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Author Topic: EP304: Union Dues – Sidekicks in Stockholm  (Read 29504 times)

Gamercow

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Reply #50 on: August 16, 2011, 08:02:20 PM
I'm sure I'm not the only one here to notice that all of the Union Dues stories are commentaries on the "state of the union". This one is more direct than most, but DeRego has always used his stories as an opportunity to share things that concern him deeply with people that would otherwise be inclined to ignore the reality. He's trying to be entertaining and polite about driving a point that obviously concerns him passionately. One's disagreement does not negate the quality of the story.

Therein lies the rub.  I don't think he succeeded in being entertaining while driving home a point.  For me, the entertainment comes first. 

And I actually agree with him on the point he was trying to make, but this story seemed closer to a blog post than a short story.

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Listener

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Reply #51 on: August 17, 2011, 03:52:32 PM
I admit I skimmed much of the discussion up til now (I'm quite behind on all my podcasts), but am I the only one who noticed the MC trying to understand what was going on but just not being able to get his head around it? I mean, if he can lead a team he's clearly not an idiot, but what kind of programming did the Union put in him to make it so difficult for him to wrap his head around what the Chairman was saying.

I did get a little tired of the proselytizing, and I also got the feeling that the MC was the true target of the terrorists? Turn one super, strike fear into the hearts of the populace when the others come to rescue them?

One thing that really bothered me was the discussion over who becomes the CEO of a large company. It's totally true. You start a company, it either gets bought or fails, and you go to a new one, which is bigger, which fails or you get headhunted, and so on up the ladder. Rarely do rank-and-file workers become more than directors or mid-level VPs anymore, I think in part because of how quickly we all change jobs. I just left a 10,000-person company to join a 1000-person one (actually we might be closer to 500, but LinkedIn says 500-1000). Despite being smaller, with more fighting for positions, it's actually possible to move up here. Managers become Directors, Directors become VPs, and so on.

But yeah, the system is broken in terms of reward-by-promotion. And, really, the higher you get, the less fun you can have making Widgets (or whatever).

So, a decent but heavy-handed story with a little too much repetition for my taste.

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Unblinking

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Reply #52 on: August 17, 2011, 04:26:30 PM
But yeah, the system is broken in terms of reward-by-promotion. And, really, the higher you get, the less fun you can have making Widgets (or whatever).

I agree with that sentiment!  I'm an engineer because I like being an engineer.  I have no desire to be a manager or a VP.  The Manager position for our group opened up last year and everyone internally was given the opportunity to apply, but I just have no interest in that.



Kaa

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Reply #53 on: August 17, 2011, 05:31:15 PM
I'm an engineer because I like being an engineer.  I have no desire to be a manager or a VP.  The Manager position for our group opened up last year and everyone internally was given the opportunity to apply, but I just have no interest in that.

Wow. I was beginning to think I was the only one.

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kibitzer

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Reply #54 on: August 18, 2011, 03:11:24 AM
I'm an engineer because I like being an engineer.  I have no desire to be a manager or a VP.  The Manager position for our group opened up last year and everyone internally was given the opportunity to apply, but I just have no interest in that.

Wow. I was beginning to think I was the only one.

Nope. Not in the least.


Corcoran

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Reply #55 on: August 18, 2011, 05:17:11 PM
Great story, great read, and Steve, keep going, best wishes to you



Captain (none given)

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Reply #56 on: August 19, 2011, 11:02:14 PM
Mr. DeRego has long been a favorite of mine for his Union Dues stories. He brings a unique taste to comic book superheroes and the ideas of heroes, villains, victims, and innocents are important topics along with the idea of the politics that usually pervade the stories, whether they are modern, real-life politics or the politics of the Union itself.

