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Author Topic: EP651/EP105: Impossible Dreams (Flashback Friday)  (Read 47098 times)

SFEley

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Escape Pod 651: Impossible Dreams (Flashback Friday)

EP105: Impossible Dreams

2007 Hugo Nominee!

Author: Tim Pratt
Narrator: Matthew Wayne Selznick (of Brave Men Run and Writers Talking).
Host: Alasdair Stuart

First appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, July 2006.

---

He went to the Sci-Fi shelf—and had another shock. I, Robot was there, but not the forgettable action movie with Will Smith—this was older, and the credits said “written by Harlan Ellison.” But Ellison’s adaptation of the Isaac Asimov book had never been produced, though it had been published in book form. “Must be some bootleg student production,” he muttered, and he didn’t recognize the name of the production company. But—but—it said “winner of the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.” That had to be a student director’s little joke, straight-facedly absurd box copy, as if this were a film from some alternate reality. Worth watching, certainly, though again, he couldn’t imagine how he’d never heard of this. Maybe it had been done by someone local. He took it to the counter and offered his credit card.

She looked at the card dubiously. “Visa? Sorry, we only take Weber and FosterCard.”


Rated G. Contains excessive movie trivia; some of it true.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!

Listen to the original episode!
« Last Edit: December 05, 2018, 10:06:23 PM by divs »

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


Simon Painter

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Reply #1 on: May 10, 2007, 03:52:05 PM
Another fun story!  There's not much to say about this one, it's a fairly typical boy-meets-girl from a parallel universe yarn  :P  I loved the reading as well, immersive without being obtrusive  :)

A quick comment on the feedback segment, though as I feel a little misrepresented on it.  I actually don't think that SF needs to be more fantastic to be valid, just that an SF element needs to be iportant to the plot.  In actual fact I commented that it would actually strengthen the story to make it *more* realistic.  My main critisism was that the story lacked a plot, as I stated several times on the thread.

Other than that,  another fun episode.  Thanks to all involved.

Simon Painter
Shropshire, UK

"Save the Squonk!"


SFEley

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Reply #2 on: May 10, 2007, 04:17:35 PM
A quick comment on the feedback segment, though as I feel a little misrepresented on it.  I actually don't think that SF needs to be more fantastic to be valid, just that an SF element needs to be iportant to the plot.  In actual fact I commented that it would actually strengthen the story to make it *more* realistic.  My main critisism was that the story lacked a plot, as I stated several times on the thread.

I'm sorry about that, Simon.  It was a tough thread to condense into two-and-a-half minutes, and I couldn't cover everything and attribute everyone I wanted to.  But I do feel it's important to be accurate about other people's opinions, and you're right, I dropped the ball this time.  If you wish I'll make a correction in the outro next week.

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


Listener

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Reply #3 on: May 10, 2007, 04:23:19 PM
I've only been listening to EP for a couple of months, so this is the first story that incited me to join the forums so I could post.  I enjoyed it greatly.  Parallel universe stories like this are always interesting (especially since I just recently read Job: A Comedy of Justice).  It's always neat to see what other authors think certain changes would engender.  I for one am particularly interested in why pennies are octagonal in Allie's world.

If anything, I think I got a little bogged down in some of the imagery, as tends to happen when listening to stories.  I imagine things that I write would be even worse, since I write nested sentences using punctuation parenthetically.  But the plot was good and the story was sweet and I could kind of identify with the characters on a wish-fulfillment level -- what geek wouldn't want to pour all their money into their entertainment of choice and cut back everywhere else to make it all work out?

I can see why this one was nominated for a Hugo.

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

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zagboodle

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Reply #4 on: May 10, 2007, 04:53:17 PM
This is without a doubt the best story to date - I love it! Although if I had written it, it would have been a story about a music lover who found a record shop from another universe where The Beatles never broke up, where the 1980s lineup of King Crimson made more than three albums, and where no one had ever heard of Britney Spears.

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Jeremy Jacobs
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Podcasty blaggy flash-fictiony musical goodness

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eytanz

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Reply #5 on: May 10, 2007, 05:25:29 PM
A great story. Not much to say about it - it's just really, really enjoyable. I loved the way the character of Pete was treated - even though I'm not much of a movie fanatic, I really felt everything along with him.

The only part that fell a bit flat for me was Allie's soliloquy in the end where she explains why she loves movies - but I think that's a result of going from print to audio - I think it would have flowed very well on page but it felt somewhat unnatural as speech. But this was really a tiny issue in an otherwise wonderful reading.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 05:29:01 PM by eytanz »



Simon Painter

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Reply #6 on: May 10, 2007, 10:02:48 PM
Mr Eley:

That's very kind of you to offer, and I'm tempted to take you up, but..I dunno, I'm not sure it's worth the effort.  We've done the debate, and it was fun, but now it's over, so it seems best just to leave it over, if you see what I mean?  I'm not sure everyone took on board what everyone else was saying, but at least it's all still there for anyone that wants to see what the fuss was about.

It also seems a shame to spend so long dwelling on one story (that'd make a total of 3 episodes referencing it, not including the episode it was actually featured on) when there are so many more stories out there, and so many other interesting issues to cover.

