SIIIIIIIIIDE!) this was lovely, and Mandalay's narration gave it the perfect touch.
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hardware
Matross
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« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2014, 05:01:09 AM »

The voice was of course perfect and I really liked the soft delivery. The story took place in a very interesting world which wasn't really taken advantage of as much as I would have liked. I am fine with making a story of grief and loss and myths in a sci-fi setting but there was not much here that I haven't read more effectively done in other stories. Beautiful but forgettable.
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2014, 12:32:05 AM »

Unlike other stories on EscapePod, this one felt more like a portrait than a story. It was like looking at realist portraiture with strokes that revealed grit and grime, hinted at something tantalizing about the setting, but ultimately gambled on whether the technique and subject would be enough to stir contemplation and immersion.

This, this perfectly describes my feelings about the story, especially the last part. Very pretty introspection, but what the heck does it have to do with the MC's currently ongoing death?
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