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Author Topic: EP515: The Winter Festival  (Read 1780 times)
eytanz
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« on: December 30, 2015, 03:29:04 PM »

EP515: The Winter Festival

By Evan Berkow

Read by Kate Baker

---

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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jigsawkid7
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 07:41:53 AM »

well done. Especially like the interaction during the final scene. Made the entire story feel that much realer.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 10:46:33 AM »

ETA:  I first made this comment, and then thought I was talking about the wrong story so I applied strikethroughs, and then realized it was the right story except for one detail so I edited it to remove that detail and put the original comment back.  Phew, good times.

This one was all right.  It relied too heavily, IMO, on the narrator withholding vital information from me.  It was clear that what they knew about the visitors was being withheld, which to me serves to distance me greatly from the story.  I'm waiting for them to share what it's clear that they already know.  I'd rather be closer in to the point of view instead of being held at arm's length.  I know it's a not uncommon tactic, but it's not one I really care for.

I did like the worldbuilding, especially the horror of spending every year building parade floats depicting a teenager being eaten by a sea monster and competing for prizes, and then sending those same teenagers to go possibly be eaten by sea monsters.  I understand where they were coming from, and I get the impression that not giving in would probably have just gotten them all killed, but building the pageantry around it as though it were a celebration is horrible.


« Last Edit: January 15, 2016, 10:45:53 AM by Unblinking » Logged
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 10:43:33 AM »

Where's the text of the story?  Doesn't appear to be on the post on the main site, and no preview here, trying to jog my memory in a place where I can't listen to audio.
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matweller
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2016, 08:23:40 AM »

I never saw it, so I didn't include it in the posting for the website. And eytanz copies the site for the post here. It used to be that when that happened we didn't have the rights. That's almost never the case now, but as this was a replay from Cast of Wonders, we may not have had the rights to post the text. I'd recommend contacting Norm - editor@escapepod.org
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2016, 10:30:11 AM »

I never saw it, so I didn't include it in the posting for the website. And eytanz copies the site for the post here. It used to be that when that happened we didn't have the rights. That's almost never the case now, but as this was a replay from Cast of Wonders, we may not have had the rights to post the text. I'd recommend contacting Norm - editor@escapepod.org

According to the story notes, this was an Escape Pod original, not reprinted from Cast of Wonders, and searching Cast of Wonders finds nothing.

I don't really feel invested enough in this particular issue to spend more time pursuing it.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2016, 02:28:45 PM by Unblinking » Logged
Alasdair5000
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 11:29:44 AM »

This was a swap out for a Christmas story whose rights fell through at the worst possible moment for them to do so. The text not being transferred over is simply due to time and it not being something that Cast of Wonders has done before.
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matweller
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2016, 09:16:49 AM »

Oh, right...I'm so sorry for misleading, I temporarily forgot the details.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2016, 10:59:42 AM »

Sure.  Is there text that can be posted now, though?
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TrishEM
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2016, 04:21:53 AM »

If you just need a short memory jog, this IS the story about the February town in the Detroit ruins, building a parade float that brother Joe, among others, has to ride on; also features Grandpa muttering about how we should have fought, etc.

Where's the text of the story?  Doesn't appear to be on the post on the main site, and no preview here, trying to jog my memory in a place where I can't listen to audio.
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matweller
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2016, 09:23:38 AM »

I just got it, now you have it.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2016, 10:44:38 AM »

If you just need a short memory jog, this IS the story about the February town in the Detroit ruins, building a parade float that brother Joe, among others, has to ride on; also features Grandpa muttering about how we should have fought, etc.

Where's the text of the story?  Doesn't appear to be on the post on the main site, and no preview here, trying to jog my memory in a place where I can't listen to audio.

Thank you!

That's the one that I thought it was, but then somehow I got it tangled up in my head with "Jump and I'll Catch You" on Drabblecast, thinking that the story with the parade float was also the one about "Our New Friends", so when I looked at the Drabblecast story and saw the phrase "Our New Friends" then I thought I must've been misremembering this story, but it turns out I got them tangled up in my my memory.