I'm not sure if I'm making sense here, it's getting rather late and I've got one of the new Robert E Howard collections waiting for my by my bed  :)

Thanks,

Simon Painter
Shropshire, UK

"Save the Squonk!"


Doganharp

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Reply #7 on: May 10, 2007, 10:33:43 PM
This story was great! It was inspiration enough for me to join the forums...

I've been listening to Escape Pod for about a month, but I listen to about 5 or 6 of the archived podcasts a day, (while at work.) One of the things that I've noticed about the podcast is that relatively little is done to mention the difference between Science Fiction and Science Fantasy.

Arthur C. Clarke often talks about the inherent differences in the way the two kinds of stories are told, and I think that the difference applies pretty strongly to this installment. Essentially what you have here is a really nice love story loosely wrapped in Science Fantasy, and while I don't subscribe to the podcast expressly for fantasy, this episode was really nicely done. I feel the same about the 43 Antarean Dynasties, which was more about emotional conditions than actual plot points and world building; and for that reason, stays with me much longer than just interesting, science-based, fiction.

Great Job Steve, you picked a winner, (figuratively and otherwise,) with this one man!

Keep up the good work bro,
~Con



Leon Kensington

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Reply #8 on: May 11, 2007, 01:18:19 AM
Oh, a fantastic story!  What can I say more?



TechNoir

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Reply #9 on: May 11, 2007, 04:04:55 AM
I don't often comment but I feel I should on this story. A good story entertains you. A great story pulls on something inside you. I fell in to this story with abandon cause it opened me up with my own love of movies. I enjoyed it in the way that I enjoy my talks with that person in my life who shares my love of film. It is a story that reminded me why I love film and how I got to know someone I care for deeply. The fanciful stage dressing only caused it to be more effective. Kudos to the writer and if all the Hugo nominees are this good then I look forward to hearing them all.

Never be so enamored with your own cleverness so as to stop and watch it.


Kyace

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Reply #10 on: May 11, 2007, 04:42:22 AM
The left half of my brain thought it was ironic that Impossible Dreams made a large point of the butchering The Magnificent Ambersons to add a happy ending and that this wasn't a romantic film, while at the same time moving toward a stereotypical romantic-filmesque happy ending. The right half of my brain thought it was a very enjoyable feel-good story and that the left half can go hang.

Overall, I wish Mr Pratt luck for the Hugo on his piece that made me crave Chinese takeout. I wonder if the Chinese food craving is the medulla oblongata's point of view...



madjo

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Reply #11 on: May 11, 2007, 09:56:41 AM
Amazing story.. I really enjoyed it.

Made me wish I was in that alternate reality. I mean a good "I, Robot" movie? :) And a Star Wars movie done by David Lynch?
Although no Citizen Kane.... that would be kinda weird. :)



Nelka

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Reply #12 on: May 11, 2007, 09:29:41 PM
This was a fun and touching story. 

I would have been all over the Harlan Ellison version of I, Robot.



DKT

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Reply #13 on: May 11, 2007, 10:18:09 PM
I'm less than 10 minutes into this story and LOVING it.  The line "He believed in movies the way some people believed in God" is priceless. 


Roney

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Reply #14 on: May 11, 2007, 10:38:22 PM
I thought this one was fun but a bit inconsequential (though not for the girl, obviously -- she has a lot of consequences coming her way).  The direction in my mental cinema has it as Sunday morning rom-com fluff, and I can't see anyone other than a young John Cusack in it.

I also find that there's a law of diminishing returns with alternative universe details.  The Magnificent Ambersons: okay, that's a good way to lead us in, the footage is famously lost so finding it is a fun speculative twist.  I, Robot: already I'm guessing that the names "Harlan" and "Ellison" are going to feature before the end of the sentence, but still it's a favourite "what if?".  But unless each difference is more surprising or thought-provoking than the last, the pony's one trick starts to get repetitive.   You can't really win whether you keep to the (boring) known possibilities or reach for more extravagant revisions of history. The difficulty is that without constant reference to these little quirks the parallel universe quickly loses its texture and merges back into our own.

This time the author has a handy get-out in that his main character is a film geek: he's interested in any differences, whether significant or otherwise, and it's enough just to list them all breathlessly and savour the possibilities, the fresh takes on old favourites or the rubbish turned into art.  And the reversal of bringing Parallel Ally into Pete's world chasing Citizen Kane just about buys the earlier stuff.

Anyway, I didn't intend to moan for so long.  I was actually posting to say that I thought the reading was excellent.  It really helped to sell me a story that otherwise seemed rather slight.

And I did enjoy it, honest. ;)



DKT

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Reply #15 on: May 11, 2007, 11:03:55 PM
I don't know if I have the words to express my initial amusement of this story but it very quickly turned into whole-hearted joy.  The store Impossible Dreams reminded me very much of Lucien's library of books that had never been written in Gaiman's Sandman

I loved that the Tom Selleck Indiana Jones movie flopped.  I would have loved to see Harlan Ellison's I, Robot.  Ron Howard doing Ender's Game sounds like a match made in heaven.  David Lynch directed Return of the Jedi (why Return and not Revenge -- I don't care -- it was David Lynch, man!)?  I so want to see all these movies, too.  Although I could probably do without the OJ Simpson Terminator  ;)

The romance was also well done, too and I loved the way he tried to quote Casablanca but she had *no* idea what he was talking about.   

