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Author Topic: EP651/EP105: Impossible Dreams (Flashback Friday)  (Read 47478 times)

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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DKT

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Reply #60 on: May 25, 2007, 08:17:28 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.

Walken auditioned for the part of Han Solo originally (I'm pretty sure at least).  There was a hilarious spoof on SNL of it once, with Kevin Spacey playing Walken auditioning for Han Solo.


netwiz

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Reply #61 on: May 29, 2007, 09:49:33 PM
I really enjoyed this. I like SF stories that are placed to some degree in the real present world. It was pretty obvious early on waht the general storyline was, and I wondered what different slant the author would give it to make it interesting, and I thought he carried it off. I thought the reading was great too.

One quibble, without listening again, didn't the male character once wait outside the store, and watch the girl lock up and walk away? If so, she would have then noticed that something was wrong, as she did later. Or did I mis-hear?
« Last Edit: May 29, 2007, 10:00:28 PM by netwiz »



Russell Nash

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Reply #62 on: June 05, 2007, 11:37:26 AM
Still getting caught up from my vacation.

This was a great little bit of ear candy.  Lots of fun tidbits.  As soon as we knew what the store really was I expected him to stay in the store and go back with her, so the ending had a slight twist to it.

MWS did a wonderful reading.  I really liked Brave Men Run and he brought the same understated depth to this reading.


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

We were always amazed at this in my store. Sometimes I thought we should have had 10 copies of 9 1/2 weeks.

Quote from: SFEley
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.

PB looks like the whole thing was shot on a stage.  The visuals are just straight forward here it is.  The acting and story are what really does it. 

My wife and I love to watch it, but I'm under strict orders to not quote lines from the movie before or while the actors are saying them.  One time she let me quote everyone in the film to see how far into the movie I could go.  When we got to the cliffs of insanity, she said, "Shut up, just Shut UP!!"

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.

Ronald Reagan comment removed in spirit of Eley's Second Law of Forums.

One quibble, without listening again, didn't the male character once wait outside the store, and watch the girl lock up and walk away? If so, she would have then noticed that something was wrong, as she did later. Or did I mis-hear?

He watched her lock the door.  In retail depending on the type of store you have about an hour of work to do after you kick out the customers and lock the doors. She was about to go count the till and stuff like that.



Listener

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Reply #63 on: June 05, 2007, 02:09:22 PM

My wife and I love to watch it, but I'm under strict orders to not quote lines from the movie before or while the actors are saying them.  One time she let me quote everyone in the film to see how far into the movie I could go.  When we got to the cliffs of insanity, she said, "Shut up, just Shut UP!!"


My wife always says "no more rhymes now, I mean it!"

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

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Russell Nash

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Reply #64 on: June 05, 2007, 02:53:21 PM

My wife and I love to watch it, but I'm under strict orders to not quote lines from the movie before or while the actors are saying them.  One time she let me quote everyone in the film to see how far into the movie I could go.  When we got to the cliffs of insanity, she said, "Shut up, just Shut UP!!"


My wife always says "no more rhymes now, I mean it!"

Anyone want a peanut?



Michael

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Reply #65 on: June 13, 2007, 08:58:16 PM
This was a great story.  Worthy of a Hugo.


robertmarkbram

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Reply #66 on: June 23, 2007, 04:03:34 AM
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and came away from it feeling satisfied, as though everything in the story fit perfectly together, from beginning to end.

The Magnificent Ambersons. The main character is a movie buff. "He believed in movies the way some people believed in God" and this story portrayed his passion in such an earnest fashion. I did not know about Orson Welle's movie. When I finished listening to the story, I read about The Magnificent Ambersons just to see if it was real. The story behind The Magnificent Ambersons is tragic because it is infused with sense of so much potential lost. I cared so much about the protagonists in this story because I felt that their lives also seemed imbued with a sense of lost potential.

The protagonists are ordinary people in an urban 80's to 00's world. There is nothing special about them, they are lonely, they are struggling, they are trying to do the best they can. I empathised strongly with the characters because of this. The story wasn't sappy or romantic; it portrayed a burgeoning attraction that made my heart beat faster, hoping it would have the chance to grow into something more. The resolution of the story was satisfying: it painted the final details of the characters perfectly, their actions succinctly matching the images I had built up in my head for each of them.

