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Author Topic: EP651/EP105: Impossible Dreams (Flashback Friday)  (Read 47498 times)

earlnewton

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Reply #25 on: May 14, 2007, 10:33:38 PM
I am an avid Escape Pod listener, and have rarely found a story I didn't really enjoy.  But "Impossible Dreams" absolutely dropped my jaw.  Beside the fact that the material was treated in a way I've always felt it should be - taking surreal activities and grounding them in reality - the movies on the shelves made my heart explode.  When I heard "Magnificent Ambersons: The Director's Cut" I actually shouted aloud, "What?!"

Everything after that was like a tent revival...Orson Welles' Jason and the Argonauts, Stanley Kubrick's pure vision for A.I....by the time it got to Return of the Jedi by David Lynch, I was shouting "Preach it, brother!"

Beautiful, wonderful story.  And, despite the fact that it WAS a Hollywood ending, I loved it, because along with the candid realism of the protagonist, I really wanted to be told that sometimes life works out better than life does.

Wonderful selection, Steve.

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Josh

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Reply #26 on: May 14, 2007, 11:19:20 PM
Very nice. At the beginning, I was thinking to myself I hope it doesn't turn out to be a regular boring happy ending, but by the time the story was wrapping up, I found myself rooting for the happy ending :P, so I was very pleased when it did. I feel that a story's job is to pull its readers in and, regardless of their views going into it, make them believe in the story, even if that means manipulating the way they see the world. In this context, Impossible Dreams did its job very well!



Heradel

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Reply #27 on: May 15, 2007, 07:08:50 AM
This is why I'm subscribed to this podcast. I have nothing else to add.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Thaurismunths

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Reply #28 on: May 15, 2007, 11:46:03 AM
I dunno.
Didn't seem very SF to me. I mean, really, if you take out the alternate dimension/history angle it's just another romance story set in a disappearing video store! ;)

Ok, I actually REALLY enjoyed this story.
And now I have a whole list of movies to watch (like this dimension's "Magnificent Ambersons") that I've never heard of.
A strong contestant for the Hugo for sure!

But, I wonder, do you think he feels cheated?
Sure, he gets the girl, he won't ever get to see all those movies! Instead, she does.

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


RKG

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Reply #29 on: May 15, 2007, 04:09:01 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.

 ;) ;D

Seriously - can't say enough good things about this story.  Well done (again) Mr Pratt!   

BTW Steve - My (future) wife and I saw "The Princess Bride" on our first date.  In my top 10 all-time.

rkg  101010


DKT

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Reply #30 on: May 15, 2007, 04:16:08 PM
IBut, I wonder, do you think he feels cheated?
Sure, he gets the girl, he won't ever get to see all those movies! Instead, she does.

I did wonder this, too.  Part of me thought maybe she brought her laptop with her and they could watch those 5 movies he'd tried to check out the first night...

But I think it's about his character arc -- he doesn't really care for anyone but himself (generally) in the beginning of this story.  And by the end, he finds himself more concerned about losing her than the movies, so I was good with it. 


Ragbrat

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Reply #31 on: May 15, 2007, 04:19:18 PM
I've never really been one for Science Fiction but I found Escape Pod by accident around November last year and honestly I can't get enough now. This podcast has really opened me up into a new realm of fiction. Thank you Steve.

As for Impossible Dreams; I loved it. I thought the story was fun and it made my drive to work this morning very enjoyable. It got me thinking of the ramifications of something like that actually happening and that has been the best part. I'm still riding on a high of imagination.

And since this is my first time poking my nose (and writing) into the forums, I will end here.
And of course, say thank you again to Steve for Escape Pod - the days I get to listen to the stories are the days I don't hate my commute to work.




SFEley

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Reply #32 on: May 15, 2007, 04:27:11 PM
But, I wonder, do you think he feels cheated?
Sure, he gets the girl, he won't ever get to see all those movies! Instead, she does.

True, but she remembers them all.

For at least a couple of years, these two are going to have the best pillow talk in the history of Earth.

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


ClintMemo

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Reply #33 on: May 15, 2007, 05:26:09 PM
I really enjoyed this one, partly because I worked in a video store for almost a year back when I was in college. 
Best.
Part-time Job.
Evar.

I thought it was cool that he judged a video store by their classics section.  We used to do the same thing.  :)
Sadly, those movies almost never rented.  Usually, once a movie left the "new release" wall, it became decoration.  The only exception was "9 1/2 weeks."  We had two copies and they both rented every weekend.  I guess sex really does sell. :P

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


RKG

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Reply #34 on: May 15, 2007, 06:31:48 PM
But I think it's about his character arc -- he doesn't really care for anyone but himself (generally) in the beginning of this story.  And by the end, he finds himself more concerned about losing her than the movies, so I was good with it. 

That was my take.  Through the course of the story he finds that the "sharing" part of a shared interest is more important than the "interest" part.


rkg  101010


sayeth

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Reply #35 on: May 15, 2007, 11:57:50 PM
Great story!

Was anybody else reminded of the Library of Dreams from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics? The Library of Dreams is a massive library made up of books that authors dreamed but never wrote. In the background of the comics you can see books like The Lost Road by JRR Tolkien, The Man Who Was October by GK Chesterton, The Conscience of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, and Psmith and Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse.  I've always loved this concept, and I wonder if it was a source of inspiration for Mr. Pratt's story.

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SFEley

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Reply #36 on: May 16, 2007, 01:48:43 PM
BTW Steve - My (future) wife and I saw "The Princess Bride" on our first date.  In my top 10 all-time.

Wow.  You got off to a great start.  >8->  

My best wishes to both of you in your upcoming mawwiage.  ("For wove...  Twue wove...")

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


RKG

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Reply #37 on: May 16, 2007, 04:32:09 PM
BTW Steve - My (future) wife and I saw "The Princess Bride" on our first date.  In my top 10 all-time.

Wow.  You got off to a great start.  >8-> 

My best wishes to both of you in your upcoming mawwiage.  ("For wove...  Twue wove...")

Oops - I see now that the word "(future)" is completely unnecessary and misleading in that sentence (where is a good editor when you need one?).

Yes we did get off to a great start and have been happily married for a while now (and we watch PB at least once a year).


rkg  101010


SFEley

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Reply #38 on: May 16, 2007, 04:39:19 PM
Yes we did get off to a great start and have been happily married for a while now (and we watch PB at least once a year).

Even better.

Looking at all filmmaking factors, I'm not totally sure I would put The Princess Bride in the top 2 or 3 best-made movies I've ever seen; but it's easily my favorite screenplay.  It's wonderfully written, and succeeds perfectly at what it intended.  It doesn't have to be "the best" for me to like it best.

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


Biscuit

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Reply #39 on: May 16, 2007, 09:10:28 PM
mawwiage.  ("For wove...  Twue wove...")

 ;D I had a friend read that scene at my wedding.

On the story:

Sweet and whimsical
A plethora of what-ifs
and may bes
Quiet smile


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
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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.



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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.