What I like most about these stories is how we are forced to look at our heroes. Every hero is only human (gifted with super powers or not), yet we expect so much from them since they've already shown us that they are ready to sacrifice (or as in the case of the Union and other such stories, they've been found to have talents which can be exploited... er, " be made useful for the betterment of society"). So we expect them to give up EVERYTHING. By calling someone a hero, we recognize their overcoming of the instinctual "I have to survive" with the conscious decision for "the good of the group comes first, even if I have to sacrifice for them." Yet, here in the Union Dues universe, heroes aren't heroic all the time. Just as other normal people, they get caught in their own lives, their own problems, their own struggles. They make mistakes and sometimes they say, "Screw you guys! I'm going home!" to all the rest of us. We want them to rescue us. We want them to send all the bad guys to jail by the end of the day. We want somebody to make the hard choices for us. We don't want and sometimes can't handle the responsibility of these choices. We want someone to blame if it all goes wrong. It sucks when they say, "You're on your own. Deal with it." In the failure of these super-powered people, Mr. DeRego does an excellent job of allowing us to fit in their shoes and ask ourselves, "What would I have done? Could I have been a hero?"

On the point of the politics themselves, I think that it would have logical for a terrorist to go all soap-boxey on us to espouse his agenda. He wants you to agree with him. He wants you on his side. He wants to convince you that he's actually saving you from the evil on the other side. So yeah, it seems heavy-handed, but wouldn't an extremist act pretty extremely?

I'll get off my soap-box now. Anyone else want a turn on the box? You can see most of the crowd from up there.

"The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart." -- Maya Angelou


ElectricPaladin

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Reply #57 on: August 20, 2011, 01:22:46 AM
I have to admit that the character I sympathized with most was probably the Chairman. God knows I sometimes feel like taking up the black mask and machine gun. To be honest, I sometimes see every day I spend teaching as a bullet, chambered and aimed at the head of the establishment. Sometimes it's the only way to survive. More often than not, it seems like America wants to force my kids to die or spend their lives working crap jobs or rotting in prison, always lining someone else's pockets.

I wanted Adam Smasher to do more than walk away - I wanted him to join the terrorists. Revolution!

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DKT

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Reply #58 on: August 20, 2011, 03:49:30 AM
I have to admit that the character I sympathized with most was probably the Chairman. God knows I sometimes feel like taking up the black mask and machine gun. To be honest, I sometimes see every day I spend teaching as a bullet, chambered and aimed at the head of the establishment. Sometimes it's the only way to survive. More often than not, it seems like America wants to force my kids to die or spend their lives working crap jobs or rotting in prison, always lining someone else's pockets.

I wanted Adam Smasher to do more than walk away - I wanted him to join the terrorists. Revolution!
In other words: Electric Paladin is more left than you  ;D


aesculapius

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Reply #59 on: August 20, 2011, 06:42:37 PM
Too overtly political in an obvious way. I was really disappointed, considering I usually love the UD series.



kibitzer

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Reply #60 on: August 21, 2011, 07:46:56 AM
In other words: Electric Paladin is more left than you  ;D

That has been well established :-)


ElectricPaladin

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Reply #61 on: August 21, 2011, 02:05:41 PM
In other words: Electric Paladin is more left than you  ;D

That has been well established :-)

Unless you're jrderego, who is the author of this story.

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Dave

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Reply #62 on: August 21, 2011, 09:37:07 PM
Steve + UD = Infinite Awesome.

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RKG

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Reply #63 on: August 23, 2011, 06:25:47 PM
Damn it's good to hear Mr. Eley's voice.  Thank you - I will have fun. 

That is all.

rkg  101010


ajames

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Reply #64 on: August 25, 2011, 11:31:43 AM
Long time listener, first time poster - well, first time in awhile at least  ;D.

Steve, this will sound corny, but it is heart-felt. I love you, man. You seemed to have some doubts that you've made much of a difference in this life - you have. Never doubt that, and never forget it. I know you aren't looking for support or validation from me, but I'm giving it to you anyways.

