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Author Topic: EP651/EP105: Impossible Dreams (Flashback Friday)  (Read 46017 times)

drkpking

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Reply #40 on: May 17, 2007, 04:51:22 AM
OK I am finally posting on the ESPod boards
Steve! this was terrific - I am pleased so many people enjoyed it......
I really go for the Asimov, Arthur Clark... star trek Voyager type novels... but this had a wonderful story thread... well developed characters... it grabbed you into their needs and plight... you felt for them and wanted the store to reappear ...don't let it vanish for this poor guy who eats peanut butter in order to watch movies in surround sound.

Above that - more importantly- was the fantastic way the author so elegantly  turned the tables on the time change... the incongruity of being in that singularity and stepping back and forth through it.....

It was done so elegantly and emphasized the content, that we could identify with him intellectually and emotionally because we know the movies he loves and seeks... and to experience, thru him, how  lives were altered in this alternate future.... it really felt like I experienced the knowledge

Many of  the same story lines from Asimov and some of Clark's great work and of course star trek's temporal prime directive needs... but nonetheless
the way this short story format worked so very well to flow rapidly and effectively in communicating the dilemma so that the readers feel the crisis and hunger to see the outcome to be the best possible (as if we could know what that would be.... because there seems to be unexpected twists everywhere in this altered past/future/past)
well done-- this has to be a winner if the judges can look beyond just traditional spaceship sci-fi modes.....

Thanks so much for bringing this one into ESPod, Steve
again the dam has been unleashed ----  2 years of listening to escapepod and Impossible Dreams drove me to the forums-- that means something!!  :o
Very best to all escapepod lovers.
Rock on Steve Ely! ;D
KPK

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VBurn

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Reply #41 on: May 17, 2007, 12:37:35 PM
I enjoyed the story and thought it was very well written.

But, am I the only one who gets totally disgusted at people who are as obsessed with something as this guy is with movies.  Especially at his age.  I see people like this (I even have relatives like this) and can't help to think "get a life"  I feel bad for being so judgemental, but I still cannot shake that feeling.  I laugh everytime I see the 30 somethings leaving the audio store they worked at since they were 16 in their Fast and Furriest  ;D edition Civics going home to Mom's house.  My life is far from perfect and further from exciting, but I would hate to be so 1-dimensional. 

I also found myself wondering if this guys eating dog food to buy a better home theater lifestyle can continue now that he has a girl in his life.  He was already splurging on Chinese food every night.  That has to cut into the Bad Obsession budget.  It would be interesting to see how this change cascades through his life.

Once again, I really enjoyed the story.  One of many best on EP.



Simon Painter

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Reply #42 on: May 17, 2007, 01:30:32 PM
Quote
But, am I the only one who gets totally disgusted at people who are as obsessed with something as this guy is with movies. 


I've actually always thought this was just a part of human nature.  Most people have obsessions to varying degrees, but some obsessions are considered more socially acceptable than others.

In the UK, for example, it is considered perfectly acceptable (and even encouraged) to be obsessed with football (known as Soccer in the US).  There are people that wear football shirts all the time, have houses filled with football memorabilia, racks of football DVDs, decorate their work spaces and cars with football gear and both watch and talk about it at every available opportunity.

Whereas someone that displays the same level of obsession over Star Trek (or movies, in this case) is considered weird  :P

Personally I'm not sure a strong interest is a bad thing, at least not until it starts causing you actual problems (stealing to buy DVDs, shouting at people that don't like the thing you do, etc).

In this case it's probably worth bearing in mind as well that this is a short story, detailed characterisation is very hard to do, and rarely accomplished with the amount of space available to the writer.  I'm sure the main characters have a lot of other interests (perhaps he keeps fish and likes mountain walks, who knows?) but there aren't pertinent to the story, so they just go unmentioned, which can give the impression that they have no other interests at all.

Simon Painter
Shropshire, UK

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maximillianx

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Reply #43 on: May 17, 2007, 05:08:57 PM
This is my first post, but I've been an on/off again listener since episode 13, and I've just started listening to Pseudopod (also great!)...

This story was fantastic!  I was excited for poor Pete, and couldn't wait to hear what he would do next in order to satiate his taste for these impossible movies.  I particularly enjoyed the difference in the various details like DVD/electrical standards, is Chinese food accepted, play money...this was great, and it didn't throw any glaring plot problems in the mix (since I like to over-analyze sometimes!), and merely added to Pete's quandary.

Regarding the obsessive nature of his personality regarding movies:  People like this exist, but why should they be denied love and happiness because of their obsession?  I think that it was interesting, rather almost heartbreaking, in that Pete was willing to accept that this obvious soul-mate may disappear forever. 

Sure, he was obsessive about films, but I think that just showed us the isolation that Pete must experience through his day to day life.  Now, finally, he had someone that he could obsess with!  Not only that, be he could have easily just used Ally(sp?) & the situation (even though robbing the store did come to mind) to get to those movies.  It only worked in his favor that he appeared to not know anything about them, making him even more endearing to Ally...

I thought at first that it was somewhat of a cheesy ending, but in retrospect, it fit into the context of the story, and (many movies do end like that) - I hope to hear more stories like this.  Kudos!