It was simply beautiful: think of the most soulful love song you have ever heard, and you will be playing that song in your head as you think about this story later..


jscorbett

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Reply #67 on: July 01, 2007, 03:51:11 AM
I'm not sure what it is about this story, but so far it is my favorite.  Maybe it was because the day I listened to it was not a good day, and this was a fun, light-hearted, feel good story with a happy ending.  Sometimes those are just what is needed to have fun.



chornbe

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Reply #68 on: July 24, 2007, 02:46:58 AM
I very much enjoyed this story. Light, geeky romance, and who doesn't love a good parallel universe story? A big *thumbs up* from me on this one.

More Union Dues, please!

http://thepacepodcast.com


Golgo13

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Reply #69 on: August 07, 2007, 06:20:51 AM
This is on my list of all time favorites stories from EP. The story started out with a simple premise and kept unwrapping new levels of complexity and depth with each return to the shop. I'm sure that some were put off by the happy ending, but I found it worked because they didn't get everything that they wanted.

My litmus tests for the Steve's picks is whether or not, by the time the story's over, I really want to hear it again and did it resonate with me on some level. There are plenty of EP episodes that I find myself going back and listening to in order to pick up on parts that I may have missed, but this one hit me on many levels. It tapped into my love of movies, my love of slightly off-kilter stories, and the relationship was compelling enough to make me want to know how it turned out.

Hat's off to Mr. Pratt and here's hoping that he continues to craft more good stories like this.



Planish

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Reply #70 on: August 18, 2007, 12:50:14 PM
As a Harry Turtledove fan, I must say I quite enjoyed this one too, but for different reasons than usual.

Our Hero was so focused on the alternate movies that he didn't bother to wonder about what else might be different. The video formats and the credit card stuff was merely a minor obstacle to be overcome in his quest. Usually, a "what if" story tries to take you down all the new roads that pop up as a consequence of some event that happened differently, the butterfly effect. None of that here. ;)

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Reggie

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Reply #71 on: September 06, 2007, 01:07:08 AM
I realize this is an old topic now, but I just saw that this did win the Hugo this year.

When I listened to this story, only recently because I still had some catching up to do, I was completely floored by it.

I feel the same way about movies that the characters in the story do...maybe not quite as extreme...but actually possibly more so... :D

So, it really spoke to me, and may be the best short story I've ever seen, definitely my favorite from Escape Pod.

I'm quite pleased that it won, and although I couldn't vote directly for it...I would have...and would have been quite adamant about it....I can count that, right?

 ::)

Also, if the author ever happens to see this, or if someone can pass on a message, I just want him to know that I'm quite upset with him for introducing the concept of these movies that I can never actually see......I mean that in the best possible way, of course.






TimWhite

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Reply #72 on: September 06, 2007, 03:40:35 PM
I really enjoyed this story, and what I found particularly fun was that rather than a Crichton/Brin-like in-depth  exploration of a technology as the side-narrative, it was an exploration of classic movies.

I also liked the sci-fi elements of dealing with DVD formats, money, etc.

I think what made this story work was the excellent characters and relationship story that make the exploration of the cultural and sci-fi elements seem natural and fun, rather than pendantic...

Tim



Grayven

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Reply #73 on: November 07, 2007, 05:55:13 PM
This story was great. I've been listening to escape pod, and several other podcasts, for a few months now. This was the first, and so far only, time I had to stop what I was doing and finish listening. Thanks for the lost productivity, it was worth every bit.



Drakoniis

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Reply #74 on: November 20, 2007, 08:13:40 AM
Oh wow. I haven't been so captivated by a story since I heard "On The Shoulders of Giants". I'm a cinema freak myself, so I got most of the references (I remember hearing about David Lynch turning down Lucas' offer to direct Return of the Jedi to direct Dune, and still sometimes wonder what could have been). Although I'm sure this story will be stereotyped into the whole parallel universe/separated by time romance, I found it to be much more, and much more believable, in that it was easier to relate to. The characters felt real and organic, instead of simply floating along and oh here comes the twist!

Also, I felt the reading was equally as fluid as the story, and contributed greatly to the atmosphere. Although I like hardcore sci-fi, I always welcome stories like these.