Jeffrey, I loved the story. I do hope to find out how the Union deals with this PR disaster, and how Atom/Adam deals with his actions/inactions sometime soon.

Peace out Escapepod people.



El Barto

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Reply #65 on: August 27, 2011, 12:36:38 AM
I was so excited to hear Steve's voice I nearly fell off my bike.   It would make me very happy if he narrated stories from time to time, and I was sad to hear of his personal struggles but hopefully he knows that if he ever needs anything at all he can just say the word and watch us come together to help him in the real world.

This Union Dues story was definitely polarizing.  I didn't much enjoy the long speech because I am very familiar with the narrative and was disappointed by the lack of counterpoint.  The corporate weasels were one-dimensional and failed to make any coherent arguments for their actions, some of which are quite defensible.  (Layoffs stink but there are plenty of times when companies fail to make layoffs and then a year or two later they go out of business and everyone loses their job instead of just 30% of the employees.)

I was also puzzled about the Chairman letting the superhero just walk out.  I suppose the chairman could say that he "won" by "turning" the superhero's opinion, but I got the feeling earlier on that he wanted the superhero as a hostage.   And in that case the Chairman could have easily threatened to kill one of the innocent people in the room, assuming there was at least one.

So, not my favorite Union Dues story, but as they say, a so-so day of fishing beats workin' anytime.



stePH

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Reply #66 on: August 27, 2011, 02:16:09 AM
I know there are probably those among the audience upset at the lack of anything happening,...
I missed the part where nothing happened. Where was it?

It's like some guy thinking he's clever because he asks, "If Superman had sex with Lois Lane, wouldn't he kill her?" and he doesn't realize Larry Niven covered the same question back in the 1960s.
We're looking at you, Kevin Smith.  :P

I wanted Adam Smasher to do more than walk away - I wanted him to join the terrorists. Revolution!
In other words: Electric Paladin is more left than you  ;D
I thought it was "Electric Paladin has a bigger liberal dick than you".

My only comment: Cool story, bro!

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Yargling

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Reply #67 on: September 12, 2011, 08:03:59 AM
Definitely enjoyed this one. Yeah, the corporate characters where abit one dimensional, but it was still a good listen; I especially enjoyed the way the Chairman reacted to the Super revieling how poor the terms and conditions of his 'job' (indentured servitude) are.



NomadicScribe

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Reply #68 on: September 14, 2011, 09:53:28 PM
I somehow missed this story when it was new, so rather than get involved in the previous comments, I'll just share my impressions.

I like how the story recalled retro science fiction and superhero serials, and yet had a story that was morally ambiguous. I must admit that I did see Adam Smasher's move from the very beginning, but that did not detract from my enjoyment. It was the essence of the story, not the particulars (terrorist with a political message versus one-dimensional big corporate types.... OK, like I've never heard that one before) which compelled me.

My favorite moment was Adam Smasher's realization that he was basically an indentured servant. This had special resonance for me, because I am just ending a term in the Marine Corps. Particularly the part about spending your own meager wages on uniforms and equipment. Yeah, paying $10 a week to get the same high-and-tight haircut got old real fast. Not to mention the frequent uniform inspections which require new items, trips to the dry cleaner, etc.... I could identify with Adam Smasher in a very specific way here.



Calculating...

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Reply #69 on: September 19, 2011, 03:23:19 PM
Always love a good Union Dues story. More Union Dues please!

I don't know who you are or where you came from, but from now on you'll do as I tell you, okay?


Bdoomed

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Reply #70 on: September 29, 2011, 07:18:28 PM
I'd like to read about the aftermath of this situation.  The intervention of the union for publicity's sake after the incident.  "Adam Smasher Ignores Hostage Situation" won't be a great newspaper headline.  Does the union punish him?  Is he sent to the island to rot?  I really enjoyed his complete ignorance of the issues surrounding his speech.  I think it's one of my favorite tropes of the UD series, the memory cues implanted by the union to all of the supers, all of these titans of human capacity being completely subdued by bureaucracy and conduct.  I think Adam Smasher made a courageous decision by ... Well... Making a decision.  Sure it might not be as "right" as he might think it is, but who's to say it's "wrong"?
Loved loved loved it!