Oh!  Almost forgot to mention...What I thought was really cool is how the author turned the story around a little, making Ally the person who ventured over to the other realm to see her "Impossible movies"...cool implication, really.

Rob
« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 05:15:35 PM by maximillianx »



DKT

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Reply #44 on: May 17, 2007, 08:13:19 PM
But, am I the only one who gets totally disgusted at people who are as obsessed with something as this guy is with movies.  Especially at his age. 

I'm pretty sure my mom feels that way when she comes over to my house and finds comic books on her 29 year-old son's coffee table  ;)

Seriously, I think I felt more like that when I was younger.  I was also a lot more self-conscious about how much of a geek I was.  Now, I don't care so much when I geek-out about something, so I don't tend to be bothered as much by other people when they do.

Usually. 

(edited for ugly grammar)
« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 09:13:55 PM by DKT »



jackmaudit

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Reply #45 on: May 18, 2007, 12:12:00 AM
Great story! Reminds me of an amazing story classed "The Twelfth Album", by Steven Baxter which is about two ordinary people find a Beatles album from an alternative reality where the Beatles recorded a 12th album.

Anyhow, any story that combines love, alternative reality and cinephilia is good in my book, but this one was exceptionally well written.



BlairHippo

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Reply #46 on: May 18, 2007, 05:51:51 PM
I posted my reaction in-depth on my own Livejournal (http://blairhippo.livejournal.com/51364.html).

Short version: wow.  This story is made of pure awesome.



Jonathan C. Gillespie

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Reply #47 on: May 21, 2007, 02:37:38 AM
Loved it.  Loved it.  Loved it.  Freakin' obvious why it was Hugo nominated.  Good God, you guys hit this one out of the park!

Published genre fiction author with stories in print and upcoming.

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ClintMemo

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Reply #48 on: May 21, 2007, 02:44:22 AM
I loved the story and I also wanted to add that the reader did an excellent job.  He really brought out the character's obsessive thinking without making him sound annoying - or insane.

Life is a multiple choice test. Unfortunately, the answers are not provided.  You have to go and find them before picking the best one.


JoeFitz

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Reply #49 on: May 22, 2007, 03:52:02 PM
Judging by the reactions above, I'm in the minority here. Beyond the meet-cute premise, I really didn't enjoy this story very much. But that's one great reason for Escape Pod or any anthology. Keep them coming. I'd prefer fewer like this, but I've heard too many great Escape Pods to let that get me down.

The reasons this story didn't quit gel are many. The in-joke movie stuff was fine. I understood each of the references but they left me flat because they were just a litany of many of film buff's "impossible dream." The Twilight Zone, magic shop stuff was fine, too. The running back and forth was a little funny.

I hate to mention plausibility, but I want to be clear I mean plausibility within the story. I had a very hard time with an alternate dimension story that had such convenient similarities and inconsistencies. Both had video shops with disks and tapes as battling formats. Both video stores had disk players for rent that needed external power. Both had Hollywood (English) as their dominant form of movie culture. Both had vegetarian egg rolls that were not poisonous (well, the other universe did). It seemed contrived so that the narrator could not watch the movies on his own, and yet conveniently similar enough that he could fall for Ally.

I get that he was obsessed with movies to the exclusion of all else at the beginning of the story, and now he's fixated on Ally. But unfortunately, this requires Ally to be a cliche. The girl with no attachment to anything, no place to live, no money, runaway, lived on the street working at a dead end job makes a "real connection" with a geek that stalks her at her job. He knows nothing about movies, he's weird but he gives her some food. She gushes her sob story without a hint of shame within moments of meeting him then apologizes meekly. She's hungry, so she accepts alien food from a stranger and then apologizes for eating it.

Yep, the mysterious stranger gets the girl again - she can't help herself, she's just so vulnerable that even a movie geek who learns to care about people will convince her to leave her _dimension_ and live on the streets in his world.



jdw

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Reply #50 on: May 22, 2007, 05:45:21 PM
That was story was the Feel-good Hit of the Summer! Thanks for sharing it, Escape Pod.

(I wonder if Impossible Dreams has a copy of William Gibson's sequel to Aliens?)



dorri732

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Reply #51 on: May 22, 2007, 05:50:55 PM

Wow.. just wow.

This is easily the best Escape Pod story since Ray Bradbury's "Nightfall" or Larry Niven's "{ Now+N, Now-N }"  from back in February.



Man, you really had me going there.  Too bad there isn't really a Niven story here.



Listener

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Reply #52 on: May 23, 2007, 04:39:50 PM
I hate to mention plausibility, but I want to be clear I mean plausibility within the story. I had a very hard time with an alternate dimension story that had such convenient similarities and inconsistencies. Both had video shops with disks and tapes as battling formats. Both video stores had disk players for rent that needed external power. Both had Hollywood (English) as their dominant form of movie culture. Both had vegetarian egg rolls that were not poisonous (well, the other universe did). It seemed contrived so that the narrator could not watch the movies on his own, and yet conveniently similar enough that he could fall for Ally.


Just because it's an alternate universe doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be vastly different.

