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Author Topic: EP495: Aficionado  (Read 7015 times)

eytanz

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on: June 07, 2015, 06:56:23 PM



FullMetalAttorney

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Reply #1 on: June 08, 2015, 06:03:24 PM
I didn't quite understand how the introduction about war and fooling surveillance cameras played into the rest of the narrative (presumably that question is answered in the full novel, but probably could have been removed for purposes of treating this as a short story). Aside from that, I enjoyed this one. It's a little tough to see how such a self-centered narrator can suddenly become empathetic with these creatures who are so alien to him, but the way he discovered it and the suggested implications are interesting.



wintermute

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Reply #2 on: June 08, 2015, 08:11:04 PM
I didn't quite understand how the introduction about war and fooling surveillance cameras played into the rest of the narrative (presumably that question is answered in the full novel, but probably could have been removed for purposes of treating this as a short story). Aside from that, I enjoyed this one. It's a little tough to see how such a self-centered narrator can suddenly become empathetic with these creatures who are so alien to him, but the way he discovered it and the suggested implications are interesting.

The "war" was between the environmentalists and the rocketeers; the latter were the side who didn't believe there were any casualties. The relevance is tied to people going to great lengths to find meaning in what Hacker refers to as "hobbies" until he finds his own meaning.

Science means that not all dreams can come true


FullMetalAttorney

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Reply #3 on: June 09, 2015, 02:39:20 AM
The "war" was between the environmentalists and the rocketeers; the latter were the side who didn't believe there were any casualties. The relevance is tied to people going to great lengths to find meaning in what Hacker refers to as "hobbies" until he finds his own meaning.
I guess I need to wait until I'm all the way out of the house before I start the show, huh? Those dogs jumping up and down waiting for their leashes don't make it easy to catch all of that.



Chairman Goodchild

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Reply #4 on: June 09, 2015, 06:50:48 AM
Intelligent dolphins?  I wonder if this story and its novel aren't prequels to David Brin's Uplift series. 



wintermute

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Reply #5 on: June 09, 2015, 09:53:56 AM
Intelligent dolphins?  I wonder if this story and its novel aren't prequels to David Brin's Uplift series. 

Yeah, I was thinking it was some kind of prequel. I think it was even referred to as The Uplift Project? Or am I mis-remembering?

Science means that not all dreams can come true


Chairman Goodchild

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Reply #6 on: June 09, 2015, 01:46:28 PM
Yeah, I was thinking it was some kind of prequel. I think it was even referred to as The Uplift Project? Or am I mis-remembering?

Quote
Project Uplift Suspended!
We ran out of cash. Court costs ate everything.
This structure is deeded to our finned friends.
Be nice to them.
May they someday join us as equals.




Myrealana

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Reply #7 on: June 11, 2015, 04:53:21 PM
As a taste to get me interested in reading the full novel, this worked. I am interested in reading the book.

However, as a stand-alone story, it felt somewhat weak. I, too, didn't understand what the government employee and the environmentalists add to the story. I was waiting for this to be a story that tied in to the "war," but then I actually forgot about that bit until reading the comments.

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dwarzel

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Reply #8 on: June 13, 2015, 07:31:48 PM
It's interesting that the story opening is coming off as confusing to some of us (and in fact, I had to give it a second listen), because I'm pretty sure that such confusion does not derive from its status as a book excerpt.  Escape Pod seems to be using the original text from the August 1998 issue of Popular Science.  In fact, it's the version in Existence which seems to have had some minor cosmetic changes made to its text to make it feel more like a chapter and less like a discrete story (according to Amazon's "Look Inside" feature).



Unblinking

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Reply #9 on: June 15, 2015, 02:06:54 PM
I thought this story was interesting, though it definitely had the feel of a novel excerpt.  Partly because of the discussion of war at the beginning that didn't really seem to matter much in the end as well as the ending that felt more like an ellipsis than a period.  I thought the culture the dolphins had developed was fun and interesting, and thought it was cool that even with the end of the project they were actually legal owners of the lab property rather than just squatting there.



FullMetalAttorney

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Reply #10 on: June 15, 2015, 07:53:09 PM
I thought this story was interesting, though it definitely had the feel of a novel excerpt.  Partly because of the discussion of war at the beginning that didn't really seem to matter much in the end as well as the ending that felt more like an ellipsis than a period.  I thought the culture the dolphins had developed was fun and interesting, and thought it was cool that even with the end of the project they were actually legal owners of the lab property rather than just squatting there.

You hit the nail on the head.