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


PsychicJester

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Reply #71 on: September 25, 2017, 08:51:02 AM
Hi everyone! This is my first post here in the forum. I've discovered Escape Pod last year, and I've been listening to EVERY single story in succession. Just finished episode 304! *whew* I'm halfway there!

I've avoided joining the forums until now because I didn't want any spoilers about what's been happening with the hosts. (Like what's been going on with Serah after I just heard Steve narrate Sidekicks in Stockholm.)

The thing is, I'm a big fan of Union Dues, and I tried to look up the 1800gounion website. The website is down, and it looks like episode 304 is the last Union Dues story on Escape pod. Also, I don't have access to Google, Facebook, or many other social media sites here in China, so I can't seem to find any updated info on Jeffrey R. Derego. Does anyone know what happened with him and the series? Is this it?



Talia

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Reply #72 on: September 25, 2017, 11:51:04 AM
Hi everyone! This is my first post here in the forum. I've discovered Escape Pod last year, and I've been listening to EVERY single story in succession. Just finished episode 304! *whew* I'm halfway there!

I've avoided joining the forums until now because I didn't want any spoilers about what's been happening with the hosts. (Like what's been going on with Serah after I just heard Steve narrate Sidekicks in Stockholm.)

The thing is, I'm a big fan of Union Dues, and I tried to look up the 1800gounion website. The website is down, and it looks like episode 304 is the last Union Dues story on Escape pod. Also, I don't have access to Google, Facebook, or many other social media sites here in China, so I can't seem to find any updated info on Jeffrey R. Derego. Does anyone know what happened with him and the series? Is this it?


Here's a quote Mr. DeRego posted on Goodreads a couple of weeks ago about his current projects:

Quote
Right now I am pulling together a couple of projects. One is a new Union Dues story to finally tie in and close out the Team Shikaragaki stories that will be part of a new volume of stories that I'll be publishing down the road.



jrderego

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Reply #73 on: September 25, 2017, 04:41:05 PM
Hi everyone! This is my first post here in the forum. I've discovered Escape Pod last year, and I've been listening to EVERY single story in succession. Just finished episode 304! *whew* I'm halfway there!

I've avoided joining the forums until now because I didn't want any spoilers about what's been happening with the hosts. (Like what's been going on with Serah after I just heard Steve narrate Sidekicks in Stockholm.)

The thing is, I'm a big fan of Union Dues, and I tried to look up the 1800gounion website. The website is down, and it looks like episode 304 is the last Union Dues story on Escape pod. Also, I don't have access to Google, Facebook, or many other social media sites here in China, so I can't seem to find any updated info on Jeffrey R. Derego. Does anyone know what happened with him and the series? Is this it?


Hi, I'm Jeff DeRego :)

Things are good. I am working on some new stuff (as Talia posted as a response), with this most recent story coming to a close before the end of the month and going to first readers. This will be a story that is probably print only as it's considerably longer than the stories that were published at Escape Pod and Clonepod. There may be a redo of the Team stories that clonepod once did too, but so far I have no other news to report. I've secured the rights to the art I need to release a volume of Union Dues stories themed around the Team Shikaragaki stores and tying in some other stuff I've written.

I've been selling stories individually through the Amazon kindle store, most are science fiction, one is fantasy, and I have released a book of short stories, interlinked like the Union Dues stories, called Fleas. It's about a weekend in a flea market.

Glad you enjoyed the Union Dues stories!

PM me if you like.


"Happiness consists of getting enough sleep." Robert A. Heinlein
Also, please buy my book - Escape Clause: A Union Dues Novel
http://www.encpress.com/EC.html