My hat's off to Mr. Pratt for this one.  I always love listening to Escape Pod but this was a real treat and if it's any inidcation of what's to come in the next month, then I'm thrilled. 


Smegzor

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Reply #16 on: May 12, 2007, 01:54:08 PM
I've liked a lot of the stories in this podcast, but this is my favourite! :D
My eldest son, James (10) has become addicted too, although I have had to delete two of them for their rather explicit content.  He's an avid comic book fan which is just as well since we have over 9,000 of them and almost as many books.

Keep up this great podcast! XD



Alasdair5000

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Reply #17 on: May 12, 2007, 03:33:11 PM
Already gushed to a faintly embarassing degree about this onee on the page but nonetheless...thiss and 'Robots and Falling Hearts' are, for me, the gold standard for EP to date.  Flat out wonderful story, made me grin slightly wider than Sully over on my picture there:)



ajames

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Reply #18 on: May 13, 2007, 11:39:05 AM
I have enjoyed this story, but find the effusive praise a bit puzzling.  I started listening to this late last night so I'm not all the way through yet, but unless there is something I don't see coming in the ending, I'd have to say this is a good story, well told, a little light on substance. 



oddpod

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Reply #19 on: May 13, 2007, 09:53:05 PM
nice

card carying dislexic and  gramatical revolushonery


radiodan

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Reply #20 on: May 14, 2007, 06:05:54 PM
Just a really good story and really well told. I think it would easily be among the top 3 escape pod stories of all time (I've been listening since a few months of it's start). I have to say I expected a darker ending when it was mentioned that the US had to have a land war with Japan, that no Atomic weapons were dropped then. That has so many implications both good and bad my mind boggles. Please keep up the tremendous work!



Zathras

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Reply #21 on: May 14, 2007, 06:15:40 PM
I have enjoyed this story, but find the effusive praise a bit puzzling.   

I agree.  I thought the story was good, not great like many of the recent stories have been.  Loved madjo's comment about a good "I, Robot".  Why does Hollywood always have to take good sci-fi and ruin it by adding a buncy of "shoot-em-up" or chase scenes?   Or worse yet, just making crap sci-fi based on cool concepts like "A Sound of Thunder".  Ouch. 

Can't wait to here the rest of the nominees!



contra

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Reply #22 on: May 14, 2007, 08:00:39 PM
Ok.  I haven't posted... well it too many weeks

MP3 player broke... and its only now my friends got me into WoW that I've started listening again.

I loved this story. Its great.  As opposed to a lot of stories I hear and read, it ended in a natural place.  The idea of him deciding whether to leave everything up for a fantastic journey,but them looking into the realistic implications of it, I liked. 

I liked hte idea of the other universe... and I like the bitterness in the ending that you know he has in the back if his head. of while this girl is here now thanks to him... he will never get to see those damn movies...

Ok.  I have nothing great to add.  just A++.  Will listen to again.

---
Mike---Glasgow.  Scotland.-->


Mr. Tweedy

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Reply #23 on: May 14, 2007, 08:11:56 PM
I thought the story was very enjoyable and fun, which is something you can't say for a lot of sci-fi.  It tends to be rather dark and scary and (as was noted in the intro to a previous episode) there is rarely any romance.  This was a nice departure because only good things happened and because the guy and the girl both find a good friend, no baggage atached.  I also really enjoyed the pedantic nature of the protagonists, problems.  No money, then wrong money, then wrong disk: All petty little technical issues that ad up to unbearable anguish for the film buff.  It was good, fun humor.

To me, the inclusion of all the film esoteria was a strength: It really built the character, who knows and cares about all this stuff that the average person would never think once about.  I also thought it was quite insightful how it was possible to infer the altered history of the parallel world from the movies on its shelf.

I also liked that the story wasn't about sex.  Even when there is romance (in any media) it usually consists of the characters hopping in and out of bed with some commentary about how great they look without any clothes on.  In this, the romance is cerebral and emotional: The boy and girl empathize.  They care about the same things.  They have the same passions, and that is the basis of their attraction, not just petty lust.  In that sense, the romance is gunuine and deep–and healthy.

With so much going for it, I hate to criticize, but here it is: The story had a very shallow concept.  I really liked it, but I think great sci-fi needs to have more conceptual meat.  More "sci-" you might say.

I hope the stories to come are as good as this one was.  Looking forward...

Hear my very very short story on The Drabblecast!


waiting4oct

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Reply #24 on: May 14, 2007, 09:41:00 PM
I dunno.. maybe I just love star-crossed lovers.  This is my favorite story since Now+n, Now-n.  This one didn't even have a huge plot hole that other people had to point out to me.

Oddly enough during the climax of both stories I was in the same physical place; the vegetable aisle of my local Tesco Metro.  This story actually brought up deja vu!

-w4o

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