Drive home a different way today -- take a different route -- and you'll affect hundreds (or even thousands) of lives in nearly-insignificant ways.  In 1000 years, maybe that little change you made to your evening commute could lead to someone who might have been the next Stalin instead becoming the next Ronald Reagan.

Or on a more local level, what if you hadn't asked out the woman to whom you're married?  Who would you be with now?  What would your children look like?  Where would you live?

Last Sunday's "Family Guy" did a similar premise -- what if Lois had married Quagmire?  Very little had changed on the local level, but every liberal's dream came true.

I leave you with this:

Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing the things historians usually record, while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing song.

William James Will Durant

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RichGarner

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Reply #53 on: May 23, 2007, 04:46:24 PM
Count me in the "loved it" crowd too!

I've taken a break from listening to focus on my own podcasts (that has nothing to do with sci-fi OR writing) but this was my first show back in about 6-7 episodes. Now I'm back for good!

This story had me so enticed, I found myself talking back to Pete telling him to ask her out or warning him that the DVD would not be compatible. I even had to get up, go get in my car and listen to the rest away from coworkers so I could be verbal! It was THAT good!

I also loved the reader! He was able to deliver the emotion and mental image without any obvious effort. I just found him easy to listen to.

Well! Now I'm that I'm hooked back on EscapePod, I guess I need to go catch up on past eppys.

"...for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart." -Ecclesiastes 7:2


JoeFitz

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Reply #54 on: May 23, 2007, 06:54:22 PM
Just because it's an alternate universe doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be vastly different.

William James Will Durant[/size]

I agree wholeheartedly. What I disliked here was that differences seemed driven by the plot. Each time an attempt is made to watch the movies from the store, it's not possible and yet the first time Ally eats food from another dimension, it's her favorite. He tries to talk to her, and he gets false starts, unusual reactions but the first time he feeds the starving girl, it's her favorite food. It's the first time he actually thinks it out, too. As it turns out, our narrator has no choice but to try to get create a bond with Ally, as nothing else he wants to do in the alternate universe works. Since nothing else gives him access to the movies he wants to see, he has no choice. To me, it undercuts his character development.

JoeFitz



slic

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Reply #55 on: May 25, 2007, 04:50:18 PM
A real fun popcorn-type story. I don't have much to add since I think the author hit all the areas he intended and did it well. I liked the bit with the nickels, and the choice made by our heroine made good character sense - life sucks here, why not try somewhere else, I've done it before (something to which I can relate). Though, her first few attempts at getting a drivers license or other basic things based on ID would be amusing - take it from someone who has changed countries twice :P



Kyace

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Reply #56 on: May 25, 2007, 06:09:34 PM
Just because it's an alternate universe doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be vastly different.

William James Will Durant[/size]

I agree wholeheartedly. What I disliked here was that differences seemed driven by the plot. Each time an attempt is made to watch the movies from the store, it's not possible and yet the first time Ally eats food from another dimension, it's her favorite. He tries to talk to her, and he gets false starts, unusual reactions but the first time he feeds the starving girl, it's her favorite food. It's the first time he actually thinks it out, too. As it turns out, our narrator has no choice but to try to get create a bond with Ally, as nothing else he wants to do in the alternate universe works. Since nothing else gives him access to the movies he wants to see, he has no choice. To me, it undercuts his character development.

JoeFitz
It doesn't seem so much that the differences were driven by the plot, just that the differences discovered were discovered during the execution of the plot so were fairly related to it. The points were fairly valid, there is nothing universal about 120 volt wiring. Had just one or two things gone differently in our world, we might be using 240 volt standard or 180 volt in the USA. One thing I wondered about was without the US dropping a nuke, would movie goers accept the Death Star's planet killer weapon at face value?



Listener

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Reply #57 on: May 25, 2007, 07:10:25 PM
One thing I wondered about was without the US dropping a nuke, would movie goers accept the Death Star's planet killer weapon at face value?

I think so.  When I first saw Star Wars, I wasn't old enough to know what nuclear weapons are or what they could do, but I still "believed" that the Death Star could blow up a planet.

What I didn't believe was that a laser that powerful could go that close to the technicians and not roast them alive.  Plus, what about the fact that the laser would have to pass through some sort of forcefield or glass/transparent aluminum to get out of the ship, or those technicians would have to be exposed to the vacuum of space?

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ClintMemo

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Reply #58 on: May 25, 2007, 07:13:44 PM
I was kind of surprised that there was no mention of a "Star Wars, only with Christopher Walken as Han Solo."  I was really expecting to hear that as one of the examples and was surprised when I didn't - maybe because it was too well known.

Life is a multiple choice test. Unfortunately, the answers are not provided.  You have to go and find them before picking the best one.


Listener

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Reply #59 on: May 25, 2007, 07:36:58 PM
I was kind of surprised that there was no mention of a "Star Wars, only with Christopher Walken as Han Solo."  I was really expecting to hear that as one of the examples and was surprised when I didn't - maybe because it was too well known.

I don't know, Walken strikes me as more of the Grand Moff Tarkin type, except that 30 years ago he was substantially younger than the actor who played Tarkin.

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