So much confuse!  OK, I'm straightened out now, thanks!

ETA: I removed the strikethroughs on my original comment, since it was about this story.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2016, 10:46:31 AM by Unblinking » Logged
TrishEM
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2016, 06:09:27 AM »

If you just need a short memory jog, this IS the story about the February town in the Detroit ruins, building a parade float that brother Joe, among others, has to ride on; also features Grandpa muttering about how we should have fought, etc.

Thank you!

That's the one that I thought it was, but then somehow I got it tangled up in my head with "Jump and I'll Catch You" on Drabblecast, thinking that the story with the parade float was also the one about "Our New Friends", so when I looked at the Drabblecast story and saw the phrase "Our New Friends" then I thought I must've been misremembering this story, but it turns out I got them tangled up in my my memory.

So much confuse!  OK, I'm straightened out now, thanks!

ETA: I removed the strikethroughs on my original comment, since it was about this story.

Ha, whereas I almost skipped that Drabblecast story, just looking at the title and seeing it as "When It Ends, He Catches Her," and thinking, "nah, Pseudopod's version was perfect, so I'll just keep that narration in my head."
It's tough keeping track of stories sometimes, especially these days when we have such a bounty of them.

Anyway, to comment on THIS story:

I rather liked the immediacy of the story, focusing tightly on what was happening without going much into why, and letting awareness dawn as events transpired. Most kids probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about their own backstories, after all. And that avoidance of retrospection clearly fit the 11-year-old viewpoint character's childish nature.

I do agree that the celebration of their own conquest is horrible. Just the tribute is required, with the pageantry having been developed by the people to dress up the sacrifice and make themselves feel better about it all. But that means they've ending up taking partial ownership of it, and being somewhat complicit with it.

I really, really like the brother's being troubled over whether his coming back means he was rejected or means he was chosen.

Another thing that strikes me is that although the viewpoint character is pretty unsympathetic to Grandpa, I still feel pretty keenly for him. Everyone else is so focused on getting through the day, which may well be the best way for them to cope, but he's the only one who's even trying to keep the memory alive of what it was like to resist. So he had the desperate struggle of resisting the invaders then, and now he's just desperately struggling to keep that memory alive for future generations, despite nobody wanting to listen.

However, I wish we hadn't heard about the Colonel and his crazy inventions and their eventual emancipation. It didn't feel earned, and it seemed to weaken the impact of the story.
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FireTurtle
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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2016, 05:21:19 PM »

TrishEM said it for me. +1

This had the feel of Margaret Atwood. Not that I think she would have written it, just that it is similar to her dystopian visions of the future, where complicity is placed squarely on the shoulders of the participants.
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2016, 01:38:42 PM »

I once visited a museum in France that dealt with French life during the occupation. While the museum acknowledged that there were extremes of both collaboration and resistance, I thought the most prescient quote was one that said, "For most people, the reality is that you resist a little every day, and you collaborate a little every day."

I thought this story captured that sort of ambiguity quite well, on several levels.
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"My whole job is in the space between 'should be' and 'is.' It's a big space."
matweller
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2016, 07:51:11 AM »

..I thought the most prescient quote was one that said, "For most people, the reality is that you resist a little every day, and you collaborate a little every day." 
I dare say that may be one of the few truly universal truths.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2016, 10:40:59 AM »

This one made me so uncomfortable, for reasons that TrishEM explained so well. I agree that it has a Margaret Atwood vibe to it, though in this case there doesn't seem to be any sort of resistance brewing at all.
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2017, 11:03:55 PM »

This story really made me think of the Tripods trilogy by John Christopher. There, you had the human race conquered by aliens who required that  each person be fitted with a mind control device at age 13. I kept thinking that this was going to happen here in this story and I'm not sure that it didn't. Joe himself says he doesn't know if he was chosen or rejected.  Perhaps these aliens' mind control device is less obvious than the ones the tripods used....
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