Although as a side note, under current law in any jurisdiction I'm aware of only humans can own property. You may be familiar with the story of Leona Helmsley's dog. https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Leona_Helmsley#Death
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 07:59:14 PM by FullMetalAttorney »



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Reply #11 on: June 15, 2015, 09:51:18 PM
Although as a side note, under current law in any jurisdiction I'm aware of only humans can own property. You may be familiar with the story of Leona Helmsley's dog. https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Leona_Helmsley#Death

I expect that's true under current law, but it's clear that this future world has a lot of changes that would presumably include legal classification changes.  The Uplift project got shut down for legal issues, possibly there was some legislation passed during those proceedings that classified at least uplifted animals as potential property owners.  So, in the context of the story, that seemed plausible enough for me.



Zelda

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Reply #12 on: June 16, 2015, 08:26:49 AM
This story made me feel nostalgic for the predicted twenty-first centuries of my youth.
The crushing burden of too much leisure time. The abundance of material comforts for everyone. *sigh*

I liked the story. I'm interested in the novel.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 08:32:25 AM by Zelda »



FullMetalAttorney

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Reply #13 on: June 16, 2015, 05:56:12 PM
So, in the context of the story, that seemed plausible enough for me.
Oh, it didn't bother me, but that issue definitely popped into my head as I was listening.



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Reply #14 on: June 17, 2015, 01:27:47 PM
So, in the context of the story, that seemed plausible enough for me.
Oh, it didn't bother me, but that issue definitely popped into my head as I was listening.

Right on. :)  Interesting point for discussion.  And legal changes do often lag behind technological changes, so I wouldn't be surprised if this world was at one point in a state where you have dolphins that the general populace can agree are sentient, but which still don't have legal rights because the legal changes haven't caught up.



matweller

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Reply #15 on: June 18, 2015, 02:50:38 AM
Sigler has ruined me for sentient dolphins. I can only think of Danny Lundy. http://siglerpedia.scottsigler.com/wiki/index.php/Danny_Lundy



DragonChick

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Reply #16 on: June 18, 2015, 03:33:19 PM
Sentient dolphins always take me to Anne McCaffrey. I thought it was a good story about how his attitude was changed and he found meaning in his life of leisure again. I too found the "war" sections a bit irrelevant to the main story arc and think that they could either have been expanded upon more or dropped altogether with no discernable harm to the story.

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Devoted135

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Reply #17 on: June 22, 2015, 09:29:56 PM
I had to listen to the opening "war" section no fewer than three times because I found it impossible to parse. Then it turns out that section is essentially irrelevant to the rest of the story and I should have just moved on. ::)

I quite enjoyed everything that happened after the main character took off in his rocket, especially the sentient dolphins. I did find myself wondering how in the world he could be picking up their language that quickly, but then I told that part of my brain to shut up and enjoy the ride. I also saw parallels with Tony Stark's conversion in the desert in that the narrator has such a deep and unexpected change of heart after just a short time with the dolphins.



mb

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Reply #18 on: June 27, 2015, 08:55:50 PM
initially I was very confused about the story: at its beginning it seems to suggest being about war or eco-terrorism, then suddenly all this gets forgotten for the best part, till eventually we get to know transgenic dolphins. While I was kind of entertained, it felt the story was a bit all over the place or rather a mix of 3 different stories.
Also, the character development was just too random: we jump from an arrogant rich brat who's thinking one moment about suing a tech supplier into oblivion to caring for dolphins the next second...
cool ideas but somehow mis-composed imo



TrishEM

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Reply #19 on: June 28, 2015, 11:37:35 PM
Having read Brin's Uplift books, I thought this was an interesting prequel. There, uplift has been proceeding for centuries, and although people are arguing/fighting about how it plays out, the good of the research process itself is pretty much taken as a given. It's interesting to go back and see it as a stop-and-start thing that could have been abandoned if not for a very special set of circumstances (and humanity would certainly have been sorry if so).
I did like the relative post-scarcity setting of this story, exploring the idea of bored people following hobbies, and then this guy realizing that he could have not just a hobby, but a Cause to pursue.
So yeah, I liked the ideas in this story. Didn't much care for the main character, but that's not necessary for every story -- especially not for a short story.



CryptoMe

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Reply #20 on: October 20, 2016, 04:38:39 AM
Having read David Brin's uplift war series a while back, I understood this was a prequel as soon as we met the dolphins. I really liked that aspect of the story. But I am not sure how much the whole rocketry section added, except getting the MC to meet the dolphins.